Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What The Man Said

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair

Monday, October 13, 2008

Requiem From A Private Hell

On The Occasion Of A Death

The Mozart Requiem is one of those pieces of deathless art that sustained me through the years after the loss of my baby to adoption. It speaks to me today still.

Confutatis maledictis
Flammis acribus addictis,
Voca me cum benedictis.

Liber scriptus proferetur,
in quo totum continetur,
unde mundus judicetur.

Today I learned of the recent death of my tormentor, a 66 year old psychiatric social worker. She died from a ravaging disease that tears mind from body and leaves an echoing hollow where once there was a human, being. An illnesses such as this can devastate family members: My complete sympathy and condolences to these innocent people.

Losing your Mother is one of life's most difficult passages.

Judex ergo cum sedebit,
quidquid latet, apparebit,
nil inultum remanebit.

I was, however, struck by the repeated emphasis given in her obituary to the assertion that this woman "spoke for those who had no voice." It is this thought I wish to explore.

"Speaking for those who have no voice" is a necessary - indeed, a central - part of the Big Lie of The BSE. It's a sham, a con, an indispensable part of the shell game they played. A game of Take Away, Keep Away. The game, broadly:

Step One: Take away a woman's personal power.

Lock her up Behind The Fence, take away her clothes, money, and access to the outside world. Subject her to random psychological assaults from your staff. Demoralize and debase her. Question her most basic biological and instinctive ability, ie, her ability to mother. Question her worth... even her sanity. Arrange for her to labor alone under punitive circumstances. For the grand finale...strip her of her newborn child.

Step Two: Take away her voice.

If she objects, threaten her with everything from being a permanent societal outcast to the removal of any of their subsequent children. How else to explain the threats, the closed records, the coercion, the lies, the thought reform that went on in those maternity "homes?"

Step Three : Once you have silenced your victim, step up and claim to speak for her. Keep Away.

That's the game being played here.

Silencing the victims was utterly necessary in order to spin and maintain the societal fictions -the narrative- that characterized adoption practice during the BSE. For those practices to work and to sustain themselves, the victims must be silenced and must be kept silent for life.

Such silencing is and was the unashamed and naked thievery of two principles that are supposed to be sacred to care givers - the autonomy and self determination of an individual.

The obituary makes clear that this woman worked with single mothers for a good part of her life after she left her convent, married and had kids of her own. I was her client in 1968, before all of that happened. I was her client while she was still a nun.

As a social worker, her job was supposed to be to practice by the principle of client self determination. My determination, my choice, my will, my voice, was to keep and raise my own dearly wanted child. It was her job to help me find a job or job training, housing, shelter and transportation.

She did not work with me.

Instead she worked against me, to her own ends.

She intentionally, systematically and deliberately robbed me of my voice. She used the radical, untested theory of neuroses and sex delinquency in single mothers that held sway in the psychiatric social work practice of the time, to rob me of my voice, and thereby to justify substituting her own beliefs for my clearly expressed will.

Confutatis maledictis,
flammis acribus addictis,

The method this woman - and other social workers like her - used to systematically deny me - and roughly a million women like me - our voices, was, essentially, an architectural one. Theirs was a three step approach that relied upon structuring our situations to favor the outcomes they desired, ie, the surrender of our newborns for adoption. Structure, structure, structure - these social architects engineered the peak in newborn surrenders known as the Baby Scoop Era.


Step One: Physical isolation of pregnant unmarried women in a physical environment constructed by social workers, ie, maternity homes. Social isolation of pregnant unmarried white wome in a social environment ie, a narrative, about pregnant unmarried white women, also constructed by social workers using Leontine Young's blueprints. They constructed not only brick and mortar houses to isolate and sequester us, but also a virtual big house, a prison made of ideas and words which was then disseminated broadly across society. This virtual big house - this fiction, this narrative - was used to label and socially isolate us from the rest of society. While we all eventually walked away from the brink and mortar home, how many have been able to fully, finally leave the virtual prison they constructed for us?

These social architects designed our environments inside maternity homes to force the outcomes they wanted, as well as structuring society's perceptions of single mothers as "neurotic." Their three step approach also relied heavily on using the well documented, structural, social inequalities of the time (that put all women at a disadvantage,) to bludgeon single mothers.

Step Two: That these environments were designed to coercively change behavior, manufacturing consent to adoptions that never should have been.

Step Three : Systematic and long term silencing of the victims with substitution of the instutional voice for their own.

Structure, structure, structure. The cards were stacked against single mothers in a way we couldn't even see, much less talk about, at the time. One day, we were just young pregnant women going about our lives. The next....locked away inside their structure, with no voice and only one exit.

The purpose of the structure was also threefold.

Purpose 1: To perpetuate itself.

Purpose 2: To provide paychecks to those who created and sustained it.

Purpose 3: To meet the psychological needs of those who created and sustained it. I assess these psychological motivations as 1) a need to feel morally superior to other people 2) a need to feel psychologically superior to other people and 3) a raw will to power. People with needs such as these should obviously never be given any power whatsoever. They should instead be made to clean toilets. The reason should be clear; just look at the results of the BSE.

Confutatis maledictis,
flammis acribus addictis.

These words are a curse evoked. That curse is : "Consigned to flames of woe." These words represents spiritual and literal judgement against an individual soul, not unlike burning witches at the stake. Everytime, everytime! I hear that passage, I hear the malicious righteousness of the church, the institution of adoption and society condemning us to a lifetime of flame....set against the struggling protest of an individual soul, asserting its innocence.

Voca me, Voca me, Voca me cum benedictus.

Barb, speaking only for myself.
Painting "Adam And Eve Mourning The Fate Of The Human Race ( Homage to La Vie)" by Barbara Franks-Morra, copyright 1996.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


The Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative (BSERI) is participating in the initial stages of a research project. The project is the work of two psychology researchers in the UK . It will explore adoption loss during the BSE with subsequent development of PTSD. We are collecting personal accounts regarding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in mothers who lost children to adoption during the Baby Scoop Era (approximately post WWII through Roe v. Wade).

If you are willing to participate in this first round of data collection, please write up your story (include dates, and all physical, mental, medical, and emotional consequences post-surrender) and email it to us.

Origins, Inc. NSW (Australia) is collecting submissions for Oz, Trackers International is collecting submissions for the UK, and BSERI is collecting submissions from mothers in the United States.

Please keep your submission to no more than 2 pages, single spaced. Names and other identifying information will not be published. Your submission MUST be accompanied by a note stating that it may be used anonymously for this research project.

If you have any questions, please contact BSERI at

You are warmly encouraged to blog this, link to it, and post it on other websites and boards.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Dems Still Don't Get It

Europe gets it - the Dems, not so much.

The 2008 Democratic Platform on Choice

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

The Democratic Party also strongly supports access to affordable family planning services and comprehensive age-appropriate sex education which empowers people to make informed choices and live healthy lives. We also recognize that such health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.

The Democratic Party also strongly supports a woman's decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and post-natal health care,parenting skills, income support, and caring adoption programs.

From The Evan B.Donaldson Institute's 2006 White Paper titled

"Safeguarding the Rights and Wellbeing of Birthparents In The Adoption Process."

According to this report, parents who choose adoption for their infants do not have their rights and needs sufficiently addressed in U.S. law and practice - largely because of basic misconceptions about who these women and men are - and they invariably fare better when they have ongoing information about and/or contact with the children they place into new families.

Executive Summary
Each year in the United States, approximately 14,000 women and a growing number of men make an agonizing parenting decision that they hope will provide their children with the best possible future: They place their babies for adoption. At the same time, policy-makers across this country each year propose and implement measures meant to improve adoption, often based on their perceptions of what these parents want and need. Historically and through the present day, however, adoption-related laws, policies and practices have been made without the benefit of solid research that might answer the most basic, underlying questions: What are the characteristics of mothers and fathers who relinquish their infants for adoption? Why do they choose this path? And how can their needs and rights best be served and protected?

