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Some Facts on Adoption

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

Maybe I've been too hooked into the Brangelina news to get good perspective on the topic, but a new data-heavy report out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this morning is forcing me to reconsider a lot of what I assumed about adoption. I figured it was mostly women who were adopting (wrong) and that international adoptions were now the most popular option for adoption (also wrong).

In short, the report shows:

  • Men more than twice as likely to have adopted a child (2.3 percent of men and 1.1 percent of women).
  • Guys with kids are the most likely to adopt, followed by women who don't have kids. (This appears to reflect the fact that a divorced dad is much more likely to remarry and adopt his new wife's kids than a woman is to marry into an existing family.
  • And international adoptions, while they've doubled in the last decade or so, are still around 20,000, far below the 50,000 children adopted out of the U.S. foster care system.

But the most striking and difficult fact in the report is somewhat buried: adoption remains staggeringly difficult. Adoption is often offered as a solution to a number of issues: a way to reduce the strain on the foster care system, a way to create a family when fertility issues arise, a way of skirting the thornier elements of the abortion debate.

There are around 600,000 women in the United States who are currently seeking to adopt, yet the number of infants relinquished for adoption is half of what it was in the 1980s and a quarter of what it was in the 1970s, the report says. International adoptions are a pricey alternative. While it's hard to bemoan the fact that the number of infants given up for adoption is now practically nonexistent (40 years ago, about 1 in 12 newborns were relinquished), the CDC report makes it impossible to see adoption as a simple solution to complex problems.

I'd love to hear your stories: Have you adopted? Have you considered it? And what have been the obstacles you've encountered?

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  August 7, 2008; 10:00 AM ET  | Category:  Babies , Pregnancy
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Comments


I would love to adopt, but if I did, I wouldn't adopt an infant. I would adopt and older child.

Posted by: Irishgirl | August 7, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm an adoptee, and my experience was such that I would not consider adoption as a way to build my own family. I just don't trust that I'd feel the same about an adopted child as I do about my biological child or that I'd be successful in treating them both the same. As a kid and young adult, my "otherness" was emphasized in so many ways, both (relatively) benign and cruel, and I won't risk doing the same to another child.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 7, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Irishgirl on the idea of adopting an older child rather than an infant.

I know two families who have adopted internationally, one brought an infant from China and one brought a toddler from Guatamala. All involved appear to be very happy with their new family situations - the children are healthy, happy and thriving.

I would love to adopt a child who needs a loving family environment, but the expense and difficulty (and serial disappointments, too) are really too offputting. Why is it so very expensive? Is it just lawyers getting rich, or what?

My understanding is that in the US adoption of children of ethnicities different from the adopting parents is not allowed. Is that still true? It's terrible to think that there are children in "the system" that won't be adopted by families that love them just because a suitable family of the same ethnicity can not be located.

Posted by: VaLGaL | August 7, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

My experience with the process itself was actually quite easy. If I were to give any advice, it would be to interview as many agencies as you need to until you find one you are comfortable with. It will make all the difference in your overall experience.

I do have one request, if people could stop using the term 'given up for adoption'. It really creates such a negative connotation.

Lastly for VaLGaL, I'm not sure where you got the impresison that transracial adoptions are not allowed in the U.S., go out in public for a day or two and you can see plenty of examples.

Posted by: jmom | August 7, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Since my biological clock is likely ticked out, my husband I would definitely consider adopting if I wanted to increase my family size. We have talked about adopting when we are more financially secure since I will unlikely be able to have my own children by then. We agree that we would likely go the route of an international adoption and adopt a child with his ethnic background.

Although we have had that discussion, I don't think that will happen. Both of us seem to be somewhat solitary and need our alone time. We get that now because we don't have primary custody of his children but we sure won't get that if we adopted.

Posted by: Billie | August 7, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

question - it doesn't say in the article how many kids are available to be adopted (says how many people are looking to adopt - 600,000, that there used to be 1 in 2 offered up for adoption, etc. but not how many children are available). Do you have this number?

Posted by: jen | August 7, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I just don't trust that I'd feel the same about an adopted child as I do about my biological child or that I'd be successful in treating them both the same.

NewSAHM | August 7, 2008 10:15 AM


My MIL blatantly favors her bio grandchildren over her adopted grandchildren. I have set boundaries. Big ones. It is obvious that her son (the adoptive father)has no real feelings for his adoptive kids and went along with the adoptions to make his wife "happy".

My DIL hates both of her adoptive parents and has a lot of abandonment issues, etc.

I know a number of other adoption situations that didn't end well. There are no guarantees in life.

Posted by: You never know | August 7, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I guess I got the idea from the fact that it was, apparently the law in the majority of states until 1994-96. And, I don't mean to be ugly, but I don't think you tell from going out in public whether multiracial families are the products of adoption or not. It's great to know that the federal government finally took a stand to forbid this practice and allow suitable families to adopt and love any child.

Source: Pineforge Press
In 1972, the National Association of Black Social Workers announced that it was opposed to adoptions that placed Black children into White families. Their position still stands today. Transracial adoptions, they argue, are harmful to Black heritage.

By 1987, 35 states had established policies against cross-racial adoption.

In 1994, the Howard M. Metzenbaum Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (MEPA) was passed, prohibiting an agency or entity receiving Federal assistance for adoptive or foster care placements from delaying or denying the placement of a child on the basis of the race, color, or national origin.

