Adoptee answers another adoptee's questions about a specific agency that handles adoption.
Adoptee Question on Mercy Ministries Agency
Q: I'm still unsure if I want to go through with it [reunion] or not. I don't think I want to get rejected twice but, I digress. I had a closed adoption but, I was looking at Mercy Ministries' website and it says that people putting their kids up for adoption need all medical records. So, I guess I could believe my amom when she says I'm fine. Do you know anything about Mercy Ministries? They are weird. I bet I'll have to pay.
A: Hello, fellow victim of closed adoption! How nice it is to meet you under these unfortunate circumstances. I understand your trepidation of being rejected again. I think that’s one of those issues tying many of us adoptees together for the rest of our lives. So, I salute you, Rejection Buddy! I make jokes so I don’t cry. Anyway, I do want to talk about that, but I’d like to touch on some of the other things you mentioned beforehand.
I, too, was looking at Mercy Ministries’ websites. All I can say is.. Run for your lives from the creepy religious cult! I’d like to say I’m kidding, but there are some key phrases and ideas used that scare me. First, they say they are “free.” Which is probably truer for the baby producer than it is for the adoptive persons. Right out of the gate, as an adoptive couple, you’re paying $25 dollars just to receive an application. You’ll be sending it back in with $200. And then, my my, look at all those other fees they’ve tacked on… But their misleading financial statements are just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a look. (The following quotes were taken directly from the website, links have been provided. If you prefer graphical versions of the quotes, as in snips from the website, please scroll down to the bottom of the essay and use the Tumblr Permalink.)
"We don't teach methods of coping with life-controlling issues, we teach God's unconditional love, forgiveness and life-transforming power. Our program gives young women the tools they need to break free! We apply Christian..."
Sorry, smoothing over “life-controlling” issues with a glaze of religiosity doesn’t mean the problems are fixed or that the person has learned a healthy way of coping with their issues. Failing to address the cause of these issues doesn’t just seem irresponsible, it’s detrimental to the overall wellbeing of the clients. (http://www.mercyministries.org/who_we_are/about/)
"...been physically and sexually abused, including victims of sex trafficking. Using proven methods, a holistic approach and professional counselors in a structured residential environment, Mercy has helped thousands of young women be..."
The site keeps referring to “proven methods,” but doesn’t state what those methods are, aside from becoming obedient to their religion, or who has approved them. Anyone can say they’ve approved a method and come up with statistics to back them. It just means someone’s inventive and knows creative language. If your method really works, let’s have an open forum on the safety and effectiveness of your method. Then again, if your method just involves religious brainwashing…What’s a cult again? (http://www.mercyministries.org/who_we_are/about/)
And then there’s...
"We believe in following the example of Christ in water baptism. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and the believer's death to sin, burial of the old life, and a.."
"We believe in the Lord's Supper as a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church remember the death of Christ by partaking of bread and fruit of the vine."
"Life Skills Training - Each young woman receives training in the areas of cooking, cleaning, managing a home environment, and managing a budget. These skills are taught in a class format and in a practical way, as each person is responsible for assigned chores in the home."
"The Church universal is the Body of Christ, and it consists of all true believers who are associated by their convenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel. The various local churches are smaller entities of the universal body of true believers. The Church operates under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and He raises up..."
...statements about obedience and true believers, and the agency's take on what life skills women need. All of which combine together to say this: “You won’t go to hell if you demonstrate you’re true believer by being an obedient homemaker.”
From what I saw the site never refers to its clients as anything but ‘young women’ and ‘girls,’ even though they take clients between 13 and 28. I’m wonder why there’s an upper age limit. Perhaps women are harder to mentally control after a certain age, similar to the military wanting young people to mold? Or maybe it’s just a need to keep their clients in a perpetual state of youth and innocence? Well, that certainly makes it easier to take their client’s children from them, doesn’t it?
I particularly adore one line they’ve included in their Adoption Process statement: "Adoption Staff also take into consideration what our adoptive families have expressed they are open to regarding a birthparent’s situation (i.e.: baby’s gender, ethnicity, health, birthmother’s drug/mental health history, etc.)." (http://www.mercyministries.org/downloads/AdoptionProcess.pdf) Isn’t it amusing how people who want to adopt because it’s ‘best for the children’ and it’s ‘God’s plan’ are worried about things like gender and ethnicity and health? You’d think human adoption was like going to a pet store…
I have a feeling I could go on about this agency for a while, but in the interest of moving on to your other requests I’ll stop. Suffice to say that, although this agency says they don’t make money off of adoption practices, being a non-profit doesn’t mean you don’t have a profit. It just means your organization falls within a set of financial rules according to the IRS. Also, clearly, this organization is very interested in insuring its clients meet the expectations of and graduate from their program of ‘How to Become a Good Christian Wife.’
