Saturday, July 31, 2010

PAPs Say The Silliest Things

This is not new, but seems to have had a resurgence of late. It isn't bad enough that voracious PAPs have made their way into labor and delivery, just waiting for "their" barfmuggle to spit out that womb-fresh product. Now they want to intrude on the one part of the process they can never really claim. Paper pregnant? And on a tee shirt...How special.

Let's see...does that mean that the baby is a paper cut out? Won't that make you a "paper parent?" Is this era of self-entitlement gone to such an extreme that PAPs think they can invade the very body of the mother they are predating and take over the process?

This would be sad if it weren't such an insult. If  you can't be honest about the fact that you are waiting for a tragedy to happen so that you can pretend to be Mommy and Daddy, at least be honest about the fact that the child you covet is NOT the product of anything you did and certainly not of your body.

Adoption and separation of the mother and newborn is a painful and unnatural action. This kind of insensitivity makes it even more heinous. Those who adopt whine about insisting that "sensitive adoption language" be used that, basically, attempts to erase all traces of the mothers and the biological facts from the equation. One of our own has countered with "honest adoption language" and there is no reference to "paper pregnancies" there, at all. Just the facts, Ma'am.

This specious idea for a garment really makes the PAP who wears it look ridiculous. They might as well strap on a false belly and wear maternity clothes and lie down and moan and groan when the natural mother goes into real labor. It would really do all of these paper preggos a lot of good to read Margaret Atwood's, "The Handmaid's Tale." A little humility is in order here and a bit more sensitivity to the pain of the mother wouldn't hurt, either.

So, to the avid, covetous PAPs who circle the pregnant woman like vultures, try to have a little kindness in you and do the following; Don't force pre-birth surrenders. Stay out of the labor and delivery rooms. Don't show up at the hospital but wait for the mother to have a chance to be with her child for a while. Don't try to assume the mantle of a bereaved mother should the real mother change her mind and keep.

And for Pete's sake, stay out of our pregnancies!

Friday, July 30, 2010

And What Is It That We Have Been Saying???

There was an article today in the Bucyrus, Ohio Telegraph which really pleased me and made me fume at the same time. The article was about some relatives who took in two small children when they might have wound up in the foster system. A local official was quoted as saying, "We saved $700,000 this last fiscal year that ended June 30 by placing children in kinship care instead of foster care."

Well, now golly gee! Why didn't someone think of that before now? Hello! They did! We did! It was just that the adoption industry made sure the idea wasn't spread around where families could latch on to the idea. I remember when my father left, my Mother, Grandmother my aunts and uncles got together to make sure that we would stay together and with my mother or other kin while she worked. That was the good, old idea of family. Extended family was a working situation...close contact and a wonderful support system. Too bad they came to that place where what the neighbors thought was more important that family ties.

It makes me wonder why that doesn't come up when a young, single woman becomes pregnant, now? Why the mad dash to adoption? What about her family lending a helping hand or family members taking over custodial care until mom is on her feet? If the mother is incapacitated, wouldn't it be better for the child to be with family? This is a direct quote from an adoptee. "I love my (adopters) very much but I would much rather have been raised in my family of origin."

We've spoken, our children have spoken  and now Bucyrus, Ohio, has spoken. It is time for our families to stop sacrificing their newborn family members who are born to mothers in crisis to the adoption machine. It is past time for grandparents, aunts, uncles and other close family to step up and fight for the right to take their own into their homes and hearts. Kinship guardianship/care (and legal guardianship in lieu of adoption if no relatives are available) are ideas whose time has come.

Let's strengthen our families rather than disrupting them by coveting their children.

Dissension

In researching some points about our Puritan Heritage, I learned about this lady. She was an early voice against the patriarchy and the power of the clergy in religion. While deeply devout, she was of the opinion that faith was an individual and private matter between a person and their God. Interesting concept, since it evolved within the atmosphere of the most repressive religion in our history.

"Born in Lincolnshire, England, Anne Hutchinson immigrated to Massachusetts Bay with her husband and family in 1634. She was initially highly regarded in the community because of her intelligence and caring nature, but later ran into difficulty because of her religious views and outspoken nature.


Deeply fascinated by intricate theological issues, Hutchinson began to hold weekly discussion groups in her home following Sunday services. Attendance at these meetings grew rapidly and included young governor Henry Vane as well as several of the colony’s other leading citizens. After establishing her skill as the discussion leader, Hutchinson revealed her support of the efficacy of faith alone (the covenant of grace) as they key to salvation, as opposed to the standard Puritan emphasis on good works (the covenant of works). She also expressed her belief that God revealed himself to individuals without the aid of clergy.


John Winthrop was leery of Hutchinson’s views and cautioned that women could do irreparable damage to their brains by pondering deep theological matters — a view not uncommon for the day. Winthrop and John Cotton led the opposition to Hutchinson and charged that she and her followers were guilty of the antinomian heresy. She was brought to trial before the General Court in 1637, found guilty and banished from the Bay Colony.


Hutchinson joined other dissenters in the establishment of Portsmouth, Rhode Island."

And so it goes as those with the power, money, connections, etc., continue to discredit the voices of the victims of social injustice...in our case, coerced surrender. The hurtful thing about it all is the ones among our own number who support this patronizing view of our issues. How better to silence dissension than with derision?

Thus we get the "bitter and angry" sobriquets that divert attention from our subject matter and focus it on our credibility. As can be seen with the story of Anne Hutchinson, the more intelligent the dissenting argument, the more vicious the protectors of the status-quo become. It becomes a matter of personalities rather than issues. I know of a couple of people that I don't really like very much, but whose views I support and with whom I agree for the most part. I have friends I love with whom I have major disagreements in certain areas.

It's sort of like the way the conservatives tried to make a dirty word out of the simple designation "liberal." Names like "socialists," "tree-huggers," and other denigrating labels made what should be a debate of issues into another personality conflict, only this with groups rather than individuals. It's like using the name "birthmother" to identify a woman before she even considers surrender in order to send the message that she is undeserving of her child. With activists, it seems that those who don't agree with us would rather talk about our anger than our issues. To cloud the message, it seems de rigueur to discredit the messenger.

It is especially troubling to some that we indict the US government as being complicit in our coercion. It is no secret that the adoption industry is sanctioned by our government. It is no secret that there is big money in this industry, accomplished lobbyists and powerful allies. It can't really be called a conspiracy because that would imply something hidden. The industry, in my eyes, is arrogant and overt, sure they can head us off and beat us down. Meanwhile, our elected officials keep their jobs by pushing the warm, fuzzy but misleading message of infant adoption while ignoring the EMS and the legalized crimes committed against an overwhelming number of young women and their infants.

While not especially religious, I have to admire Anne Hutchinson's courage and conviction. She was tried, convicted and exiled.

I wonder what the government and the industry will do to us?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Bride Wore Black

Actually, it wasn't a black wedding dress, but a dressy, black tweed winter dress with pearls and black pumps. It was the only dressy outfit I had.  I didn't have a bouquet or even a corsage. My former husband and I stood, a couple of shaky 20-year-olds, in front of the Hart County, GA Ordinary, a colorful old fella named A. E. Ertzberger. His home office was in a house  behind a railroad track and a junkyard. There was a hydrangea bush with white blooms on it, next to the porch. The side to the porch bore brownish blooms, dyed with the tobacco juice this guy would spit while sitting in his rocker. But, if he married you, it was definitely official and legal.

This was definitely not the wedding of my dreams. I was no different from any other girl who wanted the white, flowing dress and veil, music, flowers everywhere, a troop of attendants and a young man waiting at the altar who would be the love of my life. But I was told, when I became engaged, that a church wedding in white was "unseemly" considering my recent past. It was suggested that there be a "nice, little" gathering at the parsonage with just family and that I should wear a nice, ice blue in recognition of the fact that I could not presume to the exalted state of virginity. My mother later told me that some of our family had stated that they would be too embarrassed to attend my wedding if it were held in a church and if I wore a white gown.

