Why fostering?

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” – George Orwell

I was recently asked the following question. The person asking the question is an individual with no connection to adoption however they are doing research for an adoption related project. I found the question to be a good one particularly as it came from an adoption ignorant person. The question?  Ready? Wait for it.

Why did my daughter (and nearly all other babies that are adopted) go into foster care following mother signing surrender for adoption?

From the individuals point of view it seemed as if the babies should go right to their new mommies and daddies, no? Why do they go into foster care?

I answer from my own experience. I answer with the knowledge of what was done and told to me as well as countless other mothers that surrendered their children to a Kurtz baby brokering agency.  I do not answer for the many other mothers whose babies went to foster care nor do I answer for the legions of adoptees who after losing their mother were shuffled from stranger to even stranger. I encourage anyone researching the foster care question to ask more than just me. The reasons will likely vary by state, by agency, by mother.

Now to my answer.

I need to back up the story a bit. This may be a story I have already told in parts of my blog. I will try to be brief.

Prior to Easter House entering my life, prior to my parents learning of my pregnancy, it was my intent to leave home and raise my child on my own.  I had graduated high school, was working full time in retail.  After researching many options, I decided I needed to run away. Home was not going to be a supportive place (I was obviously right in this regard) and I knew I could not stay there, I know I would not be welcomed.  Unwed, unplanned pregnancy in my conservative catholic household DID.NOT.HAPPEN. I was a “good” girl from a “good” family. I knew I had committed the ultimate sin against the family and their gods.  I had sex outside of marriage and had become pregnant. To make it worse, the father of the baby and I were not together anymore. Marriage would not be an option.

(This story is far more complex than I state but the details are not relevant to the point I am attempting to make).

My parents, really, my mother, learned of my pregnancy (thanks to my sister) and my plans to leave the family of my own accord came to a screeching halt. Adoption became part of the conversation. Easter House entered the picture.

Easter House, an agency we found via the yellow pages, flew an agency rep to CT after having conversations via the phone with my mother and I.  We were instructed to meet this rep in an empty office building less than a mile from our home.

My mother and I met this man in a room that was not at all warm or cozy. It was sterile and empty.  The rep spoke only to my mother and not to me. They discussed me and my unborn child as if I was not in the room. And I allowed it.

I sat to the right of my mother, head bowed in shame, my hand on my bulging stomach. I was vaguely listening the conversation. Plans were being discussed.

Could I stay in CT or would I go away?

If I went away, where would I go?

What would it cost?

What would my mother and father be required to pay?

My mother asked the questions and the agency rep answered them. This was when my dissociation started. I wasn’t there. I was but I wasn’t. The pain, the horror, the intense shame,  the feeling of being an emotionless object began to take over me. It was the only coping mechanism I had to deal with the crazy feelings I had.

I wanted to scream, I wanted to run away. I wanted to bang my hand on the empty desk in front of me and demand they stop talking about me and my child as if neither of us were present in the room.

I didn’t. I couldn’t.

I was bad. I was wrong. They were right.  My unborn child’s life hung in the balance. Swung between my desires and theirs and theirs were clearly the right ones. I was wrong and my daughter deserved better, could have better, than this wronged version of a mother. I conformed.

The conversation droned on and the words “foster care” flew around the room.

I snapped to attention.

“Whaa?” I asked.

The agency rep repeats himself and still without looking at me, tells my mother that I if I stay in the State of CT my child will be in foster care for a year before being placed with her parents.  The rep states this with a thinly disguised disgust in his voice. His voice tone paints the picture of foster care that I had already had in my head.

I am horrified. Foster care? Visions of neglected children in empty rooms covered with roaches and peeling paint fill my head. Foster care was where abandoned unloved children went (that’s oddly amusing to me now, as if leaving your child to an agency rep  is NOT abandonment? I was so naive and so trusting.)  My child deserved better. My child was loved. My child was wonderful. (These days I have no idea why that is what I thought foster care was but that is the truth. Foster to me was lower than an orphanage.)

I spoke up at this point.

“No, Ma, you can’t. We can’t. That is horrible. You can’t.  No…” I squeaked out of my voice.

And with that, the decision was made to send me away to Chicago.  In Chicago the agency would be able to take my child right from my milk laden breast to her new mommy and daddy. She would not be placed in foster care. She would go from less than good to better than ever within less than an hour.

Or so I thought. So my mother thought. So I believed until only a few years ago.