Due largely to the secretive nature of adoption's past, the state of knowledge about infant adoptions in the 21st century is deficient, at best. There is no broad, concrete body of work on who these women and men typically are, what forces shape their decisions, or how adoption impacts the rest of their lives. We do not even know precisely how many babies are placed for adoption in this country annually. Indeed, though domestic infant adoption is what most people think of when they hear the word "adoption," it is the least common type in the U.S. today (after adoption from foster care, from abroad, and by step-parents), and it is the type we know the least about.

Well, Dems, I hardly know what to say. You want to provide for "caring adoption programs." You put it in your platform! This despite the fact that the authoritative American voice on adoption practice says that the rights of natural families are not being protected in adoption. Perhaps even more importantly, they say that no one really has any idea about the life long impact of adoption on people who lose children, because there is precious little research on the topic.

I might add that the little research that has been done indicates that more than half the women who lose children this way suffer devastating life long effects - both emotional and physical.

One more thing, Dems. How did the right wing agenda make its way onto your platform? If you missed my earlier posts on this, The Family Research Council collaborated with the The National Council For Adoption to produce materials marketing adoption to young women.

"Birthmother, Goodmother: Her Story of Heroic Rdemption" is available from the Family Research Council's website. It is offered along with other enlightening materials, such as "The Top Ten Myths About Abortion," "Homosexuality Is Not a Civil Right," "Politicized Science: the Manipulated Approval of RU-486 and Its Dangers to Women's Health," "Homosexuality In Your Child's School " and "How To Raise an AMERICAN."

Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself. Warning: Link takes you to the Family Research Council's website, so bring a generously sized barf bucket.

Besides the obvious questions (WHY would Dems align themselves with the pro-life movement?) I have a few more questions for the Democrats:

What will you do to assure that the rights of natural families are protected in this country from unethical adoption practices? Will you establish a national clearinghouse and an ombudsman for handling adoption complaints from natural families? Will you regulate the currrently unregulated business of adoption? Will you establish laws under which people wrongfully defrauded of their children can receive the due process guaranteed by the Constitution?

What will you do about the problems in Intercountry Adoption?

And what measures will you institute to protect the defenseless babies who are the end-all, be-all of adoption? What will you do to prevent future Lisa Steinbergs and Nicoli Emelyantsevs? What do you intend to do about The Rogue's Gallery of Adoption?

Nearest and dearest to MY heart, Democrats, two questions: When are you going open your eyes to the fact that life in AdoptionLand is NOT the way the public (including you, dear`Dems,) perceive it. As a progressive, I have a very difficult time reconciling the exploitative nature of unethical adoption with Democratic values.

The other question: When, oh when, is the Democratic Party, the protector of social justice in America, going to wake up to the fact that a million or so Lady Baby Boomers suffered an outrageous attack on their human and civil rights via coerced/forced adoptions during the Baby Scoop Era.

I'd really like an answer, Dems.

Barb, for myself

Monday, July 28, 2008

On Being Flat Out Wrong: A Brief History Of Adoption Theory During the BSE

In 1940, Columbia University established a graduate program in Social Work. The discipline had ambitions to elevate its status to that of other professionals. Columbia began awarding Masters' Degrees in Social Work in 1940 and Doctoral Degrees in 1952. Importantly, Columbia also pioneered the field of psychiatric social work.

Freudian thought was much in vogue after WWII, and the developing discipline of psychiatric social work was heavily influenced by his theories. This was a boon for social workers striving to raise the professional profile of their discipline. By claiming expertise in an esoteric and poorly understood field (psychoanalysis), social work could stake out some professional territory for itself.

In 1963, Social Worker Leontine R. Young was awarded her Doctoral Degree from Columbia University. Although her dissertation was titled The Behavior Syndrome of Parents Who Neglect and Abuse Their Children, she also claimed expertise in the area of unmarried mothers. Young's view of unmarried mothers was directly informed by Freudian theory. Her view was that unmarried mothers were mentally ill individuals who came from sick families.

Nope. No kidding. This is what she believed.

From The University of Oregon's Adoption History Project

Leontine Young was considered one of the country’s foremost authorities on unmarried mothers in the early postwar era. She contends here that non-marital pregnancy expressed deep neuroses and required sophisticated psychological
interpretation and adjustment. Illegitimacy, Young believed, was the result of emotional conflicts rooted in predictable, negative patterns of childhood development and family life. The study on which this conclusion was based deliberately excluded “girls coming from a cultural background where illegitimacy is more or less socially acceptable.” This was an indirect reference to African-Americans and other minority communities whose supposed toleration of nonmarital pregnancy frequently justified racial discrimination in the delivery of adoption services. The perception that illegitimacy was most problematic among white Americans was widely shared, by professionals and laypeople alike, at a time when Freudianism—and therapeutic culture generally—had reached its zenith in the United States.

The above is an abstract of an article Young penned titled Personality Patterns in Unmarried Mothers, 1945-1947

An excerpt from the article:

Some Inferences

Certainly there are common elements in the backgrounds of these girls. Most conspicuous is the fact that none of them had happy, healthy relationships with their parents. Whatever the particular family situation, the conflicting feelings of love and hate remained a basic and potent source of unhappiness and trouble. Almost equally noticeable was the dominance of the mother, the strength and the pervasiveness of the role she played in this complex drama. . . . The more dominating, the more sadistic, the more rejecting the mother, the sicker and more hopeless was the girl. . . .

All these girls, unhappy and driven by unconscious needs, had blindly sought a way out of their emotional dilemma by having an out-of-wedlock child. . . . None of these violent neurotic conflicts are helpful ingredients in creating a good mother. . . .

Young went on to author four books and became a professor at Ohio State. Her writings became vastly influential and were cited numerous times by scholars. The influence of her theory on field workers was enormous. Leontine Young became a Social Work Goddess. Her theory became CW, and was widely disseminated to physicians, pastors... anyone who might have contact with these young women. Her theory was exported to other English speaking countries, even making it into the British Medical Journal in 1966.

An excerpt: Leontine Young and "Tess of the d'Urbervilles "-Some Thoughts on Illegitimacy by ALFRED WHITE FRANKLIN, M.B.,B.CH., F.R.C.P. reads as follows:


Immoral, wicked, vicious, unfortunate, wronged, ignorant- all these diagnoses colour the picture. Few concerned try to discover what is really wrong. The too-ready pity of the doctor may lead to unwise advice. Perhaps only through fully experiencing the pregnancy, facing the result, and possessing and caring for the baby can the girl penetrate the obscuring veil of fantasy, self-deceit, self-torture, to emerge into the necessary world of reality. Cold and hard this may be, but perhaps it is -her one chance to be freed from her crippling involvement in the web of family emotions. Many of these girls are mentally sick people whose self-prescribing of a pregnancy has only added one more social problem for themselves, their families, and the community. (Emphasis added.)

For the complete article, please see: (warning: pdf)

The interesting thing about this article is that while Franklin is in agreement with Young about the diagnosis, he is in disagreement with the treatment for the problem. More on this further down this entry.

The bottom line here is that this psychosocial theory of single motherhood as neuroses rapidly gained ascendancy in the United States and in English speaking countries around the globe. It had currency anywhere that single mothers contacted the social welfare system - maternity homes, doctors' offices, hospitals,the psychological consulting room, the pastor's office. Single mothers were not viewed as healthy, sexually active women who were trapped between their biology and the culture of their times. (Please remember that in the U.S. Griswold was decided in 1965 and only applied to married couples, and that Roe was years off into the future.)

As a result, single mothers were regarded everywhere as living examples of infantile sexuality run amok... neurotic sex delinquents.

BUT, happily, scientifically, in the best American spirit of ingenuity and can-do, the system offered hope of a cure, too. The claim was that the unmarried mom could be cured of her neurosis IF she released her baby for adoption. The result was that, in the United States and in Canada, the UK and Australia, (all of whom followed the American model) the pressure on white unmarried mothers to release their newborn babies for adoption became enormous.

