Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I have had it! I have spent the last few days with my husband, working to realize our dream of a retirement home in the mountains of West Virginia. We have purchased a 6.25-acre tract that fronts a trout stream, has a natural spring on the property and puts our nearest neighbor almost a mile from us. Ah, blissful peace, quiet and gorgeous views and no jetport glide path...we are excited about this.

But, while this wonderful thing has been happening, I have watched our group of mothers, who are tired of being dumped on, being dragged through the mud on blogs and message boards. I am totally fed up.

I can almost understand the adopted people who are being so vicious. They really have no conception of what the laws and life, in general, were all about in the EMS. Getting some of them to read the history is futile. They see the swinging 60's as a time of drugs, sex and rock and roll and don't realize the limitations of that kind of life to large cities and/or small but loud groups. Even in that decade, we were still seen as deviant and scofflaws if we had babies without the "legalization" of marriage.  But, enough about that. These kids will either learn or they won't.

What really pisses me off is the mothers...good women, really, but not exactly supportive of their sisters...who pursue the belief that we have some kind of guilt-based OBLIGATION to support whatever the adoptee groups want in the way of open records legislation, regardless of how that legislation might treat the mother. Women who were formerly our friends are accusing us of misrepresentation on forums (that didn't happen) and chiding us for our refusal to be good little beemommies and put up with the nastiness.

I don't suffer the loss of friends very well. To see the factions and the fighting is heart-breaking. To be seen as the enemy by, not only adopted people, but other mothers is painful and frustrating. Yeah, you've succeeded in causing us some unpleasant moments. BUT, you haven't taken the fight out of us.

So here it is. We can either find some common ground and work together or I will be just as content to sit on my mountainside and watch the stumbling, bumbling and industry-run results and shake my head. I am tired of being judged by people who don't know me, watching women who have good minds and hearts losing their backbone to misguided guilt and seeing good friends being attacked on other venues. It's stupid, unnecessary and a waste of time and talent.

Oh, don't think I would be running away. I will still speak out when the ignorant diss mothers and their grief and loss. I will still engage in a smack-down whenever anyone tries to call me a "b****"mother or talks about how freakin' wunnerful adoption is. I will do everything in my power to keep young women from surrendering if I have a way to communicate with them. But I refuse to contribute what talents and energy I possess to timid, one-sided "baby steps" that are blatantly anti-mother.

Last night, I learned that one of the most knowledgable and caring mothers I know, who has been an activist longer than any of us, was mangled on another blog's comment section. I was tired from our long drive from WV to FL but I was so steamed it took me a while to get to sleep. Had I jumped in, I doubt if what I have to say would have been coherent due to fatigue and anger. I accepted a comment from the mother who publishes that particular blog and explained where we were in disagreement. Yet, over there, there was no one to agree to disagree with my friend.* They just wanted to tear her to shreds. I won't go look because I don't think it would help my state of mind. At this point, I am just ready to fight and I need to cool down.

This is the reason I don't publish argumentative or hostile comments on my blog. This is a safe place for our considered and thoughtful opinions and ideas....not a place to fight off the onslaught of offensive attitudes. But don't underestimate any of us. We have had enough and we are not afraid to take off the gloves and give as good as we get. Obviously, facts, reason and intelligent, rational thought are not effective.

If this is an example of how women treat each other, no wonder we haven't had a woman as president, yet. There seem to be more cats among us than lionesses.

( *I want to make a correction to what I have written. This is what I get for jumping before I read everything. It seems that there are some mothers, among them the mother who publishes the blog in question, that do agree with us about the medical records situation. I am sorry for my error. To the others, I give my children what they need out of love, NOT obligation. To use that term in a mother/adult child relationship is really obscuring all that the mother-child relationship is all about. )


Sandy Young said...

I have also been tied up with out of town guests since last week and was shocked and horrified to see the turn that has been taken in several places while I was away.

My mother used to say, "You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar." When I was a kid and she spouted those cliches I thought she was goofy, but now I understand that there is a reason that they became cliche...they are true!

BD said...

I'm really sorry to hear this, Part 1:

Robin. One of the most frustrating things for me as an activist, feminist,bastard and trained historian is the complete lack of history, comprehension, and even lack of interest in the status and cultural and legal treatment of women even 35-40 years ago much less longer ago.

Sometime around 1964-1965 or thereabouts when I was in college, much was made of a college student who lived with her boyfriend off campus. It was all over the national news and was a short but intense object of national discourse. Living off-campus was controversial (and not permitted by a lot of schools unless you lived with our parents or wree married) in itself but with a guy?

Another example (though I heard this story much later). A friend of mine, now a retired English professor from OSU, was scheduled to be on the cover of LIFE Magazine in an article about "bohemian" or beatnik students. The thing was scurbbed because it was scheduled to be come out a few days after JFK was assassinated and Beats became irrelevant.

I went to a small christian college. Since I lived at home I didn't have to live by their very strict rules. Resident students were allowed 2 off-campus dates a semester and that could only be with a 3rd person along for the ride or another couple. Dating couples were not allowed to show any form of attention in public, even holding hands. I knew one woman who refused to kiss her very devout boyfriend because she was saving them for marriage. (He dumped her. Girls who became pregnant were kicked of school s were their boyfriends if they were students there. I had a friend who was "legally pregnant" (that is married and became pregnant afer marriage) and the school assigned a spy to her on campus who used to follow her around to see what mischief she was up to with her trowing stomach.

This was all rather extreme, and we all made fun of the PKs and missionary kids who were stuck with these archaic rules. There were, in fact, worse schools than mine ,which was considered "a party school." ha!

I lived at home until I got married when I was 21. I had a curfew, though it was loose. I won't go into the other crappy stuff.