In 1996, Congress further amended MEPA, forbidding all agencies from denying or delaying placement of a child for adoption solely on the basis of race or national origin.

Posted by: VaLGaL | August 7, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

"Maybe I've been too hooked into the Brangelina news..."

Wrong blog, Brian.

Posted by: Um | August 7, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I don't have access to the data but I wonder if the large number of men adopting children includes men that are marrying/living with women who have custody of children from a previous relationship. One motivation to do this is to get the children onto the man's (usually better) health insurance plan.

This seems more common than women adopting the children that a man has from a previous relationship.

Posted by: Josey23 | August 7, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"My MIL blatantly favors her bio grandchildren over her adopted grandchildren. "

blood is thicker than water, always has been always will be.

Posted by: just the way it is | August 7, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Jen - its probably hard to come up with a number of children that are available, since many of the adoptions are private adoption and the infants are never counted as waiting or available. But, according to US Today "The U.S. government does not track all domestic adoptions, only those from foster care. Its most recent figure, 52,000, is for 2005. That year, 115,000 of the 514,000 children in foster care were eligible for adoption." (http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20080211/1a_offlede11.art.htm?loc=interstitialskip)

You can go to adoptuskids.org to research addoption children out of the US foster care system. My understanding is that legally, its only native american children that have limits of the ethnicity of the adopted parents. In practice, there is some resistence to the adoption of black children by white couples.

I have totally mixed feelings about adoption. I was adopted, which plays a sinificant role in it. A good read for adult adoptees is The Girls Who Went Away. Really gets into the emotions the birth mothers went through.

Posted by: RT | August 7, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"My MIL blatantly favors her bio grandchildren over her adopted grandchildren. "

blood is thicker than water, always has been always will be.

Posted by: just the way it is | August 7, 2008 11:02 AM

Must be rATRICK.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

In every family I've seen with both biological and adopted children, favoritism is clearly shown for the biological offspring.

Of course the parents deny it, but all their close family and friends know better.

Posted by: blood runs thicker | August 7, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I don't have access to the data but I wonder if the large number of men adopting children includes men that are marrying/living with women who have custody of children from a previous relationship. One motivation to do this is to get the children onto the man's (usually better) health insurance plan.

Posted by: Josey23 | August 7, 2008 11:00 AM

And other motivations are far more sinister.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

blood is thicker than water, always has been always will be.

I don't buy this one bit. It all depends on the person. newSAHmom thanks for realizing that you couldn't treat kids the same. I hope the above person never adopts.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse


blood is thicker than water, always has been always will be.

I don't buy this one bit. It all depends on the person. newSAHmom thanks for realizing that you couldn't treat kids the same. I hope the above person never adopts.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 11:12 AM

Dunno if blood is ALWAYS thicker than water, but it is most of the time.

Posted by: Anon for this | August 7, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I'm a step-parent. Yes, blood is a lot thicker than water for me.

Posted by: No comparison | August 7, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

If you truly believe blood is thicker that water & that blood is the only thing that matters in familial relationships then you should definitely never adopt. But please don't stop there. If anyone in your family tells you they are planning to adopt, please be honest with them & tell them you have no intention of treating their child like a member of the family. The prospective adoptive parents need to have this type of information before bringing an innocent child into contact with you.

Posted by: jmom | August 7, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I grew up very closely with 2 cousins who were adopted (there are 3 girls and 9 boys in our generation) and they were treated no differently. In fact, my godfather (our uncle, who had no children of his own) treated one of them preferentially to me until we were adults - she was cuter and sweeter, there's no denying it!

I think the treatment of other people within families should be looked at on a case-by-case basis. I have blood relatives I truly can't stand and I suspect most of us do.

Posted by: MaryB | August 7, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The prospective adoptive parents need to have this type of information before bringing an innocent child into contact with you.

Posted by: jmom | August 7, 2008 11:29 AM

Won't work. The prospective adoptive parents will "hope for the best". Consider the divorce rate and the stats for kids in "blended" families. People tend to do what they want to do.

Posted by: Sigh | August 7, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Adoption SHOULD be difficult. Goodness, we are talking about a human being. Every effort and check should be made to ensure that this child is going to be in a safe, nurturing environment. If only we could make conceiving more difficult, we might solve a lot of the world's problems.

Posted by: moxiemom | August 7, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

For every story of an adoption gone wrong, there's at least one story of a biological parent/child relationship gone wrong.

Posted by: mlc | August 7, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I have 1 cousin that is adopted and she has never been treated different. Truth is, I usually forget that she is adopted. But I wonder, is it because we are white, she is white, and she also seems to blend right in to the family? People often tell us that they can tell we are related. So my question is, does the favoritism occur when adoptees look different and therefore others don't take to them as well they would if they looked the same?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm not refering to the original biological parent/child relationship that went wrong for whatever reason that resulted in the child being available for adoption in the first place. I meant screwed up families come in all packages, adopted and otherwise. So do successful families.

Posted by: mlc | August 7, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"blood is thicker than water, always has been always will be."

I would agree but usually it is hidden, but sometimes especially in grandparents, its obvious.

Posted by: true unfortunately | August 7, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"For every story of an adoption gone wrong, there's at least one story of a biological parent/child relationship gone wrong."

Agreed. I even think that my parents would have been terrible parents to any child, adopted or biological. But still, there's always that if. If we'd have been "hers," would she have loved us enough to raise us properly? I suspect not, but I'll never know. And it's that fear that would keep me from adopting myself.