It must be mentioned that this pressure dovetailed nicely with the political agendas of people who wished to keep single mothers off welfare, people who wished to advance their moral agendas by punishing women who exercized sexual agency,people who made a profit from adoption fees, people who were infertile, and garden
variety misogynists.

For instance:

. . . babies born out of wedlock [are] no longer considered a social problem . . . white, physically healthy babies are considered by many to be a social boon . . . " (i.e. a valuable commodity..). - Social Work and Social Problems (1964), National Association of Social Workers.
(quote courtesy Karen WB of BSERI)


. . . society has seemed more interested in punishing the unwed mother and her illegitimate child than in understanding the social, economic, and psychological forces which have placed them in a deviant social position." The Unwed Mother, edited by Robert W. Roberts, (Harper & Row) copyright 1966
(quote courtesy Karen WB of BSERI)


Unwed mothers should be punished and they should be punished by taking their children away." - Dr. Marion Hilliard of Women's College Hospital, Daily Telegraph, (Toronto, November 1956)
(quote courtesy Karen WB of BSERI)

It should further be mentioned that the adoption option was an ahistoric one. The redemptive aspects of responsible single motherhood had long been regarded by the child welfare community as the prescription for the sin of premarital sex. Social workers entering the field changed all that during the Baby Scoop Era. Unmarried mothers became a boon to people more powerful than us. Some coveted our babies - for profit, or to raise. To others, we were just another political tool.

This was all, of course, regardless of the costs to us moms.

Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead!

These social and political pressure played out in maternity home policies that kept women isolated and immersed in a carefully cultivated atmosphere of intense powerlessness and shame. Women in these homes were subjected to a thoughtfully designed counselling program whose goal was to lead them to the "inescapable" conclusion that adoption was not only best for their babies, it was also their ticket out of the neuroses the experts alleged was the cause of their pregnancies.

On admission to these homes, women were stripped of all ties to their previous lives - clothing, possessions, personal money - none of it was allowed. False names were assigned to be used in the home. Incoming and outgoing mail was read. Phone contact was extremely limited. Leaving the premises was tightly controlled and never, ever, ever, allowed without a chaperone of some kind.

Women were routinely and by design not advised of the rights, nor of any specific social welfare resource available to them to help them keep and raise their babies. Women have testified repeatedly that if they asked, they were informed that welfare was not going not be sufficient for their needs. They were further told that they and their children would be outcasts for life. They were told they had nothing of value to offer their own children, and in fact, they would be harmful, even toxic to their own children.

Women were not permitted access to attorneys, personal friends (including the baby's fathers), or anyone else who might act as a social support, offer help, or offer a different view of alternatives to adoption. Only mortified grandparents-in-waiting were permitted visitation for a few hours on Sundays.

A few quotes from contemporaneous writings:

An unwed mother who releases her child for adoption needs legal counsel, as to her rights and the termination of same. Only an attorney is qualified to spell out and interpret these rights to her..... Unfortunately, most mothers of children born out of wedlock .... are frequently in fear or shame, misguided legally by persons not qualified to interpret these rights." Counseling the Unwed Mother, by Helen E. Terkelsen, copyright 1964
(quote courtesy Karen WB of BSERI)

Here's another:

The first thing the unmarried mother is likely to lose is her right to make important decisions. The agency or community tells her what she must do if she is to receive the services she needs . . . In most instances the plan for the baby is pre-determined. Often these matters are decided without her being able to state her own preferences. HELPING UNMARRIED MOTHERS, by Rose Bernstein, copyright 1971 (Emphasis added)
(quote courtesy Karen WB of BSERI)

These pressures played out in hospital policies as well. Young mothers were frequently left to labor alone. Many women have testified to punitive obstetric practices such as not administering pain medication in a timely manner, if at all. Other places practiced veterinary obstetrics; heavily sedating women, and then delivering the babies via forceps while mom was in full leather restraints. Many hospitals did not allow the newly delivered woman any access to the baby at all. In fact, many women were never even allowed to see their children after birth. It can not be emphasized enough that these women were the legal mothers of these babies, yet their babies were forcibly removed and secreted away.

It also must be said that practices varied from place to place. Some women were allowed to see, hold and feed their babies, even for up to 10 days afterwards. It was thought that at the end of the ten day interval, removing the baby taught a more
memorable lesson to the youthful sex deviant than merely removing her baby from her at birth.

Surrender practices also varied. Some women succumbed to the pressures and signed surrender papers, believing it was best. There are women who have stated that the baby was snatched from their arms as they tried to leave the hospital. There are women, like me, who were threatened with involuntary incarceration in mental health facilities and removal of any subsequent children if we did not sign. (Remember: we were "neurotic" and possibly even "psychotic"). There are women who have stated they were incarcerated in mental health facilities during their pregnancies. There are women who have stated that they were made to sign papers while sedated. There are women who still have amnesia for the signing of the papers down to this very day.

And there are women, many many women in fact, who have remained silent all their lives about their adoption experiences. One can only conjecture why -- there are a lot of possibilities.

But the final outcome of these practices was that all these women lost their babies to closed, stranger adoption.

The consequences of this loss have been life long for many of us. Known consequences range from secondary infertility to clinical depression, with many varied grief reactions. The stories so many of these women tell are enlightening and depressing.

What subsequent social history and these narratives show is that Leontine Young was simply, baldly, flat out wrong. Unmarried mothers are not neurotic sex delinquents. They are by and large healthy young women exercizing their human right to autonomy. Babies are the product of sexual activity, not neuroses. Emotional ills are not CAUSES of adoption, as Leontine Young maintained. But they are its EFFECTS.

Uncounted numbers of women lost their babies to adoption during the BSE because of Young's untested, unfounded, incorrect theory. Real women sustained real damage and suffered real pain for a really long time because Leontine was wrong.

The coerced, forced, or othewise illegal methods used for taking adoption consents from unmarried mothers during the BSE has never been acknowledged or addressed in any way, shape or form by the NASW. The consequences of these adoptions in the lives of women who lost their babies have never been addressed. The records remained sealed to this day, partly because, in my opinion, the contents of those records may be legal poison for the individuals and institutions who participated in these practices.

Adoption practice during the BSE is, as of this writing, a matter of serious social injustice that has never been addressed.

Barb, for BSERI

For more information and research on the Baby Scoop Era, please vist our website , The Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Europe Gets It: "Preventing the first form of violence against children: abandonment at birth.

THIS report is from the June 27, 2009 Council of Europe's meeting. The first part of the meeting is titled "Preventing the first form of violence against children: abandonment at birth."

It contains a wealth of material. The report addresses adoption, maternity homes, anonymous infant abandonment, along with affirmations for supporting unmarried mothers and their children.

A quote:
Mr HANCOCK (United Kingdom)rapporteur.

..."I agree entirely with Ms Woldseth that trafficking and selling of babies is an obscene act. Turning babies into a commodity and making money out of them is evil."

..."I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw in Ukraine. The Ukrainians tried to bring couples together again but, more important, to bring mothers and babies together again, giving them sustained help – funding them and looking after them for a two-year period. Some of the mothers we met were only 14 or 15-year-olds and had given up their children but, because of the support they were able to receive, they had been reunited with their child only three or four months later. They lived in caring communities of six mothers with close support. One of the girls had gone back to school and was hoping to go to university. She was looking after her baby, and I am delighted to say that the baby now has recognition from his father. That was due to the determined efforts of the mother to make something of her life and because Ukrainian society had put in the resources to make that happen. I should like such examples to be followed in many different places. They are small projects but there is much hope arising from them."

