Saturday, December 30, 2006

As The Internet Turns

Yes, it has become a soap opera in many ways. There are factions, feuds, cliques and those who feel excluded and disregarded. People make deep relationships with people they have never laid eyes on and, in many cases, with whom they have never spoken.

Disparate views are treated with the same attacks that might be reserved for someone doing something REALLY bad and there are those who just want to be at the top of the heap, no matter what. There are self-designated "experts" and those who criticize and those who want 15 minutes of fame or more. Then there are our friends, the people on OUR side, who feel they need to set themselves up as the hand-slapping conscience of the groups and decide what should be said and what shouldn't be said. Add to that the depressed and self-involved that see every commission and omission directed solely at them. That already looks like a giant, dysfunctional family, doesn't it?

I have seen online news forums used, usually by adoption facilitators, adopters, grateful adoptees and "happy burfmuggles" to attack activist moms and those moms who still grieve their loss. Some of the comments are so hateful ("she's the one who spread her legs" as if this person made it to marital bliss untouched..right?) that they can take the breath from your lungs in sympathy with the person or groups attacked. Mothers of adoption loss (yes, I think we suffered a terrible loss and I use this term without apologies to those "fer us and agin us") are prime targets of this vitriol and the individuals among us who speak out are targeted, with relish, by some of the above-mentioned persons.

I sometimes want to laugh and say, "hit us with your best shot," because we Moms of the BSE have already been there and done that. We're old hands at being called loose, sluts, promiscuous, etc. "Crackwhore" is relatively new, but I am sure that if crack addiction had been a social problem of that magnitude in our era, we would have had that label affixed to us, as well. That is something for the adopters of today to point to whenever their greedy need is in question.

So, one of the greatest tools for fast communication, education and enlightenment ever to emerge on to the scene, the Internet, is becoming a sad combination of feuding ground, gossip column and hate-mail purveyor. For every heartfelt story that is published in a blog or website or on a mailing list or forum, there are dozens of people who will argue, cut, abuse and ridicule and safely do so, to the point of slander, from the safety of their anonymous keyboards.

Sometimes I take a bit of a break away from the larger Internet out There and concentrate on my real life and smaller groups where there is less turmoil. Even then, on these private groups, you can run into some sticky situations. But, in my own living room, away from the one-eyed monster, I remember what life and love is and that the faceless people with their smugness and hate and self-interest run riot are just words on a screen with a nick-name attached. What is said or not said, a year down the line, will probably not matter at all in the larger picture of real life.

I'm 61 any my husband is 67. We are watching retirement for both of us becoming a reality within months and I probably will not spend as much time at this keyboard. Our life together and the good use of the years we have left are my number one priority. Yes, I care about the struggle against adoption and I will continue to write and send my letters to the editors and congresspeople. But, I am still waiting for some cohesion, some justice and some kind of activism that puts egos and dogmatic absolutes to one side to do more. Right now, the Internet turns and anarchy reigns.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Keeping Christmas

There have been years when I felt like a female, modern Scrooge. I went through the motions, but felt no lifting of the spirits or extra warmth towards my fellow man/sister women. I shopped, I bought and I decorated, but it was all done on "Holiday Auto-Pilot."

You'd think that, this year, I would really be a Grinch on Wheels. I missed the opportunity to go visit my children and deliver their presents due to a bad case of the flu which turned into something worse (I'm much better, now). My 92-year-old Mother-in-law's significant other passed away, early yesterday, and I heard Mom cry for the first time in the 18 years I have known her. My younger daughter is having a spell of bad luck, job-wise and the dishes I ordered came to me with half of them broken. One of my nieces is being a total putz and my sister-in-law is heartbroken over it. My grandson is spending Christmas in the DMZ in Korea, and I won't see my kids, grandchildren or great-grandchildren this Christmas.

Why is it, then, that I am croaking out the Carol of the Bells as I do housework and humming while I wrap the last of the gifts? Why am I walking around the neighborhood after dark, now that I am able, to admire the lights and decorations? I'm not even put off of the spirit of the season by this terrible, non-winter weather that I have complained about for the past 10 years since I moved here to FL. Have I been visited by the three spirits, Past, Present and Future, and seen the light?

Nah! I just think that, by the grace of whatever Power there is, I am living in the here and now and not sweating the small stuff. Even the biggies come with that invisible label that I have learned to read that says, "This, too, shall pass." I have come to a place of peace with my reunited children and have a more philosophical attitude and less expectations. I am grateful that all are alive, well and working at life, even if they screw up from time to time. I have my husband with me and he's well and doing what he wants to do which is work...a lot. Right now, I am better, the lights are lovely and the fight against the adoption industry and adoption injustice will still be there after the Holidays.

So, in the here and now, I am going to relax, enjoy my husband, play some Christmas music, spend some time with my Mom-in-law and be glad I can do those things. Sometimes you have to just slow down and be a regular person rather than always being a Warrior Mother. I keep reminding others that we do have a life that is apart from these blogs and groups and adoption. I'll practice what I preach then, right now, I think I'll wait for my screen-saver. It shows a snow-storm. Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Pain Competition

I'm a little bit miffed by a some recent posts on a few online support sites. Here's my rant;

I have noticed, within the adoption support community online, a definite trend towards a sad and unecessary competition. There is the adopted person who says that, because they were innocent babies with no choice, their pain is worse than that of the mother. There are mothers who suffered from secondary infertility who seem to believe they can claim a deeper wound than that of those mothers who went on to have other children. There are the frozen moms who are sure that their world will collapse if they have to deal with the truth in the person of their adult child and, within each group of moms, moms who didn't have more children, frozen moms and adopted people, there is jockeying for "most damaged" position...PTSD, bi-polar, name it...someone has had "more terrible damage done to me than to thou." Somehow, everyone in this equation seems to have forgotten that heartbreak and trauma are just that...heartbreak and trauma. We all have drunk from that well.

There are those so deeply into their own wounds that they enter reunion seeming to believe they are OWED something by their opposite number. When they don't get it, then mommy is a lying bitch or son or daughter are spoiled, hateful brats and everyone tries to push everyone else to one side to claim what they think is their rightful place at the top of the wailing wall. While no one should accept verbal, emotional or any other kind of abuse at the hands of their reunited adult child or mother, there seems a great dearth of understanding on the part of some people. These people, whom we call "familiar strangers," have lived a life apart from us. They are who they are. Life happens!

There is no law that says the person you find at the end of your search should solve all your problems, make you feel wanted and loved, be comfortable accepting your love, or be the epitome of your fondest imaginings. We are all human beings..individual and varied. Someone said, about us moms, that we are "everywoman." It's true, so if an adult child is looking for the careless, promiscuous slut or the ethereal, tragic heroine, they are, more than likely, going to be disappointed. Nine times out of ten, they are going to find an ordinary woman who either managed to cope well...or didn't.

The same applies to our adult children. There are those who turned out well and those who didn't and those who want to blame mom for everything from their drinking to their anger to their ingrown toenails. There are those who want a pound of flesh, those who just want answers and, for the most part, those who are genuinely just looking for a lost loved one..just people. Expecting an adult version of Little Orphan Annie/Pollyanna/Tom Sawyer is unrealistic to the max. Unrealistic expectations on either end are unfair to the other person and, in the long run, ourselves.

In other words...these are PEOPLE...fallible and seeking the same thing everyone in the world seeks; happiness, peace and love. Some go about it right...others screw up. But the fact remains that all have been hurt, badly. So, when we don't find that pot of emotional gold at the end of the adoption reunion rainbow, we are left with what we had in the beginning...ourselves. That's where we have to turn to find what we really need, what we can't find in the form of that mother or adult child. Healing ourselves is our job and ours alone. No matter what we want to think, no one else owns any piece of us. Wholeness is there and it just needs recognition and accepting.

So, instead of debating who might be the most wounded/damaged/traumatized among us, we need to keep sharing and caring. We can't make Jane's Mom accept a reunion, but we can hear Jane's pain and let her know we care. We can't make Mary's son treat her with respect as his mother, but we can offer our shoulders on which she can cry. And, most importantly, we cannot hold our pain as being more sacred, more intense or more anything than anyone else's, I don't care what you've endured. Pain is pain, and terminal uniqueness is a dangerous path to walk.

Reunion between an adult adopted person and the mother is one of the most emotionally charged situations that can occur in a lifetime. I know...I've done it twice (as have some no competetion here..I am one of a crowd). If we all seem a little bit crazy when it happens, or when we are trying to make it happen, I would file that under "to be expected." But please, please ditch the grandiosity. Your pain may not have the exact same flavor, but it has the same heft. In our quest for justice and resolution, I doubt that self-exalted martyrs would make good warriors.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Just Musing and Recuperating

I've not done any posting here in over a week. We've been battling the flu at our house. Even though hubby and I both received flu shots, this one got in under the radar. I am just now emerging from my self-contained dungeon of misery, able to take a breath now and then without coughing and finally free of fever. This also put a major halt in my Christmas preparations and I am frantically trying to make up for the lost time.

