With all the different videos circulating on the internet of answers Alexa gives to questions, I started to wonder what she would say about adoption. I set out to ask a bunch of questions and, based on those responses, get an idea of how our society is currently viewing adoption.
I had never used Alexa before, so there was one thing I learned very quickly. Alexa doesn’t answer subjective questions, so when asked things like “Should I place my baby for adoption?” and “Which is a better option, adoption or abortion?” there was no viable response.
Once I figured out what types of questions she would answer, I asked a list of basic adoption questions.
Q: Alexa, what is adoption?
A: Adoption is….a legal proceeding that creates a parent/child relation between persons not related by blood. The adopted child is entitled to all privileges belonging to a natural child of the adoptive parents, including the right to inherit.
Q: Alexa, what is a birth mother?
A: Birth mother is usually defined as the woman who gives birth to a child, not necessarily the genetic mother.
Q: Alexa, what is a foster parent?
A: Foster parent is usually defined as a person who acts as a parent or guardian in place of a child’s natural parents but without legally adopting the child.
Q: Alexa, what is a closed adoption?
A: Closed adoption is usually defined as an adoption where the identity of the biological parents is kept as a secret from the child and the adoptive parents.
Q: Alexa, what is an open adoption?
A: Open adoption is usually defined as an adoption where the biological parents and the adoptive family know each other’s identities and choose to remain in contact after the adoption process is finalized.
Q: Alexa, what is an adoption registry?
A: An adoption reunion registry is a formal mechanism where adoptees and their birth family members can be reunited.
Q: Alexa, what is an adoptee’s amended birth certificate?
A: Sealed records, as opposed to open records, refers to the practice of sealing the original birth certificate of an infant upon adoption.
Q: Alexa, what does it mean to be adopted?
A: Adopted is usually defined as acquired as your own by free choice.
Q: Alexa, what does an adoption agency do?
A: In the United States, typically the first stage of the process is selecting a licensed adoption agency or attorney to work with.
At that point, the conversation had gotten about as exciting as reading a dictionary, but there was one thing I did notice about the exchange. There was no negative adoption language used at all. I even asked, “Alexa, what does ‘gave up for adoption’ mean?” She replied, “I don’t know that.” That is a step in the right direction. I cover news stories every month from major news outlets that use that phrase. I can’t help but cringe every time I read it. That saying needs to stop somewhere, so thank you, Alexa.
Is there room for improvement? Sure. I am confident though, that our society is heading down the right path as far as adoption is concerned. With each new generation, we lose more negativity and more of the stigmas. We are slowly giving rights to adoptees who have always been denied them. Nationally we are at an all-time high for openness in adoption, with only 5% of domestic adoptions being closed. That means we are learning and doing better. We are putting children first, and that’s how it should be.