Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Edge Of The Abyss


I don't think that there are many Senior Mothers in reunion who haven't secretly or overtly wished to re-connect with their infants. When we meet our adult child, we stretch out our hopes across an abyss of years...years we missed...events that were observed by others.

Someone else was privy to the first tooth, first steps, first words...all the firsts in a child's life as they grow. The adult child stand before us, and though we feel the connection and, yes, the love, we also are coming to the awareness that our babies are, irretrievably, lost to us. That is why you see mothers in reunion going through such emotional hard times. We are in mourning when that happens. Often, that mourning has been delayed for decades and is choking in its intensity.

So, when we realize that we are building a relationship with an adult child who is our child, but NOT our baby, we stumble a lot and then we get pissed. Some of us make the mistake of directing that anger inwards. Guilt, though, can become so self-absorbing and, if we clear our minds and really look at what happened, we can see that there were forces at work in our lives that left us with no choice and no hope. Too often we see the damage that the years of the abyss have done to our adult children.

There is where our anger needs to be directed. All these forces, combined, form a giant monster whose name is Injustice. We are David, out to take down Goliath, and we are gathering our stones and we will face the giant. But we can't bridge the abyss. It will remain an empty chasm of years for as long as we live. If for no other reason that that one, mothers of the EMS deserve justice in some form. All we have left of our newborns are vague memories or what we were told by those in charge.

Our memories are not enough.

6 comments:

Sandy Young said...

And, some of us don't even have the memories. That too was robbed from us with drugs and techniques perfected for war. What women faced in the EMS is nothing short of a war on women, a war on motherhood, a war on families. You are so correct, Robin. We need justice and we need acknowledgment. The Revisionists in the Adoption History arena are already saying that they doubt the veracity of the statements. Interesting that many of them seem to be adopters!

mermaid said...

What would Senior Mothers regard as justice? The truth of what many of us suffered, certainly, as documented in "Girls Who Went Away" by Ann Fessler, but beyond that, it is not clear what you are asking for.

You make a good point that we can never get back our babies and that can come as a shock to those who have stuffed and denied for years; especially those found with no preparation. However, a relationship with an adult child, for those of us lucky enough to have that, can be very healing and postitive.

I understand that this is separate from the concept of justice for what was done to us, but not clear what that justice would entail. My surrendered son was born in 1968.

I am not asking this to start an argument or to criticize, just genuinely curious.

Also...Robin, so sorry for what that terrible person on another blog said to your daughter and about your grandson in the army. The same person wished that I got eaten by a bear or shark or suffered electric shock! And the same and worse to many others. Truly a disturbed and malevolent person.

Robin said...

Mer, at this point, what we want is public and official acknowledgement of what was done to us, the records of our ordeals made available to us and an official apology...for a start. It's been done before. We in SMAAC also believe that, if the injustices and crimes against the mothers of the EMS are exposed and investigated on an official level, that the current practices will merit a closer look by the public. I don't expect them to drag out all the social workers and adopters and flog them in the town square....most of the people who handled our cases are dead or close to it. But it will ring a bell about how agencies, social services and adoption advocates are still gleaning the fields and using a pregnant woman's vulnerability against her.

Thank you for your comment about the remarks made to my daughter about my grandson. This person stepped over a line with me and I would love to be able to track her/him/whoever down. Right now, they spew their venom in anonymous safety. I woluld love to change that.

Mermaid said...

Thanks for explaining! But who would apologize? I understand something like this was done in Australia, but isn't our government and way of handling adoption different here? It has always been a lot more loose and scattered rather than centralized.

There was and is a great deal of injustice but here it was much more piecemeal, lots of different agencies, public, private, religious, plus the worst of the worst, private lawyers and others who arranged adoptions, and laws differ from state to state. I do not think the US government would ever either investigate or apologize.

I do wish you luck on shedding light on the injustices that have gone on way too long in adoption practice, and on getting mother's true stories known to more people.

Robin said...

The US government has conducted congressional investigations and has apologised to the African American community for slavery, as have several states who had the institution and for the Jim Crow laws time period: they have apologised to a group of people who were given veneral disease and then studied; to Native Americans for what was done to them, etc. In other words, there is a prescedence here, in the US. And, after seeing "Gone to A Good Home," I don't see a lot of difference between the US and Oz except for the fact that we are larger and there were more mothers involved.

The point is, that, if we make a loud enough noise, we can bring pressure to bear where it needs to be. It may not be soon, but it will happen. I don't think that we are to be underestimated. I also don't think that the lumping together of the EMS era moms and the moms of today is politic...there are two different issues. We don't need luck...we need determination and courage and I think that is on tap.

What we need from our friends and sisters is encouragement and support.

Sandy Young said...

Mermaid,
I have,with Robin's permission, replied to you on my blog. It is too long to put it all here.

Sandy Young
Musing Mother