Trying to get packages ready to go to SC is at the top of my agenda, now. Everyone else on the gift list will have to take a number and wait while I see to my children and the great-grands. Both my first-born and I are getting very frustrated with the fact that very few mail-order gift companies will ship anything good to the DMZ in Korea. That's where my grandson is, this Christmas, and it would be so nice for him to get something fun for the holiday he is being forced to spend away from his wife and son. Our bad, for thinking that all we had to do was log on, click and send. Humbug!!

Yesterday was also my kid sister's 57th birthday which she spent being thrown from the back of a horse she is considering buying. She has a sore shoulder and a knot on her head and can't find her glasses. What makes this interesting is that, a little over a year ago, Debby couldn't even get on a horse at 420 pounds. One "hairy" bout of bariatric surgery and about 15 months later, she is down 196 pounds and back on top of a horse...her favorite place to be. She even rode in a local Christmas parade. Way to go, Deb, but PLEASE get yourself a more docile horse!

Blessings abound, though, in that she seems to be OK after her fall, my reunited oldest child was quick to call her "Mom" and see how "Aunt Debby" was doing and...ta daaaa....hubby's second follow-up ultrasound has confirmed that he does NOT have testicular cancer. Compared to all of that, flu blues and delayed schedules are small stuff. The lights on the tree look so pretty, today.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dracula and Adoption

I read Bram Stoker's "Dracula" for the first time when I was only eleven years old. That was five short years before I would enter the system that would try to drain my motherhood from my veins. Even then, I was struck by certain images and, while I know most folks wouldn't see the book as great literature, I returned to it, time and time again.

The story, the morality tale, the thinly-disguised sexual references, the stilted Victorian speech and morality, whatever it was, the book, the folklore that inspired it and the imagination that created it, all fascinated me. I have yet to see a visual media version that does the book justice. From "Nosferatu" on (Lugosi was a joke), they have switched the characters around, punched it up, Hollywood-style, and the real thrust of the deliciously creepy story gets lost. For those who thought the last movie rendition was accurate..sorry. The whole "Elizabethe reincarnated in Mina who then discovers her undying love for the tortured count Dracula" is another pile of Tinseltown hooey. Drat! If I had the money of a Bill Gates, I'd commission a true-to-the-book movie, just to see it done right.

But, I digress. I wanted to explore the analogies I have found in the symbolism of the story. For instance, Dracula counted on the unnatural conversion of people from human to vampire to keep his kind going. He and a lady vampire couldn't just reproduce and deliver little vampires to carry on the family curse. He had to raid the homes and lives of his victims to produce his "children." So, that puts our cursed count right into the middle of the human being-stealing business.

He worked on allure and unholy promises(lies, mostly) and a form of mental seduction to lure his victims to him. He paraded about in polite society (at night only, of course) with his cloak and his sashes and aristocratic mien, and no one saw the monster beneath...he was accepted and even courted as a desirable part of society. Those who saw something more, were hesitant to say anything lest they be deemed mad as a hatter and thrown into Dr. Seward's loony bin. Those that actually knew the truth about him, in his homeland in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, feared him and felt they could not prevail against him.

Yet there was the occasional hue and cry from those who fought him. Early in the book, Jonathan Harker hears a mournful cry from outside the castle walls. Dracula had gone a-hunting and had brought back a toddler to feed the unholy appetites of his "brides." Harker looks outside and sees a peasant woman, filled with anguish and despair, who has braved the terrors of Dracula's domain to reclaim her own. "Monster!" she screams, "Give me back my child!" Of course, the Vampire's response is to set his pack of wolves upon her and they savage and kill her.

We could stop right there and have a killer analogy between the story and the horrors of adoption separation. The woman, an exiled mother, appeals to the system to give back to her the child she bore, and the system sets the public media, the courts, and everything at their disposal to destroy her. I think of those wolves when I read the cutting apart of the natural mother and her rights at some of the forums and boards of late. Let's silence this bitch so that our master, Adoption, and his unnatural women can have their meal in peace. The wrong done in taking that child in the first place is never considered, their hunger being their primary focus.

There then emerges, in the story, a small band of heroes..Jonathan and his, now, wife Mina, the three loving suitors of Lucy Westerna who was lost to them by Dracula's hand, Lord Arthur Holmwood, Texan Quincy Morris, Dr. Jack Seward, and vampire expert Dr. Van old hand who had run up against this kind of bad boy before and becomes the leader of the group. They couldn't rely on an unbelieving public for help. They also had to contend with the Judas goat in their midst, "good bite-victim" Renfield, an insect-eating lunatic, who drew the monster to them only to be discarded when he was no longer of use and had begun to realize the depths to which he had descended.

This small group, then, sets out to destroy a powerful, supposedly immortal being who has held sway over those weaker than him with lies, cunning and brute power (legal, maybe?) for centuries. All they had on their side was virtue, the need to save Mina from Lucy's fate, and a bit of knowledge about the vampire's weakness. Holy water and crucifixes and communion wafers cripple it. A stake through the heart, exposing the demon to the light of the sun and cutting off of the head does the coup de grace..and boy, does that makes a lot of analogous sense, as well.

When the first rumblings of the exiled mother began to be heard, when we mothers and our adult children started braving the castle walls to call out the monster, the wolves gathered, but, unlike the book, they weren't able to destroy us. As George Hamilton spoofed in "Love at First Bite," "Children of the Night! Shut Up!!!" Now we are setting out to stake and behead a social experiment that has sucked the joy from many a new mother and given it to the baby-hungry to have his or her identity and heritage drained away.

The old boy's fangs are getting blunt and his cape is becoming ratty and that trick of turning into mists and other things is old hat and we can see right through it. We have spent a long time gathering our stakes and swords and holy water and crucifixes. The sun light is out there. It's time to turn him into dust. Monster! Give us back our children!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Tilting at Windmills? Not Really

I am a female Don Quixote of adoption, I guess...I dream the (almost) impossible dream of enabling mothers to avoid the trap of adoption altogether. In the event that a woman is totally and truly unable to care for her child, I'd like to see us find a way to care for children in need that doesn't include requiring them to call genetic strangers "mom and dad" and to lose their original last name and heritage and extended family.

Someone, on another blog's comments page, suggested that we need to warn potential adopters about the pain and the problems inherent in being adopted or surrendering a child to adoption. It's not the potential adopters I want to warn except to warn them away. I want to warn the potential mother who will lose a whole lot more than the popular "view" of adoption would allow her to believe. But so many of them are resistant when they have the wannabe adopters love-bombing them and the agency shills telling them to ignore us. No, she usually finds that we knew what we were talking about, sadly, after it is too late. The online support groups and counselor's offices are full of these women and I feel their pain.

I find mainstream infant adoption to be totally avoidable since it involves the mythology that has been perpetuated in our society that adoption can be used like a benign form of extremely late-term birth control and confers the status of heroine on the surrendering mother (until the adopters want you out and gone) and the halo of a rescuing saint on the adopter. Rubbish! How would you like to know that YOUR mother didn't keep and raise you because she "didn't have room in her life for a baby right now, wanted to finish college first and have a career and these nice people who couldn't have their own babies wanted you?" It breaks my heart when I hear some of these adopted people refer to themselves as "9-month abortions." At least my surrendered children know that I was given absolutely no choice in the matter. The brainwashing of the American public and the manipulation of the modern-day mother is heinous and corrupt and sickening to watch.

It's all a frustrating insanity and I am through trying to fix an old car that is not running well or adjust the smeary picture on a bad tv screen...I'm for junking it all and bringing in a new model. OK..feel free to hack away at the rabid, bitter, angry, strident anti-adoptionist. I can't guarantee that I will pay any attention, though. ;)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Strange and Mournful Day, Every Year, Year 'Round

Yesterday was designated the first annual National Strange and Mournful Day. No, it wasn't a big, showy deal with the media in attendance and crowds gathering. Rather, the observance was quiet, with a goodly number of mothers, adopted people and assorted supporter making a polite but definitive statement..."adoption might be OK by you, but NOT by us."

In my immediate "orbit," my raised children, one of my reunited children, my husband and two of my dear friends all wore ribbons in black, purple and white. I was a teensy bit more flamboyant with ribbons in the aforementioned colors flying from my car's radio antenna and a huge purple, black and white bow on my Christmas wreath on my front door. Appropriate, I think, since Mary was a teenage, unmarried mother as well (and the religious among you can hold your horses...the facts are the facts).

I also, following the very smart idea of another Origins member, printed up cards with a picture of the ribbon badge on it and a short explanation of the day. Those cards are now in every waiting room of our local hospital. I also got permission to place them at the check-out counter at the restaurant where I had lunch. We are going to have to find out how to mass-produce those ribbon badges for the next observance because poor Claud's fingers are sore from making them, one by one. Yes....she had a lot of requests. Several others on other groups who made ribbons reported receiving requests for ribbons from members of their local, in-person support groups.

The release of the Evan B. Donaldson Institute paper was the big deal of the month yet it didn't drown out our day of observance. If the first annual observance was more of a quiet, collective murmur than a huge roar, that is how things get going and that murmur WAS heard. I am, personally, encouraged by the response and the recommendations of so many that we carry it over into other occasions and situations. For many women who are not as "out there" as some of us, this was a good way to carry their stance in public view without having to engage in a shouting match or tedious debate. Wearing these badges is the way most activism begins. One thing we know for sure after yesterday....that our particular issue and related activism is growing and it isn't going to end until we are truly heard and changes are made.

