America's Secret Crime Against the Family

by Jess DelBalzo

It is child abuse, slavery, and rape all rolled into one pretty package, marketed to wealthy infertile couples as the answer to all their prayers and forced upon unsuspecting members of the lower classes. It is an industry that earns $1.4 billion each year shamelessly promoting its product with no regard for the damage it is doing to children and their parents. Surprise! It is not the tobacco industry, nor is it a chemical company polluting our air and water. It is adoption, and it is toxic to America's families.

Deemed a "loving option" by social workers, agencies, and anti-abortion crusaders, adoption puts children at risk for a myriad of psychological problems that range in severity. That may sound like love to the people who receive a portion of the $1.4 billion, but it should scream child abuse to anyone else. After all, parents can be prosecuted for child neglect over something as simple as a messy house. And in reality, adoption workers are guilty of more than neglect. Since the 1940s, professionals have known about the damaging effects of adoption on mothers and children. In fact, the Florence Crittenton Home brochure from 1942-1956 responded to suggestions of adoption with the statement, "Motherhood, and the love and care of a baby, strengthens the character of every girl who has the mentality to grasp it. As to the child: psychologists and social workers have learned that no material advantage can make up for the loss of its own mother." In spite of their knowledge, the Florence Crittenton homes went on to become some of America's biggest adoption proponents, once supply and demand made it more profitable to sever a mother's rights and sell her infant to a wealthy but sterile couple.

The abuse that adoptees suffer throughout their lives comes in many forms. As infants, they are separated from the only person they have ever known: their mothers. They're born into the world expecting the familiar scent of family and the warm voice that they grew accustomed to in utero, and instead they're handed over to strangers masquerading as "mommy" and "daddy." Because this severing of the world's most natural bond occurs at a time in a child's life when he is unable to communicate his emotions and experiences, it is a trauma that will stay with him into adulthood. Adopted people also report struggling with their identities, as the legal lie that they are "as if born to" their adopters works far better on paper than it does in the real world. Already a trying time for any young person, adolescence presents a special challenge for adoptees who lack knowledge of their heritage, family traits, and other critical factors for establishing one's self. Perhaps this explains why adopted children are over-represented at both in and out-patient psychological treatment facilities.

As if it's not bad enough that every adopted child is at risk for the complex psychological problems that seem to come with the territory, these children are also more likely to be physically or sexually abused. One fact that the adoption industry would love to ignore is that children are more likely to be abused by people other than their true parents. Perhaps we should evaluate this as common sense. Mothers especially have a primal instinct to care for their children and ensure the survival of their family trees. For true families, a baby is not valuable for profit but for the fact that he is living proof of a connection to the past and future. As parents, our instinct is to protect, rather than abuse something so precious and rare.

However, the abuse of the adopted child is not the only crime committed against him. Adoptees, stripped of their families, given new names and even falsified birth certificates, make up a new generation of slaves in America. In a society where the average cost of a private adoption is $60,000, agencies and social workers see infants only through the dollar signs in their eyes. The child's welfare takes second place to the profit he can bring in; otherwise, parents would be informed of the risks of adoption before they could surrender their babies. Instead, children are sold like miniature slaves. Their birth records are altered to reflect the names of their purchasers rather than their parents, and their true birth certificate is sealed away. They are the only Americans who are denied the right to know their own name and the names of their parents.

Some are abused, tortured, or killed at the hands of those who claim to love them. Others, like the "fortunate" slaves of the 19th century, are treated well by their adopters. But we all know that once you've been stripped of your rights, taken from your family, and forced into an uncomfortable lie, there's no such thing as being fortunate. In their adopter's homes, children are the ones expected to do the care-taking, to compensate for the babies they couldn't have, to fill a void in the marriage that's gone stale, or to guard them emotionally from the harsh realities of the world. Adoption's smallest victims become slaves to the lies that surround them and protectors of the only caregivers they have been granted. Denied knowledge of their true parents' whereabouts, they have nowhere to run. And they know what's expected of them: to be "as if born to" their adopters, to act out the role they were purchased to play.

