Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Am A WHAT???????

I no longer feel safe within the larger community of mothers of adoption loss. The anger of the adoptees and the unresolved guilt of many mothers, especially those who did not go on to have other children, has allowed a new label...Abandoner. The vicious, hostile sound of that reverberates in the heart of every mother who was coerced and/or forced to do what she was told was the only possible thing she could do for the well-being of her child.

I sat at my laptop, in a motel, last night and read some of this crap and almost cried in frustration. Adopted adults are demanding that we place ourselves in the path of legal jeapordy because they suffer from "emotional abandonment." Let's see..I suffer from the emotional perception of lack of riches so maybe we need a law to make me a millionaire. Everyone, whether they contributed to my particular financial state or not, would be forced to feed the kitty. It doesn't matter that I am solvent and my needs are being met. I feel emotionally poorer than Bill Gates so that is enough, isn't it?

Then there are the mothers...women with whom I felt a bond of sisterhood for having endured the same horrible situation and loss. But these women seem to be so overwhelmed with guilt or so enamoured of the idea of self-sacrifice that they are content to be seen as abandoners and feel that we must offer our last drop of blood to the adopted people of the nation. NO, to these women. I DID NOT ABANDON MY BABIES!!!!!!!!!!! How can a kid who is under the control of her parents, frightened and confused and made to carry an unbelievable load of shame be a willful abandoner? And, whether you agree or not, willful is the only adverb that will suffice in the true definition of abandoner.

It doesn't matter what we were compelled to sign or had signed for us. It doesn't matter what the emotional perception of the adoptee might be (especially the rejected ones who want to hate all mothers). It doesn't matter about the unresolved guilt and desire for martydom of these mothers. What matters are the facts and, if one is emotionally sound and sane, the facts will translate into the proper emotions.

About 30 years ago, I realized that I had problems and I decided to do something about them. I went into a program for eating disordered people and I learned that I was operating on old, childhood misconceptions and old tapes running in my head. What I had to do was to learn to correct the misconceptions and burn those old tapes. A simple concept but certainly not one easily accomplished, I still wanted to be at peace and sane so I had at it and guess what? All that guilt and misguided sense of carrying the responsibility of the happiness of the world on my shoulders went away, bit by bitter bit. I am certainly not emotionally perfect, but I am sound enough in my self-image that I refuse to pick up a burden just because it is thrown at me.

The size of my world is getting smaller and smaller. Right now, there are just a few mothers that I can count as friends and from whom I get genuine support. There are also a few adopted people who see the truth behind the harsh and harmful lies and I can communicate with them on an equal basis. Other than that, my husband, children, other immediate family and my little dog are it. Trust is a valuable commodity and a few former friends have lost mine. I grieve the loss both I and they have suffered.

I am not the mother of all adopted people. I do not carry the responsibility for the happiness and satisfaction of all adoptees. It is psychopathically hateful the way we are spoken to and about by some of these "adults." I have reunited with my adult children and we have our own situations with which to deal but we deal on a mutually respectful basis. Hey, try it. It works.

Moreover, just because Mary Lou and Sally Ann are having a grand old time pounding their breasts in true martyred-mother style, I don't feel constrained to join the guilt party. I'm disappointed in so many of my sisters who would sacrifice themselves rather than demand respect.

Were it not for the few notable people I have mentioned before, I would be feeling very alone and unsupported. I wonder how long it will be before I stop caring?

26 comments:

Myst said...

To be honest, I am one mother who cannot swallow that label either. I fought for my child in court and she would be with me today if it wasn't for the actions of her adopters and the corrupt judge who took my case.

I understand why some mothers are seen as abandoners because they are doing the abandonment NOW when their children are adults and I have to say I cannot understand that. But I do not accept nor do I acknowledge that I "abandoned" my baby because I DID NOT.

I get that to a little baby it might feel that way... but that is what becoming an adult is all about; learning and understanding the complexities of life. Yes, babies don't get that and I acknowledge the pain felt by these infants at FEELING abandoned... but really, it isn't abandonment until much, much later when the mother rejects and abandons the adult that it is fully understood.

I am all for validating another person's exoerience but not at the expense of the truth. From where I stood, I had no more choice than my child... even though I was older and it appeared I had more choices; the truth was I didn't and if I did, I wasn't made aware of these choices so in effect it was the same as not having any choices.