"But I wonder, is it because we are white, she is white, and she also seems to blend right in to the family? So my question is, does the favoritism occur when adoptees look different and therefore others don't take to them as well they would if they looked the same?"

I can speak only to my own situation, but I don't think looks have much to do with it. My sibs and I didn't look different from my parents. In our family (both immediate and extended) it was the mere fact of our adoption that set us apart, even when the person in question was trying to be kind. For instance, my grandparents often declared that they "loved us as much as if we were one of their own." A sweet sentiment, but one that inevitably pointed out that we were not, in fact, "real" members of the family.

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 7, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I could never adopt for some of the reasons stated above. It wouldn't be fair to the adoptive child - I know I could never love them whole-heartedly enough as my own flesh and blood.

I have a friend with kids who ended up adopting the young child of her deceased relatives. She confided in me that it's a daily struggle to try to show as much love to the adopted child as to her own children - but she admits that she doesn't feel the same way about the child, try as she might. It is eating her up inside. She is a wonderful person who is trying to do the right thing by an innocent child who has already lost everything in his life. She doesn't want to add any more baggage for him to carry, but when she tells all the kids she loves them equally, she is telling a very big white lie.

Posted by: Anon too | August 7, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The reference to "strain on the foster care system" strikes me as a red herring. Many (most?) of the kids in foster care are not available for adoption, because the rights of the biological parents have not been terminated. Saying "adoption hasn't solved the problems of our foster care system" is like saying "adoption hasn't lowered high gas prices"; they're just separate issues.

And adoption is unquestionably a way to "skirt the thornier elements of the abortion debate," *if* that's what the pregnant woman opts to do (health permitting, etc.). Obviously, it's silly to think of adoption as a way to defuse the abortion issue nationwide, but it's certainly available on an individual level.

Posted by: Tom T. | August 7, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I could never adopt for some of the reasons stated above. It wouldn't be fair to the adoptive child - I know I could never love them whole-heartedly enough as my own flesh and blood.

I have a friend with kids who ended up adopting the young child of her deceased relatives. She confided in me that it's a daily struggle to try to show as much love to the adopted child as to her own children - but she admits that she doesn't feel the same way about the child, try as she might. It is eating her up inside. She is a wonderful person who is trying to do the right thing by an innocent child who has already lost everything in his life. She doesn't want to add any more baggage for him to carry, but when she tells all the kids she loves them equally, she is telling a very big white lie.

Posted by: Anon too | August 7, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I meant screwed up families come in all packages, adopted and otherwise. So do successful families.

Posted by: mlc | August 7, 2008 11:46 AM

Great marketing theme for families....

Posted by: Anon. | August 7, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"My MIL blatantly favors her bio grandchildren over her adopted grandchildren. "

blood is thicker than water, always has been always will be.

Posted by: just the way it is | August 7, 2008 11:02 AM

Not "always." My parents blantantly favor my adopted sister.

Posted by: Not quite | August 7, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, Chapter 1, first line

I agree with Moxiemom. Adoption should be hard. There is too much at stake. Unfortunately, it is too easy for people to have kids in the usual way. Maybe there would be less dysfunction in bio families if it were as hard to get pregnant as it is to adopt.

Posted by: Emily | August 7, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I am an adoptee and I have 2 adopted children, both of which are mixed race, both born in US. I adopted the first one when he was 19 months old and the other one as an infant. Well worth the frustratingly long process.

Posted by: Janet | August 7, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"I could never adopt for some of the reasons stated above. It wouldn't be fair to the adoptive child - I know I could never love them whole-heartedly enough as my own flesh and blood."

I feel the same, but I never ran DNA tests on my kids. For all I know, they aren't my flesh and blood. Sometimes I wonder.
Oooh, maybe I can run for President after all!

Posted by: Mm | August 7, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh..and as for me being an adoptee, my adopted mother and I were like oil and water; we never did get along well. Adoption is a great thing, for both sides.

Posted by: Janet | August 7, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Maybe there would be less dysfunction in bio families if it were as hard to get pregnant as it is to adopt.

Posted by: Emily | August 7, 2008 12:08 PM

Nope. Parents will screw up no matter how they get their kids, or how difficult or easy it was to get them.

Posted by: Cynic | August 7, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I always thought the main attraction of overseas adoption was that there was no risk of the biological parents reclaiming their rights.

Posted by: mlc | August 7, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Since I don't have BIO children, maybe I don't get it; when you adopt; those children are yours. When I adopted, I made a promise that I would love them no matter what as if they had been born from me. How do you go through all of that effort, and have that kind of doubt of whether you love them or not.

Posted by: Janet | August 7, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

One other reason that there may be more men adopting is that the biological parent would need to give up their rights. You are more likely to find fathers not in the picture, even cases where the woman got pregnant and never told the biological father about the pregnancy. So in the case of marriage or remarriage there is more opportunity for stepfathers as opposed to stepmothers to adopt.

Posted by: jbl | August 7, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Since I don't have BIO children, maybe I don't get it; when you adopt; those children are yours. When I adopted, I made a promise that I would love them no matter what as if they had been born from me. How do you go through all of that effort, and have that kind of doubt of whether you love them or not.

Affairs of the heart are seldom rational, neither is love....

Posted by: shakespeare | August 7, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Since I don't have BIO children, maybe I don't get it;

Janet

No, you don't get it and you never will. That's the point.