Investigating why any parent would knowingly surrender their child to abuse and enslavement, we learn about a third crime in adoption. Since the 1950s, fathers have been exiled while mothers have been raped of their infants. Their bodies have been used as incubators, and once their purpose has been served, they are expected to fade silently into the shadows. The common defense of the rapist is the simple statement, "She asked for it," and the same has been said of the woman who dared to experience her sexuality outside of marriage. Adoption is the punishment she "deserved" for getting caught in defiance of our puritanical ideals. A life-time of grief, regret, depression, and trauma to make amends for one night of passion (which could have just as easily been a physical rape itself). Used, abused, and discarded, these mothers have been raped of their children and their souls.

Unlike the victim of a physical rape, the mother of adoption loss is not permitted to grieve. She has been told, by the same "professionals" who spied her baby with dollar signs in their eyes, that she is doing the "best thing," the only thing to do, and if she truly loved her baby she would do it. No one tells her what's down the road for her, or for her child. No one mentions the grieving that both will endure. No one speaks about the immense gap that will fill their lives once they've been separated. Instead, she is told that she is "giving a gift" to an infertile couple, as if it is her responsibility to meet the demands of a barren stranger. Like something out of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, she is expected to quietly serve her purpose and promptly disappear.

The tactics that are used to rape the new mother vary. Without anyone to tell her otherwise, and wanting to fulfill her child's needs, she may believe the social workers when they tell her about the "loving institution" of adoption. After all, they work in a helping profession, and wouldn't they want to help her? She isn't told how much money will change hands along with her precious child. If she does become suspicious or recoils at the idea of adoption, she won't be left alone to care for her child. Instead, they will pressure her when she's most vulnerable, when she's just delivered and is groggy from labor or medication, when they lie and tell her that she can't revoke the pre-birth consent that she signed, when they batter her verbally and accuse her of being selfish for wanting her own baby. Selfish! Yet the adopters, standing at the door with their wallets open, begging to take home someone else's baby—they are regarded as saints.

Once a mother has been raped of her child by the adoption industry, her torture is just beginning. Every time she turns around, she'll be reminded of society's stereotypical "birth" mother; the drug-addicted, child-abusing tramp. In reality, she is none of the above. Yet, when reading the newspaper, she will be confronted with offensive language, labeling her a "birth" or "biological" parent, degrading her by tearing away her right to be regarded as her child's true mother. Television shows will present sappy stories of happy adopters, and she'll watch, knowing all the while that for every gloating adopter, there is a mother who grieves over the loss of her child. Mother's Day will come and go, and while other mothers receive cards and home-made gifts from their children, she receives nothing. At the mercy of the adoption industry, she gave away all her love and has only heartache to show for it.

These raped mothers and their enslaved, abused children are secrets in America. To report on them is to damage a sector of our economy, an industry that earns $1.4 billion a year through coercion, dishonesty, and suffering. We don't like to recognize that there are people in this world who put on the facade of a helper while working behind the scenes for their own benefits. We shy away from acknowledging pain and suffering, especially when it appears on the face of someone who "should" have gone on with her life. We are cowards when it comes to allowing the truth to disrupt an easier, fantasy life. But continuing down this path will only lead to further destruction of children and their families. We must prosecute those responsible for the crimes of adoption, and we must work harder to ensure that these abusive practices are discontinued. These secret crimes cannot be hidden forever at the expense of our mothers, fathers, and children. The adoption industry may be a money-maker, but the value of family cannot be measured in dollars and cents.


New Jersey Woman Devotes Life to Natural Families


New Jersey Woman Devotes Life to Natural Families

Everyone benefits from adoption." We've all heard that message from the adoption industry so often we think it must be true. Adoptees smiling and happy, natural moms so grateful someone has taken their child for them. And of course the people adopting are all completely satisfied. It seems so fantastic, it's a wonder no one ever considers whether this is the true picture or just advertising.

Flemington, NJ (PRWEB) May 27, 2004 -- With her long braids, Ms. Jessica DelBalzo looks more like a farm girl than an anti-adoption activist. DelBalzo was a student at Bridgewater-Raritan high school in Bridgewater, New Jersey when she first started researching adoption. "In American Law class, we used to have a lot of debates, and one came up about abortion. Quite a few of the other students kept saying how adoption was so much better and something just clicked with me that made me question everything I thought I knew about adoption. That's when I started researching it, talking with and emailing natural parents and adoptees, and getting past the rhetoric to see what was really going on."

