Spread the adoption reform message on your candidate's website

Attention adoption reformers!! Did you know that you can get a blog on Barack Obama’s website? You may be able to get one on John McCain’s website, too, but as I haven’t signed up there I don’t know for sure - if you do, please leave a comment and let everyone know.

Why should we care? Because both of these websites are forums for discussion of hot issues, including, of course, abortion. Imagine my dismay when I did a blog comment search on keyword adoption, and found no small number of posts with points of view like these:
Why not reduce abortion rates AND increase adoption rates?

Until we reach that perfect world, we need to be able to rationally discuss how we can protect women’s freedom to choose –and- protect unborn children. The Obama campaign needs a plank that, while protecting women’s rights, ALSO provides additional incentive for women to bear these children and have the babies placed for adoption by the thousands of waiting prospective parents who wonder if they will ever be able to adopt.

It is so sad that there are far too many abortions, while thousands of people across the country can’t adopt because it’s very expensive – even with the generous tax breaks, you still need a lot of upfront money – and those who can afford it find themselves flying across the globe to adopt children. The current setup is insane. We’re killing kids that others want to adopt!
Abortion Solution

Let's approach this from a new perspective. Children are gifts from God. There are many people unable to have children. The adoption process is long and difficult. Many times couples are forced to go overseas to adopt children. Why can't we find a way to encourage women to give birth to the children they might otherwise abort and place them up for adoption.
Couldn't we select an empty forclosed home near a high school or college (that could be purchased for a good price), give young women free room and board, free medical care, free tutoring and some college tuition in exchange for placing their children up for adoption. The women could go to school while awaiting giving birth. We would have to have someone run this home and councel the women. I am not even advocating having the government run this. Perhaps churches could participate. We would have to make it financially attractive with tax credits or something for all those who participate. We could have an adoption office in the front and housing in the back and upstairs.

It just seems we could solve two tragic problems if we got creative with this.

Perhaps "Health and Human Services" could set up the criteria for this. By the way, wouldn't this be a good job for Hillary? That would keep her off the ticket, give her a cabinet post where she could advocate for Health care and women's issues. It might solve a lot of concerns.
The point isn't that these posters want to see abortion end. I'm pretty sure that everyone, pro-life and pro-choice, wants to see as few abortions as possible. It's the means that are the issue here, and the impact this particular point of view - that more adoptions equate to fewer abortions - has on adoption reform.
I started my own blog there. My first post is here and below. Right now it’s lost in the sea of opinions saying that more adoption is the way to stop abortion. But if every adoption reformer posts and comments on both candidate's blog sites, we might raise a little awareness that it's just not that simple.

Another very cool thing on the Obama site: You can start your own group. A search on keyword adopt brought up Adult Adoptees for Obama and Adoptive Parents for Obama, among others. How about a group with a focus on adoption reform, on both the McCain and Obama sites (presuming you can also create groups on McCain’s website, which again I can’t confirm)? This is one of those opportunities that would require individuals and organizations to step away from their factions for the sake of the cause, but if we all could do it, I bet we could exceed the numbers of people in the groups above by hundreds.
It seems to me that both of these websites and their communities offer the adoption reform movement a new platform for its message. Linking adoption and abortion in the mainstream mind has served neither of them well. Reaching these politically-motivated communities may be a way to begin the process of uncoupling them, so each can be given the attention it deserves.

* * * * * * * * * *

Adoption, abortion and a chance to get them right

Watching the convention these past four nights, and especially Barack Obama’s acceptance speech last night, I felt something stirring that I haven’t felt in a long time: Hope.I have a particular hope, one that I keep in my heart for my children. I’m an adoptive parent, and my children belong to a group of citizens who have been denied a group of rights that you and I take so for granted that I’d wager we seldom even think about them. In the majority of states in this great country, my children do not have the right to know who they are.

They do not have, in every state, the right to obtain their original birth certificate. My children must have this right returned to them - I say returned, because contrary to what many believe, adoptee birth records in this country were open into the 1950s:
In the '40s and '50s, most state laws did permit adult adoptees to view their birth records. But by 1960, 26 states were making both original birth records and adoption court records available only by court order. Twenty other states still made the birth records available on demand, but over the following 30 years, all those states but three -- Alaska, Kansas and South Dakota -- closed records to adult adoptees.

Why were states closing their records even before 1960, when the reasons being advanced were all about protecting adoptive families, and not birth parents? The historical record suggests that birth mothers were in fact seeking a measure of confidentiality. What the mothers wanted, however, was not to prevent the adoptive parents and the children they had surrendered from discovering their identities, but to prevent their families and communities from learning of their situations. A powerful reason for the earliest closings of birth records to adult adoptees may simply have been that it was consistent with an emerging social idea about adoption: that it was a perfect and complete substitute for creating a family by childbirth, so the adopted child had no other family and would never be interested in learning about any other family.

Elizabeth Samuels, Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law, Washington Post, 2001
Efforts to open birth records for adoptees often fail in the mainstream on the issue of privacy Ms. Samuels discusses, and on that of abortion.

As to the first, mothers are speaking out, and they are telling a very different story. Yes, many do want privacy, but they want to control it. In spite of greater acceptance of unmarried single motherhood, many women still have no choice but to keep this information private in the workplace and community. But in settings they can control, whether via personal visits or communication, women want information about and contact with their children.

