Monday, December 29, 2008
It's official! A Federal Study has concluded that teenage "virginity pledges" are ineffective. An article by Rob Klein of the Washington Post states that the study has shown that teens who take this pledge are just as likely as those who did not "pledge purity" to have sex prior to matrimony. It also shows that these teens are less likely to use condoms or any other form or birth control or protection against STD's. Maybe, just maybe, this study will take our national heads out of our arses and get us cracking on effective sex education, access to birth control and other programs to help our children protect themselves.
For the Federal Government to give funding to these abstinence programs while letting sex education and accessible birth control/STD protection struggle for support is unrealistic and pandering to the far, religious right, as usual. Taking us back, as a nation, to the bad, old days of punitive, sexist attitudes and actions is not going to help things. It did nothing then, of worth, and will do nothing now.
Over the decades, we Senior Mothers of the EMS saw a lot of progress in this area. Information about birth control became more accessible to single women, safe, legal, medical abortion became available and single parenthood became more socially acceptable. Many parents were even providing their teens with an open invitation to talk about it if they became sexually active and supplied protection for their kids. Yes, it's hard to think about our little Susies and Tommys doing the nasty, but remember how those hormones and emotions ran amok in you when you were that age? With all the sexual messages in the media that our children are exposed to on a daily basis, sex education and protection should be a no-brainer.
If I were a wild-eyed conspiracy theorist, I would even think that this abstinence-only program was backed by the adoption industry and social engineers in order to get womb-fresh infants to the "right kind of people" to be raised in a Norman Rockwell, nuclear family. But people in power in our government wouldn't do that, would they?
At least, in the present time frame, we have DNA tests to confirm paternity and laws that will make the sower of wild oats pay for his bread. That is a good thing, if the young woman and her parents take the responsibility for raising the child that Abstinence Only couldn't prevent and the adoption industry doesn't get to her, first. In courting the self-righteous right, our leaders have sold their grandchildren for a mess of pottage, to paraphrase the scriptures. It takes us back to the days of surface virtue and secrets and lies and a fantasy view of life.
To me, this hue and cry for abstinence without education, and the propaganda of the adoption industry is a giant step backwards. The next step would be to regress back to the time when the unmarried, young mother was given no choice at all. At least, for now, anyway, she can choose to keep her baby and even celebrate the new arrival. And, she can also go to the local Department of Public Health and receive birth control and education on how to use it. She can choose not to proceed with the pregnancy and she is not required to explain or apologize to anyone.
Unless we protect these rights, and are realistic about teens, sex and the education needed, we are going to enter into a very nasty replay of the 40's through the early 70's. I cannot see putting my granddaughter and great-granddaughters through that kind of crap. I am writing my congressional representatives and Senator and asking them to support good, solid sex education for all young people and to protect our right to choose. I have also written to our President-Elect and will write to his choice of surgeon general and the cabinet member that heads up the departments having to do with health and human welfare when they are confirmed.
We need to, as well, forge ahead with the demand for a public hearing on the EMS/BSE so that the mistakes of the past will not be the mistakes of today. It is time that we stopped treating our children as eternal infants, especially as they approach adulthood. It is time that the general public learned the truth about the adoption fairy-tale and the helplessness and lack of autonomy of the mothers and their children. It is time for the nation and our government to learn that the "perfect solution" was anything BUT. We can't put more women through this horror of being given no choice in major decisions affecting their own lives.
It is PAST TIME for us, as a nation, to grow up.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Though I'm not what one would call a religious person, I can feel the spirituality of the holiday season. I remember marching down the aisle, singing carols, carrying a lit candle and dressed as an angel, when I was a little girl. The church I attended while I was growing up was small but did Christmas up, really big. I can still feel that wonderful, fluttery, awed feeling that I experienced among the candles and white poinsettias. I learned to associate Christmas, not just with gifts, but with miracles, love, family, peace, and the beauty of lights on a dark, winter night. I am still a sucker for the beautiful music created for this season, from "The Little Drummer Boy" to Vivaldi's "Gloria."
In high school, one of my close friends was the daughter of our local Rabbi. I experienced Hanukkah through her family and received an education in the differences that make us all the same. I also came to appreciate the efforts that go into a really fine, Jewish holiday meal. Bubbe Goldberg could COOK!
I went next door, last year, to admire the Kwanzaa decorations and African garb and foods that my neighbors had put together. The candles were of special interest since Jean (with the French pronunciation....he's Haitian) had made them, himself. Gina's peanut and yam soup was to die for.
We have neighbors from India who are Hindu, Islamic friends just a block over, and an Asian family who practices Buddhism, all in this tiny subdivision. My Hispanic neighbors have a beautiful lighted creche on their lawn and play their guitars and sing a lot at this time of year.
I wonder why it is that so many different nationalities can co-exist, even enjoy each other, in a town or a neighborhood, but cannot get along on so many other levels. Our soon-to-be former president seems to think that we should force democracy on all other nations. Right here, in the US, there are religious factions that would insert their doctrine into our laws. We have everything from the Klan and Skinhead Nazis to rigid fundamentalists who see their beliefs as the only right beliefs to people who insist that everyone walk in lock-step with their take on different issues in organizations. We experience bigotry, the selfish interests of those who would impress their views on others and outright hate from some.
I wonder how it would feel to have true Peace on Earth? I'm not talking about just the absence of war, but the freedom from hate, resentment, egotism, and the insecurities that breed such things. Who would it hurt for all of us to learn to live and let live...to allow each person the expression of their own beliefs and priorities and to wish each other well and mean it? Why must one person's or one group's stance be right all the time for everyone? What makes people become so threatened by different thoughts, ideas, faiths, ethnicities and cultures?
