Friday, October 15, 2010

Frustrating Daily Distractions and Other Injustices

It seems that, often, I will be on track with a blog theme, only to be distracted by life, daily crisis and other topics that catch my eye. The news, especially that being circulated on Facebook, is full of things to fill my brain and short-circuit synapses. Some folks say that the absent-mindedness that hits people in middle age is really just information overload and distractions. I think that's a workable theory.

It's good, I guess, that if I have to lose one perfectly good idea, another is there to take its place. But it still frustrates me, and I am further frustrated by the topics I do retain. There just ain't no justice.

I'm talking about the latest story making the rounds about Rod Stewart, aging rock star and, surprise, Natural Daddy. I'm not surprised. I was never a fan and I found his music to be mostly hormone-laden anthems to sex, getting it, keeping it and indulging in it. I admit to liking "Maggie Mae," but it's the music that is good. The lyrics are just every young guy's wet dream of the sexy older woman "keeping" him. Now he's hanging on with old standards and showing his "nicer" side.

Yep, old Rod has finally, at LONG LAST, stepped up to the fatherhood plate and I have to wonder about his motives and the inclinations of his reunited daughter, Sarah Streeter. Susannah Boffey, her natural mother who was definitely not helped out or supported by Stewart when she was finally forced to surrender her daughter, is the designated goat, here while Stewart has become his daughter's hero. This is the father who wanted her mother to get rid of her. I wonder if money has anything to do with her attitude? So Streeter couldn't get along with her Mother (this probably all went down before the adoptress passed away) and she has been summarily dismissed, even though her Mother tried, for two months, to be both mother and father to this child when she was an infant and was defeated in her efforts. Stewart refused to acknowledge Streeter when the reunion began, back in the early 80's. So NOW he is coming around?

WHY IS IT that mothers get the bulk of the dissing and blaming and the fathers get many pats on the back for DOING WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE IN THE BEGINNING?? This frosts my hide. It doesn't take a hero to say, "Yes, you are my child." All it takes is a real man with backbone and with a modicum of respect for the mother of their child. For some reason, a strutting, self-involved rocker has landed on his feet with this one and Mom is out in the cold.

I just want to let our adult children know that many of these good old daddies who will "acknowledge" you do so because it isn't any skin off their back, anymore. These are the same men who, as boys, probably, ran off and left your mothers to go through the most traumatic experience of their lives. These are the guys who came up with too little, too late, or nothing at all. They abandoned us.

In my mind, the father who steps in at the beginning, such as the father of Grayson Vaughn (read more at firstmothers forum) is the one who deserves the kudos. The Rod Stewarts of this world didn't have to go through the fear, the frustration and the heart-breaking defeat that the Mothers endured. Nope, they didn't and I don't care what anyone says, I will never believe they suffered more than a minor twinge. These goatish ones of whom I speak were too busy trying to make big bucks and get laid as often as possible. Muy Macho, huh? The responsible ones, the REAL men, hung around and married the Mothers.

My frustration is compounded by the fact that there is still the double standard operating today. We're still the ones who are responsible for all the pain of the adopted person and the fathers, who were 50% of the conception, are suddenly Jim Anderson, Ben Cartwright and Ward Cleaver, all rolled into one just for saying "yes, you're my child." F*** that! Right now, my fondest wish is that Sarah and Susannah will  find some common ground and be able to have a relationship.

And Stewart owes the Mother of his oldest daughter a HUGE apology. Do you think, Mr. Rock Star, that you, in all your short, preening, banty rooster glory, might be able to manage that?


Just Me said...

Having an adoptive father who was loving but strict -that later contracted cancer and started to see life a little differently before passing on - I have to be devil's advocate:

You might consider that some of Mr. Stewart's turn around could be the result of his own bout with sickness or the result of FINALLY growing up or the combination of these factors, plus...

I'm not discounting your point of view because you're right - there are many men in the past and many men now that have not/did not/will not stand up and be real men when it comes to fathering children.

Where I disagree:
Ms. Streeter said that she attempted a relationship with her mother but that her mother seemed disinterested with every attempt and like many of us adoptees with similar experiences she gave up trying. I did not read anything in that article that I took to be bashing or trashing her mother; she just told her side of the story as she experienced it. And, she was honest about her father's lack of interest in reunion over the years.

Trying to be optimistic:
I would rather see this as a tale that if at first your reunion does not succeed, don't lose hope. No matter who you are reunited with (mother, father, etc.) it can start off rocky but if everyone can be open and forgiving with one another then fences can be mended and relationships can grow. It won't be roses but it shows signs of healing.

PS - great post by the way.

Robin said...

This happens too often and is too little, too late for me to see anything to admire in Mr. Stewart. he is only doing what he should have done all along. AND, it seems that the mother comes with a much bigger emotional investment on both ends than the father, therefore it is easier for the reunion with the mother to derail. He still owes the mother of his child an apology.

Robin said...

I would love to see mothers given more of a benefit of the doubt and as much defense as these recalcitrant fathers seem to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Why are the father's not as culpable in our children's eyes? In many cases they just left us with no support, yet we (mothers) are the ones that bear the brunt of the rage and fury our children feel at having been placed for adoption, while 'father" gets off scott free and "oh, I can see how hard it was on him". Please!

Just Me said...

Rod is certainly not less culpable. And I'm not disagreeing with you that he should have stepped up WAY sooner.

