Adoption Adventures

Follow Cory and Rebecca on their quest to adopt!

Just the facts, Ma’am

On the list of things that cheese me off, people and resources purporting to espouse “facts” that are, at best, poorly researched and, at worst, downright lies, rank right up at the top. When those resources are targeted toward people who are especially vulnerable and looking for reliable information to make life-changing decisions, it’s even worse. This is one of the reasons that so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” (CPCs) are so nefarious.

CPCs have physical locations throughout the US, and they also run websites. The pickle is, those websites are often affiliated with otherwise legitimate adoption websites. This can end up creating all sorts of confusion. It lends credibility to CPCs to be associated with trusted organizations, and that connection can lead potemalarkeyntial birthmothers to take CPC lies as truth. It helps perpetuate the all-too-common myth that folks who support adoption must be anti-choice. (The funny part there is that “choice” is the important part of “pro-choice.” That means that someone who is pro-choice supports a woman’s right to make the choice she feels is best for herself and her family–and for some women that choice is adoption.) Not to mention, it makes it very difficult for potential adoptive parents to find adoption agencies with pro-choice sensibilities.

There’s a particular website that claims to be the “#1 Registry of Adoptive Parent Profiles” that advertises widely. They seem to do a good job of getting the word out about the families who pay them a decent bit of money to be marketed to potential birthmothers. They have a very small amount of profiles of families living in our state, so if we were to pay them to promote us, I think that it would greatly increase the number of people who see our adoption page. In addition to the profiles, they have information pages on a variety of topics ranging from prenatal care to talking with friends and family about adoption. Unfortunately, this includes a page about abortion.

I’m not going to link to the site, but here’s one of the sections from the page on abortion. This list of “risks” is similar to those found in most CPC literature:

Abortion Risks:
As with any procedure, there are risks involved in getting an abortion. As mentioned earlier, in order to make an informed decision, you must understand what you’re agreeing to. When it comes to the risks of abortion, there are both physical and psychological risks to consider. Here is just a small sampling:

  • Death
  • Infection and Inflammation
  • Lacerations and Perforations
  • Higher Risk of Breast, Cervical, and Ovarian Cancer
  • Complications in Later Pregnancies: Pre-Term Labor and Ectopic Pregnancy
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or Post-Abortion Syndrome
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Feelings of Loss, Guilt, Shame, and Depression

They start off strong, with “Death” being at the very top of the list of abortion risks. (Suffice it to say, there are no footnotes on their site.) In truth, a woman in the United States is far more likely to die from complications in childbirth than from a legal abortion. This article on the NIH website from 2012 shows that “The risk of death associated with childbirth is approximately 14 times higher than that with abortion.” This doesn’t show that childbirth is exceptionally dangerous in our country; just that legal abortion is very safe as far as medical procedures go.

An increased risk of breast and other cancers is also a common myth that anti-abortion organizations and individuals tout. In the most extensive study ever on this theoretical link, the medical records of 1.5 million women in Denmark were researched. There was no connection found between induced abortion and a higher risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society cites this study, and several others, on its website before concluding that “the scientific evidence does not support the notion that abortion of any kind raises the risk of breast cancer or any other type of cancer.”

The assertion about PTSD, depression, and negative mental health impacts similarly doesn’t survive scrutiny. The American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion released a report in 2008 that took into account all published literature on the subject since 1989. They found several things. One is that the majority of research done on mental health and abortion was (and most likely still is) methodologically flawed. However, “The best scientific evidence published indicates that among adult women who have an unplanned pregnancy the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single elective first-trimester abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy.” Additionally, “the prevalence of mental health problems observed among women in the United States who had a single, legal, first-trimester abortion for non- therapeutic reasons was consistent with normative rates of comparable mental health problems in the general population of women in the United States.” (Eighty-nine percent of abortions occur in the first trimester.) This study and others noted that the stigma that we as a society place on abortion, and the lack of support for women who choose abortion, can lead to negative post-abortion feelings.

awesome_scienceI won’t go through all of the points, but are you noticing a pattern here? The Guttmacher Institute has a nice fact sheet from February 2014 with even more science-based information on abortion in the United States.

Needless to say, we will not be using this company’s services. We believe that big, life decisions (and even tiny, daily decisions) are best made when a person has all of the facts and is able to weigh her or his options. However much working with a company like this one may increase our chances of adopting, it’s not worth it if they’re lying to potential birthmothers in order to coerce them into a continuing a pregnancy. We want to be matched with a birthmom who thinks adoption is fantastic and right for her, based on nothing more than her own feelings and the truth.

No Comments »

The Pro-Choicer’s Guide to Choosing an Adoption Agency

Although the term “pro-choice” is sometimes put at odds with adoption in popular media, being pro-choice certainly doesn’t preclude a person from being pro-adoption. On the contrary, it requires that all choices of a woman faced with a pregnancy are given equal support. Pro-choice folks believe that every woman should have access to factual sex education, reliable birth control, quality reproductive (and general) health care, sound assisted reproductive technology options, safe and legal abortion, empowering adoption choices, maternity leave and nursing support from her employer, and excellent child care for her kids. This means that any woman—from the mother of five who chooses to forgo chemotherapy rather than ending her pregnancy, to the mother of one who chooses abortion in order to devote more time and resources to her child, to the 27-year-old who wants her tubes tied because she doesn’t ever want to become pregnant, to the 45-year-old who wants to go through another round of IVF—should have access to the option she believes is best for herself and her family.

The pro-choice mantra, “every child a wanted child,” means that we also believe every child has the right to a safe, permanent, and loving home.

 

Our pro-choice beliefs were definitely in the forefront when we were in the process of choosing to work with an adoption agency for our home study. Since almost all of the agencies we found provide infant adoption services, it was extremely important to us that birth mothers who work with those agencies are given the support and respect they deserve. We ruled out working with any agency affiliated with a Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC) and any whose website uses coercive language or inaccurate medical information targeting pregnant women, or whose services offered to pregnant women seemed geared toward limiting their options rather than enhancing them. We also wanted to work with an agency that didn’t sugarcoat the issues inherent in adoption for either birth parents or potential adoptive parents, or whose web pages for birth mothers painted a different picture of adoption than the pages for adoptive parents. (Such as those that portray birth mothers as means to an end to waiting parents, and as saints to other potential birth moms.) Agencies needed to offer some level of ongoing support—whether by referral or in house—to both members of birth families and adoptive families. We also didn’t want to work with an agency that would rule out potential adoptive parents due to their marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, or ability to get pregnant on their own. You may be seeing why it has taken us so long to get all this rolling, but we’re nothing if not intentional. Oh yeah—the agency also had to actually show they wanted to work with us by being responsive to our questions and meeting with us. (You’d be surprised…)

 

Happily, we found a well-respected agency that fit all of our criteria to do our home study. We had to travel a bit for our meetings in order to work with them, but it was well worth the extra miles to know that we supported an organization that supports our values.

3 Comments »