Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ugliness; My Mama Told Me So

I can remember when, as a small child, my mother would chide me when I pitched a tantrum or sulked. "Where is my pretty little girl?" she would ask. "Is she hiding behind that ugliness? You better watch out or your face will stick like that." It would usually snap me out of my  pique when she said this, and we would talk about whatever was bothering me.

Online, of late, I have seen enough ugliness to last me a lifetime. Mothers accusing other mothers of something they didn't do, just because we don't follow their line of thought is bad enough. But what we are hearing from some of the adopted people is so hateful and ugly as to be grotesque.

One commenter on a previous blog described it best, so I quote; "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."

I wonder if the people making these comments about mothers realize just how petty, infantile and ugly they sound? Their logic suffers, as well. The vast majority of us from the EMS WERE coerced into surrendering. It is historical fact. When there is no choice given, none can be used. It was the facilitator, the industry that "put you up for adoption," We didn't give birth and boot you out. Many of us fought, argued, begged and bargained in order not to lose our babies. This is why we use the term "surrender." We were backs to the wall and waving a white flag because it was ALL WE COULD DO, Givemeafuckingbreak, too.

And yes, us "birthers" (what a horrid word) did suffer pain. Who wouldn't when they are told, persistently, that they would be toxic to their own child if they kept them? There was not only the grief of loss, but the pain of being made to feel worthless, unfit and abandoned by family and our babies' fathers. So your denial of the mothers' pain crap doesn't even get on the runway, here.

We have come to a bit of an impasse, here. Or, as was said in the movie, "Hud," "What we have here is a failure to communicate." said the chain gang boss as he held his rifle in his hand. The adopted people who have assumed this ugly, viscious persona will find little to no cooperation from mothers. How can we, when we are treated as if we are OBLIGED to roll over and let you walk across our prone forms? (And I have a word or two for a couple of mothers and adoptees on that "Obligation" idea.)

So, as noted by the commenter, some of us are dropping out of the fight and seeing to our own issues. What's the use when we are disrespected and reviled, not only by adopted people, but some of our own sister mothers as well? It's lose-lose before we can even get a good start. And to our sister moms who don't mind being used as rugs and feel that mothers are less worthy than the adopted person, and who will take on the label of abandoner with a sweet smile...GROW A SET!

OK, Kiddos...say bye-bye to Mommy. Bye-Bye.

PS: PLEASE SEE MUSING MOTHER'S MOST RECENT POST!!

23 comments:

Karen Dawber said...

Robin,
Sadly I see this adoptee anger towards original parents all too often from my own surrendered first son. It is very hard for me to stay distant. But distance is better than allowing yourself to be used again. This adoptee anger palys a large role in the adoption reform struggle between original parents and adodptees in the new generation.

Robin said...

I agree, Karen, and, if adopted people want the mothers with the strongest voices on their side, then they need to tell the nasty contingent to shut their hateful traps.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

great post, Robin. I wonder if these bullying adopted people, many of whom are women themselves, think that if they keep attacking natural mothers that eventually we will give up and "agree" with them.

If so...they are in for a surprise. Much of the BSE generation of mothers is already dead.Some of the strongest voices, like Carole Anderson, are gone.

Our experience has been documented, and for those who wish to research it, there is a great deal of information. It is painful reading, and some of it requires legal research, but adoption surrender was a gov't social program that was designed to transfer our children permanently to other families.

Our persecution was done under gov't authority....and it was so discriminatory towards women that it provided the basis for a good deal of the "rights" that started the women's movement in the 60s and 70s.

We were not the gov't, nor the social workers, nor the schools, nor the churches, nor the employers, etc who persecuted.

We are not going to change our stories, and really couldn't if we wanted to. It is documented history.It wouldn't make any sense.It is sort of like those women who are beaten up, leave their husbands.. and then say..no it didn't really happen, and then they go home and are dead shortly after.

What happened, happened.

Robin said...

