In Memoriam: Cindy Jordan
The lure and pitfalls of open adoption

Most pregnant women who are contemplating adoption for their child are aware that there are various formulas from which they can choose. An increasingly popular form of adoption is what is known as "open adoption", in which the parties agree to varying degrees of openness toward each other with respect to their identities and whereabouts, and to varying degrees of ongoing contact after placement. In fact, the possibility of having an open adoption and thus ensuring ongoing contact with their child after his or her adoption is a deciding factor for many women who would otherwise keep their baby.

If you are an unsupported pregnant woman looking into adoption and you think this kind of arrangement sounds like the best of both worlds, you should know that if you select this path, the arrangement you will be arriving at with your child's adoptive parents will not be legally enforceable. You will be literally at the mercy of your child's adoptive parents' willingness to allow you access to your child as promised.

One American source suggests as many as 80% of 'open adoptions' are unilaterally closed by adoptive parents in the first year after the adoption is finalized. These just aren't good odds for a mother contemplating adoption for her child. Chances are, if they promise you'll get to visit your child, you won't. Some 'open adoptions' are only a letter or a photo once or twice a year. Even in these types of adoption, adoptive parents often renege. The grief of mothers who lose their children again in these ways is increased by the knowledge that their 'choice' is not respected, and that people who don't respect their own promises are raising their children.

You should also be aware that some unscrupulous prospective adoptive parents and "adoption facilitators" use the lure of open adoption to convince pregnant women to place their babies for adoption, knowing all the while that they have no intention of honoring their promises.

Sometimes, failure to live up to such agreements can have tragic consequences. Cindy Jordan, the natural mother of 3-year-old Malia, took her own life on April 8th , and the pitfalls of open adoption may have played a role in her untimely death.

Cindy's daughter, Malia, was placed in a semi-open adoption with Susan Burns, whose book entitled "Fast Track Adoption" was published last December. Here is how Amazon describes "Fast Track Adoption":

Most couples in the U.S. have to wait up to seven years to adopt an infant domestically-and all the expense and waiting doesn't always result in a successful adoption. Now, rather than relying on slow-paced and expensive adoption agencies, many couples are choosing to privately adopt a child. By eliminating the adoption agency, couples can customize and control their own adoption plan.

Inside this book, couples will learn how becoming proactive in the adoption process may significantly speed up the adoption. Following the Fast Track method, readers will learn how to:

  • Establish a budget
  • Assemble a professional team
  • Obtain an approved home study
  • Prepare an effective family profile
  • Advertise for and talk to potential birth mothers
  • Detect warning signs for frauds and scams
  • Be prepared at the hospital

With this book as their guide, potential parents can actively pick their own birth mother. By doing so, couples will save time and money, reduce stress, and, most importantly, find a baby to adopt.

If you think that this sounds like a blueprint for manipulating the adoption process and a vulnerable pregnant woman to your advantage, you are right. The press release on "Fast Track Adoption" was written by Laurie Frisch, of Origins USA.

Cindy, who had by then begun her descent into depression following the unilateral closing of her daughter's adoption by Ms. Burns, found out by accident about the book. Here is a posting she wrote to an on-line group she belonged to, after reading the book written by her daughter's adoptive mother and finding out about the method used to obtain her daughter:

I am lost again .. I so much do not even know what to think .. I know now that all the bonding they did with me was all part of a plan .. a plan to make me feel good at the time .. and to "ensure" a successful candidate for placement .. I feel sick ..

This is a specific on-line comment that Cindy made about Susan Burns:

…with Sue I gave more I gave a part of me .. and I thought she liked me for me but if you like someone you want to interact with them not forget they exist…

To find out more about Cindy Jordan, please follow this link:


May you rest in peace Cindy. You are not forgotten.

April 2004

"What you should know if you're considering adoption for your baby"... Heather Lowe

© The Canadian Council of Natural Mothers, April 2004, written by Josee Larose.

Canadian Council of Natural Mothers

Open Adoption

Policy for Ethical and Legal Protection of Mother and Child

Book Review:
Fast Track Adoption
Susan Burns

The Wall