To The People Who Think Adoption Is Kidnapping.

You may not believe it by reading that headline, but our blog, which is mainly about how amazing and beautiful adoption and foster parenting is, has come under fire. A lot, actually. Finally, we’re breaking our silence and responding.

It’s not kidnapping. It’s just not.

Before I continue, I must say this: there are some people who have experienced a lot of hurt as a result of the adoptive journey. Some have had their children removed unfairly. Some have consented to an adoption only to have the post adoption plan change. A very good friend of ours was forced to place her baby for adoption as a teenager, she didn’t have any rights. These stories are heartbreaking. But that isn’t what we are talking about here.

In recent years, we’ve had some outlandish accusations thrown at us…

“…..all adoption is kidnapping!”

“…’re advocating the stealing of babies!”

“…..children belong with their ‘real’ parents, and you’re saying they shouldn’t through this blog!”

“…..adoption is evil!”

“…..your blog and Facebook page are evil!” 

“…..children would be better off dead than with an adoptive family.”

“…..YOU’RE evil!”

Not even kidding with any of these.

It’s actually taken us a very, very long time to break our silence over some of the accusations we’ve received in recent years (By the way, you did read that right…. “Accusations!”). They’ve come by the hundreds…maybe even thousands by now. They mostly come from online groups who have an agenda against adoption or fostering. They come through our Facebook Page, in our blog comments, and even into our email inbox. Most of the time, they’re negative, attacking, accusing, and down right mean-spirited. There’s usually no attempt to open a healthy discussion or understand one another. Often we have civil, respectful, honest conversations with people from all perspectives and we love that. We welcome this, but we won’t engage in attacks, or verbal abuse online.

Kristin and I have stayed silent (for the most part), refused to engage online, or fire back because….well….it’s the internet. The internet allows people to say things they would never say to your face (probably). It allows people to take on personas that are very different from their actual selves (usually). The internet breeds cowardice. And frankly, cowardice is not worth our time. There’s so much good we can do through this powerful tool beginning with 3 w’s. So much love we can spread and understanding of one another we can gain if we would just stop the nastiness. And with a world hell-bent on spreading hate right now…why would we engage in futile discussions about something that just isn’t true?

So we decided to speak up. Here’s what we have to say to the groups, and individuals, who think adoption and foster care is kidnapping, evil, stealing babies, or that we’re evil for running an online platform that encourages and equips foster and adoptive parents for the amazing work they do…

  1. “Our hearts break for you.” Fact is, there are deep wounds in some of these people and we recognize that. Here us when we say this. Our hearts BREAK for you (if you’re reading this). We know some of you have experienced things in the foster care system, or through the adoption process, that left you deeply wounded and traumatized. We can see the small print of some of your stories and we know that you’ve been hurt. Because of this, we hurt for you. Some of you wanted to care for your children but a decision was made for you that you did not want to make. That’s hard stuff and therefore, we have compassion. But….
  2. We’re not evil people! In fact, allow me to speak on behalf of our blog and Facebook audience: they are beautiful, loving, compassionate, caring people who love children from hard places. They fight for the heart of their children. They believe in them, in fact. They didn’t make the choice to have a child removed, or abused, or neglected, but they stepped up when they were needed the most. That’s not the face of evil. That’s the epitome of good! Also- we mean no harm what-so-ever in choosing to foster or adopt. We believe in our kiddos, and we take our responsibility to parent them seriously. This brings up another point….
  3. Many of us were chosen. That’s right…chosen by birth parents to care for and parent their children. A couple of times, with a few of our posts, we’ve been accused of kidnapping our children. We’ve been told that we stole our children from their birth mothers. Truth is….several of our children’s birth parents chose us. Yes, actually pointed their finger our way and said, “Them. I want them to raise my baby.” That’s not stealing, that’s choosing. I feel silly typing these words. I really do. What I want to fire back with is, “Really? Steal? MY children? Do you really think I could get away with that? But, I restrain myself. I understand that out of deep emotional pain, painful and hurtful words are often spoken. (PS- readers, keep that in mind the next time you are attacked online). But, this is just not an accusation that has any merit. We were chosen to care for our kiddos, and we love them deeply. In some of our foster care situations, we hoped and prayed for reunification (because that’s always the #1 goal of foster care), but the plan changed because a birth parent wasn’t capable of caring for their children. Where would the child have ended up then? Some may say next-of-kin, and that’s true. But that’s not always the better or healthier option. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it’s not. If it is, we’re all for it and we’ll cheer it on. But if not, we’re all for the safety and well-being of the child.
  4. Some of our children were in dangerous situations before coming into care. One of the groups that routinely attacks us is a group who believes children are better off with the parent’s who gave birth to them, period, regardless of the circumstances. Again, we understand the reasoning behind this and our heart is compassionate toward them because they’ve experienced great loss. Not an easy thing, no matter the circumstance. But the fact is, a lot of foster and adoptive parents are providing safe, warm, and nurturing homes for children who were in dangerous, even deadly, situations before coming into care with another family. Many children were removed by a case worker because of extreme abuse, neglect, domestic violence, etc. Remaining in the home with a volatile birth parent was not the best, or safest, option. That was the story for one of our children. A case manager made a decision, not because she didn’t care about a birth parent, but because she had the best interest of our child in mind.
  5. We love our kids and we love their birth families. Period, end of story! We would bleed ourselves dry for any of our children. And we would do whatever we could to help and care for a birth parent (we have before and we certainly would do it again!). There’s no hidden agenda behind us choosing to adopt or foster. We are led by our hearts on this one and you better believe follow faithfully for the sake of our kids.

Believe me when I say this: I would love to open up a healthy, productive, non-accusatory conversation with anyone who disagrees with, or has a negative perspective on foster care or adoption. That’s one of the beautiful gifts of the internet. You can actually connect with people from all over the world, learn about one another, discover each other’s beliefs, AND continue to get along. But if we can’t have a productive, cordial, healthy conversation over this topic then we can’t connect. The love, encouragement, and camaraderie we share with one another through our blog and Facebook page is more important than proving a point, or winning an argument.

Question: We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Leave a comment in the comment section below this post. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Well said, Mike, well said. Thank you for speaking with compassion and love always. 🙂

  • Gina Winkelman Olson

    As a foster parent and adoptive parent,
    Beautifully said.

  • Michelle

    Sorry you have to hear all those attacks! I am sure that you have thought through and experienced all the many viewpoints that these difficult situations raise for all parties involved. I admire what you do – as if that is not challenging enough. I’m sure you don’t need to be told that in a world of gray, putting the kids first is always right. Classy response. Thanks for everything you do.

    • Thanks Michelle. Yes, we have spent hours upon hours talking and thinking through this. Thank you for your kind words. We are grateful. 😉

    • catherineb53

      Putting kids first is good but in a parent-led adoption scene does this always happen? True reform is really needed.

