Sunday, August 01, 2010

A Note To A New Friend

Dear L****,

A few days ago, I wrote a blog entry that made me feel like I was typing it in my own blood. The tragic story of the ordeals we suffered as we were coerced and forced to Surrender, during the Era of Mass Surrenders, keeps being told but so few want to listen. Too few want to realize that, though it is more slick and subtle these days, it still happens. Read  "Surrender Is A Bitch" and other posts of mine and those on Musing Mother's blog. Until adult adoptees realize that it isn't just about them, they are not the only ones who hurt, and the ones who adopt are not the only ones deserving of respect and compassion, then we are going to continue to work at cross-purposes and there will continue to be contention.

We are, as I mentioned to you on the phone, aging out of our fighting years. We have carried grief, anger, sorrow and the burden of society's views of us for too many years. Now many of us just want to rest and enjoy the self-esteem we worked so hard to regain after we became exiled from our children. Our pain is not worse or less than that of the adoptee, just different and no less important. Our place in the lives of our adult children has been usurped. Why should our pain be denied as well?

The women who adopted my daughter and my son did not bleed for weeks and burn every time they emptied their bladders. They did not suffer agonizing physical and deep psychological pain while strapped in a bed, ignored by the medical professionals who were helping the "good, married" moms through their labors and deliveries. They didn't have towels and sheets placed over their faces while a nurse ran from the delivery room with the child still wet from our bodies in their hands. Their breasts didn't grow hard and hot and painful because there was no little mouth to suckle the best food God and Nature provides for all children. They didn't have to hear the sounds of babies crying and wonder if it was their child. They didn't have to go home to a family who refused to discuss the loss of their child with them. They were not ordered to keep silent and smile. They did not have to bury grief deep inside until it became a cancer in the soul.

They were not made to feel like they did not deserve the right to be married in a church in a white dress, or gradutate from High School with their friends. They didn't have to suffer the grief without a grave, not even a place to lay a flower. Their joy was our greatest sorrow. Why should we let them and their needs keep us from having, at least, a peaceful and respectable retirement in our later years? Nothing that anyone, including our children, thinks or says can take our rightful motherhood from us. We will take that with us to the grave.

That sorrow we suffer was not mitigated by time, by having other children, because you can't replace one person with another, or by trying to "forget." Even those of us who are reunited have had to mourn our babies because they are gone forever and in their place is a familiar stranger, an adult who pulls at our heart like the moon pulls at the ocean. So, if it seems right to anyone that disrespecting the mother of adoption loss by calling her a "birth" or "biological" mother is OK, then know it is just OK with you. It is NOT OK with me. I choose what I will be called and it is NOT "birthmother." I am a mother by an act of God and Nature...not by the penstroke of a mere human in black robes.

Please, if we talk again, try not to use that term. It was painful and frustrating for me. My pain might not mean much to the adopted or to those who adopt, but it is damn important to me. I talked to you about SMAAC. Those of us in SMAAC are hoping for redress and justice and recognition. We are also hoping for, at long last, respect and understanding. It seems that commodity is taken by those who adopt, as well. It just doesn't seem fair when you look at it from our end of things, does it?

As long as you know where I stand and I know where you stand and we try to respect the other's concerns, then we can work on what needs to be done.

Robin, Senior Mother of Four
Motherhod Deleted Blog
"Justice is hard to obtain and too precious to ignore. If there has been an injustice, fighting to right that wrong is more than noble. It is necessary."


Sandy Young said...

Thank you, my Friend. Beautiful and poignant and exactly spot on. You have a gift.

Von said...

Thank you Robin.I for one find anything other than 'mother' offensive.

Celeste Billhartz said...

Beautifully, painfully, honestly said, Robin ... wow.

Anonymous said...

Straight up!! I like the way you tell it like it is.


Mother said...

I wiil always be mother to my son the son I lost to adoption.

ALL of my son's and my daughter mother to all of them!

Although, some deny the fact, I was there when they ran out of delivery room with my baby boy. Didn't see him, or touch him and this medical was paid for by my step thing's insurance to I wasn't a burden on society like it was played out. Just a young woman having a baby like the generations before at a young age like our grandmothers before us.

The only difference was the demand for white babies was high and society decided the market was ripe with mother's who could supply a baby to a barren woman.

Just another glitch in the disturbed thinking of the time. My mother's generation the "greatest generation" ha I think NOT!

Lorraine Dusky said...

We sometimes hear from adoptees that reunion is "not about us." Well, wait one moment: it's about both of us, the given and the givee. The child and the mother. It doesn't happen without the participation of both of us.

The statement must come from a place of deep hurt and a sense--instilled by adopters and society, I suppose--that we went on with our lives after surrender without looking back, without a lifetime of grieving. Reunion is about both sides of the equation, and yes, our pain needs to be acknowledged. It's something that we so often suffer in silence.

Robin said...

Lorraine, you hit the nail on the head. While we cannot put ourselves in the place of the adoptee and experience what they have, neither can they do that with us. What we need to learn to do is respect the experience of each other and aknowledge the pain of the other.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Robin. Telling it so well.♥Kathleen