Tuesday, January 05, 2010
No Happily Ever After
When we read a fairy tale or watch movies with upbeat endings, it is easy to pretend that life is really
like that. Of course, those of us who have lived more than a few decades know that sometimes IT
doesn't turn out OK, but, if we work at it, WE will be OK. Nothing guarantees anyone a happily ever after. We can only work at attaining peace of mind.
Yet, when we tell our stories to others, we often hear, "Well, you did get to reunite and everything is better, now." I do believe that many of the people who say that actually believe it. It's very difficult for them to understand the impact that separation of mother from infant had on us all. They honestly believe that reunion fixes it all.
We mothers get a lot of "you did the right thing," or, "you didn't have to raise your skirt!" We're either heroines or whores. Adoptees get called ungrateful and greedy. Here we are, two generations, seniors and middle-aged people, and very few seem to understand what we are saying. Or, they just don't want to think that a tearful reunion doesn't fix it and wrap it all up with a big, red bow.
It is even more important that we keep talking thrugh the misconceptions. We are the ones keeping the light burning in the lighthouse that could guide society to learn the truth about the era of secrets and lies and filling the demands of a market for human infants. If we don't learn from and address our sorry past when it comes to the social experiement of adoption, we are, indeed, doomed to repeat and repeat and repeat it.
American writer David McCullough once said, "“History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” Examining the errors of our past helps us learn what we need to do to change the present and save many mothers and children from suffering the same fate. Natural family preservation only makes sense if we know WHY we need to guard this most basic of human bonds. As long as adoption separation is seen as a happily ever after scenario, with reunion as some kind of reward for the mangling of our family ties, there will never be real, effective reform.
People just love their happy endings. Too bad that this story doesn't have one.