I was adopted as an infant. Relinquished at birth and placed at 7 weeks. My family was open about this from the beginning, and one of my very earliest memories was being told that I was adopted.
But I was also told that I was an only child because of Roe v Wade.
“Your daddy and I tried [to adopt again] when you were about 2 or 3,” my mother often said, “but abortion had become legal and we couldn’t get a baby. They said we could get an older child, but we didn’t think that would be fair to you.”
(I found out much later abortion was somewhat legal in NC prior to Roe. But my mother has never been on speaking terms with truth)
The whole “I could’ve been aborted” thing made me grow up staunchly pro-life. I also (if you’re new here) spent 20 years in fundamentalist Christianity. So I have a pretty solid insight on how these people think.
And while the phrase wasn’t something Alito wrote directly (it’s in a footnote) it is most certainly something they care about.
Adoption As Missions
Why do white Christians like adopting from 3rd world countries so much? They would most certainly prefer white babies. But they “feel called” to adopt children from other countries specifically to proselytize them. It’s not about economic advantages, it’s specifically about converting them to whatever flavor of Christianity the adoptive parents practice.
International adoptions, by the way, are especially problematic and corrupt. All too often there are family members who want to take these children in, but who are pushed aside in favor of white westerners. Sometimes, the parents aren’t even truly out of the picture or incapable of raising the children.
And when it comes to trauma, the pain of separation from the birth parent is magnified by the loss of cultural identity, and racial identity. Growing up not looking like my family was one thing – we were the same race. I can’t even fathom what it must be like navigating racism in society when your own parents don’t understand it. Or worse, express it themselves.
If there were a “domestic supply of infants” many of these people could satisfy their baby hunger without having to go overseas or sully their homes with “dirty” brown or black children. They still get to be martyrs because adoption is hard, y’all, but we all know white babies are just “better stock” to start with. (Ugh I got queasy even typing that.)
The Baby Scoop Era
Something a lot of non- adoptees aren’t familiar with is the Baby Scoop Era. This is a time period from the end of WWII to the early 1970’s. There was a lot of unwed pregnancy, and a whole lot of adoption.
A good percentage of those adoptions were coerced, or even straight up forced upon the birth parent. There were Unwed Mother’s Homes where girls who were “in trouble” disappeared to for a while. Stories were told about Peggy or Debbie going to help a relative in a time of need or some such.
Or, in the case of my birth mother, she dropped out of school and didn’t leave the house for the last few months. When she went into labor her dad drove her to a clinic in the next county/state and dropped her off at the door. He picked her up when she was discharged after relinquishing me.
What a lot of folks don’t understand is just how profitable adoption is. Today, with abortion still legal in most of the US, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry. Just imagine how that will skyrocket when Baby Scoop II comes into effect.
And My Experience Is Privileged
I was a white domestic infant placed with white domestic parents. Let’s talk for a minute about domestic minority birth parents and babies.
Because it has a good bit in common with the problems of international adoption.
Before the Indian Child Welfare Act was passed in 1978, approximately 30% of Native children were being removed, and up to 85% of them were being placed outside of their communities, even when fit and willing relatives were available.
(Notably, Justice Alito also wrote the majority opinion that recently undercut the ICWA and overturned a ruling that a Cherokee father keep custody of his biological daughter, who had been placed for adoption by her white mother.)
The same is true with Black families. A shocking 53% of Black children’s homes are investigated by child welfare officials. Meanwhile, Black families are systematically discriminated against when they attempt to become foster or adoptive parents to children of their own race and cultures.
So while there are a lot of white Christians who want white babies, there are also a lot who want minority babies. Some will claim they “don’t see color” and just erase the child’s ethnic background. That’s one form of psychological abuse.
Others will, if history is any indication, treat these children like indentured servants.
The very best case scenario is a family that tries it’s best and understands trauma, that doesn’t force any religion on a child but let’s them make up their own mind. That exposes them to the culture they came from. Even then the child is going to have trauma. The best that can be done is minimize it and try to treat it.
Of course, an even better thing to do would be to keep families together to start with. But Pro-life people don’t see it that way.
Not Just Patriarchy – Paternalism
They really think they know better than others how their lives should be led. Not just life decisions like what to do with an unplanned pregnancy, but what beliefs you should hold. What you should wear. Whether or not you should have sex or use birth control.
Whether a woman should work outside the home. How you discipline your children. They’ll gladly impose their beliefs about all of these things because they believe they are Morally and Intellecually (not to mention racially) Superior to everyone else.
Getting control of other people’s babies allows them to do that.
Combine that with the money to be made by the adoption industry, and the “domestic supply of infants” line makes chilling sense.