Pushers of Safe Haven Baby Boxes refuse to “get” why Class Bastard and the Adoptee Rights Movement object to Safe Haven Baby Boxes. If they even know we do object, since there appears to be a concerted effort to ignore our voice. Proponents stress endlessly that opposition is limited to jealous traditional Safe Haven advocates. They claim it’s some kind of turf war instigated by the National Safe Haven Alliance and individual local and state Safe Haven non-profits, which may (or may not) get public grants for their work and the godly SHBB folks, who run their “grassroots” projects on donations from “right-to-life” organizations, the Knights of Columbus, churches, civic associations, local businesses, and individuals.
These self-righteous arguments ignore and shun adopted people who object to the SHBB program of controlled newborn abandonment. SHBB proponents repeatedly say that can’t imagine why—and even ridicule—any adoptee who would have a problem with being stuffed in a box-in-the wall. “Ingratitude” is their watchword. If anyone actually does hear us—usually second hand—we are told we are “bitter,” “don’t understand adoption(!),” or “anomalies who had “bad adoptions.” Of course, we may just be liberals.
None of these descriptions is true,
Can it be any more clear?
Carving out a special anonymity interest for biological parents for any reason continues gross adoptee discrimination—the ugly pattern of erased identities, documentary genocide, and literal and virtual abandonment, and throw-awayism that infests the landscape of AdoptionLand. The idea, ascribed by SHBB advocates, that boxed babies will grow up without abandonment issues because they are “loved” is absurd and dismissive. I’ve had contact with thousands of adopted people over the last 25 years and every one of them, on some level, suffers from abandonment issues. And this doesn’t even cover the legal and political ramifications of boxing.
Ignoring and attempting to silence the voice of Class Bastard regarding Safe Haven Baby Boxes is emblematic of the holistic treatment of us by the sealed and secret adoption system that has grievously affected and infected millions of adopted people and their families. Our voice is propagandized back in our face as inconvenient, uninformed, and ungrateful. If SHBB advocates knew their history, they would know that the Safe Haven movement was god-fathered by Bill Pierce, the late president of the National Council for Adoption, who openly bragged that anonymous legal abandonment through Safe Haven laws was a response to the Adoptee Rights Movement, fathers’ rights insurgency, and the federal Indian Child Welfare Act that in a large part protected tribal custody rights.
You can read Bastard Nation’s full policy paper on our objections to Safe Haven Baby Boxes here. I am, however, posting below a shortened version for people who don’t want to wonk-slog through it—especially SHBB self-proclaimed adoption experts who worship at the feet of the Great Unicorn.
Why Safe haven Baby Boxes are Bad
Safe Haven Baby Box (SHBB) are anti-adoptee, anti-adoption, anti-family, and unethical. Their promulgation and use is a slap in the face of every parent who follows standard and ethical child relinquishment procedures and of the 6 million adopted people in the US who are subjected to archaic and discriminatory adoption secrecy laws, such as sealed birth and court records that but a few states uphold.
SHBB advocates promote boxes as a solution for mothers so “desperate” that unless they can dump their newborns anonymously in a box-in-wall they will kill them or at least discard them dangerously while simultaneously praising mothers for loving their babies so much they don’t kill them. This is cogitative dissonance. They provide no evidence that this is true. They can cite no studies or any other facts—only an intuitive “we just know.”
SHBB proponents play down and ignore adoptee opposition except to claim that we “hate adoption.” Not true. We hate deceptive relinquishment practices rooted in shame and secrecy that lead to drastic permanent solutions to temporary problems. SHBB does not address the causes of infant discard
- inability to secure affordable medical treatment and care
- denial/ignorance of pregnancy
- Draconian immigration policy/practice
- substance, physical and sexual abuse
- shame, crime, mental illness, dysfunctional relationships, social isolation
Bastard Nation and adoptee rights activists believe the implementation of Safe Haven Baby Boxes:
*Creates a parallel child welfare system that rejects informed consent, a full record of identifying information, and social and medical histories of the newborn. They eliminate adoptees’ right to identity by denying the right to full and original birth and heritage records.
*Replaces professional best practice standards with unprofessional/unethical “relinquishment” by letting parents abandon solely for convenience or out of ignorance with no counseling, paper-signing, or discussion on alternatives such as financial and material assistance, temporary foster care, and legitimate adoption plans.
*Denies non-surrendering parents the right of custody and to rear their own child. Abusive, embarrassed, or frightened partners, spouses or family members can use boxes without consent or knowledge of the (other) parent with no repercussions.
*Disenfranchises natural parents –particularly non-surrendering parents–due process by eliminating their ability to locate the child. The Putative Father Registry, is useless since records are filed by the name of the mother.
*Creates at-risk adoptions due to possible litigation from non-surrendering parents or biological family members.
*Contravenes family reunification guidelines of the federal Adoption & Safe Families Act and parts of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act ,which can cause federal litigation.
*Encourages women to keep problematic pregnancies a secret by discouraging them from seeking family and professional communication, to seek assistance for sexual/ physical/substance abuse, mental illness, and social isolation.
*Discourages women from seeking pre-and post-natal care
*Hides crime such as rape, incest, and spousal/partner abuse.
*Preys on undocumented/refugee parents who can’t or won’t seek medical/social services for fear of arrest, deportation, loss of other children.
*Does not decrease infant mortality rates. as suggested by promoters. The NIH says the main causes of infant death are (1) birth defects. (2) preterm birth/ low birth weight, (3) Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, (4) pregnancy complications,(5) accidents. SHBB nobody-has-to-know-you-had-this baby ideology exacerbates 1, 2, and 4.)
Safe Haven Baby Boxes are not a solution to infant discard. They neither address nor solve economic or social problems that cause infant discard. Instead, they create another layer of problems for adoptees and society as a whole, that cannot be overcome with “thoughts and prayers” and feel-good legislation.
This is not a call for dialogue. There is no compromise on Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
I am writing a related and more detailed essay on this subject that will be published in a couple of days.