For all who have felt the pain of adoption separation and the ache of injustice, your DAY has come, in more ways than one.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Donaldson Institute Paper Answered

OriginsUSA has issued a press release in response to the Evan B. Donaldson Institute paper on the welfare of the natural mother. It has been noted that the EBDI report left a little to be desired, so expect to hear more from OUSA in the days to come. It is terrific, though, that the EBDI paper has opened the door to more dialogue and has reached the ears of the public. As was noted in a blog by another mom, the vicious hue and cry and attacks from the adoption apologists, adopters and the industry is proof positive that the concept of protection of the rights of the natural mother hit a very big nerve.

It's funny to me, though, how the apologists and the industry still want to speak FOR us, rather than asking us to speak out for ourselves. They still rely on those good beemommies who are sympathetic to the industry, rather than scoping out the real deal...those of us who can admit that we were conned, hoodwinked, scammed and screwed out of our own children. WE are the experts, WE lived it and WE know what was and is done.

I would love to challenge the mainstream media to convey the voices of the mothers exiled from their children's lives, the voices of those of us who had our motherhood legally deleted. I wonder, with the angry denials being spouted on some of the boards, if the fear of the real story becoming public knowledge is reaching a crisis point with those who benefit from adoption. That fear is what has kept the mainstream media in check for so long. With the exception of a few brave reporters and editors, they have only published the warm and fuzzy stories of sweet "forever" families built on the bones of an exiled mother. Maybe now, they might grow a set of cojones and be willing to print more of the real story.

They might learn what many other pro-adoptionists are not wanting them to know about us "deleted" moms...that they might have taken our parental rights, but our motherhood lived on in our hearts and souls. You just can't try to delete what Nature creates without a backlash somewhere down the line.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Problem With Pissing Contests

With the publishing of the very inadequate Evan B. Donaldson Institute Report on the Welfare of the (Natural Parent), the original family preservation groups and blogs are sprouting trolls and hit and run, anonymous detractors faster than a teenager can grow pimples. We've already seen how the threatened and the terminally resentful can overrun public boards such as the msnbc board and others.

I've had a hit or two, myself, here on this blog and I might or might not address them. But I am starting to question responding to people who post as "anonymous" and who want to deride rather than question. You can get into an endless dialogue with these folks and it never ends. The more attention you give to their attacks, the happier they are. I sort of liken them to the old "heavy breather," the obscene phone caller. The more you talk to them, even if you are telling them what inadequate excuses for men they are, the better they like it and the more aroused they become.

I have a policy of stopping the endless, angry debates before they can start on this blog. "Delete" is the new American power word. I'm here to air my views and experience with the failed social experiment of adoption and that's it. I have found a lot of the debates to be non-productive and a waste of valuable time. The fact is that none of the trolls, the arrogant and the assumptive have done anything but intensify our resolve. The work goes on and we still speak out so what have these intruders actually accomplished with their insults and tirades? ZIP...that's what.

I had a fosterer/adopter post a "shame on you" comment, not too long ago, with references to the usual crackwhore moms and abandoned children. I deleted her post because we let this kind of thing detract from our main focus and that is the millions of totally unnecessary separations of children from perfectly good mothers that has happened and does happen because the public does NOT KNOW THE TRUTH about adoption. We have our own ideas, as well, about what to do concerning the children whose mothers actually ARE incapable of keeping their children and it doesn't include adoption. We have stated and stated that and they still drag up the old distractions.

Remember the red herring of the dreaded unisex public restrooms used against the ERA a few decades ago? This is the same thing...a philosophy and strategy of the worst possible scenario and fear having very little to do with the big picture. They keep trying to poke holes with the same old awl and it's getting dull.

Those of us who put ourselves out in the public eye with our blogs and letters, etc., know that there are going to be the people who see us as a stationary target. I have been called everything from the standard old "angry and bitter" (well, DUH), to a "birther" to an "Ignorant Yank (courtesy of a member of the UK contingent)" to a "piece of work." I think I can live with those non-sticks and stones. I consider the source.

So, I intend to continue to pick my debates, carefully. I might entertain engaging an opponent whose true objective is a genuine pro and con exchange. But the mom-haters, the self-entitled and the just plain nasty with their vicious one-liners that just want to push a button and call names and pick at their own scabs can apply elsewhere. I might answer you once, but life is too short to be drawn into your dance of hostility.

So I wonder if we need to stop subjecting ourselves to the no-win reactions to the pouters and doubters and troublemakers. We have a course ahead of us...for some of us that means healing and for others it means activism and for many, it includes both. Why let ourselves get embroiled in melees that are ultimately pointless and non-productive? The truth is going to get told, published and spread regardless of the best efforts of the adopta-troll. Sometimes, the best way to show these "folks" how we view and value their comments is by ignoring them.

I also think we need to look at the kind of panic that fuels a lot of the attacks. I believe that it is beginning to dawn on these people that adoption is going to be exposed for what it really is, a failed, cruel and unnatural social experiment and that the adoption industry's days are numbered. A house of cards, in which too many placed too much faith, is falling. A lot of these trolls and attackers might just be seeing a truth that scares them to death. People who think they are cornered tend to fight dirty.

In a real fight, if one combatant goes by the Marquis of Queensbury rules while the other uses mercenary tactics, the noble warrior will be carried out on his shield. We're not banging heads, for the most part, with people that want a fair fight or anything other than to get a rise out of us. I can see taking our message to the public boards to maintain a balance and the brave women who have done that deserve our respect and our thanks. But for those trolls and tricksters that hit the adoption boards and blogs? Well, I really think we have more important things to do.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Vicious Vitriol and VERY Vile Vilification

By the vain, vacuous and the venal....OK, I'm through with the "v" words.

But, boy have the mother-haters, the self-justifiers and the adoption worshipers come out of the woodwork after the Evan B. Donaldson Institute report on the Welfare of NATURAL Mothers. To see what I mean, just go here, if you can stomach it.

The nastiness has even gone international with (one in particular) would-be, self-appointed, secretly mom-hating pundits voicing whatever idiocy they can to attract attention. There are the self-entitled, compassionless adopters filling the posts with denial and charges of unfit mothers. Then there are a few courageous others, including my favorite Mom from Down Under, trying to get the former to listen to the truth with their hearts and minds rather than with their emotional wants, damaged psyches and grandiose egos. Pro-family preservation blogs and message boards are being attacked, infiltrated and all is being done that these terrified tyrants can think of to discredit their own people, the Evans B. Donaldson institute of "I Know What This Society Needs" fame...ya gotta love it!

For many pro-adoptionists, it is very threatening that the mother who has been or stands in danger of being separated from her child by adoption is finally getting a voice, although the voice is still not speaking, totally, for her. The report does fall short and contains a few glaring errors and erroneous conclusions that are nothing but concessions to the industry. However, this has given us the opening we need. We are being heard, someone is feeling the pressure, someone is running a bit scared and so they are throwing us a bone just like they did with the idea of so-called "open" adoptions. The problem is, that this time, the bone was something the pro-adoption community was saving for soup! Arrgh!

What these distinguished folks responsible for the EBDI report have actually done is given us a wonderful opportunity to get the COMPLETE message across. There are millions of women and their surrendered children who are owed least a major, public, detailed apology from the industry. There is a real need to scrap the current, profit-driven industry and dismantle the state agencies, altogether. It feeds on the most vulnerable, caters to the most self-entitled and has perverted the entire painful process with spins and media tricks and political rhetoric that have managed to make a pure and painful tragedy seem like a heart-warming, tear-jerking, Disney movie, and, whether they admit it or not, it is all in the name of the "bottom line" or $$$$$.

The dark and slimy underbelly of adoption is showing and there are those who have benefited or stand to benefit from adoption that don't like that at all. The angry adoptees, adults who hang on to their blaming, shaming anger at and hatred of their mothers like Linus hangs on to his blanket are also out in force. They don't want their emotional Binky taken away. I am waiting for the first of these "intellectual giants" to start hurling the "breeders" and "birth-bitches" names, because, like, that is waaay mature, you know?

Go ahead and have at it, Oh Minions of the Machine. Bash away with your specious, unfounded charges of welfare moms and baby dumpers and crackwhores. When you run out of steam and start repeating yourself (actually, you already do that), we will still be here, we will still be talking and posting and wearing our ribbons and writing our letters to editors and congresspeople and educating our friends and acquaintances and helping the frozen moms and the under-informed moms to awaken. We have the truth of what has happened to us and that is all the weapon we need in this can deny all you want, but you cannot, legitimately DISPROVE anything we say because it is real.

And to the baby-hungry that see that healthy, white infant slipping through their fingers, maybe it's time you learned that the desire for a baby doesn't translate into deserving a baby. No one owes you their flesh and blood just because you can't have one of your own or because you want a certain gender to compliment the child you already have or because you are deluded into thinking you can attain sainthood by adopting someone else's womb-fresh baby. We're going to continue to concentrate on keeping mother and baby together. After all, that's how it should have always been done.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Stop, Children! What's That Sound?