I wish that we could work on the same side... that people would validate the experience of another without telling them they were wrong, dictating to them their own story.

Anyway... I am not an abandoner. If I was, I wouldn't be putting myself through torture every 3 months to maintain visits with her that are a joke. I don't do those for me, hell no, I do them for HER because she WANTS them and I want her to know I am there for her, that I am NOT rejecting her or abandoning her. So yeah... here is one Mama who refuses to wear or accept that guilt... because at the end of the day, I didn't abandon anyone. We were both abandoned by those who should have helped us stay together. We were abandoned by the law, community, everyone.

Anonymous said...

It has helped me to remember that I am only answerable to one adoptee, my own son. While he has had his own problems with his adoptive family, he has always treated me with respect and made no unreasonable demands or accusations.

None of us are the mother or all adoptees, nor do we owe the rude, unreasonable, seeming borderline personalities on the internet anything at all. We did not cause their problems, we cannot fix them.

Sandy Young said...

Let me know when you get there, Robin, because I am right there with you. I am sad and angry to hear the word "Abandoner" thrown around so gleefully by the community that wants us to sacrifice ourselves once again at the altar of adoption.

KimKim said...

It's nasty and it's abusive. I let them say it for themselves. I also feel like we as a family abandoned my daughter. I feel like I abandoned her in ignorance but not wilfully.

I know what was in my heart at the time, I wanted to give her a better start in life. I'd had such a horrible time in my own family.

I do wish I had brought her home from the hospital and had the self belief needed to do that.

I choose to take all the blame for what happened because it empowers me, that doesn't mean that it's all my fault if that makes sense....

Anyway it's nasty and it's abusive and it's lacking in sophistication to just blame all the mothers who relinquished.

And I don't give it energy, I just let them be. I think it's important to let people have their views and express their rage and hurt. If it's aimed directly at me I don't accept it...

It's like relinquishment, this abuse has many layers I can see the nuances and I don't take it personally anymore.

But yeah, it's nasty and abusive.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

I never felt any guilt and was astonished to learn that other mothers felt guilty. After the treatment we received and the coercion and persecution, guilt was the last emotion I would describe.

I was fighting my parents and the system to keep my child. It makes no sense that I was "abandoning" him at the same time.

We don't have to wear labels that don't fit and never did. We don't have to 'apologize" for wrongs that we didn't commit...no matter who says that we should.

Accepting responsibility for the acts of others(and adoption was/is very much a gov't social program with many beneficiaries other than mothers) is actually a very unhealthy projection of hate onto oneself.

In talking with many mothers who have called the search/support group I volunteered for I learned that many of their therapists were encouraging them to 'accept their past choices"...and "take responsibility as women". No wonder so many of them were so depressed.

Sandy Young said...

To the anonymous adoptee whose reply to me was refused by Robin....what part of my comment did you not get was about today, when I clearly said "that wants us to sacrifice ourselves once again at the altar of adoption."

As far as back then, I WAS sacrificed to the gods of convention, conformity, appearances and covetous greed! I am not going to get into a pissing match over who hurts worse, but I and my sister mothers were hurt indeed by the loss of our babies, as were our babies hurt too. Different pains, different perspectives, but equal intensity.

If you wish to discuss this further, my email address is slyoung50@yahoo.com. Unfortuantly, you will not be anonymous there. Are you enough of an adult to say these things when they are NOT anonymous?

BTW, Robin said, "Go Piss Up A Rope!"

Robin said...

I guess if someone can come here and anonymously attack a friend, I can be equally juvenile and let them know what I think. Yes, I said you could go piss up a rope and I meant it. I am getting so tired of this futile and unfair argument about the adopted person being the only person hurt. Hey, if you have the maturity to try to understand what happened to us, then that won't give you any reason to hate mothers, will it? Gee, what would you do with all that warped resentment, then?

What started with noble intentions has now degraded into something that makes me sick and sorry to be among these hateful, suspicious, guilt-ridden people.

Mandy Lifeboats said...

Abandoner?! Is there no end to the endless list of names that will be attached to us nmothers? Good God, I even recently saw where a mother called another mother "Abandoner". My own daughter has never called me this..but I guess many of the middle-aged population of adoptees think it is their due, their right to call us whatever they want, when they 'feel' like it. Call your own mother an "Abandoner". I am not the mother of all adoptees, so therefore I did not 'abandon' the entire population of adoptees. Yet how many adult adoptees have professed offense when their adoptive parents have been called.."Adopters"?
Lately so much is becoming so absolutely absurd.