Posted by: Anon for this | August 7, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

i love my cat and i didn't give birth to him!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I have three biologcial children and I don't get it. I'm with Janet - I can't understand raising a child and not loving it...tho there are days they drive me up the wall. It's not the one act of giving birth that makes me love my kids (hell, I'd hold that against them frankly!). It's the million of little acts since then that cement the relationship.

Posted by: mlc | August 7, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm just so sad reading many of these comments. As adoptive parents we have been so fortunate to have the support of our family and friends. It doesn't matter that our child does not look like us, they love him for who he is. If adoption is facilited through an good agency, the birthparents and the adoptive parents get the training and support they need. You learn as adoptive parents how to communicate adoptions issues with your child at all different ages and help them deal with the losses they're bound to feel as they grow up and understand about adoption. Parenting is hard work no matter how your family is formed, there are always issues to resolve. But as long as love is at the center, you can't go wrong.

Posted by: mom | August 7, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

if you don't have the capacity to love your adopted children in the same way as your biological children, why did you adopt in the first place????

Posted by: spd | August 7, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. already past 1 pm and no trolls. What is happening to this blog?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't have kids, but I've thought about adopting my entire adult life. Not seriously, but I've always thought of it as an option (a likely one). Mostly because I'm shallow and don't like the idea of spending so much time pregnant, and also because I don't necessarily agree with contributing to the world's overpopulation when there are so many children needy of homes. But every man I've dated over the years has balked at the idea of not having "his own" children. Yet WE are the ones whose biological clocks are ticking?!

Then again, sometimes I wonder if I'd be able to treat an adopted child the same as one I'd given birth to. It's likely that I could, because I consider adoption to be more of an active choice (because of all the work you have to undertake), and biological parenthood as more of a "whoops!" force of nature that just kind of happens. (Clearly, I have not had fertility issues, and I apologize in advance if I have offended anyone who has.) Even with that line of thinking, I come from a blended family and always thought of my stepdad as my real father, even though he never formally adopted me. But when he walked out on my mom for someone twenty years younger, it's been hard for me to still think of him as the guy who was always there for me like a real dad would be. I'm still friendly with my stepsister, but I don't feel as close to her as I did growing up. So was the family I had for twenty years not as strong as a blood family would have been? For what it's worth, I have cut ties with my biological dad, too, for what he's put my mom, my sister and me through. Still...it makes me wonder. If twenty years of closeness isn't enough to cement the bond, is $20,000 and years of work enough?

Posted by: Mona | August 7, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

just wait til the "your not my real mom" fights begin.

Posted by: keen eye | August 7, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

heck, I used that line on my biological mother!

Posted by: MaryB to "keen eye" | August 7, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"if you don't have the capacity to love your adopted children in the same way as your biological children, why did you adopt in the first place????"

spd, it is impossible to quantify love.

Your question is rhetorical.

Posted by: Whacky Weasel | August 7, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, I have cut ties with my biological dad, too, for what he's put my mom, my sister and me through. Still...it makes me wonder.

Submitted by: Mona | August 7, 2008 1:21 PM

Wow! Your mom can really pick 'em.

Posted by: Holy moley! | August 7, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

From Brian's post:
"While it's hard to bemoan the fact that the number of infants given up for adoption is now practically nonexistent (40 years ago, about 1 in 12 newborns were relinquished)"

Really? It's hard to bemoan the fact that unwanted children are now aborted instead of adopted? It seems like a terrifically easy thing to me to bemoan!

The primary cause of low adoption rates in this country is abortion. That really didn't occur to you?! The newborns aren't available like they were 40 years ago because now they're killed months before.

Posted by: newslinks | August 7, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"Wow! Your mom can really pick 'em."

I knew this comment would come up. Pick on me if you like, since I'm here by choice, but leave my mom alone. It's true that two men were cruel to my mom, but many people go through such things. When you get married, there's no way to know that twenty years down the line, the man will develop a wandering eye, or the woman will convince you that her children are yours, or whatever. People make mistakes, and I'm not about to blame my mom for the stupid things my dad and my stepdad did. I'm sure you never picked the wrong person and got hurt, huh?

Posted by: Mona | August 7, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"The primary cause of low adoption rates in this country is abortion."

I thought it was also due to the fact that the stigma of being a single mother has gone away - when was the last time you heard of a home for unwed mothers?

Maybe the world isn't as bad as you think it is

Posted by: jbl | August 7, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Every study that has attempted to draw a comparison between success rates of children raised in adopted/fostered families to children raised by their biological parents concludes that the biological children have a significant advantage in every measurable catagory - high school/college graduation, marriage, incarceration rates, surrendering their own children to the foster care system...

Just the stats, nothing more, nothing less.

http://www.thechosenchildren.com

Posted by: Blog Stats | August 7, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

People make mistakes, and I'm not about to blame my mom for the stupid things my dad and my stepdad did. I'm sure you never picked the wrong person and got hurt, huh?

Posted by: Mona | August 7, 2008 1:40 PM

Picking two losers to be fathers to her kids?????? Didn't your mother learn anything?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous, come on, there are way better things in my original post to pick on. Did you miss the part about me being too shallow for pregnancy? Come on, reach for the low-hanging fruit. Making nasty comments about a stranger's mother is just childish. You're just baiting me, and I'm not biting anymore.