Everybody look what's going down!! It's the sound of the Evan B. Donaldson Institute conceding and accepting, as fact, what we have told them all along...that mothers who lose children to adoption hurt, always and mightily, from the grief and the unfairness of it all, that this undeniable pain and inequity needs to be remedied and that mothers need to be protected from greedy agencies, potential adopters and even, sometimes, their own "loved ones." To read this report, go here.

Yes, they won't stop using that "b" word, but this is, at least, a step forward in acknowledging the myriad shortcomings of adoption. There are some of us who feel that, while the EBDI report is a terrific development, it addresses some issues too vaguely and still leaves some issues unaddressed.

The report speaks to the need for the mother to be more fully and completely informed, but by whom? In order to hear about the real pain of adoption, there needs to be input from those mothers and adopted people who have been honest with themselves enough to admit the extent of their pain. "Pet Beemommies" and "grateful adoptees" need not apply.

There is a call for a longer period for the mother to think about her decision and to change her mind without reciprocal duress or recriminations. This should be taken further to the extent of establishing a period of time for the mother, without any interference, to spend time with her child in order to learn exactly what she would be losing. Potential adopters and agency personnel should be banned from the labor and delivery rooms, the hospital or birthing center and legally compelled to stay away from the mother and child during their initial time together. NO infant should go directly from the womb into the arms of an adopter.

I would like to see a report that honestly addresses the pain and confusion and frustration of the adopted person. This relates directly to our pain and is the proof in the pudding, so to speak that adoption is not such a terrific "option." So many more adopted people would speak out, I believe, if there were no recriminations and hurt feelings and guilt trips placed on them by adopters and an unfeeling society.

For those mothers who are truly unable to care for and raise their own child, more should be invested in the concept of kinship guardianship and legal guardianship. Adoption is not a "fix-all" for the child of such a mother. It's just another burden for them to bear.

This report is supposed to be a rung in the ladder of adoption reform. I hope they act on the recommendations because that would be a really good start. BUT, the truth is that adoption doesn't need to be just "reformed." It needs to be prevented when at all possible. If this country can afford "adoption incentives" for those who adopt, then it can afford to offer a real helping hand to the mother in order to enable her to raise her own child.

Too often we hear the single mother or the mother who avails herself of social programs in order to support her family referred to as a "welfare queen" and a drain on the tax-payers resources. Well, who the heck pays the bill for these adoption incentives, major amounts, yearly, if not the taxpayer? That, to me is discrimination of the worst kind...discriminating against a mother for not being as well-to-do as someone thinks she should be. I'd like to see some of those fund invested in parenting classes and mentoring for these moms. You'd be surprised how much the love for their own flesh and blood can motivate a mom to listen and learn.

There is still a notable absence of any recognition of the abuses of the Baby Scoop Era between the end of WWII and the ruling of Roe v Wade. Millions of women and their taken in adoption children deserve redress, access to records for BOTH mother and adoptee and, at the least, a major apology. Enough time has gone by and enough evidence has been produced for public consumption about this heinous period that this requirement should be a no-brainer.

So, the report is a good, positive step forward and I am glad to see it. But I reserve my applause until I see action, clarification and expansion. You guys are on a roll with this effort, so let's see what you can REALLY do.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Eugenics-Pronunciation Key - [yoo-jen-iks]

Noun (used with a singular verb)
-the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, esp. by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics).

And what, you may wonder, is this word doing on an adoption blog? Perhaps it might help if we look at the eugenics experiments of the Third Reich during WWII. Among these experiments was the practice of taking desirable babies from the so-called "undesirables" and giving them, in adoption, to good, Aryan, Nazi German families to raise "as if born to." This was supposed to boost the population of the "Master Race" while curtailing the rearing of children by those that might not see Hitler's grand vision in quite the same exalted light. His dream was his own view of a perfect and "pure" society.

Lest you think that those days are gone, let me assure you that the good, old US of A has its own eugenicists, alive, kicking, writing and influencing policy where they can. And boy, do they love adoption! Among these people are newspaper columnist and self-proclaimed child-rearing "expert," John Rosemond and Paul Popenoe who wrote the marriage articles in Better Homes and Gardens for many years. Sound familiar? Nice men who write helpful articles, right? But they both espouse a view for a society that is "improved" through a very narrow vision of what is correct and who should be parents.

The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, aka, the Mormons, are truly gung-ho, along with other denominations, for seeing that children are raised by "the right kind" of people with the "right kind" of homes, incomes, beliefs and voting histories. There are quite a few religions on this earth that seem to want to see society made over into the image of their doctines. Some kill to get it done...others push adoption. There's that eugenics word again.

In the name of their God and in the name of Good Government and in the name of Noble Vision, then, we have people in places of power and influence that want to make sure that the poor, the less well educated, the disenfranchised are relieved of their children as soon as possible. If some of these Big Thinkers had their way, some young women would be sterilized at puberty or, at least, right after they produce a healthy, preferably white infant for some "deserving couple." Those of us from the Baby Scoop Era were designated delinquent and psychologically disturbed and, therefore, unfit. It makes you wonder how long other people have been making our decisions about what is fit and unfit, doesn't it?

The two men I mentioned above are just two among many, but I mentioned them because of their access to the media. Many Americans tend to believe what they read or see on TV without ever questioning it or the motivations behind the message. We're a trusting lot that tends to see the word "expert" and we're ready and willing to absorb the words of the elite.

I remember parroting a lot of pro-adoption propaganda in the early days of my reunions with my two adult, surrendered children. I cited this "expert" and that "expert" until a friend of mine stopped me and insisted that I start thinking outside the lines. "After all," she said, "Just what IS an expert, after all? An 'ex' is a has-been and a 'spurt' is a flying drop of fluid. No one has all the answers and if they make is sound simple and easy to believe, then watch out!" Thanks, Liz. I have found I like thinking for myself.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

So, What's with the Ribbons?

Every year, in November, a month is given over to the publicizing and advocating of adoption. Every year, mothers of adoption loss feel this "celebration" as a stinging slap in their faces and a rubbing of salt in an open wound. For those mothers and families and all the adopted people who have suffered from this unnatural separation, OriginsUSA has instituted a "National Strange and Mournful Day," to be an annual occasion, starting this November 30th.

For every "happy and heart-warming" story of the joy of adopters as they take a child as their own, there is the story of a deep and painful tragedy behind it. Even with overseas adoptions where unscrupulous facilitators assure the adopters that the child is an "orphan," there is usually a mother or other family members left behind with a heart's load of pain and grief.

The Internet is full of support groups here, in our own country, for women who thought they were "doing the right thing" under the careful guidance of facilitators and "Dear Beemommy" letter-writing adopters,who believed they would be able to live,comfortably, with their "decision."(Coercion doesn't have to be a gun to the head)

These women, along with those of us from the older generation who had our children just taken out of hand with a dose of shame and censure added in to boot, have come out of the fog and realized that adoption is NOT the wonderful win-win solution that proponents would have us believe. No amount of agency-sponsored "grief and acceptance" therapy can take away that hole that is in the heart the mother separated from her child. The amount of propaganda that goes into keeping the mythology of adoption alive and suitably cloying is tremendous!

So, on this November 30th, we will be wearing our pretty ribbons to honor and respect the feelings of mothers whose children were taken for adoption...For original family members, mostly grandparents, who weren't given the choice of becoming guardians for the children of a relative who was unable to care for her child...For women who trusted an "open" adoption, only to see it close and their child disappear behind a selfish veil of secrecy...For women in foreign lands whose tragedy of poverty, illiteracy and government oppression became a boon for the adopter..And for our children, for their confusion, pain and sadness.

The title of the day is, of course, taken from Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion" posted here a few days ago. One of the phrases in the song, "I know they say let it be, but it just don't work out that way," is very appropriate when dealing with the lie that mothers who have been exiled from their children through adoption just "go on with life" and that we "forget." So we use this day to denote the unnatural (Strange) and painful, grievous (Mournful) results of that sad social experiment of adoption and invite anyone who is interested to join us. Contact the PR chairperson at OriginsUSA for more information or click on the link below.

Read More about this observance at

The colors used in the observance ribbon are the colors of OriginsUSA and they signify even more to each of us who will be wearing them.

Strange And Mournful Colors

Black is the color of anger and mourning,
A grief that's as cold as a bottomless well,
A color of yearning, of fear and not knowing,
From the shadow of pain and the lining of Hell.

Purple is dignity, a striving for justice,
A royal-hued banner that flies as we the fight,
A color of pride and a color of honor,
The soul of respect and a toast to what's right.

White, then is pure and above all the others,
The hue of new snow or a peace-bringing dove,
A color that calls to the heart of the mothers,
A color of hope and a color of love.

We wear the colors for what you took from us,
With never a "pardon" or reason or rhyme,
Empowered and stronger, we're facing you proudly,
The mothers have turned and it's just about time.

