Monday, March 17, 2008

'Ithaka" Is Crap And I Don't Care

No, I haven't read it and I won't. I don't even know if I have spelled it right, but I have heard enough from my sisters and others in the natural family preservations movement to know that I don't want to get into this book that spews hateful cruelty at the author's natural parents.

Why is this the way with some adopted people? I really want to know? Why do they seem to think that we deserve punishment. Why do some seem to think that the only way they can be loyal to those who adopted them is to be cruel and uncaring to those of us who bore them? We are talking adults here...adults who have the capacity to reason and to incorporate the truth into their emotional lives. Many of them know the truth but don't want to accept the part that the adopters played in our tragedy.

Many of them cannot conceive of a world where young mothers had no autonomy or choice. Many cannot appreciate the power of the adoption industry, the brainwashing and the coercion, both brutal and subtle. Many can't imagine the desperation of a young, pregnant woman, set adrift by the very people, including the father of her baby, that should be protecting her. Many just don't want to believe us because, if they do, it will reveal the lies of their adopters and the false premise on which their lives have been built.

I admit that accepting the truth is quite a blow to have to absorb, but I don't see how reviling us, demanding that we kowtow to the adopters by calling them "parents," and attacking us as "passive/aggressive" and "bitter" can help the situation. I'm not talking about all adopted people, now. I am talking about the ones stuck and spinning their wheels in their misery. I am talking about one who stalked and harrassed his mother until she had to hide from him and seek police protection. I am talking about the ones who approached mothers who were frightened and took that for total rejection and thence to a judgment that all mothers are bad news. I have seen such vitriol and venom come from our own children that it blows the mind. "Ithaka" is almost a "how-to" manual for natural parent abuse.

I am fortunate that I have a good relationship with my reunited children, though rocky at times. I have had some nasty things said but I have also received heartfelt apologies and we have progressed. But I am so tired of trying to explain to someone else's adult child the reasons that I surrendered and what happened to me. I am NOT their mother. If their mother did, in fact, for no good reason, reject them, then shame on her but she's not me. There's an adoptee on My Space, right now, that hates mothers and adopters. Looks like she's an equal-opportunity hater. Hey, at least we're not getting all her venom. Share and share alike, I say.

If adopted people on other groups wonder why so many of us moms have retreated to private, or moms-only groups, they just have to read their own communications with us. They also have to cease making hurtful demands of us. We're only human and we suffered a loss that no mother should ever have to endure. Don't make it harder for us, and then, maybe, we can get somewhere. Or else, read "Ithaka" and learn how to really stick it to us. Us burmuggles really like to be kicked around...NOT.


joy said...

I don't know what Ithaka is but, I think a big part of the problem is the regression to infancy, where mother is seen as an ALL POWERFUL God-like creature.

Plus so many important developmental milestones are not met, I was just reading a non-adoption related book about how a mother's stroking of an infant's head helps align the bones when they are still soft from being newly-born.

Which doesn't happen with adoptees, there is so much that is just animalistic about birth and the bond between mother and child, so much that goes beyond theory, it is spooky, when I was pregnant with my son, I had this fear that I was not going to be allowed to keep him, some force was going to swoop down on me, because I did not deserve him, that was my mother's memory stamped on my cells.

Adoptees are damaged, then they are told they are lucky to be damaged which compounds it, they are praised for not dealing with their issues---It is hard to have a relationship with a damaged person.

I don't know, I can intellectualize this all perfectly, but I am just as subject to the same wild, irrational emotions as all the others.

Robin said...

At some point in our lives we have to, as my grandmother once told me, get our heads and our guts together and learn some manners. I'm not saying that adoptees are not damaged. God knows, my children are poster people for the theory and it hurts my heart to see their pain. BUT, they treat me with the same respect I give them. They speak to and about me with respect and love. I'm sorry, but damage is no excuse for being vicious. Adults control those emotions and are responsible for their behavior, and that included adoptees, mothers and everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Robin, I read Ithaka back in 1998 (two years into my own reunion with my son) and while I felt for her natural mom, I didn't have near the reaction you describe that others had. I thought it was well-written and yet another adoptee perspective. Everyone is different in how they react to reunion. Maybe I need to read it again, but Sarah (the author of Ithaka) looked like a saint to me, compared to my son, with whom I now have a relatively decent relationship after 12 years, but shit, he put me through the wringer.

I agree that we moms have our own stuff to deal stuff to deal with. We weren't free to choose back in the BSE, not by any means, and our children need to get that. Some never do. I've been on mother bashing forums myself and will not go there.

Bottom line, it's been hell on both sides. Some adoptees get it faster than others. I'd like to read Ithaka Part 2, if she ever writes it... what happened later.

Anyway, I'm glad I found your blog. Got here via Suz's shared items. I look forward to reading more of you. Hope you'll check my blog out at

Robin said...

I certainly hope there is a part two where she can recant some of the things she wrote, Denise. I know all about the "wringer" and I've never been able to excuse it, nor felt guilty enough to accept the premise that we moms deserve such venom.

I am of the opinion that mutual understanding between reunited mothers and their adult children can be reached by open and honest communication...not lamblasting and blaming. But me crazy...