Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Where's The Respect?

I think it started in the sixties with the mantra "don't trust anyone over 30." I can remember, as a teen, thinking my parents were incredibly ignorant of the real world. The older I got, the smarter they became. Now that I stand on the cusp of age 65, my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, I realize, were blooming geniuses! They had lived their way around life's booby traps and tried to tell us where they were, but we were going to blaze our own trail. More's the pity.

The same thing happened with my own raised children. In fact, both of them have remarked on how intelligent and knowledgeable I have become as they have grown older. They have also admitted that they have wished, many times, that they had listened to me when I tried to steer them in a better direction.

I know that, when my parents were younger, they had a lot more respect for their elders than succeeding generations seem to have had. Now, there seems to be no respect at all and every attempt made to keep a younger mother from falling into the adoption pit seems to be met with disregard, contempt or downright hostility. As much as I hate to blather on about the subject, I also hate to see these young women so absorbed by the fantasy that, when the real pain comes, they are unable to cope. I keep thinking of one such mother, used badly by the woman who adopted her child, who took her own life when that open adoption slammed shut and she realized how she had been manipulated.

I was training a college student for the dry cleaning chain with which I worked for many years. She was intelligent, lovely, caught on quickly and was a joy to train. I was so shocked and felt like a hornet had stung my heart when she said that, should she become pregnant before she graduated, she would like to relinquish her baby to a professor of hers that couldn't have children of her own. She was offering her own hypothetical offspring on the altar of the "more deserving" infertile and I was appalled at the casual sincerity of her statement.

I have helped younger mothers who really wanted to keep their babies, but I have only been able to change the minds of two who were considering surrender. When I was actively trying to "save" these girls from experiencing that awful grief and their infants from the pain and confusions of separation, I lost more than I won. It became too much for me to handle, emotionally. I only have to pick up a hot horseshoe one time to learn that it burns.

Now, I have no problem with a FULLY informed young woman making her own decision. But there ain't no such animal. They are either being counseled by agency workers, crisis pregnancy center pro-lifers or new "b"mommies riding the pink cloud of assumed selflessness. They are told to disregard us as bitter and angry with nothing to really contribute. Adult adopted people are dismissed as ungrateful and troubled. So the whole, complete story with all the ramifications is left in the dust and these girls go skipping off to breeding farms like Gladney to get their scholarships and give that wonderful gift. What bull crap!

I look at the woman in the picture and see someone who has lived and has much to offer. Wisdom comes at a price, for many of us. "Live and learn" isn't just an adage. That lady deserves to have her opinions and experiences respected, even if someone disagrees. It is a common happening that the one who disagrees will later find out that they should have listened more closely. Most cultures venerate their elders. This society, especially our younger sister mothers, smirk at us. The picture of the older woman advising and aiding is just that...a picture.

We never stop learning until we die. My grandmother used to tell me that and she was right. I am still learning and not all that I learn makes positive statements about human nature. The inability to say, "I was wrong and I am sorry," permeates the populace. Ego and pride go before open minds and hearts. To live to a ripe, old age and learn is to accept disillusionment. Most of my belief in the innate goodness of people has gone the way of the Blue Whale; rare, hard to find and to be cherished and protected if you come across it.

I guess this is why I find more satisfaction in working for the majority of the mothers of my generation. There is no question that each of us knows what we are talking about because we all lived it. It is a cause we can support, defend and for which we can fight.

I'm no Knight on a white horse. If the maiden wants to walk into the dragon's mouth, I'll just yell at her to watch out for the teeth. You can't rescue a drowning person who is convinced they can breathe water. And with all the advantages new mothers have on the side of keeping or avoiding pregnancy or terminating pregnancy, I just don't have the sympathy for them they seem to require.


maybe said...

"I have helped younger mothers who really wanted to keep their babies, but I have only been able to change the minds of two who were considering surrender."

Wow, that just breaks my heart. If only ONE person had offered any type of help I would be a different person today - I would be a mother.

Robin said...

You see, Maybe, from my end, I have offered help only to have it rejected. It only takes one person to help but when you are the only one, you can't get to everyone and you sure can't get to the ones who don't want help.

Chris said...

Like they say.."You can drag a horse to water, but you can't make it drink". Much wisdom there.

WAIT!! Stop the presses!! The above..when in relationship to adoption propaganda is sopped up like the last spot of water on earth. Why is it some women can be convinced to surrender, will listen to the adoption propagandists, but turn a deaf ear to the mothers/women who have been there, done that????? The older I get, seems the less I know and understand.

I didn't surrender because of adoption propaganda..I surrendered out of desperation, hopelessness and no financial or moral support. And just prayed to A God I believed in then..to keep my baby safe. Of course, not the least to mention the only option that was given to me at the hospital, was the option of adoption. Not one older person in that hospital said to me.."Christine, you know you do have the right to take your baby home, afterall you are your baby's mother." Never heard those words. Before I even signed the 'papers'...my motherhood had already been stripped from me...by complete strangers..but they were older and supposedly wiser. No they were not wiser..they were older and very cruel people, who were only in fear of losing their jobs, so had to carry out whatever protocols were in place in how to handle delivering unwed mothers. These hospital workers (docs, nurses, SWs, agency workers), held on to their jobs by sacrificing my baby's life for their paychecks. Wonder if there were any 'workers' out there..that put their paychecks aside and ever outright told a young unmarried mother..Ya'know you have rights too, this is your baby, you are a Mother! I never heard it and I doubt many young unwed mothers, newly delivered ever heard those words either.

Age and life experiences doesn't always equate to wisdom. One only has to remember/question the Older People who were confident in their Wisdom..that we were unfit to be mothers..simply because we were young and not married.

Robin said...

Unfortunately, you are right, Chris. But I did have some older folks in my family suggesting that we all pull together and keep my baby. They got cut off at the knees. And, I look at how old some of the social workers and "counselors" were at the FCH in Charlotte...these "women" were in their 20's.

No, age and experience don't always guarantee that someone has acquired wisdom. But, if someone has walked the same trail that you are on, it might help to learn where it took them.

Linda said...

I feel your pain on this, Robin. They don't want to hear from Mothers who have lived through the torment, nor do they want to hear from adoptees who have lived through it.

I have told many pregnant women considering the "better life through adoption" lie that children would much rather be with their first Mothers...even if they had to live in a shelter, versus live with strangers who have "things". Those "things" never replace our Mothers.

All we can do is to keep telling our truths.

Amanda said...

I have been struggling with this too. Hearing from women "well, ALL adoptions are different" as if they'll pick the absolute perfect APs and they or their child won't have any issues because their adoption will be so "different." Our experiences and what we've lived don't mean anything because what we've lived for decades, they've considered for a month or two and STILL *must* know more than we do.


Von said...

All adoptions are different but all adoption is a tragedy.It seems for the BeeMommies to come down to not being ready for parenthood and believing they can have it all when you want it.

Robin said...

Von, these young moms have been inured to the damages of adoption by a slick industry that treats adopters as if they are some kind of saint. They believe the lies they are told, then don't want to admit they've been had.