September 13th, 2008
Posted By:
Categories: Adoption Reform

Some questions have come up regarding the last post and whether or not we should just let those who are unintentionally removing expectant mothers considering relinquishment from their children have a free pass or not. You know, because they aren’t intentionally offending.

My answer is a resounding, loud, “NO!”

Ignorance is not an excuse. It’s just not. It is especially not an excuse when you factor in the point that adoption agencies should be educating families (expectant, birth and adoptive) on how words do affect others, respect and proper communication. That’s the real problem, folks.

And I have a problem with the “roll over and ignore it” attitude simply because the offender didn’t know they were being offensive. No. It’s not going to happen. If we did that, there would be no reform in adoption. Quite honestly, if you look back at the historical etymology of adoption words, terms and phrases, if no one ever spoke up for change when it came to unintentionally offensive terms, the phrase “natural mother” would still be in use today. Why? It was the term most frequently used in past legal documents including the Termination of Parental Rights (TPR). Because someone spoke up that the term itself was offensive to adoptive parents, we’ve formed new terms. And the world magically continues to turn. Didn’t know that? You can thank whomever stood up for those offended adoptive parents, spoke loud enough to be heard and demanded some change.


But when a birth parent speaks up in defense of expectant mothers considering adoption, it’s not okay? These mothers don’t know any better yet. They don’t know that they can ask for someone to refer to them solely as the child’s mother and not as a birth mother which is what the majority of agencies are doing still. They don’t know that they can put their foot down and say, “I’m not comfortable with how you’re addressing me.” They’re acting in crisis mode. They’re afraid. Most likely they’ve had no experience with lawyers or adoption agencies and there’s a sense of intimidation. And you want me to let them fight their battles on their own?

Wrong answer.

If no one speaks up, these mothers are going to continue to be invalidated. They will continue to be coerced and lied to if we stop pushing for reform. They will continue to suffer in the post-placement weeks, months and years if someone doesn’t push for agencies to offer better post-placement counseling for both sides of the adult triad. They will continue to be crushed if someone doesn’t push for changes regarding the legalities of open adoption contracts.

And, you know what? I won’t sit idly by while they’re treated like that. I’ll champion for them every time. And I’ll champion for adoptive parents to get that counseling that they deserve, that their future children deserve. And I’ll champion for adoptees to finally be treated as regular citizens and get their Original Birth Certificates (OBC).

You can sit idly by if you wish. But I probably won’t be quiet. In fact, I’ll probably be the loudest. Because I’m tired of watching the unethical adoption industry members treat all members of the triad as their pawns. I will see adoption reform in my day. I will!

Photo Credit.

5 Responses to “Warning: I Probably Won’t Be Quiet”

  1. RavenSong says:

    Jenna, if anyone has the right and ability to champion this adoption reform, it’s you, kiddo. Thank you for standing up. One by one, if we stand up together, the world will have to listen. You’re a strong woman, and I admire that in you.

  2. Coley S. says:

    I agree, Jenna. People not knowing that it is offensive is precisely the reason why we need to speak up!

  3. beth1962 says:

    Keep talking Jenna, please.
    For all the children that might be raised by these adopted parents, please God keep talking.

    I am an adoptee, an adult, a 46 yr old adoptee, an old reunited adotpee… our kids are in college and high school…. anyway…

    omg, OMG, OMG!!!!!
    there is no such thing as an exmom or an exkid!! I don’t care what anyone says the abbreviation stands for. I hope no one chooses to abbreviate my mother as a BM either, jeez.

    Prospective adoptive parents may choose in their ignorance not to be concerned about offending those they chat with online with the terms they use.

    But they should be concerned about offending any children they may be able to raise.

    Using these terms, birthmother, exmother diminish the relationship between mother and child. i understand that many adoptive parents dream of erasing the biological mother/family altogether,
    and I understand.
    It is just not necessary, or healthy.

    My mother was my mother the day I was concieved, the day i was born, the day I was adopted; she will be my mother on the day I die and until the end of time.

    She needs no prefix to define our relationship to each other, whether she was able to raise me or not.

    All moms that give birth to their children are birth moms and expecting moms, doesn’t have thing to do with if they are considering adoption or not. So why use such terms to describe a pregnant woman who is considering adoption.

    If anything, a pregnant mother considering adoption should be abbreviated as somthing like MomCA

    In my opinion, we should never ask a pregnant female to decide on adoption for her child until she has the child. Certainly she could consider it, but to decide before birth
    before she knows what she will be
    loosing if she does choose to have
    someone else parent her child is very frightening to me.

    It’s not fair to the mom, to the hopeful adoptive family and especially to the
    child. Doing this sets up a oppurtunity for heartbreak, coercion and fraud on all sides.

    Never forget,
    even adopted children may grow into
    free-thinking adults,
    they may surf the internet,
    they may read old posts,
    they will be ale to see how you
    refered to their original families
    during the days that you became part
    of their family.

    Never forget, when your adopted child
    becomes part of your family,
    you become part of that childs’ family

    That is how it is,
    and that is how it can be
    during reunion as an adult adoptee.

    Your adopted child will not ask
    or expect you to eliminate your
    existing family from your lives –
    in order for you to be their parent and
    to be a part of their family.

    And YES, Jenna,
    We will see reform in our day
    just don’t stop talking, loudly.

  4. mg1970 says:

    Thanks so much for taking my words out of context and hyping them up to incite anger. You are doing the world such a SERVICE!

    You assume this was some kind of Freudian slip, with deep hidden meanings. As long as we are discussing Freud what I think we have here is a simple case of projection. Because you feel like an “ex-mom” (note the hypen was yours, not mine) you assume that is what I meant if not intentionally, then on some deep pschological level.

    I am sorry if you regret the choices you made. However that has nothing to do with me. YOU choose your attitude. Your anger, rage and negative attitude do not define me.

    Maybe if you learned something about forgiveness you could move towards healing instead of gaining your strength from smearing others.

  5. beth1962 says:

    “You assume this was some kind of Freudian slip, with deep hidden meanings”

    even with a hyphen
    even if it was unintentional
    even if you think it’s just projecting

    i hope you don’t choose to continue
    to use language or abbreviations
    similar to this one

    Do you see how “words” like this
    (and this isn’t the first)
    are offensive to an adoptee?
    How they can affect an adoptee
    and their mother?

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