BD said...

I wrote too much and had to split it.

Part 2:

There were female and male jobs. Women were very limited in their options. A friend of mine in the mid-1960s was divorced with 3 little kids. She had to hide them with somebody so she could through an excelerated nursing program here in Columbus--and was required to live in the nurses dorm.

Married, divorced, and women with children weren't allowed in nursing school. Teachers had to quit their jobs if they got pregnant, husband or not. Flight attendants were forced to quit working when they turned 29 (I think that was the cut-off) because they were no longer "attractive." The right for stews to work was a huge feminist victory.

It was perfectly legal for landlords to refuse to rent to single women and women with kids.

In my hometown we had 2 female doctors and 3 female lawyers and they were considered freaks.

Patty Bybee wrote a very good essay years ago. The one thing I always remember was how could you expect to bring a baby home withouto a husband when you were expected to wear white gloves to formal events and church?

I just have no patience with people who don't get this and don't care to. You were put up for adoption. So what! Yeah, it sucks. I don't like it that I was, that any of us were, but middle class and a working, upwardly mobile class couldn't have an unmarried daughter or sister with a baby in their ranks. If put in the historical and cultural context it makes so much more sense.

The whole adoption system back then was based in shame and exploitation. How in the hell was a 15-year old supposed to get a job and take care of a baby if she was kicked out of school and out of the house? If you want to be angry about being adopted, that's fine. But focus your anger where it belongs, not on the women who were pressured and coerced. This blaming the victim has to stop.

I know it's a shock, but back then kids actually obeyed their parents. Premarital sex, while there was a lot of it (seriously!) wasn't flaunted or accepted. The best contemporary portrayals of the internalized shame and fear that unmarried mothers lived with is Constance McKenzie in Peyton Place.

Today the adoption industry runs on "pride" and exploitation. Relinquishment is framed in pride of doing what's best for your kid.

I've gone on too much here, but this is one really ugly side of deform I really hate. Why is so difficult to look at the larger picture here. It's not about you or me or any of us individually. It's the system.

maybe said...

I think I know which post you're referring to. What some people just can't understand is that we are concerned about the industry's attempt to shift liability from themselves onto the natural mother.

Yes, the Wise agency lied and was sued because of that lie. Shifting the burden to natural mothers to provide COMPLETE and ACCURATE medical histories is a result of agenices being sued and looking for an "out" for their actions. Natural mothers are the perfect target, and if anyone is naive enough to think that neither APs nor agencies would stoop so low as to sue natural mothers, you are sadly mistaken. It is only a matter of time.

Robin said...

BD, I really appreciate your understanding. I begged my family to make up some story about me getting married while up north with my grandparents and that my husband was drafted so I came home with my baby. Their answer was that no one would believe that, but I saw other "married" teens with babies and absent husbands. The fact is that our families held the purse strings, not us. And it was legal to discriminate against us. The bitch of it is that this treatment has allowed me to empathize with the adopted people. I wish they could return the favor.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

thanks Robin,this is another excellent post.

I actually appreciate the legal debates. It may look vicious, but it is nothing compared to the state legislature.! Or, lawsuits.

Blog posts give us an opportunity to debate small-scale what will happen large-scale.

And they give us a chance to get the word out. That is why it is important for mothers to understand what is *really* being debated.WE need more mothers...

Those of us who have experience know just how far lawmakers will actually go, and who the players are. Adoption attorneys and adoption agencies would LOVE to get the onus for "wrongful adoption" placed on us, the mothers, and off of their backs.

And they are doing it.

And THAT is what this required medical history is really all about...it is about negligence, personal liability, and tort law. And they want us to take it all on us...so they don't have to, anymore.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

thank you BD. I was in college at a private Catholic girls college in 1967, when I became pregnant.

You can imagine.

My parents withdrew me at the end of the semester so I wouldn't be expelled. I can relate to everything you have said.

My parents were NOT going to accept either my child or me, as an unwed mother. However, in 1968,when my baby was born, conditions were beginning to loosen up, and my father could see that. He was the decision-maker and he was the one I appealed to because I knew he would make the final decision.

He refused to allow me to bring my child home, after 2 weeks in foster care, and the agency was threatening involunatry termination(which the law allowed them to do..and still does).

Today, he has apologized and said I was right. He made a mistake and wishes he had allowed me to bring my child home.

Too late. It is all over.

Mandy Lifeboats said...

""Why is so difficult to look at the larger picture here. It's not about you or me or any of us individually. It's the system.""

Thanks BD..your thoughts and opinions are very much appreciated.

I would like to include some great quotes on "Ignorance"..

""A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.""
Marcus Tullius Cicero

""Do not hold the delusion that your advancement is accomplished by crushing others.""
Marcus Tullius Cicero

""The more laws, the less justice.""
Marcus Tullius Cicero

""The truth which makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.""
Jim Bishop

Robin said...

Here's one that I like, Mandy.

"I'm not intolerant of those who are ignorant. But I hold no sympathy for those who know they are ignorant, yet choose to remain ignorant." - Rev. B. Julian Weisner 1942-2007 (and personal friend)

michelle said...

Robin - FYI, I am one who returns the favor. :)

BD, thanks for explanation of that time period. It helps me to understand more what things might have been like in 1969.

I'm trying to understand more about his issue and appreciate the post.

Sandy Young said...

I think that a lot of the ignorance that we have seen lately is willful and intentional. It makes me wonder, though, what it is that they so desperately fear to make them so adamant. Something must threaten them greatly.

Mandy Lifeboats said...

For Michelle:

For more historical information (and first-hand accounts) please read any of Rickie Solinger's books and "The Girls Who Went Away" written by the author Ann Fessler, who is also an adoptee who was surrendered when newborn.