What DelBalzo learned about adoption in the years since the discussion in her high school class led her to found the non-profit organization that goes by the controversial, in-your-face name "Adoption: Legalized Lies" in July of 1998. The organization, registered at the state level as non-profit, is now in the process of getting 501c3 status from the federal government. It provides support for those separated by adoption, promotes awareness of the risks inherent in adoption, and provides a hotline and support to natural families to help them keep their children.

DelBalzo observes: "Anti-choice advocates frequently present adoption as an alternative to abortion. What they don't realize is that a large number of women, having lost one child to adoption, opt to abort subsequent unplanned pregnancies because the thought of losing another child is unbearable. Adopted women often choose abortion as well, when they find themselves pregnant unexpectedly. They don't want another child to suffer through the feelings of loss and abandonment they experiences as an adoptee. Even if she once considered abortion, a woman who gives birth has bonded to her baby. It's cruel to pressure a mother to give up her own son or daughter. People are being led to believe they will get over it and just go on with their lives. It is not something people just get over. Even newborns recognize their own mothers and fathers, and being taken away is a traumatic event that stays with them forever."

Adoption: Legalized Lies provides an email list for members which combines support and activism. DelBalzo explains: "In addition to receiving support and feedback from people who really understand what they've been through, our members also feel that taking action to prevent adoption from occurring in the future is one very good way to recover from their own losses."

The Adoption: Legalized Lies (A.L.L.) website provides information about the risks inherent in adoption and provides a hotline and support for families who wish to keep their children and grandchildren.

Much of the effort of A.L.L. members involves writing for magazines, newspapers and other media outlets to educate the public about the negative effect adoption has on children and their families.

In addition the organization has sponsored art displays in three cities, Spokane, WA; Bernardsville, NJ; and Flemington, NJ, to raise awareness about the traumatic impact adoption has on adopted people and natural parents.

When asked about the name, Jess said the group ended up selecting 'Adoption: Legalized Lies' because it is honest and straight-forward. "What is dishonest about adoption is the legal lie that adopters become parents just because they've gone through the adoption process. In truth families are created by nature and cannot just be replaced by even the most loving legal guardians. It's harmful to children to deny their true families."

In keeping with it's in-your-face attitude, the organization recently published a book called "Stolen Choices, Stolen Children". The book contains essays, articles and colorful artwork by mothers, adoptees and activists who believe that the way adoption is practiced in America prevents it from being a true choice for expectant parents.

Asked why no one knows about the realities of adoption, DelBalzo said: "Adoption has managed to maintain 'sacred cow' status in America, but adoption is not a benevolent institution. In reality it is a $1.5 billion industry. Like any other business, it must maintain a steady flow of its 'product' to its customers and maintain a customer base and overall image through advertising."

"People think it is saving them tax dollars, but when you look at the whole picture and how much the adopters are getting in training, monthly payments, medical expenses and counseling over and above what a natural family would get and when you look at other factors like adoption bonuses it seems very unlikely. In addition, when you consider how frequently those who are separated from their families end up in extreme forms of counseling or in jail, it seems that this is creating a social problem rather than alleviating one. After all, the best situation for the child is not considered in most cases. Adopters who have the money are 'purchasing' the child of their specifications. If there are attachment problems, the adopters can go back and negotiate more government benefits."

"Many adoptees do find ways to cope, but why give them an extra hurdle to overcome? Children are more likely to be abused by strangers than by their own family. Many of the older child adoptions result in the child being returned to foster care or emancipated before age 18. When you consider all the factors, helping the family just makes more sense."

Today, 24-year-old DelBalzo has a BA in Political Science with a minor in Psychology from Rutgers University. She has a 19 month old daughter Rylie with partner Mike Kukal, who, along with the rest of her family is supportive of her efforts to promote natural family preservation.

The original group of twelve members has grown to include 230 adoptees, natural mothers and grandmothers and anti-adoption activists.

Asked what the best thing about her work is, DelBalzo replied: "Helping people keep their children. We help them understand that they have a right to keep their child and if they need it we will find them baby supplies, housing resources, and other necessities. We explain how adoption will affect siblings and other family members, even those not yet born. Recently we heard back from one pregnant mother who emailed to say: 'We are sitting here crying. Thank you for your help.' She later let us know that she had a boy and both were doing fine. That always makes me feel very, very good."

Ms. Jessica DelBalzo
Adoption: Legalized Lies, Inc.
4 Tower Road
Martinsville, NJ 08836
Hotline: 1-866-41-TRUTH

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