So, what I got was a sleazy elopement with a nice guy who was willing to overlook my scandalous past. I liked him well enough but he was not the love of my life and that would make the next 24 years very hard ones for us and our children. And that was what I wanted from him..respectability and children I could keep and raise. After all, the social worker had told me that I would forget my two oldest children, lost to adoption, once I had "children of my own." Now I wonder...what made my two oldest NOT children of my own?

In any event, though my two raised children have brought me so much joy, the formula didn't work. You cannot replace people with people. Mother's Day was bittersweet because I gloried in the sweet attention of my two youngest and silently grieved for the two who were not with me.

I would have dreams where I was getting married in a white dress to the father of my oldest child. I would get halfway down the aisle only to see everyone looking at me in horror. The music would morph into the sound of an infant's wail and when I looked down, the beautiful, beaded white lace of my gown would have turned black as pitch. When I looked up towards the altar, my groom would be gone and there would be the social worker from the SC Children's Bureau waiting for me with a blanket-lined basket.

That dream turned nightmare stayed with me for a few years. When I finally gave up, after 24 years, on a marriage that had been torture for both of us, I think all of us breathed a sigh of relief. I had already met the man who would replace my former boyfriend and then tower above him in every way as the love of my life. We were married in 1989 and I wore white and carried flowers. It wasn't a full-blown church wedding, but is was sweet, pretty and appropriate without looking like a "settled for" wedding. The music was the Pachelbel Canon.

I had worked hard for the few years prior to my second marriage, to regain the self-esteem that was stripped from me by the treatment I received from all who were responsible for the loss of my two oldest children. I had obsessed, for years, over the father of my oldest who really didn't deserve a single one of the tears I had shed over him. I had felt I didn't deserve all the things that were part of a young woman's life. I didn't even graduate with my friends, or the few I had retained, because I was forced to withdraw from school before they could expel me when I became pregnant. Expulsion from school was routine at that time.

I had taken the test for my GED and even taken a few college courses, but the course of my life was forever changed by the loss of my children. I entered into rape crisis counseling to deal with the assault that resulted in the conception of my second child and I started realizing that, maybe, just maybe, I did deserve better. No cap and gown, maybe, but self-respect would be wonderful. The self-loathing I had carried with me for years became limestone and hope was a river running through it, eroding and cutting away at it until it collapsed.

With the reunions, in 1993, with my two adult children surrendered in 1962 and 1963, and acknowledgement of the grief I had carried with me for over 33 years, the learning and growing process accelerated. To help with the mourning process, I wrote reams and reams of poetry and prose that were all about loss, rediscovery, hope and, finally, anger. I had a couple of good friends with whom I was able to share my grieving process and then I discovered the Internet and struck gold in the form of online, natural mothers' forums.

Now I sit here at age 65 and wonder at the years I lost to self-hatred, to the grandiosity of seeing myself as the lowest of the low. I have a solid, wonderful marriage and I am grateful. I have four children who are alive, fairly well, and fighting their own way through this jungle we call life. I have grandchildren and even great-grandchildren and family I love. I have made friends online, a fact which makes me smile, and some enemies, a fact that doesn't bother me near as much as it used to. I also have a fantastic little dog and laughter. And I have the ability to take that intimidated, coerced, insecure young mother and hold her in my arms and reassure her that she deserved better.

She deserved to keep her babies. She deserved to wear white.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Surrender is a Bitch

Sometimes, I can remember enjoying being pregnant with my first two. The longer they were inside me, the better. I tried not to think of the constant litany of coercive phrases being force-fed to me and enjoyed my moments of escape, just feeling that little life move in my belly. I would dream impossible dreams but watched as my hope diminished and died.

I held a lot of promise for a successful life, as a child. I was precocious and bright. I am sure my mother had wonderful hopes for my future. But, just as I was about to blossom, the bud was forced to remain a bud.

I wonder how many women who could have done marvelous things were derailed by surrender? I know some that closed off the pain and moved ahead with grit and determination and became very successful, as if to show their families that they, indeed, had real worth. But some of us, full of the stuff of creativity and ambition, found ourselves so stymied by the ordeal of coerced surrender and the unnatural separation of mother and child that our growth was stunted. A wounded bud has trouble blooming.

I remember a movie I saw about a young woman who was a brilliant dancer. Her star was just starting to ascend when she suffered an injury to her legs. I identified, at the time, with the crippled dancer. I could make the motions but I couldn't make the leaps nor do the footwork. Emotionally, I was sabotaged by defeat, sorrow, damaged  self-esteem and the realization of my own powerlessness.

I took a few college courses, but never got a degree. I could have graduated high school with honors but, because I was pregnant during the EMS, I had to settle for night school and a GED. My mother settled for seeing me safely married and out of the dating pool. My first marriage was a twenty-four year ordeal but I was respectable and I had children I could keep and raise. At the time, I thought it was a fair trade.

Some people think that this is all about adoption. But adoption was not our bailiwick. Our emotional trauma was contained in the time leading up to and the actual surrender.  Pregnancy is a time of physical and hormonal stresses for any woman. It was murder for a single teen in a time of social hypocrisy that judged her as less than she was. The constant and forceful arguments that constitute coercion, the emotional pressure of frantic parents wanting their little girl back as a faux virgin, and the dread of that day when we would labor and give birth without a loved one to even hold our hands were enough to subdue even the most energetically ambitious among us. The ultimate loss, the unnatural amputation of our sacred ties to our babies, was the coup de grace.

We either lost ourselves in our ambitions or, like me, we only had thoughts of those children the SW's had promised would heal our wounds. I married the first man that would have me (eloping because my mother said it would be unseemly for me to have a church wedding) and, nine months later, I was a "respectable," married mother. The empty promises of the social workers played out as they have with so many others. While my raised children brought me much joy, I never stopped mourning my lost babies. I didn't forget, I didn't "get over it" and, while I went on with  my life, it was not the life it could have been had I not been beaten down into the lowest of low self-esteems.

While some of my sister mothers and I call ourselves "adoption activists," what we really are, in advocating for the mother, is surrender activists. Adoptees have their groups that fight for open records. We are fighting for something more esoteric and that is recognition and justice. This is not a solid piece of paper we can hold in our hands, but something more essential to our being. The industry and the government were complicit in what we endured and the damage we suffered. We need to hear them recognize and admit that. We need the American public to know that something very, very wrong went on in our recent past that caused as much heartache for over a million young women as warfare causes a nation.

Will we get what we want? I don't even begin to see myself as able to answer that one. But, just like I hoped for a better life as a frightened girl, I hope for a light of truth to shine on this era and the story to eventually be told in larger terms than in individual anecdotes and experiences.

Identifying myself as a mother of adoption loss has been a freeing experience. It is a fact that the truth will set a person free. Secrets, lies and misconceptions are a prison of this nation's own making when it comes to the adoption industry and its crimes. The fact that girls like me had to bear the derision and judgment, not just of our parents, or our church, or our own small community, but the entire nation, makes this crime all the more heinous.

It is past time that a light was turned back to those days and made to shine into the dark corners of overt, legalized but criminal coerced surrender. We speak now from a place of realization, awareness and courage that we didn't have when we were part of the huge number of surrendering mothers.

Though our hair may be gray, the buds are finally blooming. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ouch! Stop That!

Do you mothers ever feel like you have been the target of a palpable wave of hostility? Gee, wonder where that came from? I remember my two oldest as infants, my daughter lulled to sleep on my chest, listening to my heart beat, my son meeting my eyes with his dark blue, unfocused baby eyes. I never thought that they would grow up with resentment and lies. I bought the story the social worker told me because I had no other choice. It was all I could do. I had to believe it for their sake.

Just when I felt nicely insulated from all the adoptee anger online, it invaded the "first mother" page on Facebook. If I hear one more adult adopted person demand that I "take responsibility" for THEIR problems while behaving like bratty toddlers, I will scream. The worst abuse seems to come from the "obligated and grateful" adoptee or the ones who did draw a less-than-receptive mother in the mix. The latter like to blame all mothers for the behavior of theirs, yet excuse lies and neurotic behavior from their adopters.