      • Michelle

        Back a few days later and reading through all the comments. Much food for thought. My husband and I are in the early stages of considering fostering and potentially adoption. I have no problem to admit I am terribly naive about all of it. At this stage we are exploring perspectives, our motives and what to expect. For me, my motive boils down to never wanting a child out there to feel alone or be alone. If that were completely avoidable via better support for family preservation, I’m all for that route. And I am sure there is more that can be done on that avenue. That sounds like the happiest ending for all involved. What I’m missing in all the comments here though, is what people who are anti-adoption feel is the next best thing when that is not possible (I only saw the proponent of abortion, but that “solution” has so many holes in it even assuming you are pro-choice)? Maybe I wrongly thought that a safe harbor (temporary or permanent) is better than the alternatives. I’d welcome links/resources to explain what might be better and also welcome more resources to give the perspectives of foster children and adoptees. To date, I’ve relied mainly on real life friends who have been fostered, adopted and who have fostered or adopted. There is pain because it IS painful, but there is also joy, comfort and acceptance that life sometimes has different plans for us. On a last note, I get that there can be unethical practices that amount to baby or child stealing – this is devastating. Everything that can be done to stop that should be done, and we all have a responsibility to look deeper and make sure we do not create that kind of demand as unscrupulous people will always take advantage. However, I do believe that there would still be children in need of homes even if these practices are completely stopped. I very much welcome more knowledge and experiences in that space.

        • catherineb53

          “What I’m missing in all the comments here though, is what people who are anti-adoption feel is the next best thing when that is not possible (I only saw the proponent of abortion, but that “solution” has so many holes in it even assuming you are pro-choice)? ‘

          It might help to avoid using the word “anti-adoption” but rather “anti-adoption-industry”. At no time have I said adoption should never exist but rather than adoption practices should be childcentred not parent-cenrtred. Adoption where I live (Australia) is practised very differently to the US, i.e. supply/demand doesn’t affect adoption practices here.
          It might help also to understand that we could be talking at cross-purposes – as I said earlier, many on here may be thinking of adoption in more simplistic terms than others.
          It might help also if you do research on the history of adoption and you might then understand where a lot of the issues lie and why also many people may have a problem specifically with he US because of all the Western countries, and in particular the Anglosphere countries, it seems to be one of the few where adoption is still in the hands of those who benefit from adoption the most.
          It might also help to understand that comparisons still play too much of a role in adoption and adoptees themselves are expected to play the comparison game.

          And to sum it up, it might also help if one actually “hears” what some of us are trying to say. You’ve commented on my comment to your comment (I know tha sounds a bit convoluted lol) but I did feel after reading your comment that you hadn’t actually read a word I’d said elsewhere. If you had, you would have seen that I am not anti-adoption, that adoption to me as an adoptee is a more complex concept which is why I usually specifically refer to it as our “post-war Western form of adoption” because by doing so, one might then understand that our post-war from of adoption has many issues and is in need of reform.

          You see, what you have missed when you say “is what people who are anti-adoption feel is the next best thing when that is not possible ” is that many of us WANT things to be in that order,( i.e. family preservation with adopton for those children who need it, and I would point out that true family preservation is not anti-adoption, it is about trying to preserve families which is not always possible) BUT the problem is that it is not always in t hat order. Many of us have an issue with domestic infant adoption for that reason, because “directive counselling” is often used in DIA because supply/demand does play a role – there are not enough newborns available for those who desire to parent them. So instead of asking us the question “is what people who are anti-adoption feel is the next best thing when that is not possible”, ask yourselves why isn’t adoption done in that order all the time.

          I would also point out that often so-called “anti-adoption” people as you insist on calling us are often more pro-foster adoption than many pro-adoption people. In fact, those who speak out most against foster care adoption are other adoptive parents – go to any adoption forum and you will notice that straight away.

        • catherineb53

          Btw I note that there are now a lot more replies on here and I note that here is a commenter called Tami Lee who seems to have answered a lot of your questions. It looks like you have some good commenters and I hope you actually truly READ what people have said and rather than respond defensively perhaps try to engage with us? You seem like a nice person and because of that I’ll let you into a secret, if you actually respond and engage with adoptees, you may actually find that we make more sense that you think.

          • Michelle

            Hi Catherine – thank you for taking the time to answer. I appreciate it. I have re-read all the comments a second time and will continue to explore more about the fostering process. As I admitted from the beginning I am very naive and inexperienced and we’ve made no final decisions at this time. We are not in a position to do so right now as we are just about to return to the US after 12 years of living in Western Europe. Probably don’t need to say that philosophies here on social support are quite different than the US. So we need to allow time to see how / if we can re-integrate into a very different social and political environment and if we are really going to stay first. This one is a slow cooker for us and I only want to do it if we have the right motivations and if it is actually helping. Thanks to you and the others who have raised more awareness on the topic.

  • Sherrie Eldridge

    Yes, Mike. I have been very concerned about this new wave of negativism about adoption. You speaking openly about it has brought validation for me about what is happening. It’s very sad that people are against adoption. Thank you.

    • Thank you Sherrie. I’ve been meaning to ask you if you had fielded any of this lately. It makes us so sad that these groups are popping up. Instead of healthy conversations it just becomes attacks.

      • Sherrie Eldridge

        Yes, Mike, I have. And, it is also very political among adoptee circles. The first time I heard a keynote about “feminism” and “family permanency,” I couldn’t believe it. I think for adoptees, it’s all about the pain involved in being adopted. They want to prevent pain…ya, really? Come on.

        • Tami Lee

          Also curious as to how “women’s issues,” “feminism,” and “family permanency” aren’t legitimate in the discussion of adoption? Empowering women and honoring and uplifting God’s intent for supporting healthy children and families all seem legit to me.

          • Zephyr

            Great point Tami.

    • Tami Lee

      How is “family preservation” sugar-coating? How is working to preserve first families ever a bad thing? I know that that is not always possible, but shouldn’t that always be the first goal? Genuinely curious.

      • Sherrie Eldridge

        Hi Tami,
        Preserving first families is a great goal, but not at the expense of the child, no matter our age. Preserving every family is just not possible in this world. I have recently learned that my bio father was married six times and charged with cruel and inhumane behavior toward his 5th wife. So, let’s have the “first mother” keep me then? Well, she wished she could have aborted me and rejected me after reunion. The truth is that not all bio parents are fit to parent. Bottom line for me is the sovereignty of God with every life situation. Psalm 139:16 says that every day of our lives were planned before any one of them came to be. This is the verse that first got my attention as an adopted person…and it is the verse I rest on.

        • Tami Lee

          As I stated, I agree that family preservation isn’t always an option. I also agree that a child’s safety and health should always be the first priority. Situations, such as yours, are not the norm in adoption-land. The determination of a first family’s ability to parent has been corrupted by socio-economic, racial, and religious chicanery since its inception. Foster care and adoption are necessary social contracts in our world, but should not be the go-to norm. Every effort should be made to prevent unwanted pregnancy and every effort should be made to give first families the support they need to stay together. How painful to have a first mother reject a child at birth and reunion, but I have to think about why? Religious dogma? Social stigma? Socio-economic conditions that cause poverty/deprivation? God created parenthood and apparently, he doesn’t make mistakes, so how are we as a sinful society subverting God’s will? Did God mean for us to adopt children away from the families he sent them to, or did he mean for us to fix the problems that would allow them to stay intact?

