It was really good to read at The Declassified Adoptee blog and see that she has become very savvy about what has been done to us as mothers. This is down a couple of paragraphs in her most excellent post, but it is so very, very true. The fact is that we were stereotyped, stigmatized and dismissed as disturbed and delinquent. She dug and read and learned and put it so well, here.
"...When First We Practice to Deceive
Birth records became more difficult for Adult Adoptees to obtain as the later-half of the 20th century progressed. This was due to the social stigmas that unwed, "adolescent" mothers were fundamentally flawed and would interfere with the adoptee's developmental stages and the Adoptive Parent's ability to bond with the adoptee if they knew the adoptee's identity and/or whereabouts. What started as a way of hiding illegitimacy turned into a way to label Original Mothers as a threat to their children."
I can remember the first time I ever heard any mothers protest the labeling that was put on us during the EMS. I had, timidly, gone to a "search and support" meeting. While there, looking for some support when all the emphasis seemed to be on search, I did hear something worthwhile. Some adopter was there making comments about how we shouldn't feel bad that we weren't in a position to keep our babies. Another mother spoke up and said, loud enough to be heard by all, "We were unwed, NOT unfit." Hallelujah and Amen, Sister!
We are still being blamed for the fact that records closed, for the fact that some people want to keep them closed and probably, global warming. The industry hides its misdeeds behind our stereotyped images. We used to joke about natural mothers wearing bangs because it helped cover the scarlet letter branded on our foreheads. Now, we just refuse to wear the letter. We didn't deserve it then and we don't now.
We can now look into our research and see the number of successful, well-adjusted people who were raised by single mothers. It wasn't the fact that we had no husband. It was because we had never had a husband when we became unmarried moms. Many women, divorced and widowed, raised children on their own. But, we didn't have that man's name as our own, nor never been gifted with that gold band. This had the social workers, psychologists and clergy judging us as a group without knowing a single one of us as an individual with values and a heart that could be broken. They only saw single girls who had engaged in "carnal intercourse" as evidenced by our growing bellies.
The social workers never, that I can remember, took the time to get to know me when I was in that situation. I imagine they saw the fear and the dread and the loneliness but that was due to my "flaws," as well. Our minister suggested to my mother that I should have a hysterectomy when I became pregnant after being date-raped. All he could see was the fact that I had gone and gotten myself pregnant, again. Neat trick, huh? I, and earthworms and some phyto-plankton can do that. It's bio-magic with a twist.
I am sick and tired of the Industry, their lobbying cartel, attorneys and legislators using us as an excuse to keep from looking at the families being ripped apart, and people becoming unable to know who they are or where they originated. We went from being breeding stock to being portrayed as frail, frightened, fragile older women afraid of their scarlet past catching up to them. Ye Gods! it makes me want to jack-smack as many of them as I can find. And most of us are about as "fragile" as Mack Trucks.
I imagine that the NCFA and their ilk are having quite a problem understanding the phenomenon of mothers not only challenging them but using our own names when we do it. What happened to all that shame the "counselors" so carefully worked to instill in us?
Sorry Chuck, and all the rest. We grew up and wised up. Go peddle your lies to adopters. We aren't buying them and neither are our adult children.