Kitta,

I think that, if they had to accept the reality of our history, they would lose their best buddies, their resentment and self-pity. Nothing they can say or do will change the facts that we were hurt, just as badly if not in the same manner, as they were. They don't like sharing the "poor me" stage.

Of course, instead of sitting in it and spinning our wheels, you, I and others are speaking out about it and doing something positive for ourselves. What a concept.

You know, it's funny. The adopted people say they "feel" abandoned, even though they weren't and the good beemommies don't "feel" they were coerced, even though they were. Weird world we live in, huh?

michelle said...

I have a hard time with some of the hatefulness too. As a woman and a mom, I mostly feel compassion for my mom. When I had my first child I wept in hospital, thinking how she left without her baby. I just couldn't imagine how awful that would have been. I wasn't angry with her, just very sad for how she might have suffered.

Robin said...

Thanks, Michelle. Your comment adds another dimension to the discussion. We are in a society that seems to suffer from a dearth of empathy. Glad you were able to identify.

Cedar said...

I recognize these quotes, having been involved in this discussion as the mother who mentioned the rape analogy (and I spoke from experience here); and I have to say though, that the responses that I received really did not upset or affect me at all. Years ago, when i first began reading "alt.adoption" and other "free-for-all" forums, i was shocked when called an "abandoner" and seeing the anger towards mothesr, being accused of "choice" when there was none. Now, it does not bother me. It is just another ugly fact of adoption.

What is sad is that none of the newer expectant mothers are hearing this anger, these words, as they rush to give away their babies based on agency and PAP promises. These words of anger are wasted on those of us who had no choice. Where these words would do some good is on a "Dear Birthmother Letter" site set up with the subheading "Dear Abandoner" (complete with pastel colours, smiling young women's faces, and cute babies, like like agency sites), for adoptees to post these words for expectant mothers to see and read. It is these young women like the one who write "If I loved him one ounce less, he would still be with me today" who need to hear these adoptees.

Robin said...

I'm glad the names and hostility don't bother you, Cedar. I just can't see helping and supporting people who refuse to grow up and gain a bit of charity and understanding.

The younger women you talk about are hard cases, as well. They think they know it all and that things are "different now," so that won't happen to them. They don't realize that it's the same shit, different era. Once they realize they have been royally screwed, it't too late.

Anonymous said...

kitta here:

I have one of Kristin Luker's books. She is a researcher into reproductive rights, sexuality in the USA, and sex education history.

"In the spring of 1965,almost everyone except a few Beatniks and bohemians lived out in daily life the assumption that society had a perfect right to try to make sure that most young women stayed virgins and did not become sluts."
from "When Sex goes To School" by Kristin Luker,2006, Norton, NYC. p.76.

Luker goes on to write about how the 1960s was the dividing point in the USA, and that there really was a sexual revolution. It involved more than attitudes. It involved laws.

When I think back, I remember that in the mid-60s the US supreme court was arguing whether states had the right to outlaw birth control for *married couples.*!!(Griswold vs Connecticut 1965) But, by the mid-1970s, birth control was legal in the entire USA for unmarrieds as well, and so was abortion.

And by that time, unmarried parents were keeping their babies, because the women's movement had fought for laws that outlawed the discrimination against them.

Many, if not most, adopted people seem angrily unaware of the changes in LAWS that made it impossible for us to keep them.

But, now unmarried parents really do have choices. These choices, however, are not retro-active and cannot be applied to us..back in the 1960s.

note to Cedar: the BSE went on longer in Canada, I realize, into the 1980s..so our histories are somewhat different.

Mandy Lifeboats said...

Your missing the 'boat' on this one Cedar. Some of us mothers are bothered by what is said of mothers, most especially when this name-calling is thrown about by BSE Babies towards BSE Mothers. Some mothers like myself are very much focused these days on OBC access bills that are muddied with inclusions of state mandated medical questionaires. We are all in agreement that ALL adoptees should have unfettered access to their OBCs...it is the blackmailing by inclusion of state mandates that some of us cannot agree with.