We have taken a giant step as a nation, by electing a man of mixed race to the highest office in the land. On a smaller scale, we mothers of adoption loss, both of recent times and of the EMS/BSE, have shown the courage of stating our identities and our goals in a public forum. Within this community of mothers, we have many mothers with many different priorities. Why can't each of us work on our own issues without rancor? Why can't we grow up enough to stop the petty bickering and realize that one size does NOT fit all? Nothing anyone can say or do can change the direction of our particular group, so why try? Who has an ego so large and a heart and self-esteem so small that they cannot allow everyone to follow their hearts and minds in peace?
Oh well, I will enjoy my dream of peace on earth on both a large and a smaller scale. It can't hurt to have a little hope for the Holidays. Maybe, even a miracle..........
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a Joyful Kwanzaa to all.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Meet Rocket J. (Rocky) Westbrook. Rocky is a six-year-old, Rat Terrier- Chihuahua mix. He is extremely well-behaved, neutered, housebroken and an all around very good dog.
I had been bugging DH about getting a dog (I was angling for a Chihuahua puppy but backed off because of the prices) for a few years. He was ready to give in and to pay $500 to $700 for a purebred puppy, but I decided to see what the annual adoption fair at the animal shelter had to offer. It was one of the best things I ever did.
Rocky had been the companion of an older gentleman whose health became too bad to care for his doggy. His children decided to put Rocky in the shelter after their Dad went into hospice care. Rocky was scheduled for euthanasia this week. He had been in the shelter since February.
He was the first small dog I saw when we walked in and he came right to me. All the dogs were yapping for attention and he was doing his best to yap louder. I didn't have to look any further, although Hubby was looking at a female, long-haired mixed breed of similar size, but I insisted that Rocky has chosen me. I was a "chosen adopter!"
He stopped the yapping the minute the shelter attendant gave me his leash. It cost $11.00 for license and senior citizen adoption fees, we were given a crate, food, collar and leash, medical history and tags which denoted that he had already been given a microchip, as well. We just had to call and register him. He jumped right into the car as if he knew he was going home. He investigated every room, when we walked into the house, and then came back to me and laid his head on my lap for petting, as if to say, "Thank You!"
Hubby fell in love right after I did. He took off to PetCo and spent about $130 on a new collar, leash, toys, snacks, a doggy jacket that fits him perfectly, a Christmas bandanna and other goodies. Yesterday, I took our new boon companion to the vet for a complete going over, blood and "other" tests, a cortisone injection for an allergy, flea and parasite medications, etc., to the tune of $261.00. I figure this is the most expensive $11.00 dog ever. But he is worth it.
Now, I don't call myself Rocky's "mommy" and he is an adult dog, but I think that this is the area in which adoption belongs. I didn't tear him away from his mother. I kept the name his first owner had given him and I am the grateful beneficiary of the care and training his former owner gave him. Rocky NEEDED rescuing. He deserved a chance to live to a ripe, old doggy age. It is now up to me to be a responsible dog owner. This is a proper adoption.
Children cannot be owned like that and that is what adoption of a child, especially infant adoption, seems to be. I have a friend who refers to her daughter's adopters as her owners because that is how they act. A child, a human being, is not and never should be a possession. To adopters whose adoptees are older, please remember that you took on a responsibility, not a right and not an ownership. If you can think in terms of what is "best" for the child, then try to understand what is best for the adult. Reconnecting with their mother is important for many adoptees and to assert ownership, to demand loyalty and gratitude is not the way real parents behave.
You didn't "rescue" a baby from certain death or destruction or a horrible life. You adopted to fill a need in YOUR life, so put that adult child's needs ahead of your own, this time, and let that relationship with their natural family happen. If you can't love that adoptee enough to do that, then it isn't a very "proper adoption."
To those who believe they MUST adopt, look into the millions of older children in foster care who truly need someone. Take them in and don't change their name or try to alter their identities and heritage. That womb-fresh infant is all about YOUR needs. Taking in an older child is about that child. That could be a proper adoption, although a legal guardianship would be even better.
You can own a dog, but you can't own a person.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
She asked questions about me, constantly, until the people who adopted her, feeling insecure, told her a lie.....that I was dead. For years she searched for a grave. It is still hard for her to admit that the people she calls her parents, now deceased, would actually tell her a lie. She knows they behaved rather badly when we reunited, but she can't go to that place where their needs took priority over hers.
I'm not going to press the issue. Her need to feel safe and grounded in what is familiar to her is also important. I have packed a box with gifts for her, and the great-grands and picked out a "for daughter and her husband" card that doesn't have all the flowery verses about growing up and becoming a credit to her father and I. That's reaching a bit. Her father is a jerk who is removed from her by his own wishes. So, while the card is for "My Daughter," it is safely neutral in content.
What a sticky web the adoption industry and the state agencies during the EMS wove. There is acute pain on both ends...that of the adopted person and that of the mother...that reunion doesn't solve or ease. The only thing reunion does is allow us to face our pain and try to work towards healing. It's a long, arduous process and, sometimes, when we think of things, like that little girl waiting at the door, we slip back into the hurt rather than using it to stoke the anger and determination.
I have cried every Christmas since I lost my daughter and then my son to adoption. Compounding that was the death of my mother on December 22, 1968. But, as I have grown older, I have learned to have my crying jag and then be grateful for what I do have. My husband lost his only child, a son, to suicide. We learned that it was not something that you get over..you just learn to live with it. So it is with loss to adoption for both mother and adoptee. We learn how to live with it
I also have to feel a bit smug in that the old system and all the lies and secrets did not succeed in keeping us from knowing each other and learning the truth, or as much truth as my children can handle. It's sort of like a reunion (which the adopters want to call merely "making contact") is thumbing our noses at the machine. Reunited, we are and they call me "Mom." I am sure that the adopters wouldn't be happy with that, but I am their mother and they cannot change that with a piece of paper signed by a judge.