      • Sherrie Eldridge

        Tami Lee….I love your heart.
        I just looked up “family preservation.” You might find interesting reading at:
        As far as I understand, family preservation has been controversial for decades, and frankly, I don’t want to spend my time studying its history. Family preservation is taught to social workers for families who are in crisis. It’s a totally different subject than negativity about adoption.
        We’re not going to know all the answers about perplexing stuff this side of heaven. I choose to reject the negativity and “against adoption” movement and move on.
        Your thoughts?

        • Tami Lee

          Adoption IS negative at its core, Sherrie. It CAN be loving and joyous, and often is, but it always contains pain and loss. God came up with the concept of families and part of that concept are strong biological ties to each other. How can working for family preservation, honoring God’s intent, be more controversial than removing a child from their first family and completely erasing their biological attachment to the planet?

          The term “against-adoption” is a false equivalency. Those groups don’t exist. Nobody that has commented on here thinks that adoption should never happen, we all know that there are legitimate circumstances where fostering and adoption are necessary for children that have no other options. The problem is in how we go about practicing adoption. Justifying the negation of an adoptee’s basic human rights by providing them with a new family is unethical. We can and should do better.

          As I stated before, AP’s and FP’s should WANT adoption rates to go down, they should pray and work for families in crisis to stay together. They should work to end racism and shore up social programs that ensure family permanency. We all should. This work is not anti-adoption, it is pro-God’s plan for children and families. If AP’s continue to willfully ignore the pain and loss of adoption, stay silent or support the notion that “we need more adoptable kids,” and equate adoption as an answer to infertility, they will always be seen as “kidnappers.”
          The original post is, frankly, whiny and self-serving. I would be much more impressed with an AP that talked about ways that they were working to reform the myriad problems with adoption and the need for ethical adoption reform.

          I also agree that we are not going to solve all the perplexing stuff “this side of heaven,” but God gave me the tools and the command to try. He gave you those tools too, Sherrie.

        • Tami Lee

          This conversation made me think of David Brooks’ interview with, then President, Barack Obama. Brooks asked President Obama what he thought of the work of theologian, Reinhold Neihbur.
          “I take away,” Brooks quoted Obama as saying, “the compelling idea that there’s serious evil in the world and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief that we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn’t use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away … the sense that we have to make these efforts knowing they are hard, and not swinging from naive idealism to bitter realism.”
          You, and others on this thread may think I am a “naive idealist” when it comes to adoption, but I would respond by asking “who suffers when we do adoption the right way?” “Who benefits the most from unethical adoption practice?” “Why are many of the AP’s and “grateful” adoptees on this forum resisting adoption reform and ethical adoption?” “What would Jesus do?”

    • Irishrose29

      Honestly, Sherrie, I’ve been a member of Bastard Nation (an adult adoptee pro adoption reform – and that includes “negativism about adoption”) for nearly 30 years. FB groups have allowed us to share our knowledge and research with each other and to help give each other strength. Because, as seen here, when adoptees speak up regarding the negative sides to adoption…we are called sad, crazy, hurt, something’s wrong with us, or…we just had a bad experience. We are dismissed. Obviously, all of us want children raised in loving homes – there are just other ways to do this.

      • Sherrie Eldridge

        Dear Irish Rose,
        Thank you for all you’ve done in the world of adoption for three decades!
        I appreciate your desire to be one voice for adoptees, too.
        Speaking about the pain associated with adoption in an honest, forthright manner is such a worthy thing.
        Where the disconnect comes, in my perspective, is how we as adoptees handle the pain. We must honor the pain, as author of “Open Adoption” book, James Gritter says. He said in an article in Jewels News years ago…/.”We must be careful nit to sanitize the pain of adoption; it really is miserable stuff, and it is intensely personal. The pain of adoption is not something that happens to a person, it is the person.”
        Being negative about adoption seems like “wanting to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
        I’m concerned for my fellow adoptees who are into negativity. They are stuck in pain. Negativity is one way of coping with pain.
        It short-circuits our healing.
        We must be like Paul and accept the pain…looking at it, not in disdain, but as our lifelong teacher.
        Your thoughts?

      • Sherrie Eldridge

        Irish Rose….would it be possible to replace “negative” with the word “painful?” Don’t ever think your voice isn’t valuable.

    • Michelle Sackett McKinney

      It’s been going on in the international adoption world for several years now. It’s nearly impossible to adopt from most countries now. It’s so, so sad for everyone. And the kids always lose out. Always.

  • Donna Smith

    So many negative comments are made and even told to the children we’re adopting. From Americans just want your body parts to how creepy to adopt an older girl! Lack of knowledge is dangerous. Granny always said if you don’t know the facts either keep your mouth shut or find out what is really going on. All we can do is pray for those who persecute us and teach the truth.

  • Aurora Bolier

    A lot of these naysayers also make a lot of assumptions about the manner in which children come into our care. Our son was willfully abandoned as a teenager. He wasn’t taken or stolen from anyone. He has also had a lot of say in his adoption process. And I know some of these people have had some awful experiences. I want to hear their stories if they are willing to share. But to accuse everyone of evil intent because your bad experience is wrong and does nothing to teach or advocate for others in similar situations.

    • Irishrose29

      More often than not (not that I can speak for all adoptees that have written on this blog), adult adoptees involved in adoption reform are mostly looking at much (not all) of the infant adoption practices in the US. Adoption agencies that charge 30,000 and more for babies are selling infants. Adoption costs (without an agency) costs the amount of a home study, the amount of an atty fee for 1-2 court filing fees and appearance. Every state has a legal limit on the amount a pregnant mom can receive in living expenses….and it’s no where near. We’ve done our homework regarding how adoption agencies work. We know that e-moms are told that if they do not surrender that the insurance company will not pay their hospital expenses (covered by Medicaid) leaving them with $30,000 in bills and threatening that DCF will just come get the baby anyway. (And yes, they have an actual insurance company that writes them stating this – as if the adoption agency was “paying the hospital bill” – they don’t – that insurance company just bills Medicaid. We see many of the current practices to be still coercive. We have researched so many…so many….poor agency practices, we are not speaking of just “our poor experience as adopted”. Many here (not all of you) are speaking just from your own experience – and I am truly glad you were able to give a loving home to your teenager that was stuck in foster care.

      • Thanks for raising this point. There are different types of adoptions and timelines on when adoption happens. It does seem most of these arguments brought up here are around infant not older child. And there are some very valid points.