Robin Westbrook 11/13/2006

Proud and True Mother of Four
"Neither society nor the (adopter) who holds the child in
Her arms wants to confront the agony of the mother
From whose arms that same child was taken."
(Margaret McDonald Lawrence)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wearing Ribbons On The 30th

If you happen to run into a woman sporting a tri-colored ribbon badge of black, purple and white on the 30th of November, stop and ask her about it. That distant rumblings you are hearing is the silence of years being broken. More about this, later.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Truth During Adoption (Beware)Ness Month

Time magazine has posted this pithy piece at their online site and I love their timing. I only wish that they had included the additional truth of how various state CPS agents will comandeer the children of the poor and vulnerable (usually single and struggling mothers) under the thinnest of pretexts in order to have the money-making infants and toddlers to offer to adopters. Their pay-off? Federal $$$$$$.

For those who still think that the ultra-gooey, National Adoption Awareness Month is beneficial for the "sake" of children in the foster care system, read and think again. I still have to wonder how much more truth can be brought to the attention of the American public about adoption before they realize that the Emperor is naked. I have added my own parenthetical comments just because I can! Power is a heady thing.

Is Adoption the Solution?By TIMOTHY ROCHE
Posted Monday, Nov. 13, 2000

To hear federal officials tell it, one of the best solutions to America's foster-care crisis often boils down to one word: adoption. New figures released by the Department of Health and Human Services show that 46,000 foster-care children were legally adopted in 1999, a 28% increase from the previous year's total. Money is part of the picture. For every child adopted beyond the number of adoptions in the previous year, the feds pay the states a bonus of $4,000, to be used for their foster-care and adoption programs. Kids with special needs are worth $6,000. In September federal officials announced that 42 states would receive $20 million in adoption bonuses. (*Who says it isn't about money? *RW)

New regulations have contributed to the rise in adoptions. The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 shortened the time for a state to make decisions about a child's placement. In the past, federal inspectors did little more than check necessary paper work to ensure that states were following placement guidelines. Now, however, teams of inspectors will descend upon states to track specific kids and their families. States have up to one year to show, through a court order, that they have made reasonable efforts to develop a permanent plan for reunification or guardianship or adoption.(* Now, there's an idea! Help the family out and keep them! I wish I'd thought of that. RW) The new regulations, announced in January and phased in throughout the year, have "re-conceptualized" the policies with the intention of requiring "continuous improvement," says HHS Secretary Donna Shalala. For the first time, she says, "we really are going to hold the states' feet to the fire."(*Just like an adopter I read about did to the feet of the child she acquired...she showed that ungrateful little so and so! RW)

Just how the states will respond to the changes in federal law remains to be seen. Some have written new legislation to overhaul their foster-care systems. But many states, like Colorado, face even bigger challenges, because the real control over foster care rests with local agencies, not state officials. Policies vary not only from state to state but also from county to county. "It's part of the Western culture to be independent," says Representative Doug Linkhart, a Colorado Democrat. "But it presents a problem, because the system is so fragmented, and too many things are going wrong because of poor communication."(*What about..the entire concept is flawed, Representative Linkhart? Scrap it all and start over and leave adoption out of the equation for the nonce. RW)

Earlier this year the Governor of Colorado appointed a task force to study reform after three foster kids died in 18 months. What it found was startling: the bureaucracy was so fractured that overburdened state officials had given up trying to inspect all the privately run child-placement agencies. So the state simply granted them permanent licenses, and foster kids suffered.

As it is, however, the new federal policies may engender a whole new set of problems. Critics say the reforms put a bounty on the heads of unwanted children. They fear that timetables tied to disbursement of money may (*May????) keep social workers from trying harder to rehabilitate biological (* As in "REAL"?) parents and reunite families, because government leaders now consider adoption a panacea(!!!). "Skewed financial incentives are the single biggest problem in the entire child-welfare system," says Richard Wexler of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. (*Au contraire, Mr. Wexler...the biggest problem is the knee-jerk gravitation to adoption as a cure-all, motivated by the big the numbers! RW)

And what happens, asks Rachel Oesterle, an expert with Aid to the Adoption of Special Children, when a foster adoption fails--an incidence that can run as high as 12%? Does the government get its money back from the states? A report for Wexler's coalition says, "States get to keep the money even if an adoption fails. In fact, if they place the same child again, they collect another bounty." Says Wexler: "The bounty is paid when the adoption is finalized, so there is an incentive to place a child with little concern about whether the placement will really last."(*Hmmmmm, says Robin. So someone realizes that adopters return children like defective merchandise and the state agencies still get the bucks...what a concept! *wink)

--By Timothy Roche. With reporting by Melissa August/Washington, Julie Grace/Chicago and Maureen Harrington/Denver
With reporting by Melissa August/Washington, Julie Grace/Chicago and Maureen Harrington/Denver

Friday, November 10, 2006

America, The Land Of The Naive

We deal with all kinds of people when we enter the arena of adoption reform activism. There are the vicious (usually angry, threatened adopters and adoptees), the smug (self-righteous "experts" who think they represent reform), the judgmental and those that are just actively holding on to their denial and sense of entitlement. We counter the spin-doctors for the industry with the facts that we painstakingly gather, we appeal to the compassion of the self-entitled with our personal stories and we stand toe-to-toe with the vicious and we don't back down.

That leaves us with the clueless...the ones living in the dream world of media-induced warm fuzzies. These are the people who see every adoptable child as a curly-haired moppet, cast out into the storm, and adopters as the selfless saviors of that child. To them, the story ends with the adoption...Annie and Daddy Warbucks walk off into the sunset and everyone says.."Awwwwwwwwwwww." Mom is either dead or a self-sacrificing heroine or a total, abusive slut. That she might be "everywoman," worthwhile and decent and broken with grief, as the vast majority of us actually are, is a puzzler for the naive in the US.

These are the people who have never been put into the maelstrom of adoption. Oh, they might "know somebody," usually an adoptee, who seems just fine, thank you and then they'll go on to voice their worries about teen pregnancies, dumpster babies and crackwhore moms because that is what they see on TV and read about in the papers. I have noticed that, when I talk to someone like this about adoption, they seem shocked and almost unable to comprehend what I am saying. The idea that adoption could be anything but all warm and gooshy with heart-rending, positive emotion is so foreign to their social conditioning that I might as well be speaking to them in Klingon.

They all have their mental slide-show of what adoption is, and when we edit the frames, it's hard for them to take it all in. Some argue, some listen and some even try to learn more. But there is a lot of industry-driven conditioning of the American public out there. We, as a society, seem to be in some sort of national, self-centered childhood that allows many of us to just buy the package without really checking the quality of the product as long as we get what we want. We were taught lies in American History when we were growing up, and we are hard-put to think that our government or anyone else in authority or who proclaims themselves to be an "expert" or who drapes themselves in the mantle of religion or good, old conservative values might ever steer us wrong.

The naive, the clueless, the average person-on-the-street...they are all out of the adoption loop and only the ones with the big money and the mass media connections can reach them unless our campaign of revelation gets loud and vociferous. That's hard for a group of regular women, especially those of us from the BSE (Baby Scoop Era), to do because we were raised to be "nice and lady-like." Between working to gather our ovarian fortitude and dealing with Frozen Moms who are still in denial, we have our work cut out for us. But the Civil Rights Amendment didn't get passed because the African-American community was quiet and unassuming. They were non-violent, but they were also LOUD and FRANK and TO THE POINT.

To those moms who are ready to march, here's a suggestion. This month, the dreaded Adoption Awareness (BewareNess) Month is a chance to fire a volley and gain the attention of the naive (unaware) citizen. Some of us are thinking to run with the "National Strange and Mournful Day" idea (see previous post), observing it on the last day of the month claimed by the adoptionists..November 30th. If you're interested, watch this blog. There'll be more information to come. Happy November, America. Are you ready to learn something?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

National "Strange and Mournful Day?"

I never realized, until I had my eyes opened to my own grief and pain and the reality of what had happened to my children and to me, why this song struck such a chord in me. I cried when I heard it played on an "Oldies station" in 1993 when I reunited with my adult children.

Mother and Child Reunion
Words & music by Paul Simon

No I would not give you false hope, On this strange and mournful day,
But the mother and child reunion, Is only a motion away,
oh, little darling of mine.
I can't for the life of me, Remember a sadder day,
I know they say let it be,
But it just don't work out that way, And the course of a lifetime runs, Over and over again.

No I would not give you false hope, On this strange and mournful day,
But the mother and child reunion, Is only a motion away,
oh, little darling of mine,
I just cant believe its so, And though it seems strange to say,
I never been laid so low, In such a mysterious way, And the course of a lifetime runs, Over and over again.

But I would not give you false hope, On this strange and mournful day,
When the mother and child reunion, Is only a motion away,
Oh, oh the mother and child reunion, Is only a motion away,
Oh the mother and child reunion, Is only a moment away...........

The pro-adoption faction has their dubiously cheerful National Adoption Awareness (BEWARENESS) month. I propose that we who have suffered from the inequities and pain of adoption designate a day in November as "National Strange and Mournful day." It would be a protest against the celebration of an institution that has brought so much injustice and hurt to so many. I'm still appalled at the people who would rejoice in something that is a tragedy to others.