..."In all instances, I am sure that every mother wants to keep her child with her if it is at all practical or possible. Even in the direst situations, they hold on to their children. One of the most tragic scenes I have ever witnessed was in Ethiopia in 1984. A mother had walked across the desert for 10 days during the worst of the famine on the borders of Eritrea and Ethiopia, carrying her child. She was a young woman in her early 20s and her baby was very weak and sick. The baby had literally drained her mother of all the fluids in her body. For 10 days, the mother had walked across the desert. When she arrived at the aid station where I was privileged to be, the baby was taken from her and was saved. The last words that the mother said to the Ethiopian nurse who was looking after her were, “Will my baby live?” Within minutes of being told that her baby would live, she died. I do not know where that girl is now, but I hope that she always remembers the sacrifice that her mother made to keep her alive."

These speeches were made prior to a vote taken on "Preventing the first form of violence against children: abandonment at birth (Doc. 11538.)" You can read the entire resolution here.

Item 4 of the resolution states:

4. The Assembly notes that adoption has become a market and that the shortage of adoptable babies in the west makes matters worse. Adoption is closely tied up with abandonment, just as it is with child trafficking. Non-governmental organisations often complain that mothers in distress are not sufficiently well informed about the options open to them and that their vulnerability is exploited to persuade them in effect to abandon their newborn children. (Emphasis added.)

The resolution passed 29/1/0.

It's good for all of us to take a moment to reflect on the fact that even though at times it seems as though the adoption industry has effectively created an alterative version of reality regarding adoption and its outcomes in this country, rational people elsewhere do get it. European leaders are making it clear that they, at least, refuse to live in a Potemkin Village in AdoptionLand.

Monday, July 7, 2008

More Light Reading

From the Marsh Law Blog : The International Best Interests of the Child and US Child Welfare Industry Hypocrisy

H/T to BL for bringing to our attention these next two essays on how the words we choose to use when speaking about interpersonal violence work to reframe and conceal that violence. The relevance of this topic will be clear to those of us whose children were taken away by force, against our will.

Language and Violence:
Analysis of Four Discursive Operations

Linda Coates and Allan Wade

Despair, Resistance, Hope:
Response-Based Therapy with Victims of Violence

Allan Wade, Ph.D.

Barb, for myself

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You Do The Math

Please bookmark this paper:

I am not going to comment on this. I simply want to going to bring this paper to your attention. Everything you read is a direct quote from the paper.

Teenage Childbearing and Its Life Cycle Consequences:Exploiting a Natural Experiment*


"We exploit a “natural experiment” associated with human reproduction to identify the causal effect of teen childbearing on the socioeconomic attainment of teen mothers. We exploit the fact that some women who become pregnant experience a miscarriage and do not have a live birth. Using miscarriages an instrumental variable, we estimate the effect of teen mothers not delaying their childbearing on their subsequent attainment. We find that many of the negative consequences of teenage childbearing are much smaller than those found in previous studies. For most outcomes, the adverse consequences of early childbearing are short-lived. Finally, for annual hours of work and earnings, we find that a teen mother would have lower levels of each at older ages if they had delayed their childbearing."

V. Joseph Hotz
Department of Economics
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Susan Williams McElroy
School of Social Sciences
University of Texas at Dallas
Richardson, TX 75083

Seth G. Sanders
Department of Economics
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

"Our major finding is that many of the apparent negative consequences of teenage child bearing on the subsequent socioeconomic attainment of teen mothers are much smaller than those found in studies that use alternative methodologies to identify the causal effects of teenage childbearing. We also find evidence that teenage mothers earn more in the labor market at older ages than they would have earned if they had delayed their births. Comparing our IV estimates with estimates based on ordinary least squares (OLS) regression methods that control for observable characteristics, we find that the apparent negative consequences previously attributed to teenage childbearing appear to be the result of the failure to account for other, unobservable factors. "(pg.5)

V. Conclusion "In this study, we have used an alternative and innovative strategy to estimate the causal effects associated with teenage childbearing in the U.S. In particular, we have focused on women who first become pregnant as teenagers and employ a natural experiment to obtain a more comparable,and plausible, comparison group with which to derive estimates of counterfactual outcomes for teen mothers. Our results suggest that much of the “concern” that has been registered regarding teenage childbearing is misplaced, at least based on its consequences for the subsequent educational and economic attainment of teen mothers. In particular, our estimates imply that the “poor” outcomes attained by such women cannot be attributed, in a causal sense, primarily to their decision to begin their childbearing at an early age. Rather, it appears that these outcomes are more the result of social and economic circumstances than they are the result of the early childbearing of these women.Furthermore, our estimates suggest that simply delaying their childbearing would not greatly enhance their educational attainment or subsequent earnings or affect their family structure. " (pg.28)

"Taken together, the results presented in this article call into question the view that teenage childbearing is one of the nation’s most serious social problems, at least when one measures its severity in terms of the potential financial gains to these women and to taxpayers of having allteen mothers delay their childbearing until they are older. At the same time, we caution the reader not to generalize from these findings. We have considered only selected potential consequences of teenage childbearing. Furthermore, the findings from one study cannot be considered as conclusive. However, for many of the socioeconomic outcomes considered in this article, our findings are consistent with the estimated effects of teenage childbearing found in the work of Geronimus and Korenman (1992) and Grogger and Bronars (1993). Our work, along with these earlier studies, raises serious doubts about the extent and nature of teenage childbearing as a “social problem” in the U.S. More importantly, our research casts doubt on the view that postponing childbearing will improve the socioeconomic attainment of teen mothers in any substantial way. " (pg. 29)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Nobody Is Forgotten

NOBODY with any interest in adoption should fail to visit Bastardette's Memoriam for Russian adoptees killed by their "forever families" Nikto Ne Zabyt - Nichto Ne Zabyto - Nobody is Forgotten - Nothing is Forgotten.

Bastardette writes:

On August 3, 2005, The Daily Bastardette published "Forever Family - Forever Dead: A Memoriam to Russian Adoptees Murdered by their Forever Families." Since then, that entry and my other pieces on abused and murdered Russian adoptees in the United States, I have received hundreds if not thousands of hits from the US Government, courts, child welfare agencies, the media, Russia and other countries of the Former Soviet Union, and the general public. To make it easier for these pieces to be found and read together in one place, I have collected all the entries here: Nikto Ne Zabyt - Nichto Ne Zabyto - Nobody is Forgotten - Nothing is Forgotten.

My entries on Masha Allen adopted by a divorced male pedophile, staved and sexually abused for years before her rescue by the FBI, are also here. Though freed from her Forever Father, she remains victim of the adoption industry and a blind and silent child welfare system that wants her to go away You see, Masha has talked too much She lifted up the rock. She is the Rosetta Stone of corrupt international adoption. Masha, too, must be remembered for the brave and beautiful girl she is--and to be encouraged to keep fighting. Masha, you are not alone!

The words "nobody is forgotten - nothing is forgotten" were written by Russian poet Olga Berggolts, a survivor of Stalin's purges and the Siege of Leningrad. They are carved in the wall of Piskaryevskoye Memorial Cemetery in St. Petersburg.

The entries here also appear, some in a slightly different form, on the Daily Bastardette and will continue to be posted there.

Please take a few minutes out of your day to visit this worthy ( and tragic) site.

Barb, for myself

Another Dead Adoptee

Bastardette has the story.


Yet another adoptor kills a defenseless child.

I have long said that people who wish to adopt should be required to undergo psychological assessment to evaluate them for the risk of interpersonal violence.

Again...This. Is. Why.

You'd think that people who wish to present adoption as some sort of altruistic institution instead of the booming business it is would be tripping over themselves to assure that their product is safe. You'd think that those who adopt would wish to assure that the children who go into adoption, are safe in adoption.

Tell me again: WHY are we waiting? How many more are going to die before we wake up and take commonsensical steps to protect children who go into adoption?

Barb, for myself

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Since you asked....


Here's why.

1) You, with your dollars, continue to support an industry that exploits women so abjectly poor that they lose their children. Lose their children. With some support, these families could remain intact. That means that many of these adoptions are unnecessary. Unnecessary adoption is an evil in the way that unnecessary war is an evil. This is because adoption is war. War on poor women.