This foster care statement was but one of the many coercive tactics the Kurtz agency used on my mother and me.  Scare tactics appealed to the mother in me, the good mother, the mother that wanted better for her child. Foster care? NO! Immediate placement? Yes! And I wanted to be a good mother. Good mothers made sure their children went right to their new families. Bad mothers stayed home, close to support systems and risked the evils of foster care or even worse, bad mothers KEPT their children.

From my perspective (I cannot speak to my mothers), I can tell you that I wholeheartedly agreed to being sent away BECAUSE IT WOULD BE BETTER FOR MY DAUGHTER. I was thinking of her. Her needs. Giving her the best.  I practically begged my mother to let me go to Chicago (and years later my mother would tell me I wanted to go there. Her views, her understandings are very skewed but I understand why they are). I did. But I did it to give my child a better chance, a better life. better than me, the lowly single slut mother that would risk foster care if she stayed close to home, close to a place where her boyfriend could come find her, close to a place where she had support, close to a place where that family might change their mind and decide to welcome their first-born grandchild.

It was staying home, thinking of myself, and risking a year in foster care or going away and giving my daughter an immediate forever family complete with ponies and rainbows.

And so I went.

Imagine my horror, imagine what I felt like when I found out, she was indeed fostered. Imagine what it did to me to discover that the agency had lied to me and my mother about foster care.

The real reason they had to get me out of CT was that at that time, the agency was engaged in several lawsuits with the state of CT. They had been forbidden to take any babies from the state a well as place any within the state. To get my unborn child, they had to get me out of CT. And they beat me with the foster care stick to do it.

Back to the original question. Why did my daughter have to go to foster care?

To understand that one would need to be on the inside of the agency. I know only this.

The agency lead me to believe she would be placed in IL. This seemed logical to me. No foster care meant taking her from my trembling arms in St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago and turning her over to some wealthy family in the Northwest suburbs.

This was not the case. (She was placed with a family in NJ).

Easter House would likely tell you, if questioned today, that my daughter went into foster care due to the family I picked.  Yes, me. They would say it had been my choice. See, they showed me hand written profiles of three families (see photo, left,  for a sample page). They told me I could pick the family. And I did.

The missing ingredient here is that I had NO IDEA  where they lived. I did not think to ask. It did not even occur to me. I was again functioning under the belief that foster care would never be part of the picture.

My daughter actually went to the family I “picked”. The profile I was given matches up with her adoptive mother and father. I was a lucky one.  Easter House made similar promises to other mothers and they were not honored. My friend G was promised a Catholic family in IL. Her son was raised by a Jewish family in CT.  My friend Mary was told her daughter was placed in IL. Her daughter was raised in NJ.

The agency likely could not call my daughters adoptive family until I had officially “picked” them and signed the surrender document.  Since they were out-of-state, they had to arrange airfare. I am assuming this. I don’t really know. I don’t know if my daughters adoptive parents retrieved her in IL or if the agency took her to them.

I do know that my daughter was fostered by a family in Northwest suburbs. I know this because this family adopted two children from Easter House and I helped one of those children find her first mother. During our friendship and search for her mother, she shared with me that her parents had fostered hundreds of Easter House babies AND that her adoptive mother kept photos of all of them.  Friend scanned all the pictures and I saw my daughter in the pile of pictures.

The pictures foster family has of my daughter match photos that the agency sent me. Same clothing, same background.

I have no idea how long my daughter was with this family. I know she was with them long enough for them to name her Kimberly (why couldn’t the agency tell the foster family what I named her? Why did they have to strip her of her original name even in foster care?).

I want to know how long she was in foster care. I dont know why it matters to me now but it does.  Sadly, the only person who can tell me this is my daughters adoptive parents. They will know their “gotcha day”. From that date I can determine how long my daughter stayed with the foster family.

Learning my daughter went into foster care sent me into a downward spiral. It took me back to those days, that cold empty room filled with those empty promises. It made me think about my child being shuffled from stranger to stranger during her most vulnerable times. (Is it any surprise to anyone that adoptees have issues bonding with people?)

(crying now as I write this).

It literally makes me want to vomit to think about my child crying, alone, left with strangers and to know that I DID THAT. I DID IT WITHOUT KNOWING I DID IT WHEN I TRIED WITH ALL OF MY SOUL TO AVOID THAT. And yet it was done.

Another important point here.