  • Paige Moss

    If you haven’t lived as an adoptee, then this is rather meaningless. There are many horrific people who believe they are selfless and good. Stating that’s what you are is meaningless. Adoption is something that should not happen unless there is no other way to proceed, and frankly saying that your heart “Breaks for Us,” is belittling, insulting, and flippant. We don’t want your pity or your sympathy. Many of us speaking out are well into our adult years with families of our own. We are not broken things that cannot think critically or logically despite any trauma we may have.

    Perhaps instead of spending your time defending yourself, you could throw yourself into listening to the experts in adoption (adoptees) and dig deep to discover why so many of us are speaking up and taking action to stop unnecessary adoption.

    • Rosalie Hill Daniel

      Wow, you need help!! Reading this post and other post where you feel abortion is a loving alternative to adoption, is just mind blowing. PLEASE seek help!!!!

      • Tami Lee

        Healthy conversations, not attacks, Rosalie.

      • Paige Moss

        Thank you for demonstrating the silencing of adoptees. It helps prove my case.

        • Dana Glenn

          Isn’t abortion the silencing of adoptees?

          • Paige Moss

            It always comes to the abortion discussion with you people. No, it’s not the silencing of adoptees, because abortion spares the needless birth of a child who is not wanted. It spares a woman an endless life of agony grieving a child that is still alive and not with them. Believe it or not adoption just carries on destroying lives from the moment of placement forward.

          • Dana Glenn

            You haven’t proven anything other than explained your experience and that of some others. Your argument is riddled with fallacies, using emotional appeal, black-or-white thinking, using anecdotes as evidence, with slippery slope outcomes. To advocate for abortion over adoption, you silence the voice of all adoptees who disagree with you and the ones who will never be born. That’s simple math, it’s logic. One could also argue that your position ignores the woman who’ve experienced agony from abortion, and the children who’ve survived abortion and speak against it in favor of adoption. Believe it or not, some people actually enjoy life.

          • Paige Moss

            Unless you are an adoptee yourself, you have no room to insert your understanding of what adoptees experience. By advocating for birth and separation you are silencing adoptees who disagree with you and never wish to have been born. That’s simple math, it’s logic. One would argue that your position ignores woman who’ve experienced the agony from placement, and the adoptees who die (at 4 times the rate of the general public, twice that of veterans) by suicide or the many children (100 in 2016) that were murdered by their adoptive parents when you speak against abortion in favor of adoption. Believe it or not, some people actually understand that life is much more complicated than the “Forever Family” scrawled in cutsie language on your agency flier.

          • Dana Glenn

            Nothing I said ignores women who experience agony from adoption, or the kids who are murdered by adoptive parents, etc. I’ve simply exposed your conclusion, that abortion is the universal solution, as illogical. I read this article having never heard anyone with your position before. It is sad that adoption ever has to happen, but it does, and it will continue to. What we can do as a society is take care of the kids who didn’t ask for this outcome, and provide supportive resources for both birth and adoptive parents.

          • Paige Moss

            You are the singular person here who said “universal solution.” There is no universal solution, I’m sorry there is no simple answer for you. Are you an adoptee? Have you lived adoption every moment of your life, from your first breath? If so, then I’m happy to discuss this with you. If not, I suggest reading the hundreds of adoptee-written blogs that discuss this. There are thousands and thousands of adoptees with my position, many of us working for change through legislation and the exposure of immoral, unethical adoption practices like pre-birth matching. You are coming at me from a position of ignorance, which is why you are confused. If you’ve never read my position before, then feel free to educate yourself. Google is a great place to start.

          • Dana Glenn

            Of course there’s much I’m ignorant about, but you don’t grasp that your argument is riddled with fallacy and therefore cannot not entice me. Regardless, I wish you well in your advocacy for change. Should I wish to know more, I will consult Google.

          • Paige Moss

            Wish wish wish, have a great day. If you adopted, at least read up on suicide rates for adoptees and how you can help your adoptee not fall to that.

          • Bodey047

            “Have you lived adoption every moment of your life, from your first
            breath? If so, then I’m happy to discuss this with you. If not, I
            suggest reading the hundreds of adoptee-written blogs that discuss this.”

            Again, to point out the fallacies of your statements. As stated above you commit a fallacy with your generalizations.

            Second, you stated in a previous post that the adoptees with which the moderators are friends agree with them. Well, the above quote demonstrates the exact same conclusion about you. Your postings demonstrate that you are not open to anyone who can conclusively demonstrate the necessity of adoption and the healing that it begins in the adoptee.

            Third, as stated above one’s one experience doesn’t make you an expert on that issue. It can be the inspiration for study and reflection.

            Finally, absent documented evidence and study; a blog is what it is – an individual which to discuss one’s experiences in a public forum. But it should never be accepted a universal truth.

          • Katie Munro

            Im adopted and was glad to be born and glad to ahve been adopted, same with my husband… dont speak for adoptees as if you are all of us.

      • bird

        You are completely wacked.

    • We do listen to adoptees, and have many close friendships with amazing people who are adoptees.

      • Paige Moss

        Who all agree with you, think you’re a savior, and do not acknowledge the trauma of this practice. Have you befriended any adoptees who disagree with you?

    • Katie Munro

      Im adopted and I know my bio mom and I know for her it was a choice and I am SOOO blessed to have been adopted and have not fewer but MORE adults in my life that loved and cared for my and gave me opportunities that many kids, especially kids in care, would never have.

    • Bodey047

      First, it is a fallacy to state that since one has experienced a particular event one is an expert in that particular event. You have a knowledge of the events which surrounded your particular experience. Based on your above and other comments which descend into the vitriolic, I interpret that your experience was less than healthy. Might I suggest that you try to avoid generalizing the experience.

      Second, as stated above it is an additional fallacy to use one’s own experience to generalize for an entire population. You seem to be presuming that you speak for the entire population.

      Third, you also seem to insinuate that my adopted child and his siblings should have stayed with his bio parents who inflicted insufferable trauma on each of the children. The affects of this trauma (physical and emotional) is only now working to the surface.

      The moderators have demonstrated incredible grace in light of all the disservice and insult you have demonstrated through your words to other posters and the community to which you claim to belong.

  • Zephyr

    I’m adopted from foster care. Your false narrative harms, not helps. If you refuse to listen to the experts on adoption (actual adopted people), then who is it actually for? Isn’t adoption supposed to be about adoptees, and not about you? Without lived experience as an adopted person, you’re not qualified to proclaim that adoption is “amazing and beautiful.” News flash: it isn’t. So take a seat, listen to the real experts on adoption, and lift their voices instead of your own. That is what you would do if you actually cared about adopted and foster children. Start right away.

    • Beatriz

      Hi Zephyr, I’m new to this blog and this whole discussion, so I just want to hear what you are saying and get a better understanding of what you are trying to get across. May I please give you a scenario and understand from you what you would suggest as an alternative to foster care /adoption? If a child is unable to live with their birth mother, because she was terribly abusive (stuck the child in an oven and burned them badly), father is long gone, out of the picture, and there are no other family members, what would you suggest?
      Thanks so much for your valuable input. Hope to hear from you.