2) You continue to demonize, dehumanize, marginalize and otherwise project your own personal flaws on to pregnant women who are so poor that they find theselves faced with the prospect of losing their child to adoption. You use these projections to rationalize your actions. You want to maintain the charade of rationalization by making nice with your victim once you get what you want. You want her to be a good little girl , smile, and pop another bun out of the oven for you. You want her to tell you how wonderful you are when you're done emptying her womb. You want, demand, extort, cajole her to verbalize gratitude for her exploitation. You want to use language and social convention to conceal the fact that separation of mother and child by adoption is violent. This is violence done to her and her child for the sake of the dollars you provide. You fund this violence, this war, but you want to conceal that fact. In other words, you want her to make nice to support you in your denial.

Hasn't she already done enough for you?

You want more, more, more?

You need therapy, not adoption.

3) You continue to regard yourselves as some sort of saint, when in point of plain fact, the statistics say that your infertility is most likely the result of a lifestyle choice you made.

4) The injustices of the past have never been addressed. The exploitations of the present continue unabated.

No justice, no peace.

Barb, for myself

For Michelle

I received a comment in response to MEMEMEMEMEMEME. In fact, the post seems to have hit a nerve because I received two very NAW-STEE comments from adoptresses. Neither were publishable.

I did, however, get a nastygram from an adopted woman named Michelle. Michelle's comment was publishable, despite her statement that none of my five children have the right to exist.

In full, it read:

This has nothing to do with adoption and everything to do with a sad woman who needs help and should never have had children by birth or adoption. You and your
friends should really go out into the world to see just how children are really treated before you talk about ending adoption. You are right about one thing - everything in your blog is about YOUYOUYOUYOUYOU and not about children who need homes with families who love them (as a child I fit that description). As a person who gave up their child for adoption you have no right to tell a needy child they don't deserve a family who loves them and will care for them. NO right at all.

I'd like to respond to Michelle .

So Michelle,

I encourage you to visit for the down low on how the adoption industry took our children from us illegally, before you pass judgement. My labor was induced and my daughter was pulled out of my body with forceps while I was drugged and in four point leather restraints. The baby was spirited away, secreted from me. I never saw her, and never even heard her cry. This happened in a hospital delivery room in Cleveland Ohio, in December 1968. Contrary to what your letter implies, I wanted my baby. I refused to sign adoption papers. When I got out of the maternity reformatory, I immediately secured a job and a place to live. I went back to claim my baby, and the agency refused to hand her over. (Please note, I was her legal mother.) When I refused to sign surrender papers, the social wrecker assigned to my case threatened to have me involuntarily committed to the local county mental hospital. I know women who were committed, drugged, given shock treatments because they refused to sign papers.

There was nothing wrong with us. We were not neurotic. We were pregnant, and that is all. I happened to be pregnant via rape, but most of the women I know were simply pregnant by their boyfriends. Pregnant teens... one of the most common stories the human race has to offer. We committed no crime except being pregnant and unmarried in an era when women did not enjoy the equal protection of the law... at least in this country. Young women of that era also did not enjoy the technological advances of reproductive medicine that exist today. We were subjected to the religious and misogynistic whims of a society that looked upon women as nothing more than vessels for the desires of a man. There were few to no women physicians, lawyers, business professionals in those days. The legal reforms of the 1970s changed all that ...and put an end to The Baby Scoop Era, as well.

But for those of us caught up in it, it was and continues to be, a living hell.

The impact of the excesses we experienced at the hands of the adoption industry have lasted for our lifetimes. All the research shows that the aftermath of adoption loss lasts a lifetime. It is an irresolvable loss.

For us, and for many people, adoption is the gift that keeps on giving.

This is why we work at educating people about the adoption industry. It's not about MEMEME. It's about human rights. It's about the right of Anywoman, anywhere, to raise her own child.

NO ONE should have to suffer the way we, our husbands and our children, have because of the untested hypotheses of a discipline like social work. Their theory was that unmarried mothers were neurotic sex delinquents whose most pressing need was social rehabilitation.

Obviously, they were wrong.

The industry used to be able to abuse women in this way - and they got away with it. Since they can no longer get away with locking women into maternity reformatories, taking away all their civil and human rights and stripping them of their babies, these days they use marketing to sell adoption plans to pregnant women.

I encourage you to look at our website and read more on the blog, especially the entry called "Second Verse Not the Same As the First"

and "Marketing Adoption" for more information.

Barb, for myself

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Today on the Internet:

An adoptress "confesses" in the indulgent, cheap and easy way we've all come to expect :

"This sucks. I've just had an epiphany that I'm totally wishing my life away waiting for my children to grow up so I can get on with MY life. I can't wait until they're old enough to go to school and get them out of my hair. I hate all of this and I dread each and every day. I wish this was a rant, vent or just a bad day but it's not. I HATE BEING A MOM. I get very little out of this and I'm beginning to doubt my capacity to love anything at all. I wouldn't mind wishing a few years of my life away if I had more of it ahead of me than I do. I'm 40 and these kids won't be going to school for several more years. The worst part of this whole thing is that both of my children are adopted and
somewhere out there are two birth mothers whose children went to an adoptive mother who has very little appreciation for them. This is the dirtiest, most awful--probably the ONLY awful thing I've ever done, but boy is it a doozy. I can't tell a soul this because it's just too terrible to say out loud. It's probably every birth-mother's plan an adoption for your child who ends up with a mother who doesn't want or appreciate them. I really have no idea how I got here or why this happened, but I know it makes me an awful person---a
person I can't look at in the mirror because my heart is so small that I can't stand being a mother. I used to like me. I hate having kids. This crushing boredom, endless need, bottomless thanklessness, blatant greed and inconsideration are slowly killing me. Even worse still is that I pretend very poorly that things are "okay" and in the end that will only rob these two kids of something real. It's clear that I can't "fake it 'til I make it" in this situation. If there was any way to save face and send these kids away, I'd do it. The worst of the worst? I hate myself, but I think I hate them more. Maybe they'll get lucky and I'll die before they really figure out what a horrific bitch their "mother" really is. "


All right, everyone take a nice, deep, cleansing breath.

May I say I have no sympathy for this writer? N.O.N.E.

She chose to enter into the adoptions of these two children. Who held the gun to her head? With her dollars, she chose to support a system that separates mothers from their children, for profit. I feel no sympathy nor any empathy whatsoever for this woman. The way I see it, these children are simply characters in her own personal drama.

In my opinion (and where have you heard THIS before?) it would have been much better for everyone involved if this woman would have spent those hard earned dollars on a therapist instead of an adoptionist. And yet, she was "allowed" to adopt.

This on the heels of stories (again) of child abuse by two adoptresses. It's not like these are isolated incidents. We regularly read of abuses just like this happening within the "homes" of those who purchase children.

One kept her purchased child in a cage. The 17 year old "son" weighed 49 pounds when he was found )

The other adoptress forced her 11 year old purchased adolescent son to wear a diaper and eat his own feces.( )

I have advocated for state mandated psychological testing for the wanna be mommeees and daddeees of AdoptionLand before they take that little baby "home" for as long as I can remember.

This is why.

Once again with feeling, the central theme of AdoptionLand:


Robin blogs this confession at Motherhood Deleted in her usual practical, no nonsense way:

You know, the only real answer to this is to do more to help mothers and their children stay together. This country has become so adoption-crazed that people do it because they THINK they should...not because it is what is best for either them or the children they might adopt. She's wasting energy hating the children because she's the one who decided to raid the baby market. She's also wasting time hating herself when she needs to be taking
action. Let's hope she can forgive herself, be kind to these kids and do what is right by them...FIND THEIR MOTHERS.

You said it, Robin.

Barb, for myself

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!!