Easter House, as a baby broker, provided children to couples in astonishingly short time frames.  One of their marketing letters (I have a copy) literally cites the short time frames from applications to receipt of baby.  While other adoptive families waited many months, even years for their agencies to provide them with their bundle of joy wrapped in pink or blue, many Easter House families waited ninety days or less. All placements were considered foster placements until the adoption was final and all families needed to qualify as a foster family (this is not unique to Easter House) prior to a baby being placed in the home.  Very important to note that Easter House services came with a hefty price.  Many adoptive families, desperate for a child they could not conceive on their own, blinded by baby lust, were as ignorant to the workings of Easter House as mothers like me. If they dared to question the outrageously high fees (compared to other agencies) they were told that their money went to help the mother get on her feet, get counseling, pay her hospital bills.  Adoptive parents fell for that. They believed it. Any guilt they may have felt over taking the child of another was extinguished when they realized they were “helping” the mothers. It was a win/win, right?

Wrong.

They money lined the pockets of the Easter House coffers.

Why was my daughter fostered?

I can only guess. And I guess it is because her new mommy and daddy needed time to process paperwork and retrieve her. Maybe they had just applied to the agency. Maybe their home study was not yet complete. I dont know how long it took them from application to approval to receipt.

I cannot know.

One might naturally ask why my daughter couldn’t stay with me until her parents were ready to retrieve her. It seems like a very good solution.

Also an excellent question. And to answer that you must understand that the more time a mother has with her child the less likely she is to sign the surrender papers. The industry knows this. Easter House knew this. To guarantee they could acquire their product for sale, Easter House HAD to separate mother and child as soon as possible, generally within 72 hours (if the child was born in IL).  If I had kept her with me longer, her father might have had the crazy idea of coming out to see us, he might have proposed, GASP, marriage. With each passing hour the agencies chances of getting my child lessened. The stronger I became (since three days post partum one is still not exactly able to fight powers that be when you are without any legal representation or even a person of love and support on your side), the less likely I would be to surrender her.

Separation as soon as possible was critical. Even if it meant fostering. After all, I would never know.

I am not sure if this answers the question that was asked to me.  I encourage others to provide the facts, the legal issues, for my friends research. Clearly I rambled here. This is painful stuff for me to discuss.

I hope I answered the question. And I hope others do too. Tell my questioner your knowledge, your experience with your child being fostered and if you knew about it.

Please?

Maybe in doing so we can change it for mothers of the future.

39 Thoughts.

  1. I was led to beleive my baby would go straight to the adoptive parents (can’t recall if they actually said they are if it was implied). Not so. He went from the hospital to a foster family for almost three months; I only learned of this after he was already placed in foster care. They never said why he was there, nor did they inform me of my right to visit him and make parental decisions for him during that time (I was still the legal mother, after all). He was placed with his adoptive family approximately six weeks after the TPR was final.

  2. Powerful, powerful stuff Suz, as I mentioned I had to stop reading this last night, it was just too difficult, damn, your writing is so excrutiangly powerful, it speaks of someone baring their soul…
    Again, I don’t have any great insights or much to offer other than my continued support & hugs aplenty…

  3. Lots of food for thought here, Suz. There’s GOT to be some reason they want the babies to pass through foster care… could it be that proves “abandonment,” makes it easier for the adoption to go through?

    In my case, 1970, a private adoption through a California attorney who had a counterpart in New York, the attorney wanted me to sign my son out of the hospital when I signed out*, telling me he would be in foster care. He had said all along that I could “choose/approve” the a-parents. I delivered on my actual due date and he had yet to show me any prospective parent details. I don’t remember why I objected — probably the snipey but kind woman I lived with during my pregnancy… I think she said something about if the baby (white, blond, male) went into foster care the attorney would hold out for the highest bidder… possibly true? no doubt. Anyway, I said NO! He stays here until he goes to his family. My doctor actually came in to tell me I had stressed the attorney out so much that he was having heart palpitations and high blood pressure! But I didn’t budge. My son stayed in the hospital after I left (and yes, I know he would have had more attention in a foster home than in the nursery…). The next day the attorney came over with profiles of prospective parents and I “chose” the one he recommended. I knew their last name, the city he would live in, and what they would name him. (Turned out to be true and helped me find him.) They flew in two days later and took him home. I know this because the lady I lived with went with the attorney to pick up my son from the hospital and take him to the airport, where he was handed over. I don’t remember if I asked to go… not likely, I was so depressed and scared that what they said was true: that if I saw him, touched him, it would be too hard on me.

