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."

8 comments:

MaeDay said...

It's a good question TM asked and begs answering. If answering were only so easy.

I think the American public (middle class)still has the notion, any and all adoptions, are always good. Placing mothers (poor mothers/young mothers) are still viewed as a threat to moral society, a threat to the child. Being poor is almost considered a sin in America..ie. you must have done something or are doing something wrong to be poor.

Also, many legislators are attorneys.Examining adoption practices would reflect upon past/present grievences...of which the legal community was and is part and parcel too.

Abortion gets all tied into the mix as well. Legislators believe adoption falls undera woman's reproductive rights. Therefor they often agree with the anonymity arguement because they think it's protecting a woman's privacy.

Added into the mix is, the typical infertile couple who are older/educated/finacially secure. A stark contrast to the young/poor/uneducated mother. The infertile couple presents a much stronger case to promote adoption, vs. the young/uneducated mother, in opposing adoption.

I surrendered in MA. One must go before the Judge of the County you surrendered in. You have to give a compelling reason for desiring the records be open and it is at the Judge's discretion to open them. The Judge I presented before was an adoptive father, who plain out mothers, he did not believe in open records. Eeeek...what the heck chance is there for change until these old Judges, lawyers die or retire? But, by then we old mothers will have done the same!!

Every day new adoptions occur and the cycle of the uneducated, unintiated, uniformed, goes round and round.

It's just imperative we plug away at opening records in all 50 states. (for the adoptee) but also imperitive mothers ask for their grievences to be examined and some kind ammends made.

I am 55 years old..I too deserve to have a copy of my own son's birth Certificate. That's why I'm sending a few select local legislators a copy of Anne Fessler's book, followed up with a phone call/appointment to discuss adoption reform.

iris eyes said...

I agree that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

The adopters are the squeaky wheel, and they are tugging at the heartstrings of legislators and the public. Everyone feels sorry for them.
They are also seen as 'saving the government/taxpayers money",,which is not even true. With all of the grant money, adoption subsidies, and tax credits, adoption is quite expensive...for the public. The CPS system is expensive too, with the costs of foster care, court hearings, and again more subsidies that I personally would rather see used to help preserve natural families.

WE deserve to have our records also..records access is not just an issue for adopted people.WE have been wronged in that way too...we cannot even get our records.And we are not allowed to know where our stolen children went.
A grassroots parents right movement is needed, to enforce our right to be the parents of our children, as we were meant by nature to be.

Third Mom said...

Hi, Robin, thanks for writing on my question. I'm going to throw out an idea whose time has maybe come - and perhaps it already is happening and I'm just not aware of it.

I know many moms, yourself included, are just back from the Origins conference in NYC. What about having some sessions at that conference, or perhaps a completely different forum if it would be more appropriate, to bring first, foster and adoptive parents together to really get into how we can all create change?

I would welcome that dialog, and I know many other a-parents would too. If you know of any conferences where this is happening now, please let us all know - and if not, maybe it's an idea worth pursuing.

Thanks again.

Robin said...

TM, there are some people who are struggling to work together, parents, adopters, etc., but I'm not one of them. On the whole, the agendas don't mesh. I don't endorse or involve myself in CUB, because they are rife with adopters and facilitators and intent on maintaining a status quo with open records as the ONLY objective.

I am working for an end to adoption, period, with no one "building a family," by taking the child of another woman and even those most dire of cases being handled with a beefed-up legal guardianship arrangement that calls for no name changes, no assumption of the titles "Mom and Dad," open original-family histories from the get-go and kinship guardianship if at all possible. The entire concept of adoption, where genetic strangers get called "parents" is terribly flawed, in my opinion and is what has led to it becoming a business of demand and supply.

When we get to the point where there are adopters and foster care providers who can say that the first and most important priority is to unite the orginal family, when those who have adopted release their "parental" claims on the children they have taken "as their own," then, maybe, we can talk. When I see an adopter
realize the difference between a want and a need, an attachment and a true bond, then I will see that adopter as enlightened.

When I see an adopter, who knows that the awakened mother, who surrenders while affected by her seeming "crisis" and the rampant hormones of pegnancy, wants to reclaim her child, freely return that child to the mother with no media hoopla or court battles, then I might see someone I can work with. When I see someone who doesn't jump in to tell me how different THEIR case and how that makes adoption so "right" for them, then I might be tempted to join forces with them. When I see an adopter realize and ADMIT that they did something wrong by seeking that adoption and doing all in their power to restore the original family, then I'll say we have a hero among those who adopt.

But, the fact of the matter is that we will, for the forseeable future, be on very different pages. And, as one of those Mothers who has been badly used by adoption AND adopters, my personal trust level is very low.

One part of my battle, the fight for recognition and redress for the Mothers of Loss from the BSE and forward, is not one I see very many adopters cheerfully espousing. They would have to go a lot further than just "seeking to understand." And they would have to realize that the needs are greater than open records and "open" adoption agreements.

