Sunday, July 11, 2010

What They Don't Know Will Hurt Us

Every once in a while, a member of the general public, not affected by surrender or adoption, will stumble across our online discussion or blogs and wonder what the Hell is going on. Quite often, these naifs will venture to say something based on the adoption mythology that is fed to the public and catch the very Devil for doing so. They will refer to the act of surrender as "heroic and/or selfless" or worse, as the will of God, or they will talk about an adopted person they know who is very happy (as they see them).

The populace at large is hardened  to the thought that surrender and separation just might be a tragic mistake and that people are making money or fulfilling their own agendas by facilitating that separation. They just think we have lost our freaking minds.

I was recently reminded of the enormity of the task of educating the citizens of our nation about the realities of a mother's loss. If we talk about the BSE, then we get the response, "well aren't you glad things aren't like that, anymore?" We also get that innocently obtuse query, "You are reunited now and that makes it all OK, doesn't it?" Most will scratch their heads in bewilderment when we tell them that, "No, it is not all OK."

My friend, Musing Mother, had a comment on Facebook made to her by someone wanting to be supportive of her but understanding nothing of what we were all about. She got a couple of nasty replies and I am sorry to say that I was one of the authors. I deleted and explained myself. The young woman didn't deserve what she got.

Now I am sure that those more practical and experienced than me will tell me that I am dreaming, but I honestly feel we need to expand our message to the general public. That is not an original thought, on my part. Karen W. B. Buterbaugh, founder of BSERI and the new Exiled Mother website mentioned this and that got me to thinking. What we do online, with blogs that are linked to by Googling "adoption" and in online forums is either debate with the ones who have a vested interest in keeping the myth alive or preach to the choir. John Q. and Suzie Q. Public are going about their lives, largely unaware of the tempest raging in a confined arena.

We also have  to contend with a biased, pro-adoption media. They'll cover the dramatic and tear-jerking reunions, but leave it at that and call it "happily ever after." We tend to get dismissed as a lunatic fringe (and the fact that there are a few of those among us doesn't help). I think we EMS moms need to get our noggins together and come up with something dramatic that might reach the eye of an enterprising reporter or writer. A lot of educating was done with Ann Fessler's "The Girls Who Went Away." It was a best-seller so there might be some out there who at least have an idea of what we are trying to say. It is a good starting point.

I still have to hearken back to the days of the Women's Suffrage Movement. In the movement in America, one lady is reported to have chained herself to the White House gate and went to jail for her efforts. We need to know, as well, that even in that historical event, not all those fighting for the vote were on the same page. There were factions and wranglings just like there are in our issues. But we eventually got the vote. We have already had a member of our community jailed for her action on behalf of those searching. We lost another, younger mother to suicide when the adopters slammed the adoption shut in her face and she discovered how she had been used by the machinations of the adoptress (and HER, I will call by that title) who wrote a how-to book about it, for Pete's sake!

I fear more losses of this kind if the story of how it all began is not put out there for everyone to know and understand. What happened to us is the story of a smug, vile, greedy industry in its infancy. Maybe now, while everyone is pissed at BP, would be a good time to point out the money-making-for-a-big-business aspect of our losses. It would take courage and focus and planning but maybe we could widen the crack made by Ann's book and let in more light.

These are just random thoughts. We are not all on the same page about the BSE/EMS and it might be that a few have to make a big splash. But, Hell. It's been done before. Chains, anyone?

9 comments:

Mei Ling said...

"The populace at large is hardened to the thought that surrender and separation just might be a tragic mistake and that people are making money or fulfilling their own agendas by facilitating that separation. They just think we have lost our freaking minds."

Absolutely.

A lot of people don't understand why reunion ISN'T happily-ever-after. When I try to explain about language and the lost years, I usually get a response in the line of thought that I am doing my best now so that's really all that matters and I shouldn't be hurting over it.

Or, I get told "The past is the past, don't linger on it, it is the future you need to focus on."

Or "If this pains you so much, why are you doing it?"

Sigh.

Mei-Ling said...

"The populace at large is hardened to the thought that surrender and separation just might be a tragic mistake and that people are making money or fulfilling their own agendas by facilitating that separation. They just think we have lost our freaking minds."

Absolutely.

People don't understand why reunion is not happily-ever-after.

Robin said...

Again, this site is being stubborn about allowing Carlynn to post. Here is her comment:

Hi Robin,

I tried to leave a comment on your blog and couldn't get it to work, the word verification thing is screwed up again. I went to the blog outside of FB also and it still wouldn't work so.....this is what I tried to say,

I totally agree Robin. Yes, my daughter and I reunited 8 yrs ago and it's been wonderful but that doesn't give me back the 22 yrs that I lost and spent grieving the loss of my child. I'm not the writer that you and others are but maybe through the painting series on adoption I can bring awareness. It's still early, I'm on the 3rd canvas now but if the work I'm doing can benefit the cause in some way let me know.