Merry Christmas, little girl and little boy. Mommy has come to get you.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
I hate it when other people, with an interest in maintaining adoption as a thriving concern, try to speak for mothers. I hate it even more when what they say "in our name" is cunningly used to deflect the ire of the adopted person to the mothers rather than taking the responsibility upon those who pursue this specious argument.
Such is the ongoing "reasoning" being used by agencies, governments, social workers and any pro-adoption faction that the reason records, such as the adoptee's original birth certificate, are kept closed is due to the requirement of "anonymity" and "privacy" for the mothers. OK, here we go, one more time....I don't EVER remember anyone promising ME any kind of privacy. What I do remember was being told that if I ever tried to find my children, I would be breaking the law and would hurt them. Anonymity was for the ADOPTERS, NOT the mothers!
For most of us from the EMS whose children were surrendered and then placed, by agencies or social workers, for adoption, our fondest wish was to have our children know us, know we loved them and that we would have kept them had we been given just a modicum of support. I did not request anonymity and it was not in anything I signed as a guarantee, promise or suggestion. I was told, by the social workers, to never speak of my loss to anyone, but I broke that rule right off the bat.
Now, to cover their cowardly arses, the agencies and those that lobby for them are trying to insert, into some open record bills, a requirement that any mother who refuses contact must provide personal medical and other information. WHOA!!!! First, I am pretty darn sure that this violates my rights under HIPAA stipulations. And, to be practical, there are things that are my private business that I haven't shared with the children I raised. These arrogant social engineers took my children and now they want me to be a mere vessel of information just like I was a mere birth machine? I THINK NOT.
One of the things we are striving for in SMAAC and elsewhere is the respect and human dignity that was taken from us when we were young, pregnant and vulnerable. For many of us, self-respect is not a problem, but I, for one, refuse to be considered a convenience for others in any way just because of the tragedy of losing my children when I was a teen.
Hell yes, let's get those records open for adopted adults AND mothers of adoption loss, but don't demand that I dance to a tune that was written by someone else. I'm a mother, not an object nor a lackey. I have shared with my adult reunited children what they needed to know just as I have with their younger sister and brother. As a family, there are things we all share. But my personal business will remain that way. Sorry agencies and others. I am not bailing you out when adopters sue you for "lack of important information."
Deal with it.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
I have stood in many a circle in Overeater's Anonymous and Alanon groups, reciting those words and hoping to be able to live up to them. I learned, a long time ago that I have little power over anything anyone else has ever or will ever say or do. The only thing I can change is me and what I do and how I respond to others. I also learned the grace of acceptance as being healing. I cannot undo what was done to me many years ago. What was, was and what is, is.
Where the courage comes in was coming out of the "good birthmartyr" closet, facing the truth and realizing that, together, we, as mothers, could do something that might bring about change on a bigger scale or, at least, remove the scales from the eyes of the population. That is the main thrust of groups like SMAAC and BSERI and Bastard Nation among others. We each approach it from the vantage point of our own experience, but there is something we all have in common. Thanks to a sister on the Origins Canada support group, I have the perfect words for it. We all have stopped "farting rainbows" about the supposed beauty of adoption. Comical but apt and real.
I wore my "Strange and Mournful" ribbon with pride, last month (Thank God/dess, November is over) and several people, out of the many who asked me about it, seemed to have some warm, fuzzy story about someone they knew who adopted/was adopted/surrendered. I grew weary of politely but firmly disagreeing and tired of hearing these folks fart rainbows. You know what? Those suckers might have pretty colors, but they stink.
By facing reality and accepting what has happened, understanding why and how it happened and gaining strength from each other, many of us have achieved healing and hope. Absolutely, the best support and understanding I have received has been from other mothers of the EMS. We are finally speaking for ourselves rather than allowing the industry and its talking heads and adopters to speak for us. We want the truth told...not fairy tales and rigged statistics.
There is now a group calling itself a grassroots movement for the benefit of those who adopt and potential adopters...protecting what this group calls their "rights." The following is the truth so I hope these folks listen and listen well. PAPs have NO rights to the child inside another woman's body and that woman has every right to change her mind and say "NO!" Just as a woman has a right to call a halt when petting gets out of hand, so does the woman who is in an unexpected pregnancy. Not being allowed to say no or to change her mind is the same thing as rape....rape of the heart and soul. How can women predate on other women this way? In our circle, we support each other. We don't prey on each other.
We who have stood in the Circle of Hope and Healing have come a long way. We don't want to see any more women joining our ranks. Trading in human flesh for the benefit of the self-entitled infertiles and/or wannabe saints puts a wound on the soul of both mother and child. Having a child is NOT a "right," but a God/dess-given gift and responsibility. That gift is given to the woman who bears that child. Adoption is not God/dess-ordained. If a child is born into poverty, then help the family. Don't help yourself to the child.
It is time that we brought to the attention of the general public exactly what coercion was and how badly and painfully we were used. That Circle of Hope and Healing is turning into a circle of warriors.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
"Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon." Elizabeth Cady Stanton
"We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal"and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal."
Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Why We Can't Wait, 1963
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
I grew up in the Methodist Church, precursor of the United Methodist Church, in the south. Christmas was always full of church activities and our Sunday School teachers were always teaching us about the Christmas stories in the books of Luke and Matthew.
One Sunday, my teacher decided to go past the visit of the Magi and into what was the most horrible thing I had ever heard in my young life...The Slaughter of the Innocents in Matthew 2:13-23.
The story goes that the Magi went to King Herod to ask if he knew the location of the "new king" for whom they were searching, guided by a star. Herod was unable to give them any information, but he was instantly on alert for a challenge to his position. He sent the Magi on their way with a request that they return to him and let him know where to find this child so that he could "worship him, also." The Magi were on to him and didn't return to Herod.
Since he didn't have the exact location, Matthew goes on to write, Herod sent out an order to slay all the new born males in the kingdom. This most poignant passage still causes tears:
"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."