      • Gail Marilyn

        Do you really think anyone is encouraging a child who was abused in the manner you are describing is better off with that parent? Why do people do that in response to anyone that shares their experience as an adoptee and does not depict it as amazing and beautiful. Here is an answer. Seek out a willing and able family member.

      • bird

        It isn’t Zephyr’s responsibility to solve your problems or the many and varied problems with adoption.

      • Irishrose29

        There are times when the father is “long gone and there are no other family members”…. rarely. Most often, it is a case of the system overload and/or preconceived notions of “who” the extended family is (many GAL’s, fosters, judges, and case managers feel children are interchangeable in families) resulting in fathers, mothers and extended family members not being found. There are thousands upon thousands of families that wanted their grandchildren, nieces, nephews and siblings. There was an effort made in Ohio a few years back regarding finding family for their hundreds of foster care kids (older) “stuck” in the system. They found family for over 80% of those kids. As for the rare occasions when there is no family able to care for the children – there is no reason to wipe out a child’s identity through that which exists in adoption today. Change how it works. Simple.

    • Rosalie Hill Daniel

      You are apparently a very damaged person!!! I feel so sorry any children you may have had or have!! May God protect them

      • Tami Lee

        Mike Berry is encouraging healthy conversations, not attacks, Rosalie.

      • Gail Marilyn

        Why do you think this person is damaged. They are just sharing their lived experience. They are an adoptee. What if the child you adopt or adopted wants to share their feelings. Would you be ok with someone calling them damaged and damning their offspring to a sorrowful life?

      • bird

        You are a scary person. Much doom and gloom.

      • Zephyr

        You think I’m damaged because I think adoption should be centered on the people affected by adoption the most — think about that, and ask yourself if that sounds right.

        And thank you, I have five children. God’s will, right? I didn’t need to traffic any. God must have known what he was doing, since I’m raising kind, compassionate kids who respect the lives experience of others and don’t resort to name calling 👌

    • Auntie

      If you don’t mind replying, I understand adoption isn’t amazing and beautiful. It’s tragic. But I don’t want the kids to feel like their futures are not as good as their neighbors. How can I help the kids along their healing journey? As an adult who was adopted, what do you wish your adoptive or foster families knew?

    • Micci Granger

      I have the lived experience you are referring to, on both ends. I was a foster child who found a family and I am an adoptive parent. You miss the mark I think. Adoption is NOT all about the adoptee. No one person is meant to be an island. Adoption is about creating family. Every person’s story weaves together and is interconnected in a family. I’m sorry if your lived experience did not give you everything you wanted or needed but that does not make you an expert on adoption. Your perception is your perception but it is not the whole

      • Zephyr

        Well, at least you make it easy. “Adoption is NOT about the adoptee …” can’t really get more deranged than that.

        • Micci Granger

          To be clear, I said adoption is not all about the adoptee. What would be deranged would be making the adoptee the center of the universe in the family. The whole picture is a “whole” family. As an adoptive parent I advocate for my children in many arenas to find the resources necessary to bring healing to traumas that I did not cause. The need for safety brought them to me, and beyond that every child should have the sense of belonging that comes from being a part of a family. Your reasoning, if followed all the way through would be that children should suffer whatever fate that the biological family deems appropriate, including abuse and neglect and having no voice- that is very deranged indeed!

          • Zephyr


            Wishing my best and sending love to the unfortunate children in your care (they aren’t your kids) … they are going to need it. We all know how having care givers like you turns out to be.

            May they find others like them, as I have, upon your rejection. Your behavior indicates a strong possibility of that. How an AP talks to adult adoptees who have a differing perspective is a very sad but reliable preview of the future ✌️

        • Allisonm

          I also am an adoptee. You put words in Micci’s mouth that she did not say. She said that adoption is not ALL about the adoptee. And why is your voice and your perspective as an adoptee more important or valid than hers or mine? We, also are adoptees. Is my thinking deranged simply because it may not align perfectly with yours? “Experts” in any given field frequently disagree. What makes any one adoptee a greater expert than any other? Are there degrees of adoption one must have experienced before their opinion holds weight?

          Another person’s narrative isn’t false simply because it is inconsistent with yours or mine. Adoption should indeed be for the primary benefit of the adoptee, but by its nature, involves and affects others. Those others are free to speak from their own perspective, just as you and I are. I find that I become a more effective advocate for my position when I understand the perspective of others more fully. That is necessary if I intend to be heard above the clamor of other voices supporting the status quo.

          I wholeheartedly support reform of the US adoption industry. That there is an “adoption industry” is appalling to me on so many levels. Children are not chattel. I also wholeheartedly support reform of the child-welfare and foster care system. The intersection of the constitutionally protected fundamental right to parent one’s own children as one sees fit, the child’s fundamental right to be free from abuse and neglect, and society’s interest in establishing standards for what constitutes abuse, neglect, and minimally adequate parenting will always be a complex one, made more so by the fact that it must be navigated by fallible human beings in circumstances packed with conflicting and inconvenient facts. The unfortunately necessary involvement of the legal system injects an adversarial quality that is rarely conducive to the goal of family preservation or reunification.

          To reform such a system will require the creativity, perspective and input of many people, some of whom may never have participated in the current system in any capacity. Rather than trying to silence the voices of others, I choose to listen, learn, and attempt to hone my ability to contribute to a better future for children.

          For the record, my own experience as an adoptee has not been without its challenges, but my adoptive parents were good parents who I love deeply and have always seen as my family. At this stage of my life, medical information would be very valuable to me and my interest in coming into contact with people biologically related to me is growing as my biological parents reach old age and I feel so settled in my own life that I don’t feel wedded to any specific outcome should I locate family members. I admit to a mix of longing and trepidation.

      • catherineb53

        Adoption was originally supposed to be more a resource for a child who needed a home and as a bonus, it enabled those adopted the child to create a family – it is of course important that those wanting to adopt want to raise a child but it those doing so do need to be able to look at the wider picture.

        Adoption does involve separation from another family before a new one is created and any adoption system that is centred around separating one group of people in order to create a another family is ne that is centred around those wishing to adopt, not the child or their bparents.

        Again, of course it is important that those adopting want to raise a child but it can’t be the end all and be all in the way of thinking – those adopting need to be able to see the bigger picture. Unfortunately, in the US, it does seem possible to go from pillar to post without ever having gone beyond the mindset of “it’s all about me creating my family” – (note I am not saying that “all” APs do that, of course they don’t, just saying that the way the system is set up, it is possible). I suppose I just think adoption needs to be taken a bit more seriously.

        • Micci Granger

          Wrong. Adoption originated in the heart of God and is well recorded in the Bible. God sets the lonely in families. My family is not a resource. A solid family, however it is put together, is the heart of everything. Family is not so much blood as it is the people who invest in you, love you, advocate for you, include you, build you up, and care what kind of human you are becoming. Not all biological relation have that capacity or desire. Again, I speak from lived experience.

