Friday, February 12, 2010

Dear Anderson Cooper....Haiti is not the only country with adoption issues

Dear Anderson Cooper,
I watch you as often as I can because I appreciate the humanity that you have while reporting, not to mention the hard hitting issues that you so eloquiently expose. I have been intrigued with your reporting in Haiti, the face of devistation that your program has shown has been outstanding reporting, but heartbreaking to watch. Thank you for all you are doing there and all the light that you have shown on many ongoing issues. I am writing about one particular subject, one that is a hot topic, but I am not writing for reasons others are voicing their opinions about.

Your coverage of the missionaries that have been arrested and accused of trying to take children out of the country illegally has been intriguing to say the least, and eye opening at it's best. Last week you returned to the US, but one night spent 23 minutes on the "adoptions gone wrong" in Haiti, the next night 15 minutes on the background of the ringleader, and another night an indepth look into international adoption. I want to know when you are going to give that much time on your program to do an indepth story about adoption domesticaly? Why are you not looking into the illegal practices in our system? The onslaught of coercion that women have endured and continue to endure? Why are there unpleasant attitudes regarding the adoption process, especially the birth parents, that happen right here at home? Domestic adoptions are for many, a nightmare. I have a real problem that you have given this much time on your program for this very controversial subject in Haiti, and not do a follow up here in the States to uncover what so few people know: adoption needs to be reformed, now.

I placed three children nearly 20 years ago in two different adoptions. I did not have a good experience with my first in Missouri. My second was better because of the liberal laws in California, but still not an easy road at all. I have since found a nation of women who have so many different stories about adoption. All are unique, all are heartbreaking, some have good endings and some are still fighting the demons that were put upon them so long ago. You see, adoption for the first mother is not the walk in the park that people think it should be. Don't get me wrong, some folks can understand the loss that we go through. But the majority might be shocked to know that it is a lifelong, ever evolving journey that can change lives on any given day. There are generations of women who were forced to give their children away against their will. There are generations of women who were sent away from eveything they knew because they were pregnant, and they too were coerced into giving up their children. There are generations of women who chose to place their children for adoption, but shamed by a society that thinks they are evil for not raising their own children. There are generations of women who chose to place their children but were treated so badly by the system, they were bullied into keeping their children and made to feel selfish for wanting to do what they thought was best for their children. There are also generations of women, myself included, that have made the choice, healed their hearts, have a happy outlook and now advocate for the positives of open adoption, a side we see too little of. So many stories, so many differnt outcomes, so many human rights violations.

I would like to invite you to contact me and I will direct you to the proper places where you can read for yourself the stories that I speak of. I will show you that there are those who are fighting to change the system because of the horrors that they went through. I will show you those who are still heartbroken and have a negative outlook, but are doing their best to show others how to avoid what they were subjected to. I will show you those who have healed and have positive outlooks to adoption, but not without a price. I will show you that here, in our own country, adoption is so overpowered by rules, laws, politicians, state social workers, money and thoughtless aftercare it will turn your stomach. I will make you think about the reasons there is so much pain, sometimes shame, and always a reminder that somewhere, someone thinks we are horrible women. And that is not the end of it. The real problem in this country is that no matter what the circumstances are in the adoption, the aftercare for the mothers is, most of the time, non existant  and when it is avaialable, it is a joke.

One of the main problems with adoption, whether it be a choice or a coercion, is there is not nearly enough support for the mothers after placement. Many, I again include myself, were promised aftercare but never received it. Many women were told to never talk about it. Many were told that they had to just get over it and move on. Many women were reliant on the support of their loved ones and friends to help heal the pain. I would bet that almost every woman that enters into adoption is promised that they will get the proper care and counseling that they will need to begin the process of healing. It is an absolute lie. Those adoption agencies, lawyers and social workers need to move on to the next case, the next victim. It is truly one of the best kept secrets out there in this country and there are so many women that have found their voice, found the courage to speak out and make a change. These are the voices that I would like to introduce you to, show you that if you gave US that much time on your program we could all help to make a change right here at home. These are the voices that are brave enough to show you their heart if it will help someone else make the right decision. These are the voices that should be the face of adoption, trying to make changes that can help future genrerations of women. These are the stories that you should be reporting on, if you want to cover adoption domesticaly as much as you have internationally.

I thank you for your time and encourage your comments,
Kelsey Stewart
Author, The Best For You


maybe said...

Good post. I would like to suggest that any aftercare for mothers should NEVER come from the adoption agency. Only a completely independent counselor who understands adoption trauma is qualified to offer this type of service.

I would also like more discussuion of so-called "open" adoption. In my opinion, all parties must have full identifying information and addresses and be able to make DIRECT contact with each other for an adoption to be labeled "open." Anything less is a good old-fasshioned closed adoption.

Sally Bacchetta said...

Kelsey, I love this post. Now that my book has been published I'm getting more media opportunities, and I'd like to leverage that to illuminate the issues you're talking about. Would you respond on my blog or email me with your suggestions on where to start? Links, literature, etc. The Girls Who Went Away is stellar, of course, but I'm interested in more current data. Thanks!

Kristina said...

This is GREAT Kels!! Anyone who would ever bash you for your heart and your voice is an IDIOT!!!
It is so sad that we are crucified and condemned by our own people, our sister birthmothers and even worse, adoptees.
This has been a great source of personal contention for me this week, as u know and have experienced with me...but i am coming back to my place of peace that rests within.
I refuse to let the ignorance and negativity of others affect me and what i know to be true about myself and my experience.
I LOVE you, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for being you, for being a light in the darkness and for being my friend.
Mama Kris