Wednesday, June 09, 2010

One Hand Clapping

One hand, clapping, does not make very much noise. The only things it seems to be good for are stopping traffic, ideas, or saying "me, me, call on me!" Have you ever tried carrying all that you need for a project in one hand? It doesn't work does it?

Yet, we have a multitude of people who want everything carried in one hand when it comes to issues surrounding adoption, surrender, records and reform. While linked, these are all different issues, just as there are different eras, different focuses and different individual situations. This leaves one to wonder how that one hand can be used to accomplish anything in so many areas. To set oneself up as the "go-to expert" in this area is to err on the side of ego. No one person has a lock on this and conversely, no individual group is all wrong no matter how outsiders might see it. When it comes to these issues (and it is not just one issue), each one calls for appropriate attention. No one has the right to decide whose issues are valid and whose aren't.

So let's hear it for the Octopus! This funny looking, multi-limbed creature is one of the most intelligent and effective predators in the ocean. She is flexible, canny and has a grip composed of hundreds of suckers on eight tentacles. It has been noted that she can do one thing with one tentacle while doing something else with another. She is a marvel of efficient design. Think how ineffective (and probably extinct) she would be with only one tentacle.

Yet that is what some people want in the arena of adoption reform. They want to see all united under that one umbrella, then they want to decide whose issues take precedence and whose can be kicked to the curb. For the much maligned Senior Mothers who stand by the precept that the issue of the legal crimes against us in the EMS deserves its share of attention, it doesn't work under that adoption reform parasol. We keep getting pushed into a corner, kicked to the curb or kicked out.

Both BSERI and, later, SMAAC were  formed when the issues of many of the Senior Mothers from that era were basically challenged and dismissed. Objective became generic, dirty bills and baby steps were deemed to be acceptable and personality cults and conflicts basically chopped off one hand, leaving the multi-interest groups either contaminated by the industry and adopters, or trying to please everyone. No one wanted to recognize that there are certain issues exclusive to certain groups and that halfway measures do not do the job.

Bastard Nation, who has long been seeking the simple right of the adult adoptee to their Original Birth Certificate, is finding its goals undermined by the efforts of those who think that any bill will do and that progress is a dirty bill. Senior Mothers object to the same thing but on different grounds. Contact vetoes and mandatory medical and psycho-social forms are not how adults handle things. This is Big Brother running the show. Just open all the records for all of us, already! It's really simple but you can bet that it will be complicated by the time the legislators, bill writers (with the help of adopters and the industry) and others stick their two cents' worth into the mix.

So, even though BN and SMAAC want the same thing, it is for different reasons. That's why all these different organizations might just be a good thing. If we each concentrate on getting our jobs done and quit with the attempts to put everyone in one niche, there might be some real progress. Maybe we could get to the place where, rather than trying to undermine each other, we could be supporting each other. Hey, hope springs eternal.

We watch the History Channel, quite often, and they have had a series called "BC Battles" where military strategies of the ancient generals were studied. The successful generals did not leave it up to one horde, front-on, to win the day. They divided their soldiers, gave each one a particular job to do, and out-flanked the enemy resulting in victory. It sounds simple, but they had to take into account the weather conditions, the terrain, the strengths of the enemy as well as the weaknesses. So there were often many officers in charge of all these different units, mapping out the strategy.

Each battle was not an end in and of itself, but a means to an end. Each individual victory built up to the big victory, each battle led to the winning of the war. Xerxes and his Persian horde were delayed and frustrated by a small group of 300 Spartans guarding a pass, entrenched, not just in an advantageous locale, but in their belief in their goals. Their bold and presumptive strategy allowed the Athenians time to come in behind the Persians and strike. Whether we like it or not, this is also a war and our enemy is well-funded, well-publicized and smart. They are used to being the Big Boys on the block so they might just sneer at our individual groups.

But didn't Goliath laugh at David?


Sandy Young said...

So, what? More comments? Sigh...what do they not understand?

Hear the sound of one hand clapping? Yes, I hear it. We used to call it the Sound of Silence....and that is what I hear from the Big Box Organizations.

Robin said...

Not really, Sandy. Just some pondering about the diversity of issues and how they are not easily lumped together.

joy said...

re: Bastard Nation, where do they have clean legislation introduced?

