Ethics of family formation

Latte asked me the other night what I thought about the ethics of domestic infant adoption. I was a bit taken aback, I mean there are some ethical adoptions (where no coercion happens), but there are also cases where it’s not ethical (pro-life religious groups that shame and pressure birth mothers).

Also, floating in my head is the fact that we’re in a demographic that takes the longest to get picked by a birth mom (white, non-religious, lesbians). Add into the cost, and well… I have to say a domestic private infant adoption isn’t something I really want to consider before other options. There’s not a shortage of homes for relatively-healthy infants.

Here’s some interesting facts about adoption:

I found it striking how foster-adopt involves longer wait times than private infant adoption, for placement not just finalization.

I wonder what others think about the ethics of private newborn adoption?


About DeCaf

Just a code monkey.
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12 Responses to Ethics of family formation

  1. butchjax says:

    It’s very problematic for everyone involved. It’s the only option for people who are infertile, but if you are fertile, it’s far better to use your body. And she needs to give up the idea of adopting a baby from foster care. It’s very rare, it doesn’t happen until years later, and the kid is born with major issues due to the parent’s drug or alcohol use. It wouldn’t be in foster care otherwise. And in foster care, reunification is always the goal. We just went to our foster care information night and they tell everyone right away, the kids available for adoption are typically age 10 and up. You will not come in and adopt an infant. It’s just not how the system works. And that’s also why domestic adoption costs tens of thousands of dollars.

    I’m not trying to be a buzzkill with this, but we’ve been going through this process for the past year and learned a lot. And getting rid of the wishful thinking aspect will make the process much smoother for you guys. We had to deal with that when we moved to Colorado and realized there wasn’t even such a thing as private adoption, everything had to go through an agency. In Texas there was a private adoption, and that cut the cost a lot, until the mother backed out. We’re out $2500 between lawyer fees and her medical fees. We won’t ever get that back from her, and especially not the father’s family who says the kids couldn’t enter into an agreement. So much for christian values and doing the right thing.

    My recommendation is two fold. Only do foster care if you can handle the kids going home to their families because that’s the purpose of foster care. Do not go into it as a way to get a baby. You will likely not get approved if that’s your motivation anyway. And do use your own body to try to conceive before going the route of trying and spending tens of thousands of dollars just to get a baby. There are complications with everything, but that’s the least complicated, the one with the healthiest baby chances, and the one with the most joy. Just tell her to get into daddy mode. The genetics is not very important, the love is.

    • DeCaf says:

      I’m guessing foster care will drop out of the running for “ways we should go” when we start learning more about it in the spring. Our county seems to have people come to a general information session, then do a few months of training about parenting in foster-care and then the homestudy/placement stuff starts to happen, so it’s not like we’ll end up doing anything blind.

      As far as I know I’m fertile, but I’ve never tested that theory. I think that’s likely the way we’ll end up going. Latte mentioned the other night that there is only so many years of fertility I have left, so all is being considered by both of us.

  2. Lindsay says:

    I think private newborn adoption – the industry, that is – is heinous. Mothers are very often coerced. Not always, but often. If it weren’t an industry, perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad.

    • butchjax says:

      Considering there’s no real oversight, and even the non-profits find a way to charge $20,000 or more, I think there’s a lot going on that isn’t good. But…if you live in a state where gay marriage is legal, you can end up with a sliding fee adoption through catholic charities. In theory…

  3. I agree with your concern about private adoption- the worry that it is not really the mother’s choice. If we ever went that route I would have to fully welcome the birth mother into our family and Pot, understandably, couldn’t do that. We’ve ruled it out for the time being.

    Our friends did foster to adopt. They fostered 5 babies and were able to adopt three. One has been with them since she was born and the other two shortly after – all were adopted by age 2. Two were born addicted to drugs, the third with cerebral palsy. I love those children but wow, it’s rough. Two of them are currently nine and the third is six- things are still hard and they spend Christmas Day crying because their birth families “didn’t want them”. I think fostering is amazing but I think you have to think about what you want parenting to look like and be well aware of whether or not you can handle the challenges. For me, I couldn’t at this point but hope I grow as a person and can consider it later on.

    • DeCaf says:

      Does the one who was adopted at birth cope with it better? Or do they still feel rejected?

      • butchjax says:

        Most of the time they still feel rejected. But that can be minimized with open-ness. Usually it’s made worse when the family tries to pretend the adoption didn’t happen.

        • butchjax says:

          I have a childhood friend who was adopted and he doesn’t have a lot of issue with it. There’s always the wonder, but he had a great family which helped. So it’s not like everyone who’s adopted has a horrible struggle, but there’s always something in the back of their mind about it, from what I’ve read.

      • I think in some ways it is worse for her. She knows the least about her birth family (for good reason) so I think has the most idealistic view.

      • I also don’t mean to make it sound all negative. The kids are happy and they are all a great family but there are still issues that come up and it is not always easy. It is hard for moms because holidays are the worst for the kids.

  4. X says:

    I used to be on the fence about private adoption until I learned more and more about it. One of the things that is often missed when talking about private adoption is that even if someone could prove that the birth parent was not coerced in an obvious concrete way, there is so much subtle coercion in the entire adoption system over all. Messages about the generous selfless gift that the birth parent is giving, messages about how she is not good enough because potential families can give her child so much more (college education, fun vacations, excellent insurance, etc.) – the system is largely designed to convince women to give up their babies rather than make the best choice for them.

    I agree with other posters regarding foster care. Because the foster care system often desperately needs parents (especially for special needs kids – though at such a young age, you might not know if the child will grow older and have special needs due to earlier history of which you may or may not be aware, though that’s a whole ‘nother issue), the system does a lot of heavy promoting about all the great perks of being a foster parent. And many of them may be true, but they are not always true and there are also some real challenges that others have mentioned. You already seem to have a good handle on how different each option might be, and I think that’s important to keep in mind while making the decision.

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