I wonder if our critics, those who think we are too outspoken ("strident") and militant, have ever really talked to any of us who are in this group of mothers who got mad as hell and decided not to take it anymore? They tout our anger as a fault ("bitter old birfmuggles") and dismiss our efforts and words as coming from a place of guilt. The idea of our anger as both righteous and a good tool if used correctly is also dismissed.
While I do acknowledge that guilt and shame were enforced upon mothers of adoption loss, a great many of us, who have reached this stage in our lives and our activism, have long since kicked that attitude to the curb. Guilty of what? Of being betrayed by our loved ones, victimized, used, denigrated, deprived of our precious infants and discarded? Hmmmm, well, bad old us. How dare we? And how dare we be angry that such was ever allowed? Naughty birfmuggle..naughty!
In talking to the many friends in the moms groups, I have also seen a lot of self-healing. We have accepted what we cannot change, but we will, by God, change the things we can. We are out to address an injustice, but we have also taken back our right to be respected and have some happiness in life. That's pretty healthy, if you ask me. I think that is called growth, maturity and having a just cause.
From the early Baby Scoop Era to more recent times, we have watched this society, the self-righteous and the eugenicists prey on women at the most vulnerable times in their lives. It's been a horror of the patriarchy and one that causes women to actually predate their own gender. Even NOW (the National Organization of Women), who, you would think would consider the right to raise one's own child even if a man is not present, a worthy cause, has turned their back on the mother of loss. This is due, I am sure, to the fact that there are a lot of adopters in the upper echelons of NOW. Our society is addicted, it seems to the legal lie of adoption.
We are fighting insulting and demeaning stereotypes, the greed, lies and selfishness of adopters (yes, that's what I said and it's the truth, uncomfortable though it may be for many), the greed, lies and arrogance of the industry and the eugenicists and, sadly, the misconceptions and expectations of our own adult children. We are expected to apologize to our children for something we didn't do (hold your breath for that one, Nancy Verrier) and always be on tap, even when they back off from contact.
We also have to listen to the ignorant pseudo-moralist/chauvinist who has to pop in, occasionally with the, "you didn't have to spread your legs" tripe. It matters not to this person that it has been found to be true, by reliable research, that 95% of people did not make it to marriage with their virginity intact. But we "wild women who got pregnant" are still designated as "less than" because, I suppose, we were fertile and birth control was unavailable. And remember, we got that way all by ourselves. At least I don't remember any of these critics ever mentioning the fact that there was a male partner involved.
So why am I militant? When you spend your life at the bottom of society's heap, judged by others using such a specious, biased scale of conduct..when you are seen as "unfit" and "loose" and "irresponsible" when you didn't do a damn thing but that which everyone else, including the sainted adopters, was doing...Well, you can get a bit tired of it all and ready to fight. When you have to see your adult reunited children, confused, frightened and in pain and know that it really didn't have to be this way but for the machinations of the arrogant, then your anger gets righteous. When you see people trying to silence you by treating you as unworthy of respect, when your own children judge you without really getting to know or understand the human being their mother is, when they relegate you to the back streets like a dirty secret or relegate you to the role of "distant relative" or "acquaintance," when adopters (the elite and more "fit," remember?) treat you like their worst nightmare come true and when the big machine that is adoption tries to mow you down and turn you under, then you come up fighting if you are any kind of a person at all.
I fought and won the battle against shame and guilt a long time ago. But my anger is righteous and empowering and appropriate, so I think I'll keep it. It doesn't rule my life and it doesn't keep me from loving, being loved, moments of joy, fun or appreciation of the good things in my life. But it does keep me focused on a terrible wrong that needs a powerful lot of righting.
"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)