The National Council for Adoption: Mothers, Money, Marketing, and Madness, Part 2

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The National Council for Adoption: Mothers, Money, Marketing, and Madness, Part 2

Where did they get that idea?

Since the NCFA was created in order to advocate for the positive attributes of adoption, it stands to reason that a negative feeling regarding adoption had to be the predecessor. Listed in their 2005 expense category is their “research” costs of $239,932 and the NCFA has a long history of conducting research on what makes mothers think warm and fuzzy thoughts about adoption. They do it often in cahoots with their pals, The Family Research Council, who gets credited for publishing the “The Missing Piece.”

Back in 2000, the Missing Piece found that adoption was associated as a painful sacrifice that no mother should be asked to make. Adoption was thought to be “a lie, abandonment, harmful, deceptive, and painful.” They then put their heads together to try to figure out how to make mothers view adoption differently so they would look into the “loving option” and the IAATP was born.

This time around the NCFA went more achedemic, hiring Charles T. Kenny, PhD to author their newest publication. They needed “new understandings into the dynamics of birthmothers’ decisions that will facilitate better presentation of the adoption option in pregnancy counseling and through the media.” Dr. Kenny who just happens to be, president of The Right Brain People., had just the way to conduct this important research.

“Right Brain Research is an in-depth, one-on-one methodology that includes the use of visualization, relaxation and repetition to uncover the subconscious emotional motivators that are not apparent…. The Right Brain People’s methodology uncovers emotional needs and emotional barriers that drive consumer decisions in the marketplace. The nature of consumers’ emotional reactions are uncovered, rather than sampling their surface opinions. Right Brain Strategy Development works hand in hand with Right Brain Research to assist clients in translating the findings from the research into dynamic brand strategy plans. The unprecedented synergy between research and strategy development has allowed the firm’s clients to leverage their brands as never before…”

Using Mothers who had previously surrendered as guinea pigs, the Right Brain folks advertised for mothers to come forth for this research from Texas and Chicago areas. They paid fifty-one mothers $100 each. Mothers did not know what they were being question for or who the final “client” was. They report being blindfolded the whole time, making them relive the trauma of their experiences so that the researchers could “take an inside look at the psychological pressures that come to bear when a women decides how to address the painful question of abortion, adoption or motherhood…. and understand more about how the counseling process can affect women’s choices as they decide their futures."

The results of this research became the grand NCFA publication, Birthmother, GoodMother: The Heroic Story of her Redemption” The findings conclude that:

“After working through their fears and conflicts, birthmothers choose adoption because they believe that it is best for their children. They realize that adoption is not abandonment; it is a loving, responsible act. By choosing what is best for their children, birthmothers see themselves as good mothers. Instead of feeling like bad mothers for abandoning children or “giving them away,” they now begin to see that placing their children with loving couples is what it means for them to be good mothers. They redeem themselves, transforming their mistakes into positive outcomes. Adoption allows them to recover their self-esteem, restore their identity, and renew their dreams and goals.”

This can be seen as a total polar opposite of the way mothers had been viewed and treated in the country. In the past, mothers were shamed into surrendering their children if born out of wedlock and given no choice at all.

“Illegitimacy is taboo in our society. A child born out of wedlock carries a stigma for life, while his unwed mother is often treated as a social outcast— an irresponsible, sexual delinquent who must be forced into seclusion as punishment for her flagrant violation of our most sacred principles.”

 Forced by their own families into maternity homes, ostracized by society, denied employment and a place to live, mothers signed away their children because they were “bad girls.” There was no redemption, just secrecy and false stories “moving on” and “getting over it.”

As society changed and it became impossible to openly treat women in such ways, the adoption industry had to find another way to keep fresh babies in the coffers. No longer could they be forced nor shamed into it, mothers had to be convinced that surrendering a child to adoption was a good idea. That becoming a birthmother meant being a “Good mother.” What has been embraced by the adoption industry is the concept of “owning” the decision to surrender. Adoption, if viewed as a choice even if there is lack of other viable options, becomes completely the mothers’ responsibility. “Creating an Adoption plan” is said to be “empowering.”

“We actually influence [her] choices because by our questions, by the considerations we place before [her], by our examination together with [her] of [her] feelings and impulses and their relation, implicit or explicit, to social expectations, we attempt to affect [her] decision to act in ways that are compatible with society’s standards and values…. [Her] choice… may well be affected by the caseworker’s holding [her] to careful considerations of [her] immediate drives and wishes in relation to social expectations and the adjustment [she] seeks, which is adjustment in [her] society. Perhaps this pervasive influence of the ‘social’ consideration has marked our major difference from other forms of helping or therapy."

