Another head scratcher

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

The more reading I do about adoption – birth mother blogs, adoptee blogs, adoptive mother blogs, adoption agency websites, news articles, books, and scholarly journals, the more “head scratchers” I come across.   Those unexplained, unexplored paradoxes of adoption rhetoric, kind of like the stuff from the other day about modern progressive scientific thought and Mormonism. You know, those things that just leave you going, “Huh???? Did I really just read that?”

Here’s my most recent head scratcher from the adoption world. These quotes are from a website called “AdoptHelp: Giving the Gift of Family.” In particular, they are from the section for single parents. As in single people who are potential adoptive parents. Not single parents who actually birthed the child. That information is reserved for the section “Pregnant?” This stuff is directed at singles who want to adopt kids.

“Concerns over single parent adoptions should be laid to rest by the many benefits single parents have to offer children in need of a home.”

“Single parents approach parenting adoption with the same commitment and devotion as a married couple. There is no reason to discriminate against a single person for parenting adopting a child when she/he is quite capable of providing a stable and nurturing environment. A single parent can provide a loving and nurturing home for a child. Adoptive single parents use family and friends for extended support. They give their child their full attention and all of their love.”(Strike-throughs my addition.)

“The latest research indicates that children raised in single adoptive parent families compare favorably with other adopted children and show a healthy involvement with friends and family as well as in the activities of their age group.”

So wait a minute…

When I found myself pregnant and single, I was constantly warned of the horrors I would inflict on you if I raised you as a single parent: poverty, abuse, you would be more likely to drop out of high school, abuse drugs,  be depressed, you would have fewer social skills, etc., etc., etc. You know, all that research. I was told that if I really loved you, I would relinquish you for adoption and that if I was truly a good parent, I would do what was “best” in your interest.

But this adoption website is saying “the latest research” indicates that single parents aren’t so bad after all so go ahead and adopt – single parents make just as good of parents as married ones.

Now I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, I readily admit, but…I don’t get it. (This is where the head scratching comes into play).  It wasn’t OK for me to actually give birth and parent you as a single mother because that would cause irreparable damage to you,  but if I had adopted you then it would have been OK?

My intent is not to argue the merits of single parenting mind you (well, actually maybe  a bit. It was only 4 year after I relinquished you that my temple marriage to a seminary teacher came apart at the seams and I found myself a single parent all over again. Frankly, I was an incredible mother during that time period of my life, in spite of what that research says. But that is beside the point right now.) What  I am trying to point out is that on one hand, this website says, “Single parents are great!!!” but on the other hand, they say to pregnant mothers who are single “You can’t be a good enough parent because you are single.”

The more I read, the more perplexed I become.  And as much as I don’t want to admit it, it is becoming more and more apparent that much of infant adoption is driven by money – who has it and who doesn’t. Who can provide a college education for a child and who can’t. Who can take the child to Disneyland and who can’t. And yes – no joke – on one blog I read this morning, who can buy a child a pony and who can’t.

I guess in my defense I just want you to know that every decision, as faulty as it was and as poor as the advice I was given, was based on love for you.

While I can’t undo what has been done or un-close an adoption that was supposed to be open, I can find refuge in the shadow of the cross and in the arms of a loving God. He tells me that today, today I don’t need to unravel the paradox of adoption. Today I just need to know His sure provisions attend me all my days and that today, His mercy and grace are enough.

They are always enough.

Much love and belief,


17 thoughts on “Another head scratcher

  1. It’s all about the benjamins! A single woman looking to adopt is probably earns a lot of money and can pay the adoption fees, daycare, nannies, etc. She is the prefect customer.!

    The dichotomies in adoption are amazing:
    Poor single mother – bad
    Rich adoptive single mother – good

    Having a child “out of wedlock” by getting pregnant – bad
    Having a child “out of wedlock” by adoption – good

    Single mother who works low-wage job to survive, puts baby in daycare – bad
    Single adoptive mom who works at a high wage job, puts baby in daycare – good

    ….and on, and on, the list is endless.

    • I think maybe wins the prize today!!! It does appear to be all about the Benjamins and more importantly, who has them and who doesn’t.

      Even within the LDS culture, it seems to be that way sometimes. A few years after I relinquished, one of my mom’s single (never married) friends adopted an infant. Her friend was the Relief Society president at the time (a position of relative authority within the LDS church) and was also a PhD-holding therapist. Even though her daughter had to go to daycare and has been raised without a father, people look up to her with admiration and respect because she made the “sacrifice” to parent as a single (never married) woman.