Sandy Young said...

Mandy,
I am horrified at the giant leap BACKWARDS! What the Hell insanity is going on here? Them against us, adoptees against mothers, mother against mother...this is NUTS....I am fed up with the whole damn thing. Anyone for tennis? Fuck adoption!

Robin said...

No, Screw tennis...too much jumping around and running. How about a snappy round of canasta?

aislin13 said...

Thank you for saying this. I have noticed the nasty trend on some forums. My story is much like Myst's. I did not abandon my child. I fought like hell in court. I will not be called something I am not by anyone. I will not be treated differently than any other mother. I am sick to death of the my pain is more important arguement. It gets us no where. There are a lot more moms that feel the way you do than you think. We just don't post on many big forums anymore. You can only be kicked in the gut so many times

Robin said...

Maybe you should contact Sandy about a mom-friendly forum. There's room since one Judas got people all riled up at us.

Kicked in the gut is right. Having your heart broken by those you thought were friends is really a nasty experience.

Anonymous said...

Just want to say that I support you and I don't think you owe anyone anything. Your adult children owe you respect and if other adult adoptees on the Internet choose to scapegoat you for their own insecurities and neuroses, then that is their problem not yours. You should not be forced to divulge your personal or medical histories to anyone. Better that it be shared on an individual basis between parent and child just like in any family.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

I used to think that mothers, adopted people and especially those who were out in public working for "change" were all on the same page.

After awhile I saw that I was very wrong about that perception. there really are many very different agendas....and they are at odds with each other.

My purpose in getting involved with public policy and legislative work was to help endangered families to stay together, and also to help separated families to reunite. I believe in family restoration whenever possible, and that effort should be honored from whatever "side" initiates it.

We are dealing with groups of people who think we mothers have no right to say anything at all about our experience, let alone what should be done to restore or reconcile, or remedy the wrongs.

We are dealing with groups who think that adoption is fine as long as it is "open'..or that adoption is fine as long as adopted people can get their OBC at age 18.

I think adoption is fundamentally wrong, so open adoption and OBCs at age 18 won't fix what is basically harmful to the original family.

And if we mothers are silenced about our experience, then the wrongs can hardly be remedied. The truth has to come out in order to confront and expose the perpetrators(gov't and private industry) head on.

maybe said...

Hey Sandy, I'm up for a game of tennis!

But we still need to keep telling our stories and refuse to allow others to speak for us. If we don't keep banging away on our keyboards the adoption industry freak show will only gain more power. So even though I get frustrated with the labeling and hostility I'm not going away.

Lorraine Dusky said...

We ought to go further than asking that original birth certificates be given to anyone at eighteen. Hell, what is so great about eighteen? The adoptee was never asked, and so let them have their records as soon as they ask for them. It would end closed adoption as we know it.

Although I found my daughter when she was 15, and we went around and around about how she came to be surrendered, in her heart of hearts, I believe she felt abandoned. I know that the words adoptees use come out of pain of their own loss, and so having dealt with adoption issues for so many years, I am quite inured to whatever words they use.

It's when I hear such coming from the mouths of adoptive parents and their armies of friends that I see red. My all time worst epithet? Reproductive agent. Said to my face by a neighbor and a friend, who is also friend of the grandparents of the children adopted by the author of The Brotherhood of Joseph. Told me all I need to know about how they feel about the actual real biological parents of the children their son went to Siberia (yes, Siberia) to get. Another favorite term: You are "our worst nightmare." I wrote all about this exciting chapter of my life in Reproductive Agents!!! Not Mothers. Of any sort.

So to be called nasty words by adoptees--water off my back. They say those words out of pain.

Then there was the time a friend of adoptive parents told me at a party....I know some people who would like to kill you. I gotta tell you, them there words give you an anxiety rush. Who was this jerk? The author of a book called: Missing. About an American father searching for his missing son in Argentina during the Pinochet years.

Robin said...

Lorraine, we will have to agree to disagree on this one. I also have had to deal with this pain. I was literally abandoned, along with my sisters and mother, by my father when I was five. But I was also taught how to treat others with respect and the things that my father did when I was an innocent kindergartner did not give me the right to be hateful, call men names or demand that they give all their personal business to me via the state.

