Thursday, April 08, 2010
A Simple Dream
None other than John F. Kennedy was standing behind the podium. There were a few familiar faces in the chairs, friends, my parents, sister mothers, and one group that looked very disgruntled, dressed in black, over to the right of the stage.
JFK stepped forward and called me to stand with him. He shook my hand and told me how sorry he was for the treatment I received. Then he made a signal with his hand to the grouchy ones over to the right and a stocky woman in a black suit stood up, carrying something. She came up to face me, muttered an "I'm sorry" and placed my two babies in my arms. Even though they were the newborns I had been forced to surrender, they were smiling at me, joyful smiles full of life and promise.
Then I awoke to the whimpering and scratching of my dog needing to go out.
Now that dream was undeniably full of overt, unsubtle symbols. JFK was president when I surrendered my children. My social worker with the SC Children's Bureau was stocky and favored dark clothes. That dream was a wish on a star...a "what if" with a fantasy ending. It was lovely, but that was then and this is now.
My real dream is simpler. Recognition for the EMS/BSE by the government would be a good start. An official apology would be a bonus. Most of all, the education the public would receive about the realities of how mothers are treated, gulled, coerced and scammed would be invaluable. We mothers of the EMS are the living mortar that the industry used to piece together the stones of their practices. Closed records began during the EMS. Maternity homes as adoption warehouses became an American institution during that era. Adoption as a way to provide a child for the childless hit its stride during that time.
Most in our circle will agree that adoption is not about a home for a child, anymore, but is all about a child for a home..a balm to soothe the egos and needs of adopters. That is less obvious, it seems, to the general public. We have no more heroes. No one has come down the pike that is bigger than life and an icon to emulate. All our would-be heroes have been outed by their feet of clay. So the US hangs on to the myth of adoption as the pretty picture of a couple, gazing upon an infant in adoration and joy, while ignoring the tragedy on the other side of the door.
They throw the label of "heroine" at us like throwing pork bones to the yard dogs. Be proud of your "loving sacrifice" and go away and quit whining, they say. We are back to say that we don't want those bones, that there is nothing "loving" about separating a mother and child, and we want what is due us...redress for the legal crimes of the EMS.
We are learning that no one in the adoption activism arena can be all things to all who have been used and abused by this business of baby-brokering. Adopted people are fighting for clean, unrestricted access to their original birth certificates. That is their fight, we agree, applaud and wish them well. Others say they are trying to reform adoption. To me, that is like trying to commit a victimless crime...an oxymoron. But more power to those who want to try. Still others spend their time and efforts to search and facilitate reunions and that is fine, as well. So is peer support, but, unfortunately, much of that where they concentrate on the grief and loss and the vagaries of reunion can often keep both adopted adult and mother spinning their wheels in their pain.
It is easier for each faction to concentrate on the one goal they see as doable. For us, it is recognition of the injustice done to the mothers of the EMS and, through them, to their adult children. I'm hoping it will happen before the day I leave this life. If it doesn't, I would hope that one of my younger sisters from that era would come to my place of rest and lay a flower and tell me it finally happened.
I have a feeling that I, wherever I might be, will hear the message. That would put the "Peace" in my rest.