Tuesday, March 09, 2010
We Have To Do What?
Main article: Freedom of association; US Constitution
Although it is not explicitly protected in the First Amendment, the Supreme Court ruled, in NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449 (1958), freedom of association to be a fundamental right protected by it. In Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000), the Supreme Court ruled that a New Jersey law, which forced the Boy Scouts of America to admit an openly gay member, to be an unconstitutional abridgment of the Boy Scouts' right to free association.
There it is again...that "by implication" thing. So this means that we are free to associate with whomever we please and, also, NOT to associate with a particular person if we do not wish to. While I find the anti-gay discrimination behind this example a bit off-putting, I understand the premise. This is akin to the freedom of religion which also, by implication, protects our right to freedom FROM religion. I am learning so much from my friend, I never thought I would find constitutional law so fascinating. It is important to know, not only what it says, but also what it implies and how it can be interpreted.
We spoke again, last night. He had been giving the whole issue of mandatory medical records provisions in some of these dirty bills a lot of thought and done a lot of reading. He related that there have been laws and regulations that have slipped by, that walk all over the constitution but that leave the door open for some really effective class-action suits. His advice was that, if these measures pass, we should watch, very carefully, how these provisions are used, especially by the facilitating entities and have a good attorney in the wings.
In talking to him, I related how unimportant we mothers are considered to be, as far as our rights are concerned. I opined that our rights and our feelings are ignored, as though we were there just to be used. He countered with an opinion that sounded sort of right to me. He said, "They might want you to think that you are unimportant, but I believe many of the adoption pros are scared to death of you along with the adoptive parents and these adopted people you have been telling me about." Wow, the natural mother as Big Bad Wolf. I wish the world would make up their minds about us. It's a wonder we are not all suffering from multiple personality disorder, We are either careless sluts or noble heroines or troublemakers or loving moms or just convenient uteri or goblins out to eat up open records bills. The mind boggles and none of it fits.
We have been marginalized and ignored for a long time. For many years, many of us followed the edicts of our families and the social workers and kept silent. Many still allow the fear of discovery to keep them in hiding. I wish I had come to my senses decades before I did. While I never really kept my two surrendered children a deep, dark secret, I went along with the happy, sappy adoption myth. I can remember when a very sweet young woman I worked with found herself to be with child. As she talked with us and mulled over her options, I would break out in a cold sweat. When she decided to keep, I felt a constricting pain around my heart that had nothing to do with heart disease. I also remember thinking that there was a mother and her child who would never have to wonder, hide or question.
I am proud that I can experience the unconditional love that the mother feels, even when it has to be tough love. This kind of love seems to be confusing to many adopted adults. For many of them, "parental" love has come with requirements and conditions. I love my children just because they ARE. They don't have to fit any criteria or burden themselves with my emotional welfare. And I, as their mother, will do what I think is right for them, even if they don't like it.
And, if any of them, raised or reunited, step over the line with me, I will back off and not feel guilty for doing so. Mothers are not the property of adoptees or raised children to do with as they wish. We are not whipping-boys or unimportant bystanders. I am part of a group of mothers who will not sacrifice our rights on the altar of the poor adoptee, nor will we allow ourselves to be bled dry, emotionally. That is not good parenting. How could any adopted person respect a mother that would allow herself to be used, her needs ignored? And believe me, the healthiest kind of love has mutual respect as a component.
So rail against us, argue and slam us....but don't ignore us. We know our rights and are learning more about them, every day.