          • catherineb53

            “Adoption originated in the heart of God and is well recorded in the Bible”

            Our post-war Western form of adoption, especially DIA, has no real resemblance to any form of adoption in the bible. The situations in the bible were more about responses to an already happened situation rather than the form prevalent in DIA.

            You might want to read my other comment somewhere else on this page which points out that at least part of the issue on these pages is that people have different interpretations of adoption. When I’m talking about adoption, I’m talking about our post-war Western from of adoption – you may be talking more generally. Also many of us have an issue with the adoption industry which is particularly prevalent in the US especially with DIA. There is nothing in the bible that is similar to this.

          • catherineb53

            I am also an adoptee (DIA from the 1960s) so I too talk from lived experience and also an understanding of history in DIA. You may see things through a FC lens and I see things through a DIA adoptee lens. Note that I love my afamily dearly and none of my feelings re DIA adoption have nothing to do with them but rather to do with what I see is wrong with the way adoption is often practised.

    • K-C Michelle

      Hi Zephyr,

      My husband and I are interested in adopting through foster care (we are new to this debate) and I’d like to hear your side. I certainly don’t want to cause more harm or tragedy, my only hope was in offering a loving home to a child who needs one. I completely agree that the birth family is best, but what should happen to a child if the birth family is abusive or unable to care for him/her, and no next of kin is available? I am not trying to be antagonistic in any way, I sincerely want to hear your perspective so I can be well informed of all sides. Thank you for your insight.

    • Heather

      Thank you for speaking up here Zephyr. I appreciate your perspective and want to learn more from those who have lived the foster care and adoption experience.

  • kerri lentz

    i am not an adoptive or foster parent, so i hesitate to speak here, but i read your blog and i enjoy it. let me start by saying that i think you are simply wonderful and i love hearing about your family. it’s wonderful that you have (been) chosen to do this. you’re clearly amazing parents and i’m glad there are people like you willing to take a risk on kids who are in need of a safe and loving home.

    that said, however, while i sincerely appreciate individuals/families like you who foster and adopt, looking at it on the policy level, i do think the US is too focused on separating kids from their birth families without recognizing how things like poverty and lack of access to mental health care create those unsafe family conditions in the first place. i’m a researcher who studies family homelessness, and also the parent of two young kids, and it stuns (and terrifies) me to think that if i lost my job and as a result lost my home, the state could come and take my children away from me — simply because i couldn’t afford to put a roof over their heads. this happens in many jurisdictions. no abuse or neglect issues, just homelessness, and kids are separated from birth parents and put into foster care. the foster parents are obviously not “kidnapping” anyone in that scenario, but the state, i would argue, kind of is. now obviously, it’s much more common that kids are removed from the home for more serious issues than homelessness, but imagine a world where rather than taking kids out of unsafe homes, we brought children *and their birth parent(s)* to a place where they were *all* fed, clothed, supported, cared for, and — while the children’s safety was being monitored by qualified on-site adults 24/7 — the parents were given the things they need to get better (counseling, treatment, education, etc.) and become the people their kids need them to be. when families are in crisis and kids aren’t safe, why do we move kids out rather than moving social workers in?

    i know it sounds insane, but i really think a paradigm shift toward family preservation is the only answer, bc there just aren’t enough of us who are as strong as you and willing/able to expand our families to include all the kids who’ve been taken out of unstable homes. and the maddening thing is that we have the federal tax base in the US to support family preservation (because it is expensive), but we as a nation choose to spend that money on other things. so in summary, i think it’s terrible that people on the internet can’t separate the beautiful way you’ve responded to a need from the fact that our gov’t choices create that need. 🙁 i’m sorry that you’ve been treated so badly. you don’t deserve that!

  • Joanne Whitlock

    Thank you for this post. I have seen a rise in very negative talk and I think it is useful to say, yes, I hear you. I have adopted and I also believe birth family is best very often. It is a complex situation and I can’t help but feel that part of the problem is wanting to say things are bad / good instead of finding a way to acknowledge the broad range of circumstances people find themselves in.

  • Rosalie Hill Daniel

    Great article Mike. Thank you so much

  • catherineb53

    I am an adoptee who lives on the other side of the world. In both the country I was born (NZ) and the country I live now (Australia), adoption does still exist but it has been moved away from being “parent led” to being an auxillary service if required. Supply/demand does not play a role anymore in those countries (it did in the past which is why things have changed so much now).

    Expectant mothers in Australia and I believe NZ considering adoption would receive counselling that is aimed more at understanding and responding their specific situation and seeing what they can do to help the emom as a human being and addressing her specific situation. There is no “selling” of adoption by adoption professionals or expecting emoms to compare themselves with others. As a result, if an emom does decide to ahead with adoption, then it is likely that she has explore all her options. On top of that, all bmoms need to read a mandatory document before signing anything.

    As a result, adoptions are more ethical, cheaper (because HAPs only pay for those things that directly involve them, eg education, home study etc whereas emom counselling is provided under another umbrella, i.e. through the community services government dept and also in my state through two NGO charities). This means counselling for emoms is not affected in anyway by supply/demand.

    I said earlier about “selling of adoption” and “expecting emoms to compare themselves to others”.
    I would point out that in the US, the selling of adoption to emoms may take place during options counselling. I’ve done the NCFA birthmother training scheme so I know how to sell the option of adoption to expectant mothers. One of the most effective practices is to play the comparison game, i.e ask the emom what she has to offer compared with what others have to offer and she is expected to do this by taking her “self” out of the equation – in a way, this forces her to think of her baby as “a baby” and to decide who is best equipped to raise “a” baby and for a woman in a vulnerable place, she may feel inadequate compared with others. I believe that this comparison game needs to be taken out of counselling and that an expectant mother’s decision needs to be made on HER situation – if she is a capable woman capable of parenting, then she shouldn’t be expected to compare herselves to others.
    I also said above about expectant mothers exploring others options before making their decision. Exploring all other options means that when the child is born, the emom is in a better position to make a decision; adoption is a serious decision and thus it would make sense that all options are explored.

    Back to the main topic. Does all the above mean I think all US APs are kidnappers? Of course not (I don’t deal in absolutes to start with) What I do see is that when adoptive practices are parent-led as they are in the US, why and demand plays and role and where expectant parents are expected to compare themselves to those wishing to adopt, the waters can become very muddied. Parent-led adoption practices are not even in the best interests of HAPs/APs because it puts them in a position where they can find it very hard to know whether they are Arthur or Martha – unfortunately, some otherwise decent people have ended up taking wrong paths and being enabled in that by adoption professionals and others in adoption who enable them in their way of thinking.

    Thus, I think it is in everyone’s best interest to reform adoption practices totally. This will lead to a drop in adoption figures and is perhaps why it isn’t happening in the US. It does seem that people want reform in adoption without adoption figures decreasing and it seems that rather than true reform happening in adoption, the powers that be in adoption have decided that prettying up adoption and trying to get everyone in adoption to love adoption is what passes for reform in the US today.