We are all adults and are all responsible for how we treat each other. I don't give a rodent's rectum about what people who adopt call me. I have already figured out that most of them have unresolved issues that make them feel entitled to our children.

But I believe that if our children want us to help them achieve their goals, then they need to get their anger in check, deal with their issues and stop making us their whipping girls.

I'm sorry, but why should adopted people be cut so much slack on simple civility when no one else is? I don't think that is right and I will not put up with it from them or from other mothers. I am the mother of two surrendered children and they are my only concern. No one else's surrendered, adult child has any right to call me anything or demand anything from me.

Chris said...

I was terribly abused by my step-father for most of my childhood. Is it then my right, because of the abuse I endured as an innocent child, with no control, no choice in the matter.. at the hands of my step-father...to name-call and accuse every step-father in earth of being an "Abuser"? I think not! What I did as an adult, I sought individual help, such as a therapist, joined some IRL support groups and read many books on the subject. I helped myself to overcome as much as possible, my feelings of anger and resentment. That's what Adults do...they help themselves to heal from old wounds. I certainly could not go through life, condemning all step-fathers for the actions of the one that harmed me. My "feelings" belong only to me and I don't have the right to punish others for what my step-father did to me. BTW..I believed this man to be my real blood-father til I was a teen, when the truth would finally be told to me, that he wasn't. And I only use the word "step" here to clarify my relationship with this man. Otherwise in everyday conversation I still refer to him as *Dad*, because he was the only man I knew as my father. I was born a bastard and no adoption legitimatized me. But I'm not pissed off at the world about it or pissed off at all "Step-fathers".

Robin said...

My point, exactly, Chris. As adults we are responsible for how we treat others and there is no excuse for hostility against an entire group. That's bigotry, no matter how you slice it. It seems that we are among the last groups, which DO include adoptees and the obese, for whom there is no barring of descrimination or bigoted attitudes.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

I too have been called "worst nightmare" by adoptive parents and I consider that to be rather a compliment. It means we really cannot be dismissed or erased after all. They found out that adoption was not "as if born to."

As for adopted people saying hurtful things that are untrue..whether it is out of pain or not...if is untrue...why condone it. Condoning accusations or basing beliefs on feelings of abandonment can lead to only more pain and accusations.

We don't condone mothers who make claims of needing to hide their identities because of "feelings" of shame or guilt.

Feelings don't justify behavior, except in very narrowly defined circumstances. Feelings may explain some behavior, and it is, I think, worthwhile to explore how feelings affect behavior and perception.

If we give others the idea that they can misuse us because they feel abandoned or hurt,then that is likely to happen...not just to us, but to other people as well.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:28 here again. I agree with those who have said that it's not relevant what a-parents call you. (I am one, btw, and I know how stooopid they can be.) What's relevant to each family is how those family members treat each other and what the law says, and what the law says should be just and equitable.

Nobody here will ever control another person's feelings or bad behavior. That's why the law can't protect anyone from bad behavior but at least we can get the justice system to recognize the fundamental inequalities around adoption. Victimizing first mothers further through a bad, convoluted law is warped. Expecting the law to solve everyone's personal problems is also totally unrealistic.

joy said...

This post has weighed heavily on me. I have read it a few times, then turned away. I don't want to recognize it.

I talk to hundreds of adoptees on a daily basis. I know that some of their stories are so heartbreaking and some of their mothers truly were "abandoners" in every sense of the word.

Living in their world is something I cannot imagine, because I have never had to. I understand they are angry and have every right to be.

Still, that does not make it right to paint all mothers with the same brush, anymore than it is right to paint all mothers in general with the same brush. Some mothers who keep rape their children, some mothers have pimped their kids out for drug money, there are documented cases of this of women who did not relinquish.

Most mothers however, really try to do their best by their kids. I am guilty of not speaking up, and have seen the practice of referring to all natural mothers as abandoners increase. I don't like it, but some people I really care for engage in it. So I have turned away, and not said anything. Even though it stings, and I think is just as harmful to adoptees as to mothers, as what does that say about us?

