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yakkygirl

yakkygirl
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Currently a F/T 47 year old mom of a wild two year old boy, whom we adopted from birth. I had a previous life, where did it go? If you find it, please call me.

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Salon.com
JULY 1, 2009 10:42PM

Cash for Babies

Rate: 1 Flag

I recently found this video clip on the NY Times website.

I think it brings up some interesting ideas, unfortunately I don't think either of these two have a clue. Having adopted twice, once successfully and once not successfully, I feel that I can bring a bit more experience to the table.

Firstly, we may as well start before pregnancy on this issue...I was a big supporter of the group that offers cash for women addicts to get deprovera.  There are very good reasons why reason drug addicts should get an incentive to get themselves a long term, easy method of birth control (which can be removed at any time).

I'll save that argument for another day.

As far as incentives to get a woman to carry a baby to term, let's examine some of the scenarios... 

 A woman with a history of drug abuse, whose living situation is unstable (perhaps she lives with relatives, friends, occasional boyfriend) finds herself pregnant. If she carries this baby to term the baby will almost certainly be prenatally exposed to drugs. OK, so perhaps this situation is acceptable to some. Maybe she will straighten her life out, or give the baby up for adoption to a family who can cope with possible long term effects (learning disabilities, hyperactivity, behavior issues). In fact, THAT family was US. We adopted a baby with this scenario two and a half years ago and our toddler is the light of our lives... (this was the successful adoption)

Let's up the ante though. Say this woman is over 35, at this point her risk of giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome is 1/365 and by age 45, the risk is 1/30. You can check it out at this website.

Taking care of a Down's Syndrome baby is tough work. If the woman was considering abortion (maybe she has enough children or is is single and overwhelmed at the thought of parenting alone), it certainly makes sense that once giving birth to a high needs infant, she is likely going to put the baby up for adoption. However, if we pay women money to carry these babies with Down Syndrome to term, we will be adding more kids to the ranks of the many Down Syndrome kids who are already waiting to be adopted. (It takes special people to knowingly adopt a Down Syndrome baby, and there are not always enough of these special people available.)

I'll be honest, I had a hard time finding statistics on families who are waiting to adopt down's syndrome babies, but I looked at several agency websites, who posted notices that they were looking for families to adopt babies already born with Down Syndrome, so I think that indicates that the "supply is greater than demand" at this time.

Back to prenatal drug exposure... a lot of drug addicted pregnant women may be self medicating their own mental health issues. People with schizophrenia and bipolar disease who are not taking proper medication will likely have troubles parenting (assuming they wish to)  and I am pretty sure that families aren't lining up to adopt babies who may have be carrying the genes for disorders of this kind.

OK, one more scenario, the mom to be is in her 20s. She doesn't take drugs and she has no mental health issues. Sounds perfect right? Wrong. Does she like to drink? Does she drink daily? Enjoy a drunken night out? According to the CDC, this drinking is considered risk drinking that can lead to a child born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effects (most easily refered to as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, FASD). One in 300 babies born in the US are on this spectrum (and that number is likely underreported. The thing about FASD is that its not always obvious what the underlying problem is, its often misdiagnosed, and there is a likely great deal of shame preventing mothers from acknowledging the issue.)

What does that a kid with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Effects look like?

  FAS facial characteristics

Well, besides this picture, let me tell you. It's your worst nightmare. It involves mental retardation, heart issues, stunted growth, limb deformities.. you can check out this page to hear more of this 100% preventable disease.

It's bascially child abuse in the womb. Isn't it better to let the woman choose to abort this fetus, than paying a woman to maim  it before it is even born?

Again, there may be some people willing to adopt these kids but they aren't easy to find. I know, because I had to find new parents for our child.

 

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Comments

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The only thing I could think of, and it horrifies me to say so, but I just know there are people that would get pregnant on purpose to get paid for not having an abortion. I fail to see how this is an improvement.

I personally have never given a child up for adoption, so I cannot be sure of the following claim, but don't organizations work with you when it comes to things like caring for your child when you are pregnant, so that you can hopefully deliver a healthy child for adoption? That makes sense to me. resources to help deliver a healthy baby for adoption.
Give me cash money for getting pregnant doesn't strike me the right way. Alas, that's how I took it.

As the person on the other side of the coin, and adoptee, I'm glad that my biological mother made the decision to carry me to term and then put me up for adoption, so that I would have the chance to be on this planet. If I'd ever discovered that there was a monetery compensation in place for her to not have an abortion, any feeling that I had of her making the most difficult decision out of desire for me to have good life would be gone. I would immediately be left with the added sidecar of thinking of myself as a disposable paycheck. No good.
I WISH that there were more things that were done so that women who do not want to be pregnant would be encouraged to act in the best interest of their fetus WHILE they are pregnant. I can tell you firsthand that agencies are too nervous that the woman will change her mind to work with them, if the agency asks too many questions... Some agencies include a voluntary meth test occasionally... but unlike some drugs, meth can leave the system much quicker, so it is not much of a deterrent. Alcohol is also out of the system relatively quickly. The agency can provide rent (in some states) and basic needs (clothes, medical care) but this wouldn't necessarily affect the desire of the woman to stay healthy.

I think the best way to accomplish keeping the fetus healthy in a woman who is not planning to keep the baby is to provide accommodations in a setting that removes the opportunities to use drugs, and increases her chances of personal success after the pregnancy. For example, if someone is in a bad living situation, unable to afford rent to move out, providing a place to go could help keep the woman from using drugs to cope.

If one keeps going with this idea and creates a group setting, it would not have to be a "home for unwed mothers" in the sense of shame and secrecy, but a step to independence where there are healthy meals, skill classes and support. (I know of some agencies that create this type of scenario, but religion is involved. Frankly, it sounds like a scenario that would include a great deal of proselytizing and judgment.) The nice thing about this (assuming it is NOT run by an adoption agency) is that the mother would not feel compelled to go the adoption route but may decide that after the support and skill classes, she may be ready to parent the child once it is born...
Yeah, that's too bad. I can understand wanting to have a modicum of privacy of course, and finding some of that stuff bordering on judgements for the mother, but at the same time, I know that I would rather be on the road to having a healthy baby, personally.

But I guess people cope differently. I think the idea of support would be a good one. Support doesn't have to automatically mean monetary support, and I guess that's where a lot of problems come from. Support shouldn't be synonymous for Throw Money At It!