So what is National Adoption Awareness Month? Well, it began as Adoption Week in 1976 "to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in foster care." That wasn't a bad thing. The thousands of children in foster care need families. Now the week has stretched into a month. A month of celebration according to these folks and many, many others like them.
How do they want to celebrate?
1. One thing they would like you to do is donate to and support adoption foundations. Many agencies and foundations seek monetary support so they can give pregnant women scholarships for college IF they surrender their babies. One such foundation says....
"We proudly offer educational scholarships in deep appreciation to birthmothers who have chosen adoption for their children. They have enabled others to experience the joy of becoming parents and created futures, not only for those families, but also for their children."
I suppose they get around the whole coercion and "paying you for your baby" thing by saying that the mother isn't eligible for the scholarship until the adoption is finalized. They may have found a way to get around it legally (I still can't figure how it could be legal) but no matter how they maneuver it, it's coercion. If you want to participate in NAAM here's an alternative to supporting coercion: help single mothers, mentor a young mom, help a mom with child care, job skills, supplies for her and her little one, donate to scholarships for single mothers. You get the idea.
2. Another idea from the NAAM website is to write letters to your local newspapers to share the "blessings" of adoption. I can think of many things to call adoption, a blessing isn't one of them - not for me anyway. Instead, how about writing to your local papers and sharing the reality of adoption: coercion from past decades and coercion as it happens today, the falsification of legal birth documents, the trauma that mother and child face when being separated at birth.
3. Ask your local library to display books about adoption. Instead of the ever popular "How to Adopt" books, ask them to display books like Ann Fessler's The Girls Who Went Away, The Baby Thief, Rickie Solinger's Wake Up Little Susie
4. This is a big one in adoption land. The powers that be want to be sure you use this time to learn about positive adoption language. Positive adoption language is nothing more than another tool in the coercion kit. Read more about it in my Language and Lures post. Adoption is a dirty business and pretty sounding language isn't going to clean it up.
5. Another biggie in adoption is prayer. You can buy a bracelet to wear so you can be reminded to pray for your adoption. All the proceeds of the sale go to the folks at the foundation I mentioned earlier. I have a very hard time with this one. I often see couples on their blogs and pages praying and asking for others to pray for a child to be sent to them. To me this goes right to the heart of what's happened to adoption. In order for a child to go to these couples, the child has to suffer some type of trauma first whether the trauma comes from being taken from his mother at birth or suffering abuse at the hands of his own family and taken from them. Either way the child suffers. In praying for a child to come to them through adoption, they're actually praying for a child to suffer. Of course they don't see it that way. They're praying for their own desires to be met. There's nothing wrong with the desire to be a mother or father but there is something wrong with praying for that desire to be fulfilled when you know that the only way it can happen is if a child is harmed first.
So, if you pray, how about praying this month for mothers to find the resources they need in order for them to preserve their families.