    I’m triggered, but I knew I would be. Your powerful writing, Suz, affects me as it does Rich.

    *Wow… I just realized what that meant: that I had the power to sign my son out of the hospital or not. I was legally his mother!!! Clearly, I didn’t think I had any rights at the time and yet I did.

    • Denise – Sorry about that, that triggering. Not sure what to say other than I understand and you are amongst friends. Hugs to you.

      You were always his mother whether the law recognizes it or not. They can never take that away from you. Or me.

      • No, no! Not your fault, Suz. I read you because I want to. No sorry necessary. 🙂

        I can’t believe the S**T that happened to us and is still happening. Agree with Roxanne: how do they live with themselves.

    • I agree that it has something to due with establishing “abandonment” or making the mother appear “unfit” in case she has the audacity to reclaim her baby.

      • Maybe – I tend to agree with you. It is another tactic. For if we werent unfit before we signed the papers, we are deemed as such for doing so afterwards. Sick twisted game.

  4. In my case, my son was only about 14 hours old when I signed my son to foster care. He had been transported to NICU at a local children’s hospital when he was only three hours old. I had barely any sleep and was very concerned/terrified about my child’s health.

    The chipper social worker was at my hospital at about 9am to have me sign my child to foster care so I would have time to “make a decision.” She said that after I signed then I would be able to take a cab to Children’s Hospital to see my baby.

    I know now that I was simply taken. If she had been honest with me she would have said, “I know you just gave birth last night and have 4th degree tearing and are hurting, but here, sign you baby to foster care and then you will get to see him, this morning.”

    • Roxane – Can I state that enrages me? Your story is not unlike many others I have heard. One would think I would be used to it. I never am. I am angered every time. The way the industry takes advantage of vulnerable mothers is deplorable. How do these people live with themselves?

  5. Thank you Suz for writing. I don’t know how they live with themselves. They also must need to stay in deep, deep denial.

  6. Like Maybe, I was led to believe that my child would go straight to the adoptive parents. I wasn’t aware that an intermediate step even existed. The words “Foster Care” were not part of my vocabulary and I didn’t know that a foster care system even existed. Looking back, I wonder how I could have been so uninformed???

    Gail

    • Gail – I am not sure I would use the word uniformed. Perhaps trusting? Intimidated? Respecting those that were supposed to have your best interests and your childs in mind? When in reality they only had their own? Yes, you were uninformed, as was I, but those that were in the know had some ethical obligation to tell us the truth, didnt they? They share the guilt. They share the blames for what has been done to us and our children.

  7. Holy cow, my Suz. So many thoughts, questions and comments came to mind. This post is really overwhelming and probably one of your best pieces ever.

    Comment: I never – I know this is kinda dumb – realized that babies that are placed specifically and knowingly for adoption by their birthmother/father…would STILL go into foster care…despite the birthmother making the choice, signing the paper and agreeing/arranging for said child to be placed for adoption. I’m not talking about mothers who are in the process of losing their legal rights to their children for whatever the reason and their child goes into foster care until their rights can be terminated. I mean…you and I know this very well, that children – specifically white infants (and not to single out a race, but it’s true) are desperately wanted by families wanting/waiting to adopt. I never thought that foster care was part of the process…and I recognize that there were, and still can be, a period of time…from a week to three weeks where the birthparent(s) sometimes have to wait until they CAN sign legally. But…wtf? I don’t understand the reasons for this…and it seems to me, like this wasn’t just a two week kinda deal (in your case). On another note…one of my close friends…who recently found/met her bmom…was placed in foster care…even though she was placed for adoption from the very beginning by her 15 year old mother (and because of the decision made by her bmom’s father that her child would NOT be kept). We’ve talked about this and tried to figure it out, but we can’t. She was 18 months old when she was FINALLY adopted, even though she was available for adoption from the get-go. I’m not sure how much she’s discussed this with her bmom, but as far as we can tell, her bmother did not even know that she was placed in foster care. I, myself, was adopted at three and a half weeks…not in foster care (I was kept in the nursery with nuns, in the actual agency – which also had a birthmother’s holding house attached, but my bmom was gone ‘home’ a few days after I was born), to my afamily. I would have been born two years AFTER said friend above. (She was not placed through the same agency though.)

    Man, that was a mouthful.