As for abortion, in spite of much opinion to the contrary, adoption is not the panacea. The usual argument is that with a promise of privacy, an unmarried pregnance woman is more likely to place her child in adoption with an infertile couple than she is to decide on an abortion. It is portrayed as a win-win-win for everyone. But in this equation, the pregnant woman is no more than a breeder, the infertile couple comes to believe they have a right to her child, and the child becomes a commodity. Additionally, the argument never progresses beyond birth, where adoption is lived. That reality, which has its own challenges, is entirely absent from this argument.

Because attitudes toward adoption are overwhelmingly positive in this country, we also refuse to believe that unethical people and agencies might take advantage of such a situation, but they have and they do. We've traded finding ways to work through our national differences regarding abortion for a whole new set of problems to which we have closed our hearts and minds.

And in spite of the adamant voices, at the end of the day the number of abortions stopped by adoptions is small:

Meanwhile, we know that very few women actually place their infants for adoption. In the United States, fewer than 14,000 newborns were voluntarily relinquished in 2003 (the latest year for which an estimate is available), according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That proportion -- just under 1% of all the children born to never-married women -- has remained constant for almost two decades. It's down considerably from the early 1970s, but even in those days, more than nine in 10 unmarried women who gave birth kept their babies.
The 2003 infant relinquishment figure is minuscule when compared to the almost 1.3 million abortions that took place that year. And even then, it would be wrong to assume that every one of those relinquishments actually averted an abortion. Many women placing their baby for adoption may never have considered abortion in the first place.
Cory Richards, Los Angeles Times, October 2007
Reducing and ending abortion doesn't lie in promoting adoption. Abortion and adoption must be considered independently and in depth, so each can be given the attention it deserves. For adopted people, that attention will surely shed light on the civil and human injustice of closed adoption birth records. When that happens, I trust that the American people will correct it in every state of this land.

Comments

maybe said…
Wow, I'm going there right now. Some of those posts are frightening!
Margie said…
I saw your comment on the Obama site - thank you very much. I hope others start blogging there and on the McCain site, and at a minimum rebutting posts like the ones I reference above. It's time for change.
Mia said…
Oh my. Even after all these years I am still completely blown away when I read comments such as these. I am so glad you started a blog there! Hopefully the ignorant will read and learn.
Margie said…
Mia, thanks for commenting. EVERYONE should be starting a blog on these sites - one voice is going to get lost in the shuffle. But no one seems interested, which is disappointing, because it seems like an opportunity we shouldn't miss, regardless of our political affiliations. The message needs to be spread on both sides of the aisle.
Mirah Riben said…
Another GREAT blog Post!! Bravo!

I cannot believe that people would actually suggest: "bear these children and have the babies placed for adoption by the thousands of waiting prospective parents who wonder if they will ever be able to adopt."

Why not just create baby mills???

Why not harvest organs for sale, while we're at it?

What are people thinking! Shows how even the "liberal" amongst us have come to accept this upside down version of adoption as a means of providing chidlren for the childless!

I am passing this on to the Origins-USA board, will be posting there and spreading the word, as you said!

On the other side of the aisle, we need to point out to GOP supporters that while they are hailing Sarah Palin for being so magnanimous as to "let" her 17-year-old "keep" her own child -- WITH a shot-gun wedding...


Palin (and McCain) also voted to slash funding for housing for teen moms!
http://tinyurl.com/6ndx4g

Margie - I would especially like you to read:
http://tinyurl.com/67olgk

Even the best of us can always learn new tricks. My kids are all adults now...and I just heard that instead of saying "I'm so proud of you" it's better to say "You should be so proud of yourself!" Makes good sense and I wish I knew it when I was raising my kids. Live and learn...
Mirah Riben said…
DONE!!!

http://tinyurl.com/59w5lm

ADOPTING Good Adoption Policies
Margie said…
Will do, Mirah. Thanks for sharing this info with Origins - hopefully I'll see an Origins page on the Obama site too. Gershom is blogging already, and Maybe is adding comments. We all need to work on this, so see you there!
UM said…
Great idea to set up blogs hope those with a vote do it.
Christina said…
Hi Margie,
I've been reading your blog for ages. I loved your piece on why religion and adoption shouldn't be tied together. I completely agree. Anyway, thank you for bringing these ignorant comments to everyone's attention. I don't usually waste my time on these people, but since they are on Barack's website, I felt compelled. What if he read this personally and thought, "Hey, that might work!". Who knows? People that are not part of the adoption triad just really don't get it and have some crazy ideas. So, I responded to the one really idiotic woman on there as respectfully as I could. http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/jaynelindberg/gGCMD9/commentary#comment-gG3qHL I have also informed my sisters in waiting out there to encourage them to do the same.

--jerseygirl
Margie said…
Christina, thanks! I'll get over there and will add a comment!
Margie said…
Ha - I couldn't see the entire link, but when I did I realized it's the one I already commented on. I've been trying to keep up, it's hard, but every once in awhile I take an hour, search on "adoption," and fire away.
maxer said…
absolutely I'm agree with christina on why religion and adoption shouldn't be tied together. anyway, you write a goo article. :)

Cheers,
“How to Caution for a Loved One along with Alzhimers”

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