From that point on, Christmas was never quite the same for me. I question, now, the wisdom of an adult telling that particular story to eight and nine-year old children. The joy and the excitement, music, smells and anticipation was always tinged with sadness. I think it was an omen for me, that, like Rachel, I would, one day, weep for my children and find no comfort.
Because I was only an hour away from home when I was pregnant with my daughter, my parents asked and were allowed to bring me home on Christmas day. A couple of loyal friends also came over, and, at the end of the day, I was taken back to the maternity prison. I would be there another four months before I came home again.
It was on that Christmas visit home, that I learned of all the nasty things, the lies, my boyfriend, the father of my oldest child, and his friends were saying about me. While it hurt, I decided I needed to ignore it and put it behind me. What I didn't count on was the vicious nature of this kind of character assassination. I started getting calls from young men that I barely knew, asking for dates....most of them turned into wrestling matches and the others, when I said "NO," were just short dates where I was taken home and never called again. One of these wrestling matches, I lost. My son was conceived in pain and violence.
Oh, I wanted him, too, but I was still a minor and my parents and the system were still in charge. I was coerced into surrendering him as I was coerced into surrendering my daughter.
My Sunday School lesson came home to me, that first Christmas without either of my babies. I could feel the pain and horror of those mothers and wept with them. I secretly called myself "Rachel." For those of us from the EMS/BSE, we not only lost our children, we lost our innocence, our autonomy, our self-esteem....ourselves...in massive numbers. We were deprived of our children, abandoned by the fathers of these children (for the most part) and abandoned by our families until we could return home, scrubbed free of our shame by virtue of the punishment of losing our children. For some of us, the shame would stay with us, internalized, for years. I know I even blamed myself for being raped, even though I fought, and fought hard (which only earned me some scratches and bruises).
There is no historical proof that the Slaughter of the Innocents really happened. While there is a record of this Herod's reign, there is no record of any kind of an edict of genocide or its execution. I would be willing to see it as a metaphor, but, real or not, I can still hear those mothers wailing in the most severe pain. I can still remember my pain and, though I have found healing through support and activism, there will always be a bit of sadness for me at Christmas when I remember Rachel weeping for her children.
The good news is that I am, now, blessed with a husband and children who love and respect me, good family and friends and the ability to love and comfort the confused girl I was. Most of all, I have reached a wonderful time in my life when I am able to overlook, forgive and go on with things that need to be done. I make jokes about being toothless, body parts sagging, the agony of arthritis and all that, but it has become, truly, the best part of my life.
You can feel badly for the ornament that fell and shattered on the floor, but you can also be cheered by the gleam of those that remain on the tree.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Give a nasty, self-involved, emotional bully someone to rail at and you can't shut her/him up. Give that same character a computer, and you have the emotional cyber-bully.
The bully is suffering from Hostility, a condition well described in this article from which I take these characteristics of the hostile person.
1. A person construes human nature in his (her) own way.
2. He makes social predictions on the basis of this constructions.
3. To set the stage they must be crucial predictions; that is to say, he must have wagered more on them than he can afford to lose - more of his construct system, that is.
4. He turns up invalidating evidence. It is clear that he was wrong about people. He can no longer ignore the fact.
5. Moreover, he(she) was overwhelmingly wrong - basically wrong.
6. In the face of the harsh facts he can, of course, revise his outlook. But the revision would shake him so deeply that he is reluctant to undertake it.
7. Alternatively, he could let matters ride - say to himself, "So I just don't understand people very well." But this too is an alternative he is reluctant to choose.
8. Finally, he (she) can close his eyes to reality and attempt to make people fit the construct bed his system provides. This is the hostile choice.
With a computer, this hostile person becomes a Cyber-Bully. This is the beginning of the explanation of what a cyber-bully is and does.
A cyber-bully is someone who uses technology to harass, embarrass, intimidate, or stalk someone else. The methods used can include emails, instant messaging, text messages sent via cell phones, digital photos and all other means of electronic communications. The cyber-bully can send:
angry and vulgar argumentative messages
cruel, offensive, and insulting messages
threats and false promises
It has been my observation that these messages can often come in a barrage of emails, thinly disguised as "explanations" and "attempts to reach an agreement." For the emotional cyber-bully (ECB), the only agreement that can be reached is that her way is the only way. Unable to integrate the spiritual value of humility into her persona, the ECB cannot take contradiction, confrontation or disagreement with her edicts and self-assumed expertise. Stand your ground with the ECB and be prepared to block and bounce because she will pursue her agenda to the end of time.
I can't help but think of the Lori Drew case in Los Angeles, where a woman, her daughter and a friend used the Internet to reel in and then cruelly taunt a 13-year-old who eventually committed suicide. When ECBs pick on a person who is having problems and is very vulnerable, they are, in my mind, guilty of a real crime. When they try to push someone who has the guts to push back, then they are in over their hateful heads, whether they want to admit it or not. When a bully pushes and you push back, you find the coward who retreats and hides in the anonymity of the Internet in order to continue his/her bullying.
Most of the EMS/BSE mothers have chosen, rightly, to ignore the attempts at bullying, jabbing and blustering us into feeling threatened or insulted. I choose to tell the perpetrators and their adherents that we know who you are and we think you are one very sad, bent bunch. I'll offer you a deal...You do your thing for your cause, we will do ours and we will leave you alone. Are you mature, sensible and decent enough to do the same thing?
This is your chance to disagree agreeably and acquire some class and grace. I'm all for what you are for, but I am more for what I am for, as well. The two are not mixable, so why not just let us do our thing while you do yours? Or, or you not having much luck, doing it your way?
I thought so.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Ooooooooooh, Happy, happy turkey day,
Happy good Thanksgiving day,
Happy stuff your face all day,
Haaaaa-py, happy turkey day.
Happily we gorge our guts,
On mashed potatoes, pumpkin pies,
Stuffing, gravy, down our gullets,
Until our waists are twice their size.