      Then there is Carolyn Rasmus who currently sits on the General Sunday School board for the LDS church. She is another one of those single, never married women who adopted children and instead of being vilified and told how she was going to ruin these children’s lives, she is held up as an example of loving motherly devotion.

      The primary difference between those two single LDS women and me was the size of their bank account.


      • The more I learn about the LDS- the more I am absolutely certain that they need a huge wake up call. Can I puke now, or should I wait until later?

        So the list:

        Authority(secular and church)
        Did I mention money?

    • Hypocrisy seems to be the modus operandi in the adoption world.

      From a strictly navel-gazing point of view, I am left wondering how did I miss all of this before? Did I recognize it back then and just ignore/suppress it? (Trust me, as the survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I have perfected the fine art of ignoring and suppressing unpleasant things.)

      Like I said in another response, so many many questions…how does a mother even go about sorting through them all?


      • Well that makes two of us- I wonder if anyone has done a study on the correlation between childhood sexual abuse and surrender? I bet the phenomenology would be quite interesting!

        Hey Cricket! Nice to see you here!


      • Mary, can you just let me finish my degree first????? 😉 I have a whole list of studies that I want to put together. My former therapist (an LDS Bishop, PhD, and faculty at a prominent Psy. department) has already agreed to be a co-P.I. for the studies. I just need to get those stupid letters after my name so I can start writing grants.

        Intuitively, I think the p-value between childhood sexual abuse and mothers who relinquish is ginormous and most definitely statistically significant. For me, the abuse was most certainly a factor in my decision to relinquish. The adoption rhetoric of my baby deserving “more” than me as her mother played right into the lies that had been riveted on my heart through my biological father’s evil actions. The lies that I was useless, worthless, unlovable, and undeserving…I can see now that I didn’t stand a chance against such powerful forces in my life.


      • I think the p-value is ginormous as well-My daughter did a phenom. paper of surrendering mothers- I wish you could read it! It was frakking amazing- and scary-

        I was abused by my ex-stepfather repeatedly starting at age 12- to the point I put a chain lock on my bedroom door, stole birth control pills from my aunt and well you get the picture-

        Did you know I am working on my MSW? I want to work with kids in disrupted adoptions and with moms- there are not enough good therapists for that segment of our population!

        Then I found out on Monday my Psychology of Childhood and Adolesence proff is adotped! OY! I think this semsester in this class is going to prove very interesting, don’t you? She seems to be the “Happy Happy Adoptee” although she actually told me she does not want to appear “defensive” to me, and I told her I don’t want to sound like a “bitch” LOL Small, small world! (OH great now that song is in my damned head!)

      • ‘she does not want to appear “defensive” to me, and I told her I don’t want to sound like a “bitch” ‘

        Hahahahahaha!!! For some reason, that exchange just hits the funny bone the right way this morning.

        And I didn’t know you were working on your MSW – well done! I LOVE it when mamas go to school. Maybe it is because I love learning new things myself, but there is something that just tickles me when I hear of others who feel the same way.

        It sounds like your ex-stepfather is as big of a loser as my ex-father (bio-mass, bio-dad, Dad DOS etc.) Sorry about that. 😦 Someday I will tell the story of how after 30 years, my bio-dad became my ex-father and why genealogists are going to have one heck of a time sorting through my trail of tears family history.

        Back to studying about rubric design for me now – gotta get prepped for comps on Mar 22. Eeek! What have I gotten myself into?


  2. Hi 🙂 I came across your blog through my Google Reader and am really glad I did! Awesome post…

    I added you to my blogroll…hope that’s okay?

    In peace,

    • Cricket – Welcome!!! I don’t know how awesome that post was as eye opening for me but I am glad you liked it. 🙂 Hope to see you ’round these part again.


      • Okay, maybe “awesome” wasn’t the right adjective…eye opening for me too though!! 🙂

      • 🙂 So I thought a bit more about the “awesome”-ness of the post and decided that maybe you didn’t mean awesome as in “that’s really cool” but perhaps awesome more like alarming, astonishing, awe-inspiring, awful, daunting, dreadful, fearful, fearsome, formidable, frightening, grand, horrible, horrifying, imposing, impressive, intimidating, mind-blowing, overwhelming, shocking, something else, striking, stunning, stupefying, surprising, terrible, terrifying, or unbelievable (thanks for help with the synonyms!) If that’s how you meant awesome, then I can totally agree with you!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s