    • Tami Lee

      Agreed. Everyone, inlcuding AP’s should WANT adoption reform. The desire should be for a reduction in the number of children NEEDING foster care and adoption. What do we need to do individually and as a society to attain that?

      • Irishrose29

        Part of the answer in that lies in the “demand” in the supply and demand part of our society, Tami. There are now several research studies proving that foster care (and that IS foster care, not the neglect/abuse before foster care) is damaging to children…so why do we still do it? Our country (US) will not pay for prevention, early intervention and family preservation. We only pay for the “after”…foster care. Further, states are given a “goal” for adoptions and are paid for every adoption beyond that goal. States make $ from the federal government to provide foster care. Other countries, Australia being one, have more family strengthening ways of child welfare. But, even in Australia, there are loud voices against “not having enough children or those who want to adopt”. Adoptees, like those that have spoken out on this blog, are tired of a 6 billion dollar industry writing the adoption script.

        • catherineb53

          But, even in Australia, there are loud voices against “not having enough children or those who want to adopt”.

          That is indeed true and I have been disappointed in some local newspaper articles that have focused on “how hard it is for Australians to adopt” and that focus on ways to make adoption “more accessible” to those wishing to adopt. The focus must remain on the child.

  • Auntie

    I’m thankful that I began fostering and eventually adopted a teenager. He’s taught me so much about life and I’m sure we’ve taught him some things. I think so much of the anger surrounding fostering or adopting comes from a frustration that people do not truly understand one another’s journey. Birth parents, children, adoptive parents… it’s a triad. For the sake of these children we must advocate for change within the system and within ourselves. Women that cannot have children do not replace that desire with adopted children. Grief will always be there on both sides, as well as in birth families. God brought me to my knees years ago when a decision was made to move a foster child elsewhere and I grieved as if she were my own daughter. This gave me compassion for birth mothers and the children. Adoption comes out of loss. However God is good, and I believe He wants these families to heal in the midst of brokenness. The work of trauma is not complete at adoption. Trauma stays. However we should all commit to come together, safely for the kids sake, and work on our own issues so we can help the kids find their best future….as children, youth, and adults,,,,and many as eventual parents themselves! Our future demands it.

  • Karen Lemieux

    As the adoptive mom of 4, all from the foster system, I agree that there should be major reform with serious attempts to keep the birth family intact. My question however is what should be done by all of the kids currently in the system? Where do the anti adoption people want them to go? Two of my kids were in foster care because family could not/would not learn to do their care (ventilators, tube feeds and multiple other problems). They both had been left in the hospital with no one visiting months at a time. A third was severely beaten at 2 months of age and again no family members stepped forward to take him. The last was with his mom who left him in the care of siblings while she would go out for days at a time. Again, because of the intense medical care, no family stepped forward. Should they have all been left in an institution with the hope that family would finally show willingness to care for them? Does my willingness to give that care in my home make me a kidnapper?

    Again, I truly believe that the system needs major reform and most children can be kept with their families but to think that it is possible 100% of the time is unrealistic.

    • K-C Michelle

      Yes, I would like an answer to this question. Can the anti-adoption people on here offer some solutions? I am trying to listen to the other side but all of these questions are going unanswered.

      • Beatriz

        Yes! I want answers to those questions too! I’ve asked the same thing and no one is answering. It stands to reason to me then that it is because they can’t answer with any good alternative. It’s easy to complain about something, but not offer any solutions! Meanwhile, those kids are just supposed to be abandoned, hoping that someday, some family member will step up? It doesn’t matter to you guys, since it’s their life that’s on the line, is that it?! You had a bad adoptive experience, that means EVERYONE who was adopted also did? Sorry, I’ve talked to too many adults who had a positive adoption experience, for me to believe that. The alternative to adoption….? Let them be stuck in orphanages/institutions, waiting, waiting? THAT is better than being in an adoptive family?? I ASK AGAIN, WHAT IS YOUR SOLUTION??

  • catherineb53

    One thing to remember when discussing adoption is that each person may have a different interpretation of what adoption is. Often the general public and APs/HAPs can tend to see “adoption” in a simple way, i.e. the raising of an unrelated child who needs a home; whereas adoptees may be seeing “adoption” as “the post war Western form of adoption, the laws and constructs of which are designed to “strengthen the integrity of the adoptive families 1950s style”. So often people can be talking at cross purposes. Many adoptees feel that our form of adoption is not the best available because it is not child-focused and that reform is required to make it more child-focused.

  • catherineb53

    btw I posted another post a while ago that had some links but I’ve not seen it come through – is it still in moderation? (so far I’ve posted three plus that one missing post)

    I am not going to repost it but at the end, I did say that although I don’t think APs are kidnappers or are bad people at all, if they are adopting in the US, they are adopting in a system that may enable them. I’ve seen quite a few otherwise decent people do things that are a bit iffy and don’t realise that their actions are iffy because they are enabled by both adoption professionals and fellow APs. Others may also adopt a “see no evil, hear no evil” stance. I believe that all HAPs and APs need to be responsible when they are adopting and to keep their eyes wide open to make sure that they aren’t inadvertently stepping on the rights of others.

    • If you posted a link, it has to be moderated. I’ll take a look. Thanks for checking.

  • Tamara Horton

    I’m sorry that you all have been attacked. Last month I was blessed to spend the weekend in Montana with Kristin and two of your girls. I appreciate so much what you do. This ministry is truly needed. I am thankful to God that you have chosen to not only bring in these kids but also encourage and help other foster adoptive families. I’m praying for you, your family, and your ministry.

  • Alicia Munson

    Great article, my husband and I too have been accused of legally kidnapping our daughter who we adopted at birth. It is so difficult to not defend ourselves over and over again, but we rest knowing that God knows our hearts, intentions, and ultimately he is sovereign over all. It also saddens me like Sherrie said that most of the time these groups feel they can say anything because they are working for family preservation. I think most of us adoptive parents agree that family preservation should always be the case if possible and the family is willing!

  • Micci Granger

    Very interesting discussion and one I have encountered before. I have even heard some accuse the foster system of being modern day slavery. As far as lived experience, I spent three years as a teen foster child. There were very few foster homes available in my state at that time for teens, so I spent most of that time in group homes until I aged out of the system. Reunification was not an option and my life was literally in jeopardy in my birth home. My youth leaders came to my rescue and went through all the foster parenting training for me. They became my family. My foster dad gave me away at my wedding and dedicated my babies when they were born. I could not have healed without having them in my corner when I had no one else. They inspired me and my husband to pursue foster care and adoption. This idea of kidnapping is ludicrous. Our kids have often been through horrendous abuse and neglect. I know firsthand the loneliness of having no one. My kids know I fight with them and for them every day.