Happy Mother's Day to each and every one of you beautiful, strong, courageous Mothers.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dian Wellfare, 1951 - 2008

There are not enough loving words to describe Dian Wellfare, Founder and Director of Origins, Inc. New South Wales.

She has been a mentor, friend and heroine to thousands of natural mothers (of adoption loss) through the OriginsNSW website, message board and the Parliamentary Inquiry she and other Origins mothers demanded. Through their efforts, they were granted an Inquiry and, as a result, obtained an apology from their government for the unethical and wrongful removal of their newborns to adoption.

Dian’s strength and determination, her knowledge and intelligence contributed immeasurably to the benefit of all exiled mothers worldwide who had their children removed from them, whether before the Baby Scoop Era (post WWII - 1972), during the BSE, or since.
Dian created OriginsNSW and aided in the creation of chapters in other countries. She was strong and steadfastly honest in her interactions with other mothers and in dealing with pro-adoption organizations, government and the media. She did not back down from any opportunity to educate, always telling the absolute truth, even though it was information that people might not want to hear or accept.

The Truth. Millions of mothers worldwide had their (usually) firstborn babies wrongfully removed simply because they weren’t married and/or did not have the funds to protect their civil, legal and human rights. Dian took every chance to describe what occurred to create this phenomena of babies removed, especially during the Baby Scoop Era (a short window of time when more babies were removed from vulnerable, unprotected mothers than at any other time in history, before or since).

It is a painful truth - a very uncomfortable truth to hear - but it is The Truth, and to this end Dian never wavered. She was courageous and steadfast. Always available to support any mother who reached out for help. She was always available to the media to explain the complexities of adoption surrender: how it amputates natural families; how it devastates the lives of young, at risk mothers who surrender not knowing the life long consequences; how mothers don’t just lose their babies; they also ultimately lose their self esteem, their trust, their futures... and then their grandchildren and great grandchildren into infinity. How mothers pay the ultimate price with no pardon, no parole - for the Crime of Motherhood.

Dian Wellfare diligently, doggedly and tirelessly brought The Truth to the general public via the media, via the Internet, through government, and then even fought through two court cases in an effort to obtain justice in regards to her own experience.

Dian is a true pioneer whose worth, whose value, has yet to be fully understood and measured. But there is absolutely no doubt that if her contributions are not yet known, they certainly will be at some point - recorded for all time.

We mothers bow our heads in respect and honor. We offer prayer on her behalf. We cherish her legacy and memory. She was everything to us. We cannot compute the depth of the loss of her.

Second Verse: Not The Same As The First

There are striking differences between the experiences of BSE mothers and newer era surrendering mothers. Sweeping social change in the ways Americans viewed women and their roles, technological advances in gynecological and obstetrical care, the explosion in the availablity of information previously hidden from public view, the growth of psychological understanding, and a more open, tolerant society have all contributed to these changes. The foundation was laid in the early and mid 1970s, with the Supreme Court of the land striking blow after blow for the protection of women's Constitutional rights. Congress also contributed landmark legislation in the same time frame. Among the most important change making decisions and federal laws are the following:

In 1971, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time ever that women enjoyed Constitutional protection from discrimination under the Fourteenth Amendment, in Reed v. Reed.

Pregnant women were permitted to stay in school after the 1971 Supreme Court decision Ordway v. Hargraves. Before then, pregnant high school students were not permitted to attend regular classes.

The 1971 Supreme Court case Phillips v. Martin Marietta established a mother's right to be free from discrimination in hiring practices because she has children.

In 1972, Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments. It bans sex discrimination in schools. It states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." A direct result of Title IX is that professional schools (medicine, law) saw their population of women students increase dramatically for the first time in history.

Birth control methods were readily available to unmarried women after 1973. The Supreme Court did not strike down state law prohibiting contraceptive use by married couples until 1965 (Griswold v Connecticut.) It was not until 1972 that the Supreme Court ruled that unmarried people have the right to contraception ( Eisenstadt v. Baird )
Safe, legal, abortion on demand was not readily available to unmarried women until Roe v Wade, 1973.

There was little to no way to enforce child support payments prior to the Social Security Amendments of 1974.

1974 was a banner year for women's rights. Congress also passed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. It prohibits discrimination in consumer credit practices on the basis of sex, race, marital status, religion, national origin, age, or receipt of public assistance. As a result of being able to establish their own lines of credit, women can now get credit cards, take out auto loans, and rent apartments independently.

Finally, in 1974, sex was added to the list of protected classes in the Fair Housing Act, which was first enacted by Congress in 1968. Before that time, women could be, and were, discriminated against by sellers or renters of housing properties.

In 1975, the Supreme Court decided in Cleveland Board of Education v LeFleur, that employers can not force pregnant women to take unpaid maternity leave after the first trimester because it impinges upon women's due process rights.

1978 saw Congress pass The Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It bans employment discrimination against pregnant women. Under the act, a woman cannot be fired or denied a job or a promotion because she is or may become pregnant Further, she can not be forced to take a pregnancy leave if she is willing and able to work.

These rapid changes in the legal standing of American women between 1971 and 1978 ushered in an era of increasing economic, social and educational independence for them. With this independence came changes in women's personal power. Practices and attitudes towards women that had been the norm for a century or more were swept away in a tidal wave of social change. Advances in reproductive medicine were also occurring during the 1970s with widespread acceptance and use of the birth control pill. Coupled with the new legal standing of women, practices which had been unremarkable, everyday and "normal" before and during the Baby Scoop Era, became unthinkable.

Can anyone really imagine taking away a contemporary young woman's clothing, name, money, cell phone, Ipod, computer and access to any and all media except that which you allow her, triple locking her away behind a tall fence, reading her mail as it comes and goes, keeping her friends away, and actively brainwashing her until she gives that little baby up?

They wouldn't dare.

Can you imagine hospitals allowing women who are giving birth (usually for the first time) to labor alone, drugging a woman up until she has no strength to push, and then withholding the baby immediately after birth?

Neither can I. And I imagine that neither can any insurance companies.

The fact of the matter is that adoption practices of the Baby Scoop Era are gone. No sane person is going to open themselves up to a civil/human/ Constitutional/malpractice lawsuit brought by a young woman robbed of her baby.

The fact is that in 2008, adoption is marketed to young women and their families using the latest discoveries of consumer psychology. The concept of disallowing one's own motherhood in order to become a "Good Mother" is a logical fallacy. This is good old fashioned, garden variety, nuts and bolts style mind twisting, yet another chorus of "If you love him, you will let him go."

People have bought into it since Gibran first wrote it. And they will continue to buy into it. It's doubtful that Gibran was thinking about the separation of mother and newborn when he wrote that. But that's what the marketing gurus have made of it.

And that is finally the point.

Failure to grasp the fact that there are major cultural, psychological and historical differences between THEN and NOW and an insistence on lumping the two eras together as if they were one is much more than an academic error. It's a fundamental error. It is a failure to identify the tactics your enemy uses against you. It obscures and does not illuminate. It only adds to the fog on the battlefield of AdoptionLand.

Adoptionists of all varities are no longer stripping women of their Constitutional rights. Instead, they are appealing to women's open-heartedness, their idealism, and their guilt and loneliness. That's what's happening. And, it's working; women are responding.

Women and their families are succumbing to adoption marketing.

Pregnant women are the first consumers of adoption services. Any natural family preservation strategy that ignores, overlooks or fails to grasp this basic fact is doomed to fail.

You go to war with the enemy you have, not the enemy you wish you had.

Failure to address this most basic of facts because of a stubborn insistence on lumping together apples and oranges, or a refusal to recognize that past practices are indeed gone, or a failure to grasp that the dynamics of obtaining newborns for profit adoption have shifted into another universe entirely, can only lead to more failure.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Oh, Good Goddess!

What next?

Adoptors whining about the insensitivity of a McDonald's commercial on You Tube.

I guess it's not enough for some people that they have taken other people's children to raise. I am so tired of people demanding that everyone else walk on eggshells around them.