Happy, happy, happy leftovers to you,
Lots of turkey hash there and maybe a stew.
Sooooooo, have a happy turkey day,
Get on the couch and stay that way,
Remember football's on all day,
Thaaaat's how we spend turkey day!
(Music by Gioachino Rossini, Lyrics by Robin)
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
On this day, the cows are herded into the barn, their udders heavy with milk. As usual, they file in and put their necks through the stanchions lining the barn. The slats are closed around their necks to hold them in place during milking. But as they enter the barn, their calves are culled away and taken by me to a separate pen I have prepared for them with fresh straw in another part of the barn.
At first the cows don’t realize what’s happening. They move through the enclosures and gates in their docile way. They eat the oats put in place for them inside the stanchions. But once outside the barn, after milking, they begin to look around, to sniff, as if trying to recall something they’ve forgotten. They turn their long necks; they swish their tails. Nothing.
Then they begin to call out, low mooing, until the calves answer. The cows moo and moo in the direction of the calves’ voices, and the calves bleat back. This goes on for hours. The crying becomes unbearable. The calves look so small in their holding pen. They stick their heads through the fence, their bodies shaking as they wail. They push their hungry voices toward their mothers’ frantic calling: “Where are you? Where are you?”
“Here I am. Here I am.”
The separation of an offspring from a parent. It’s the most unnatural event. You feel cruel when you’re the one enforcing it. On those days, I will myself not to think about it. I only know that it’s my job to feed them. I step into the holding pen with buckets of the warm milk I’ve mixed from powder. Our farm depends upon the real milk the mothers produce. I must convince the calves to accept the substitute.
One by one I take the bawling face of a calf into my hands; I dip my fingertips in the milky liquid in the bucket that rests hard-edged and shiny silver between my legs; I slip my wet fingers into the mouth of the crying calf. One by one they begin to suck, from exhaustion and hunger and instinct—the soft sandpaper tongue, the little pricks of new teeth on my fingertips, the slurping as they finally dip their snouts into the bucket of milk. As they drink, the calves cry and hiccough. I stroke the curls on their soft foreheads. One by one they lie down in their new straw beds, stretch their long downy necks, and sleep.
They quiet this way, one after the other, until all is silent in the calf shed, but the crying in the mothers’ holding pen doesn’t stop. It goes on through the night and into the next day, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days. (And with human mother, for years and years. rw*)
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I came up with the name because certain lyrics from Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion" resonated, so deeply, with me. Today and all through the coming week, Mothers of adoption loss will be wearing our ribbon badges of black for mourning, red for anger and passion for our cause and white for hope and healing. Some of us will adorn our ribbons with the birthstones of our children that were taken for adoption. I have a diamond and a pearl for my ribbon....April and June are the months in which I gave birth to, and was forced to surrender, my two oldest children. I find it appropriate that it falls on a Sunday, this year.
While we refer to the lyrics of Simon's wonderful tune, this observance is not about reunion, but about the devastating effects of loss to adoption on the mother. I have high-lighted the pertinent lyrics in red and boldface.
MOTHER AND CHILD REUNION
music and lyrics by Paul Simon
No I would not give you false hope, On this strange and mournful day,
But the mother and child reu-nion, Is only a motion away,
Oh, little darling of mine, I can't for the life of me,
Remember a sadder day. I know they say let it be,
But it just don't work out that way. And the course of a lifetime runs,
Over and over again.
No I would not give you false hope,On this strange and mournful day,
But the mother and child reu-nion, Is only a motion away,
Oh, little darling of mine. I just cant believe it's so,
And though it seems strange to say, I've never been laid so low,
In such a mysterious way, And the course of a lifetime runs,
Over and over again.
But I would not give you false hope, On this strange and mournful day,
When the mother and child reu-nion,
Is only a motion away.
While most of the support groups online for Mothers of adoption loss tend to deal with the ups and downs of reunion (and God/dess knows, it is a rough ride), SMAAC is focused on the pain and injustice of our ordeal leading up to and including the "Strange and Mournful Day" when we realized our babies were lost to us.
So today and through the coming week, as we approach the last day of what we now call "Adoption BEwareness Month," we honor ourselves and remember the injustice of the EMS/BSE and renew our determination to be an active and vocal part of bringing justice to the mothers.
And to my daughter and my son that were lost to me in those dark days, always know that I loved you and losing you was not my choice or my wish. Some day, some how, some one is going to have to make restitution for what was lost to us. Not in dollars, but in acknowledgement, atonement and public awareness of the pain, the dark underbelly of the adoption myth.
Happy Strange and Mournful Day, next week, Sisters. I'll be wearing my ribbon every time I leave the house until this heinous month is behind us.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Gloria Whitcraft, adoption facilitator for the Shepherd's Gate adoption agency used the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel for a thinly-disguised piece of adoption propaganda. In this piece, she contended that mothers who "made an adoption plan (yeck!)", made a HEROIC decision.
If I had a nickle for every time I heard that one, I'd be living in a mountain cabin watching my hubby play with his power tools, right now. The more things change, the more they stay the same. We were fed the same line of bull back in the EMS (Era of Mass Surrenders) and then were summarily kicked to the curb and seen as sluts, threats and non-persons.
I was told I was a hero. I never felt like a hero. I felt like a grieving mother, a beaten and bereft leftover from the adoption machine's function. The mothers of today aren't told that truth. They are handed that saccharine crap that Whitcraft spewed in her ad for Shepherd's Gate..ooops, excuse me....her editorial.
For anyone who doesn't believe that adoption is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry, just check out these agencies. They have "counseling" for the birthmartyr that, essentially, counsels her to accept her "decision" and get on with life....same s***, different day. If they were truly there to serve, then why don't they have an unbiased panel of those of us who have been there and done that on the payroll that can tell these new mothers of today just what is REALLY in store for them? The loss of a child to adoption, for most caring and normal mothers, is a detrimental and damaging, life-long experience.
