Saturday, September 06, 2008

Since When Is A Human Baby A GIFT??

I think one of the most insulting and inane things that has ever been said to me has to be when an adopter tried to THANK ME for the "gift" of my children to the women who adopted them. Hearing my children referred to as "gifts," especially since I was coerced into surrendering them, was appalling. Yet, I have heard that sentiment over and over again, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, especially from the senior adopters who raised the children we Senior Mothers surrendered during the EMS.

I don't know where this vapid, specious, condescending idea got started, but I know that I don't like it. During the first few days of my reunion with my oldest daughter, who searched for me, I was told by the woman who adopted her, "Thank you for ****. Now this reunion nonsense must cease!" THANK YOU, now go away??? That's sort of a really good summary of what those who adopt expect from us Mothers of adoption loss. We are selfless heroines when we surrender, then we are lepers.

They wanted to believe we wanted to give them our children and then they hoped we would die, disappear or crawl in a hole and hide. In fact, at one point, my daughter's adopters told her I was dead. The phenomena of search and reunion has caused some really nasty responses from the people who adopted our children. Some of our adult children were put on guilt trips worthy of every Jewish mother cliche'. Others were given ultimatums and still others just didn't want to be told about it. For many Mothers, we became our children's' dirty, little secrets..something they couldn't share with the people who supposedly loved them unconditionally and only wanted the best for them. I saw a lot of conditional love when I reunited. I saw even more of it when I started talking to my sister Moms and we got to the subject of adopters and their reactions to reunion.

I can understand that the woman who adopted my daughter was filled with fear and that is why she reacted the way she did. It doesn't excuse it, but it explains it. The reason she had that fear was because, she, as a women, knew in her heart that I loved my daughter and would pursue a relationship with her. I had given my daughter some things the adopter couldn', roots, a heritage. And, being from that era, she also knew how we were treated by our families and society and that we did not go willingly to surrender. It might have only been on a sub-conscious level, but she knew.

If I could give any adopter advice that they would actually hear, the first thing I would tell them would be, please don't say "Thank You" to your adoptee's mother. A gift is a check or a nice candle or a gourmet basket...not a human being. That child you are raising or have raised is neither a "gift" nor a "bequest" nor something to which you were entitled by virtue of your desire for a child. To obtain that child, a mother had to be broken, diminished and desperate, with no other choice than to surrender. After what I went through in the early 60's, "Thank You and get lost" is not only an insult, it's a disgusting display of arrogance. It would be better to say, "I am sorry that our joy was your tragedy." At least it would be accurate.

The restrained compassion and "attempts to understand" and descriptions of the love and care they have given the adoptee is, I still firmly believe, a need to justify taking our children and wanting our (and this really blows my mind) approval! They want us to see them as Mothers! This is where my grandmother would say, "want in one hand and sh** in the other and see which one fills up first." Then, of course, failing to gain the big okay from us, we get the other know, the crackwhore mom thing? That is equally funny because there was no crack in our era. Heck, where I came from, drinking a beer was daring. Those few, pitiful addicts are in the minority, but to hear adopters tell it, you would think that the country was filled to the brim with druggie moms.

There is also the misunderstanding that we came from the careless era of "free love," were flower children and danced naked among the marijuana fumes. Again, most of us were just typical, middle-America, middle class teens and young women who had never seen pot, much less indulged (for me, that came later..self medication for grief). Now does that sound like someone who would think to themselves, "I think I will have sex, get pregnant and give some more worthy couple the gift of a child?" The entire premise is past ridiculous.

I do agree that a baby is a gift from God/ the woman who gives birth to that baby. A human being is a gift that the Almighty can bestow on a human woman. But one woman cannot bestow a gift of a child to another unless she is very, very weird. No woman that I know is so altruistic that she would "donate" her child to another woman like an item for a charity auction. The Senior Mothers with whom I associate are all in agreement. We did not GIVE our children to anyone. We surrendered out of pure helplessness and hopelessness and with our backs to the wall.

We wanted our babies.


Chris said...

""For many Mothers, we became our children's' dirty, little secrets..something they couldn't share with the people who supposedly loved them unconditionally and only wanted the best for them.""