I am not aware of any legislation or clean bills they have been helping with. I know you can't mean Maine, as I know those folks.

If I am not mistaken and they actually don't have any bills in the works, I would say that is a much larger impediment to meeting their goals than what anyone else is doing.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

Here is a quote from a brochure published by AAC in 1997:

"The American Adoption Congress is committed to achieving changes in attitudes,, policies, and legislation that will guarantee access to identifying information for all adoptees and their birth and adoptive families."

And here is another quote from this same brochure:

"The AAC believes that all children have the same core of basic needs, and that those needs can be met most easily when children grow up in the family into which they were born. Every effort should be made to preserve this family."

That was published in 1997, by the American Adoption Congress.

I don't have the current mission statements or brochures, but I think that most groups are less interested in general in family preservation or in legislation for identifying information for natural mothers.

Some states have given the OBC to adoptive parents, Maine and NH. Kansas does, too.

I am not interested in supporting laws that do not give mothers the right to their children's new names. If adopted people are given their mothers' names(and the rest of the family information that is included on the birth certificate),keeping mothers from knowing the adopted person's new identity is a violation of equal rights.

It is one-sided.

Jean Paton also opposed one-sided records access. She said that giving access to adopted people, while denying their mothers, made no sense.

Robin said...

Joy, I never said they "introduced" clean bills, just that they were "seeking" them. I do not support any bills that do not include mothers and that require contact vetoes and mandatory medical and psycho-social records on the mothers. The bills, so far, are not along those lines. Any further disagreement, you can take up with BN.

Robin said...

Kitta, when those seeking open records realize that the mothers ARE connected and important and linked to the issue and that our rights were violated, as well, then maybe there will be some clean bills introduced. As long as mothers are willing doormats for adoptees without asking for what we should have, I don't foresee any really good legislation coming out of this.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

yes, it seems that even 20 or more years ago, there was more recognition that mothers had a connection to records, as well as a right to the records and their childrens' new identities.

Somehow, that idea got lost. I think that one way it was lost was through the influx of adoptive parents who began to join the groups. They didn't want mothers to have access.And they also were not interested in natural family preservation.

Another way our concerns were lost was though the "revised history' that has continued to be repeated. For example: the idea that the records were always sealed to us. This is untrue. Identities of parties to adoptions were open for many decades in many states, even into the 1960s and longer.

Von said...

Has to be open access for all sides.Works for us and I just can't see what all the fuss is about other than as a blocking meaure.

Robin said...

Yet I remember leaving to go home with the words ringing in my ears that I would never know where my children were and that they would never want to know where I was. I was just naive enough to believe them. I think that records were closed in SC in '64, but I need to check.

Robin said...

OK, I was right. The records were sealed beginning in 1964. My daughter was born in 1962 and my son in 1963. Yet, the woman who adopted my daughter had somes strings pulled and had the records of my daughter's adoption buried so deep they were telling me they didn't exist. I was able to get non-ID on my son but nothing on my daughter until after we reunited. I think that falls under the category of "those a$$holes lied to me!!!!"

Anonymous said...

In the provinces in Canada that have opened their records (roughly half the country now), most of them allow adoptees and natural parents both the OBC and the adoption order.

That is certainly the case in Ontario. Both my son and I received both those documents.

Now I am just fighting to get my son's father's name on there.

Apparently over 90 percent of the father's names are missing. It seems there were a lot of "immaculate conceptions" as the government blanked out the fathers into non-existence.

Robin said...

That was done here in the states, as well. Since we had no way to prove paternity, and were unmarried, they put the father in as "unknown" even if we named them. It was and is a man's world. At least now, we have DNA to confirm but good luck getting some of the fathers to submit to that. Good luck to you, as well. Is the father still living and willing to be named?

Chris said...

I too must have been an "immaculate conception" mother must have been visited by an Angel. On my OBC in the column under father..
"Unknown"! Even back in 1946, even though no adoption took place...if the woman wasn't married.."Unknown" was common practice. Cuz God Knows that women never know the father of their babies (snark) or would just name any guy as the father of such (snark). Who's My Daddy..Inquiring Minds would like to know!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Robin said...

Anonymous Canadian: I moved your comment to the post about natural fathers.