    Question: Can you blog sometime on your relationship with your family around the time you went through all of this? Especially your relationship with your mother? What was it like before…during…and after? How did it change? Good? Bad? How is it now? Does she talk about this time? How does she feel, now? And how do YOU feel about her? How did your opinions/thoughts change on her…because obviously she was a huge part in you needing to make that ‘choice’ to place?

    Question: When did you find out your daughter was in foster care? I know you don’t know how long it was for. Also…do you think that her time in foster care influenced, at all, her feelings and thoughts about you and her adoption? I mean, it’s pretty clear that she has issues with you (and I don’t mean this in a mean way, y’know I’m praying for you and her that you WILL get to connect one day face to face, but just in a way where she clearly has super strong feelings about you). I’ve often thought/felt that even my three and a half weeks ‘alone’ influenced my little baby body and affected my ability to attach.

    Thought: Easter House *gag* makes me wanna puke everytime you write ‘Easter House’.

    I heart you. xo

  8. Question: When did you find out your daughter was in foster care? I know you don’t know how long it was for. Also…do you think that her time in foster care influenced, at all, her feelings and thoughts about you and her adoption? I mean, it’s pretty clear that she has issues with you (and I don’t mean this in a mean way, y’know I’m praying for you and her that you WILL get to connect one day face to face, but just in a way where she clearly has super strong feelings about you). I’ve often thought/felt that even my three and a half weeks ‘alone’ influenced my little baby body and affected my ability to attach.

    Laurel – Your comment has lots of questions! I wont be able to answer all of them now or in this format. Some may come in future posts, some I may write you privately, some I will attempt to answer.

    The questions on when did I find out? I dont remember the exact time. I am guessing it was around my daughters 7th birthday. I began my search around that time frame. I learned about Easter House being a “grey market” baby broker at that time and that they had lies, lawsuits and more stacked against them. It was a very dark time for me. I can’t even write about it now as it makes me start to cry.

    I did not find out FOR SURE she was fostered until I met the Easter House Adoptee whose parents provided the fostering for hundreds of EH babies. That was approximately 5 years ago. When she scanned all the photos of the babies her parents had cared for, and I saw Kimberly/Amber, in them, I knew she had been fostered and by whom.

    As for her feelings? I cannot state how my daughter feels about that. I am not even sure if she KNOWS this. (Well, she will now if she read this blog post but again she doesnt read here). Only she can speak to her own feelings. Mine would be conjecture, guessing, hoping, projection or other.

    However, I personally believe as you do. I believe it is highly damanaging to our children to be bounced around from care giver to care giver. At a time when a child is supposed to be bonding and attaching with loved ones, they are left alone, bounched around. My personal belief is the infant brain cannot understand this but it cant certainly feel the effects of it and that the effects become imprinted on cells, cellular memory. I dont buy into that blank slate crap that so many of the adoption industry professionals do. I believe that needlessly separating a mother and child causes a permanent scar in the hearts of both that effects the rest of their lives. The depth of the scar will vary of course by individuals and how they address it for themselves, but it is there, and it didnt have to be.

  9. Suz,

    Thank you for this, in more ways than I can ever put into words. My situation wasn’t the same as yours except in how much my fear of my son going into foster care controlled me and my vision of what it would be like for him there and how strongly that affected my decision.

    I was on that line between closed adoption and open adoption. When I first went to the adoption agency, they presented closed adoption as my “choice.” But I will always have that memory, that never forgotten feeling of what it was like when I was told that my child would be placed in foster care until I relinquished my rights and then would be given to his adoptive parents.

    To me, just like you, that thought brought these terrible “stereo-typed” images to mind. My child, in foster care, NEVER! It couldn’t happen. I wouldn’t let it happen. There was no way. I imagined the worst of the worst, saw so clearly in my mind and refused to let my child go from me, to a foster family and then on to his adoptive family. In my mind, how terrible would that be. How much pain would that cause my child.

    And, for me, that was one of the factors that pushed the agency to present me with the “new” practice of open adoption. And one of the “selling” points was that not only could I know exactly who my child was going home with but that he would never spend even a second in foster care, one of my greatest fears.

    But that fear of foster care, just as it controlled you, controlled me as well. Because, in what I hate myself for and barely ever admit to, that fear changed everything from keeping and raising my son and losing him. Because his father’s family spoke up and didn’t want to lose him to adoption and I remember, so clearly, seeing it as the miracle that could save me, that amazing moment when I could maybe, just maybe, get my son back.

