We have warnings on everything in this country. My blow dryer has a warning label with a red line crossed over a picture of a blow dryer and a bath tub. My flat iron has a warning label with pictures on both sides. One is a drawing of a baby reaching for the flat iron with a big slash through the picture. The other side shows a giant eye next to a flat iron with a big line slashed through the picture. And, of course, there are all of the pillows in my house that have, or once had, labels that say “UNDER PENALTY OF LAW: THIS TAG IS NOT TO BE REMOVED EXCEPT BY THE CONSUMER”. Now that’s a stern warning! For a pillow nonetheless!
We have all made fun of these labels at one time or another in our lives. The conversations usually go something like this, “Who in the world needs to be told that you shouldn’t throw your blow dryer in the bath tub?! Or “You know someone had to have sued some company complaining they weren’t told that your kid can be burned by a hot iron. That’s the only reason they put that label on there.”
So, if we have to have warning labels warning of something that, for most of us, would be common sense. Why don’t adoption agencies and pregnancy resource centers have to provide disclaimers and warnings that their “counselors” are, or are not (whatever the case may be) licensed mental health workers and that their interests lie in the views and opinions of the agency they work for. If we can think its important enough to make sure EVERYONE understands that electricity and water don’t mix and that hot things burn, why can’t we make sure EVERYONE understands that adoption agencies and crisis pregnancy centers are motivated by the money they will make when you give away your child?
Most of us learn from a young age not to touch hot things. An elementary science class teaches us about electricity. So why do we have to have those warning labels? Probably to cover those who claim they didn’t know or couldn’t read or whatever. How many people would that be? Probably not very many who truly didn’t understand and the remainder trying to make a buck off a lawsuit. Thus the labels and drawings as well as instructions in different languages to cover them.
To give away your baby, though, there are no holds barred. Women don’t deserve warnings or disclaimers or even drawings of tearful women and babies and broken hearts. They can be misled and even lied to and when they cry foul they are told they should have “just known better”. They made a choice. It’s their own fault if they didn’t think it through.
Women go to adoption agencies and crisis centers for help and are offered “counseling”. They are told most of society says their child should grow up in a two parent home. They are told they aren’t good enough, rich enough, or educated enough to parent their child. They pat her head and say, “let the adults take care of this, you just sit there and be quiet”. They are told adoption is a “loving” choice. They are told that they can have an open adoption and choose their baby’s parents. After she relinquishes and reality hits her they claim “you should have known better”. The open adoption closes and she finds out that it was never “legally” enforceable in the first place. Then she should have done a better job educating herself.
Women go to these agencies and centers at arguably one of the most vulnerable times of their lives. They are scared and often alone with little or no support. If someone does show up with them for support, that person is forbidden to be a part of the meetings. It is classic hard sell tactics, and there are very few rules with what they can or cannot say. They cannot threaten her life. They can, and do, make her ashamed, guilty and unworthy. Why do we let them do this to women. Why, when we acknowledge that people need to be warned they can burn themselves on something hot and to keep it away from children? Why do we think a scared, overwhelmed and vulnerable person is capable of thinking straight and making sound logical decisions? Why do we think it’s okay not to present all the facts to her? Why do we think she doesn’t deserve a warning?