Designating such a day might bring to the foreground the fact that reunion doesn't take away the pain and the damage done. No matter how good a reunion might seem to be, there is always the bitter with the sweet. All the years are lost to us, we can't get them back, ever, and most adopters are reticent to share what they consider to be "their" private memories.

The truth of our manipulation at the hands of the industry and its minions and an unjust society comes home to us with a huge blow. No longer the shell-shocked, vulnerable pregnant young women, we (those of us who haven't been "frozen" by the trauma) see how unnecessary our loss really was and how we were betrayed by those we had been taught to trust. We enter the morass of adopter possessiveness and adoptee loyalty and confusion.

Our babies are gone from us, forever and we have no way to mark that occasion. There is that familiar stranger standing there and we both look at each other and feel so much it can't be verbalized. Some of us get the brunt of our children's anger. Some of us get treated like back-street mistresses...dirty little secrets with our children visiting and communicating clandestinely. Those of us that arrive at a workable relationship have to work at it with sweat, blood and tears and we never know when it might all topple like a house of cards from the weight of years apart and the painful erosion of adoption cliches and mythology.

So, if the industry and adopters and their government supporters are Hell-bent on celebrating the number of little families they destroyed to form their own idea of perfection, then we can have our own day to let them know they are too wide of the mark on this issue to qualify as compassionate human beings. We can remind adopters that, without the market they create, there would be no drive to secure a supply...that they are NOT entitled to a child just because they want one. We can let the non-adoption-affected American public see the carnage that has been going on among them without their real understanding.

Hmmm...I wonder if we need to ask Paul Simon for permission to use the phrase?

"We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal"and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal."
Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Why We Can't Wait, 1963

Monday, November 06, 2006

Adoption BEWARENESS Month

Ah, November is here again, and along with cooling temperatures and the headlong rush into the Holidays, the time is at hand, again, for the adoption industry and adopters to trot out their annual, self-righteous, specious and misleading propaganda. A very smart member of OUSA came up with this wonderful idea for those of us who are in the fight to put a hurting on this major, big-money industry, to call November "Adoption Bewareness Month."

We are looking for ways to reach the pregnant women out there who see themselves in a "crisis" situation and let them know that everything passes and changes, that no "crisis" lasts forever, but their child's need for them will be forever as will their grief and pain be if they fall into that trap. We are doing all in our power to try to show the unnecessary nature of adoption, even in the worst-case scenarios. We are working to see the rights of natural family members to raise their own children upheld when the mothers are truly unable. We are writing letters and emails to lawmakers and editors citing the many trespasses of the industry, the CPS and the social work profession, many members of which are totally knee-jerk in pushing adoption as a solution for everything but the common cold. To anyone who sees us as non-effective, look again.

We also have taken a stand of support for the different foreign countries that are moving to block the ease with which potential adopters can come into their country and take their children without a thought to any family members, the reliability of the information given them by the facilitators or the ultimate affect on the children involved. Yes, we write, we publicize, we meet, we strive to educate, we have PAC's, we involve ourselves in every aspect of the media, and we won't give up or back away. Most importantly, our numbers are growing.

We now have active Origins chapters in 3 countries, a radio show about adoption, which was started by a Canadian adoptee, and a lot of facts, figures and investigative work under out belts (thanks, Karen). We have online activism groups, private and strong and active, that are a study in constant brain-storming.

So, in addition to telling the mothers, fathers and other family members of an expected baby who may fall victim to the adoption industry to BEWARE the trap of adoption, we can also tell the industry and all those who benefit from this sad social experiment of adoption to BEWARE if they're not taking us seriously. Sooner or later, you are going to have to sit up and listen rather than attacking and denying. If you want to celebrate something that causes others so much pain, then be prepared to be called to account for that. Happy Adoption BEWARENESS Month!

Robin Westbrook
Mother of Four, No "Birth" About It
"Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon."
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton-
"We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal"And everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal."-Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Why We Can't Wait, 1963

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Good Article about Foreign Adoption

This appeared in the Toronto Star, this morning, and it says it all better and more in depth than many similar articles have. I've been wondering how to address the issue of the adoption, by pop "star," Madonna, of an African child. The story been tugged and pulled to death, but this piece spells it out from a very astute viewpoint. The author's position with the African Medical & Research Foundation in Canada has obviously given her a good idea of what kind of damage is done with foreign adoption.

It has long been acknowledged that American adopters will go to foreign countries to adopt in order to avoid "messy" interactions with the parents of the children they covet. Here in the US, it is hard to avoid the mother of the adopted child due to open adoption, reunions and now, contested adoptions. It has also long been observed that there is an arrogance in the American adopter that assumes our material wealth and (sometimes questionable) national values make us a superior environment to their own country for any child, regardless of their families, cultures and beliefs. I have heard enough from a few adult Asian and other foreign adoptees to know that they are not the most "grateful" group on the planet. If anything, many of them feel robbed of both their original families AND their native cultures. This need to be seen as "saviors" by the American adopter is becoming downright pathological and, as I said before, extremely arrogant.

Here's the link and the article. Peruse at your leisure.


The best thing for orphans is to help reunite them with family members, says Salima Pirani

Nov. 2, 2006. 01:00 AM

Last week I watched, along with millions of viewers of the Oprah Winfrey Show worldwide, as Madonna spoke out against the media for discouraging international adoption and called for African laws to enable more international adoption of African children. All of this following her own adoption of 13-month-old David Banda from an orphanage in Malawi.

Via satellite from her home in the U.K., Madonna called the lack of adoption laws in Malawi a "state of emergency," urging viewers to go to Africa to see what she had witnessed: "8-year-olds in charge of households ... mothers dying ... a state of emergency," she repeated. She added, "Adoption laws have to be changed to suit that state of emergency. I think if everybody went there, they'd want to bring one of those children home with them and give them a better life."

In another interview, she told the media that the adoption was not an easy one. Nor should it have been. Fourteen million children under the age of 15 have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The majority of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Madonna's story raises two common approaches to this problem: adoption and orphanages. But foreign adoption and orphanages will only create more problems down the road.

Displacing orphans hurts the child twice. Not only do these children lose their parents, but also their inheritance, their home and all their family ties. A child in an orphanage reaches 18 years of age and is asked to leave. They walk out of the door with nothing. No land, no home and no relationship with relatives or home community.

Madonna made a plea for adoption laws in Africa to change to make it easier for foreigners to adopt African children. If this takes place, the implications on Africa's children, its workforce and its future will be immense.

While African governments will struggle to set up adoption laws, facilities and processes for foreigners to claim these children, on the other hand the conditions that lead to poverty, disease and death will continue.

The result? Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children will be removed from Africa. There is no evidence, as Madonna suggests, that children adopted by foreigners will someday return to Africa to work as doctors, civil servants or other contributing members of society. On the contrary, the trend has always been for the African professional to leave the continent to work overseas because of the lack of infrastructure and economic opportunities at home.

If we look at the UNAIDS statistics for a country like Uganda, one out of every 30 people is a child under 15 who has lost one or both parents. Institutional care or foreign adoption for every 30th person is simply not an economic option.

As the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." In Africa, orphans are traditionally cared for by the community. Guardians receive the rights to the land the parents leave behind while the children remain in their care. Work is being done to ensure these children ultimately inherit their parents' land when they come of age.

In the African model, the child grows up with an identity and possibly an inheritance, too.

I believe in the traditional system of supporting the guardians and communities to deal with this huge and increasing burden themselves. By supporting them with loans and by building their capacity to generate the extra income, caretakers of orphans are able to help pay for the extra food and schooling. This support costs only a fraction of the price of putting children into orphanages and is much better for the child.

People who really want to help alleviate the burden of poverty can assist in many ways, adoption not included. Educating the public about HIV/AIDS to reduce stigma, working with teachers and schools to accommodate the special needs of AIDS orphans, encouraging communities to be active participants in raising orphans in their community, working with elderly grandmothers and young heads of households to decrease the burdens they face, protecting and upholding child rights and working with African governments and ministries of health to bridge the gaps between communities with orphans and the health-care systems are all long-term and sustainable solutions to the ever-growing number of AIDS orphans.

It is estimated that by 2010, there will be 20 million children orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

The best thing we can do for these children is educate them, reunite them with family members — however distant, as long as they are willing and able guardians — and support these guardians so that they are able to make a living to care for the children.

Salima Pirani is the communications manager of African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF) Canada, an international African health development organization bridging the gap between communities and health-care systems.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Week Off

I've had a break from blogging this past week. Hubby took a week off and we did the "Clean Sweep" thing to our master bedroom and walk-in closet and got a good start on the garage. It's amazing the things you can accumulate in 18 years. Goodwill and the landfill were enriched.

I came across a lot of old stuff from my reunions with my surrendered children in my cleaning frenzy....things I had written back when I was still calling myself a "birth"mother. Those things were at the beginning of a 14-year odyssey of education and enlightenment and I cannot believe how far I have come from that timid beemommy that wanted my children's adopters to like me so that I could, at least, maybe have a little place in their lives. Coming out of that fog is so empowering.