Where are the brochures and flyers describing the social services for families and mentoring programs for new moms? Where is the humanity that sees that expectant mom as a person with a heart that can be broken, that sees that fetus as a child that can grow up with feelings of rejection and identity problems? The adoption industry is just one of the many examples we are seeing, right now, of capitalism run amok and the arrogance of the eugenicists.
Like all the rest of the economy, infant adoption is in a recession and that is because the true heroes are the mothers who take responsibility for the conception of a child which means they keep that child and raise him or her in the family of their origin. THAT'S heroic! That is really being child-centered and putting the welfare of that baby before anything else. "Things" and faux daddies and social standing cannot substitute for that feeling of genuinely belonging to one's own people. All it takes is a bit of family support and mom becomes a hero for real.
Whitcraft pointedly avoids the fact that a new mother will not always be single/poor/young and all the other things that the industry-hired "experts" say will make her a poor mother. My sister became a mother after being married for three years and was no longer in her teens. Yet, she called me or our mother every day because EVERY NEW MOTHER FEELS SOME SORT OF INSECURITY!! The adoption industry would make that into a life-long problem and that sort of reasoning is specious to inane. It's advertising...it's propaganda and it's a flavor of Kool Aid that no one who understands how it feels would ever want to drink.
This is National Adoption BEwareness Month and, in eight days, we will be observing National Sad and Mournful Day. If you see a woman wearing a black, red and white ribbon badge, ask her why she wears it. Learn something about true heroism.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Does anyone find this picture offensive? Well gee, that's just someone having "Her BM."
There are those who adopt who whine and rail at being called "adopters," a perfectly good word, yet bitch about us calling ourselves "natural mothers," and think nothing of referring to the mother of the child they adopted as "our BM." I find THAT offensive for more than just the obvious reasons. I also don't think that this degrading designation is just used without thought for how it sounds. I see purpose behind that insult. I had one adopter refer to the use of "BM' as "just a shortcut that has an unfortunate reference." Ya think?
First of all, no natural mother is YOURS. To refer to the mother of the child as "ours" or "my" indicates ownership, or, like "my doctor" or "my landscaper" makes her sound like a mere provider of a service. And I don't have to tell you what "BM' sounds like. That is the result of adequate fiber in the diet..not a person who has been prodded into losing her child.
"Birthmother" is also offensive. You might as well call us brood mares or disposable wombs. I know that there are those among us who don't see the connection, but this is the industry's and the adopters' way of separating us and our emotions from our child. It negates our deep and abiding connection to the flesh of our flesh and tries to negate the truth, that we are the mothers of our children.
Someone on a mother's support list came up with a thought that is catching on...that we call adopters "non-birthmothers" or "UN-birthmothers." Gosh, do you think they might find that as offensive as we find the "BM" label? I can't help but hope so.
The industry and the adoption-philes came up with what they called "Respectful Adoption Language." We countered with the truth..."HONEST Adoption Language." BSERI has a very good article that describes and defines that honest language. SMAAC also supports this honest use of language in adoption. Words are powerful and language is used to exalt and demean. The majority of us find "birthmother" and "BM" to be as offensive as an African-American would find the "n" word.
Get used to this, adopters and facilitators. We are tired of thinly veiled insults, being treated like objects and production units. We have struggled against the obtuse, erroneous and mis-defined onus of shame that you placed on our young and vulnerable shoulders and have found self-respect. Now, it is time that YOU learned to treat us and to speak of us with respect. After all, we, not you, are the genes, heritage, features and talents that are in the child you adopted "as if born to." When these adoptees have children, it is OUR genes, our talents, our heritage that moves into the future...not yours.
I am NO ONE'S bowel movement. But I will say that adoption mythology is a lot of crap.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Some might wonder why I have written about the Heidi Saxton article and the Nebraska debacle when SMAAC is totally about concentrating on the EMS and what happened to us in "those days."
That's an easy one to answer. Ms. Saxton's article is a painful and vicious reminder of how WE were seen and treated as mothers without marriage licenses in the EMS/BSE. With her whiny post, she again raised the specter of shame and blame and stereotyped the mothers. The very fact that she used quotation marks when talking about "natural mothers," is proof that she wants us all to go back to being good little birthmartyrs and let her go about her business of trying to live the "as if born to" fantasy.
The Nebraska fiasco and all the other safe haven laws across this country are nothing more than an attempt to return to the days of closed, secret adoption when the veil of anonymity hung heavy between us and our children. I don't blame Bastard Nation for their opposition to this egregious practice. Those from the era of secret, closed adoptions are in the fight of their lives for their records. We mothers from that era are having to evoke our HIPAA rights just to get our medical records from back then and as for obtaining surrender papers...well we have to go into superwoman mode to get those. This whole scenario fits the needs of adopters, facilitators and the eugenically-minded government and church agencies to a tee.
Now an adopter on Cafe Mom has expressed fear about the fact that the underbelly of adoption is being placed on display. She fears this so much that she is considering not telling the little girl she adopted that she is, in fact, an adoptee. Shades of the last mid-century! She needs to read the stories of late discovery adoptees and how they resented the lies. I've never quite understood the logic, anyway, of trying to cover up one lie, that of the "as if born to" myth, with another lie of omission. I see grave emotional and psychological difficulties in the future for that adopter and her adoptee if she gives in to the desire to try to erase the obvious truth.
At least all this fuss and bother let me know that we have them running scared. Senior/EMS/BSE mothers are finding their voices and speaking out in increasing numbers. Adoptees are refusing to be treated like possessions with no rights to their own heritages and identities. Justice for us mothers and the right to information for our children seems to scare the granny panties off these adopters.