Evidently you have your individual focus in regards to adoption issues, some other mothers like myself, have another 'focus' here in the states. Personally, I'm not interested in 'Dear Birthmother Letters'. I am most still interested in righting the wrongs of the BSE/EMS and that includes the lies, myths and stereotypes that are still being slung around today by many a BSE Baby. If 'abandoner' doesn't bother you...good for you...it 'bothers' me. Just sayin'!

Cedar said...

I should clarify: I do NOT agree with these adopted persons one bit. They do not have the right to denigrate and dismiss our experience. They do not know the truth. They insult and disparage, and I know that the industry is very happy that they are doing its handiwork. But their insults cannot touch us, we KNOW the truth of what was done to us.

I am not an "abandoner" any more than a woman who has been raped is thus a "prostitute." But it is interesting about how certain societies draw the analogy -- it is so easy to blame women when violence perpetrated against them is uncomfortable for society to consider. It is easier to blame the victim than to criticize and blame social structures that permitted this violence and leave the perpetrators unpunished.

joy said...

Okay, I have to say these quotes are taken out of context.

Cedar was making a comparison. I fully believe that Cedar's comparison is true for her, and even my mother.

At the same time, a plea for understanding as it relates to ALL mothers, was unfair.

I hope I don't get shit for this, but one of those adoptees responding, got a call from her mother on her birthday telling her that the mother was rejecting her a second time.

You know, the impetus for those comments would not be unlike natural fathers coming and telling you they felt pressured. I am sure they did but cold-comfort that is.

Some of our mothers were married, some of our mothers had plenty of support, some of our mothers were monied. I know it is hard for you to believe, because it is hard for me to believe.

Some mothers do not want their children and that exacts a terrible toll on the children.

The people who have had to live with the aforementioned situations should not always be chided to think of their mothers.

You don't want to be painted with all the same brush, please do the same for us. Many of us have really suffered as well.

Robin said...

No shit Joy, Just a reminder that the mothers who behave in that manner are not the majority. There are plenty of adopted people who have searched for and found their mothers only to lamblast them and reject them out of hand. So, for every example you can come up with, I can come up with another that balances the scales.

Asking that people behave like adults and use common courtesy and civility isn't too much. And we are not talking about the situation in Canada which, although similar, had many differences, as well, especially in the laws.

As Kitta pointed out, it was legal to do to us what was done. To be persecuted in that manner because the perpetrators COULD, is a double insult. There are many more of us that wanted than didn't want our children, there are many more of us that don't reject than are frightened and secretive.

AND, there are always two sides to every story. I know of one adopted person who blasts mothers every chance he gets and whines about being rejected. What he will not say is that his behavior became so outrageous and threatening that his mother had to take out a restraining order because she was frightened for her own safety and the safety of the rest of her family. I might add that it broke her heart to do it.

There are also numerous mothers who welcomed their children with love and open arms only to have the adopters harrass them and have the adoptess pushing them away with one hand and pulling them to them with the other.

The truth for most is like my case...somewhere in the middle. I love and welcome my surrendered children, but I don't take any crap.

Now we can post on here, listing crime after crime on either end or we can agree that until we are all treated with respect and civility among the activist mothers and adopted people, we are not going to get much done. Let's save our venom for our own personal situations if warranted.

Mandy Lifeboats said...

""Now we can post on here, listing crime after crime on either end or we can agree that until we are all treated with respect and civility among the activist mothers and adopted people, we are not going to get much done. Let's save our venom for our own personal situations if warranted.""

Thank you Robin, for summing this up for me..after me writing a 'book' as a comment and the word count was too long to be posted!