    And then my counselor reminded me how desperately I fought not to have my son in foster care and that, if his father’s family actually protested the adoption, my son would end up in foster care for a year or more. And did I really want to do that to him. Did he really deserve that?

    And I have tears, now, as I type this, because I was so afraid of that happening to him that I begged and pleaded with his father to stop what he and his family were doing because, to me, if they kept it going, my son would suffer so horribly and he’d be right where I never wanted him to be – stuck in foster care.

    For all I fight and speak up for what happened way back when, I will always feel that guilt and realization that when there might have been a chance not to lose my son, I gave up on it and instead begged his father, my husband now, to not fight for our child because of my fear of foster care and my belief of just how terrible that would be for him.

    • Cassi – Hugs to you. Sad to hear you were also beat with the foster care stick. It is quite an effective weapon for the industry to use against mothers. It really must stop.

  10. Thanks, Suz. I know I wrote a lot. I also know that you can’t speak for your girl…but I guess I was asking you to ‘guess’ and perhaps share (as you did in your reply, a bit!) what you’ve learned through your travels and working/talking with adoptees and other birthmothers.

    I, too, agree with you that professionals and people in general, cannot understand the disconnect that can happen by being ‘passed around’, before being placed in the home of the ‘forever family’.

    I don’t know if I’ve shared this on my blog…but y’know my pal Sally who has worked in the adoption field with all members for…well…for forever (she’s 56). And, she SO gets it. It was validating to hear from her…that when she would go to pick up the infant from the hospital (to take them to the adoption agency nursery for the wait until they were clear for adoption), she said that all infants became basically anxious, colicky, crying and fussy and just rigid and stiff. (She did not advocate for birthmothers to place for adoption, fyi.) She said that if she was able to, she would ask the bmom for a piece of her clothing to take with the baby and that THAT would calm the baby down.

    While validating that my feelings of ‘remembering’ those three and a half weeks of separation were real, it’s also just…I don’t even have a word…to know the desperate need for the child to connect with the mother.

    • Laurel – AS a follow on, I have seen what I believe is the extreme result of this damage. I know mothers who suffer secondary infertility after surrendering their first to adoption. It is as if their body/mind will not allow them to become pregnancy again for fear they will surrender that child too.

      I know female adoptees that had their tubes tied at 20 years old to insure they would never get pregnant. They dont ever want to risk the loss (or the connection?) they once felt.

      What is my point? I believe these are two drastic reactions to that severing. It is done as a way to protect themselves from that pain never happening again. Drastic? Yes (to some perhaps) but to me? Totally understandable.

      Your friend Sally sounds wonderful. Those types of friends can be so validating.

  11. This has been an eye-opening (albeit difficult) discussion. I wish someone “from the industry” would step up and tell us what the deal is with sending babies to foster care. Thank you for bringing it up.

    • And I hope they will explain both the legal reason and the “real” reason. But I’m not holding my breath.

  12. I read this post a few days ago when you first wrote and did not really think I had anything to offer. I don’t have any real experience with domestic adoption. However, when I was discussing it with my husband tonight and reading the subsequent conversation in the comments here I realized that I do know what they tell adoptive parents. They tell us (and I know because my husband and I looked into domestic adoption and in the end choose against it) that the children must go to foster care because “the birthmother could change her mind” and “then there will be both legal and emotional ramifications” so it is “better this way.” And when we ask why the baby does not stay with their first mother we are told “that is not beneficial to them(the birthmothers).”

  13. Interesting… since none of us were told we could change our minds, or even visit our babies while they were in foster care. We assumed it was a done deal. Nothing they did was beneficial for us.

    What an industry!

    • Denise – Agreed. Furthermore, most of the moms I knoew were told changing your minds was not an option. Even the name of the one document I signed states “FINAL AND IRREVOCABLE SURRENDER FOR ADOPTION”. Final and Irrevocable are not exactly words that imply the ability to change ones mind. Furthermore, in my case, under thread of lawsuits and promissory notes changing my mind was not even thought of. Never mind the fact that I was flown out of the State courtesy of the agency less than a week after my daugter was surrendered. Change our minds. Thats actually rather amusing to me considering the mothers that have tried to do that and failed.

      Again, I state if adoptive parents are allowed to return children at any time or age and “change their minds”, why isnt the same opotion afforded to mothers to get their children back?

      Its all very wrong.

