Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Concern Of An Adult Child For Their MOM

This is so funny and so wonderful at the same time. I've had some "hate mail" over the item I posted about adoptors..comments that said I didn't LOSE my children..I gave them away..that stated I was NOT their Mother...and that called me, in one really mature piece of work, a "breeder." (Gareth, is that you, Honey Child?) With great glee and a feeling of goddess-like power, I consigned them to that darling little trash can and got on with things.

It didn't really bother me the way things like this have in the past, because I still have the sound of my oldest daughter's voice ringing in my ears and saying, "MOM, you get to the ER, right now! Do you need me to come down there?" So, I did as she and my raised daughter and husband all suggested out of, I highly suspect, love for me. Or, I guess she just really has a fondness for breeders, right? Excuse me while I indulge in validated hilarity.

I tend to shy away from the gooey-sweet article praising adoption and the families built on the tragic loss of mother and child to each other. It triggers me, I get angry and I post out of heated emotion. So I guess seeing what they know in their deepest guts is true, to be actually a tellable fact, triggers the adoptionists' ire and sends them screaming into vitriolic postings and denial. These posters don't want to believe the reality of the specious nature of adoption propaganda that tells a young woman that she can relinquish her child and have only the kind of grief that can be cured with a couple of sessions with some agency-toady-cum-"counsleor." They don't want to acknowledge the fact that the vast majority of losses to adoption should never have happened...and, in fact, had no really GOOD reason to happen. And the angry adoptee (I suspect) that called me a breeder doesn't want to face the fact that he/she can't tar all Moms with the same brush just because things didn't turn out well with his/her Mother.

I have long thought that any woman who benefits from the loss of another woman would have to know, deep in her gut, the price that was paid by the mother of the child she now calls hers and the enormous tragedy that was her lot and that of her child. This thing about adopters, epecially the women, believing that most Moms WANTED to be shed of their offspring is justification and denial and insecurity in the extreme. I have learned from some of these adopters who are ethical enough to be honest, that they now know that almost none of these losses should have ever happened and they also realize how little thought was given to the fate of the original mother/child bond. That realization has to be quite a blow to the heart of the truly good-intentioned among their number.

So, for those who would wish to diminish my role in the lives of my adult reunited children, sorry but you are missing something vital, here. They are the ones who decide what I am to them and I am the one who decides who and what I am, period, and no matter what your eugenics theory might say. They and I have decided....I'm MOM. No amount of nasty name-calling comments can or will change that.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Why I Hate Hospitals....A Rant

For the past few days, I have been experiencing some "twinges" in my chest along with some accompanying tightness and pressure. While I know about how my GERD (gastro-esophogeal reflux disease) can mimic heart problems, by yesterday afternoon I was starting to get really alarmed. I finally told Hubby and both daughters about it and was ordered, forthwith, to get to the ER, so off Hubby and I went. 24 hours, a sleepless overnight hospital stay and more agony-producing tests than I can count, I am happy to say that my heart is strong and healthy and normal and my regular doctor should have stuck with Nexium for my GERD rather than switching me to Aciphex, because THAT'S what caused the problem.

With lack of sleep, no supper or breakfast, no water after midnight, no CPAP to help me sleep, I went to those tests nauseated, and with the headache from Hell. Has anyone ever had a "chemical" (also known as an "inactive") cardiac stress test? Those 5 minutes that you endure what amounts to a drug-induced heart attack feel like 30 and your life flashes before your bulging eyes. . My face got red, my upper body from diaphragm to mandibles felt like it was in a toothed vise, I started retching, my blood pressure shot up to 224/120 and my blood glucose went up to almost 300, necessitating an insulin injection right there in the radiology/nuclear medicine department. Dr. Nichols, the cardiologist, a lovely woman about my oldest daughter's age, held my hand and kept telling me how good my heart was doing. NEVER AGAIN!! After this, I laid on a cold, hard MRI bed for 15 minutes, ie; long enough for my herniated discs to start crying "Uncle," while the nasty machine took its pictures of my radioactive heart and then another 15 minutes while the staff applied ice packs to my throbbing head and fed me ice chips.

After getting home finally, having a shower, some good coffee, a decent meal (Hubby cooked!*gasp) and 3 hours sleep, my headache is finally gone, I am no longer spending time praying to the porcelain God and I am so glad to be home I feel like kissing the paint-stained carpet in my craft room. There is a good reason for me to feel anxious when I hear phrases like "keeping you here for a few tests." Those words should be followed by the sound of maniacal laughter, and the theme music from "Jaws." But, I am Mother of Adoption Loss, hear me roar, and I am bouncing back, however, I definitely have taken hospitals off my list of places to go and things to do. The diagnostic tests to find out what I didn't have were worse than the symptoms that necessitated them. Talk about your overkill!

I'm thinking about renewing my membership to the YMCA for the senior pool days...I could use the exercise. I have also decided that it might be a good idea to stay away from my famous, low-fat chili dogs, fresh tomatoes and spicy artichoke spread. Gerdie doesn't like them. I will go, without hesitation, to whatever lengths I need to in order to avoid anymore overnight hospital stays for "tests." Well, at least it wasn't my heart. Maybe it was worth the pain and discomfort to learn that I have a healthy ticker and a chance to improve my general health. I can't rest on the laurels of quitting smoking forever.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

No Saints-No Heroes-And The Universe Didn't Do It

Another day and another comment from an adopter who "saw red" when she read my comments about adopters. First of all, Honey, you can see red all you want. I'm not exactly quaking in my boots. I gave up being intimidated by the self-righteous a long time ago. I delete and I delight in the power. I have been at the mercy of the self-entitled for so long that this is a lark for me. The worm has at eleven.

Now, I have to reiterate what I wrote in a prior post. Adopting is not heroic, it doesn't confer sainthood and God/dess/Cosmos/Universe/Nature had NOTHING to do with it. Adoption is a construct of humanity who arrogantly seems to think that they can go Nature one better, period.

Taking in a child truly in need of nurture and care is an act of compassion...assigning that child YOUR identity as YOUR son/daughter, changing the name, history, and heritage of that child, treating that child like a possession..all that is an act of self-entitlement and I will call it that until I have no more breath in my body because that is what it is..period! While it is a kindness that anyone would care for a child, especially one with special needs, it is as easy to proffer that kindness as a legal guardian. The assumption of "faux, legal parent-hood" is done for the sake of the adopter, NOT for the child. In our history, there are many worthy and well-loved people who grew up, not as son or daughter, but as ward, niece/nephew, grandchild, etc., without needing to take on the identity of the caregivers. It can be done. Hell, it SHOULD be done that way.

True mothers don't expect a halo or kudos when they care for their child who has health or developmental problems and they sure don't think that such as that JUSTIFIES their motherhood. And, I'm sorry, but I cannot be happy with any kind of spiritual system, deity or force that would visit this kind of thing on a child to help their caregiver OR mother/father "learn a lesson" or so they can mystically come into the care of "the pre-ordained" adopter. Nope, my Higher Power is a lot kinder than that. That kind of tragic thing comes under the unfortunate but true heading of "bad sh** that happens." I do believe that kindness and compassion are gifts from that Great Unknown and it's up to us to develop that gift within ourselves. Using that as a justification for the assumption of "legal motherhood" is something else again and there are definitely no halos for fulfilling your own needs.

It seems to be hard for a lot of people who read here to understand that I am, without apology and fear, sincerely ANTI-Adoption. And, while I understand that all those who adopt are not ogres or anything more than the usual normal, fallible, human being, I do hate the ACT of adopting and will never agree with that for any reason. So I ask the question that begs to be asked. Now that you know that about me, why would you try to post to me? I'm glad you have cared so well for your adoption-acquired child...I'm sorry you felt he had to assume YOUR family identity to do so. But, nothing you say is going to change my mind nor justify, in my mind, your adopting, nor is it going to alter what I have to say on this blog or in any other venue.

The only difference is that here, in this atmosphere, a Mother of Adoption Loss is finally able to have the last word. I am not ashamed to say that feels good.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My World On Canvas

A loved one is currently taking part in an art therapy class for anger management. I expect there will be a lot of dark colors and edgy subject matter in that class. It's started me thinking about how I have used MY art to "manage" my anger.

I got into decorative painting about 20 years ago. I had always loved drawing and did well in art classes in school. I progressed from folk art painting to acrylics on canvas and developed a love of the landscape, although I still keep my hand in decorative painting and still lifes.

For me, painting has been an escape from the anger and the stress of this nasty, often overwhelming battle against the adoption status quo, adoption facilitators, self-entitled adopters and the insidious pro-adoption propaganda that inundates our culture. The outrageous injustice of it all has propelled me into online debates, terse and argumentative letters to the editors and congress and anyone else involved, and non-stop efforts to educate those around me as to the true nature of adoption and what it does to the mothers and the adopted people. My poetry and prose is painful and angry and my letters can border on the belligerent. But my art is something else again.

My art is the safe haven I have made for myself in a world where injustice is a daily occurrence and compassion and beauty have become skewed and all too subjective. Even music, these days, seems to require something mean-spirited in its lyrics in order to be successful. I escape into a world where wildflowers aren't called weeds, where every acre doesn't have 5 cookie-cutter houses on it, where water at least LOOKS clean and skies boast unimaginable ranges of color.

Any human figures that I might include in my paintings are gentle and reflective and I can feel that they are just and honorable and care about the pain of others. With my paintbrush, I can build a cabin with glowing windows on a mountainside, with no landscaping except that which Nature creates and I just know that there is peace and love and mutual respect inside. No one feels entitled to the children of others in those places that I paint. No one judges anyone else and finds them unfit or inadequate and no child is unwelcome and no pregnancy is anything other than Nature taking Its course. People are at peace with their own conditions and don't expect instant gratification. It's the world on my canvas and, as the late Bob Ross used to put it, I can do whatever I want in my world.

