Monday, October 18, 2010

Another Issue Altogether

Every now and then, I am reminded that, though the arena of adoption-related activism covers a lot of territory, the fight for justice for the Mothers of the EMS is almost like "Star Wars, I, II and III"...a prequel. Once the industry and our parents and others had succeeded in taking our parental rights, adoption became the issue. We, in that era, did not "place." We did not "make an adoption plan" for our babies. We surrendered and the adoption plan was made by the agencies and social workers. Many of us were just doing what we were told to do, or else, or were manipulated and coerced into doing. There were some exception, but those mothers are the minority and not part of what this fight entails.

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.


Stephanie said...

Great post, Robin. I agree 100% about the fight for justice for you of the EMS.

"I want to hear someone who should say "this was and is wrong," say it and mean it."

I was thinking this exact thing the other day, Robin.

My own child does not care that it was wrong. He is more concerned with the brainwashing, indocrination and material possessions his adopters lavished and still lavish upon him to care about the crime of humanity committed against us both.

I stopped taking crap from all of them and dared spoke out about it long ago, so I fight the good fight on my own, but I will never stop fighting...So glad you never will either!

Sandy Young said...

A-freaking-MEN! I have spent the weekend reading the slings and arrows directed at my simple statement that mothers have rights, too, and that to further violate mothers' rights to satisfy adoptee's rights is WRONG! It is enough to make you wash your hands of the whole, entire thing!

Don't let that rocking chair get in your way just yet, Sister Mother! There are too few of us already. While I understand the pull of that porch, there is so much that needs to be done.

Thanks, Robin, my friend, for having the ability to put to words the feelings that are so common for all of us.

Grateful Hugs,

Robin said...

Are we re-thinking SA next July, Sandy?

mae enfuricida said...

you are so on point with the lying part.when will the adoption machine realize the devistation caused by the tearing apart of mother and child to accomadate the selfish desires of the childless.I have chosen to no longer defend myself against the lies told in order to steal my child.a-rent loyalty will win every time.

Kathy said...

AMEN and AMEN again.Count me on your side in this battle to the death.
It will be interesting to see what the official WA apology will say tomorrow. I wish I thought there was any hope of getting an apology in the good ol' US of A.

Celeste Billhartz said...

Great post, Robin!!

Anonymous said...

Today the government of Australia apologises to the women who suffered this great loss.

Anonymous said...

Adoption apology in WA
listen now | download audio

Australian history will be made this week in the WA parliament.

The state of Western Australia is the first to officially apologise for past adoption practices in the period between the 1940s and 1980s.

The apology will be made on behalf of the state institutions that engaged in adopting out babies, under past governments.

As you've heard over the years on Life Matters, adoption practices had a traumatic effect on many of the women and children involved. They were mostly young, unmarried and, in the thinking of the times, were encouraged, sometimes forced, to relinquish their children.

Our guests include Sue and Marilyn from Western Australia who will be sitting in Parliament tomorrow to hear Premier Colin Barnett offer an official apology for what was done to them.

Christine Cole set up the Adoption Apology Alliance and is completing a PhD on the subject.

Amyadoptee said...

Being that I am in that position now, I fully comprehend and empathize in a total different perspective. I don't think a lot of adoptees do until they are put into the same situation.

As an adoptee and a mother who is being pushed out of her daughters'lives, the bullshit, the lies, and the ownership crap blows my mind even to this day.