I also agree that he owes the mother an apology.

He also owed his daughter an apology and I don't recall if the article said he did that or not.

I don't think he should be admired for how things have been handled. I just tried to see it from another perspective is all.

I agree with your comment Robin about the mother's emotional investment.

Even though it didn't work out for this adoptee and her mother, I think she's trying to tell other adoptees with her story that as time passes, things can change and we should never lose hope. Everyone involved should try to remain open to forgiveness and understanding. This is what is happening now for her with her father; unfortunately her mother passed on before it could have (and might have) happened for her too.

Robin said...

I guess I see it differently, Just Me. I see a famous, rich father who needs to keep his career going and the usual resentment towards the mother. No one, not mother, adopter, adoptee...anyone, is above following the money. I think it is just as likely that this is exactly what Streeter is doing.

Just because we have been pulled into the adoption maelstrom doesn't mean that we don't have our proportion of greedy and dishonest and ego-driven individuals who will take advantage for various reasons.

To me, it is still too little, too late and this young woman needs to learn how to appreciate how hard her mother tried to keep her. A 17-year-old with no support in that day in the UK? I'm surprised she made it as long as she did.

This one is an "agree to disagree."

Sandy Young said...

Robin, forgive me for my laziness, but I just wrote a HUGE comment on this to you and lori on my blog, so I copied it and am pasting it here.

Robin, Lori,
That was my point exactly. The poor thing tried to parent alone, and I am sure, at that time, the pressure on her was ENRORMOUS! But, after months of enduring it, she finally surrendered. Now, the prick who didn't want the kid, who deserted them both, is suddenly the hero for acknowledging her NOW? WTF!

And, the poor young woman who valiantly tried, against all odds, to do it alone, and was probably traumatized beyond recognition in the process, "met her a few times, but we don't get on....??????"

EX-CUUUUUSE ME!!!! This happens all too often. The mother's feet are held to the fire, they are the bad guys, the difficult ones, but the Dads, those scamps, STILL are not held accountable!!! What do mothers have to Freaking DO??? Walk through freaking FIRE to prove they love the child????

Then we get to the loving and adored adopter woman. You know the one...the one who apparently left the property to the son she gave BIRTH to and not to the daughter she acquired. Otherwise why was the property sold out from under her, or why were there not some kind of considerations made for her? this is the woman she worships and grieves? The one who favored one child over the other at the end of the day!

Others may have seen this as a sweet story of reunion. I see this as the epitome of all that is wrong in adoption, in surrender, in reunion. This story just simply SUCKS! It isn't a love story of a father and daughter. It is a slap in the face at the situation of every single mother who ever lost a child to adoption!!! IT INFURIATED ME!!!

Robin said...

Ah, said it well. I am incensed for her mother and for the entire community of mothers who are left to take all the blame while daddy get his shit together tool late.

Robin said...

"tool late?" I wonder if that is Freudian?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for calling it like it is!

When I was reunited with my daughter in Summer of '03, I notified her father, by snail mail, as I had no email address for him at the time and could not seem to ferret one out. He responded by email, wanting to know all the details about how I'd found her, what I knew about her, what she was like, etc. He fooled me into genuinely believing he cared about maybe getting to know her, and I kept him informed and updated, with an open heart. We began a long email correspondence, and met up face to face several times over the course of several years.

Turned out, all he really wanted all along was to catch me at a vulnerable time--and trust me, I have rarely been as vulnerable as I was those few months post-reunion-- and find a way to get back into my pants. He used her as a way to make me spend time with him, as in setting up "meetings" with he three of us, etc., but that never came to fruition. For awhile, he had me actually believing he had changed, and said all the right things like, "We could have made it work back then", and, "Maybe we could have been a family", things of that nature.

Nah. He totally rebuffed her when she tried, more than once, to make contact with him. He is still the "man" who wanted nothing to do with his precious, perfect, beautiful baby daughter; the sperm-donor who actually cut the cord and held her first and sat with me in the hospital as I nursed her, and was still able to sign off on her without a single regret, a single tear, a single look back.

He got on with his life, has had a successful career as an MD, has married a very nice, supportive, bright woman and has two beautiful children with her, kids about whom he actually seems to care deeply, for which I am grateful. He does not deserve any of them, as I happen to know he leads his life in shady, selfish, underhanded ways that he keeps pretty well hidden from them.

I dodged a bullet when I "missed out" on marrying this man, but I also, unfortunately, missed out on raising one of the ONLY good things about him--his eldest child, his forgotten child, the "inconvenient" one. Thank GOD she knows her MOTHER loves her!

And, every once in awhile, he will try to reach out to me by phone or email, and I instantly hit "ignore", delete", and move on.

Robin said...

My biggest objection is that no one knows the mother's side of that "didn't get on" and so many will assume the worst. The number of mothers who reject and who "fooled the dad" are miniscule compared to the mothers who were abandoned and worse by the fathers of their babies. How can she be dismissed and Stewart treated like some kind of hero? This is PR, people. And Streeter is going to go for the gold. She's human.

mskimkim said...

Rod Stewart owes our ears an apology for those shocking pop endings to those jazz standards that he murdered on not one but FIVE albums. Not to mention his hideously inappropriate pharsing and refusal to swing on swing tunes. Awful.

Robin said...

THANK YOU, mskimkim. I am glad I am not the only one who is not a big fan of this guy's music. LOL