I understand the feelings, but I object to the actions. The feelings are based on erroneous perceptions but they have to have time to deal with that. While they are dealing, too many of them are mother-bashing. That's where I get off the "poor adoptee" boat. We can respect them and their feelings without being a slave to their perceptions. One of the worst irritations comes when they want us to pay homage to all adopters...by not calling them adopters.

If there were ever a more-maligned group of people in the US than natural mothers, I would be hard put to find them. And the adopters have done the most name-calling of all the denigrators of unmarried moms. They want  us dead and gone and our adult children want us repressed and wearing gunny sacks of repentance for sins we did not commit. It's enough to make me want to take up isolation as a lifestyle.

"When you call my AP's "adopters," you hurt my feelings." This from an adult man. Well, golly gee, Fella. You must be awfully thin skinned to think it is all about you and the people who adopted you. And don't start with that "taking responsibility" crap. I speak for myself and for a million or so other mothers from my era who did not have a choice and who will not kiss your shoes in penance for something we didn't do, damn it.

I am not going into all the facts and figures to prove a point that has already been seen as fact by many a scholarly researcher. Even proponents of the industry, itself, have recognized the truth behind the crimes against us and our children in the EMS. Our refusal to accept that we are not going to be pushed around by our adult children and coerced, again, into accepting their version of our "responsibility" is really pissing some of the mother-haters off, big time. It's not enough to hate their OWN mothers...they seem to feel the need to become a new sort of bigot and hate all natural mothers. All I can see when I watch this phenomenon is a bunch of overgrown 3-year-olds, pouting.

Now, I have to tell you that this is directed towards a group of adopted people, not all of them. I know a large number of wonderfully adult adopted people who, while struggling with their issues, still maintain a caring and respectful tone towards others including their natural mothers. I respect them in return and am so glad to count them among my friends. I have learned a lot from them about understanding the reasons why adopted people have these feelings and how hard it is to come to terms with lies they have been told, the reality of who they are and who their mothers are, why their heritage was taken...it's not easy. But neither is it easy dealing with our trauma.

I have said this before and I will say this again. We were hurt, as well. Our pain is different and caused by different things, but it is no less intense than the pain of the adopted person. I sat across from another mother, just the other day, and watched her shed tears of the grief with which she still struggles. To be treated like an abusive abandoner by adults our children's ages, who should know better, is a slap in our faces and I don't take kindly to being slapped. So I say Ouch because it hurts and tell you to stop it, once. After that, I slap back.

And to all those mothers/door mats that think we need to "mother up" and lay down for our adult children to use us as rugs or beasts of burden to carry their one-sided message, sorry, I'll pass. Call it, well, call it self-respect and expecting adult behavior from adults. (Now THERE'S a concept!) Our children are big boys and girls, now. That means it is past time for them to have learned the concepts of fairness, decency and kindness. The real enemy, the Industry, is laughing and counting their coins while you try to duke it out with us.

I'm tired of the abuse. Stop it!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

And More About Unconditional Love


...and wuv, twu wuv will fowwow you foweva. so tweasure your wuv......

This is one of my favorite scenes in "The Princess Bride." The impressive clergyman had no clue to the fact that Prince Humperdink was NOT Princess Buttercup's "twu wuv." So he was lisping about romantic love. But there are so many different kinds of love.

The love between a mother and child should be one of the easiest and most natural kinds of love there is. But, when we talk about reunited mother and adult child, separated by years and tested by the very unnatural nature of that separation, we find there is nothing easy about it. Sometimes, I think that if we mothers aren't fawning over our adult children and meekly following their rules, they surmise that we don't love them when the opposite is true. It is hard for them to grasp the reality of our experience emotionally, and therefore they mistrust our love. Since few of them have received true, unconditional love, they have a tendency to keep testing ours. And, as our love is tested, we grow testy. The push you-pull me gets to be enervating if it goes on for years.

Love should be easy, effortless, and calm. It shouldn't be a trial or an ordeal. It shouldn't be based on constant crisis and angst. Drama saps the strength of everyone. It should survive the lumps and bumps of children becoming their own people, but should not be a free ride for any kind of bad behavior. I have a son who has been in major trouble from his own actions. At no time and in no way do I excuse or approve of what he has done and he knows that. But I still love him.

I have spoken before about how adoption separation takes a natural bond and doesn't break it but twists and distorts it. I think it also distorts the perception of what the love of a mother really is. It's not a total surrender of the will and the dignity of either party and it sure isn't co-dependent. It is unconditional but not indulgent. It's doesn't need testing. It doesn't pull one down but should lift one up. It is grace and laughter, not pain and drama. And it is one thing that seems to be missing in many a reunited person...trust.

You have to trust that the love is there because no relationship, no matter how close it might be, ever goes 100% smoothly. If the trust is there, you know that though you may be at odds, you will always be loved. And you don't have to make an issue out of the fact. You just accept it and move forward. But adoption seems to leach the trust out of the psyche and I can, unfortunately, understand it up to a point. It is when mistrust becomes either demanding or abusive that I call a halt.

I can understand some of this because my father abandoned my mother, sisters and me when I was five. He returned when I was 14 and though I wanted a dad with all my heart, I never completely trusted him. In his case, I was right not to trust but that is not always the case. If we have to earn trust by being expected to jump through emotional hoops day after day, then many of us just might say, "pass" on that one. If we have husbands, other children, jobs, plans...in other words, established LIVES. We want to make that reunited adult child a part of those lives. We don't want to put our lives on hold while we take our standard reunited mothers' tests (the SRMT's) and see if we passed.

So what we have here is an impasse, a "woadbwock" as the Impressive Clergyman would say. Because of the missing years, we have the impossible expected of us. Sometimes the testing is so emotionally draining that it leaves us exhausted. To be fair, it can't be any easier on our adult children which makes me wonder why we can't work our way around this frustrating crap. I have noticed that some of the older adoptees seem to get it. I count, as friends, many adoptees in the age group of 40 to 60+. A lot of the younger ones are just pissed off 24/7. You can't win what shouldn't even be a contest.

Only maturity, understanding and mutual respect will ever bridge that chasm of years and experience. Insecurity, impossible demands and anger  just break down anything that has been built. I have received private emails from mothers not yet reunited who have read at some of the sites and they are saying, "no thank you," to reunion and to open records for fear that they will encounter a hostile adult child. I have to disagree with them on principal even though I understand their fear and hesitation.

Just who do we mothers think we are? Well, we don't think...we KNOW we are real women with real feelings and real lives, deserving of respect. We KNOW we are not door mats or whipping girls. We KNOW we love our children and would give our right arms if the surrender had never happened. We KNOW we don't deserve the hostility, name-calling and aggravation.

And some of us are getting just a little bit pissed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Mothers Who Lunch

So here's to the girls on the go-
Everybody tries.
Look into their eyes,
And you'll see what they know:
Everybody dies.
A toast to that invincible bunch,
The dinosaurs surviving the crunch.
Let's hear it for the ladies who lunch--
Everybody rise!
Rise!Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise! Rise!Rise!

That is from Elaine Stritch's "The Ladies Who Lunch." It seems that I meet other mothers of adoption loss two ways...a retreat of some sort or another or meeting for lunch. I have a friend from Canada who makes trips down here to visit her reunited son and we have met for the past two years for lunch. Another good friend works or did work out at Patrick AFB and we have met for lunch on several occasions. Today, I met a new friend, a mother and a talented artist, who lives just a couple of hours away from me in Ocala. We met at a little restaurant in Astor and stuffed ourselves silly while talking about our experiences.
 
Too often, people might look at us and say, "Just another couple of women with nothing to do, out for a change in the routine." They don't hear what is said at those tables. My new friend is a bit younger than me and surrendered in 1980. The rest is not so different. She was from a small community, largely ethnic and very, very Catholic. Because of that upbringing, birth control and abortion were not options for her 30 years ago. Her parents were very old school, and between them and the CC, she pretty much had the same experience the mother from the EMS has. The only difference was that she was shamed by her parents and church..we had the entire United States social system and the government on us. But that doesn't lessen her pain and, even she admits that there were massive social changes while she was growing up. Unfortunately, her parents hadn't heard about them. The attitudes about this remind me of the Bible Belt, Protestant fundies where I grew up and learned about intolerance.
 