For me, my art is my striving for the world as it should be and could become. It is my seeking and visualizing a place of true justice and tolerance and less self-seeking and arrogant assumptions that humanity can outdo Nature. I can step back from a finished canvas and see what I fight for, what WE in OUSA and other places strive to create. And, when I see that reflected in my daubings of color and shape, I feel anger ebb and determination take its place.

I've been painting a lot, lately.

Monday, September 25, 2006

And About My Son.....

When you have lost two children to adoption and then reunite with both of them within a 6-month time frame, you can come through the experience somewhat addled. I have emerged from the initial stupor, still poleaxed, but with my sense and sensibilities enhanced and enlightened by the enormity of what I have learned and what I know I lost. It might seem to some that my attentions sway on a pendulum, back and forth between the two of them...two very different people with two very different, albeit negative, reactions to their adoptions.

There are times that I wish I could clone myself because I feel that each of them need so much of my attention and I become somewhat washed out at the enormity of need...theirs and mine...after over 30 years of adoption separation. Going on fourteen years into reunion, we are still hitting bumps and getting derailed, climbing back on and going again. My son is a perfect example.

The specific results and repercussions of his adoption-related life difficulties are his own business and something I won't discuss on a blog, but I can tell you that he is an angry, damaged man. His upbringing left a lot to be desired in that it exposed him to overt racism and association with..well, I would call them the more ignorant element. His anger-management difficulties are legion as well as his problems with controlled substances and alcohol. Not a new story but still a very sad one. He has also developed a misogynistic attitude that rankles. Yet, underneath all that violence, anger and bluster and macho posturing is a warm heart, capable of much love, and a very keen mind. He is intelligent but has never had that raw intellect developed or encouraged in the right way. So much for the idea that a set of adopters was "in his best interests."

He goes back and forth between intense and open contact with me, and a benign sort of absence. Why I never worry about the absences, I don't know. I think it is because I know in my gut that he does love me and knows I love him. He's 43 and I can't solve any of his problems...only he can. So I worry...I worry that his health will continue to decline, I worry that his emotional growth will remain stunted, I worry that his anger might get him badly injured or killed...I worry about it all. Mothers worry like that.

And I get angry...I get angry at the system that decided I, the mother that bore him and his older sister, that knew them and understood them and knew what to watch out for, was unfit to raise them because of the absence of a wedding ring and a male "protector" to give me validity as a mother. I get angry at my current my gut-deep knowledge that all the love I can give either of them won't fix the real problems and that it all could have been avoided.

How do I know that? I also raised two youngest two...and it doesn't take rocket science to observe that they are a lot more comfortable in their own skins than their older siblings are. I was only a couple of years older when I married, had my raised children and embarked on the sea of "socially-acceptable" motherhood and I did an OK job, if I do say so myself. I feel like, with me, at least they would have stood a fighting chance of some identity comfort and self-esteem. As imperfect a mother as I am and was (and as we all are) I was and am still THEIR mother. That makes a difference whether the adoption apologists want to admit it or not.

Now, I'll do what I do everyday. I'll light a candle for each of my children and say a little prayer and I'll wonder and worry a bit and then get on with the task of living. And I'll turn all of my adult children over to a Higher Power to be looked after and hope that they can learn a lesson or feel some love or smile a bit, today. They deserve that, and, God/dess knows, my two oldest NEED that. Especially, today, my angry oldest son.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Getting Personal for My Daughter

Although there is a lot of love there between us, I seem to occasionally manage to get my daughter really miffed at me. I'm not sure what her picture of a real mother entails, but I feel that I am falling short in her estimation. I raised the two children I was privileged to keep with a sense of self-reliance and a "rule" (not etched in stone) about any and all difficulties. That rule is simple. If it is something that you can do something about, then if you need my input, I'll let you know what I would do in that situation and if it fits, fine...if not, go to plan "B." BUT, If you can, personally, see no solution to the situation and you choose to stay in it and choose not to do anything to change it, then for Pete's Sake, talk about it once, then stop complaining about it and learn to live gracefully with it. I don't like to see my children sitting in and enjoying their misery.

I guess our idea of deep, mother-daughter interaction is different. I try to just be a listening ear but when I see her in pain or the kids screwing up their lives or the little ones hurting over something that all can be remedied with definite action, I find it hard to not wonder aloud why action hasn't been taken. Adoption has entered into the life-skills portion of our relationship and eroded the contacts that seem to speak mind-to-mind in uninterrupted Mother-Adult Child relationshps. I am stumbling between what can be considered constructive and active listening and where advice comes in and where my impatience takes over, so I probably haven't always given her the best reasons to trust me with her ongoing angst. She really shies away when I, unable to contain myself, point out the adoption issues that are very obviously hampering her ease in dealing with people, especially me. I have also seen so many times when her inborn strength shows through and she is definitely stronger and smarter than she thinks she is.

She's been through a lot and that's a fact. She had a terrible first marriage (just like I did, as a matter of fact). Her daughter, my granddaughter, has numerous behavioral and life difficulties. Both of the people who adopted her died within a couple of years of each other and she was not equipped to handle that emotionally. She retreated and self-medicated because it was just too much for her. Her only handle, for her first 33 years in this world, on who she is and where she belonged was leaving her. Her grief was accompanied by unadulterated terror and it shone like a beacon...hard to miss or misinterpret. I've had another adoptee identify and explain to me the terror of that happening. My daughter and the situation made it really hard for me to be there for her during all that and my personal issues (my bad...sorry Sweetie) got in the way as well. My granddaughter has been a constant source of worry and pain for her. I know that feeling and adoptees are certainly not immune to maternal guilt trips, earned or unearned.

Now I am getting older and am not making such a good listener when she, the rest of the kids and the grandkids are dealing with heavy dilemmas. I don't know if it is just the post-menopause "screwies" or the fact that I am living life for the first time in ages without the help of mood-altering prescription more Paxil. It all just tends to overwhelm me and I feel very anxious, helpless and a little bit on the spot. What would super-mom do? Is there such an animal?

Is there something wrong with me that I don't want to and am not the type to hang on the phone for over an hour? I get very impatient when I have other things to do and feel I cannot politely excuse myself to do those things and I feel guilty for feeling impatient and wanting to finish my supper in peace or watch a video with my husband or go on my planned shopping trip. I'd feel that way if it was Jesus, Bhudda and Mohammed on the other line. I know that she gets her feelings hurt if I end a conversation. I get especially frustrated with the marathon calls that seem to be just for chewing the same flavorless gum of a repetitive crisis until it disintergrates with nothing really learned. Maybe I am too much of a "that kind of a" Mom to be a "shoulder to cry on." I want my children's problems FIXED, damnit! Perhaps I need to learn that all these talks don't have to have a solution. Perhaps she needs to learn that the lives of others in her family don't stop because her friend is being a putz or her daughter hit another brick wall.

So now all the things I have done to try to be what I thought was a good mother to all my children seems to be a source of irritation to my daughter. Hey, maybe that's progress. I don't know a single, non-adopted adult child that doesn't have areas of annoyance with their parents. Maybe we have arrived! What a concept. And tell me, how many mothers can just sit silently and watch their children floundering through waist-deep muck and slime when there is a clear, dry and high pathway right next to them and all it would take is a slight change in direction to get on that path? And no, I don't think my children are stupid. I'm not stupid and I have taken enough of those swamp strolls in my (even recent) younger days to know whereof I speak.

If it would help her to know this, I really don't treat her problems any differently than I treat her raised sibling's. They can both tell her that I ask them that same question, "What are you going to do about it?" It's frustrating. Adoption has influenced the way she perceives the way I mother, seeming to see, rather, a campaign to hurt her feelings when nothing could be further from my mind and certainly not my intent. The only thing good about all this, is that enough of a relationship has been established that she'll get over it and I'll hear back from her and we'll keep stumbling on because neither of us want to be without the other one in our lives, somewhere. We had enough of that for 33 years. In many ways, we are too darn much alike.

I do love her dearly, just as she is. Maybe she needs to learn to love me the same real families do...warts and overbearing-"mamaness" and all. Maybe what she got for her search was a real mother, not a sweet, retiring eggshell-walker of a good little beemommie who knows her place, but one of us Big Mama know-it-alls that wants to see our children happy and functioning well and able to ride those big waves that life sends our way.

So if you don't like it, snap back at me, Kiddo. I'm not going to go away and leave you if you do. If sulking helps, sulk. I've enjoyed a good sulk or three in my life as well. But I'm not just a friend who happened to give birth to you. I'm Mom for life. I'm what Nature gave you and you're stuck with clumsy, but well-meaning me. I know all the right emotions were put inside me when I had you...I loved you then when I first held tiny-new you in my arms and I love my adult-grandmother-kiddo now and you don't have to be perfect for me to love you. It just so happens that the tender-hearted, open-armed YOUNESS of you is impossible not to love.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Angry Mother Of Loss

It is hard for some women, since women on the whole are raised to be so "nice" to all, to be able to feel their own anger or even accept the anger of others. I was confronted by that fact again, today. We have those among us in the community of mothers of loss that are really taken aback by the passion of the fury in some of us. I have a good friend who used to call us "BOB's," for "bitter old beemoms," before she felt the anger stirring inside her. This society connects anger with violent actions, it seems, and is unable to see it as the simple emotion it is and one that can be constructively directed. A lot of people are just afraid of anger, theirs or anyone else's.

Maybe, those who are uncomfortable with or uncomprehending of the anger of the activist mom need to understand where our anger comes from and how it is being directed in a positive way. The way I see it, an injustice was done and is still being done. That unnecessary and cruel injustice has altered lives, bequeathed a legacy of life-long grief and confusion and even killed some people. I get angry, not because it happened and still happens, but because people are so blind to the fact of the injustice that even some of our own sisters can't see the dangers of the continuation of this horrendous social experiment gone bad called adoption. It makes me furious when, even after being confronted with the body-count, the true evidence of the mayhem adoption separation causes, they still find some specious reason to say that adoption is a "good thing (not)."

