My friend and I have been having a spirited discussion about adoption. You can read our discussions here, if you would like. In an effort to better understand her point of view, I have gone out and discussed the matter in a variety of other forums and investigated other websites.
I know that many women feel pressured into abortion because they feel they are unfit or uncapable of caring for their children because the stereotypes society places on single mothers. This is wrong, and I have always spoken out against this. It has never occurred to me that the same pressure is exerted on mothers to put their children up for adoption. That is also wrong. Women should never be made to feel incapable of raising their own children, if they want to raise their children they should have the resources and support they need to do so. I feel that I was very clear about that in my last post. There is no reason why a woman should feel unable to raise her own child, unless there is some sort of physical restriction that would keep her from doing so (I can’t even imagine what kind of restriction that would be, maybe a single, parapalegic with no living family?)
I believe adoption is a choice, but, like abortion, it is a very serious choice that should be made based on education and personal assesment, not on societal pressure. I have known two women who chose adoption because they found themselves pregnant and did not want children, but for personal reasons abortion was not a good option for them either, but in the past couple of days I have heard from many women who had an entirely different adoption experience, one that has left them feeling victimized and taken advantage of. That is just as horrifying to me as the stories I know of women who felt pressured into abortion and soon regretted their choice.
When a woman is faced with an unplanned pregnancy she has only three choices; parenting, abortion or adoption. I do not think any choice is any better or worse than any other, only the woman making the choice can decide which is best for her. But any of these choices made for the wrong reason, such as societal pressure, is bad for women, children, and society as a whole.
Obviously there are some terrible flaws in the adoption system. For starters, adoption should not be an industry. It should be strictly non profit. Babies are not merchandise and women are not farm animals spitting out spawn for sale (unless you want to be, and hey, professional surragates are a whole other issue). Women who are considering adoption should not have to defend themselves against adoption salesmen who’s only interest is to get another baby on the market. That is awful. I am horrified to hear how common this sort of thing is. If people are seriously willing to pay so much to have a baby, why not just pay a woman to be a surrogate and call it what it is. Forking over lots of money for adoption services just creates a baby market and makes it more likely that vulnerable women will be taken advantage of by baby salesmen. Furthermore, those looking to adopt should really look into adopting children who already are without homes, such as the ones in the foster care system, instead of helping to create this enormous demand for babies.
Maybe women need more help from unbiased sources when making a descision about how to handle an unplanned pregnancy. You have to see a psychiatrist before you get gastric bypass surgery, to make sure that’s something you really want to do and can live with, maybe women should do the same thing before deciding on adoption or abortion. Women should certainly know of all the support they can get if they choose to raise their child, and what their parental rights are. Too many women do not know these things until it is too late, and they have already made a descision they would not have made had they known of the aid they could have had. The aid that is currently available is also insufficient, and I think I was very clear about that in the last post.
I still think that adoption is a viable option for some women who do not want to be a mother. But I have learned that the system in which adoption takes place in this country is seriously fucked up (for lack of a better term) and that it often does not represent the best interests of women and children. Some serious changes need to be made, both legally (maybe by socializing adoption so its no longer a profit industry) and socially (maybe by encouraging more people adopt out of foster care rather than paying high prices for infants). I don’t have all the answers, but I conceed to my friend that there are serious issues that need to be fixed right away.