So there we sat, two women, one with gray hair and one who could have been her daughter and the people around us would never have believed what was happening at our table. We dealt with the ostracism from our families, the lack of understanding of anyone who hasn't been through it, the emergence from the fog and the new-found courage to speak out about our motherhood deleted by a sorry, sick system. We both had moist eyes and my friend shed some tears. There was nothing to do about that but order a hot fudge brownie for dessert.
 
I can honestly say that, while I still recognize the EMS/BSE as a historically significant part of a horrible story and separate from those that came later by virtue of massive numbers and a punitive, national social climate, no way do I think that the mothers who came after us hurt any less. Those from the remaining, little pockets of reactionary attitudes, like my friend, were put through the same wringer and came out just as damaged.
 
What makes her like the EMS moms is the fact that she also was subjected to emotional ultimatums and force. She was ORDERED to surrender. She had no support to keep. The father had graduated and moved away and the faith of her mother and father, this religion of "love," aimed at her heart, fired and hit, dead center.
 
Oh, and one other piece of information came from her story, one I have heard before. When being coerced, we always got the bit about the child deserving TWO parents...a Father who was there for the child. Well, as
it has happened in many other adoptive situations, the adopters divorced when my friend's child was a toddler and she never saw him after that but for two weeks a year. So much for that "two-parent" bull kaka they fed us.
 
The next time I read a "sympathetic" dissertation on counseling the (natural)mother from one of these agencies or Institutions, I am going to say it out loud so they can hear it. The industry, the church-based agencies, the social workers and the attorneys are not doing a thing but taking the crap out of the old bag and putting it into a nice, gift wrapped package. It's still wrong.
 
It still stinks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Adoption Zone

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call... The Twilight Zone!" - Rod Serling


In life, there is a zone where you are a parent but not a parent...a daughter or son but not a daughter or son....where forces beyond our ability to control alter the most basic relationships that exist with the human animal. It is called The Adoption Zone.
 
No matter how hard we reach, there seems to be a barrier between us and our reunited loved ones. The bond is there but it is twisted, distorted and knotted like badly wound yarn. Mothers don't know what to expect from their adult children and those adult adopted people want with one hand and push away with the other and are just as confused as the mothers.
 
I get the impression that many of our adult children want to be treated and included in all things, just like our raised children, yet will say that their adopters are their REAL parents. I hear a lot of "I love you's" that sound, very much to me like "I need you's." We are to give our surrendered children all the same familiarity and attention we give our raised children, but we are not to assume full motherhood of that same adult child. Rod Serling would have had a field day with this one.
 
Mothers and adult adoptees are all suffering from sore feet from tip-toeing through the eggshells, trying not to break any. It's not just on one side, either. I see the same expectations and frustrations from both ends of the dyad. We are also, on both ends, afraid to speak up about it because we don't want to disturb what tenuous balance we have managed to attain.
 
For Mothers, that is where unconditional love is tested. With my raised children, I can say what I will and they might get mad and pout a few days or I might get testy with them and need some cooling-off, but we are always back together with no hard feelings. I don't think many adopted people have ever learned that unconditional love means you can get angry and you don't have to cut people off and out of your life. I have seen some who learned conditional love from their adopters and then passed that on down to their own children. For some, love is a bartering tool..I give you love and you stay with me based on doing this, that and the other thing.
 
I cried when I read a post by Ungrateful Little Bastard. She was reading online about her natural family having a "girl's" outing in which she was not included. That had to hurt. Then I have to remember that I was excluded from my daughter's wedding because of the wishes of her adopters. That hurt, too. I have heard similar stories from other mothers and other adopted people. It's a world of hurt in the Adoption Zone.
 
I have to give it to my family. They work at including my surrendered children in their lives and thoughts and carings. They are good siblings and I am glad because my two oldest need that, badly. It's easier for them, as well, because sibs don't carry that emotional load that the mother does. There are times when I close my eyes and daydream about having a "do over" in life. There would be no Adoption Zone in it.
 
So Rod, here goes; There is a painful dimension beyond motherhood and infancy. It confounds the mind and breaks the heart. It is an uneasy middle ground between family and separation, between love and strangers, between broken hearts and challenged lives. It is known as The Adoption Zone.
 
And those of us in it don't like it here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Sanctioned Evil

For those who are familiar with the strides made in Australia in recognising the crimes against mothers in their BSE, you are probably also familiar with the late Dian Welfare. She was a pioneer, a fighter, a mother and a friend to many of us. She died as she lived the last years of her life, with courage and conviction.

Whenever I start feeling discouraged, beaten down by the naysayers and the "frenemies" that want to undermine us, I go read at the site Lily Arthur, herself a fierce and awesome advocate for mothers, set up in honor of Di and her life.

Di wrote a 6-page article about adoption and the treatment of unmarried mothers in Australia entitled, "A Sanctioned Evil." Well researched and filled with the certainty of one who knows her words are true, this article has helped me through many a bad spell when my resolve wavered. It is worth the time of anyone interested in how the industry and the government of countries come together to deprive a mother of her rights and her baby the comfort of his or her kin.

It is also worthwhile, if you can get a copy, to see Lily's story on DVD that was recorded from an Australian television show. It's called "Gone To A Good Home" and you can find it by going to the Origins NSW site. I have a copy and it is among my most prized possessions.

But as to what a "sanctioned evil" is...it is any activity that hurts citizens with the approval and support of the government. We have had our own version in effect for many years and it has morphed into a powerful and manipulative industry. To deny the aspects of financial and social engineering that are part of this government/industry collusion would be naive.

That shows us exactly what every activist in ever faction of this battle is actually up against...the US government. Legislators are, for the most part, lawyers. Lawyers make money from adoption. Adopters put money in their pockets. There is also the religious right  who supports anyone who will support them increasing their numbers through adoption. Those Bozos also manage to get a little old-fashioned, paternal, punitive action in against those wanton single mothers. Can't let the womenfolk get uppity.

What with the ongoing combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economy, the (*choke) "Tea Partiers" and international unrest, we are seen as relatively unimportant in the overall scheme of things. Although I am not particularly fond of some of the compromised legislation that is being pushed by many of us, I have to admire the fact that they got some attention and action of any sort. Those of us not satisfied with halfway measures and baby steps have an even harder uphill climb.

I have felt very impotent at times. I have grown tired of the lack of general understanding, the infighting and the sniping. I have wanted to close the lid on this one-eyed monster and never write another word about the mothers of the EMS. Then, I go to Di's page and ask myself what she would do. Well, one thing I know she wouldn't do is quit.

Thanks Di. I needed a good dose of inspiration today and you have left that for us all in abundance.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Life IS

 I have had more ups and downs in the past few months than a kid on a trampoline. I questioned myself as to the possibility of my being manic-depressive, but I quickly ruled that out because my depressions weren't deep enough and there were no manic phases....just general contenment interrupted with frustrating upsets. I have now tracked down the cause of my mysterious malady. It's called LIFE. WHOA.

Yep, I was slipping back into my old, irritating habit of thinking that life should go as I wanted it to and people were to behave accordingly. And with the time-accelerating effect of aging, the downs just seemed closer together. As Old Honest Abe put it, "most folks are as happy as they have a mind to be." That's my truth and I'm sticking to it.

It has been frustrating to watch mothers splinter and faction to the point that some are hostile and intent on trying to make others miserable. It's doubly frustrating to have a message misunderstood and renounced because someone's feelings were hurt or the message was not in line with their philosophy. But we BSE/EMS moms have witnessed history and it stands on its own as fact. We can't change it to make it more palatable to some or more inclusive to others. It is what it is. What I still don't understand is why the actions of a group of us and what we say should touch off such a firestorm. I'm not talking about debate. I'm talking ugliness.

