Thursday, July 01, 2010

The God That Took Our Babies

His name is Mammon. Webster's dictionary defines "Mammon" or "Mann" as: 1) the false god of riches and avarice. 2) riches regarded as an object of worship and greedy pursuit; wealth as an evil, more or less personified.[1] Winston defines it to mean: 1) wealth, worldly gain; 2) greed for riches; cupidity.[2] Oxford defines: god of wealth, regarded as evil or immoral; 'those who worship mammon' are equivalent to greedy people who value money too highly.[3]

When we were being coerced into surrender during the EMS, one of the most potent arguments the social workers used was our financial situation. Now, I know, for a fact, that this is still used today. Even married women whose fortunes are low are trapped by this argument. In the US of A, it has become most unseemly for the poor to have children. Being poor is seen as some kind of character defect. How could a young girl, not even out of school and still living under the authority of her parents fight that argument? No one told us that there were ways to get help in some states.

I read a lot of good sense in Rickie Solingers "Wake Up Little Susie" which examined the role of race in this issue. I also asked a woman I very much loved and respected, now departed, about this and she was very forthcoming. It seems, back then, in the African American community, surrender was far less common. The way Julia put it, "We figured there was always room for one more, especially if it was blood kin." I only know a couple of African American mothers of adoption loss. Both were from families that definitely could have made room for one more. Mine would have had a tough time but they could have done it.

So our families, many of whom could have made room for one more, used shame, and the "counselors" to which we were exposed used money and our futures to back us up against the wall where we waved the white flag. And behind all that, an industry was growing, attorneys were billing hours working on finalizing adoptions, and social workers were cherishing their new, professional status and increased paychecks. Most of us were were oblivious to the social programs that might have been in effect that could have aided us until we got on our feet. When our hearts ached and our guts churned, the social worker was there with the empty promise that we would "forget" and "go on with our lives."

Years later, as a married woman with one kept child, I was still yearning for the children I had lost. I made a decision to have another child and, right away, the money arguments started coming from my family and that of my ex. We went ahead, anyway, but it made me look at what was really valued. I was watching the family and the bond between mother and child being steadily eroded and the culture of material wealth taking over.

If anyone wants a really scary look at what could happen if this culture, along with the religious right, has their way, read Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale." In this futuristic and cautionary tale, the rigid,  religious conservatives have taken over the government and infertility is a major problem. Any fertile women are assigned to the ruling class families to serve as surrogates, being impregnated by the patriarch while the matriarch held her and watched her husband for any signs of enjoyment. In the story, the ruling class women would even take to bed and simulate labor when their handmaid went into labor. The child was considered the child of the matriarch. The handmaid had done her duty and was retained or recycled to another family. The book made me shiver.

Social engineering is a real threat. The fact that, in the present day, people who are well-off are seen as "more deserving" of parenthood than a young, impecunious and/or single girl is ominous. The bond between mother and child began to lose its value during the EMS/BSE and is still being systematically eroded by the industry. Follow the money. We are seen as interchangeable and disposable by the financially elite.

The current bills being written for OBC access either dismiss the mother or place unreasonable responsibilities on her and invade her innate privacy or both. I say "innate" as opposed to the the fiction of guaranteed anonymity that is used against us and our children. Innate privacy is what should be given to every citizen of this country per our constitution. So, if we follow the money and the social engineering, we not only did not deserve to parent our children due to financial status but we do not deserve the same rights to access to records as our children or the privacy that the rest of the citizenry demands.

I also have to note that the single person, such as a celebrity, with a high income seems to have no trouble adopting. So the old idea that you have to be married is passe'. It's still about the money.

And it still breaks the hearts of mother and child.


Von said...

Ah yes Mammon!A god for our times.
If ever there was social engineering it is in surrogacy and the way it is being undertaken now particularly in India.

Anonymous said...

I think finances are rightfully a concern when considering raising children. Having said that, I don't mean looking at whether iPods, gaming systems, and ponies can be provided. If basic needs can be met (even if it takes temporary support), then money or lack thereof is NO reason to separate parents and children. As long as the parents are providing for the basic needs of the children and have a plan to get of any supports eventually, what they can give their kids is priceless and can NOT be replaced.

Robin said...

Anon, I agree. With a bit of help from some of the programs that are available and from the family/parents of the mother and father, a mother could finish school and become a person capable of supporting herself and her child. I am just saying that being poor, if you have basic values and a work ethic, should not mean that you are not worthy of having a child. In many cases, an unexpected pregnancy and the resulting child would be a good motivator for the mother (and, maybe the father) to get their butts in gear and make something of themselves. There is also a lot of poverty that is no fault of the poor and they should not be penalized by having their children taken.

Anonymous said...

Same Anon here, Robin. And exactly! My cousin got pg at 17. She got in a year of college (pg then a month or so with a newborn) and lived after with her parents for a short while. Her bf stepped up and now, nearly 15 yrs later they are still happily married with 2 other children. They got jobs and never wenrt on any type of assistance....they just did what they had to do. They both finsihed school (mechanics for him, teaching for her). It wasn't an ideal situation for them...they had to grow up faster than we'd have liked for them but they're a happy, loving family. And that makes it worth it.