The NCFA (National Council For Adoption) and other such entities have tried throwing crumbs to us as if we were a flock of noisy pigeons and that hasn't worked. The day of Justice for Natural Mothers is looming...the opening of all records is now a real possibility...and there is nothing they, the agencies, the adopters or the eugenicists can do to stop it.
Maybe this will teach them a valuable lesson. It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature. Heh Heh.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
They who walk behind the rows have really made a mess of things in Nebraska. There is a lot to read about on the Children of the Corn blog that shows us just how dangerous these thinly-disguised attempts to plump up the infant adoption market really are.
Nebraska has been in the news for weeks, now, for passing a law that turned into a sad, dark joke. Now they are scrambling to amend the law to keep from receiving any more tweens and teens whose parents felt they were out of control. They are looking in the wrong direction. The only real "fix" is a full repeal.
As a senior mother of two, I can speak, with some authority, on the idea of secret, closed adoption where the mother has no idea who has her children and the adult children have no idea of their heritage and beginnings. It is NOT an idea that is new, but a different approach to an old "solution" to what shouldn't even be considered a problem. The only people safe haven benefits are the government adoption facilitators and the infant-hungry, potential adopters.
Here's an idea. Let's take the stigma away from the idea of single and/or poor and/or young people becoming parents. Let's encourage better sex education and open access to birth control for everyone. Let's educate the public on the consequences of the primal wound..separation of mother and child. Let's take a realistic view of adoption and see if for what it really is...a market, a form of eugenics and a one-sided benefit for the few "elite."
If these young girls who have been accused of throwing their newborns in the trash were not given cause to be afraid of the reactions to their act of giving birth (and they are a minority, in any case), I doubt that this particular isolated tragedy would occur very often. The irony here is that, for every story, screaming from the media, about dumpster babies and infanticide, there is a story of foster parents and adopters abusing and even murdering the children they were so avid to bring into their homes. Now what is wrong with THIS picture?
All safe haven laws do is create another generation of mothers in pain and children growing up with no way to access their personal information. America and Nebraska? We've been there and done that and it doesn't work!
Maya Angelou stated, in an interview on National television, right after the Obama Presidential win, that we, as a nation, were "growing up." I wish I could agree, but racial issues are not the only ones we face. Until we can have a healthier attitude towards the realities of human sexuality, until we can appreciate the fact that it takes two to make a baby and that the mother is not the villain in the piece, until we can recognize that, in the majority of cases, a child belongs with his or her mother, married or not, we are still in our prurient adolescence where we are obsessed with the sex lives of others. Until our government and churches get out of the business of eugenics and back to seeing to the good of ALL our citizens, we are still sitting in caves around a little fire seeing monsters out in the dark.
I am sending some emails to Nebraska state legislators, speaking, not as an advocate of open records for adoptees, but as a Senior Mother who has been through the ultimate pain and watched her adult, reunited children suffer for it. Just as safe haven laws disenfranchise, even further, the adult adoptee, they also continue to stigmatize and criminalize the mothers.
The time has come to kick these idiotic, pieces of crap, legislation to the curb.
Friday, November 14, 2008
And on we go with more commentary on the unfortunate post written by Heidi Saxton, an adopter and critic of natural mothers, everywhere. Please see the preceding post.
I cannot believe that the pro-adoption faction is still pulling out the old chestnuts about how young, single mothers will (not MIGHT, but WILL) become abusive and/or neglectful mothers and leave their babies with sitters or alone while they go out to party and do questionable things. They still judge millions by the unfortunate behavior of a minority. One question I asked Ms. Saxton on the comments section of another blog was whether or not it would, then, be fair for us to judge all adopters by the actions of those who have also abused and, yes, even murdered the children they "chose." She hasn't answered that one.
She was still delving into the perceived notions, as well, that we were responsible for the loss of our children because we had pre-marital sex. If we can't be pegged as abusers and neglecters, they can always fall back on the "shame factor." It seems easy to charge a stranger with being a whore or a slut, even without knowing them or their circumstances. It seems being an adopter and a converted-to-Catholicism Christian gives people like Ms. Saxton the assumptive right to judge us.
If being single makes one a bad mother, then it would stand to reason that the young mother who loses her husband to death or divorce should immediately be relieved of her children. After all, that two-parent family is a sacred necessity according to these pious prigs. The man who takes off and deserts his family is not held to the same standards as the mother, left behind to do the whole job.
My unmarried niece has two little girls. They are cared for so well that it amazes me. My niece works, is both mother and father to her daughters and manages to have friends and a social life as well. Gee...didn't anybody tell her that she couldn't do that? And...get this....she is NOT a slut. Wow! Will wonders never cease?
Many of us from the EMS (Era of Mass Surrenders) became mothers who kept as soon as possible after the loss of our children to the adoption industry and avid infertiles. I started my kept family at age 19. The two children I raised say I was, and am, a very good mother. I would have been just as good a mother three years earlier with just a little help and support from my family. Of course, I was never informed that there were social services in place that would have helped me. Funny how they left that information out when I was being "counseled."
Heidi Saxton is pulling out all the guns including the one we deserved the least...the shame card. Young love is a powerful thing and we are not always wise, even when we get older, about the heart wanting what the heart wants. To have it intimated to us that we should still, after 4 or more decades, feel some self-blame because we were sexually active (something a LOT of people were doing that didn't get "caught") is very un-Christian, or, at least, it goes against what I was taught was Christian in nature. But whether she and her cohorts think we should be ashamed or not, it ain't gonna happen. That Scarlet Letter is gone and you cannot put it back on us, so stop trying.
I am a MOTHER, a NATURAL Mother and I deserved the right to choose to keep and raise all my children, a choice that was denied me by a prudish and prurient society that was more concerned with sex than with murder, war or poverty. So do the natural mothers of today deserve all the right information to make an informed choice, no matter what that choice might be. Get over it, Heidi.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Don't you just wish this was the way it was? When a new president takes over, there is the "honeymoon period," a time of bipartisan cooperation. Yet, we have a site where we can tell President-Elect Obama what we want him to fix and another site for the Republicans where we can give them our opinion of what they did wrong.