I don't see where we are taking a thing away from anyone. The eras have been defined and the reasons are written in the annals of legislation, Supreme Court decisions and newspaper archives. I keep looking for analogies and the right words to explain the differences until I realized that those who oppose us don't want our reasons, they want capitulation. Well, want in one hand and...well you know the rest.

So, sometimes, we will run through the swarm and pick up a few points. Other times we are going to run into the solid surface of resentment and rancor. Sometimes, we're the windsheild, sometimes, we're the bug. I do know that the mindset of the EMS was different. How we were treated was different and why we were treated that way was BECAUSE THEY COULD! Here's just a little sample of the mindset of that time frame.

"The bastard, like the prostitute, thief, and beggar, belongs to that motley crew of disreputable social types which society has generally resented, always endured. He is a living symbol of social irregularity, an undeniable evidence of contramoral forces..." - quote from The American Journal of Sociology, article by Kingsley Davis, 1939


"Because there are many more married couples wanting to adopt newborn white babies than there are babies, it may almost be said that they rather than out of wedlock babies are a social problem. (Sometimes social workers in adoption agencies have facetiously suggested setting up social provisions for more 'babybreeding'.)" SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS, National Association of Social Workers, (Out-of-print) copyright 1964


"... the tendency growing out of the demand for babies is to regard unmarried mothers as breeding machines...(by people intent) upon securing babies for quick adoptions." - Leontine Young, "Is Money Our trouble?" (paper presented at the National Conference of Social Workers, Cleveland, 1953)

There are many more damning statements made  that relay the disgust and derision in which the unmarried mother and the child of that mother were held by society. Yes, I know that some people in some churches and areas still think that way. But this was from coast to coast...nationwide....during the BSE. We were dirty, disposable and our children were to be redeemed from bastardy. I have often wondered why, if we were such awful girls, were people clamoring for our infants?

There doesn't seem to be a meeting place for all in this jumble. This is the era of "more wounded than thou," pop psychology that makes victims into the architects of their own victimization and self-entitlement run rampant. That we want to make our way through this jungle with as few encounters with windsheilds as possible and try to find some justice should not really bother anyone.

But it does and that bothers me.

I had to add a post script to this page: Have you ever played the old parlor game "gossip?" One person whispers something to the person next to them and it is relayed on down the line to the last person who says, aloud what he or she was told. It never comes out the same as it started. Looks like that can happen on a solo basis as well. It can be convenient to forget or alter facts.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sometimes, You Just Can't Win For Losing

I don't know if this image is real or photo shopped or if it's a smiley face or the Cosmos laughing at us all. But it seemed appropriate.

Musing Mother wrote a piece about friendship and I have read it again so I can absorb the message. Losing friends is never pleasant. It hurts and when I know the loss is real, I have to pause and feel the pain. Three times, now, I have been taken aback by women I have known for years thinking that I am not their cup of tea. Two, I have spent time with, face to face, broken bread with them and slept under the same roof. All three, I have known online for years. The two I had met in person, I held in great esteem and cared, deeply, about them and their opinion of me. It broke my heart to learn that someone else could take my thoughts and feelings that I express online and turn me and others into pariahs with them. MM was right. Sometimes it stings and sometimes it is an arrow to the heart. But we live through it.

So, I ain't in with the in crowd no more, no way. I thought it might have been something I said until I realized they were just looking for something to use as an excuse to turn away from me. I could have said, "It's too hot out to worry about things, right now," and that would have been taken as something it wasn't just so they could slam the door of friendship in my face. All I had to do was have a certain tone to my emails or leave a word out of a comment and it was bye-bye, friendship, hello misunderstanding and hostility.

I do want to make a point CRYSTAL clear to these ladies. I and the others you know, do not wish to withhold the rights of adopted people to their original birth certificates. And, when they have those documents, then they can ask their natural families for the medical information they need. But we should NOT be under the onus of a mandate to turn personal information over to any state. Neither should we be left open to frivolous lawsuits from adopters or punitive legal action from the state. If believing that we should be shown that minor courtesy and respect, if believing that we have already suffered enough from our loss, if deciding that being a real mother is not acting like a doormat for our adult children is wrong, then I don't want to be right. Personally, I don't believe any of that is wrong. Our raised children don't have the  right to make those demands of us and neither should anyone else.

I am tired of being a member of a misunderstood segment of the population just as I am sure our adult children are tired of being treated like eternal children. I am even more tired of being misunderstood and maligned and stabbed in the back by people for whom I cared. If I take any consolation in it, it is the fact that  ever so often the deck of life is shuffled. My circle has grown, and I have new friends. The games go on with new players among the old. If a couple of cards drop from the deck, then maybe they were jokers.

I have a widget on my blog that tells me when I am visited and where the visitors are from. Many of my readers find their way from ALLTOP, which lists the most read blogs and posts for each day. More often than not, my posts are in the top five most popular for that day. That's gratifying. I am just one person with one voice, but I have 70 "regulars" who think what I say may contain something they need to hear for good or ill. Sometimes I might not say what others would like to hear, but no one seems indifferent to my posts.

But more than that, I have, here in my own home, my real life and it is a good one. Yes, it hurts to lose friends, but as I recently reflected, 5 years down the line, what is it going to matter? You don't get over losing a child, but you can move on after losing friends. To the two with whom I spent such lovely times, I will miss you and you know where I am if you ever need me.

To the other....adios and I hope you are real proud of your work. That must have taken a lot of keyboard time.

Back To The Real World

I've seen it on Craigslist. I've seen it on adoption support forums for mothers. I've seen it on Yahoo answers and I have heard anecdotes about it happening in public places such as restaurants and department stores. Trolling for b****mothers...it could be a television show.

Those leading questions you see on Yahoo Answers about "how do I go about adopting in (NY, GA, MO and Ratsass, NE)?" or "what does it cost to adopt?" are all just hooked worms dropped into the waters of the Internet with hopes that someone will bite. Let a young, unexpectedly pregnant woman, bewildered and frightened, post about her problem anywhere and the PAPs are on her like...well..like a pack of hyenas. They are predators and their game of choice is the fecund woman with the womb-fresh, healthy infant.

Not only do these people indulge in this kind of predatory practice, they are encouraged to by agencies like Bethany Christian Services. They even have a stable of good, pious little beemommies to tell the prey how wonderful it is to turn your own flesh and blood over to strangers. If anyone wants to know how to track and bring down the succulent pregnant prey, there is a heinous book, "Fast Track Adoption,"  written by adopter "Dr." Susan Burns. The link takes you to a story about what happened after her book was published and the mother of the child she had adopted realized what she had lost and how she had been used.

We older mothers have beat our heads against that brick wall so many times, trying to dissuade the young women of today from falling for that crap, that some of us have decided to give it up and concentrate on our own issues. The PAPs and agents and beemommie shills are quick to assure their victims that we are just bitter and that things are no longer the way they were. I often wonder what part of "same stuff, different day" these kids don't understand. If I had been given the options they have today, such as birth control, safe, legal abortion, and keeping without stigma or shame, I wouldn't be blogging this subject today. It boggles my mind. To offset these recognized civil rights, the industry has lobbied for and won harsher laws advocating everything from binding pre-birth surrenders to 24-hour recinding periods.

I noticed a page on Facebook where adult adoptees were really slamming natural mothers. I also got some insight into the ages and situations of some of these hostile people. Our adult children are in their 40's and up. We BSE mothers are in our 50's, 60's and 70's. It's not our children, for the most part, who are making these hateful comments. It is the later generations and their mothers are the women who ignored us as "bitter and angry," and thought they had it all under control. Now, these same mothers are recognizing that the attack of the predators may have been more subtle and wrapped in pretty bows, but the teeth were just as sharp. These mothers will also have to face the sharp words of their adult children.