Mother said...

Robin,

WE mothers are held to a different standard of motherhood. WE are looked at as those who had no heart, didn't care for our babies, and gave them away willingly. All the above NOT true but to the general public that's the view and the thoughts. WE are somehow deserving of having our babies taken while other moms get to
keep their babies. Why...

Of course it perception of the young teen moms milking society of all the funds they can. When in truth NONE of us got to take advantage of any benefits to keep our babies.

The public doesn't want to hear it hell even reunited moms don't want to talk to each other. I have been around for years posting here and there and I still hear the same names mentioned. I have posted till I am blue in the face. No longer do I feel the need to justify myself to any adopter.

Adoption eats you alive if one lets it. It is devouring one family to create a faux family. Inhumane as it is it destroys..everything.

While the public perception is oh how wonderful.

ps I do not have the writing talents either and am just getting back my blogging. We need to stick together as mothers but I really don't even see that happening.

Von said...

You bet, it's time.

BD said...

This is an excellent post, Robin. I think by and large, these comments are made by well-intentioned people who have no idea what adoption is actually about. Adoption, in the US especially, s valorized, sanctified, and idealized. The political component is absolutely unknown or ununderstandable to the general public.

The big problem as I ses it is that everything is still framed in reunionist/personal terms--the personal over the political. I don't denigrate the personal pain and anger individuals have, but nearly all the problems we have today are legislatively and "politically" presented in that personal reunionist frame--across the spectrum. And including the media. Pieceacrap bills (most lately NJ, RI, and IL) are promoted, despite what promoters say, in terms of personal desire, rather than civil rights violations/restoral of rights and within a political context. At the same time, the opposition (NCFA, ACLU, bishops, etc), frame their argument in the same non-political sentimental language. While there is certainly am underlying political context for some of the opposition(though of the cover your ass type) their arguments against us are based in the same "personal desire language, along the lines of "we support mutual consent, but some women (it's always women, of course) need our/state protection from the intruding bastard--or the intruding parent and even in some cases, from the intruding adopter.It's never about personal autonomy and responsibility, or political infringement. It's all about protecting somebody against somebody elses "personal desire. I have never once heard any of the opposition argue in any semblance of political and rights terms. It's always sentimental, essentialist, bullcrap, which I think many of them sincerely believe.

Of course, ultimately, its about losing power. Power has to be taken from them. They have to feel pain, and we haven[t done a good job of hurting them--yet. Also, very people are looking at the big picture, so there is a piecemeal approach.

I'm rambling. Trying to catch up from my NCFA trip. I hope I make sense.

BD said...

Part 2: Of course, ultimately, its about losing power. Power has to be taken from them. They have to feel pain, and we haven[t done a good job of hurting them--yet. Also, very people are looking at the big picture, so there is a piecemeal approach.

I'm rambling. Trying to catch up from my NCFA trip. I hope I make sense.

BD said...

Part `" This is an excellent post, Robin. I think by and large, these comments are made by well-intentioned people who have no idea what adoption is actually about. Adoption, in the US especially, s valorized, sanctified, and idealized. The political component is absolutely unknown or ununderstandable to the general public.

The big problem as I see it is that everything is still framed in reunionist/personal terms--the personal over the political. I don't denigrate the personal pain and anger individuals have, but nearly all the problems we have today are legislatively and "politically" presented in that personal reunionist frame--across the spectrum. And including the media.

Pieceacrap bills (most lately NJ, RI, and IL) are promoted, despite what promoters say, in terms of personal desire, rather than civil rights violations/restoral of rights and within a political context. At the same time, the opposition (NCFA, ACLU, bishops, etc), frame their argument in the same non-political sentimental language. While there is certainly am underlying political context for some of the opposition(though of the cover your ass type) their arguments against us are based in the same "personal desire language, along the lines of "we support mutual consent, but some women (it's always women, of course) need our/state protection from the intruding bastard--or the intruding parent and even in some cases, from the intruding adopter.It's never about personal autonomy and responsibility, or political infringement. It's all about protecting somebody against somebody elses "personal desire. I have never once heard any of the opposition argue in any semblance of political and rights terms. It's always sentimental, essentialist, bullcrap, which I think many of them sincerely believe.

BD said...

I suppose I should add, I'm speaking mainly from a bastard POV here, but I believe the same holds true for parents or anyone else involved. Adoption must be constantly presented in political terms and context, not sentimentalized as an individual "personal issue." Sometimes the personal and the political can be skillfully woven, but the operative word is skillfully. Nobody wants to hear your sad story in a hearing room--and this goes for issues way beyond adoption. I've sat through enough hearings on other topics to see the bum's rush when the Kleenix comes out. It can be done, but it must be well-thought out and strategic, making the whole larger than it's individual parts.