I’m an outspoken critic of the current system of adoption, especially domestic infant adoption. I think it’s a coercive, manipulative system that takes advantage of women in certain situations. If these moms simply had support, they would have been able to keep their baby in most cases. I don’t think a woman should feel like she has no other choice than to relinquish her infant to adoption because she is young, poor or lacks education.
I’d like to highlight some methods and programs to offer support to families typically targeted by the adoption industry. The goal is to create an environment that is supportive of parenting efforts and this support can be offered in a variety of ways including emotional, material or financial.
What if we stopped shaming young parents and instead showed them respect and looked for ways to support them? #NoTeenShame is a hashtag used on Twitter. If you search this hashtag, you will find the voices of many young parents who are sharing their successes in parenting. They are showing that they can not only parent well but are actually excelling in their efforts.
We cannot disrespect young women by telling them they should not keep their baby because they are too young to know their own needs but then say that women should be confident and secure. By becoming involved in the conversation and highlighting the positive voices of young parents, those of us in the adoption reform community set the example in respecting their voices and advancing the dialog around family preservation.
Moms Helping Moms Foundation
I love the idea behind this New Jersey organization. Moms Helping Moms Foundation accepts donations of new boxes of diapers and wipes and new and very gently used clothing and baby gear. Moms Helping Moms Foundation has partnered with local organizations to distribute these items to local families in need of assistance. They also connect individuals to services that help support them during pregnancy during the first 3 years of parenthood. It’s that simple! No money paid for the donations and no money collected from those that need it. I love the simplicity behind it.
New Life Center for Family Preservation
New Life Center for Family Preservation is an organization that serves homeless pregnant women and teens in Polk County, FL. They are literally dedicated to family preservation by providing housing and support to those who are homeless and pregnant by meeting their spiritual, emotional and tangible needs. “Our organization is focused on family preservation and our program reflects our focus by meeting the needs of homeless pregnant women, supporting them in their desire to keep and raise their baby.”
Second Chance Homes
Supportive home environments for young teen moms are active in many states. Second Chance Homes is one of many programs ran by the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential (GCAPP). “The Second Chance Homes Network help teen mothers become self-sufficient by providing them a stable living environment, educational support to complete high school, parent skills and life skills.”
What’s Near You?
If you are near any of these programs, I’d like to invite you to become active with them or to find other organizations in your area that support young families. Whether it’s collecting a few baby items to donate to an organization, making financial donations or becoming involved in a larger conversation highlighting successful young parents and their stories, all of these efforts are ways to support family preservation.
If you would like to highlight programs that you’re familiar with that support young mothers or other programs that support natural family preservation, please post links in a comment. Thank you!
Edit: Fantastic guide of family preservation programs by country and state in this post at Lost Daughters.