You see, the mothers of the BSE/EMS were not blessed with the choices of later generations. We had one option and one option only and our adult children have, for the most part, learned that fact and are exploring their feelings based on the truths they have acquired. But, especially considering the change in society after the mid-1970's, these adoptees from those years are asking the hard questions. It's difficult for them to understand how an industry powered by the money their adopters paid, has so brainwashed a nation that their mothers were ripe for predation. And, lest they forget, adoption is government sanctioned. As such, it has become an institution right up there with the flag, baseball and apple pie.

It is distressing to see the PAPs and Agency reps wading through the waters of the Internet, dangling their bait and waiting to see who bites, so they can set the hook and reel her in. It doesn't seem sporting because I have noticed that the prey is outnumbered, overpowered and doesn't put up much of a fight. These new moms have had too much Dr. Phil and not enough reverence for family ties taught to them.

If anyone wonders why we are approaching from the base of the structure in order to weaken it, it's because the part that shows is all sweetness and light and the ugliness is in the roots, hidden and covered with the dirt of decades. So while the hyenas hunt, we are chipping away at the roots of the tree  under which they find shade and sanctuary. Actually, I feel like I am insulting the hyenas. They are only doing what they must to survive.

I've seen plenty of people survive and flourish without children. What a concept. And, now that adopting is encouraged, even among the fertile, those who have already had their own children, it makes me wonder why the women of today feel they have missed out if they don't adopt. The wannabe Angelinas and Madonnas are everywhere. It's more than an obsession. The desire to adopt has become a disease and the ones who suffer from it are the mothers and the adopted children. The carriers go on their way, predators after prey, disrespecting the most primal bond there is in favor of faux sainthood and self-entitlement.

Big Oil left its mess in the gulf. Big Adoption leaves its mess in the broken hearts of mother and child. That's the bottom line, for you.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What You See Is What You Get

He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away. ~Raymond Hull


It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ~e.e. cummings
 
I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam. ~Popeye
 
I have learned, to my great sorrow, that the world is a place of duplicity. The Internet reeks of it. I remember, when I was younger, how I would try to be a chameleon, changing my own opinions and ideas with every wind that blew, trying to fit in with a friend or co-worker or someone else, just to be accepted and liked. That was back when I was judging my insides by everyone else's outsides. I obviously didn't like me, very much, back then.
 
I can still remember when I became genuine. The epiphany that I was no better or no worse than anyone else and that it was a good thing to be who I am was a joyful and exciting discovery. I didn't have to be perfect to be OK. I didn't have to change my opinions and ideas with every wind that blew. I could disagree agreeably and not be threatened if there were those who saw things differently. Better still, if I truly believed in something, I could fight for that idea or cause.
 
I've watched old friends settle comfortably into the mind-set of their parents, their upbringing and their culture. I'm the lonely little liberal in a conservative patch. While most have returned to Protestant churches and the Republican party, I remain firmly un-churched and doggedly left-winged. That's OK. They are doing what they feel is right for them and I am doing what I feel is right for me. I guess that is why I am grateful for new friends. I love my old crowd. Don't be mistaken on that. And I accept them for who they are. But I know that, for the most part, I don't fit in anymore and I will no longer wear masks to be accepted. Love me  or hate me, what you see is what you get.
 
Much has been said about the fact that there are those of us from the BSE who are still fighting for recognition and redress. We want to start weakening that big, invasive tree called the adoption industry by chopping at its roots. It is with us that the government-sanctioned baby-trade began and we hope that we can be the beginning of its end. If some of us choose to take a different path, why worry about it? Who do we threaten?
 
I figure we must disturb some folks because there is an awful lot of sniping, vicious gossip and pointed, angry commentary going on, some from those who have forsworn anger as destructive and unhealthy. I've played the "live and let live" and the "agree to disagree" card a number of times and it just hasn't worked real well. Some folks won't be happy until everyone is wearing the same tee-shirt and chanting the same slogan. It reminds me of the fundamentalists in my home town. Most of them feel that their way is the only way. To accept that anyone sees it differently  and to allow that difference and respect it is frightening because it might mean that they could be wrong. Thus is born intolerance. And, if there is anything I cannot tolerate, it is intolerance.
 
I guess I am wanting to put certain people on notice that nothing that can be said or spread online is going to destroy me or sway me. I am just mystified as to why these folks are even trying. I guess it takes all kinds. I wonder if they know that resentment and spite are as damaging to health as some think anger is?
 
I am not inflexible. I have realized that we never stop learning. But I do believe in what I am doing and saying. I wouldn't be doing it and saying it if I didn't. So what if I am a bit of a rebel? The people that truly matter love and accept me. They are the ones who support and uphold me. They are the family and friends that know me well and care. They are life's gift to me for growing up and being myself.
 
The others don't matter.

Friday, July 16, 2010

And Then There's Hope...

"True hope dwells on the possible, even when life seems to be a plot written by someone who wants to see how much adversity we can overcome.True hope responds to the real world, to real life; it is an active effort."
Walter Anderson

"Hold on to hope." Pollie Robinson

I've been reading at some of the Face Book pages that speak to the experience of either being a mother of adoption loss or an adopted person. I read a lot about pain, anger, heartbreak and grief. All of those are part and parcel of the experience of adoption separation.

What I love to see is the occasional post by someone who has learned from their tragedy and grown because of it and in spite of it. It's refreshing because we can. so often, become so entrenched in the pain that it grows weirdly comfortable. I used the Twelve Step program of AA, OA, NA, Alanon...well,  you know what I mean...to find some peace amid the storm of reunion, self-discovery and life in general.

The members of these groups are fond of saying that when the pain of where you are grows greater than the fear of where you have to go to find recovery from that pain, then you are on your way. This involves incorporating some spiritual values into your thought and emotional processes. Now I'm not talking religion. I am talking about spirituality. No, they are not the same. A humanist, pagan, agnostic or heretic can have spiritual values. Religion does not have an exclusive claim to hope, love, compassion, tolerance, courage, charity and all the others. And the spiritual value of hope is what pulled me out of the mire and into a life that was worth living.

Hope was the seed that was planted, nurtured and allowed to grow in my heart. Believing that, "no doubt the  universe was evolving as it should*," realizing that the only things over which I had any control were my own words and actions and that each new day was a blank canvas where I could paint a picture of my own choosing, made that hope blossom into full flower. I was a stubborn cuss and that warm pile of crap in which I was sitting had become so comfortable I had learned to ignore the smell.

It was a simple solution to healing but no way was it easy. It was damn hard and sometimes, my grasp on hope would weaken. But when I would get off my pity-pot and reach out for support and understanding, my hold would grow stronger. And I learned to hope for the possible, not the impossible. I was not going to achieve perfection but I could achieve progress with perfection as a goal. I could not heal all my loved ones, but I could heal myself and let them see that it was possible. I could not undo what had been done, but I could come to terms with it and find a way to do something about what could be done. As Bobby Bare sang, "There ain't no tens." I can only do my best.

I turned 65 this week. I might have another 30 years. I might drop dead today. But each day I have, I will face with all the hope I can muster that the tragedy of adoption separation will become a thing of the past, that all my sisters..ALL of them and all our children can find healing, and that the Industry that has preyed on us for decades will come down like the walls of Jericho.

Hey, the quote said hope for the possible. It didn't say we couldn't hope BIG.

*Now, a lot of people think the Desiderata is trite because it has been quoted so much. But it still speaks to me as a guideline for life, one that I stray from often, but to which I also struggle to return. So I am quoting it here because I love it..

The Desiderata
(Max Ehrmann)

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble,
it's a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

GSA In The USA, Today

This is a sad story that happens more often than people know. Usually, the people involved are not minors. It's called Genetic Sexual Attraction, it is powerful and it hurts more people than just the two participating parties

MICHIGAN MOTHER JAILED FOR SEX WITH TEENAGE SON


PTI, Jul 14, 2010, 01.20pm IST



NEW YORK: A mother from Michigan who pleaded guilty to having sex with her 14-year-old biological son, who she gave up for adoption when he was an infant was sentenced to a prison term of nine to 30 years.
Aimee L Sword, 36, apologised for her actions at her sentencing on Monday in Oakland County Circuit Court, the Detroit Free Press has reported.


