I really wish someone would pay me to look at adoption agency and facilitator web sites and point out everything that is wrong with them. I’ve already spoken specifically about Rainbow’s End. Every so often, I will find myself at an adoption-related web site and I find statements that are just plain wrong.
Here are some examples…
AdoptHelp (facilitator in CA): I Am Pregnant
Refers the the adoptive family as “your adoptive family.” While I certainly consider S and Laine to be part of my family, I didn’t adopt them. We are not their adoptive family, we are their children’s adoptive family. I think using “your adoptive family” is patronizing, and treats the expectant mother as a child.
If the father of your baby knows that you are pregnant and is supportive of the adoption, he can be as involved in the process as you would like. If he is not supportive of the adoption, nor supportive of you and your pregnancy, then we can work with you in terminating his rights. But don’t worry! This usually is not a problem.
So, if the guy is supportive, he can stick around. If he’s not, f- him! But don’t worry, those pesky biological fathers don’t really want their kids, so it’s not a big deal. Seriously? This is just another reason why more bio fathers aren’t involved in their children’s adoptions. Bio fathers should be involved to the extent that they want to be, and they should be encouraged to be involved.
If you go into labor and have not selected a family yet, it is okay. You will need to call our office. We will have a family at the hospital as soon as possible.
A family. A family? What if she doesn’t like that family? Really, all of the information given about what happens in the hospital is impersonal and authoritarian. The hospital is the expectant mother’s (and father’s) time. Let’s treat it that way.
Adoptions from the Heart (agency on the east coast): Information for Fathers
The page includes a chart with newborn expenses. It lists Birth Medical Expenses as $24,000. In reality, the average cost of a hospital birth is between $7,000 and $11,000. If you have health insurance, the out of pocket cost is much less, usually less than $1,000. Many expectant moms will qualify for state health insurance even if they don’t have private health insurance.
I also question the other values in the chart. I think they totally made them up.
Adoptions from the Heart: Information for Fathers
Once again, the agency uses the term “your adoptive family.” How disappointing.
You may be wondering if your child will ever get to know you if you choose adoption? This is completely up to you and your child’s birthmother. It depends on the openness level you choose for your adoption plan. Your adoption plan will be completely unique to your needs. From open to closed to semi-open adoptions. You and the child’s mother can choose the number of visits you want with the child and you can receive picture and letter updates as well.
Liar liar pants on fire! This is actually up to the child’s adoptive parents. I don’t even think that the states in which Adoptions from the Heart are located have legally binding open adoption agreements. Even if they do, no adoption can be set aside if the adoptive parents don’t follow the agreement. This paragraph is one big lie.
There is no wrong choice.
Yes, actually, there is. The problem is, you probably won’t know which choice is the wrong one until long after you’ve made it.
ChildPlace (agency in Illinois): Adoptive Services
Childplace practices a semi-open adoption policy. This means the birth parent has the option of choosing the family with whom their child will be placed. Also, the birth parent can request ongoing contact with the adoptive couple via letters, pictures and/or gifts. Correspondence is conducted through the agency and no identifying information is exchanged/revealed.
This says to me that the agency might as well be working in the Dark Ages. It apparently understands that adoptions can’t be closed anymore, but longs for the good old days. So they practice semi-open adoption. This says to me that the agency does not know or understand the benefits of open adoptions.
A Gift of Hope Adoptions (agency in Missouri): Birth Parents
Once again, the agency refers to the prospective adoptive parents as “your adoptive family.” They talk about the “level of contact that will make you comfortable,” without explaining that a) contact is really at the pleasure of the adoptive family, and b) the level of contact isn’t about what will make the adults comfortable, but about what is best for the child.
How will my child feel about being adopted? … Many are grateful because they know what a difficult thing it is and how much their birth mothers loved them.
Seriously? I know a lot of adoptees who aren’t grateful at all. I know many who are perfectly fine with their adopted status, but who wouldn’t describe themselves as grateful. You can’t know how any one person is going to feel about being adopted, but to say that the adoptee will feel grateful is perpetuating a damaging myth.
The people who write these web sites are absolutely saying what they think they need to say, as opposed to what is honest. Do I think some unfortunate phrases or terminology on a web site is a reason not to use an agency? No. But I do think you need to read these web sites with a critical eye. How do the agencies really see adoption? Birth parents? Adoptive parents? Children?
I recommend that prospective adoptive parents read the expectant parents section of a web site, and vice versa, to make sure that the same messages are being sent. If an agency tells expectant parents that they can choose the level of contact, but also tell the PAPs that, which one is correct? Ideally, all of the parents decide together, but that needs to be explained.