Take a moment to read this article. Done? No? You need me to paraphrase for you? Okay. Basically, an expectant mother was working at a restaurant. One of her tables leaves and, along with their tip, they leave a card that reads, and I quote:
We wish to adopt a baby. We are a caring, happily married, financially secure and loving couple. We want to share our joy and love with a child.
There are many things wrong with this action. I’ve taken some time to calm down before writing this particular blog because my initial reaction was to scream and use caps lock and possibly even cuss. However, that won’t solve anything or help people understand why this is so offensive.
First of all, the mother in this situation is married. Now some married women have placed babies before and, to be honest, it wouldn’t be any less offensive if she was single. But, I think that needs to be said. Why? She wasn’t wearing her rings at work. As a woman who experienced very complicated pregnancies and was thus unable to wear my rings at about five months pregnant, I “get” this point that is made. Even in my last two pregnancies, married and loving it, I received dirty looks when I went out with sausage fingers that weren’t adorned with a shiny circular symbol on my left hand ring finger.
And that’s the point. You can’t judge a pregnant woman who isn’t wearing a ring. Perhaps she is a minimalist and both she and her partner have chosen to go without rings. Perhaps she’s just one of those lucky women who have sausage fingers. Perhaps she was in a rush when she left the house that morning and ran out of time to place them securely back on the appropriate finger. Perhaps she lost them recently! Or they were stolen! Or, maybe she’s just like this particular expectant Mom and doesn’t wear them to work. As her husband said, it was just a big “slap in the face” to their marriage and impending joy.
Getting past that whole fact is what the Mama-to-be says in the interview.
I was just shocked because I, they didn’t say a word to me about being pregnant. They didn’t ask me how my pregnancy was going.
This point, right here, is why so many open adoptions fail. Expectant mothers are seen as nothing more than a means to an end. They aren’t valued as real, live human beings going through a real, live pregnancy to bring a real, live baby into the world. They aren’t being respected not just for their ability to bring life into the world but as a woman and human being. Families aren’t taking the time to get to know these mothers. They aren’t placing an emphasis on the relationship between the adults. And then, when the child arrives and the going gets tough (because it will!), things get uncomfortable.
Now, this next part is so strange that I can’t even fully form a coherent verbal opinion on the matter. The card instructed callers to call the attorney’s office and ask for Joan. But, when the television reporters did so, they found out that Joan doesn’t exist. It’s “code” to let whomever is answering the phone know that they have “bait” on the “line.” Doesn’t anyone else find this extremely alarming? If they need to lie about something so small, what “big things” are they hiding? Seriously! That’s really scary to me! I fear for mothers who are being handed this specific card or working with the agency!
I did find it interesting that the attorney said that they’ve never received any negative feedback from this form of networking. That’s funny. When I posed the question on the birth parent forum, there was a whole bunch of negative feedback from birth and adoptive parents alike. Apparently the attorney doesn’t want to research the negative and prefers to wear his rose tinted adoption glasses.
I am sure that this family is embarrassed right now and that is why they aren’t coming forward. (Or they’re really ticked off and can’t figure out why the television station titled their card as offensive.) Maybe they’re great people who have been lead astray by an attorney who doesn’t seem to find any problem in lying about something so pointless to lie about that he probably lies about big things, too! But I’d like to call them up and say, “Hey, guys? Your finances? And your happy marriage? Aren’t guaranteed. You’ve got the same chances as anyone else. You can still go bankrupt. You can still have medical bills. You can still get sick. Get in a car accident. You can still die. You can still get a divorce. What makes you think you’re so entitled to this girl’s baby? What guarantees can you offer her?”
But instead I wrote a blog about it and said it anyway.
What are your opinions on this particular story? What are your opinions on “birthmother marketing” in general? Is it ever okay? Where are the lines in the sand? What is and is not acceptable? Please leave a comment or feel free to e-mail more personal discussions to jennah @ adoptionblogs dot com.
(Oh, and if you’re either Julie Moore or the couple who left the card, hit me up. I’d love to interview you. And yes, I’d be fair to both sides if they approached me. Kind of… Try me!)
For more on society and placement, read these posts.