For instance, I read another study this morning, on a blogspot blog like this one, that only reiterates and emphasizes the things that many of us have learned long ago. This study, 'Degenerative Policy Design: An Examination of Sealed Adoption Record Policy by Larry Watson, LMSW-ACP ', shows how the laws governing closed adoption records evolved over the years. One sentence, in particular, stood out to me. "Laws closing adoption records to the parties were enacted not as a shield to protect birth parents from their adult children's ever learning identity, but as a sword to prevent them from interfering with the adoptive families raising the children."

I am so happy to see this on a blog that adoptees read. When we lose our children to adoption, everyone tells them it was our choice...our fault. When they are denied their own history as adults, again, facilitators, adopters and others blame us in the name of "b****mother confidentiality." Those of us who have seen the surrender papers or facsimilies can attest to the fact that there is NO clause or reference to a guarantee of anonymity for mothers. MOST mothers find the idea of needing protection of our confidentiality from our children to be laughable.

No, indeed. The entire idea of mothers of adoption loss as a group desiring such "protection" is just another fabrication by the industry, facilitators, adoption attorneys, etc., who want to protect the REAL client/customer...the adopters. This is just one more of the lies that the industry and adopters tell our children and our children believe it and we wonder why they get angry at US??

Looking back, I can see a time when I bought this whole line of garbage, including the idea of "confidentiality," hook, line and sinker. I, personally, didn't want anonymity and "protection" from my children, but I believed it was a promise made to those of us who lost children to adoption. I can read my naivete' in the old, saved writings of early reunion and awakening. What a difference a good education can make in one's perceptions.

There is more information available now, than 14 years ago. There are more mothers speaking out and telling the truth about our loss, pain and frustrations. People are starting to listen and learn. I just wish the process could get faster and less painful. I also hope it doesn't take the next awakening Mother of Loss as many years as it has taken me to accept and embrace the truth.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

How To Word A Poll..... get the results you want. I think the initial question on this poll featured at is along the same lines as "have you stopped beating your wife." If you are forced, coerced or have certain current difficulties used against you, then you DON'T "PLACE!" They did, in the body of questions, include one truth and that one is the leader at the moment. The question they have asked is "Why Did You 'Place' (yuck) Your Child For Adoption?" I just had to take this oversimplified mess and make some additions. Here are the options available for votes on this poll. Just one little bit of recently gleaned knowledge. The majority of mothers were coerced/forced, but many don't either want to admit to how powerless they actually were or they cling to the illusion of the heroic, self-sacrificing mother in order to cope with the enormity of their loss. So take some of the answers with a grain of salt. It takes a secure woman to admit that it was taken completely out of her hands and that she was given no other option.

Forced. I didn't have a choice between my parents, social workers, and/or agency. (409)
65% *Note that, so far, this category has received the largest number of votes. A good questions...I was surprised to find them using it. Add to the parents and SW's, doctors, family lawyers, their churches...the pressure is immense and a nasty thing to do to a young, vulnerable mother-to-be.

Finances. I was in a bad financial situation. I didn't think I could afford to feed the both of us. (73) 11% *Notice that the questions uses the phrase "I didn't think I could afford...etc." It begs the question did anyone really try to help these mothers find the many resources available to them or did the voracious agencies and adopters say "let's go with that" and harvest the infants of monthers that probably had more resources and option than they realized? I wonder if any of these mothers were directed to the services that would have made it possible for them to have all the necessities while they got on their feet, financially? IF this information is not made available, by state agencies for sure, then someone should demand that it be included in all information given a mother to be in such a situation. Financial woes don't have to be forever.

Victim. I was the victim of rape/incest. I wouldn't have been able to raise a child born of such violence. (5) 0% *I know how traumatic that can be and it speaks to my own experience. My second surrendered child was conceived by what we now call "date rape." (Back then, it was called "she asked for it.) Now my motherly instincts had already been triggered, but I am hard-put to understand why there was no intense counseling for the mother for her trauma as well a lot of exercises on separating that innocent child from the act that caused the conception. In the final analysis, he was MY baby, the product of my body and how he got there was secondary to the need to love and protect him. It is, in my opinion, childish and petulant to blame an innocent infant for the sins of their fathers.

Abuse. Due to my abusive relationship I wanted my baby to be in a safer environment. (5) 0% *So then, the abuser is more important that your child? And what decent, principled social worker would take the baby and leave the mother in that situation. What real efforts were made to insure her safety and the safety of her child? Was she even told that there were ways to make it on her own without the abuser or that she had the law on her side? Were any of the women's shelters and staff given the opportunity to help this kind of mother-to-be? This is not a problem with no solutions.

Drugs/Alcohol. Due to my drug problem or that of my significant other, I thought we couldn't or shouldn't be parents. (3) 0% *OK, so did you think this or were you told this? Shouldn't BE parents? Sorry, but that decision was taken out of your hands. Surrender of your baby did not take away anything but your parental rights and responsibilities. Your parenthood will always be a part of you. Finding a legal guardain for your baby while you found treatment and recovery would have been all-around the best solution. Did anyone even try to suggest that idea? Was your family unwilling to provide a stable home among the family of origin until you could find your way to recovery. That precious baby would have been a mighty powerful incentive to work with re-hab and deal with withdrawal.

Single. I didn't think I could handle parenting alone. (68) 10% *Now this one is the kicker. In this age of strong women and empowerment for mothers, a woman still thinks that she absolutely MUST have a man and a man's name in order to be a successful mother? Women have been raising children alone for generations. With this kind of reasoning, the momen a mother became a widow, or lost her husband to divorce, etc, she should have been running to an agency , crying "Take my kids!!!" This almost sounds like adoption-industry rote perpetrated on someone vulnerable and with little to no self-esteem. Did anyone try to bolster the self-image of these moms. Did the agencies or other entities salivating over the thought of taking that baby even stop to point out to her all the single mothers that, for generations, have done the job and done it well? Nope, didn't think so.

Other (64) *Lord only knows what these reasons were. Obviously 64 women thought themselves somewhat unique.

In an companion poll that asked about "language preferences" it needs to be noted that "Natural Mother" is beating out "birfmudder" by a country mile and "Surrender" has routed "placed." These are real mothers answering, people at AC, so you might want to take note.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Does It Ever Get Better?

A friend is going to a support group meeting and wanted to know what she could say to the mothers of loss in pain when they ask, "Does it ever get better? Does the pain ever go away?"

If I were to answer, I'd have to do so from my experience. I don't think it ever "goes away." But, for me it has become less intense and more manageable with time and information and education. Ideally, you learn how to live with it, control the emotional response and still find happiness. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life, right now. That happiness is not dependent on how my reunited children relate to me or anything or anyone else, including adoption, but on me and how I choose to live.

Maybe I am getting to a better place with it all because, while I still get triggered, my reaction is usually just pure anger and frustration and, in some cases, simply disgust. For that reason, I don't always go to sites or read articles that I know, in advance, are going to make me want to throw things. I pick and choose my debates and don't enter in to any that look like they are going to be non-productive. I also have to think about how I am feeling at the time, physically and emotionally. Then I sort out what I can do about what and what I can't do about what and forge ahead. I try to recognize my limitations. For instance, I can try to educate and enlighten, but I cannot control people's thought processes..I can't MAKE anyone else see things our way.

The adoption machine, SW's, family (hereafter referred to as THEM/They), that had a hand in my loss did have all the power back then. But I have the personal power now. If I thought, especially now that I am in my 60's, that I would suffer unending pain and sorrow forever, why would I want to see 70 and 80 and whatever I am given beyond that?

Maybe I am just too old for deep angst but I have accepted what happened as unchangeable, though inarguably unjust and horrible, and I try to concentrate on changing what I can in the here and now. I've come out on the other end of the adoption loss experience a wiser person. If we can attain some sort of redress and investigation into those crimes from yesterday, well and good and I am heartily in favor of and among those fighting to see that happen. In the meantime, doing what you can to help others in the same situation is better than an anti-depressant. Someone once told me, after a family tragedy, to look for the gift in the midst of the pain. Direction, awareness and truth are my gifts and I try to use them.

I think of my former neighbor from years ago, Gertrude Radenberg, a German Jew, who saw her new husband (they were wed two days before they were sent to the camp), sister and father die in the concentration camp where she spent 3 years of her young life (age 17 to 20). She wore a tattoo that marked her as a victim of the worst kind of oppression and personal disempowerment possible. She told me that when the Nazis would come into her dreams, or she would see the Holocaust depicted in film or on TV, she would laugh and say, "Here I am, you Putzes. You didn't kill ME, I am still here and I live and have love and laughter in my life. You didn't win and if you ever try again, I know how to fight you!"

Isn't that a bit the same? If we don't get better and learn how to live with what happened and how to cope without plunging into the emotional abyss every time we see or hear something that triggers us, then THEY have won. It's time for US to win. Now we know what to fight and are learning how to fight. So, I'd tell the moms at the support group that yes, it CAN get better. Look inside for your strength, to the rest of us for support and have patience.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Leveling Out

I am beginning to think that, if both parties work at it, reunion, like water, will eventually find its own level. My daughter and I seem to be approaching a comfort zone, a place where we both can feel truly at ease with each other. It will be 14 years come April 30, 2007. I would say that we have definitely given it our best effort and it's paying off.