Here’s the problem with adoptees being issued out through organizations like this: The people they give babies to share their beliefs. They want these babies to grow up as obedient true believers. So, you’ll not catch a Catholic adoption agency selling an adoptee to a gay black couple. They want these babies in the hands of those they deem to be “obedient true believers with good life skills” and they are the party who gets to decide who is obedient, has the proper life skills, and is a true believer. So, they take the babies of the “unfit” who have “life-controlling” issues, because that’s what unwed single mothers or any women who has sex out of wedlock are, and hand them to their followers. See how the cycle works? Call it helping, use a religious associated name, or say you’re a charity and BAM – You’re in business. Quite charismatic, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, that probably means that somewhere down the line your aparents might have subscribed to the brainwashing. I love my aparents, but my mother especially is a victim of the brainwashing. Though she sometimes tries to understand the pain I feel, she wants to believe there is an easy resolution available to fix the problems or that the problems don’t exist at all. An example would be my want to find my biological family. ANY biological family. I get the impression she believes finding them will somehow seal over the hole I have in my identity and my heart. It will help, it will be wonderful to find them, but that hole is a part of who I am now. It became that way the moment I was removed from my bfamily. Of course, judging from some of the statements your agency made on their website, avoidance isn’t the only issue you might be facing.
Sometimes you’ll have difficulty when you’re trying to get answers to medical questions from your afamily. You’ll get half-assed replies or answers that have obvious holes in them. Keep asking. The other side of the coin is your afamily might not know. According to your message to me somewhere on the site it “says that people putting their kids up for adoption need all medical records,” but for the life of me I couldn’t find it right now. I believe you, not only because it makes sense but because I’ve not known an agency, in this era, that didn’t fret over the health of its production line. It’s the healthy, particularly white domestic, babies that bring in the most cash and the most desire for ownership. They will ask all sorts of medical questions and do all sorts of tests, both physical and psychological.
Now days some agencies are doing a better job of translating those findings to the documents provided the afamily. I know that was an ambiguous statement. It’s honestly the best I can give. Unfortunately, I am only able to tell you there are no universal federal laws stating what rights adoptees have to their medical histories, regardless of what state they were adopted in or who conducted the adoption. This also means that your aparents may not have been provided the information. If you are confident they were provided with the information, I would ask if you or your parents have made any inquiries to see if the information in your file has been updated.
If Mercy Ministries works like my agency, then you won’t be notified if there is an update to your file. That is to say, if members of your bfamily contact the agency and provide new medical or other information. You may have to contact your agency and submit an application along with a fee to get any information in your file. Also, if your agency is like mine, they won’t tell you whether or not there is any updated information. So, you might end up doing all of that for no reason. Keep in mind the information you will get will most likely be non-identifying.
If you don’t have updated information, then you need to realize whatever information you do have is as old as you are. Considering how much has changed in the world of medicine over the last several decades, that’s a scary thought.
As far as fees… yeah…best guess is be prepared to pay for everything and let it be a pleasant surprise if you don’t.
There’s a big part of me that has no idea what I’ll do if my bfamily rejects/abandons me a second time. It’s that part of me that asks, “What was the point of them giving me up ‘for a better life,’ if they don’t even care enough to see me?” Ouch. There is a psychological mess happening there. It’s self-depreciating, it’s assuming one life is better than another, it’s basing my self-worth upon the expectations and needs of others, and it’s just all around a negative thought. It really creeps up though, doesn’t it, that kind of thinking?
There’s still another part of me that asks, “If I finally find out about this piece of me that I’ve never had, am I going to lose a piece of who I am?” Yeah, that’s probably confusing. I’ll break it down. I’ve built part of my identity around being an adoptee. I go by the name Cryptic Omega (I’ll link you to the essay on that, if you’re interested), I fight and educate for adoptee’s rights, I spend hours upon hours searching for my bfamily, and I practically vomit support at my fellow adoptees. Tied to all of that is the emotion that comes with adoption. The anger and the pain from my loss and the comradery with my fellow adoptees. How could adoption not be part of my identity? So, what if I find my bfamily and it’s the fairy tale reunion? I’ll still have some emotion tied to the affair and questions I might never have answered, but am I no longer Cryptic Omega? Do you lose your identity again?
I’ve seen reunions go either way. I’ve seen adoptees go through that hell and I’ve seen them live that bliss. If that happens, if you are rejected/abandoned again, I can’t take away that pain. I imagine I would positively crumble to my knees and be inconsolable for an extended period of time. I might even contemplate suicide. (DO NOT DO THAT.) Cry, scream, pound upon pillows, but remember above all you are not alone. There are millions of us out there and the internet is finally bringing us all together. There are support groups on Facebook, there are blogs on Tumblr, there are activist groups, and there are books and poems and essays and our voice is growing hard to ignore. Shoot me a message if you’re looking for an adoptees only support group on Facebook. No birth families, no nonadoptees, just adoptees supporting other adoptees.
Judging by your message I’m also hoping your afamily, or at least your amom, will be supportive of you. If you’re lucky enough to have a supportive afamily then please use them! Another option is to find a therapist who has experience in dealing with adoption issues. There aren’t a ton of them out there, but they do exist. Google is our friend.
If you choose reunion I hope you get the fairy tale. I hope your heart is elated and you cry with your long lost bfamily while you hug each other. I hope there are many pictures taken, letters written, and long term relationships develop!
But, if not, you’re not alone.
As usual, this became longer than I had anticipated. I hope I’ve been able to answer some of your questions. I’m here if you need me!
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