Barb, for myself

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Marketing Adoption: A Timeline

The Family Research Council and the National Council for Adoption have joined forces to increase the domestic adoption rate, following a two pronged strategy. The NCFA has long utilized a legislative agenda to promote infant adoption within the United States.

Now, they have joined forces and together they have retained the services of a premiere marketing research firm, probed the deep attitudes towards adoption that Americans hold, and developed a marketing plan targeted at women and their families who are utilizing the services of crisis pregnancy centers.

For details and extensive history, please follow me below the fold.

1972. Nixon is in office. Roe v Wade has not yet been decided. The number of unmarried white women surrendering children for adoption is at an all time high. The maternity home movement in America is at its peak. Dr. Charles Kenny founds RightBrain People, a marketing research firm.

1973. Roe v Wade is decided. The National Right To Life Committee is formed in Detroit.

1973 - 1988. The domestic surrender rate for healthy white newborns plummets dramatically from a high of 19.2% of births to unmarried white mothers in 1972 to 7.6% in 1981, to 3.2% in 1988 (Bachrach, Stolley, London, 1992.)

1980. Roe v Wade has been the law of the land for seven years. The ACLU Women's Project, headed by Ruth Ginsberg Bader has successfully been suing for Women's Rights for nine years. The number of healthy white newborns surrendered for adoption has fallen precipitously since 1972. James Dobson founds the Family Research Council in 1980 to drive the national debate on what has come to be known as "Family Values." These values are based on biblical Christianity. The model for family and marriage in biblical Christianity is Christ and the Church. Men take the Christ role (suffering servant, sacrificed God, victorious resurrected Saviour) and women that of the subservient Church. This is not really a contemporary marriage model constructed for contemporary times...but it is well funded with contemporary dollars.

1981. Reagan is inaugurated. Sens. Jeremiah Denton (R-AL) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), introduce The Adolescent Family Life (AFL) Demonstration and Research program, as Title XX of the Public Health Service Act. Congress passes it without hearings as part of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981. It is found unconstitutional in 1985 (Kendrick v Sullivan) ,but the decision is reversed by the Supreme Court in 1988. AFL continues to receive federal funding through the Clinton Administration. (

A history of AFLA is available here via SIECUS:
A quote from the SIECUS report:

Since 1981, the Office of Populations Affairs has administered the Adolescent Family Life Act Demonstration Grants program (commonly referred to as AFLA). Designed to prevent teen pregnancy through teaching abstinence and to promote adoption (as opposed to abortion) as the appropriate choice for teenagers who become pregnant, AFLA was often viewed as the Far Right's "alternative" to the Title X family planning program and was controversial from the start.

The ACLU sues the program.

1983. The Family Research Council incorporates as a non profit with James Dobson as its head.

1984. The pro-birth movement is in full throat. The number of pregnancy terminations has been increasing since 1978; the number of children being surrendered for adoption has been declining since 1972.

Edmund Mech, a professor and researcher at the University of Illinois at Champaign releases a 9 page report called Orientations of Pregnancy Counselors Toward Adoption, for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Population Affairs. This 9 page document laid the groundwork for the much that follows, including the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Act.

A quote:
The aim of the research was to study counselors' attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge about adoption. Three questions were posed: (a) what are the attitudes of counselors toward adoption as an alternative for pregnant adolescents? (b) How adequate is the adoption knowledge base of counselors?, and (c) what are the main counseling methods used? ....

The intent of this section is to draw attention to the possible connections between the research findings and policy and practice. Our main focus is on identifying strategies that appear likely to promote and facilitate consideration of adoption as an option among adolescents. The Adolescent Familv Life Act has intended that adoption be accepted as a positive option.

....A five point plan was outlined for consideration. The main elements are: (1) Mandatory adoption counseling guidelines for all federally supported programs aimed at adolescent pregnancy, (2) Encouraging social influence and interactional counseling models as alternatives to "non-directive" methods. (3) Establishing procedures for certifying counselor proficiency in adoption (4) Developing outreach strategies to include (a) options counseling for adolescent clients in WIC, AFDC, and related 'at risk' programs as a condition for receiving food vouchers and/or financial assistance, (b) community education to increase adoption awareness, and (c) expansion of Residential (Decision) Center services for adolescent clients and (5) Utilizing "consumer" input from members of the adoption circle as a way of increasing the credibility of adoption for adolescent clients."

1985 AFLA is declared unconstitutional (Kendrick v. Sullivan.)

1988 The Supreme Court reverses Kendrick v. Sullivan but remands the case for further factual findings as to whether the implementation is unconstitutional. Investigations reveal "widespread constitutional violations during the Reagan and Bush administrations."

The Reagan Administration prohibits counselors in family planning clinics supported by Title X of the Public Health Service Act from providing women facing an unintended pregnancy with information about abortion or a referral to an abortion
provider, even in response to a direct request for such information

1991 Clinton is inaugurated and continues to fund AFLA, although he suspends the gag rule imposed by the Reagan Administration.

1993 A settlement is reached in AFLA that places conditions on further funding "such as requiring AFLA grantees to submit curricula to DHHS for review and "consideration of whether the curricula teach or promote religion and whether such materials are medically accurate."

1999 - 2000 Ken Connor was appointed to head the FRC, and brought with him very extensive ties to the Pro-Life Movement. The Family Research Council actively enters the adoption arena. According to the FRC History and Mission Page:

As a pro-life advocate, Connor had served as president and board chairman of Florida Right to Life, vice chairman of Americans United for Life, and board chairman of Care Net, an umbrella organization for five hundred pre-natal care centers.

Under Connor's tenure, FRC launched the Center for Human Life and Bioethics and the Center for Marriage and Family, thereby reaffirming FRC's commitment to provide the nation's lawmakers with critical research on public policy affecting the family."

In 1999, the FRC retained Dr. Charles Kenny, founder of the marketing research concern, Right Brain People. He was retained to conduct research on adoption counseling in Crisis Pregnancy Clinics. His findings are contained in THE MISSING PIECE: ADOPTION COUNSELING IN PREGNANCY RESOURCE CENTERS by CURTIS J. YOUNG © 2000 by the Family Research Council, a 40 page paper. You can purchase a copy of this paper from the FRC's website for $2.50

From the introduction:

The research was designed to identify the underlying factors that either
inhibit or motivate the consideration of adoption in both single, pregnant women
and in pregnancy counselors. The research focused on discovering the most basic
impressions that women and counselors have about adoption and on the
psychological dynamics of decision-making concerning adoption.

The first third of the report focuses on finding the resistances to the idea of
adoption within the minds of pregnant women, and ways to overcome them. The second third focuses on the resistances of pregnancy counselors and how to overcome them. The final third is composed of recommendations to aid counselors in promoting
adoption to pregnant women.

That research made the following significant discoveries:

The following emotional equations underlie how most women feel about adoption and explain why adoption is such a difficult choice:

1. Adoption = Abandonment
2. Adoption = The Big Lie
3. Adoption = An Unbearable Sacrifice

Adoption as the abandonment of a child is the most powerful of these three
equations.This is what drives women to doubt the character of those who choose adoption. While they may give an opinion that adoption is a good thing because a
child gets a family, they cannot bring themselves to consider adoption as a choice
they could make. This negative association explains why public-opinion polls that try to measure support for adoption are of little relevance. These only measure surface opinions. When personally involved in the decision-making process, the
deepseated mental equations take over and cause women to move away from adoption.
(Emphasis added)

A summary of The Missing Piece from Dr. Kenny's website :

Study author Curtis J. Young summarizes the results of in-depth interviews both with women facing unexpected pregnancies and the center staff who counsel them. The study shows what pregnancy centers can do to increase their adoption rates - and how this research will dramatically benefit children and families. The conclusions of The Missing Piece are generating new momentum for adoption nationally and around the world. Curtis Young is one of the leading founders of the national pregnancy center movement.

