The Right to Choose, The Right to Choose Adoption

I hope, if proposing this question re-treads material already exhausted previously, that revisiting it has also a quality of refreshing it. But also, to avoid taking up a lot of space with any sort of startled “discovery” of the issue on my part, I intend only to submit it to the collective intelligence of the people here.

Women’s inalienble right for reproductive choice implies then an inalienable right to choose adoption.

We can critique the forms of adoption available or imaginable, but this does not negate the right to choose adoption. We might insist that between adoption and abortion, it becomes a question of the lesser evil, but that doesn’t negate the right to choose either. And since a choice of one is not a choice, to say (1) abortion only, (2) motherhood only, or (3) adoption only negates the principle of choice itself and substitutes in its place coercion or what Schiller would identify as violence.

This question frames the ethics of adoption in light of only one-third of the triad and in that sense is misleading. But to the extent that sometimes  (gendered) resentment by adoptees gets directed (justly or not) against the one (who may actually be two or more) who exercised an (inalienable) choice, then to focus the question in this way may shed more light on the larger structural and cultural aspect of adoption as we currently have it.

If the right to choose adoption has limits, then how would you frame those?

7 thoughts on “The Right to Choose, The Right to Choose Adoption

  1. The right to choose adoption is only valid if there is also a right to refuse adoption. Given how many mothers are lied to, coerced, and manipulated into adoption simply because they made the mistake of considering it and contacting an agency, I’d say it’s merely industry attempts to define the discussion

    • Hi Lisa: you reiterate my point ” choice of one is not a choice” when you correctly assert that there must also be the right to refuse adoption. And you underscore how what we (as adoptees) can interpret as “the mother’s choice” may actually (and often does likely) hinge on multiple players (a “father”, the would-be mother’s coercive parents, a social structure actively encouraging people to sell human babies, &c)

      How then might we reclaim and redefine the discussion? (I think this question might seem overly obvious.)

      Because the right to refuse adoption necessarily implies (in order for it to remain a choice) the right to choose adoption, this then requires our reframing of the issue to at least demand ethical, desirable forms of adoption, if it is going to exist at all.

      And that means distinct and revolutionary alternatives to what currently prevails, which is what I take your comment to be pointing to.

    • “If the right to choose adoption has limits, then how would you frame those?”

      In order for adoption to be a choice, and not be a coercive tactic of baby trafficking, we would at least need the following:
      1) Every mother who knows the consequences of placing her baby, in addition to all the positives, including the increase instances of suicide in both her and her child that she is considering placing
      2) A regulatory system in place to review and ensure that there is no coercion. I believe this would need to be at a state level, a state administrative agency.
      3) Independent lawyers who are not “adoption lawyers”. I’m finding that adoption law is an interesting form of law insuch as you don’t ever see, “Contract lawyers” or “foreclosure lawyers”. You can’t go to school for adoption law (that I’ve been able to find), it is under family law, and yet adoption is the exception….

      An interesting aspect of the language of choice when it comes to adoption, is the theory, “you can choose an open adoption”. While that is idealistic, the reality is that while one can “choose” such a thing, it doesn’t mean that’s what they will get at the end of the day. There is no enforcement of open adoptions, in addition to being no enforcement of regulatory systems ensuring that adoptions are legal. Just some thoughts.

  2. I don’t think a woman has a right to choose adoption, because once a baby is born, that baby has rights too. That child has the right to be raised by his mother. I don’t think she can choose not to be part of his life, because she is making a choice for him, one that he is unable to make.

  3. Right to adoption? I would not call a legal possibility for child abandonment an inalienable right. A right to adoption is a right to adopt or to be adopted, not a right to make your child available for adoption. Foster care and shotgun wedding (possibly followed by divorce) are other options.

    • Completely agree with that. Adoption should only happen when a child has already been abandoned, not encourage abandonment. It is not as bad as surrogacy or IVF in general but it is still not ok.
      I think many equal-right-to-life people have bought into the whole unwanted versus wanted children thing pro-abortion rights supporters keep propagating and so have come to view adoption by request as a solution for the mother to not have that unwanted child without sacrificing him or her. And, really, most of us who have not been adopted simply do not get the existential problems associated with adoption. I only started to understand how adoptees probably feel when I became conscious of my status as a wanted child objectified by pro-choice parents who don’t think the unborn are actually human.

      Could be an American issue too. America is a melting pot and people of mixed ancestry without a specific ethnic identity might not realize the importance of not being separated from one’s culture – witness well-meaning Americans decrying Russia’s ban on international adoptions because they don’t look at the issue deep enough to figure out that, besides the concern of possible abuse, a Russian actually has a legitimate right to be raised as a Russian. Why should someone choose the lesser evil? All evils ought to be fought against.

      Would it not be possible to adopt the mother or take her into some kind of foster care? I mean, offer a home to both the mother and the unborn child, at least in the cases where she is young and unmarried and coerced into having an abortion by her parents or other people she is financially dependent of, which sadly happens quite a lot.

Adoptees, what do you think? We welcome your replies!

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