How very on the mark the above statement is. Many, many an adult adoptee has referred to themselves as the 'dirty little secret'..yet how many adult adoptees have practiced same with their mothers in reunion? Many an adult adoptee will say they can't tell their adopters they are in reunion with their natural mother/families, because....It would upset/hurt the feelings of/break the heart of/it's not the business of/be cut out of the will of, the adoptor mother and/or father. They can't tell the adoptors about their reunions because...their college $$$$ will be cut off/they won't understand/they will be very angry/the adoptor mother/father is too ill to handle the news of/adoptor mother is mentally unstable/the adoptors may never talk to their adopted adult children again. Yet the same adult adoptees will rail about them being kept a 'dirty little secret', when their mother tells them she can't tell her husband/other children/or other family members who know nothing about her being pg before marriage and/or no one ever knew. What's wrong with this picture? If adoption and/or surrender (some mothers still tout it was the right 'choice') is so wonderful, so loving, so caring, just the best thing since sliced bread...Why the hell are so many people so damn fearful, to tell their families...natural or adopted that they are in reunion??? If something is sooooo good, why are so many people so terrified? Whether the adopted person or the mother...evidently surrender and adoption left many mothers and their now adult children, horribly insecure in their relationships within their families. Mothers and adoptees share many of the same pains,trials and tribulations, the adoptors do not!

Chris said...

""No woman that I know is so altruistic that she would "donate" her child to another woman like an item for a charity auction.""

I know I certainly did not make a 'gift' of my newborn to anyone. But I have the feeling that many an adoptor would like to believe, will even make themselves believe, their adopted child was a gift from the mother. Or even more insanely...that the adopted child is a 'gift' directly from God..via the 'tummy mommy'! It was afterall, God's Plan!!! doncha' know!! I wonder, does God ever discuss his Godly Plans with the adoptors? Otherwise how do they know this is 'God's Plan'? Does a little Godly Birdie tell them so?

Robin said...

Thanks for enlarging and adding to the points in this post, Chris. It just goes to prove that this is a shared experience and not an isolated one. So many of these adopters want to put our complaints down to the "rare bad experience" and the fact is, it was devastating for all of us, even the ones still in denial.

Anonymous said...

I remember in my reunion with my son.

His adopter said that HE stabbed her in the heart. I think she said this because he wanted to know me his mom and she couldn't understand that.

He did tell me that he told her she knew her mom. Not sure of her answer there but probably made her think!

She also used the "she gave you away" pitch. When my son told me this not long after our first face to face. I said a profane word to that it was my reaction to an absurd statement made to an adoptee she had raised as her son from 6 weeks old.

Raised as if "born" to but we all know the truth of that he wasn't born to her and god didn't have a hand in any of the adoption. The wreckers did. And hell NO he wasn't a gift!

I wanted my baby always did and everybody EVEN adopters knew that they knew what happened to young women who got pregnant and they were the benefactors of the pregnancy. They were given a baby because they wanted one, and we were young and unsupported by all.
It was a win, win, situation.

Absurdity, by all those who think it was a win, win, we mothers were the losers, expendable, and able to have more babies, while adopters weren't able to have any or so they thought as some adopters did get pg after adopting rare but it did happen.

Too much coffee this morning but had to address it in my own words, my own experience.


Go ask Alice said...

Oh Robin, you have so hit the nail on the head with this 'no holds barred' blog. Bravo and thanks!
Another EMS/BSE mother

Cassi said...

Another very good post, Robin. And so very true and accurate.
I hear it today still, amoms hitting the "support" boards, thanking the young girls today for the "gift" of their child. It sickens me and puts me in a state of mind where I don't like these women and I don't even know them.

Though my son I lost now lives with me, he still must watch what he says with his amom because if he slips and does something completely atrotious, such as call me mom or my husband his dad, our parents his grandparents, she gets angry and nasty with him. Though she absued and neglected him and her family has done so many cruel and nasty things to him over the years, to her, he still has no right to acknowledge his natural family as his own. And yep, she has on more than one occasion thanked me for the "gift." I would love to tell her where she can stick that "thanks" of hers. Right about in the same hell as she put my son through for so many years.

Sandy Young said...

As always, Sister, Spot on! the comments on this one are particularly appropriate. I have often thought of the reply that a sister mom made to the people who had her child and thanked her for the "gift" of her daughter (coincidentally the only child she ever had). She said, "Please, stop. Your Greatest gift was my Greatest Sorrow." How can even an insensitive fool not feel the passion in that statement. How can someone continue to flatter themselves that this is choice. What fools they are. How glad that you are pointing out the absurdity of their remarks. Keep on, Robin, You are doing a Great Job at pointing out the truth.

gayle said...

thank you for the truth when I found my son his adopters said
she is our worst nightmare come true to bad I am back and I am staying back I did not give you a gift I fought to keep my son for over 5 months how dare you say he was a gift or that I am your worst nightmare you stole my child