  • Steve Birchfield

    I think it has been different for us because our kids (3) were adopted as teens/preteens. No one thinks we kidnapped them, whereas with younger children maybe others don’t think they have a say. Regardless, I have seen the other side of trying to keep the kids with their biological parents and relatives where they were abused again when they were placed with other family members. The children’s home they were in was not a good place for them either. They were around kids that had serious issues and the house parents didn’t really watch or care what they did. They lived in a place where the other children they lived with were lashing out on the world around them(understandably) . Sometimes the biological family is a dangerous place for kids to be and foster care isn’t much better. Our oldest had been in and out of foster care and with other family members for almost 11 years when we adopted her. She didn’t care to be adopted but wanted a loving family for her younger siblings. Now she is almost 19 and doesn’t want to leave home. She wants to go to college and live at home. She has found a place where where feels safe and wants to be with family. She (and her younger sister and brother) can stay with us as long as they want. I know not all stories turn out this way. It hasn’t always been easy and I know we aren’t completely out of the woods yet, but you can’t say that adoption doesn’t ever work. We didn’t force our kids to live with us, in fact, they did have a say because of their ages. I don’t think they would change a thing if they had to make the choice all over again. I certainly wouldn’t. This site is great for adoptive parents who often feel alone in this journey. It may not cater to the adoptees, but I can tell you that sometimes adoptive parents need to know they aren’t alone.

    • This is a great point you bring up. Although Confessions cares deeply about all adoptees, even adults, our site exists for adoptive and foster parents. That was my first thought when this became so hot.

  • Karen Harris

    I am adopted and I am also an adoptive parent, I thank God I was given up for adoption and had a great life with a loving family. See I have met my birth family and even they agree I had a much better life. My birth mother was unable to care for me so she gave me up out of love. For my adoptive parents who were unable to have children it was a beautiful and amazing experience. Most adoptees would agree. I am also an adoptive parent and I have met my childrens birth families and they were given up because of drugs,neglect and no other family members able to care for them. No not every adoption is perfect but most are pretty close.

    • Thanks for sharing, Karen.

    • catherineb53

      Thanks for your perspective Karen.

      One thing your post does show is that many adoptees feelings about their adoption may rely on both their feelings about both their APs and their bfamilies. You are quite understandably able to do a comparison because of your situation.

      The “problem” with my situation is that I actually have a really nice adoptive family and have discovered a really nice birthfamily. Sadly my bmom died young so I don’t know but by all accounts she was a lovely lady. So the “problem” I have is that I just can’t find it in me to say things like “I I thank God I was given up for adoption” to my own bfamilybecause to me, that would be very hurtful to them and I also know that my amum wouldn’t want to me to say things like that either (note I can understand that for others, that statement may be true and thus not knocking anyone who says, just pointing out that it is not something hat is an option because of my particular situation) Instead, I try to think of both families as entities in their own right and thus to make sure my relationship with them stand on their own merits and as a result, I refuse to play the comparison game.

      As a result of my reluctance to compare one family to the other, there are those who as a result think I must be less happy person than other adoptees whereas we may be equally happy people. Rather than call myself a “Happy adoptee”, I prefer to call myself an adoptee who is a happy person. We are always saying that adoption shouldn’t define an adoptee so why do we then expect adoption to define any adoptee’s happiness?

      In the end, every adoptee’s situation is different. I can totally understand why Karen feels as she does and perhaps with a different bfamily I might have felt the same way. However, my own situation where my bfamily and afamily are both wonderful has lead to me not being able to compare and thus for some reason, that puts me in a weird position where people assume that I “must have had a bad experience”.

  • Rebecca Read

    I am neither an adoptee, nor adoptive parent, yet what resonates with me in reading these comments is that I grew up with a sense of loss, not belonging, and a disgust and hatred for my parents’ apparent hypocrisy & failure to know/affirm the real me & meet my emotional/psychological needs. Can that be explained? Their parenting would by no means have been deemed abusive according to child-welfare. Is it possible EVERYONE can feel that way, even from intact bio families? I have since accepted that no one is a perfect parent (now that I am one), and that I am healed by my own willingness to admit my own foibles and forgive my parents theirs. I hope this helps in terms of perspective.

    • Michelle Sackett McKinney

      Thanks for sharing, Rebecca. We are all fallible indeed.

  • Jesse DeBoer

    Adoptive dad here from the US. Not on one side or the other of this discussion, I’m just me…not a mouthpiece for any agenda, just a complicated, growing individual with my story in tow. I’m going to add some current, humble, honest thoughts/feelings/beliefs with the hope that through honest, diverse and respectful conversation, my thoughts/feelings/beliefs of tomorrow might be further shaped.

    We’ve adopted through domestic independent adoption and internationally. We are also foster parents.

    Here’s a snapshot of the thoughts rolling around currently in MY head/heart. I offer them as discussion points.

    – I wish each of my kids were still in their birth family (that is to say, I now understand the loss my kids and their birth families carry, and I wish they were spared that loss), AND, I love that they’re my kids and wouldn’t trade them for the world…I hold those two feelings inside me at the same time.
    I use the word ‘understand’ above apprehensively, and I only do because we’ve raised and experienced all the bonding that happens with kids/babies in our home through foster care and have had to let them go…I hold that grief currently.

    – It’s the first avenue we attempted to go down, but I can’t, anymore, get behind agency adoption. Too much money/industry involved. This is family…babies…humans; there has to be a different way than through the structure of commerce.

    – Who’s to say they’d be better off with me/them? No really, that’s a current thought, in foster care cases, who… who in our society gets to have the say on what’s best for these kids? I don’t know the answer to this. Of course my house is safer for a newborn than a drug addicts house…but I am not really in support of government authority to remove people’s children because of bad choices they’ve made. So many nuances…who gets to judge? Allisonm in her comment hit this one perfectly…”The intersection of the constitutionally protected fundamental right to parent one’s own children as one sees fit, the child’s fundamental right to be free from abuse and neglect, and society’s interest in establishing standards for what constitutes abuse, neglect, and minimally adequate parenting will always be a complex one”

    – Filling the gap and offering my home as a safe, loving place for those displaced (and all that flowery and meaningful language to describe foster care) is emotionally and mentally the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. So much so that I wonder sometimes IF my house is any more safe and loving than the situation they came from. I hold the weight of this shame as we speak. I trust I’m doing my best and making a difference, but sometimes I lose confidence in the whole thing.

  • Shari Zook

    Hi Mike, I was recently privileged to meet Kristin at a seminar in Pennsylvania, where I was blessed by her passion for Jesus and people. The Lord met me in her teaching, and spoke new hope and peace to my heart. The two of you have been given a ministry that is desperately needed by others of us who want to know we are not alone.

    Thank you both for continuing to reach out with hope and blessing in the face of misunderstanding and attack. I was reading in James on the morning you posted this, and I believe the Lord was asking me to share the following verses with you. (I tried more than once, but was using an internet browser not supported by your site – finally got that sorted out. :))

    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

    God bless your family.