Proof of Coercion – Quotes from Inside the Adoption Industry

‘Unwed’ Mothers – Exploited as a Source of Babies for Infant Adoption ..

Here are examples from the adoption industry, showing proof that the industry itself knew about and practiced coercion, and still practices it today.  See also the “Coercion Checklist” of common coercion methods that the industry uses on mothers in order to obtain babies for adoption.

Punishment ….

” ‘When she renounces her child for its own good, the unwed mother has learned a lot. She has learned an important human value. She has learned to pay the price for her misdemeanor, and this alone, if punishment is needed, is punishment enough.’ [Dr. Marion Hilliard of Women’s College Hospital] echoes the beliefs of the social workers and the agencies dealing with unwed mothers.” Toronto Telegram, November 22, 1956.

Cost Savings …

“To the Province generally the great advantage and economy of the Adoption Act can be realized when it is stated that many of the children before their adoption were costing five and six dollars a week for maintenance.” – 35th Report of the Superintendent of Neglected and Dependent Children (Ontario, 1928)

Discrimination and Human Rights abuse …

“…. if an unmarried child gives birth to a baby, those circumstances alone ought to justify apprehension of the baby before the baby leaves the hospital unless the unmarried child mother can show that she has a viable plan for looking after and rearing her baby.” – “Board Review” for the Child Welfare System (Canada, 1983) [NOTE: no mention is made of ensuring that the mother has access to social assistance!]

These quotes below were provided courtesy of Karen Wilson Buterbaugh of Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative :

Evidence of the consumer demand they fed by taking our babies, treating us as breeders:

“… the tendency growing out of the demand for babies is to regard unmarried mothers as breeding machines…(by people intent) upon securing babies for quick adoptions.” – Leontine Young, “Is Money Our Trouble?” (paper presented at the National Conference of Social Workers, Cleveland, 1953)

“. . . babies born out of wedlock [are] no longer considered a social problem . . . white, physically healthy babies are considered by many to be a social boon . . . ” (i.e. a valuable commodity..). – Social Work and Social Problems (National Association of Social Workers, 1964)

“Because there are many more married couples wanting to adopt newborn white babies than there are babies, it may almost be said that they rather than out of wedlock babies are a social problem. (Sometimes social workers in adoption agencies have facetiously suggested setting up social provisions for more ‘babybreeding’.)” SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS, National Association of Social Workers, (Out-of-print) copyright 1964

The Industry rationalizes its coercion and abductions:

“When a worker can see that, had the unmarried mother wanted a baby for normal reasons, she would have fallen in love, married, and had a child under normal circumstances, the worker’s problem begins to resolve itself…” OUT OF WEDLOCK, Leontine Young

“. . . women having out-of wedlock children tend to be rather disturbed people. While the American middle-class girl flouting the conventions by an illegitimate pregnancy may well be emotionally sicker than her English, working-class cousins.”- Jane Rowe, adoption social worker, 1950 – 1970

“White girls who have illegitimate babies by coloured men are often emotionally ill as well as socially defiant.”- Jane Rowe, adoption social worker 1950 – 1970

“An agency has a responsibility of pointing out to the unmarried mother the extreme difficulty, if not the impossibility, if she remains unmarried, of raising her child successfully in our culture without damage to the child and to herself …. The concept that the unmarried mother and her child constitute a family is to me unsupportable. There is no family in any real sense of the word.” Joseph H. Reid, Principles, Values, and Assumptions Underlying Adoption Practice, 1956 NAT’L CON. SOC. WORK.

” The fact that social work professional attitudes tend to favor the relinquishment of the baby, as the literature shows, should be faced more clearly. Perhaps if it were recognized, workers would be in less conflict and would therefore feel less guilty about their “failures” (the kept cases). – Social worker Barbara Hansen Costigan, in her dissertation, “The Unmarried Mother–Her Decision Regarding Adoption” (1964)

“If the demand for adoptable babies continues to exceed the supply then it is quite possible that, in the near future, unwed mothers will be “punished” by having their children taken from them right after birth. A policy like this would not be executed — nor labeled explicitly — as “punishment.” Rather, it would be implemented through such pressures and labels as “scientific findings,” “the best interests of the child,” “rehabilitation of the unwed mother,” and “the stability of the family and society.” Unmarried Mothers, by Clark Vincent (1961)

Emotional Coercion …

 ” OVERCOME OBJECTIONS AND STEREOTYPES  ….  Counselors must be trained to give women sound reasons that will counter the desire to keep their babies. One example is to reinforce the notion that it takes a strong, mature woman to place a child for adoption. Honestly addressing the issue of financial survival can be compelling as well. Counselors must communicate that adoption can be an heroic, responsible choice and that the child benefits tremendously ...” – From The Missing Piece: Adoption Counseling In Pregnancy Resource Centers by Curtis J. Young. Family Research Council (2000).

” The open adoption process often begins with an adoption attorney. Paul Meding, a Columbia attorney who has been taking adoption cases for 12 years, works as a medium to match birth mothers with adoptive parents. For Meding, this process has been successful. “In my opinion, when the birth mother can see first hand how important the adoption is to the family, it is more difficult for her to back out and disappoint them.” (“Open Doors,” The Columbia Star, April 29, 2005)

Related links to support, advocacy and action groups:Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative , Origins Canada, Origins America, and Origins Australia.