Monday, October 18, 2010
Another Issue Altogether
Most of the mothers from that era with whom I have talked and exchanged emails did not want to surrender their infants. Some of us tried to fight. Some of us begged and pled. Some of us were beaten down into the pits of low self-esteem. In order, it is said, to "create a family" through adoption, you must first destroy the mother. Well, in my case, they did a bang-up job of that. Thank God, I worked my way back to where I needed to be. It took years but I did it.
It is a good idea to remind folks that we were isolated, warehoused, hidden, shamed, blamed and abandoned by our families and the fathers of our babies while we were being groomed for surrender by the experts. OUR human and civil rights were ignored and violated. Most of us faced the unknown, scary prospect of labor and delivery without a single, caring and familiar face anywhere around. We were given aliases or were not allowed to use our last names. We wore fake wedding bands when we went outside the homes, as if that would fool anyone. We fell in love with the babies in our wombs just like any other pregnant woman. But we faced the birth of that baby with fear and grief.
Society labeled and categorized us. We were either sinning delinquents or psychologically damaged or both. We were fed lies upon lies, like "you will forget" and "having more children will take away the pain" and "THE baby is going DIRECTLY to a good home" and "THE baby will never miss you." Those are just a few of the lies we were told and, desperate for any comfort we could find, we believed those lies. These were adults, "experts," telling us this and we were raised to respect that. Usually the cobwebs were swept out of our brains upon reunion. Boy, were we surprised. That surprise came just before the eruption of suppressed grief, realization and righteous indignation.
We were confronted with the hard and painful truth that our absence in the lives of our children was deeply felt. We saw the damage that could do. We heard their stories, felt their resentment, cried with them and for them and realized that we still have to change the image of the unmarried mother from careless slut to who we really are...every woman....and from victim to warrior.
My girlfriend in SC just reunited with her daughter and, as she went through the non-ID, written by the social worker, she kept saying, "this is bullshit." Mine has just enough truth for me to know it was me, but it was twisted and slanted in such a way as to make it seem that I wanted to surrender my baby.
So, it is from all this and more, that we get our need to seek justice. We were young, vulnerable and what was done to us was done BECAUSE THEY COULD. I am no longer 16. I am 65 years old and I want to hear someone who should say "this was and is wrong," say it and mean it. We are owed something for our suffering and it isn't money so much as it is justice and redress. We paid the ultimate price for any mother...our children. Our babies are gone forever and we can never get them back. We are making relationships with adults..familiar strangers. We look now for respect for our experience and ourselves, and some honesty from a corrupt industry and the government and churches that sanction it. We want adopters to see what their demand for a child created.
We may not get all we want before I shuffle off this mortal coil, but we can make a lot of people very uncomfortable. The more uncomfortable, I say, the better. From my experience, I would say they earned every little bit of it.
And hear this loud and clear. Facilitators, adopters, PAPs, even our adult children....we will no longer take any crap from anyone without fighting back. You can take that to the bank.