Making Adoption Look Bad

Adoption made the news, and it wasn't good.

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There was a recent news story about a family being torn apart because the adopted daughter went back to her biological father. It’s always a tragedy when a family is torn apart, and it’s even worse when the situation could have– no wait, SHOULD HAVE– been avoided in the first place. The problem was not the biological father petitioning for his daughter. The problem was with lies and deceit.

I’m a big advocate for adoption, and stories like this boil my blood. My wife and I spend so much time writing books, speaking in public, teaching classes, putting together panels, writing blog posts– everything you can think of– because guess what! People in the general population have a lot of misconceptions about what adoption is like.

There are good people and there are rotten people who work in adoption agencies just like there are good people and rotten people in every facet of life. How many people out there only hear about adoption agencies when it hits the news? Unfortunately, that’s the case for many.

So when someone gets detained in Haiti because they’re trying to illegally channel some orphans to the United States, it makes the whole adoption world look bad. And in this recent case, it strongly appears that the agency either did very little to ensure everyone’s rights were kept or they were part of the perpetuation of the lies. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that so many people read the articles I read and might now be thinking all adoption agencies draw their bottom line with a dollar sign in the name of building families.

Then there are adoptive families. I am an adoptive father. We have two beautiful kids through adoption and have awesome relationships with the birth moms from both and the birth father from the second but not the first. I know firsthand what it feels like to want to be a parent so badly that I would go to the ends of the earth to make it happen.

That said, I would not want to be part of any adoption where the biological father was lied to in order to trick him out of fatherhood. Some articles I read stated that the biological father was told the mother had an abortion. Another made it sound like she simply didn’t tell him she was placing the child for adoption.

Either way, I would never feel comfortable in my own skin if I knew I was any part of something so dishonest. From what I’ve read, it even sounds like a strong possibility that the adoptive family wasn’t aware of the lies until after the child was born and in their home but before the adoption was finalized. I can’t imagine the heartache they would feel when they found out about this, and I can understand not wanting to let go, but that child wasn’t theirs to lay claim (ie. the adoption shouldn’t have gone through anyway), and that horror is on the shoulders of those creating the lies. I feel the judge made the right decision in ordering a return of the child to the biological father.

Then there’s the image of the biological mother. Call her a birth mom, bio mom, first mom, whatever you want– every woman who places a child for adoption has to battle unjust stereotypes. People in the world don’t understand the beauty that is a birth mother. Too many people assume drug abuse, mental problems, unfit, etc., and the stereotypes are simply not right. To string together a long series of lies and deceit like this lady did… I just don’t even know where to start.

Lies are never a good way to get what you want. Deceit will always catch up to you. And in this case, the person that suffers the most is the poor little girl. I’m not saying that the home she is going to is a tragedy because I know almost nothing about the biological father’s home. He could be a saint for all I know. But this child being taken away from the only home she has ever known… ugh. She’s roughly the same age as my own little girl, and I know how she fits into our home. Pictures of the adoptive family make them look like nice people, which make that pulling apart even that much more painful.

My wife and I will continue to spread the word about how beautiful adoption is. We know it’s beautiful because we experience it every day when we snuggle our little ones. We feel the beauty of the adoption world every time we get a visit from one of our children’s birth parents. People out there in the general public don’t get to see the loving relationships we have in our adoption triads because the news stations and newspapers don’t often report on those. They read articles about agencies and people like this who make adoption look like baby snatching. That’s why I will never shut my mouth even though I’ve noticed that the louder my voice gets and the broader my reach has become, the more I’ve seen opposition from people who want to tear down that which makes my home as beautiful as it is. Hooray for adoption and hooray for the unselfish and giving birth parents, birth grandparents, adoption agencies, and everyone else out there who go about adoption the right way.

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