Attitudes towards adoption

23rd November 2010

Some thoughts come to me at the oddest moments such as in the prayer meeting in church this morning.  Nothing was said to prompt it but suddenly I started thinking of attitudes towards mothers today.  I do notice a difference between the U.K., and, the USA and Canada.  Generally people in the UK assume that all children are adopted because they have been abused, neglected or their parents simply couldn’t cope with raising them.  The exceptions are adoptive parents particularly those who have adopted babies although there is the prejudice from them as well.  Not all think like that but plenty do.

In the USA and Canada adoption is big business with white babies having the highest price tag.  In the UK it is cheap to adopt as all adoptions have to go through social services or an adoption agency so all adopters pay for are court costs.  Even adoption through private fostering means having a social worker involved as private adoption is illegal.  Over there private adoption is legal and adoption agencies can charge huge amounts to cover their costs.  Here social services and adoption agencies get funded so the more children who end up in care the more funding social services get funded.  This is despite it being much cheaper to keep families together and work with them to get help and support in place.  Where there is abuse and the parents aren’t willing to change their ways or accept help then that is different and the child is better off in care.

I have noticed online, Y!A being a classic example, that potential adoptive parents can at times have appalling attitudes.  There are those who seem to think that mothers who are considering adoption will give away their baby without a second thought.  The stereotypical view is that these mothers can’t look after their child, don’t know how to, don’t want their child, are poor, young or still at school.   Maybe not all these things but often a combination of some of these things.  It scares the heck out of me how many want a closed or private adoption and as cheaply as possible.  The other favourite thought is when to tell the child they are adopted if at all.  That is very dangerous ground in this day and age with the internet.  It is possible to trace adopted adults so it beggars believe why adopters think it’s acceptable not to tell their child the truth.  Of course in the UK it is dangerous ground for adopters not to be honest as families can legally search for an adopted adult.  There are some adopters who haven’t kept up with the law and refuse to believe this is true.  It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall if a family member found an adopted adult who didn’t know that they had been adopted.  I can only imagine how devastated that person would be to find out that their life was based on a lie.

Another question that often crosses my mind is why potential adoptive parents disengage their brains from their emotions when they go through the adoption process.  Those that are infertile or can’t carry through with a pregnancy know what effect it has on them emotionally.  When they refer to (expectant) mothers all reason seems to go out of the window and they assume that surrendering a baby will be so easy.  I cannot understand why they accept support, maybe sympathy as well, then regard a mother considering adoption as a piece of meat.  They of all people should be able to empathise because they know what it like not to be able to raise their own biological child.

Why do I bother going onto Y!A?  Because people there do want to be educated, and the decent people change their attitudes whether they eventually adopt or not.

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About Philippa

I am married to Rick and we live in a small town in County Durham. We have two dogs, a cat and two budgies. I am also an adoption survivor. In 1981 my son was born and I was then forced to surrender him. It took 23 years and reunion for my to find out that my son's adoption was legally known as a forced adoption and illegal but social workers got away with it because mothers didn't know their rights.
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