Sisters and adopted people, we got screwed! It didn't have to happen and it still doesn't have to happen. I get angry when I read about the resources that not only are available today, but were available back then in my day but deliberately kept from us. I get angry that women were and are told that they are of no worth as mothers if they are young, poor and unmarried while some rich, narcissistic, self-indulgent SINGLE celebrity buys babies like fashion accessories or, as in the case of "non-tummy-not-mummy-either," Rosie O, to make some kind of social statement about a situation that needs positive attention but that has nothing to do with adoption. The lifestyles and attitudes of some others of these celebrity adopters (Sharon Stone springs to mind) are such that I wouldn't hire them to baby-sit my great-grandchildren, much less entrust the entire growth and nurture of a child to them.

I get angry when we try to point out this injustice and someone comes charging in, all self-righteous, with the dire tales of the crackwhore, slut, abuser mom and doesn't stop to think that, not only are these women the miniscule minority among mothers of loss, but that you can find just as many like this among those who adopt, especially abusers. I get angry at the super-entitled wannabes who troll for babies everywhere they can and viciously, verbally attack the young mom who decides to keep the baby SHE gestated and bore.

I get angry when I see our adult children torn between the people who raised them and the people who lost them. I get angry when I see their pain and confusion and all the awkwardness in trying to re-connect with what they never consciously knew. I get angry when I see a mother of loss so disabled by shame and fear that she can't face her past enough to connect with her adult child. I get angry when I see an adopted adult search for and find their mother only to back away because of the fear and confusion and adopter insecurity that winds up causing both of them misery.

I get angry at all of that because all of it is unjust, unnecessary.......just simply dead WRONG. I get angry when some people, who want us to believe that all adoption needs is someone to slap a band-aid over it and it will be OK, start deriding and chiding anyone who dares to suggest a deeper and stronger change in order to make things better. Then we get labeled "Extremists" and given the old spin-job by the toadies of the industry.

Do I sit in my anger 24/7?...Hell no...I do have a life, a good one, and I have all the usual moments of happiness and even joy that everyone else has. But, because of that part of my life that has anger, I also have conviction, passion, direction and a good reason to keep on keeping on. I write, I participate and I have made a small difference here and there because of the way I learned to use my anger rather than letting it use me (which isn't easy but it's worth the work). Not a bad deal, all in all.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Frozen Mother

This is not my term, but I thank the one from whom I first heard it and it really fits. A Frozen Mother is one of two types. She can be a Mother of Adoption Loss who has kept the fact of her pregnancy and the existence of a surrendered child locked away as a deep, dark secret. Many of these Moms are married to men who do not know about the previous pregnancy, and have raised subsequent children who are also unaware of the fact that they have a sibling out there somewhere.

I have had recent contact with one of these Moms. As much as she professes to love her surrendered child, she refuses any kind of deep relationship, would rather not even have a meeting and refers to the reappearance of her adult child in her life as her "worst nightmare come true." Most of these Moms are my age or older. They are mostly from the era when we were systematically shamed into submission and the old shame tapes never stop playing in their heads.

These Moms are totally terrified of anyone finding out about their single pregnancy and loss to adoption. They are usually self-persuaded, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that their husband and/or children will never forgive them, will be ashamed of them and their lives and families will be destroyed. It's very hard to get through to these Mother. The deep fear, under whose shadow they live their lives, stands as a very formidable barrier between them and the light of truth. I always feel so badly for the adult surrendered children of these women. I also hurt a bit for the moms, themselves.

The other type is the "good b-mom." This woman walks on eggshells, sees herself as less than a true mother, makes constant obeisance to the adopters and accepts crumbs rather than demanding respect for their motherhood. These are the women who will say they are "blessed" by their reunions with adult children that let them know, in no uncertain words, that they "only gave birth" to them and that their adopter is their REAL parent. These women seem to feel they deserve such treatment and have no right to any more or any better.

These are the women who will proudly proclaim that they are BIRTHmothers...not the real deal, somehow less than a mother, second-rate, second-class and permanently off in the distant background. The very thought of adoption activism, reform, truthful adoption language, etc., gives this particular Frozen Mother the hives. She lays claim to a "superior maturity" that has allowed her to "accept" her fate. She derides the activist mom as a troublemaker, and calls her bitter, angry and strident and relishes the approval of and pats on the head from adopters and facilitators. She may even go so far as to work with adoption agencies because, that way, she can still live in her fantasy that her loss to adoption and her self-perceived role in that loss was a "GOOD THING." Sometimes, this kind of Mom will awaken and thaw, usually after experiencing a whole lot of hurt.

It is sad to see some of our own sisters standing in the way of the forward movement of true reform. I have made the comment before that, when such resistance comes from a sister Mother of Adoption Loss, I feel a bit betrayed. Then, I also look at where I was about 15 years ago and I can see a little bit of where their heads are. It just takes more, sometimes, to awaken some sleepers. *sigh

The Debate Continues

It seems that the proponents of the "bee" word just can't let it rest. I learned about the good birfmudders and the cubbies showing up and trying to slap our widdle hands or disrupt the conference and I guess they just missed the effing point! Someone else tried to bring the debate back to Joe Soll's group. Why is it that this is doubly hurtful and insulting when it comes from one of our own? In any event, this was my response to this Mother of Adoption Loss at Adoptese. The premise was by another poster who said that we should not be indentified by a biological process. I agreed and ran with the thought....

I see what you are saying:

Were I to identify myself, for instance, by the 'process' that produced my son, a date-rape, I would be a "usedvaginawoman/birthmother" to him. That completely negates the magic of his first little flutters of movement under my heart, the unforeseen joy I felt when the doctor let me listen to his heartbeat and the love that flooded me when I held him in my arms for the first time. It certainly wouldn't negate all the worry and wondering and caring for all of the years that I was separated from both my oldest children. (Hmmm. that would also make me my daughter's "CooperativelyRupturedHymengirl/birthmother" wouldn't it?)

As far as I am concerned, I have met the criteria for motherhood and am nothing less to ALL of my children. I will not allow a qualifying term prefixed to my title to soothe the insecurities of any person who adopts, any good "birfmudder" still living in denial of her victimization and importance or any angry adopted person. I wasn't put on this earth to be a brood mare for the four people of dubious parental worth that wound up being the recipients of the crime against me and mine and I won't be defined in that manner, period, by anyone.

So, You can call yourself a beemommie if it blows your skirt up, but don't call ME that, don't presume to identify an entire section of this nation's population by that name because we didn't choose that for ourselves....someone else chose "BM" (another one of those nice bodily functions)....and have the good grace and manners, when on a site or at a conference where the "B" word is not welcome, to refrain from using it. No one asked anyone to think any differently....just to temper messages with sensivity and common courtesy to the hosts and organizers and the bulk of the participants. Looks like, for a few big egos and self-ordained hand-slappers, good manners were suspended for them to make their specious point.

Personally, I don't want to roll over and get my tummy rubbed by the ones who appreciate the "good beemommies" among us. I'm a TRUE MOTHER and all the raging and gnashing of the verbal teeth of the nay-sayers will not make that go away.

So, that was my point and it still is. It wasn't a matter of censorship or a matter of denying others the right to call themselves what they was a simple request to others to please do what they should have been taught to do as just be POLITE!

And I would also love to hear anyone answer this question. WHY is it so threatening to some that there are those of us who deny this term in relation to our role as mothers? Why does not using the term cause you to act like someone licked all the red off of YOUR candy? Inquiring Mother of Adoption Loss wants to know.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Looking Back In Order to Move Forward

I wonder if the famous author and adopter, Pearl S. Buck, who is the, so-far, earliest known user of the "birthmother" word, would think if she knew that I was using one of her quotes in order to move past that mind-set? The irony is that you can find pockets of wisdom in so many places.

Buck said,"One faces the future with one's past." I never truly saw the wisdom of that concept until I began my journey of healing from the wounds of my adoption loss. I think I didn't want to see the wisdom in it, because dealing with the realities of my past carried with it the fearful prospect of re-living the pain and that scared the roaring bejeezus out of me. What I didn't understand, at the time, was that the past was still in me, part and parcel of who I am, and that the pain was only masked, not left behind me with the passing years. But, they say that when the pain of where you are is worse than the fear of what you have to face in order to deal with it, you can move on and grow.

When my step-son died an untimely death by his own hand at age 17, my husband and I attended several suicide survivors groups. There we learned a home truth....that such a trauma as loss of a child to suicide is not something you just "get over," but something with which you learn to live. We were also told to "look for the gift," in that awful happening. As the closeness and understanding between my husband and myself grew and the quality of our life came more to depend on how we lived it rather than what outside forces made happen, we found our gift.

Were I to advise any mother of loss who is trying to find her way out of the morass of unending grief that loss to adoption can cause, I would tell them to look for the gift in that traumatic past. In coming to terms with my pain and loss, I found my I found, not the careless, irresponsible and shameful teenager who was a burden to her loved ones as I had pictured myself, but a decent young girl, searching for herself and love, a worthy and normal woman-child who needed affirmation and support...not the censure and blame I had been feeding myself for so many years. I also found out about injustice and the fact that I was more sinned against than sinner.

Was I unwise to trust the fleeting love of a teenage Romeo and entrust my body to him? Yes. Was my desperate search for something to fill the emptiness afterwards not the best route to take? Probably not..but for Pete's Sake, I was 16 and it was JUST SEX! Once I managed to digest that truth and mourn for the pain that I felt from the abandonment, judgment and shaming, I came out of it actually liking that teenage girl with the unrealistic and romantic dreams and her frantic search for life and love.

In looking at the past and really seeing the true heroes and villains of the piece, I was free, at last, to carry my battle scars with pride. Off went the Scarlet Letter and on went the badge of the empowered Mother of Loss. I re-identified myself according to the truth that had always lived inside me rather than the burden of shame and guilt that society and, unfortunately, my family laid upon my shoulders. I looked at it in terms of positive and supportive language and naming...I was a young woman who became an expectant mother who became a mother and who surrendered to adoption becoming a mother of adoption loss. I was not a social deviant, a delinquent or a loose slut. Gloriosky, I was NORMAL!!!!!

