Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Guest Blog: My Experience

Crisis pregnancy centers are not simply anti-abortion and anti-contraception; many also take part in adoption coercion, a practice that, to be effective, must first involve convincing a pregnant woman that she is unfit to parent her own child. Most victims of adoption coercion are young, unmarried, and financially vulnerable. The following was sent to us from a woman in Carson City, Nevada who visited the Community Pregnancy Center for support. Reprinted here with her permission.

I went to the crisis pregnancy center for multiple reasons which included: the pain I was in and fear of a ectopic pregnancy, that I needed a support system since I had moved 1700 miles away from family and friends, and that I needed a confirmed pregnancy paper because I was planning to go on Medicaid and resources to help me in my pregnancy. Surely these people would be able to help me and calm my nerves. Boy was I wrong!

So my boyfriend and I showed and it was by appointment only, so we made an appointment and came back 2 hours later. We got there and two older ladies met me. They made it very clear that my boyfriend was not allowed to come with me, which wasn't okay with me because he was my only supporter at the time. We talked a little bit. They asked me questions, how I was doing I told them I was scared and in pain. They asked me where I was from and if I was in school. A bunch of other small talk. Finally, they handled me the test told me what to do and showed me the bathroom. I took the test, it was of course positive. Two other test were, so why would this one be any different? After the 3 minute timer had dinged and the test results were in and they made me read the results out loud to them. Not sure what that was about, but whatever. They then asked me if I had planned to keep it.

I answered that I wasn't sure. Not because I was thinking about adoption or abortion, but because I was deathly afraid that it was ectopic and I would be forced to terminate. My counselors then proceeded to give me the “facts” on abortion. Most of which were lies, including that I would get breast cancer, be infertile, and I would without a doubt be very depressed and suicidal over it. They even went as far as to tell me that I shouldn't "cover one sin with another sin."

They then switched to the loving choice of adoption. To which I quickly replied that the father wanted his baby, was more than willing to marry me and had a very nice stable job. When I was finished they looked at me and just continued on talking about adoption. Like everything I had just said had absolutely no merit whatsoever! In the middle of it they asked me if I had told my parents and how my mom felt about it. I told them yes and that my mom was very excited and wanted a girl and that she was more then willing to support me while I finished up my degree. Again, blank stares and the continuation of the adoption speech. They then handed me some papers. One compared adoption to abortion. One had a bunch of numbers with doctors on it to call and the Medicaid address and number. Which by the way was wrong. That led to a vacant parking lot. The last was a booklet about the loving option of adoption. Here is some of the stuff it said:

Q 1: "If I keep my baby maybe my baby's father will... (marry me, stay with me, come back). Sorry but babies rarely have that effect on guys... especially guys who have sex with you before saying ‘I do.’ Statistically, you're much more likely to meet and marry Mr. Right later on if you release your baby to a loving adoptive parents than you are if you choose single motherhood."

(What I took for it: My boyfriend was pretty much just using me for sex and now that was knocked up he was never going to marry me and in fact leave me. After he left me I would never found “Mr. Right” because no sane man would ever want to raise another man's baby.)

Q 2: "Ultimately, You are the mother of this baby and it is you - Not your parents, friends, or the baby's FATHER - who should make the final decision."

(What I took from it: So even though this baby was half Josh's, he really had no right to it and that I and only I get to make decision for it.)

Q 3: "Adoption saves your child from the all too frequent damage that comes from being raised in a fatherless home … Children in families without fathers are five times more likely to grow up in poverty, four times more likely to commit suicide, two to three times more likely to abuse drugs. 70% of long term inmates grew up fatherless and girls without a father in the home are more likely to get pregnant before marriage."

(What I took from it: So apparently I am going to such a horrible parent that my child needs to be saved from me. So that he or she doesn't turn into a low life criminal.)

Q 4: "The realities of single motherhood mean that your opportunities for dating, marriage, higher education, good jobs, and a comfortable standard of living may be severely limited."

(What I took from it: Pretty much any hopes and dreams I had have gone up in smoke and I'll never make anything of myself.)

Q 5: "Now, with the prevalence of open adoption, you not only choose your baby's adoptive parents, you can get to know them and stay informed about where and how your baby is. Depending on the specific arrangement that you and the adoptive parents agree to, you can have varying degrees of news and contacts as your baby grows up."

(The Truth: Open adoption is not legally enforceable in most state. In fact only in 4 states is it. The adoptive parents can and often do close the adoption at any time. Cut all contact from you, move to another state and not even have to give you a reason why. Statistics suggest that as high as 80% of open adoptions close with in the first 2 years.)

We soon finished our talk. They said close to nothing about parenting. They did offer parenting classes but that was about it. No kind encouragements. Nothing along the lines of, "I bet you'll make a great mom" or "children are a blessing from God, wait and you'll see." Out of all the papers they gave me, none of them where about parenting. Nothing about how if I wanted, I could make it work, or anything. They almost reluctantly gave me the proof of pregnancy that I need to get on Medicaid. They did offer me a free ultrasound, but I feel that even this was to serve their purposes. I believe they thought that if I saw the ultrasound then there would be no way I could abort. I was however thankful for this because it relieved me of the fear of having an ectopic pregnancy.

Now this may not seem like much to you, but it was overwhelming when I was pregnant. I went to these people looking for help and advice. I was scared, highly hormonal with no real support system and facing a life-changing event. But how was I treated? I was told I was a sinner, that the man I loved would leave me, that my child would suffer majorly if I kept him, that my son needed to be saved from me, that I would never achieve my goals and dreams, and that there was better more deserving loving people out there that my child should go to. It was like getting hit by an emotional truck. It quite frankly ruined my pregnancy to hear this stuff. I was angry for a long time by the way I was treated and a small part of me felt that they were right. I was still in school, I had no job, I wasn't married, I hadn't done it the “right way” and as such I felt like I didn't deserve my child. Because of that I never bonded with my son while he was in the womb. I was actually terrified that if I allowed myself to love him, if I dropped my guard let him have his rightful place in my heart, something bad would happen to him. I would miscarry, or go into way to early labor, or he would have some kind of birth defeat that would cause him die shortly after birth.

Pregnancies are supposed to be a joyous time. A time of celebrating and welcoming a new person to the world. But the way I was treated robbed me of the joy I should have experienced while I was pregnant. My son didn't ruin my life. He didn't crush my dreams or goals. Josh wouldn't have and didn't leave me. I make a damn good mother if I say so myself! My son is healthy happy and very much loved. He didn't need to placed because he was wanted.

Carson City, NV


ProChoiceGal said...

It breaks my heart to see people promoting adoption without at all thinking about the woman involved. Adoption has potential, but it needs reform. Too many women are coerced into adoption, and as you said, open adoption is not at all enforceable in most cases. Are women told that when they choose open adoption? Probably not.

I wish people could care more. Seriously. Just for a moment, people should think about how it'd be to go through 9 months of pregnancy, hold a beautiful baby in your arms, and then give that child to someone else to take care of with no guarantee of an actual open adoption. If people cared, then we could have reform, and adoption could be much improved from where it is now.

Sadly, I don't expect people to start caring about women's lives any time soon.

Vvixen said...

The truth is, adoption is often not a woman-friendly alternative. From what I have heard, many more women regret putting a child up for adoption than regret having an abortion.