The "Fix" list is an easy one. I'd love to see all records, old and new, of adoptions and original birth certificates opened for both natural mothers and adoptees. I cannot, in good conscience, support opening them for just adoptees without including the mothers. Worse, I refuse to endorse opening records where the adopters are included. Open records is not about adopters.
I would like to see a congressional investigation committee formed to look into the actions taken against vulnerable women and girls during the EMS/BSE with an eye to redress and a public apology. I would like to see this extended to a more objective and honest evaluation of adoption and fostering practices in the current era.
I would like to see a firm separation of church and state as is, supposedly, guaranteed by our Constitution. In other words, to the Evangelical, Pentecostal, Fundamentalist, Christian Far Right faction, KEEP YOUR DOCTRINE OUT OF MY GOVERNMENT! We can have a social conscience in this country without your Bible-thumping.
I would like to see some of the monies that are poured into pet projects and unpopular wars used to help families stay together. I would like to see the bond between mother and child honored for what it is rather than them being seen as interchangeable entities. I would like to see an end to eugenics, adoption-entitlement and pompous elitism in our social system.
I would love to see a system of health care that makes sure all children receive the medical attention they need and a system that does not force senior citizens to have to choose between food and their necessary prescriptions. Let's regulate the Health Insurance and HMO industry and drug prices.
I would appreciate immediate and intense attention to the matter of a non-petroleum-based, affordable source or sources of alternative energy. I think we need to kick that oil habit.
That's my short list for our 44th President. Now for the bewildered Republicans who want to know what went wrong.......
We suffered under eight years of the worst leadership in recorded American History. You did not keep the churches and doctrines out of our government (see above) and you played to the Fundamentalists' agenda of fear and intolerance.
You ignored the poor and the middle-class while providing a candy store of benefits for CEO's and Big Business, one of which was the Adoption Industry which is NOT a non-profit entity. "Trickle Down" economics just doesn't work, anymore.
You brought in a flaky bimbo in an attempt to woo women voters who were backers of Sen. Clinton. You must think that we are all as dumb as this woman. Palin in 2012? I don't think so! I think you knew that you were in the toilet, so it was back to spin and manipulation of the population.
You pandered to the Religious Right by trying to interfere with our right to choose our own reproduction options and denying harmless and deserved rights to gays and lesbians. Intolerance is only popular with Nazis, skinheads and the ignorant and inflexible. Were you going for the most easily-controlled faction in our population? Hmmmm!
You followed your "leader" into a war that should never have been and was started by a lie and continues because you dug a hole too deep for us to climb out of, quickly. Meanwhile, our sons, daughters and grandchildren are targets for the wing nuts in the Middle East.
As a political party, you guys have a lot of work to do. Try talking to the moderate members of your party. They might give you a clue.
To Both Parties: FIX THE ECONOMY! If you read your world history, you will recognize the fact that two of the bloodiest revolutions, the French and the Bolshevik, happened because of the wide gap between the haves and the have-nots. Poverty and hunger are a fact of life in America. People are losing jobs, their homes and their retirement savings. That's not just uncool..that's downright dangerous. Our children are worse off, financially, than we were. What's with that????
Also, be prepared to hear from those of us who had our infants taken just because we were young, single and without financial independence. The indictments against those who caused this have been a long time coming. Moreover, we are not wanting to see it happen again! You might want to re-examine that infant adoption initiative and the industry as a whole. Women are not brood mares for ANYONE.
I am sending a copy of each of these lists to the appropriate recipients. Hey, all they can do is ignore it. Nothing ventured.... nothing ventured.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I cannot believe that the American public and even the GOP have become so dumbed-down that this would even be a consideration! Yet, I read that La Palin is embarking on a media blitz in anticipation of 2012 and the American media, ever hungry for eye-catching fodder for the masses, is following her efforts. I really wish everyone would just ignore her. She needs to fade away into the wilds of Alaska and go kill another moose or something.
As a woman who considers herself a feminist, I know that some of our worst enemies are within the population of our own gender. This dame is one of the very worst. If this is what the GOP considers appealing to the women voters, they are sadly mistaken. It has been noted that a large portion of President-Elect Obama's supporters were women. Hopefully, those women who voted with their vaginas have learned that, while the time has come for a woman president, it has to be a QUALIFIED and INTELLIGENT woman. If we are going to make history again, as was done in this last election, then we need someone whose vocabulary goes beyond "you betcha" and whose foreign policy experience extends beyond the fact that her home state is just across the Bering Strait from Russia.
C'mon, everyone...surely no one is taking this bimbo seriously? With her and her ilk in a position of power, we could say goodbye to the freedom to choose, access to birth control for single women and girls and the reinstatement of maternity prisons, you betcha! Beyond the fact that her qualifications are nil, she is a danger to the rights that we have fought for and to the fight in which we are now engaged. Justice and acknowledgement for the EMS Mothers?...not if Palin has her way. Open records for adoptees and mothers?...over her dead little Barbie Doll body. Separation of church and state...we could really kiss that constitutional concept bye-bye.
Sorry Ladies, but I don't put her performance on the campaign trail this past year down to inexperience...I say she has a major "DUH" factor. She's just another ex-beauty queen trying to get by on her looks while saying what she knows the Far Right wants to hear. Clever does not equal intelligent. In any event, she probably cannot define the word "moderate" and that is where her party needs to go if they are going to make a come-back from the last eight years of Emperor Dubya and his shenanigans.
So Mr. and Ms. Elephant. If you are going to groom a woman for the 2012 run, you stand a better chance with ANYONE but Sarah Palin. Hey, I'd vote for ANYONE running against her and that is a sad way to decide one's vote. I wonder if Tina Fey would like to run? Hmmmmm