I once had an nmother call me, who had been newly reunited with her very adult son. He came to visit her in her home. She was alone, they were standing in the kitchen talking. He picked up a large knife off the counter (nmother was putting a salad together for lunch)and proceeded to tell his mother how he 'liked' older women. She said it was his body language, the tone of his voice..that she felt in real danger and moved the conversation outside of her home. She was so conflicted, this was her son yet he wasn't. She loved him, she missed him and she feared him. Because of the fear she told me, she was seriously contemplating ceasing all contact with him. She did not call her son vile, filthy names, she was crying when she was speaking to me. Her son had already been jailed for violence in other situations. This nmother was very well educated, she never had another child, she so wanted her adult son in her life, but at what cost? Soon after she disappeared from the groups, never heard from again, I often wonder what happened to her. She was a BSE mother.

So yes, we ALL can list 'crime after crime', but these 'crimes' in reunion should not muddy the waters of OBC unfettered access bills for ALL adoptees. And those OBC access bills should not be clouded with inclusions of state mandated blackmail..that of state mandated medical questionaires.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

"Some of our mothers were married, some of our mothers had plenty of support, some of our mothers were monied. I know it is hard for you to believe, because it is hard for me to believe"

No, it doesn't surprise me. But, I think that the adopted people may possibly have misunderstood those circumstances somewhat.

Joy, I have worked for many years with a f2f support group and most mothers who were married when they surrendered, were in the process of divorce. The child was not the husband's child, and so those mothers were vilified and threatened by the courts as adultresses. Some were threatened with the loss of all of their children, or all future children...or even prison (there was a judge here where I live who issued those threats to all surrendering mothers)

And with regard to the "monied mothers"...most unmarried mothers were from middle to upper middle class families in the BSE, but the mothers themselves had no money...their families did.

Our families were the ones who sent us away. And, they spent a lot of money in the process.Many of us were doing well in school or college, or had good jobs, and then, suddenly, we were outcast.

The laws of the land not only permitted our persecution, but encouraged it.

Many of our children, my son included, were adopted into less well-to-do circumstances than they were born into. But I needed my family's help to raise him, and my family refused to help me.

They feared that my pregnancy would offend their clients and ruin their business' reputation.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:


"I hope I don't get shit for this, but one of those adoptees responding, got a call from her mother on her birthday telling her that the mother was rejecting her a second time."

Joy, this is inexcusably cruel, and I cannot understand any mother saying such a cruel thing to her child.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

"You know, the impetus for those comments would not be unlike natural fathers coming and telling you they felt pressured. I am sure they did but cold-comfort that is."

Joy, feeling pressured and being pressured are really two different things. Natural fathers who were under-age actually were pressured by parents to abandon pregnant girlfriends and their babies. Fathers who wanted to step up were not allowed to in some cases, because the laws didn't recognize them.

These fathers deserve a break.They were wronged.

However, too many fathers were like my son's father..he had asked me to marry him, had told me he loved me. BUT...24 hours after I got pregnant he told me he "couldn't marry me because I just wasn't good enough for him" and he began to pressure me to terminate the pregnancy(later). He was an adult, 21 years old, and a college graduate with a job.

I was still underage. When I re-united with my son, the first thing the natural father said to me was "your father is a lawyer, isn't he??" He was scared to death of paternity charges and lawsuits..and he should have been.

He was guilty.

My story was pretty typical of fathers of babies.

Cedar said...

Joy: "At the same time, a plea for understanding as it relates to ALL mothers, was unfair.

Joy, I never said that *all* mothers were coerced, but blanket statements are being made that we are *all" abandoners who need to apologize to our children.

And one thing about a natural mother rejecting a reunion with her child, is that adoptees also reject their natural parents. It happens both ways. (I wonder if we can find out stats on rejection in reunion?)

Robin: 'I just can't see helping and supporting people who refuse to grow up and gain a bit of charity and understanding."

Agreed.


Mandy: "So yes, we ALL can list 'crime after crime', but these 'crimes' in reunion should not muddy the waters of OBC unfettered access bills for ALL adoptees."

Mandy, why are mothers not fighting for their own unfettered access to the OBC and ABC, in exchange for their support of open records for adoptees, getting adoptee support for open records for natural parents?

