Saturday, October 16, 2010
On A Bender Over Gender
This is more than just one isolated incident. We Natural Mothers have been watching, with growing dismay, as we get all the blame and the Ndads become the greatest, gosh-darned people on the earth. You would think that adopted people would better understand the concept of being abandoned, since they accuse us Mothers of that so often. Actually, it feels, sounds and seems to us that many adopted people are saying, "It's just peachy-keen for Daddy to have his fun with Mommy and then treat her like dirt, take off like the hounds are after him and put her in the position of having to surrender for the sake of her child's survival and her own because, if he comes out and says he is our Daddy 40+ years later, that makes him a great guy."
Someone once referred to the adoption equation as an uneven square with two sides (facilitators and adopters) being the winners and two sides (adoptees and natural mothers) being the losers. I am starting to see a lop-sided pentagram here because the pappies are definitely on the "win" side. As far as I am concerned, anything that either of the fathers of my two oldest have to offer me or them would be too little and way too late.
The connection to the Natural Mother is the more intense one. Ndads didn't give birth and then have to render their coerced signature giving up their rights. Our children emerged from our bodies and the mother has a mystique that is almost religious. So, if a Mother, abandoned by the father of her child, isolated from the support and comfort of her family and reeling from the litany of dire threats to her child's survival and her own, surrenders, then it is all her fault. Daddy can always lie (and many of them do) and say he was never told. BULLSHIT. In many cases, if daddy wasn't told, it was because Mommy knew it would be water off a duck's back and that she could look for no help from that corner. Believe me, kiddies. The vast majority of them knew and too damn many of them ran like scared rabbits.
For those of us who, like Susannah Boffey, were very much in love with the fathers of our babies, that makes the rejection of us and the infant created from that love even more painful. Stewart had his first chance when Susannah told him she was pregnant. He blew that one. He had another chance to acknowledge his daughter in the 80's but declined and blew that one, as well. NOW, when he is aging, looking for good PR and a way to keep his career afloat, he acknowledges his daughter. So, does that mean that the third time is the charm? It sure doesn't make him out to be the good guy or the hero.
I think this young woman needs to re-examine the reasons she and her Mother "didn't get on." Her adopter, who left everything to her natural son and nothing to her appropriated daughter, was still living and Streeter was still in full obligation and loyalty mode. Perhaps Susannah had refused to lick butts and humbly apologize for what she was perceived to have done wrong. Perhaps the conflicting loyalty issues were a problem. But this woman tried like the devil, for months, to keep her baby. She had to have been under enormous pressure, not the least from Stewart, and got backed into the proverbial corner. There are different sides to this story and, in the story of the reunion, we have only heard from one side. Excuse me if I keep an open mind and even make some educated guesses.
It is the difference in our genders that makes it easy for the male to scoot and leave the female holding the bag, as it were. For the man, it is a momentary pleasure. For the Mother, it is her body, her instincts, her pain, her life in jeopardy when giving birth. Believe me, for most of us, after going through that, surrender was the LAST thing we wanted to do. We are the ones who are penetrated, who bleed and who have our bodies and psyches prepared to nurture and protect. We are the ones who will sign a paper if it means security for our infants. Read Rohan McEnor's article about why Mothers surrender if you want to understand it better. The patrichial nature of our society allowed the fathers to get off, scott-free, while we carried the shame, the blame and the weight of pressure from parents and social workers, family and society.
Whenever I think of the father of my oldest child (the second one doesn't deserve a mention..I was relieved not to have him in my life), I often think of this verse from Linda Rondstadt's version of "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me." While tongue-in-cheek, it is accurate, barring locations.
Well, I met a boy out in (Spartanburg *)
And I ain't namin' names
But he really worked me over good
Just like Jesse James
Yes, he really worked me over good
He was a credit to his gender
He put me through some changes, Lord,
Sorta like a waring blender.
I am fortunate in that both my surrendered children see and know the true nature of their Natural Fathers. And I will stand, foursquare, behind any Natural Dad who steps up to the plate and wants to keep their child in the family and/or gives respect and support to the mother. I am overjoyed to see this kind of behavior on the part of fathers becoming a trend. And the Natural Father who acknowledges his adult child, right off the bat and tries to make amends to both his child and the Mother of his child has my grudging respect.
But I will be doubly damned if I am going to look at the picture of a man more than forty years out of his child's life, who has already forfeited two chances to make the grade, who smiles at the camera with his arm around said adult child's shoulders and think, "Gee, what a great guy." This geezer has a baby on the way by a current wife that is younger than his adult, reunited daughter. He's a player.
Sorry, but I don't see a hero or even a good guy, there. I see a guy who thinks with his "little brain" and tried to get away from the responsibility of that action and who is trying to salvage something, now. Excuse me if I sound a bit bitter over this one. I have a right to the feeling.
Like I said before, too little, too late.