I also had to deal with the guilt of what I discovered about my children and their lives when we reunited. I had to accept that they were not well-served by adoption at all and that the "perfect solution" offered to my by the sanctimonious and the "professionals" wasn't so perfect after all. That's where I finally put to rest any erroneous idea on my part that I was given any choice at all in the matter. That is when I discovered, fully, the scope of the injustice and was able to follow that thread of wrong-doing into the present-day, where it still happens and where young, expectant mothers are steeped in a brew of brainwashed public perceptions and expectations of the industry, adopters and families who don't want to see their personal dreams derailed.

So, for me personally, I have learned the best way to "live with it." I write and I fight and I hope and pray that someone, somewhere learns something about adoption that they might not have wanted to investigate or believe prior to reading my words. There are manageable moments of sadness, but real happiness has not been absent or illusive in my life. For all that I become discouraged from time to time, I know that I am in a much better place now than I was when I was so afraid of the past that I erected that temporal barrier that enabled me to refuse to see or examine what lay behind it.

So editors and congresspeople hear from me. I argue over terminology, because the fairly recent past in this country's history has taught me that language IS important. I challenge established concepts and I don't back down from expressing what I think when asked....and sometimes when I am not asked. In any event, the past no longer frightens me, I am no longer paralyzed by the idea of re-visiting those days from time to time when I need to learn something, and I can manage the present and the possibilities of the future with a lot more courage and hope.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Day After

From all accounts, the conference in NYC, which ended yesterday, went very well. In fact, despite the little "ego-tempest-in-a-teapot" that preceded the conference, it was deemed a great success with good participation and attendance. I received the picture of Ann Fessler, Carol Schaefer and the great Edward Albee sitting for their panel discussion and was so heartened for all my friends that were privileged to be in on that particular part of the conference.

Another picture, that has since been printed out and added to my scrapbook, was of Ann Fessler together with several of the terrific women whose stories were told in her book, "The Girls Who Went Away." I have entitled that one, "Empowerment in a 3x5 Glossy!" It moved me so to see that picture and the obvious affection and regard between Ann and the Moms who told their stories. Then there is the emotional biggie, a picture of several friends of mine from a private, online Mother's support group. There they stand, arms around each other, on the sidewalks of NY and I wanted to reach in and hug each and every one of them. I DID cry when I saw that one.

So all the presenters and the special speakers did a bang-up job and many people left knowing things they hadn't know before. Cheering them on from a distance is all well and good, but I will be there for the next one and you can take that to the bank. Drawing strength in this uphill battle from the emails and pictures is fine, as well, but I can just imagine the infusion of power and purpose that was available, there at that conference...all you had to do was breathe because it had to be in the very air. It's too easy, as it is, to become discouraged when those with their own agendas start doing battle with all you hope to see accomplished. So we need these times of gathering to educate, spread the word and re-charge our batteries of purpose and hope.

My Mother's support group will be taking a winter trip to the beach in February and I will definitely be there. The fact that we are connecting personally as well as electronically and in writing is fair testament to our drive and our bond. Just seeing the pictures and reading about the experience has moved me to write several letters to legislators and do a bit more for the cause. It's a Good Monday!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Interesting Question

I received a comment today from "Third Mom" that asked an very pertinent and thought-provoking question. She asked;

Hi, Robin, I hope it's OK for an a-mom to comment. I found your blog awhile ago, and appreciate your point of view. I also have a question that you may be able to talk about at some point - namely what is being done to wake up legislators who support adoption without question. An example would be the CCAI members. Their message is very much pro-child and pro-adoption, but I would bet they are unaware of the unethical practices and lack of support for first parents that drives adoption today.Thanks for hearing my thoughts.

You're Welcome, TM and boy, do I wish I knew the answer to that one! I'm afraid that I am really cynical when it comes to getting our message across to the people who make the laws. In Florida, over the past few years, I have watched the most outrageous pro-adoption legislation just zip through the state legislature with little to no trouble at all. The reason, I fear, is that the various state and national legislatures are usually made up of attorneys. Attorneys make money from adoption. Many of them also have benefitted from adoption by adopting themselves, having been career-oriented and waiting too late to start a family, so there are quite a few adopters in the state and national capitol buildings. They do not see serious adoption reform and giving the single and/or disadvantaged mother a helping hand as politically or personally adventagous.

For all that some entities come across as being "pro-child," I think that they really miss the boat when they start with the social engineering in the name of "what is (supposedly) best" for a child. This kind of thinking has allowed the CPS in the US to go wild, removing children from homes for the most inane of reasons and putting the youngest and cutest into the adoption machine as soon as they can manage it. That brings federal revenues into the state and that keeps their paychecks secure.

The only way I, personally, feel that we can get any of them to listen is to just keep on making as much noise as we can and trying to educate the general public. If the man and woman on the street starts realizing that adoption is a very potentially hurtful proposition and that there are people who suffer for a lifetime, then we have the attention of the voter. If we can get past the warm, fuzzy mythology of adoption as it is presented to the people by the media and by the industry, and expose the reality of the pain involved, then we have a chance. Politicians are going to go in the direction that will get them re-elected. If they suddenly have to face the question of what they can do to help keep families together, then they are going to have to re-think a lot of this pro-adoption legilation that is now on the books.

It's so cliche to say, but it's still true, that the "squeaky wheel gets the grease." Keep talking, keep writing and keep educating everyone you know. More and more moms and adopted people are coming out of the closet, and, praise be, a few very open-minded adopters are starting to grasp the enormity of what adoption has done to its victims. Just keep talking....and talking....and writing....and writing.....don't stop, don't falter and don't get too discouraged (as I am prone to do) if it takes more time than you'd like it to. It's an uphill climb, but we have a worthy goal. As they said in the Civil Right Movement, "Keep your eyes on the prize."

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Adoption Show; Listen and Learn

I did my stint on this wonderful Internet radio show a few weeks ago as a guest. I cannot say enough good things about the wonderful job they are doing to enlighten and educate. Please give a listen.

Voices Ending the Myth...Sunday September 17, 20068:30 PM (EST)



Denise is a native of Philadelphia, PA. In 1969 she became pregnant,she was only 17 years old. Denise's mother insisted her child be putup for adoption. She was sent to St. Vincent's Home for Unwed Mothers,where on December 23, 1969, she gave birth to a baby boy. Although shewas told that she would never see her son again Denise left "the home"sure that one day they would be reunited. After 33 years she went insearch of her son. She found him on May 30, 2003; ironically that daywas the 15 th anniversary of her son, Michael's, funeral. He waskilled in a freak accident on May 26, 1988, he was only 18 years old.Denise was devastated by this news. In a quest to heal and to findothers like herself she started an on-line support group for those whohave been separated from a biological family member by adoption,searched and found a grave. She calls the group FOUND AND LOSTSUPPORT, which can be found in Yahoo! Groups under the Mourning andLoss category.

Suzanne Hurt lives in California, where she is a journalist covering adventure, travel and nature.She was born in San Francisco on June 18, 1963. Her17-year-old mother named her Colleen Hennon and gaveher up eight days later. She was adopted at twomonths, her name was changed and her real identity waslegally hidden from her. Her adoptive parents movedthe family to the Midwest; Suzanne grew up outsideChicago.At age 24 in Chicago, Suzanne began searching for hermother. Suzanne had no support. She put her searchaside when she learned her mother hadn't come lookingfor her.Suzanne moved back to the West Coast December 1994 andresumed searching. She returned to California in 1999and was devastated to find her mother had nevercontacted the adoption agency to find her.In January, 42-year-old Suzanne learned her mother'sname. On Mother's Day, Suzanne found her mother listedon a cemetery website. Kathy Petersen died June 21,1994, after a long battle with Hodgkins' lymphoma. Shewas 48.To this day, Suzanne and millions of other adoptees donot have a legal right to information aboutthemselves. The laws, practices and attitudes thatkept Suzanne separated from her real family and herown identity remain in place.



The Trouble With Blogs

For some reason, today, I am unable to access my blog. I get one of those annoying white screens and my paranoid mind wonders why. I am hoping that this message will be there, in any case, when the cyber-Gods deign to restore my blog to public view. Maybe they are doing maintenance or maybe the ghost of Bill Pierce, former Dark Prince of adoption now deceased, is haunting the Internet.

The trouble with these things is also that you need, at least, a crash course in html and a lot of computer savvy to make it look right. My friend, Claud, has her blog, "Musings of the Lame," looking so professional. I am considering hiring her to format mine. I am just wondering what her price might be...Claud couldn't possibly come cheap. She's a class act. Maybe I can appeal to her by making her pity my blundering attempts at formatting? Hmmmmm

In any event, I have to be glad that I have a little corner of the Internet in which to say my piece and hope I am heard. So far, I've only had a couple of, shall we say, "challenging" comments and they were a bit too "angry" so I did my little trash can thing. That's funny....I thought just us mothers of loss and adult adoptees were supposed to be the angry ones.

Today, the conference in NYC gets going and I get going down to my lonely appointment, in 45 minutes, with the out-patient surgery department for a sciatic nerve block and steroid injection to try to ease the pain of my chronic sciatica. It ain't easy gettin old! Guys, have a good one and I really would rather be with you than where I am going. The good part of it is that I'll get a little bit of petting from hubby and children and an excuse to lie down (on my left side only).

An old counselor buddy of mine would have had a field day with this sciatic nerve thing. He always maintained that our bodies demonstrate our issues with their aches and pains. He had chronic back trouble up to the time of his death which he said came from taking all the troubles of the world on his back. I can just hear him now saying to me, "Robin, I think that adoption has become a pain in your ass!" and I think he would be right. I remember that, after they passed that stupid 24-hour law here in Florida, I had a migraine of monumental proportions. So, we see another problem with blogs being the fact that old ladies can complain about their ailments and that can drive a lot of people up the proverbial wall.