Sword, who traced her son now 16 through the Facebook, received yearly updates and pictures from the boy's adoptive family in Grand Rapids, according to her attorney Mitchell Ribitwer...........
 
I posted on a site, for a while, that tried to address GSA and support those who were wrestling with it. I came away so saddened and discouraged. Even though hundreds of natural mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters and brothers were having sex with each other, the majority of them tried to justify it by saying that they weren't legally related, so it couldn't be called incest. Pardon?  Here is the definition of the word, incest;
–noun
1. sexual intercourse between closely related persons.
2. the crime of sexual intercourse, cohabitation, or marriage between persons within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity wherein marriage is legally forbidden.
 
And to define consanguinity;
–noun
1. relationship by descent from a common ancestor; kinship ( distinguished from affinity).
2. close relationship or connection.
 
So, in the strictest sense of the word and the law and the taboo, incest only occurs when someone has sex with a close, BLOOD relative. Therefore, someone related by adoption could, and probably this has happened, have sex with an adoptive relative and it would not be incest. Now, what the law can do with that is interesting because they are part of the system that makes paper relatives. This woman was jailed for sexual abuse of a minor...not incest. Once again, mythology prevails over common sense.
 
Incest is the oldest taboo in recorded history and across all cultural and national boundaries. While in certain cultures it was used in the ruling families who mistakenly thought it would "keep the bloodlines pure," notably the ancient Egyptians and some Polynesian Islanders, for the rank and file it has always be forbidden. The ruling classes that did try to keep those pure bloodlines paid for it in dead infants, deformities and madness. 
 
Genetic Sexual Attraction is powerful, intense  and it takes an adult with an ability to use their best common sense to overcome it. One of the best books written about the subject is ""I'M HIS MOTHER, but, HE'S NOT MY SON" by Barbara Gonyo. She knows, first hand, how hard the struggle to overcome this powerful force is. 
 
Adoption reunion is a reuniting of physical adults. They have all the needs of adults and the emotional needs of the family connection. Mothers have told of feeling the need to put their adult child to the breast and these feelings can translate into the only way we know to get anything close to that mother/infant intimacy and that is with sex. With sibling GSA, there is not the familiarity taboo. There is someone who mirrors you in many ways but with whom you did not share everyday life, teasing, fights, hand-me-downs and all the other things that most siblings share. Again, the strong attraction is processed within the reunited ones according to their adult physiology and needs.
 
I do not assign gender to the participants in GSA relationships. They can be heterosexual or homosexual. Some have even gone where no one knows them and actually married. Those who actually act on GSA leave  loved ones in their wake who are devastated, bereaved and unable to relate their pain to anyone. That is why I will always say that acting on GSA is self-serving and irresponsible. 
 
But I will also say that the urges and feelings are not wrong..just misinterpreted. No one should be ashamed of the feelings and they can be overcome and redirected into a healthier way to view the object of your affection. To anyone struggling with GSA, you are not alone and you are not crazy. You are another victim of the adoption mess, but you can deal with it in a constructive way if you want to. It's not always easy to put our personal desires aside for the good of all the other people in our lives, but it can be done.
 
With GSA, it must be done. Our families depend on us using our heads as well as our hearts. Our hormones are not a consideration. This woman in the story above is an adult and a mother. It was her responsibility to keep things on the right track. Now she is paying the price.
 
I think that, in searching, GSA should be one of the things about which the searcher is cautioned. The problem is that most people are very uncomfortable talking about it. It gives a lot of us that "icky" feeling and embarrasses us that we even know about it. It's hard to get past our puritanical backgrounds and in this case, millennia of taboos, to even address it. But address it we must. I  have seen families destroyed by this.
 
Hasn't adoption destroyed enough families already?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

I just finished reading an article advocating "spreading the word" about the wonders of infant adoption. The author is fer it and I'm agin' it. SS,DD.

You would think that with a high-dollar, government-sanctioned industry doing PR through every media outlet in the nation, the adopters would feel content to sit back and enjoy their booty and their delusions. Not so. It seems, from what I read in that article, that they feel the need to pile justification on top of spin-doctoring like an overdone Dagwood sandwich.

Or maybe it's a "look at me, the saint" kind of thing. Once they assume that adopter halo, they want all to see it. The mistaken notion that they have rescued a baby from a horrible life still is maintained by the self-entitled.

Look at it as if you were a PAP, infertile and desperate to have that to which you believe you are entitled. You are not looking for a "particular" child. You have no knowledge of who you will pull in when you cast your net. You just want a baby. The "chosen child" is such a myth. For the adopters, as long as it is a healthy infant, any child will do. The harsh fact for many adopted people is that, had they not been adopted by the family they had, they would have been adopted by another. They are the crop, we are the fields and the industry is Big Agriculture feeding a hungry consumer.

The word that has been getting out, on this blog and others, without benefit of big-time PR agencies, is that we need to take a long, hard look at this industry and the idea that mothers and babies are interchangeable. Big Adoption is selling the idea of adoption as some kind of ninth-month abortion...after-the-fact birth control. Young mothers are falling for this because they are inundated with anti-choice messages and are buying into the idea of heroism in sacrifice. Baloney! If you create a life and carry that life to term, then be responsible and raise your child. What is so hard to understand about that concept?

It is really hard for those of us who are mothers of the BSE to watch this. We had no way to prevent pregnancy except abstinence and condoms, when they were to be had, and we all know how well THOSE work. We had no legal, safe way to end a pregnancy and we had no autonomy...no choice at all...in what happened to us or our children. Most of us would have given our right leg and a kidney to have been supported in keeping and raising our child. We wanted the responsibility of our children.

Young mothers of today seen to miss the fact that they are living in an era when they have this choice. They think that the present situation is forever and opt for a permanent solution to that temporary problem. Many mistake open adoption as enforceable and a way to co-parent. T'ain't so. The openness often becomes pictures and a short note once an year and pleas from the adopters to stay out of little Lilly's life in order to save her from "confusion." In most states, those doors to openness can be slammed shut and locked by the adopters with impunity.

For every PAP or adopter that blogs to "get the word out," for every starry-eyed beemommy on a mission who pushes adoption as just the most wonderful thing to do, and for every politician that lines his or her pockets with cash from the Adoption Industry lobbyists, there needs to be one of us blogging, writing letters and talking to our friends and neighbors.

We don't have the funds to rent, furnish and staff our own "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" and we sure don't have the big bucks to put up "keep your baby" bill boards. All we have are our voices, our passion and a few open venues. We can make use of what we have.

So, PAP/adopter blogger, you spread your word and we'll spread ours. If you keep fighting the truth, it eventually comes back and bites you in the rear. For every pretty "family" portrait, there is a painful separation and unending grief for the mother and pain and confusion for the child. That is the truth you try to hide. Maybe you are out-shouting us because you have bigger mouthpieces and more money.

But we are persistent.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Initiative To Change

Wow! Two posts in one day. I just finished watching an interview with the late Annette Baran. I didn't see eye to eye with a lot of what she has said or done, but she said some very interesting things with which I could go along and envision. I am not a legislative expert by any stretch of the imagination. I can read a piece of proposed legislation and I listened, well enough, in social studies to understand the basics of how things work. But I was really unsure when Ms. Baran stated that "Initiatives" were probably the way to go, in her argument, to open records. I had to find out what initiative meant in that sense. I knew the basic meaning, but not the meaning as it applied to legal and government matters. So I went to the online dictionary and found;


in·i·ti·a·tive   /ɪˈnɪʃiətɪv, ɪˈnɪʃə-/ Show Spelled[ih-nish-ee-uh-tiv, ih-nish-uh-] –noun

1. an introductory act or step; leading action: to take the initiative in making friends.
2. readiness and ability in initiating action; enterprise: to lack initiative.
3. one's personal, responsible decision: to act on one's own initiative.
4. Government .
a. a procedure by which a specified number of voters may propose a statute, constitutional amendment, or ordinance, and compel a popular vote on its adoption. Compare referendum ( def. 1 ) .
b. the general right or ability to present a new bill or measure, as in a legislature.
 
