Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Stop the Stigma

My grandma sent me a newspaper clipping about the stigma surrounding adoption.

"Birth mothers choose life, and a family, for their child. But this choice is rarely celebrated. Women routinely face family, friends and even health-care providers who think that adoption equals abandonment, according to researchers and conversations with birth mothers.

Birth mothers in the United States each year number in only the thousands, compared with approximately 1.2 million abortions performed annually, according to Guttmacher Institute estimmates, and 1.4 million unexpected unwed births each year. Women bucking the cultural tide generally do not publicize their choice. They are much more willing to admit they have terminated a pregnancy, adoption advocates say, than to say they have placed a live newborn with loving parents."

Now, I'm not here to open up the abortion can of worms. 

And I'm not here to say choosing to parent your child is a lesser decision.

I am here to simply educate about the option of adoption. The article goes on to describe the fact that many women don't consider adoption because it's just never presented to them as an option. Many times women may think parenting and abortion are their only choices. Of those who are aware of adoption, many hold the old prejudices that adoption is abandonment, is selfish, is damaging and therefore don't consider it a legitimate choice.

And as the article said, and as some of us know very intimately, birth mothers often don't go publicizing their decision because of that stigma.

But it may be that they only way to slowly turn that stigma around and to inform expectant mothers of the third route is for birth mothers to make their voice known - about the benefits of adoption for all involved, about the reality of the difficulties after placement, about the many stereotypes and misinformation that is spread about birthmothers, adoptees and choosing to place a child.

How do you feel about being a voice for adoption? Have you met any of this stigma? What have you done to educate others about the third choice?

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