Poor Advice: Adoption Is Not A Slapdash Solution

Whenever I need a good blog topic, I need look no further than my morning paper. Once again we’ve got an article that shows a lack of education about adoption: the Chicago Tribune’s Ask Amy column. You can find today’s column here, the second question.

To quote Amy’s response to a disgruntled mother:

When you found yourself pregnant after one “exposure,” you could have placed your baby for adoption and at least given it a chance of growing up with motivated and loving parents. Two generations later, it seems unfortunate that you didn’t make this choice. Unlike you, “Anonymous” wants to have a baby, though she says her husband doesn’t. One can only hope that if she chooses to have a baby, it will be cherished.

Here’s the letter I sent to Amy in response.

I was appalled at your response to “Also Anonymous,” who regretted her decision to have children because she later found herself raising her grandchild and great-grandchild. Instead of praising her efforts keep these individuals within their family of origin despite hardship, you lambasted her because she did not “place [her] baby for adoption and at least given it (sic) a chance of growing up with motivated and loving parents.”

Adoption is not a guarantee of a better life, only a different one, and comes with its own set of tribulations. To be separated from one’s blood kin is one of the worst experiences a person can endure. As an adult adoptee (not an “it”), I can tell you exactly how painful adoption is, and I am insulted that you would so blithely suggest that Also Anonymous sever three generations of her family tree. (As open adoptions are rarely enforceable by birth families, the suggestion that it could simply be an “open adoption” is specious and inaccurate.)

What this woman and women like her need is help in raising their children, not the slapdash suggestion that “adoption” is a magic fix that makes everybody’s life perfect. Clearly she is in need of a support structure, but solving that problem via adoption is like swatting a fly by exploding the sun.

I hope in the future, you will offer your readers more practical advice such as the following resources for women raising their children and grandchildren:

OriginsUSA for Family Preservation

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

I also hope you will help adoptees and birth relatives educate others on the lifelong impact of adoption.

If you want to write Amy, you can contact her via the Chicago Tribune. You might also want to cc your letter to the Tribunes Letters To The Editor, ctc-TribLetter@tribune.com.

Ask Amy appears Monday through Saturday in Tempo and Sunday in Q. Send questions via e-mail to askamy@tribune.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.


  1. Triona, you wrote a GREAT letter to Amy. Her type need to be educated. I will write to her too. I hope that many do.

  2. Question for you – in Ohio, do you have to petition the court for access to NON-ID as well? In Missouri, the court will provide non-ID upon request; of course, the law says the adoptee’s parents, if living, must give permission (I’m 58 years old!) but since my aparents are deceased, death certificates suffice. And I had an affadavit from them before they died granting permission…

    The reason I ask is that I am trying to assist a beginner whose records are from Ohio and she doesn’t really know how to go about gaining her non-ID. Any links to the Ohio procedures would help.

  3. d28bob – In Ohio we have a prime example of the “sandwich situation” where there are different rules depending on when you were born. Before 1964 records are open, between 1964 and 1996 they’re closed, and after 1996 is a toss-up.


    About a decade ago I contacted the Ohio court where my file is sealed for non-identifying information, and received it. My attempts to use the Ohio Adoption Registry did not succeed because my birth certificate is from Illinois. When I later petitioned that same court to open my records, that’s when they said “granted in part” for non-ID. But I don’t consider that “granting” my petition, since they only provided the same thing over again.

    More Ohio links here: