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August 13, 2008



This really helps me understand why I'm so uncomfortable with the burning building model of "good" adoption. I'm not sure why it's more ethical to adopt when a mom's hand is forced by poverty/circumstance than when a woman makes a choice. Of course the challenge is knowing when that's a free choice. (I don't ascribe to the idea that any woman who chooses to place her child is by definition unreasonable, obviously.)

I wish she had come to the meeting. I think it would have helped her make sense of her options but maybe all the prayers will help, right? (I just read a book about a guy who used Zen to deal with his leukemia and he wrote some pretty compelling stuff about prayer/meditation so I'm swinging from skeptic -- I'll swing back again. sigh.)


I'm absolutely certain that you would be a wonderful resource (and Dawn too, although she feels that she still has much to learn from you) and I hope you can find a way to work on this idea and make it a reality.

Now, I was surprised by your assertion that critics consider a meeting between prospective birth mothers and prospective a-parents unethical. Are there any agencies that operate differently than that nowadays? Only four years ago Dawn did get to meet Pennie, for example. How else would a prospective b-mom decide what to do? and who to choose?

Very complicated...

Lisa V

Actually Lillian it's not agencies, it's first/birth parents who've brought to light that pre-matches before birth can be coercive. It may make an expectant mom feel obligated to place a child so she doesn't disappoint the couple she has met and may really like.

This is the funny thing I was aware of this possiblity when we were pre-matched with Mallory, but didn't really think about the ramifications of it. Lots of people would ask if we thought Mal's parent would change their mind. I would always answer "no, they love us and would never hurt us." Yeah, I was an ass. I thought my desires were the important ones. The flip side, after the baby was with us, that same love made it so I never wanted to do anything to hurt Noelle. I knew her.

Agencies still really commonly do pre-matches as far as I know.


"The thing is no one ever called me on it"

Yes. Exactly.

And as you say, when there's only one option, there is no choice. I think this is the case in a lot more situations where we think more than one option exists.

Coercion can take the form of hopelessness and confusion, too, I think. Unless a woman is presented with concrete assistance, she may never get past these.

Ah, it's just so hard. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.


Our agency does pre-matches. We had one last April where we met the first/birth mom and then, in the hospital everything fell apart. We were all devestated. I can see how pre-matches can be coercive. I hadn't thought of it that way.

Lisa V

Misty, that is one of the reasons that pre-matches are also loaded for potential adoptive parents. You begin to feel the baby is "yours" so it is a real loss when the expectant mother decides to keep parenting her child. I think no matter how much someone may caution you, it's hard not to become emotionally invested.


I always learn so much from these posts. So much here that I've never even thought about before ....


A couple weekends ago I was at my brother's house, talking to my pregnant SIL. I was a bridesmaid at their wedding a couple years ago, and we were chatting about the other bridesmaids and what they were up to. She told me one is adopting, and the baby is due right around the same time as she was (Thanksgiving), and they were planning on taking a newborn care class together, etc. She mentioned that "there was some drama a while back" but things seemed to be "looking good" as far as the adoption now. I just sat there, speechless. My SIL, who I adore, is a highly intelligent, sensitive, calm and reasonable person. But it just hit me that she has the "general public" view when it comes to adoption - that the "drama" is when things might go wrong, for the PAP. No thought whatsoever to the expectant mother. I literally could not say a word to her. I just stared at my 11 year old, who I had "drama" with immediately after she was born, when I changed my mind and kept her.

Lisa V

I know Libby, sometimes it's so weird to realize that people still believe there are people that are more worthy parents than others, and that a birth parent is just an obstacle to a child.


I came across your thoughtful post by way of ThirdMom's site.

I have heard people describe a birth mother as clearly unstable because after heading toward adoption she decided to keep her child. I have heard people say the issue is - Who has the right to raise a child.

I think it is one of the great blessings of the internet that our mothers'voices are being heard and that the other side of the story is coming out.

I physically clench inside when I hear disparaging remarks about a mother who is waivering. Clench and whisper - keep your baby. Many of us know we were convinced that we were not what was best for our child when time, and sometimes reunion, has proven that to be untrue.


Meeting the prospective adoptive parents in person would provide an expectant mother with crucial information needed before making a decision, don't you think? Surely that contact is a good thing. But maybe actually matching the two families before the child is born takes it too far. Maybe then there is too much pressure to follow through and not "change her mind".

Thanks for your thoughtfulness. This perspective is nearly absent from mainstream media geared to adoptive families. Thank God for blogs.

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