Fight for Informed Consent4 March, 2016
Back to BirthParents at their Best

Informed Consent and Adoption Options

Welcome to my first post in my newest blog!

This one may or may not gain some traction, but the last blog did pretty well. I changed an OBC law thanks to my readers. What will you, my new readers, do to help me change the world? Hahaa. Just kidding. Because actually I'm practicing meditation more now and really just doing my best to accept the world on the world's terms a little more. My main mantra for this particular blog - "we don't really need to do anything. We just need to be ourselves and perhaps put in a little effort to be our best selves." And so the point of this blog is to highlight the best of the birthparents in our lives and make sure that the next generation has some hope and most importantly, some good information for informed consent.

This first post and the launching of this blog is entirely about the invitation to the survey below. I took it in January and just went through a follow up interview yesterday. I said some things in that interview that made me realize I really want to launch this blog now and get rolling on part 2 of my Adoption Alchemy plan. I will write more about that soon.  For now - please note - the below survey is very important!

You see what happened to me when I signed my relinquishment document was...

I was inadvertently hard wired for the fight.

Yep. I may have had some of that scrappy "fight the powers that be" sort of thing in me from the get-go, but signing those relinquishment papers meant that my brain underwent permanent re-wiring treatment. I was unaware of the trauma those papers inflicted on me and later when I was fighting for my life to fend off suicide... I realized those stupid relinquishment papers were an actual deal with the devil. I may forever be fighting the devil for my soul, but I will not give up the fight the way I gave up my baby. I can't give up ever again. My brain won't let me. These days I'm fighting for the best of me every day. And sometimes I fight the wrong fights. Thus, I'm practicing meditation to attempt to back out of the fight mode at least enough to make better choices about who and what to fight. I don't want to fight the angels in my life that are there to help me do the right thing. I don't want to fight good people doing good work. 

I don't evevn want to fight much - just enough to keep my soul sparkly like a diamond. And sometimes this means I have to fight lethargy and the why-bother syndrome that I'm plagued by. Why bother speaking out against adoption? Why bother taking a dumb survey? 

Well - here's the thing - the good people behind this survey are actually fending off mis-informed and mis-directed birthmothers who are saying these are bad people doing bad things. WRONG! These folks actually care in an informed way and their point is to educate adoption professionals so that they aren't coercing expectant parents into bad adoption deals. That's right, these people need untainted data to do an actual factual scientific survey about what kind of information birthparents received before they became birthparents. They want to know: What information did we receive? What information do we wish we received? And what do we recommend to adoption professionals?   

And I will for one want to make damn sure the younger generation is better informed about this one major "choice" than I was. I didn't have all the information needed to choose adoption. It was not informed consent for me, but it doesn't have to be that way for evermore. I am living a good life these days and I love my morning meditations (like the one this morning that gave me the energy to do this today!). I feel good about recommending this survey to others. If you have signed or you know someone who signed relinquishment papers between now and 1989, please take the time to participate in positive adoption reform. Go now to the survey or read the official invite below.


Dear Birth Parents,

You are invited to take part in a research study about the experiences of birth parents in the United States who have placed a child for adoption. The study aims to investigate the context and effectiveness of counseling practices offered to expectant parents prior to placement. The survey is expected to take approximately 20-25 minutes.

Eligibility: Women and men who have relinquished a child for adoption in the United States during the last 25 years (after 1989) and who are over the age of 18 years of age.

Compensation: If you complete the survey, you will be entered into a drawing to win one of six $100 gift cards when the survey concludes. By following the link below and completing the survey, you confirm that you are 18 years of age or older, have read this document, and agree to participate in the study.

Benefit to You: Your will have an opportunity to speak about your experience. This will help us to identify gaps in existing practices and help us to develop better approaches to helping women and men transition through the adoption process.

To participate in the survey, please follow this link (from this document, hold the Ctrl key and click the link OR copy and paste the link into your browser):

Information gained in this survey will be completely confidential. That is, no individuals will be identified in the results or reports that come from the study. If you have questions about participating in this study, please contact the researchers directly via email or phone: Elissa Madden, PhD - (254) 723-4545 or Please note that this study has been approved by the University of Texas at Arlington Institutional Review Board (IRB# 2016-0174).

We sincerely appreciate your time and effort to help establish better practices and make a difference in the experiences of other birth parents.

Elissa Madden, PhD, LMSW
School of Social Work
University of Texas at Arlington


Scott Ryan, PhD, MSW, MBA
School of Social Work
University of Texas at Arlington


Note: If you do not qualify for this study but know someone who might, please feel free to forward this message to them; however, we also ask that you keep the content of the message intact so that birth parents have all of the necessary information regarding the study. Thank you!


Post your comment here - and we'll publish them as soon as possible! If you want to be sure we'll publish them, put in the effort to write something thoughtful. (see the Guest Blogger invite for general guidelines.)

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AAC Issues - A Sinking Ship

American Adoption Congress is a sinking ship and people are upset in trying to fix it.

One Small Voice

Birthmom Beth has some things to say about informed consent and what it means to be a birthmother.

Fight for Informed Consent

Take the survey and share the survey to help expectant parents know their options. This is the real deal - NOT another t...


Until we have lots of posts...

This list of articles is worth checking out!


Shotgun Adoption - Kathryn Joyce

Orphan Fever - Kathryn Joyce

Re-Homing - Megan Twohey


AND a great article full of adoption recommended reading...

The Adoption Experience - Jane Edwards