Third Mom said...

Robin, thanks again. I'm posting this comment to let you know I saw your response.

I think understand what you are saying - this paragraph clarified it for me:

"When I see an adopter, who knows that the awakened mother, who surrenders while affected by her seeming "crisis" and the rampant hormones of pegnancy, wants to reclaim her child, freely return that child to the mother with no media hoopla or court battles, then I might see someone I can work with. When I see someone who doesn't jump in to tell me how different THEIR case and how that makes adoption so "right" for them, then I might be tempted to join forces with them. When I see an adopter realize and ADMIT that they did something wrong by seeking that adoption and doing all in their power to restore the original family, then I'll say we have a hero among those who adopt."

I would like to believe that if my children's mothers returned to reclaim them as infants that I would have done so without a fight. In honesty, though, having been prepared as an a-parent to commit to my children forever, I honestly don't know. I just don't know.

I could not return them now, it would be a lie for me to say so. I wish and work for their reunions with their families, but could not simply wipe away the last 18 years.

I admit that adopting in circumstances that did not protect my children's families first and foremost was wrong. It was a human rights violation, a personal violation. I didn't see that at the time, because I saw myself as one who was helping a woman in a situation her culture did not accept. But I recognize now that this is the exact mindset that perpetuates the "supply and demand" of adoption. And I should have seen this, and am therefore wrong.

But although I recognize this now and can speak out, I also realize that I am the parent of children who were born to other women who grieve their loss, children I couldn't part with now. That, I think, is the hypocrisy that would prevent real dialog between mothers and adopters.

At least I think this is what you mean. Thank you again for responding.

Robin said...

Just a note, TM. Mothers can't commit to their children "forever." Oh the love lasts and the wish to guide and advise seems to stick around long after it is no longer wanted or needed, but according to Gibran and others, our children are never really OURS. They belong to themselves and to the Universe.

Animal Mothers know that there will come a time when the baby has to be on their own. Only in adoption, is an adult treated like a perpetual child..an "always" possession, bought and paid for by the adopters.

If you have an 18-year-old adopted person, then you are about learn that home truth. If there is reunion, there may be a desire on the part of the adopted person for true reunification. Will the children you adopted not be able to fully relate to their original family out of fear of hurting your feelings? Can you dissuade them of the misdirected fears and loyaties to which they are prone? Can you stand back and allow the never-disappearing bond to be re-strengthened? Can you refrain from fighting over the adopted person's presence on holidays, etc? Would you deny the Mother the right to a place of honor at her child's wedding? Can you encourage any children born to the adopted persons to call the original Mother "grandma?"

It's a definitely difficult position in which a person places themselves when they adopt. It is hard to see to the best interests and needs of the adopted person when so many of the personal needs of the adopter are involved and seem to get in the way. I can only hope, from the evidence of your writings, that you will be different.

Third Mom said...

I promise I won't monopolize these comments anymore, please don't feel you need to post this - it's your blog and you should get the last word, LOL. But I just wanted to say re this:

"If you have an 18-year-old adopted person, then you are about learn that home truth. If there is reunion, there may be a desire on the part of the adopted person for true reunification. Will the children you adopted not be able to fully relate to their original family out of fear of hurting your feelings? Can you dissuade them of the misdirected fears and loyaties to which they are prone? Can you stand back and allow the never-disappearing bond to be re-strengthened? Can you refrain from fighting over the adopted person's presence on holidays, etc? Would you deny the Mother the right to a place of honor at her child's wedding? Can you encourage any children born to the adopted persons to call the original Mother "grandma?"

All these I can do and am trying to do and commit to. I don't know the future, so I can't predict if we will ever have the opportunity to do any or all of them. But I pray for it, work for it, try to make it happen through all the means available to me. They know and have been a part of our efforts to find their families - we have been successful in finding one family, are still working on finding the other and reuniting with them all.

I want my children's mothers - and fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents - in their lives, as their mothers. For them to know, to respect, to learn from. To live with if they choose. To take their names if they choose (which we have talked about, as it is something many KADs do). To move to Korea to be with them if they choose.

And I would give my children's mothers the place of honor at their weddings in a heartbeat.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

"I could not return them now, it would be a lie for me to say so. I wish and work for their reunions with their families, but could not simply wipe away the last 18 years."

"I also realize that I am the parent of children who were born to other women who grieve their loss, children I couldn't part with now. That, I think, is the hypocrisy that would prevent real dialog between mothers and adopters."


At least I'll give you credit for admitting this in print.
However, while you couldn't part with them now and wipe away the years, it is exactly what you expected the mother to do all along.
It's not hypocrisy that prevents dialog between mothers and adopters, it's the possessiveness of adopters who can't let go now of something they had no right intruding upon to begin with.

If adopter's really wanted to right the wrong, they'd fight to undue the legalities of their contracted adoption, and not just offering support for reunion of the adult adoptee and family.

Leslie B