Concurrently, the Congress was working on legislation introduced by Tom Bliley (R, VA) and Jim DeMint (R, SC) that aimed to reinstate the abortion gag rule and continue AFLA.

The Guttmacher Institute ( wrote that this new legislation
enumerated the various options that family planning providers would be required to discuss with clients facing an unintended pregnancy, specifically excluding abortion. At the same time, it authorized funds for a grant to a "national adoption organization" for the purpose of training Title X and other federally supported health care providers in how to "promote" adoption ("Family Planning and Adoption Promotion: New Proposals, Long-Standing Issues," TGR, October 1999, page 1). From the start, the bill's language appeared geared to support the National Council for Adoption (NCFA), an organization that takes credit for having played a key role in developing the legislation and shares the conservative views of the bill's sponsors.

2000 This legislation is signed into law as the Infant Adoption Awareness Act. The prohibition on abortion counseling was removed. Funds were directed to a number of adoption providers to train health care providers regarding adoption counseling according to Title X guidelines. A 2004 study by The Guttmacher Institute on implementation of the IAATA found many clinics to be out of compliance with Tile X guidelines. An excerpt:

A fundamental complaint raised by a number of participants was the directive nature of the training. In January 2004, Charles Marquardt, the program coordinator and lead trainer for the Title X training program at the California Family Health Council (the largest Title X grantee in the nation), highlighted his concerns about the training experience in a seven-page letter to his federal regional health administrators. He wrote: "The trainer promoted tactics and techniques for attempting to persuade the client to choose adoption by (1) discouraging abortion as a viable option, (2) overly promoting adoption, (3) highlighting the difficulties [the] child will encounter if [a woman] should choose to raise it herself, and (4) encouraging counselor opinions in scenarios by having the counselor choose for the client the best option." Similarly, Kelly McBride of Planned Parenthood of Indiana noted the exclusive and "constant focus on 'child-centered' counseling" and "how to inform clients that adoption is a 'good choice for the child.'" She said she was given "tips and techniques...about how to work against [women's] resistance, make them proud of their decision and convince them that adoption is a good choice." One family planning provider from Planned Parenthood of Collier Country, Florida, said she was told to repeatedly bring up adoption as an option, even if a woman says she is not interested. These examples border on coercion and clearly violate both Title X guidelines and principles of medical ethics.

However, the federal funds kept flowing to the people cranking out the training materials, i.e., the NCFA. Page 3 of the NCFA's 2005 Form 990 ( outlines the activities and disbursements of the NCFA in 2005.

The NCFA received $1.6 million in government grants in 2005. This was about half its operating budget for that year. Line a states that in 2005, the NCFA spent $1.6 million on the IAATA, $147K on educating the public about adoption issues, and
$239K on research on all aspects of adoption practice. 2005, $1.6 M in grants, $1.6 M out on the IAATA.

Your tax dollars at work, convincing women to go against their best, if unconscious, instincts. Marketing at its finest. These dollars are being spent to talk women and families who are perfectly capable of caring for their own children to put them up for adoption. Your tax dollars are going to train counselors to persuade women to violate their best instincts, against their deeply held beliefs about who mothers are and how mothers behave

Page 3, Line 15 of the Schedule A ( page 11 of the .pdf) states that over the period 2001-2004, the NCFA received a total of 19 million dollars in grants. That puts grant allocations to the NCFA at a total at about 22 million between 2001-2006.

2007 The Family Research Council and the National Council for Adoption jointly publish a booklet titled: BIRTHMOTHER, GOODMOTHER, Her Story of Heroic Redemption was published in 2007 by the Family Research Council and the National Council for Adoption, and authored by Charles T. Kenny, Ph.D.From the booklet:

The responses of women in these interviews provided clues to powerful
associations that women carry in their minds about adoption. These associations are difficult to change because they are so firmly rooted. They are important to understand because communication designed to change how women think and feel
about adoption must be able to chip away at those associations and establish new
ones, which make women feel comfortable.

The 20 page booklet, which can be requested for free from the NCFA and FRC is a how to manual for selling adoption placements to potential customers - pregnant women. The first part of the booklet contains the results of their marketing research, and
the last page or two contains selling strategies.

Some nuggets :

Deliver the message through birthmothers that sometimes choosing adoption is what it means to be a good mother. Use the media and public relations to help potential birthmothers understand adoption in advance of unplanned pregnancy. Use article placements to establish adoption as a viable option if an unwanted /unplanned pregnancy occurs.

....Educate potential birthmother supporters such as family members and friends. Challenge the assumption that all women should want to keep their unplanned babies and/or want to parent.This strategy prepares the way for pregnant girls to choose
adoption and not be judged as bad women. Show potential supporters that choosing adoption is a demonstration of maturity and love."

2008 Conclusion: The National Council for Adoption and the Pro-Life movement headed by the Family Research Council have found that they have common interest in seeing the domestic adoption rate rise. They have joined forces and together with the services of a well established marketing research firm have identified the most common major areas of resistance to the idea of adoption that people have. They have reframed the characterization of a woman who surrenders a child for adoption from a bad woman who does not keep faith with the child she bears to one of a good woman, even a heroine. Within this frame they have developed a program to market adoption to pregnant mothers. Within this frame the young pregnant woman is both a consumer of adoption services, a supplier of commodity to the adoption marketplace, and a heroine to boot!

Some of the funding for programs developed to help crisis pregnancy center counselors counsel more effectively toward adoption have been federal funds.
The research that has been conducted regarding outcomes for women who lose children to adoption, either coercively or through marketing is disheartening. A tiny portion of it can be found here

Existing evidence suggests that the experience of relinquishment renders a woman at high risk of psychological (and possibly physical) disability. Moreover very recent research indicates that actual disability or vulnerability may not diminish even decades after the event.

....Taken overall, the evidence suggests that over half of these women are suffering from severe and disabling grief reactions which are not resolved over the passage of time and which manifest predominantly as depression and psychosomatic illness. "
-- PSYCHOLOGICAL DISABILITY IN WOMEN WHO RELINQUISH A BABY FOR ADOPTION, Dr. John T. Condon (Medical Journal of Australia) Vol. 144 Feb 3, 1986 (Department of Psychiatry, Flinders Medical Centre, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Consultant Psychiatrist)

A grief reaction unique to the relinquishing mother was identified. Although this reaction consists of features characteristic of the normal grief reaction, these features persist and often lead to chronic, unresolved grief. Conclusions: The relinquishing mother is at risk for long-term physical, psychological, and social repercussions. Although interventions have been proposed, little is known about their effectiveness in preventing or alleviating these repercussions."
-- “Postadoptive Reactions of the Relinquishing Mother: A Review.” By Holli Ann Askren, MSN, CNM, Kathleen C. Bloom, PhD, CNM. In the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological and Neonatal Nursing, 1999 Jul-Aug; 28(4):395-400

Relinquishing mothers have more grief symptoms than women who have lost a child to death, including more denial; despair, atypical responses; and disturbances in sleep, appetite, and vigor." Askren, H., & Bloom, K. (1999) Post-adoptive reactions of the relinquishing mother: A review. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecological and Neonatal Nursing, 1999 Jul-Aug; 28(4):395-400

Results shown in Table 3 demonstrate that mothers relinquishing a child for adoption tend towards more grief symptoms than bereaved parents ... ." ... "Table 3, comparing natural mothers in both open and closed adoptions with bereaved parents, shows that natural mothers suffer more denial, atypical responses, despair, anger, depersonalization, sleep disturbance, somaticizing, physical symptoms, dependency, vigor." Blanton, T.L., & Deschner, J. (1990). Biological mother's grief: The postadoptive experience in open versus confidential adoption. Child Welfare Journal, 69(6), pp. 525-535.

Considering the findings of this research, is it advisable to continue to provide federal funding to those who, for whatever motivation, would attempt to persuade young mothers to release their children to the for-profit adoption market in the United States?