Posted by: Mona | August 7, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Picking two losers to be fathers to her kids?????? Didn't your mother learn anything?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 1:55 PM


First off.......get a little courage if you're going to make a statement like that and stop being "anonymous". Secondly, as Mona stated, there is no way to tell how someone is going to turn out or what factors in life will make people change. If we all knew who our perfect match was from the get go, there would be no divorce...and look at the divorce rates in this country! Mona's mom unfortunately went through what countless other people have probably gone through......it's not a unique case. I think you're just trying to stir up controversy since this has been a (thankfully) troll free day!

Posted by: spd | August 7, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

You're just baiting me, and I'm not biting anymore.

Posted by: Mona | August 7, 2008 1:58 PM

You just did.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"The primary cause of low adoption rates in this country is abortion."

Yup.

Posted by: Sherri Shepard | August 7, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"Mona's mom unfortunately went through what countless other people have probably gone through......"

Twice?

Posted by: Coward | August 7, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I feel pretty guilty knowing that there are plenty of children out there who will grow up in foster care/orphanages, yet I went out and had my own kids.
Yup, I think having your own bio kids is pretty darn selfish. And I went out and did it anyway.

Posted by: atlmom | August 7, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

from the CDC:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5511a1.htm#fig1

in 1970, there were 52 abortions per 1000 live births.

In 2003, there were 243 abortions per 1000 births. (down significantly from highs in the 1980s.)

5 times the # of abortions should roughly correlate to 5 times fewer adoptable newborns. so from 1 in 12 to 1 in 60 newborns.

it's true that fewer than 1 in 60 newborns are relinquished for adoption, which reflects the greater societal acceptance of unwed mothers and other non-traditional parents.

However, abortion rates are far more statistically significant.

Posted by: newslinks | August 7, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Dear Billie,

Please do not delay child birth only on account of financial constraints. From experience, I can tell you that when that baby arrives, God sends you a care package.

I know people who were broke when they got pregnant but friends, family and co-workers gave them multiple baby showers.

From then on, you will find that our Almighty father will provide for the child.

If you have other reasons for not wanting a child, fine. Then don't.

One baby is expensive but you'll find that with love, and faith in God, you'll pull through. if you are comfortable enough to afford a computer, you can probably afford a child.

This reasoning does not give people the escuse to expect the social welfare system to take care of their many children that they knew they could not care for in the first place.

Love.

Posted by: Happy | August 7, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Newslinks, did you have your baty yet? I realize it's a personal question, but I'm dying to know. Please tell!

Posted by: Blog Stats | August 7, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Blog stats: if by "baty" you meant "baby", then the answer's no. I'm 37 weeks pregnant today! :D

Posted by: newslinks | August 7, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"This reasoning does not give people the escuse to expect the social welfare system to take care of their many children that they knew they could not care for in the first place."

So, let me get this straight. If you're putting off having your first kid for financial reasons, you should go ahead and get knocked up because "god" will somehow magically drop pennies from heaven to help you out. But he gets mad if you have more than one kid or if you need help from the government? How come you're so sure that government assistance isn't one of the mechanisms chosen by god to help provide?

Posted by: NewSAHM | August 7, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure I want to adopt, but I would love to be a foster parent. When my kids grow up and leave the house my husband I will still be young. I feel like we have a lot of love to give and I would love to share a stable, supportive and healthy home with a child who needs it.

Posted by: Momof5 | August 7, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

In Dog we trust.

Posted by: Dyslexic | August 7, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

From then on, you will find that our Almighty father will provide for the child.

It's so unfortunate how God doesn't like all those kids in Darfur - they must have done something awful otherwise God would provide for them right?

Billie, you are responsible if you are considering the financial issues. Life won't get easier with a child and not enough money - that's for sure. You know what you can handle.

Posted by: moxiemom | August 7, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Slate, "Breast-Feeding Kills":
http://www.slate.com/id/2196784

"Breast-feeding, like oral contraception, alters a woman's hormonal balance, thereby suppressing ovulation, fertilization, and, theoretically, implantation."

Posted by: for Happy = Blog Stats = Fof 4 | August 7, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Oh Newslinks, you poor thing, right smack dab in the middle of summer. Ugh!

Prayers will be offered for cool weather...

Posted by: Blog Stats | August 7, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

From then on, you will find that our Almighty father will provide for the child.

It's so unfortunate how God doesn't like all those kids in Darfur - they must have done something awful otherwise God would provide for them right?

Don't forget all the children born with HIV.

Posted by: original sin is a b!tch | August 7, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

fr Anon too:

>...She confided in me that it's a daily struggle to try to show as much love to the adopted child as to her own children - but she admits that she doesn't feel the same way about the child, try as she might....

Your friend needs SERIOUS counselling, then.

Posted by: Alex | August 7, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"It's so unfortunate how God doesn't like all those kids in Darfur - they must have done something awful otherwise God would provide for them right?"

last time i checked PEOPLE created those conditions in darfur and PEOPLE engaged in activities that gave them HIV and PEOPLE who had HIV decided to engage in unprotected sex and create babies

Posted by: free will, ever heard of it? | August 7, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Moxiemom and Happy,

I think it is a little more complicated than just finances although that is certainly driving us right now.

Regardless... I want to make absolutely sure that a child is the right thing for everyone. I certainly knew I was unwanted growing up and I have no intentions of letting any other child think that. I don't think we are convinced that adding another child to the family is the right move for this family.