So, we come to today's bit about statements I have read here and there on the online forums. This concerns a good beemommie who said, in a way to attempt to make OUSA look less than sharp, that we moms from earlier days (The BSE) can't go back and "fix" what happened to us. Well, DUH!! Gee, and here I have been slaving over a time machine to do just that. Seriously, we do have enough gray matter under our hair to know that we cannot change the past, but we can sure enough bring it to light, show the injustices that occured, point out the responsible parties and the damage done, and make the adoption industry a bit more cautious and the government a little less likely to dismiss the single mother as a "problem" to be solved. We might even get to the point that we can actually get an official admission of the wrongs done and an apology. It's been done before. Now, none of that will change the events of the past, but it will validate us in our motherhood, allow the nation to see us as women empowered by self-esteem and, hopefully, change the path of adoption in the future.

Right now, the single mother is still an object of discrimination and scorn, even though a lot of the old stigma has been removed. Now, rather than seeing her as a slut and shameless hussy, she is seen as a drain on the coffers of the government and "unready to 'parent'(and parent is a noun..NOT a verb!)" even though she may be an exemplary parent. Whether we were shamed or are blamed, the result is the same. We are second-class citizens and I don't like that spot.

So you see the trouble with blogs....we are empowered to say things that so many people want to dismiss, denigrate and ignore, but we just keep on saying it. Now, I am going to go get that pain in my ass fixed....for a while, at least.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Journey to Respect In NYC

Today, all across America, a lot of very committed people will be boarding jets for NYC and the conference. "Shedding Light On The Adoption Experience V" promises to be another good opportunity to educate and to be educated. For all that there are those who like to consider themselves the mavens of "adoption reform," you'll find the REAL deal this weekend in New York. A lot of brave, outspoken people will be giving their all to this effort.

For many, it will be a chance to meet friends they have only known on the Internet support groups and over the phone. I'm so envious, but wouldn't begrudge them the experience for anything. They will be in a place where mothers are respected as mothers, where they can actually be concerned about THEIR issues as being as important as those of the adopted person's and where they won't be called "birth-things." I feel a thrill at the prospect and joy for my sisters who are attending.

For all the hoopla surrounding the terminology, I can't see that the controversy hurt the conference in any way. There were some intimations that other presenters had walked away in a huff, but that just wasn't true. The fact is, that there just wasn't enough interest shown in some of the worshops to justify keeping them on the program. That happens to a lot of organizations when they put together programs for conferences. No biggie and no massive protest or walk-out to soothe any egos has been observed.

There was a rather condescending attempt at some sort of conciliation, I noticed, when someone else posted a supposed missive or a "paraphrasing" of some letter to the conference organizers from BJ Lifton on the CUB list. Said post is now missing, but in her defense of the "b" word, Lifton supposedly made the comment that, by using the "birth" prefix, we were denying anyone the right to take away from us the birth of our surrendered children. ....ahem.....say what?

Believe me, Beej, if the adopters and facilitators could, they would try to take that as well. Many adopters have tried by simply never telling their adoptees that they are adopted. But the fact remains that we don't just want to have the fact that we gave birth acknowledged...we want the HEART of our true motherhood respected and that can't happen when we are pinned to a board and classified with that specious prefix. "Birthmother" still relegates us to the ranks of the "un-mothers." I personally don't give a rat's ass whether or not the adopter is offended by our title of "mother." The days of pretending that we don't exist or that our ties to our child are only biological are over and that conference, with its gentle insistence on respect for the mother of adoption loss, is another milestone in putting the lie to the concept of the non-mother.

The angry adoptees, the ones who have called us "Birthwhores," Birthers" and worse, are no longer finding their vitriol effective. Many mothers are no longer giving their blood and bone to the cause of the adopted person that summarily excludes the cause of the mother of loss which is just as important. I am not a birth-thing to be sacrificed for the good of all adoptees. I only care about two of them...the daughter and son I lost to adoption. I will uphold THEM, but they know better than to ask me to do so at the expense of my dignity and worth. We have a relationship. I am not a hostage to their anger and refusal to grow. I am their mother...not their doormat. I expect and receive respect from them and give them respect in turn.

I can only assume that the good "birfmudders" who think they are only in this world of adoption reform for the good of the adoptees must be so guilt-laden and mind-screwed by adoption mythology that they can't stand up for themselves and demand the respect they deserve. I had my self-esteem ripped from me when I was 16 years old and I fought long and hard to re-gain that feeling of being OK with who I am. I'm not going back there to soothe any egos and certainly NOT to maintain an unsuccessful status-quo. So if I don't have BN breaking down my door to give me pats on the back for being a good beemommie, Hey, them's the breaks. I'll live.

A mother who loses an infant to stillbirth or early childhood death is still considered a mother even though her child is no longer physically present. For those of us who lost children to the adoption machine, that motherhood is still in our blood and our bones, even in those of us in denial, and no assumed term or legal writ can take that away. It's time for that fact to be recognized and the "b" word delegated to the trash heap of outmoded and insulting sobriquets with good grace. Compassion should outweigh ego here, but then we are dealing with human beings and we do all have that failing of wanting to be right, even after we no longer really need to be.

Now, if we who decry the "b" word are "Word Nazi's" than I suppose that Dr. King and the entire Civil Rights movement of the 60's were, as well. Time will tell whether or not the language controversy was worth it. But I am not sorry to be holding on to the belief that, if we fight hard enough, all that hoopla will be worth it, at least in the area of treating the mother of adoption loss with just a little respect. Those moms joining in the conference in NYC are of that ilk...the ones who demand respect. Sing it, Aretha!

(PS: A side comment about an issue that arose from this topic; someone really got it wrong when they said that the original Origins was created for the adoptee's issues. Origins, which began in Australia, was all about the injustices done to the mother of loss as well as open records in that country. Origins USA and Origins Canada follow that model. OUSA and other affilliated Origins groups are, in no way, related to or part of a support group with that name in, I think, NJ)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Myth Of "Choice"

I ran across another comment, this time by an adopted person, who insists that she was surrendered by the "choice" of her mother. She claims that this is verified and I am sure she honestly believes this. Maybe her mother even believes that she made a choice. Some mothers still cling to this belief because they can't abide the truth of their own powerlessness and misinformed state and deeply fear opening the flood-gates of grief. I firmly believe that if mothers-to-be really knew the depth of the grief and pain they would experience and the rejection and confusion their children would endure, they would have more information on which to base a REAL choice.

I have heard the mothers who insist they "made a decision" and who are "happy" with it called "Frozen Mothers." I can see that term as valid, especially for those mothers from my generation and prior who were so steeped in the perceived shame of their situation that they closed themselves off from any and all reminders of that time, including the reappearance of their own children. Some of these mothers either totally reject any attempts at reunion and others carry on secret reunions without their husband's or any subsequent children's knowledge.

But the woman who made the comment about her mother's choice was younger and her mother probably is among the women who surrendered post-Roe v Wade. The vast majority of Americans want to believe that coercion and pressure don't happen any more and that women in the past couple of decades had real choices. Even now, some adoption apologist will raise the question, "what about the mother who isn't READY to 'parent'?" This inane question just shows how the industry retains its choke-hold on the society and keeps the adoption mythology alive.

Many young women believe that the situation they are in at the moment is forever. They can't see that things always change...they most likely won't always be single, young or financially strapped. They believe the erroneous idea that becoming a mother will cut short their education and abort their plans for their futures. Those are ideas that are carefully cultivated and espoused by the industry and the more predatory wannabe adopters. Though the industry, agencies and their social workers won't tell you this, NONE of these difficulties are etched in stone, unending or something that can't be worked through with a lot of success and have been by many moms. I have seen young mothers, highly motivated by the responsibility of their motherhood, achieve wonderful things. The fact is not that it cannot be done, but that it won't be as easily done as they might have hoped. Are the younger generations so spoiled, so self-involved, that they balk at a little bit of extra work?

'Not READY to 'parent'?......" Who IS? Babies come when they come...trying to schedule them to a faux ideal of "readiness" is what has caused a lot of infertility in the first place. Ask the AMA and the American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Deferred childbearing is the first reason they list among many for infertility. The fact is that a woman's body, while pregnant, prepares her for motherhood. If a young woman chooses to complete a pregnancy to term, then she owes it to her child to keep and raise that child. It could be argued that adoption shouldn't be used as birth control any more that abortion should.

We mothers of loss have often been told that, if we didn't want the pain of our adoption loss, we should have "kept our legs together." As crude, cruel and inaccurate as that is, I find myself wanting to say to these young, adoption-brainwashed moms, that, if they were not "ready to parent," then they should have religiously used birth control (something to which my generation had no access), or opted for termination. For better or worse, a baby is on the way...a baby that will be expecting to hear its mother's heartbeat, voice, to smell her own particular scent and have her own that baby will that means food, nurture and love to that infant. Ready or not, that baby needs MOM...not an adopter.

So I would say to that particular, specious, "not-ready-to-parent" argument, tough! You are going to be a parent and you need to think of that child as yours...not as some kind of inconvenience or liability. Yeah, you might not have to get up nights to change diapers and nurse a crying baby, but you will also miss out on the most profound joy a woman can experience. Your baby will also miss out on the most important relationship a baby can have and no amount of "love" and caregiving on the part of an adopter can replace or resolve the reality of that Primal Wound. No "open" adoption will change the fact that your child is receiving their nurture from the WRONG WOMAN. The pre-verbal infant knows this, the small child can't understand this and the older child into adulthood often seriously resents this.

So until these facts are affirmed and presented to a mother-to-be in an honest manner, with none of the hedging and qualifying that I see from pro-adoptionists, I will continue to challenge the idea that any surrendering mother, with any real motherly sensibilities at all, made any kind of really informed "choice." As long as adoption is presented as a viable and "loving" option, young moms are doomed to an awakening down the line after surrender to unimaginable pain and grief...and us older moms will be there to hold their hands while they cry.

