Adoption, Poverty, Race and Inequality

adopted child with new momInternational or Domestic adoptionImage3Image2Image1

There is much literature on access to abortion and poverty, or motherhood and poverty. The stigma and shame, the pain and humility. When it comes to adoption however, there is virtually none to be found. Poor women don’t deserve the chance on motherhood? The process of adoption is complicated and nerve-wrecking for many. The poverty does not make things any easier for the adoptive parents, but it is a leading cause of poor mothers giving up their children for adoption.

Studies show that 64 percent of white women go through unwanted pregnancy at least once in their lifetime and 19 percent of them give up these children for adoption. Perhaps surprisingly, only 21 percent of Black women face unintended pregnancy in their lifetimes. The reasons for this is community acceptance of children out of wedlock, single parenting. Historian Rickie Solinger states that,

“white women in this situation were defined as occupying a state of ‘shame,’ a condition that admitted rehabilitation and redemption [through adoption]… Black women, illegitimately pregnant, were not shamed but simply blamed…There was no redemption for these women.”

The adoption rate remains fairly low (between 1 to 2 percent), but almost without exception majority of mothers giving up their newly born children are of lower class and socio-economic background. There is an ovewhelming belief, that taking children away from mothers resolves poverty. Sociologist Kathryn Sweeney declares that adoption

“perpetuates culture of poverty arguments by assuming that removing children from families is a solution to poverty; removing children implies that the families they are born into are inadequate to raise them… The focus on failures means that connections are lacking to larger economic systems that lead to placements by disempowered birth mothers and give privileged adoptive parents access to children.”

For all your questions and inquiries please visit our adoption discussion forum.