Adoption Business Cards: More adoptee commercialization in the Age of Look at Me

Just when you thought adoption couldn’t get more disturbing, along comes Adoption Business Cards.  And, no, I don’t mean adoption agency business cards. Adoption Business Cards have been around for a long time, but were called other things like Pass-Around Cards. Until last week, I’d never heard them referred to as “business cards,” a term that gives a certain illegitimate legitimacy to predatory desperate PAPs and continues the commercialization of adopted people.

Of course, we’ve seen for years how adoptavultures swoop down on pregos they spot on the street,  the grocery, the mall, or at church. If you look worried, tired, distressed, anxious, or vexed. earn under $65lK/yr and don’t wear a wedding ring–but do wear an expanding baby bump–you are obviously in the market for a Worthy to take that load out of your tummy and off of your mind.

One of the more popular methods of baby swooping is cornering your waitress at a restaurant.  I don’t know how many accounts I’ve read over the years where PAPs insinuate themselves into a pregnant waitress’s personal business, offering to adopt her baby–just in case she’s in the market for a Worthy. (More couth PAPs just leave a note at the table.  “Call me. I’ll  take your baby off your hands  And btw, here’s a 30% tip to help you decide.”  But now we have actual business cards to take care of those anxious moments when you discover you’ve left your flyers and notepad at home or you’re just a bit shy. If nothing else, the cards may get your waitress to at least “think about the adoption option,” which until she saw your glowing faces she’d found abhorrent.

I found these samples on Pinterest:

Personally,  I prefer this Adoption Business Card designed by our friend Greg Luce at the Adoptee Rights Law Center:

The folks at have been kind enough to post a guide to Adoption Business Card etiquette.

Included in the guide is a caveat that distributing your cards willy-nillly might be a teensy bit rude, presumptions, and weird. Do not approach women, card in hand,  for instance, at abortion clinics.

CapCare, Columbus, Ohio June 2008

Well, to that, I say why not? Anything else goes. I spent more than a year documenting much worse behavior than card handouts at Capital Care in Columbus every Saturday where sweating anxious men, angry football coaches, and glassy-eyed teens shouted,  “I’ll adopt your baby” at women navigating their gauntlet. The really insistent took the knee (not in a Kaepernick way) and prayed while they pounded on car windows.

Cards may help you stand out from the rabble, but you might stand out too much. In some states, this kind of “marketing avenue.” as consideringadoption calls it, is illegal. Oops.

Honestly, I cannot imagine my parents chasing me (or any baby) down.  Back then, adoption was considered a private matter, not the first step on the stairway to heaven. As far as I can tell, my adoptive parents didn’t even tell anyone that they were trying to adopt until I was with them.  The story goes this way:

Every Friday evening my parents went out to dinner with their good friends  George and Edna Amrein. Then, one Friday night, just before Christmas, the Amrreins showed up at the house and found me in my new mom’s arms.  The first words out of Edna were “Why, Janie, what happened?”  Indeed! I may sound old fashioned, but this seems normal and civilized. No Gotcha Party for me and Janie.

Today, of course, Janie would wear a shirt emblazed with “Paper Pregnant. Hmm, no she wouldn’t. Janie wasn’t into commodifying the intimate.

Not that all adoptions were pure-as-the-driven-snow ethical back then or worked out well or were well-intentioned. or were even legal. Hell no!  Back then, though, unless you were Joan Crawford, looking for an accouterment or publicity to prop up a lagging movie career, hardly anyone went around bragging up adoption. It was just something some people did without a lot of fanfare–and certainly not a lot of baby- saving back-patting and praise to Jesus. In fact, back in the dark ages  many adopters preferred older children. (I guess they wanted to know what they were getting into.) Adoption was a private event, celebrated by adopters and perhaps close friends or family at home–not a public look- at-me spectacle. Long-fought openness in adoption has helped adoptees in some ways, but spreading adoptees’ business all over front street isn’t one of them.

And neither is hunting down a prospective mother of “your child, which sounds like a Lifetime Movie scenario staring Karen Swanson.  Again. I must sound old fashioned,  but whatever happened to propriety? Reticence? Manners? While it’s a good thing that unmarried pregnant women and mothers aren’t run out of town anymore or forced to wear a scarlet A on their chest, it is simply unacceptable that they are still considered a target for baby-rabies infected God-directed couples. I say couples because they seem to be a more virulent breed of hunters than single women, but I could be wrong. I don’t hang out with that crowd and I’m not sure that Twitter, where some really nasty adoptee-hating adopters nest, is a good barometer to judge acquisition methods.  Single women,outside of a certain sub-species of white liberal feminists who think they are entitled to somebody’s baby, strike me as women who want children, but there’s either no decent man up to the job or men just aren’t an interest..Couples, however, act like they aren’t a family unless they have a little rug crawler under the table

One final story.  Back in the cowboy days of alt.adoption (the unmoderated Usenet group where Bastard Nation was born and arguments became so violent that one Christ-consumed conspiracy prone adopter filed police complaints against two regulars–claiming that one adoptive dad had threatened to murder her by sending her to his kill file and another, a prominent birthmother rights activist  and lawyer, had murdered several newborns in the Moline, Iowa area,  apparently to stop them from being adopted. I’m not making this up.

Here it is:  a very active alt.adoption member going by the name of Lisa-Boo.found herself getting babylove-bombed by a desperate and babyless newcomer to the group who hadn’t grasped alt.adoption’s rep as the “meanest newsgroup on Usenet,” LB was an adoptee finishing her doctorate in some biological science field. She was also pregnant. She and her long-time fiance planned to marry about 6 weeks after the birth of the baby and the PhD were out of the way. Down swooped Mrs. Adoptavulture offering to adopt the baby.  Hmm, no thanks.   Did that stop her from trying.? Of course not. The harpy insisted and insisted and insisted.  And begged and begged and begged. Too bad, but I don’t remember the outcome other than the intruder was continually and forcefully told by LB and everybody else to piss off, the baby was born, Lisa Boo graduated, got married, and is now probably a tenured professor someplace.  That had to be 25 years ago.  

Nothing has changed. I don’t expect it to.

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