      • I agree Suz, mothers should be able to change their minds as well. I’m thinking a time frame of 18 years perhaps? No, I’m not being flip. Isn’t it customary for divorced parents to re-negotiate custody agreements with the courts for minor children? Why should adoption be any different? I mean it’s all for the best interests of the children, right?

        Further, I stongly believe that at age 18+, the adopted adult should be able to sign a FINAL AND IRREVOCABLE DISSOLUTION OF ADOPTION.

        One can dream.

        And very compelling post Suz.

        • Elizabeth – I agree with you and I have seen it done. I am profoundly moved when I learn of mothers and adult adoptees that undo what was done by adopted back their child, changing back their names, taking back in their voice and power in whatever way works for them. 18 years, 20 years, however many years later.

  14. I am surprised that you are wondering. While I can only speak for my own case, I have read about it elsewhere and believe it is a common reason. We were checked for quality or “adoptability” After a certain time period we were inspected and deemed either adoptable or unadoptable.

    In my adoption records filed with the courthouse, the file I received it had my OBC, my relinquishment papers, certificate of adoptability where the agency was assuring the court I was in fine working order and my adoption decree.

    • Joy – I am surprised you are suprised. Surely you agree that keeping mothers ignorant to the process/outright lieing to them contributes to successful placements. If the industry shared the truth, told mothers what would happen and when, it would likely decresae their supply and profits. And forgive me if I state that the adoptability statements and practices you refer to are ahborrent. I know that is the case but knowing it doesnt mean I have to like or approve of it. It is a disgusting practice. Imagine if they TOLD mothers that we will take your child, keep them in holding and decide if the are adopatble, but if they are not you cannot have them back. Ugh. Makes me ill

      • I guess, I have just known it so long that I figured it was common knowledge.

        Yes, seeing my “adoptability cert” was one of the most chilling things I have ever seen. I have always wondered what happened to the babies who didn’t pass? I feel quite certain their mothers never knew.

        I burned all of my paperwork, it just upset me. I should be able to get another copy, and should just for the historical interest, but can’t bring myself to have it in my house.

  15. I burned all of my paperwork, it just upset me. I should be able to get another copy, and should just for the historical interest, but can’t bring myself to have it in my house.

    I totally understand this. To me, for me, documents like that are akin to an Ouija board. Portals for demons I would rather not fight to enter my heart. I have a box of paperwork pertaining to daughters surrender and adoption and it takes me to a VERY bad place if I spend too much time looking at it all.

    • I would like to see all our documents posted online somewhere. I have only one piece of paper regarding the adoption, which is a subpeona for a hearing to terminate parental rights. I was reading it over last night, which might explain the crushing hangover I have today.

      Posting this info online might help people better understand the real nature of adoption.

      • Maybe – I have thought many times about putting the ONE document I signed online in this blog and then I hold back. Being that my daughter has never seen it, it feels weird or wrong. And then I think she may never see it and should I hold out some sort of hope/respect for her desires that may never materialize? And round and round I go..

  16. I didn’t have any paperwork to burn because I never received any. I also went to see the social worker shortly after I left the hospital to see about undoing the adoption process. I was told there wasn’t anything I could do, and I was left with the impression that my child was already at home with the new family. I didn’t know anything about “foster care” and it was never mentioned. I certainly hope that such situations are no longer in existence.

  17. Thanks for this post, Suz, and thanks everyone for sharing your stories. Much of what I see here is what I imagined to be true. It’s only logical:

    – Taking babies away from the mother ASAP before they have a chance to bond with the baby and change her mind
    – Putting babies in foster care for inspection, basically, and making sure they are “adoptable” which really means, saleable.

    I hadn’t thought of the point about couples needing time to travel to get their babies.

    – I did figure the fees were very high, as I’ve been floating around this blog for some time.

    – And I figured that fair haired, fair eyed babies were worth more cash than darker haired babies. As I’ve read somewhere that this is true in other countries were stealing babies and children for the black market is big business.

    I’m very sorry to all who have experienced this horrible thing. I’m saddened and dispirited thinking about it, and I’m sure these practices must still go on.

  18. Also, I look at my two year old son now and feel like crying because he was diagnosed with a mild heart murmer after he was born, which he still has. He would’ve been deemed unadoptable, and would’ve certainly languished in the foster care system indefinitely.

    My heart breaks for the babies and the children. Each time I think of it, I get choked up. It’s horrible

  19. I live in WI and we adopted both of our sons from here as well. While many of the stories on here are sad, I have a little different take on foster homes. WI has pretty decent adoption laws. Both of my sons were in foster care (one for 5 weeks and the other one for 9 weeks) before they came home.

