Quickhit: Kathryn Joyce on Shotgun Adoptions

You may remember Kathryn Joyce as the author of a powerful piece on the Quiverfull religious movement – in this article she looks at the collusion between Crisis Pregnancy Centres and adoption services, and how they coerce mothers into relinquishing their newborns for adoption, to the point of targeting potential relinquishing mothers as part of school sex education programs before they even fall pregnant (raising the question of whether one of the undisclosed purposes of the push for abstinence-only sex education is simply to provide a broader pool of adoptable infants for pious Christian families). The abandonment of women who change their minds, the threats and the deliberate misrepresentations, the antagonism towards any fathers’ rights in the adoptive process make for a chilling study in institutional manipulation from the pro-lifers.

There is a lot of research showing that the proportion of women who bitterly regret reliquishing a child for abortion adoption is at least as high and probably much higher than the proportion of women who bitterly regret having had an abortion. The fact that coerced adoptions are still taking place and even on the rise should be made much more widely known.

h/t Amanda Marcotte



Categories: ethics & philosophy, gender & feminism, religion

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6 replies

  1. the proportion of women who bitterly regret reliquishing a child for abortion is at least as high and probably much higher than the proportion of women who bitterly regret having had an abortion.
    Ooops. I think this is meant to be:
    “the proportion of women who bitterly regret reliquishing a child for adoption…”
    Feel free to delete this comment once the typo is fixed (if it is a typo). My apologies if it’s not.

    • d’oh – I wrote that paragraph once in a slightly different way and made the correction, and then when I rewrote it I missed it. Ta!

  2. I really, really wish I hadn’t read that. I am so appalled.

  3. People may know this already, but there’s a community of mothers who reliquished for adoption blogging, issues with US domestic adoption even outside the CPC sphere that are most commonly raised are the status of open adoption (it’s usually a non-enforceable agreement) and the emotionally coercive environment that surrounds a pregnant woman when she chooses or meets the prospective adoptive family before reliquishing. Paragraphein has thoughts on the current process and a more ethical one. All this is via Kateri who has written for years about her grief over the now closed adoption of her eldest daughter.

  4. I know people who have already subscribed to this post will see my name, but I’d appreciate it if you could edit this comment to anonymous when you get the chance.
    Reading that post reminded me so much of my adoption experience, not because I felt coerced at all, but because of the way everyone involved treated the father of said baby. He was never allowed in the room when I was signing papers. He wasn’t allowed to have any part of the process of the adoption. Myself and the adoptive parents did our best to include him, but they didn’t really know how much he was being excluded, and I was too young to be able to really assert for him at the time. Apparently, when I was signing the papers in the hospital, the lawyers told him he had to *leave* the hospital in order to ensure he didn’t “unduly influence” me.
    He was an active part of my life! We were living together! No one discussed with us what our wants and needs were for it all. Everyone assumed I’d be a wreck, but I had a lot of control over the situation, and have never felt any regret. His life is not… quite as together, and I do trace it back to all of that.

  5. anonymous, thank you for sharing that.
    I wrote a whole long comment on the balance of parental responsibilities/rights with children’s rights to financial support and family contact in adoption, and decided that I need to let my thoughts marinate and publish it as a separate post. But the main point is that riding roughshod over people’s emotional attachment to parental status is bound to cause problems. Sometimes other people’s rights trump any asserted parental rights (the child’s right to safety, a woman’s right to bodily sovereignty before birth) and ought to be vigorously defended – the “right” of nice white Christian families to take adoptive custody of an infant within hours of birth are not those type of rights.

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