Integrating all this adopto-b.s. is very difficult, I hate it. I hate that when I am honest with myself, I have to realize that my silence is complicity. I don't want to lose friends that I treasure, but feel to be true to myself, I must, as an adoptee say at the very least, " don't call my mother that"

God, integrity is a bitch. It has left me standing alone more than once. On this issue, I am not alone though. A lot of adoptees do not like this unfair characterization.

I know you, Robin, and many others were railroaded, abused and abandoned yourselves. I know that you have tried mightily hard to help your children. I know that some adoptees are not met with even a scrap of compassion, so I feel for them too.

For you to come from the Bible-belt, and throw off the shame like you have, has helped more people than you will ever know. I am actually in awe of that, as I come from a much more liberal area and am not where you are in the throwing off of the shame department.

Keep on keeping on, and know that you are making a difference, at least in my behavior. I will be complicit no more.

Robin said...

Thank you for your comment Joy. It helps, a lot. Yours is also appreciated, 11:28.

One thing I would like to point out...there are those who adopted to satisfy their pedophiliac needs. I know one adoptee who was systematically raped by her adopter while being made to stand outside women's clinics and pass out anti-choice literature. I know several adopted people who were molested by their adopters. There are adopters who killed their adopted children, caged them like animals. Adopters divorce (become single parents), abuse, become addicted (tragedy for one adoptee whose am became addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs and this case is not that rare), and neglect on about the same percentile rate as natural parents. Should we say that all adopters deserve to be villified because of the actions of a few? What you are talking about is still the minority of natural parents. The majority of us are people with values, morals and boundaries to our behavior.

We all have our pain and we cannot abuse others to relieve our own suffering. Someone said that you cannot use your mind to change your emotions. Not so...it takes time and practice, but attitudes and feelings can be changed if the person wants to change them. It's unfortunate that so many don't want to change. They are comfortable with their pain and malice.

It's sad, but it isn't getting them anything by more injured by the minute and it is costing them valuable allies for open records.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

thank you Joy. Your comments mean a lot.Personal intergrity is, IMO, the most valuable quality we can possess.

Even one dissenting adopted person 's voice could make a difference. I would like to hear adopted people say" don't call all of those mothers abandoners. It isn't true and it isn't fair."

Some of this "abandoner stuff" must be laid at the feet of Nancy Verrier. In her books, she says over and over that we "abandoned our children" and that we should "apologize" saying something like," I am sorry what I did hurt you so much".The statements about the apology come from "Coming Home to Self" on page 243, by Nancy Verrier. I have both her books.

But,some adopted people seem to be using Nancy Verrier, in my opinion, rather than actually agreeing with her...just an observation. Verrier is supposedly an authority.SHe wrote a book about mother/child separation that describes a known- phenomenon that is thousands of years old.

I don't see her as a ground-breaker.

I know mothers who were beaten up and hit by their own parents when they were found to be pregnant. We were all subjected to abuse of one form or another while pregnant, and during labor, delivery and afterwards.

some of us did fight the surrender,and then the full force of the government came down on us. We did not 'choose" this persecution and we didn't deserve it, so saying that we should apologize for our own persecution is peculiarly sadistic.

Anonymous said...

at one time, I believed that first mothers and adoptees had common ground, common interests, that we could work together. but it is being called an "abandoner" and being the target of anger, that more than anything has convinced me that there is little or no common ground.

e.g. -- what one mother had said on one message board:

"... sometimes a mother had as much choice in the surrender as a rape victim has about being raped. Just as coerced sex is rape, no matter what type of coercion is used or at what point the victim states 'No!,' coerced surrender is not a 'choice.'..."

response from adoptee: "Yeah. And we all crawled out of our mother's hoo-hoo and put OURSELVES up for adoption, right?... Givemeafuckingbreak."

and "Your birthers are victims crap doesn't fly here."

and, as with previous similar comments, all other adoptees showed with their tacit silence that they agreed.

so, sadly, I am no longer convinced that there is any understanding or common ground between the two groups, adoptees and natural parents. Maybe not even enuf for open records or adoption reform.

sure, some mothers did walk away from their children. So there are also some psychopaths in the world as well, and IMHO they're roughly the same. BUT no matter how powerless the rest of us were to prevent the loss of our child, perhaps we will always be blamed for it. our experiences are dismissed. and the baby brokers who orchestrated it all again get off scot-free.

Chris said...

""the baby brokers who orchestrated it all again get off scot-free.""

Ain't that the truth!