    Mothers in WI are not allowed to TPR in a hospital or agency. It must be done in a court of law and then once the TPR is signed, it’s final. As a matter of fact it took 1-3 weeks for their mothers to sign the paperwork even requesting a court date. After the moms terminated their rights in court, we took our sons home with us immediately.

    The mothers both knew their babies were in foster care. We met my oldest son’s mom 2 days prior to her TPR hearing in court and we discussed going to meet him at the foster care home after our meeting. Our other son was hospitalized with RSV before his mom’s TPR hearing. Both the agency and the nurse told her that the foster care parents went home and the PAPs were staying with the baby at the hospital. The nurses talked to her frequently during the hospital stay because she had to consent to all treatment.

    During the time in foster care, the moms were allowed to visit their babies; as were we as PAPs. The moms also could come and take their babies at any time. When we went to orientation with the agency they had one couple come and speak to our group about how they took their baby home to parent for one week right before the TPR hearing. At the time I was horrified when I heard that, now I know that was a good thing.

    Fortunately we did not receive a certificate of adoptability-thats yucky. The boys did receive health exams and I was happy that the foster moms took them to all their routine wellness checkups. My oldest son has a heart murmur, however as an adoptive parent that seemed the littlest of our worries healthwise.

    I understand that the agencies we worked with now allow legal risk where PAPs can take the baby home to parent before the TPR hearing, however the mom can still change her mind and come take her baby home. I prefer having foster care parents as a third party. Personally I could not parent a baby with the fear that the mom would come back to take him. I would also think that a mom who changed her mind would find it less difficult to go get her baby from a foster home than the home of the PAPs.

    • Heather – Your statement of WI having “pretty decent adoption laws” doesnt surprise me. Easter House required mothers living in WI to drive to IL to give birth (even if they were in the throes of labor). This was done to take advantage of IL adoption laws and avoid the WI laws.

      Best wishes for your childrens first mothers, their subsqeuent children and more. The decision to surrender your child is a life altering one..one you dont usually feel the effects of until many years later and this includes what fostering did to their children.

  20. VERY interesting! My birthsister, Pippi, who was also placed for adoption a few years before me, was placed with the Catholic Charities. She was in foster care for 3 months before going home to her adoptive parents. My birthmother, when it came time to relinquish me, chose not to go back to CC (even though she was never told about the foster care, I think the religious aspect kind of freaked her out) and instead placed me with a private lawyer. I went right from my birthmother’s arms to my adoptive mothers. My birthmother and birthsister reunited recently ( I set it up for them) and my birthmother managed to keep it together and not cry until my sister told her that she was in foster care for months before going home. I’ve never heard such a sad noise. It really hurt her to know that her baby, who was SUPPOSED to go to a better place, spent 3 months in limbo. The foster family was evidently wonderful, but still……

    Interesting scope- that it’s part of some sort of undercover plan. I had never considered that before! But you’re right..what other reason could there be? It would make sense to put the child in their permanent home as soon as possible. Its to EVERYONE’S benefit that the baby not be in limbo. But if it’s not for everyones benefit..it must be for someone’s harm. I have no trouble imagining whom of the triad the agency is trying to fuck over….ugh.

    Makes me so mad. Thanks for bringing it to light!

  21. Amanda :

    my birthmother managed to keep it together and not cry until my sister told her that she was in foster care for months before going home. I’ve never heard such a sad noise. It really hurt her to know that her baby, who was SUPPOSED to go to a better place, spent 3 months in limbo. The foster family was evidently wonderful, but still……

    Amanda – To your point of never having heard such a sad noise. I hear this gutteral moan from mothers often when I am successful in finding their children. The pitch, tone, of their cries, their visceral moans are chilling. I call them the “soul cry”. Similar to a death rattle of a person about to die, the soul cry comes from a place deep inside. I am crying as I write this for the first time I heard it was on the phone with my friend Mary when I confirmed a match with her daughter Jean.

    Mary is normally a bubbly, insanely talkative, confident woman. That day, that moment, on that phone, she turned into walking wounded that had finally found what her soul needed and her soul let the entire world know. For me, the listener, it was bittersweet and highly moving. I will never EVER forget the sound of her voice begging me to answer the question “Is it my daughter?”. I said “yes” and her soul took over.

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