Robin, 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, September 12, 2006

Tit For Tat

Out of the ashes and doldrums of Monday and the anniversary of 9/11 and all my recurring adoption-related discouragement and frustrations, there has come to pass a poetic development in the recent to-do over the "birthmother" saga involving the upsoming Adoption Crossroads conference in NYC, BJ Lifton and various anti-Joe Soll/OUSA members on the CUB forum. It actually lifted my spirits and gave me a much-needed laugh.

Those on the CUB forum, who screamed loudly of "censorship" when Lifton was ASKED, nicely, to please refrain from using the "B" word as it would be more sensitive to the majority of mothers who were attending, are now heaping praise on the head of the moderator of the CUB forum for censoring any emails that they might find "offensive." So I guess it is OK for them to censor but not OK for those with whom they disagree. It doesn't surprise me....the world of the pro-adoption faction is rife with double standards and inequities.

I appreciated the fact that the speakers and presenters at the conference were being asked to be sensitive to the mothers of adoption loss that would be attending. I won't be there, but many much-loved friends will be. Hopefully, this conference will be an opportunity to educate the rest of the adoption community and, maybe even, the general public about the not-so-warm-and-fuzzy truths of the insitution of adoption. I wish all the other people involved all the success in the world. They have a valid message and a right to present it. I'll be cheering them all on from here in hot, humid Florida. Those that disagree don't have to attend.

I guess it all depends on where you are coming from on the issue of censorship. I censor and moderate comments here, on my blog. I'm here to talk about my slant on things and to educate others about adoption, NOT to have to defend myself to some irate pro-adoptionist who picks out one paragraph and calls me "hateful." So, I do the "delete" thing and think no more about it. If that is censorship...well this is my party and I do like that little trash can icon.

The conference in NY is also OUR party and those who organized it and put in the hard work have a right to gently say to someone that a word or a reference would be unacceptable. You follow the customs and mores of another culture when you visit them out of respect. What would it have hurt to use a little respect for the feelings of the people organizing and attending the conference? Where does ego leave off and consideration for others begin? It would seem, in the world of the pro-adoption faction, that respect and consideration for the stance of those that differ with them is a moot point and the high ideal of free speech only applies to the freedom for them to continue to tout the dubious benefits of adoption.

So go ahead and censor...ooops! I mean MODERATE, the posts at the CUB forum. The sound you hear from afar is the noise of a lot of laughter...we foamy-mouthed, rabid anti-adoptionists LOVE irony.

Robin Westbrook
True Mother of Four
Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Monday, September 11, 2006

My Garfield Monday...Read At Your Own Risk

I say that because I am pissed-off, down, dejected and frustrated and I don't want to bring the reader down with me. I do feel that I have to offer this warning...for anyone who wants to hold on to hope that this morass of idiocy we call adoption will ever find real resolution, or that the inherent injustice and corruption that is part of this legalized family scrambling will ever cease, or who just don't want their blood pressure to go through the roof, don't go read at the online forums. Alt.Adoption, and the CU(*) forum will send you running and screaming to the TV or into the nearest book store for mindless escape. Let me suggest a good, Regency-era bodice-ripper or something outrageous on the sci-fi channel. (I do so admire my courageous sister moms who do leap into those cesspools of adoption excrement and engage in debate with the minions therein that seem to be able to live with the stench.)

More insidiously, it will make you wonder if what you do can possibly make a difference when you see our sisters, our children and the people, adopters, and wannabe adopters, who want/take our children holding on to the the fallacy of adoption with an iron grip, and treating anyone who dares to speak the truth with hostility, disdain and pseudo-intellectual spin-jobs designed to frustrate and anger. It's enough to drive a woman to OD on chocolate.

I have seen the so-called Triad, and it isn't. There is nothing in this adoption equation that even suggests three equal partners. All the compassion, all the understanding and all the effort seems to go into acting as apologists for the "poor infertile people" (who are usually that way by their own making), then to the adopted people who were "just infants who were given no choice" and should have THEIR records opened. We mothers of loss still sit at the bottom of the pile in that world, maybe graced by a pat on the head and used as mouthpieces if we will accept the name of good "birfmudder" and not ask for anything for ourselves. I will admit to wishing I could jack-smack some of my sister moms until they wake up to reality. I cringe in betrayed disbelief when I see a mother of loss being cosseted by the industry and its minions and even given awards for her "service" to the golden calf of adoption. It's heartbreaking. moms are supposed to be there for our children when they find us, not expect anything from them but give them all they require and more and never, ever harbor a negative thought about the possessive and self-entitled people they call their "parents." We are supposed to struggle for their rights and endorse the rights of wannabe adopters to take more of our children and nothing is left for us but someone saying, "well she shouldn't have spread her legs." Then, they say, when faced with the realities of the stories from "The Girls Who Went Away," "well, aren't we glad that doesn't happen anymore?" Bullcrap.

Let a mother of loss put forth the idea that rights to open records should be extended to include us and she gets shot down faster than a clay pigeon at a gun club skeet shoot. Let one of us object to being identified by the term "birth"mother and she is seen as making much ado about nothing and subjected to hearing some slap-happy good beemommy tell how proud she is to be called a birth thing. After all, we musn't, musn't offend the adopters....they bought and paid for our chidlren so they are numero uno mamacitas. Capice? Let some of us decide that we cannot abide any more of the abuse and tortuous mind-games to which some of our adult reunited children subject us and we are nasty, rejecting mommies that deserve to be hated. That's when I turn from my computer and reach for my paintbrush or a good book that has nothing to do with adoption.

In a few months, my husband will retire and we will be moving to a part of the country where we will have lots of space between us and our neighbors, where we will be hugged by the surrounding mountains and out of the madness of city life. I am giving serious thought to not even taking my computer with me. Somewhere in this life there has to be some peace of mind for the mother of loss. It's for sure that the industry, adopters and sadly, many of our own sisters and our own angry, resentful children are not going to offer us that boon. At 61, I find the uphill climb to educate and enlighten, pretty exhausting. The inequities in this entire melange of eugenics, entitlement and manipulation are staggering and saddening.

I am sick and tired of being the recipient of the assumed and unearned condescenion of adopters, angry adoptees and their good beemommie toadies. I am tired of the fact that they are struggling so hard to be right that they leave compassion and common sense in the dust of their frantic passage. I won't be a punching bag for the nasty customers that some very angry, uncounseled adopted people have become. I won't be a simpering handmaiden to the infertile or the self-entitled and I won't be a cash cow for the industry.

Maybe what I need is fresh ammo, some rest and a tall mountain at my back to hold off the pro-adoptionists in their single-minded campaign to discredit and demoralize anyone who isn't with the pro-adoption program. Maybe, I need to remember that I can be an original-family preservationist (and proud anti-adoptionist) and still have a life and that breaks from the fray are allowed and that every battery needs re-charging. I'm on my second cup of coffee and I have a fresh canvas on the easel. I'm sure it will get better.

Friday, September 08, 2006

There Was Once A Pioneer......

It's awful to see time and infiltration by people with their own agenda pull the teeth of an organization that, supposedly, is there for the best interests of the natural/real/first/original parents. IMO, this has happened to the venerable CUB, once a bastion of leadership and truth, now a group walking on eggshells and hand-in-hand with adoption facilitators and adopters. I liken CUB to the NAACP who, until jolted out of their complacency by the upstart and very effective Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's, tended to also tread gently in the name of co-existence and a waveless sea. They insisted on working within the system, which didn't work, but a good dose of civil disobedience really turned the tide and awakened the old guard to the truth that they were not the only players in the big game.

It wasn't always like this. The late Carole Anderson, often ascerbic and hard to take but always brilliant, was a real pioneer and, through the early CUB, published a number of home truths, like the one I will cite here. There are some who lust after the mantle of the pioneer by being brusque and sharp-tongued, but as long as they cater to the adoption status quo, that treasure trove of raw intellect will be, in my opinion, wasted. Anderson had guts..the current bunch just seem to have vitriol and/or a need to be fawned upon by Big Adoption.

Here's one of Anderson's gutsier articles. I cite this one because my son was abused by his adopters. It's a truth that needed to be told then, and needs to be reiterated now. I don't like the terms she used ("birth"parent and adoptive "parent") but that was then and much has been learned since then. (With thanks to my dear friend C who is much better at finding this stuff than I am.)

Carole J. Anderson, “Child Abuse & Adoption,” 1991

In fact, what is child abuse? All states have definitions, but these definitions differ considerably. Some include not only physical and sexual abuse but also psychological abuse; others do not. Some include neglect, another term with a multitude of definitions. . . . Should abuse be measured by the damage to a child’s body or by the damage to a child’s psyche? . . .Risk factors for abuseAlthough we don’t know exactly how much abuse there is, only that most of it is unreported, there are things we know about abuse. We know that one risk factor is diferentness.

If mom, dad and two of their children are stocky blonds while one of the children is a slender redhead, the redhead is at greater risk of abuse. This is true of personality differences as well. A child who does not seem to fit in, who seems alien in looks or disposition, is more likely to be abused.Another risk factor is separation. . . .Lack of blood ties is another risk factor. . . .The adoption connectionI used to think none of this had anything to do with adoption.

When I first heard from abused adoptees, I responded much the same as social workers have responded to searching, unhappy (*natural)parents: I thought they were the rare exceptions. But over the years, I’ve had a lot of letters from adoptees who report they were abused. I’ve talked to a lot of adoptees who were abused. The sheer number of them made me take a closer look. . . .Many adoptees seem, even as adults, to express the same kinds of feelings as abused children. This cannot all be coincidence. Granting that there may be substantial numbers of adoptees who are physically or sexually abused, and even larger numbers who are psychologically abused, it seems we see abused child attitudes in a majority of adoptees.

Adoption’s inherent abuse of children and familiesAdoption itself inflicts psychological harm on adoptees. Adoption means the near-impossibility of either adoptee or adoptive parent being able to take their relationship for granted. Because the parent-child relationship is established by law and not by nature, the relationship cannot be regarded as a simple fact of life as it is in natural families, by either adoptees or adoptive parents.We often read of adoptive parents being the “psychological parents” of adoptees.