Robin said...

Cedar, that is what SMAAC is trying to do but please remember that our culture, Puritanical and revolutionary, is very different in many ways from Canada. Also, mothers are factioned and at very different stages in their growth and understanding of what happened to them. And, for the final question, we have asked adopted people to support us or to include us. We've had very limited luck with that one.

Mandy Lifeboats said...

""Mandy, why are mothers not fighting for their own unfettered access to the OBC and ABC, in exchange for their support of open records for adoptees, getting adoptee support for open records for natural parents?""

Cedar, I don't need to answer this question for you, as I am sure you are already just as aware/involved with what American nmothers and adult adoptees are saying or not saying in regards to the above issue, just as you are aware/involved with Canadian nmothers and adult adoptees this issue in Canada.

This subject has been broached by some American nmothers to some American adult adoptees (and other nmothers) and the one word that seems to be repeated often enough...is....NO! Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

kitta here:

"Mandy, why are mothers not fighting for their own unfettered access to the OBC and ABC, in exchange for their support of open records for adoptees, getting adoptee support for open records for natural parents?"

Cedar, I believe I have explained this before, but if not, here goes...

I started work in legislation in 1994, and some of that work was for access to records for BOTH mothers and adopted people.

The history of access to birth certificates, OBC and ABC, in the USA, has nearly always ended up with demands by agencies and adoptive parents for disclosure vetoes and even contact vetoes.(this often happens when adopted people try to do the uni-lateral bills themselves, also.)

Here in the USA, we can find our relatives most of the time without the birth certificates.

A contact veto would criminalize searching. USA legislative records activists like myself, are NOT willing to accept those kinds of laws...like you already have in several provinces in Canada.

Australia has contact vetoes too. That is not 'unfettered access"...it creates a permanent restraining order that affects the entire family, with huge fines and even prison terms.

I have even heard of adopted people and mothers who filed contact vetoes years after a re-union had taken place...thus cutting off contact between grandchildren and mothers or other relatives...or sisters and brothers.

Adopted people are not keeping us out of their legislative bills. They don't have that power.Our legislative bill passing process is open to the public and anyone can join in. All we have to do is write, call and testify..or any of those. And I have done all three.In fact, mothers and adopted people have joined together in a number of states on bills for both.

But the contact vetoes and other restrictions and amendments make it not worth it. Private adoption agencies and attorneys get involved and add additional requirements. Adoption in the USA is a private business...contracted with the gov't.

We can find people without the birth certificates....without penalty.

Cedar said...

"And, for the final question, we have asked adopted people to support us or to include us. We've had very limited luck with that one."

'This subject has been broached by some American nmothers to some American adult adoptees (and other nmothers) and the one word that seems to be repeated often enough...is....NO! "

I wonder what the dynamics would be if the issue was not phrased as a question, but as a statement such as "We will wholeheartedly support your campaign for open records if you support ours as well."

Robin said...

Cedar, it HAS been put that way, with the quid pro quo stipulation and in amiable terms. It still seems to fall on deaf ears to those who have been convinced that we are obligated to support them and deserve nothing in return.

Again, the main issue in our objection to currently proposed legislation is the mandatory and instrusive medical history section. Using US legal prescendence, this WILL...not MIGHT, but WILL leave mothers open to unfair and unbelievably punitive lawsuits. Wrongful adoption lawsuits, brought by adopters against agencies, would be brought directly against mothers. The hand of the industry and the entitlement of adopters who have passed that attitude on the adoptees can clearly be seen in this maneuver. It is just not the same and a no-contact veto, such as in the new Candian law, would act, here, as a permanent restraining order, denying our right to free association.

We know what we are talking about and what we have experienced. More so, please understand that Kitta is the expert in this issue and she knows what has and will happen. She has seen the industry and the lobbyists at work when involved in writing open-records bills.

We just have to find a new approach and, hopefully, the debate might help us find some middle ground. But we are not going to give the nod to anything that punishes mothers..period.