In the end, it is portrayed that adoption professionals are only asking the “hard questions’ that need to be asked and asking for all to “support” the mother as she makes her decision. In this way, if adoption does turn out to be a negative or regretful situation, the mother has no one but herself to blame.

The IAATP is a training course instructing professionals on how to do this effectively. Adoption professionals are encouraged to “develop techniques” to clarify concerns that arise in a crisis pregnancy such as what their long term goals are, imagining life as a single mother, examining their current support structure, having them imagine how life would be with a six week old, never sleeping, colicky baby and homework, how they might feel knowing their baby had a loving caring, two parent home, etc.

Apparently learning to adequately council a mother with theses questions “Helps clients gain insight into their own beliefs and needs, and helps counselors assist their clients to act wisely in preparing for the birth of their babies.” It also seems to that having less than perfect answers would sway a mother to think that her baby would be “better” if “loving placed” within the traditional “God-ordained institutions of marriage and family.” That all falls right within the doctrine of the Family Research Council, the NCFA, various Pro-life and rightwing group agendas.

To recap: An Adoption Agency lobby group uses federal grant money to hire a research and marketing firm to probe into the minds of mothers developing a “birthmother brand development” to sell to the “consumers’ in order to promote a more positive public perception of adoption so that more mothers will “make the loving choice” to be separated from their babies fulfilling the needs to the clients, the agencies.

Who follows to these recommendations?

How does this translate into influencing agencies and the like? After all, they claim over 17,000 professionals who might come in contact with mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy have received the training instructing mothers that adoption is not painful, not a lie, not harmful, not abandonment and not deceitful. One only has to go to almost any agency website and see what they are saying.

From American Adoptions:
Placing a baby for adoption, rather than ending a life, is an extraordinary expression of selflessness, requiring a complex decision-making ability concluding adoption to be a win-win-win choice. Women who choose adoption not only choose to give the miracle of life to a new human being, but also to give the gift of parenthood to families who want nothing more in the world.

When faced with great adversity, birth mothers show great courage and understanding. Out of nothing more than pure love for their baby, birth mothers choose adoption – giving not only their babies a life full of love, but parents a baby to cherish. Just as they cherish their new baby, adoptive parents will also cherish the birth mother for not choosing to “give up” on her baby.

Rather than “giving up” their babies, birth mothers do quite the opposite—they place their babies into the arms of an eternally grateful, loving family that will spend their days doing nothing more than cherishing the gift that birth mother gave them.
From Courageous Choice:

Pregnant and considering adoption? Only very courageous and unselfish women choose adoption. The tough choices ahead are yours to make but we are here to help guide you throughout this process with love and friendship. We’re to assist you not only with your adoption plan, but also with your overall life situation. Our hope is that your experience will be one of learning, growth, giving, and perhaps a “fresh start.”

From Bethany Christian Services:

Facing an Unexpected Pregnancy with Courage
Birthparents who care would never consider adoption.
You may think that if you consider adoption for your child, you are a cold, uncaring, selfish person. Maybe you’re afraid others will think you don’t love your child. In fact, women who make adoption plans for their children are among the most courageous, for they put their child’s needs first. Your pregnancy counselor can arrange for you to speak with birthparents who have already placed a child for adoption and struggled with this issue. You will see how much they love their child. Allowing your child to be born is a loving choice. Choosing to place your child with a family that can provide a stable, loving home is an act of love and sacrifice, not an act of abandonment.

From Gladney Canter for Adoption:
Adoption is the loving act of biological parents (birth parents) who choose a family to nurture and care for their child. When considering adoption, you’re thinking about your child and what’s best for his or her life. Adoption finds forever homes for children, homes where emotional and financial support create a stable, lifelong future for your child. Adoption is not about giving away your baby. Adoption’s about making a plan for your child’s life. Adoptive parents often tell their children, even as babies, of the tremendous love their birth parents have for them. Adopted children grow up with a great deal of respect and a very special love and appreciation for their birth parents.

It is very clear that a great number of agencies and professionals have taken these techniques and recommendations to heart when providing information to mothers considering adoption. With the assistance of the NCFA, the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Program and research such as Birthmother, GoodMother: the Heroic Story of her Redemption, the tools are clearly in place to coax mothers into believing that adoption is not only positive, but often best. It would not be such a terrible thing if these facts were as true as they were portrayed, but they are not.

Part 2  | (Part 3)