Yet what does being a “psychological parent” mean? It means that the relationship is not natural, not clear cut. It means that in adoptive families, the parent-child relationship may be something that must be continually proved because it cannot be assumed. One way adoptive parents may seek to “prove” that they are “the” parents and are necessary to adoptees is to make themselves essential, which may mean being more controlling than the typical parent. One way adoptees may “prove” they are their adoptive parents’ children is by being more childlike, more immature, more dependent than typical sons and daughters, even when they are chronologically adults. . . .Some adoptees may be less harmed by the disruption of the natural bond with their birthmothers than others.

Some adoptive parents are better at empathizing than are others. Some are able to love and accept the children they adopt for who they really are, while others will never stop trying to mold adoptees into the natural children they could not have. But still adoption itself, I think, harms children. . . . Inside every adoptee lurks an abandoned child, and that child hurts. . . .Yes, I know that some non-adopted children are damaged by abuse, poverty or other ills. I know many single parents have one or more risk factors in their families. Yet most, maybe all, of the problems that face vulnerable natural parents can be eliminated by societal and familial support, while the problems that occur in adoption, particularly when the parents are infertile and the adoption is closed, are inherent in adoption and cannot be prevented or eliminated.

Source: Carole J. Anderson, “Child Abuse & Adoption” (Des Moines, IA: Concerned United Birthparents, 1991), 4-7, 11-13, 16.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What Is An Anti-Adoptionist?

This one really got banged around on a message board, this morning, with every negative connotation that the writer could think of to denigrate anyone who held this kind of belief. Their view was that the anti-adoption-minded person was mired in the past and filled with hate and unable to accept responsibility. Reeeeeeeaaaally? My goodness, I didn't know that I live in the past and hated people and I hope my family and friends don't find out how I shy away from responsibility. Gosh...I suppose I should thank this person for telling me what I feel and think, but I'll pass and offer the truth instead. It goes better with my coffee.

One thing that the writer stated WAS true. I do not believe in adoption as viable and desireable in any way, manner, shape or form. I do not think that it is necessary for people to pretend to be parents in order to give a child care and nurture. I endorse, instead, a strengthened and well-policed form of legal guardianship, perfereably a kinship guardianship if at all possible, with the child's original name and heritage left intact and unaltered. This is not the same thing as foster care for the requirememnts would be more stringent and better supervised for guardians.

Adoption brings into the mix the emotional needs of the adopters and the onus for meeting those needs seems to wind up on the shoulder of the adoptee. Adoption is the legalized lie that goes against all that nature has disposed. It is used as a form of eugenics and is a denial of the reality and importance of the mother-child bond. NO mother who is equipped (as opposed to the self-centered "ready") to be a mother should ever be led down the garden path of the, so-called, "informed choice." She should be encouraged and supported in keeping her baby FOR THE SAKE OF THAT BABY! We who are anti-adoption are definitely opposed to the idea that a women who finds herself pregnant can just "choose" adoption as an out like those who choose to terminate a pregnancy have been accused.

Replacing adoption with the option of a legal guardianship is only sensible and logical. When something not only doesn't work, but doesn't adapt well to being re-worked, the smart person replaces it with something that is more appropriate to the need. Adoption is a dinosaur with the huge feet of self-interest that walks all over the confusion and pain of the participants. If the people who consider themselves "more rational or reasonable (not saying that is so)" want to cling to its tail as it tramples their gardens, then that is their problem.

The myth of choice also entered into the essay of our detractor. We "a-a's are purported not to "take responsibility" for our loss. That is the BIGGEST Pile of Guano I have ever heard. How can you take responsibility for being coerced, forced, manipulated and threatened into doing something that every molecule in you said not to do? I was a scared, insecure teen with no support at all. No other option was given to me, no helping hand was extended. I cannot take on the responsibility for something I DID NOT DO! Yes, I was 50% responsible for the pregnancy with my first child...though I sure as Hell didn't ask for the rape that resulted in the second. But, with the first one, I plead gulty to being a young girl in love with the wrong guy. Why should I have been punished for that and continue to be punished to this day with stupid and hateful condemnations by such as the author of that post to which I refer? I would love to have been held responsible...responsible for the raising and nurturing of the children I bore. THAT'S taking responsibility!

Groups against whom an injustice has been done have all been known for educating the public about that injustice, asking that things change to avoid that injustice in the present and future and requiring the perpetrators of that injustice to address the matter and, at least, issue an apology. I guess that Martin Luther King, among others, lived in the past and was filled with hate. Whoulda thunk it?

It was brought to the reader's attention in the "anti-anti-adoptionism" tirade, as well, that there is some question in the mind of the anti-adoptionist about the parental status of the adopters. Hey, what can I say? As Joyce Kilmer put it, "Only God can make a tree." Run with that thought. I respect how my adult reunited children feel about the people who raised them, and I would never say anything to them that is negative about them. But I will never call them parents, either. For all that it has been cruelly said that "it takes more than giving birth to make a mother," let me say that it takes more than whining about changing diapers and sitting up with a sick child (which I would have given my right arm to do) to confer motherhood on a genetic stranger.

And finally...the "hate" card that ties into the old "anger" bit. Since when did well-earned, righteous indignation over an injustice and a tragedy become something bad? I get angry often...all humans do. But that doesn't mean I have hatred or malice in my heart against the person or persons at whom my anger is directed. Usually, I just want them to go away and leave me to walk my chosen path. Anger is a feeling, not an affliction, and has also been an effective motivator for some really great happenings in history. I daresay that the US was a bit miffed when they decided to join in the fray during WWII. Do you really think that all those men who placed their own bodies upon the railroad tracks in India did so because they were just so happy with the British government? And those boys tipping all that tea into the Boston Harbor were there out of love and friendship? Something tells me that someone, somewhere was pissed.

Anger, like anything else, has good uses if properly directed and understood. That "anger" argument against us is so stale it crumbles. Something happened to us and continues to happen to others that IS JUST PLAIN DOWNRIGHT WRONG! If we don't get angry, nothing will get done about it to keep it from continuting to happen. So excuse my convictions, but, if all you venom spitters are through trying to rake anyone that challenges your comfy views over the coals, those of us with a REAL agenda need to get back to work.

Robin Westbrook
True Mother of Four
Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Stay Safe, KC

My grandson left for Korea this morning for deployment near the DMZ. He is a career army man and he has to do what he is told and go where he is told to go. Neither I, nor his mother nor his wife, and certainly not my precious little great-grandson are happy to see him going, especially to a place of such unrest. We are trying to count our blessings that he is not being sent back to Iraq.

I dawned on me, as I spoke to my oldest daughter this morning, that this is one of those "family things" in which I might have never shared had she not followed her heart and searched for me. KC was only barely 13 when my daughter and I reunited and my granddaughter was just 7. Now, 13 years and three great-grandchildren later, I cannot imagine these people of my flesh and blood not being in my life. I am Mom, Nanny and Great-Grandma and I can watch and see my family stretching its arms out into the future.

No, watching my grandson leave for a deployment in a hostile area is not something to be happy about...but being able to know him, to pray for him and to support his mother and wife and sister and child is a privilege I cherish. Will I worry? Well of course I will feel concern and I will light my candle and hope for his swift return. But I am honored to be kept aware of his comings and going and wouldn't change that for anything.

So KC, stay safe. I missed your birth and the first 13 years of your life and a lot more while your Mom and I were trying to get our heads and hearts wrapped around this reunion thing. I don't want to miss any more of your journey through this world. I should have never missed any of it to begin with, but now is all we have.


The Myth Of Sisyphus

Sisyphus was a character in Greek mythology who was seen as very clever, if also very devious. He had a tendency to flout the traditions of Greek hospitality by murdering his guests. He was eventually condemned after deceiving first Death himself and then Hades, Lord of the Underworld, in order to escape his own demise. As punishment for his audacity, he was sentenced to be blinded and to perpetually roll a giant boulder up a mountain to the peak, only to have it inevitably roll back down the mountain into the valley. This myth is my favorite metaphor for wasted effort and frustration.

I look at the old guard in adoption activism and am seeing the same exercise in futility. Lacking vision, they roll the same old boulder up the same old hill and just can't understand why it won't stay on top. It reminds me of the old 12-step program axiom; "Insanity is when you do the same thing, over and over again, expecting different results everytime."

Sleeping with the enemy, the adoption industry and the adopters, is not going to advance the cause of family preservation or bring about redress for injustices against the mother of loss and their children. In fact, it has not done a whole lot in the cause of open records. It is only logical to assume that the status quo is in the best interests of the industry and those who benefit from it. They tend to lend their "support" to "reform" which is, in reality, mostly lip-service measures that will turn out to be a day late and a dollar short.

If someone comes along and tries a different avenue to a solution for the adoption problem, you can bet they will be attacked. In fact, the original family preservationists are being attacked, viciously and repeatedly, right now, which leads me to believe that what they have to say scares the bejeezus out of the Old Guard who is actually doing the attacking. Organizations that are really out to affect serious change threaten those who want to continue to receive the strokes of the adoption industry and the customers of that industry. They don't see the boulder they are chasing up and down that hill...they think it is a shiny award for their "service" and acclaim for their prodigious intellect and ascerbic wit. Personally, I feel betrayed by any mother of adoption loss who caters to the very people that caused and benefitted from our loss.

This morning, reading on one of the "Old Guard" groups, I saw where a Mother of Loss defended adopters as having only "accepted an option that was given to them" and characterized her loss to adoption the very same way, saying she was given an "option." It boggles the mind that otherwise intelligent people would see what we were "given" as an "option or choice." When there is only one thing presented, then there is nothing much from which to choose, is there? Yet, this is one of the oldest ploys to discredit the true experience of the mother of adoption loss and that it comes from one of our own is heartbreaking.

That big rock is rolling back down that big hill and I just hope that no one gets crushed in its passage. Of course, not being blinded to other schools of thought and methodology, some of us can see it coming and get out of its way.