Posted by: Billie | August 7, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"It's so unfortunate how God doesn't like all those kids in Darfur - they must have done something awful otherwise God would provide for them right?"

last time i checked PEOPLE created those conditions in darfur and PEOPLE engaged in activities that gave them HIV and PEOPLE who had HIV decided to engage in unprotected sex and create babies

Posted by: free will, ever heard of it? | August 7, 2008 3:26 PM


WOW! HIV is always the result of unprotected sex! Who knew?

Posted by: Coward | August 7, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"last time i checked PEOPLE created those conditions in darfur and PEOPLE engaged in activities that gave them HIV and PEOPLE who had HIV decided to engage in unprotected sex and create babies"

Um, I think that's here point. The "God will provide" no matter what fails to account for the fact that we are directly responsible for our actions and their consequences. So have faith in God, sure, but know that ultimately, you are responsible for your decisions and actions.

Posted by: Emily | August 7, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

sarcasm - ever heard of it?

Posted by: to free will | August 7, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

PEOPLE who had HIV decided to engage in unprotected sex and create babies

Posted by: free will, ever heard of it? | August 7, 2008 3:26 PM

So it's the baby's fault that it's born with HIV?

Posted by: original sin is a b!tch | August 7, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

So is Billie not exercising free will in deciding whether or not to have a child given her financial circumstances? Why would God provide more for her child than for the babies in Darfur? Did the babies choose HIV by free will? Your God ain't my God, that's for danged sure.

Posted by: anne | August 7, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Adoption to Abortion to God. Interesting arc.

Posted by: What else is new? | August 7, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. already past 1 pm and no trolls. What is happening to this blog?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 1:21 PM

MMs haven't come out to play yet.

Posted by: Hmmm | August 7, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"I know people who were broke when they got pregnant but friends, family and co-workers gave them multiple baby showers."

This nutty remark must be from Fof4.

Multiple baby showers save the day!

Posted by: Sheesh. | August 7, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"I know people who were broke when they got pregnant but friends, family and co-workers gave them multiple baby showers."

I do too. The baby shower gifts were sold or traded for drugs.

Posted by: Come on! | August 7, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"Um, I think that's here point. The "God will provide" no matter what fails to account for the fact that we are directly responsible for our actions and their consequence"

And the other side blaming God for man made conditions and not accepting responsibility for your actions.

Posted by: freewill AND responsibility | August 7, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Did the babies choose HIV by free will?

No their parents did. By having sex with prostitutes, gay sex, drug use etc. Their parents chose to act irresponsibly. Their babies unfortunately like the rest of us get to live in the wreckage irresponsible people leave behind....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"Did the babies choose HIV by free will?"

No their parents did. By having sex with prostitutes, gay sex, drug use etc. Their parents chose to act irresponsibly. Their babies unfortunately like the rest of us get to live in the wreckage irresponsible people leave behind....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 4:22 PM


You don't know what you are talking about. What about blood transfusions? Did the parents make a bad choice? This sounds like AB -judgmental and rigid.

Posted by: Whoa | August 7, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Their babies unfortunately like the rest of us get to live in the wreckage irresponsible people leave behind....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 4:22 PM

So it's tough sh!t for the babies, then.

Posted by: original sin is a b!tch | August 7, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Did the babies choose HIV by free will?"

Just collateral damage.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

What about blood transfusions?

Just more collateral damage.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

My point is just that if God ain't going to bail those babies out in Darfur, there's no reason to believe God's going to bail Billie out if she has a baby she can't support. So go ahead and trust in God and have a baby anyway seems like piss poor advice to me. And I see I'm not alone in my sentiments!

Posted by: anne | August 7, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: anne | August 7, 2008 4:29 PM

Your view of God needs some serious help. Go visit a church, mosque or temple.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

You don't know what you are talking about. What about blood transfusions? Did the parents make a bad choice? This sounds like AB -judgmental and rigid.


Posted by: Whoa | August 7, 2008 4:25 PM

Yes it was judgemental nitwit. Irresponsible people who create chaos in their wake need to be held accountable. By the way, blood transfusions? puleeze, quit grasping at straws.

Posted by: whoa this | August 7, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"just wait til the "your not my real mom" fights begin.

Posted by: keen eye | August 7, 2008 1:26 PM "

"Yes, you are, and I have documents in two languages to prove it." Said in a calm voice with a smile on the face. That doesn't hurt me.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Bruce Ivins' motivation for mailing lethal anthrax to Senator Leahy's and Daschle's offices may have been that they were Catholics who voted pro-choice.

Interesting moral compass.

Posted by: breaking news | August 7, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

It's not that G-d would necessarily provide material things, but the strength to handle a situation. That you would be given the tools to handle a situation (i.e., YOU - or ALL OF US, can figure out what to do in Darfur...or with HIV babies, or whatever insurmountable problem) - not that G-d would do the things that need to be done or anything like that. That we all have free will. But that the world could be a place where no one would starve to death, but that we as people haven't figure out how to do it yet.
And yes, if you don't think you can properly care for a child, by all means, don't have one.

Posted by: atlmom | August 7, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I've noticed a trend in the last few posts that I'm sure hasn't escaped other posters: someone credits god for the generosity of others in the form of multiple baby showers, but someone blames people for the stupidity/cruelty of others such as the transmission of AIDS and other problems. So when a person does a good thing, it's because of god, but when someone does something wrong, it's free will?

Posted by: Mona | August 7, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Weren't we talking about adoption?

Posted by: mlc | August 7, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Weren't we talking about adoption?

No, we were talking about Mona's mother's lack of good judgment.

