Adoption Option – Not “Taking” Babies.

It has to be said, generally speaking, that unless you’ve experienced adoption, from any point of the triad, you probably have a number of inaccurate preconceived idea’s about adoption and the process behind it.

But what really astounds me is when people, who have experienced an adoption, still choose to cling to their preconceived idea’s.

This weekend I heard a comment that our adoption should not be considered a success story because “how is taking a baby away from it’s mother every successful?” From someone who had adopted twice – from an orphanage so obviously they felt they had done something honourable versus those of us who choose to take babies from their mothers.

I do not see Ava’s adoption as us having “taken her” from her birth mother. I feel that we have a mutually beneficial relationship with Ava’s BM. We wanted a child, she wanted a different life for her child. We wanted to adopt, she wanted to place her child with a family that she believed would give her unborn baby the life she dreamed for her. At no point was she coerced or forced into this choice. She is an adult woman who made a decision about what she believed would be in the best interests of her child. At no point did we take Ava from her.

I know that this notion will be unpopular, most especially by the American adoption fraternity but really, it is the exception rather than the rule here in SA that birth mom’s are coerced or forced to place their babies up for adoption. With government or NGO adoptions, the majority of those children are orphaned, abandoned or placed up for adoption. From my experience the same applies to private adoptions. Granted, I’m sure in some cases, perhaps where the BM is very young or there are other extenuating circumstances, there may be coercion but there is also the 60 day period where the BM can and sometimes does change her mind. Because adoptions in South Africa are not legally allowed to involve the exchange of money, the BM is not in anyway put in a position where she feels obligated to continue with the process if she is uncomfortable in doing so.

I have also read the argument that adoption only caters to the needs of the BM and adoptive parents. But again, I’d have to disagree. I believe BM’s/BP’s do exactly the same as any parent does. They make a decision on what they believe is best for their child at a time when the child is too young to make these decisions alone, as any parent raising a young child would.

Our Social Workers are also there to act in the best interest of the child. It was one of the assurances that our SW’s gave us when we started the process with them. That while they are there to protect us, they will always act in the best interest of the child so they will always thoroughly investigate the reason’s why a BM is placing her baby and help her examine every alternative and ways of keeping her baby before proceeding with adoption.

So for me the argument that we “take” babies from their BM’s is flawed and over simplifying what is in itself a very complex process and issue.


  • Tracy

    June 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Well said!

    I started reading some American birth mothers’ blogs a while ago – trying to get a perspective that I knew little about as an adoptive mum in SA. I went through 3 stages in reading those blogs for almost a year now: at first I was fascinated, then I started feeling guilty that perhaps we had done a terrible thing in adopting but now I’ve realised that the adoption situation in SA and the US are VERY different. One is an industry that involves lots of money, does not focus on family preservation as a first step and can sometimes lead to the coercion of women and girls with crisis pregnancies. The other is a response to a social issue, where social workers explore family preservation with birth mothers considering adoption and has the best interest of the child at its core. I no longer feel guilty – even when I am termed an “adoptoraptor” – a fierce T-Rex-type beast who steals ‘womb-fresh” babies. I know that just as much as we chose adoption so did our children’s birth mother. We made choices that we believe are in the best interests of the children. We did not “steal” our children. The only stealing that has gone on is that our children have stolen our hearts – completely!

    • Sharon

      June 11, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      I stopped reading a lot of American adoption blogs for the same reason. It’s an industry there, not a response to a social issue and I hated how adoption was painted in such a negative light, exactly as you have described it above.

  • Tan

    June 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    I’m so sorry that this was said to you.

    You know my view on this. And it makes me so angry that people still think this way when they have been through the process. However having just read Trinity Hearts latest post where Melinda, explained that they didn’t have to go through adoption counselling and screening of the proposed adoptive parents. Maybe this is the same case with this person. Which is why they don’t understand?

    However I honestly don’t feel this is an excuse not to educate yourself. Which is why Trinity Heart is doing a great job. Now just to reach the millions others who have no idea. 😉

    • Sharon

      June 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      It was someone who had adopted via an NGO, so yes that would explain why they are so misinformed but it’s an awful thing to hear and I wonder how many other misinformed people out there think we “stole” Ava or “took” Ava from her birth mother? I’m sure even Ava’s BM would agree that we did not “take” Ava from her. At least I would hope and pray that she never felt that way.

  • Tan

    June 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I can’t talk for your BM. But my personal experience I never once felt that T was “stolen” from me. I was counselled and I always knew that no matter how hard it was for me, I was doing what was best for T. But it was always my decision to place her. I wasn’t forced or coerced into placing her.

    Ava is lucky she has you and W and Her beautiful BM who love and adore her. My old social worker said that most BM’s wished that the AP’s could adopt them as well. Now why would BMs feel this way if AP’s had stolen from them ?

  • Jenny

    June 11, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    I guess it’s like everything in life – someone, somewhere is going to work the system to their own advantage. I totally agree with you Sharon and am glad that in SA no money changes hands. Can you imagine if it did? The mind boggles.

  • Pamela

    June 12, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I know very little about adoption or the process here or abroad but am amazed that people think that. If I hear about a family that has adopted I automatically assume that this was the best decision for everyone involved. The BM, the child and the new parents.

    As I read more and more blogs (no matter what the subject) I realise that I might be rather naive or optomistic and that there are a lot of negative people out there.

  • TJ

    June 13, 2012 at 8:40 am

    You know, even my hubby’s father who adopted him has a very racist opinion on white people that adopt black/coloured babies. I always thought that people that adopted understood each other, – clearly not!
    Take babies? As you said – she obviously had another agenda and a total misconception having adopted the way she did.


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