Robin Westbrook
True Mother of Four
Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Place To Be This Month

Shedding Light On The Adoption Experience

An Educational Conference About Realities:
The Lifelong Effects of Adoption and
the Need for Family Preservation

September 15-16, 2006
Fordham University (Lincoln Center Campus)
New York City

Go to this URL; to learn about this important conference. I am not going to be able to attend though I would give anything to be there. But there are going to be some very good speakers and very enlightening information available. I hope to have a full report to post here after the conference.

Good luck to the organizers and the presenters and the volunteers. I'll be with you in spirit.

Pre-Dawn Darkness

It's another insomnia-fest morning. Have you ever noticed, when you are awake by yourself in the wee hours, how thoughts can turn gloomy? I have the usual worries that can become exaggerated at times like this. I have some health issues that become death warrants when the sun has yet to grace the horizon. I worry about selling the house now that the housing bubble has burst, and how we can make our move to retirement next year. I worry about all my children and my grandchildren and then worry about my husband, who is not worried about himself, at all. All in all, it's a lot of useless worry to no avail.

Then I start perusing the different adoption boards and sites and the anxiety gets kicked up more than a notch and pure discouragement sets in. I bounce from discord to discord, watching people do all in their power to be as counter-productive as possible. This group doesn't like that approach and the other group is involved in keeping a feud alive and the other group after that is commenting on the foibles of the first two groups and nothing is happening in the way of healing or redress or action. Add into the mix the individuals that keep whole groups hostage to their egos, animosities, vendettas and prejudices and there you have my vision of the online world of adoption at 5:00AM.

So there is an ominous black cloud over my head and I light into these offenders with my keyboard and someone else lights into me and off we go. I had a portion of my post about adopters called "hateful" yesterday, so someone else doesn't like what I say. The bright spot in that matter is that, to paraphrase the old hit pop tune, It's My Blog And I Can Delete If I Want To. (You would delete too if it happened to you.)

Seriously though, I keep wondering if the community of the badly adoption-affected will ever get their(ooops! OUR) crap together. There is room, I suppose, for disagreement, but the power struggles and name-calling I observe make me wonder if either we or this nation are mature enough to do the job. We need to do more than to talk to each other...we need to LISTEN to each other. I find myself going back to the '60's again and hearing Art and Paul sing about "People hearing without listening." I think that, for many, what some of us have to say is just too scary for them to hear within the parameters of active listening. Even if we find areas of disagreement in what we hear, we can validate the big message and agree to disagree on the rest.

Now I am one of the dreaded (*cue thunder-clap, creaking door and scream) Anti-Adoptionists! I want to see the whole specious insitution scrapped and something more child-centered and less mercenary take its place. I think that this country can do just fine without the legal lies and pretense of adoption and I DON'T think that a child needs just someone they can call "Mom and Dad," when they already have a heritage and history. I would love the see the structure of legal guardianship strengthened and expanded to create a system that has everything to do with the best interests of the child and nothing to do with the selfish needs of adopters.

I see now, that some of our number who disagree with my stance have done the old conservative spin-doctor thing with the terms involved and have equated being anti-adoption with terrorist extremism. Reminds me of how the Republicans and the far right have worked to turn the perfectly good word "liberal" into some kind of curse. And that darn sun isn't up yet!

So maybe, as another adoption-affected person put it, "I'm so tired, but I can't sleep. I'm standing on the edge of something much too deep." The intensely personal nature of adoption trauma keeps many of us locked up inside the dark, sleepless place inside ourselves and, maybe, we just have to hang in there and keep waiting for morning to arrive.

Monday, September 04, 2006

About Adopters

I am about to step into some murky waters, here, and am concerned about lack of visibility. Sharks and 'gators hide in cloudy H2O and bite the unwary. But here goes.

I just got my first comment hit from an adopter, one from a woman who adopted who, like all the rest who have entered the world of the surrendering mom, "want to try to understand." To me, those words have always triggered the alarm bell because, usually, they have been followed with all the reasons their adopting is "different" and all the bad things that were wrong with "their b****mother" that necessitated their heroic adoption. She pointed out to me that other moms of loss had graciously helped her in the area of understanding, so I will try to explain, to the best of my ability, why I think she missed the boat.

Contrary to the belief of many who exaggerate and take comments out of context, I don't HATE adopters. Most adopters are people, just like you and me, no better and no worse, who have fallen for the industry hype that tells them taking the child of another woman and treating that child as if you gave birth to him/her is a "good way to build a family." Others, especially those involved in foreign adoptions, are really convinced that they are rescuing an unwanted or orphaned child while allowing themselves a shot at "motherhood," a sort of "win-win" situation in their minds. For the most part, I think that these people are decent if a bit blind to the other end of things or the true nature of the original mother/child bond.

But then, there are those that I read about on other sites, the ones for whom adopting a child, any child, is an obsession, and the ones who say things like, "how could she do this to me?," when a mother changes her mind and fights to keep HER baby. Or there are the ones who write the sacharrine and contrived "Dear B****mother" letters with a phone number that usually connects the reader to an adoption attorney. This has become known as "trolling" for babies. There are those, as well, who are vicious and terribly insecure and treat their adult, adopted children as infantile possessions when there is a reunion. There are those who spit venom about "16-year-old tramps (true words from a wannabe adopter) " keeping babies that (exact quote) "should have been MINE!!"

There are others in the adopter arena that I, simply and without apology, cannot abide..the ones who just don't want to "bother with getting pregnant," who want to compliment their three natural girls with a "baby brother" and don't want to take a chance on nature providing that boy baby, the vain who don't want their figures compromised by the natural ravages of child-bearing (I call them badges of honor) and the ones seeking public acclaim for their saintly nature. Oh..and the Hollywood adopters who acquire kids like fashion accessories. These examples are even more outside the pale and need to be stopped before they adopt again.

I see, in these adopters and even in the more decent and seeking ones, a sense of ultimate ENTITLEMENT that rubs my fur in the wrong direction. It is part and parcel of this entire national idea that if one wants something, one should have something, and that includes the precious flesh of the healthy newborn or darling toddler. If you talk to these Most Entitled Ones, they will offer their obsession and "need" to "be a mother" as justification for their drive to possess the child of another woman. They are so assured, by the industry and their own desires, that a mother who surrenders her child is, somehow, lacking something in the maternal department, that they don't consider the pain and the impact on her, at all.

I want to be long-legged, thin and blond, but Nature gave me short legs, a thick body and brunette hair (well, now more gray than brunette). I accept that and realize that there is a gratifying place on this earth for short, stocky, dark-haired women. Some want to be a mother, but Nature, risky lifestyle choices, whatever, said "no." Rather than seeking ways to make their lives count, or involving themselves in other ways to make a difference in the life of a child, the adopter uses money and clout and a corrupt industry to artificially circumvent the course that nature would take.

A big part of the blame goes to the partriarchial, capitalistic society in which we live that casts shame on the young, unmarried and financially challenged Mom. Those who are either married, or older and financially secure see themselves as some kind of "solution" to the erroneously perceived problem of "inappropriate" motherhood...they see themselves as the parental "ideal" just as do the eugenics-minded powers that be.

I wonder if any of these adopters know that most women who surrender see themselves as forever in a crisis situation and could just simply benefit, greatly, from a more realistic view and from an opportunity to bond with their child, learn parenting skills and receive some financial and emotional support to keep their babies? All most of these surrendering moms need is a hand up and some support. Growing up in a low-income family or without a live-in father is not necessarily a recipe for disaster or the worst thing to happen to a child if there is love and nurture. When a mother changes her mind, especially during the first year, I wonder if they understand that the most loving and decent thing they could do is return the child they did not bear to the woman who did bear that child? Even if you are attached to a child, that child's primary BOND (as opposed to attachment) is with the mother of that child...not the adopter. Hey, God/dess was the one who made HER the mother. There is a higher and prior claim on the privilege and responsibility of raising that is HERS.

Right now, I see little to no real altruism in adoption. One adopter, on an infamous pro-adoption site, recently said that there SHOULDN'T be any altruism...that is was perfectly OK to adopt for selfish and self-serving reasons. Hmmmmmm..That's a new one. True altruism would provide a safe and caring environment for a child without the need for an artificial parent/child setup. A person who truly wants to care for a child in need, one who has no natural family member to do the job, would be more concerned about making sure the child had food, clothing, shelter and nurturing than whether or not they were called "Mom and Dad." They would do this quietly and without wearing the public halo of the so-called "saintly adopter."

Funny, but there are so many foster children who don't have this option, who are older, have real problems, are not quite as "cute" and with definite awareness of the parent and family they lost and they don't get adopted. Funny, but there are children adopted with problems that get sent back to the agencies because of these very problems. Funny, but natural parents don't send their kids "back" if they have a problem. They hang in there out of pure parental love. The ones that don't are a miniscule minority. Funny, but for all the propaganda about the seeming plethora of crackwhore moms who spit out substance-abused babies on a regular basis, you don't see a lot of potential adopters lining up for these few poor kids that really exist. No, because those children do not fit the adopter fantasy.

For those who rush into an adoption agreement with a vulnerable mom, don't get too comfortable too fast. Don't rush to take possession of that newborn. Give that mom a chance to really see into her heart after the birth of the child when that child is a living, breathing reality. Give that mom the resources she needs to take the road to healthy, confident parenthood. Don't get the idea that she is truly happy and content with her "decision" no matter what she says. She has been just as brainwashed about her non-entitlement as you have about your assumed entitlement. And, if anyone is truly ENTITLED to a child, it is that child's True Mother.

I might also add that the potential adopter and anyone who has already adopted needs to read the words of the adopted people, themselves. Even in this day of "open" adoptions, the adopted person still keenly feels rejection and confusion and no amount of knowledge or love on the part of anyone involved can help them make sense out of a nonsense situation. In order to truly "understand" you are going to have to start thinking outside the adopter arena and open your mind to what you least want to know. Can you do it?

Robin, 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)