Fooled me once, shame on you.

Fooled me twice, shame on me.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Lack of good judgement is more tolerable than abundance of judgement on others in my book.

Posted by: mlc | August 7, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

No, we were talking about Mona's mother's lack of good judgment.

Which was doubtless all Mona's fault, by the logic of some of today's posters.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

It is a proven fact that teen-agers cause insanity in their parents!

Posted by: to 4:51 | August 7, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

someone credits god for the generosity of others in the form of multiple baby showers, but someone blames people for the stupidity/cruelty of others such as the transmission of AIDS and other problems

I would say that all cruel things ARE from people and all gifts are from God.

Posted by: yep | August 7, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Which was doubtless all Mona's fault, by the logic of some of today's posters.


U never heard about stepchildren breaking up marriages?

Posted by: another view | August 7, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

If a stepchild is truly able to break up a marriage, the marriage must be really fragile to start with.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Another comment from the other day re: food choices, etc...

Ever notice that years ago, there was an aisle of frozen veggies...and now it's barely one case in the frozen food aisle? Everything there is now premade foods...

Posted by: atlmom | August 7, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

If a stepchild is truly able to break up a marriage, the marriage must be really fragile to start with.

Yup! Probably a case of using poor judgment and jumping into another marriage, not really exploring why the first one failed!

(Mona did dump that idjoit BF didn't she?)

Posted by: another view | August 7, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

another view, yes, almost a year ago now. Thanks for asking. Just wish I'd done it sooner. Hey, at least I didn't marry the guy. ;-)

Posted by: Mona | August 7, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

People make mistakes, and I'm not about to blame my mom for the stupid things my dad and my stepdad did.


Mona mom is a saint, it is always those BAD men who ruin everything!

Posted by: blah, blah, blah | August 7, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

another view: I don't understand those people who go to extreme measures to have 'their own' kids. It kinda freaks me out. I mean, seriously, there's a reason it's not working the 'normal' way...so, um, take the hint.

Posted by: Anon... | August 7, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Anon 7:51.

FWIW, I have a child. But, if I were to go through the adoption process and have a child who depends on me . . . I can't imagine not loving him/her in the same way as my "real" child. And, those claiming that they would have a hard time frighten me.

The blood is thicker than water crap is something that continues to be believed and passed down. And, it makes me ill.

Posted by: Jen | August 7, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Completely agree, Jen. If my kid's friends are over, and they have any needs, or get hurt, or whatever, I completely want to take care of them and make all good (even if it's just giving them a snack). So if someone were to be living with me, and adopted, who would care, I would care for them, no matter what. Similar to my au pair, I felt responsible for her, even though she was a grown woman, I wanted to make sure all was good with her, etc. That we could do whatever would help her be comfortable.
So it's so strange when someone says that they wouldn't be as attentive because of DNA. Have none of you people ever been close to someone? I mean, seriously, I consider myself 'responsible' in a way, for my neighbors kids, as well - ya know, make sure the kids are okay, whatever, if my neighbor needed something (like a few weeks ago, they needed someone to watch the two little ones while they went to the hospital for the third - it's kinda like, no big deal, I can help, why not?).
So if you lived with someone day in and day out, you wouldn't get close to them and be their family? I mean, again - do you have spouses? Are you close to them? They (hopefully) don't have your DNA...are they different than your child? Cousin? Sibling? Parent?

Posted by: atlmom | August 7, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I encourage the woman who adopted the child whose parents are deceased to be gentle with herself and give it time. Let go of the pressure of becoming an instant family, or trying to compensate for the tragic loss of his parents. The bond can and will grow. Give it your best, and if you are really struggling, get support from someone who will listen and advise without judging you.

When you can, try to spend some one-on-one time with each of your children alone. (This works wonders with any of us who have more than one child.)

I really admire you and your family for having the courage and faith to take this on.

Posted by: karen | August 7, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

"The blood is thicker than water crap is something that continues to be believed and passed down."

Well, 4 billion years of evolution can't be wrong, whether it makes you "ill" or not. Living creatures exist to pass on their DNA. This is true of all plants, animals, bacteria, fungi and even not-exactly-living things like viruses. What's makes every other species on earth tick is what makes the human race tick too. We are hard-wired for it, and instead of being politically correct and saying that it makes you "ill", you should appreciate that we are at least honest about it, and knowledgeable about the biological reasons behind it.

Mother Nature > everything else, and Mother Nature wants living things to reproduce and pass on their genes. If every creature on earth was made "ill" at the thought of favoring their own DNA over that of others, there would be no life on earth - bacteria, worm or primate.

Posted by: To Jen | August 8, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

A rate cannot itself be statistically significant. Also, in order to compare abortion numbers comparably, you'd want to do it per 1000 pregnancies rather than per 1000 live births. You are interested in the outcome of pregnancy - childbirth or termination - and using live birth as the metric is misleading. You can have the same number of abortions per 1000 live births in two different years, but a big change in the number of pregnancies may be hidden. You could have a big change in the number of pregnancies that would disguise or falsely expose a trend in abortions/adoptions. It's much more informative to know how many pregnancies end in abortion so that you're not comparing apples and oranges.

Posted by: For newslinks, from a statistician | August 8, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I don't need to go anonymous to say this.

I am a stepmom, and I can say with certainty that blood is NOT thicker than water.

The notion that it is is a mindset that needs to be changed.

