the adopted life

Strengthening the adoption community by amplifying adoptee voices

Adoption and the State Of The Union?

Last night I flipped between watching Trump's State of the Union address and a couple wildly entertaining college basketball games. While stationed on the SOTU address I was surprised to hear Trump highlight a couple who "saved a baby from a woman unfit to be a mother" propositioned up on this national spotlight, being honored as the face of an All-American hero.  I had remembered seeing this story going viral on social media late last year.

To many adoptees, birthparents and adoption professionals, the story of a 27-year-old police officer "rescuing" an unborn baby from her birthmother (who struggles with an addiction to heroin and meth) does not sound like a heartwarming tale of selflessness and valor. In fact, the police officers decision to show the woman a photo of his wife and four children's picturesque life and thus convince her to allow him to adopt the unborn baby sounds a bit like coercion.

...the power dynamics of the Holets’ situation are cause for concern: A woman in dire poverty who’s just been caught by a cop with illegal drugs is not in a position, free from undue pressure, to willingly surrender custody to her fetus.
— Slate

A quick Google search provided a short update about the birthparents - apparantly they are now in rehab (it's difficult for me to write this, as I don't truly feel that this should be public information for all to consume). I'm wishing them the best support from therapists who are not only trained in addiction recovery, but also who can help them through the loss of their child.  

Knowing that this birthparent is accepting help makes me wonder about foster-care and perhaps reunification for this child. Prior to jumping to adopt a child, there are other avenues which may allow the adoptee to remain with her biological family. In America, we call that system foster-care. Might this have been an option? 

Upon watching Trump hold this family up on the national stage, I wondered about the child's birthparents. Were they watching the State of the Union? How did they feel being left out of the story, yet hearing Trump state "This is our new American moment, All of us, together, are one team, one people and one American family. We all share the same home, the same heart, the same destiny, and the same great American flag." Surely society can see the incongruous nature of these messages, right?

Adoption is almost always the result of the inequities and imbalances of power. That power is often rooted in economics, race, and education. Wealthy, well educated people don’t place their children for adoption. Marginalized people do, even as their situations can change with education and health care, and they could then care for their children.
— Maureen Evans (adoptive mother)