I couldn't help but think how I would have felt, 15 years ago, had I received the call I did today. She just needed some input on an anniversary dinner she was putting together for her in-laws, but the pure ease and normalcy of that simple call blew me away. We discussed the virtues of wiping mushrooms rather than washing them and debating how much garlic without ever thinking about how this whole phone call, had the adoption industry and the "keepers of the keys" had their way, might have never happened.

She also mentioned a person who had been posting on a MySpace group where she does a bit of adoption-related messaging. It seems that this was someone that wanted to upset everyone's apple cart and she was complaining a bit about their foul language. Then she mentioned a potential adopter entering the group, wanting pointers from "bee-mommies" and other people who had adopted about how to find a baby. It seems that didn't sit too well with my eldest child. She more or less let the trolling PAP know that she didn't have a right to take a baby from anyone, infertility aside.

It seems that, while not as 100% militant anti-adoption as her Mom, my precious apple didn't fall far from the tree. She definitely has some 95% anti-adoption genes. There was a time when she would have told me that adoption was Divinely Orchestrated and Meant To Be. She has come so far and I knew that the strength and the savvy was all there, underneath the grateful adoptee surface, ready to burst forth in all its glory.

We had a really good discussion about angry adoptees and frozen mothers of loss and then she was off to work on her dinner party. And as usual, she ended the conversation with, "I love you, Mom." And I said, "I love you too, BabyGirl." This was a GOOD day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

No Longer Going Crazy...

A few weeks back, a young mother in San Diego wrote to the Dear Abby column, complaining about her lack of "motherly" feelings, stating she hated her new baby girl, that her husband wouldn't allow her to give her daughter away and that she was on the edge, emotionally. She signed it, "Going Crazy In San Diego." "Dear Abby" immediately responded by urging her to, first, seek help for her emotional state, and then, to find , right away, a "couple who would love her child." Of course, I saw red on that one.

It was obvious to anyone with half a brain that what this mom needed was NOT to lose her baby but to have immediate and aggressive attention given to her very bad case of post-partum depression, and the Abby column got a ton of mail to that effect, my email among them. Unfortunately, there was also a lot of mail with the same knee-jerk reaction as Pauline's ("Abby"), whose family has a history of adopting, that urged her to surrender her child before she hurt the baby. I was so concerned that this woman was going to lose her baby to the ignorance of the adoption-besotted reading public that I refused to read the column for a long time.

This morning, in my Orlando Sentinel, the signature on the first letter of the "Dear Abby" column caught my eye. It read, "No Longer Going Crazy In San Diego." Thank Heavens, the mom in question had received help and support from all sides, including the military as her husband is in the service, and was back to being a normal young mother. She is also now on anti-depressants...good drugs if used right and too much maligned. She apologized for what she felt was her trespass of "upsetting" so many people. She also mentioned that her daughter's colic is soothed by the sound of her mother's voice reading to her, so she now reads to her child, daily. My prayers were answered and a sacred bond was preserved.

If those around her and those that wrote in had not urged her to get the help she needed, I hate to think about what might have happened. I honestly don't think the child's physical safety was ever in jeopardy. But I can imagine how this mother would have felt after the depression passed if she had followed some of the more specious advice she received and surrendered her baby daughter for adoption (I can just picture the facilitators and PAP's salivating and rubbing their hands together in glee). She would have been another one of the walking wounded, another mother who lost her heart to endless grief because someone helped themselves to her baby instead of giving a helping hand to the mother.

This brought me back to the days when my first raised child was born. She was a little blond, pink and white angel and had killer colic. My breast milk was not good enough, I thought, but the fact was that her little tummy had some issues that only time and growth would help. I was in an unhappy marriage and was also very intimidated by all the messages I had received when I lost my two oldest children to adoption. That "unfit mother" crap can hang with you for a long time. I put her to bed one night and muttered, "I think that you just wait until I get to sleep to wake up and cause me grief." I fell into bed, exhausted.

Sure enough, about 2:00AM, I heard the little grunts and whimpers from the crib next to our bed. I had been through 2 months of this and was right on the edge. I was fighting back tears as I pulled my protesting body out of bed and trudged over to the crib and said, "OK, what the Hell do YOU want NOW?" At the sound of my voice, her little head jerked around, her eyes lit up and her first real smile split her face from ear to ear. I melted. If, at that moment, she had found a voice and asked me to sever my arm from my shoulder, I would have done it...for her. I changed her, wrapped her up and walked into the other room to nurse her. While she nursed, I softly let the tears from exhaustion, frustration, worry and self-doubt flow freely. I didn't sob, I just let them come. I could feel the tension in my body ease and I think she did too, because she nursed until she was full, burped twice, smiled at me once more (after much cajoling on my part) and went back to sleep until 8:00AM.

No that wasn't the end of the colic. She was 6 months old before she was able to sleep all night without a tummy-ache. But she ate, she put on weight, and when her tummy wasn't bothering her, she was a total delight. What did end that night were the feelings I had that I was no good for her and worth nothing to her. That smile was for ME. She was happy that I was there. She knew ME and wanted ME, her MOTHER. Not long after that night, my doctor put me on medication for my depression and my daughter on the bottle with a special formula for her tummy and the colic did improve. I worked at getting along with my, then, husband and was able to face life knowing that I was worthwhile as a mother.

That was all it took....that smile and the realization that I wasn't a total screw-up as a person or a mother. I was badly damaged from my adoption losses and I would not deal well with that all the time, but I grew a little bit with that experience, enough to start thinking about feeling better about myself and a journey that took a lot of years really began. That's all that "Going Crazy" needed..just some assurance that she wasn't an unnatural monster and that there was help available. I am so happy for her and for her daughter.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Space Deleted, Film at 11

We have recently received word, here at Motherhood Deleted, that the people at Concerned Unitd Birthparents who claimed credit for coining the derogatory and coercive "birth(?)mother" title have now admitted that they were not very original at all. The term had already been used by the author and adopter, Pearl S. Buck, and later by a facilitator, adopter. No, as it was "clarified" to someone most recently, the term was MODIFIED, to read as one word..."birthmother" rather than "birth mother" to allow a flow of first letters that gave them the acronym "CUB" rather than the somewhat awkward "CUBM". That means that quite a few of the arguments by proponents of that hideous misnomer are just a wee tad invalidated.

Why all the hubbub, you ask? Well, from this reporter's vantage spot, it looked like there was a bit of resistance to moving ahead and finally allowing the Mother of Adoption Loss to choose what she would be called. Call me picky, but I don't want anyone, not Pearl Buck, Lee Campbell, Marietta Spencer, the "sweet folks" at the CUB forum...ANYONE...deciding what I am to my children and how that relationship should be described. African Americans refuted the titles, "Negro" and "colored" and worse, that designated and denigrated them, as they moved towards more equality. They knew the power of language and they decided it was time to move past the old labels. THEY decided what they would be called as a race.

I was on the CUB forum mailing list for a while until I got booted for not complying with the moderator's demand for my biography (another Mom I know, just to show this person the depth of their foolishness, even included her bra size in her "bio). I read and observed, first hand, the battle of egos and status-quo, the derision with which those who wanted to move forward (including those who wanted an end to the "birth" prefix) were treated. I read long, ego-inundated, pseudo intellectual rants that really put a bad taste in my mouth where CUB, the organization, was concerned. Their forum is part of their voice, and I am NOT impressed.

As the African-American community progressed, so it is time for us to move on as well. We can sit and spin our wheels in the shadow-world of the "poor birthmother," we can continue to cater to the sensitivites of the adoption industry, adopters and angry adoptees, or we can become empowered as Mothers who lost children to adoption. It's not a matter, at all, of invalidating the steps taken by those that started the wheels turning that began opening of the eyes of this country to the problems of adoption. CUB does have some moments of which they can be justifiably proud. And, we all have to start somewhere. But nothing is gained by remaining stuck in a rut of sameness and what we are called IS important. It has become more important now that the word is being, in the here and now, used to effectively coerce mothers-to-be by naming them "birthmothers" before their child is even born or surrender documents are signed.

So now we know and now we can be sure that we Mothers of Adoption Loss did not put the onus of being a "birth-thing," a breeder, a walking uterus, upon ourselves. It's a step forward just knowing this.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Infant Adoption Awareness Idiocy

There is so much I would like to say about this intrusive piece of offal that allows religions, among others, to push moms into adoption to suit their eugenic orientations. But I just don't have the words right now so I am urging you to click on the title of this short piece which will link you to an excellent article. You might also want to click on "Musings of the Lame" in my links in the right-hand column and see what another Mom has to say about recent developments in this area...very in-depth and informative. I also would like to refer the reader to the article about Dr. C. Bachrach's study which, highly pro-adoption, skews the facts no end.
You can find this article at .

I want to place a big billboard across from every church-operated agency in the US that screams, "KEEP YOUR SELF-RIGHTEOUS DEWCLAWS OFF OUR BABIES!!!" But some might see that as excessive...ya think? But again, do I care if some think it is excessive?