Posted by: Carolyn | August 8, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse

"I can say with certainty that blood is NOT thicker than water. The notion that it is is a mindset that needs to be changed."

OK you take the lead and change 4 billion years of evolution to pass on and protect our DNA. Blood - and DNA - is thicker than water, always has been, always will be.

Posted by: To Carolyn | August 8, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I want to adopt an older child or a sibling group someday, but I've read so many horror stories that I know I'd need to be way more mature before I did. Hell, I witnessed plenty of horror stories in my own family, and we were all biological. And I might even have one or two biological kids by then, which will complicate things further. Beyond the financial cost and wait, the emotional adjustment of adoption is hard on both the parents and kids, even in the best cases where everyone wants that outcome.

Posted by: Anxious | August 8, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"OK you take the lead and change 4 billion years of evolution to pass on and protect our DNA. Blood - and DNA - is thicker than water, always has been, always will be."

Every human on earth is incredibly closely related, compared to much of the rest of the biosphere. We've been through a few population bottlenecks (likely under 2000 individuals at some point) that nearly killed off the species.

In nature there are plenty of examples of "altruism" among animals where their personal genes receive no benefit, but the genes of related individuals are helped. (Example: birds from previous breeding seasons helping their parents raise new offspring.)

If you want to get all "4 billion years of evolution" on Carolyn, then you need to remember that in the eyes of evolution we're all cousins - and really any one human assisting any other is boosting the gross majority of our genes, and thus totally okay by your standards.

Posted by: ask a scientist! :D | August 8, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Not exactly. The reason that the animals-helping-animals stories make the news is that they are rare. Dogs do not normally nurse kittens, even though they share as many genes with each other as we do with pigs. There are not "plenty" of these stories, otherwise they would be commonplace and not Youtube sensations.

And it has nothing to do with "boosting the gross majority of our genes." We are not wired to "boost the majority" of our genes. We are wired to reproduce and care for the offspring so that they can in turn reproduce. You want to see common examples of animal behavior? Then "ask a scientist" YOURSELF about how it is common for lions, giraffes, name-your-favorite-pack-animal-here to KILL offspring in their pack that is not their child, just so THEIR genes will be passed on and THEIR young will have more resources.

We luckily do not live in society of such brutality, but as you stated --- we share a lot of genes with them.

Posted by: To ask a scientist! | August 8, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I guess if you're going to compare human adoption to dogs nursing kittens and squirrels or tigers nursing piglets, we're starting from very different ethical standpoints and may never agree. However, I think you slightly misunderstood the thrust of my argument. I'm not suggesting that humans adopt pigs (which are surprisingly closely related to us), I'm simply suggesting that humans raising nonbiological offspring is not contrary to evolution and is one of many coping strategies used by animals around the world, especially when the population as a whole is highly social and so closely related to each other. (Some useful Wikipedia articles: kin selection [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kin_selection], inclusive fitness [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inclusive_fitness])

Lions, not so much. Their pressures are different from ours. We're somewhere between lions and ants in terms of "altruism". A better big-cat analogy might be the cheetah, which is heavily inbred and also highly social (at least among the males). Coalitions of males - usually but not always siblings - work together to maintain a territory and mate with all the females they meet.
(This is imperfect because the males don't help raise offspring, but off the top of my head...)

In any case, the sarcasm in my previous post appears to have been lost. It's difficult to use the catch-all "evolution" in an emotionally-charged subject like human child-rearing. If you want to spout science to justify an emotional reaction, it might simply be enough to say that some people will be predisposed for genetically altruistic actions like adoption, and others won't, and convincing either side of the debate to change their minds is a waste of effort. Even empirical observation of gene prevalence over dozens of generations couldn't end this argument, since a judgement of who's "right" depends entirely on how you set your parameters. How narrowly do you measure relatedness? Which genes would you pick for your experiment?

Posted by: Wow | August 8, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"How narrowly do you measure relatedness?"

In this case, it's easy:

"Is it your biological child, or is it not?" AKA "Did you give them a chromosome, or did you not?"

We could be boring and split hairs and parse different genetic relationships all day long - how tedious. This blog was about adoption of a child that is biologically unrelated to you, and I'm not expanding it further than that.

And the reason that some animals DO co-tend young has nothing to do with altruism. There is safety in numbers. There is one breed of wild dog in particular where the "weaker" mothers take care of all of the young while the stronger mothers help the males hunt. This way, the weak get to eat and the strong know that their pups won't be gobbled up while they are away. Altruism? Hardly.

And it's only difficult to use the term "evolution" in reference to human relationships if you as a human being believe that you are "above" it somehow, and that you are the exception to the rule that God/Allah/Whoever applied to every other single living creature on the planet.

Posted by: To wow | August 8, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't have to believe we're "above" evolution to recognize we've been screwing with natural selection since the invention of medicine. I also think we're using different definitions of altruism here, but as I have no more time for argument, I suppose I shall concede that you've "won" this conversation. Congratulations, fourteen-year-old. Humans are a completely selfish species and all forms of complex behavior and social interdependence exist purely for personal gain. Charity, kindness to fellow man and adoption are horrible aberrations that will be weeded out by natural selection.

I really hope you don't reproduce, as your characteristics may be deleterious to the species as a whole! :P

--Ask a Scientist out.

Posted by: Well... | August 8, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Permission to procreate should be as difficult to obtain as permission to adopt.

That would solve a loooot of problems . . ..

Posted by: G-AZ | August 8, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

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