Okie-Dokie, said she. That is about a clear as mud. If I am right, then that means if enough people want something to happen, they can propose a bill or other way to produce a vote on the subject. If that is true, then anyone of us, any group, can propose all they wish. Therefore, if that is true, then why all the convoluted bills about open records? Why can't anyone say, "We want a simple statute that allows opening of sealed birth certificates and adoption records? Let's take a vote."
 
Wrong! How many is a "specified number?" Do you have to have a petition? How do we make that proposal? Do we need legal representation or a legislative advisor? And how is said amendment, statute, ordinance, etc., to be worded so that said legislators remain in office and lobbyists retain their livlihood and the right palms are greased and no one's feeling are hurt? Since when did living in a democracy mean that we had to please everyone? My God, you'd think the entire country was nothing but natural mothers and adopted people because most of us are the biggest people pleasers around.
 
After looking at this whole melange, I am seeing why the bills are getting dirtier and dirtier and the concessions are getting smaller and smaller. I can also see how our Constitution is becoming a crazy quilt, riddled with contradictions and heavy with pork fat. And I can see why those that are fighting for a clean, equitable open records bill are getting frustrated and discouraged. I know the feeling. We are also fighting a battle for the mothers of the EMS from the ground up and we are still pretty much at sea level.
 
Yesterday, I published a post about educating the general public. I got quite a few private comments in the nature of "Yeah? Good Luck With THAT." There are a lot of weary, cynical, dispirited warriors in this particular arena. I know that one of my dearest and oldest friends and I are very much in disagreement on this subject. She didn't just drink the Kool Aid. She likes it. What can you do when even someone who likes you cannot grasp what you tell them?
 
My friend, Bastardette, has commented about how sentimentalism and emotionalism won't get the job done and I am pretty sure she has a very valid point. But the subject matter is so emotional, so heart-felt by those who have suffered from it, that doing it with cold, hard facts is going to be like trying to paint a picture with dust. I wish I had an answer. I wish that I wasn't getting older so fast that I see the end of my activism just up the road.
 
I just wonder, if we got all the industry and governmental razzle-dazzle out of the picture and just showed the raw, unvarnished and painful truth, if it would do any good? Right now, I feel like all I am doing is spitting in the ocean and expecting the level to rise.

Where's The Respect?

I think it started in the sixties with the mantra "don't trust anyone over 30." I can remember, as a teen, thinking my parents were incredibly ignorant of the real world. The older I got, the smarter they became. Now that I stand on the cusp of age 65, my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, I realize, were blooming geniuses! They had lived their way around life's booby traps and tried to tell us where they were, but we were going to blaze our own trail. More's the pity.

The same thing happened with my own raised children. In fact, both of them have remarked on how intelligent and knowledgeable I have become as they have grown older. They have also admitted that they have wished, many times, that they had listened to me when I tried to steer them in a better direction.

I know that, when my parents were younger, they had a lot more respect for their elders than succeeding generations seem to have had. Now, there seems to be no respect at all and every attempt made to keep a younger mother from falling into the adoption pit seems to be met with disregard, contempt or downright hostility. As much as I hate to blather on about the subject, I also hate to see these young women so absorbed by the fantasy that, when the real pain comes, they are unable to cope. I keep thinking of one such mother, used badly by the woman who adopted her child, who took her own life when that open adoption slammed shut and she realized how she had been manipulated.

I was training a college student for the dry cleaning chain with which I worked for many years. She was intelligent, lovely, caught on quickly and was a joy to train. I was so shocked and felt like a hornet had stung my heart when she said that, should she become pregnant before she graduated, she would like to relinquish her baby to a professor of hers that couldn't have children of her own. She was offering her own hypothetical offspring on the altar of the "more deserving" infertile and I was appalled at the casual sincerity of her statement.

I have helped younger mothers who really wanted to keep their babies, but I have only been able to change the minds of two who were considering surrender. When I was actively trying to "save" these girls from experiencing that awful grief and their infants from the pain and confusions of separation, I lost more than I won. It became too much for me to handle, emotionally. I only have to pick up a hot horseshoe one time to learn that it burns.

Now, I have no problem with a FULLY informed young woman making her own decision. But there ain't no such animal. They are either being counseled by agency workers, crisis pregnancy center pro-lifers or new "b"mommies riding the pink cloud of assumed selflessness. They are told to disregard us as bitter and angry with nothing to really contribute. Adult adopted people are dismissed as ungrateful and troubled. So the whole, complete story with all the ramifications is left in the dust and these girls go skipping off to breeding farms like Gladney to get their scholarships and give that wonderful gift. What bull crap!

I look at the woman in the picture and see someone who has lived and has much to offer. Wisdom comes at a price, for many of us. "Live and learn" isn't just an adage. That lady deserves to have her opinions and experiences respected, even if someone disagrees. It is a common happening that the one who disagrees will later find out that they should have listened more closely. Most cultures venerate their elders. This society, especially our younger sister mothers, smirk at us. The picture of the older woman advising and aiding is just that...a picture.

We never stop learning until we die. My grandmother used to tell me that and she was right. I am still learning and not all that I learn makes positive statements about human nature. The inability to say, "I was wrong and I am sorry," permeates the populace. Ego and pride go before open minds and hearts. To live to a ripe, old age and learn is to accept disillusionment. Most of my belief in the innate goodness of people has gone the way of the Blue Whale; rare, hard to find and to be cherished and protected if you come across it.

I guess this is why I find more satisfaction in working for the majority of the mothers of my generation. There is no question that each of us knows what we are talking about because we all lived it. It is a cause we can support, defend and for which we can fight.

I'm no Knight on a white horse. If the maiden wants to walk into the dragon's mouth, I'll just yell at her to watch out for the teeth. You can't rescue a drowning person who is convinced they can breathe water. And with all the advantages new mothers have on the side of keeping or avoiding pregnancy or terminating pregnancy, I just don't have the sympathy for them they seem to require.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

It has been talked about among mothers of adoption loss in groups and on forums. It is something that most people think only applies to soldiers, what was once called "Battle Fatigue." But when perusing the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it has become clear that many of us exhibited some or all of the traits of the disorder.

My symptoms fell within the categories of avoidance and arousal although I was also tormented by dreams of babies being thrown off a cliff. Below, are the symptoms of PTSD. It seems that trauma does not have to involve a direct threat to your physical life. For a woman, even a very young woman, the kind of experience we endured when we lost our babies to adoption seems to do the job all too well.



1. Reliving the event:
•Flashback episodes, where the event seems to be happening again and again
•Recurrent distressing memories of the event
•Repeated dreams of the event
•Physical reactions to situations that remind you of the traumatic event

2. Avoidance
•Emotional "numbing," or feeling as though you don’t care about anything
•Feelings of detachment
•Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
•Lack of interest in normal activities
•Less expression of moods
•Staying away from places, people, or objects that remind you of the event
•Sense of having no future


3. Arousal
•Difficulty concentrating
•Exaggerated response to things that startle you
•Excess awareness (hyper vigilance)
•Irritability or outbursts of anger
•Sleeping difficulties


You also might feel a sense of guilt about the event (including "survivor guilt"), and the following symptoms, which are typical of anxiety, stress, and tension:


•Agitation, or excitability
•Dizziness
•Fainting
•Feeling your heart beat in your chest (palpitations)
•Fever
•Headache
•Paleness
 
It's really demoralizing to express those symptoms to a professional, then say it is connected to your surrender experience only to be told, "well, you just need to move on." They don't say that to the returning POW or the person who survived a plane crash, but we are seen as so unimportant by so many that we are blamed for what was done TO us. We are seen as the perpetrators of our own disillusionment and grief.
 
People really seem to have an aversion to the word "victim" as if anyone who says they were victimized walked around with a big target saying "shoot me" on their back. So let's refresh the slaves to pop psychology with the definition of "victim."
 
 vic·tim   /ˈvɪktɪm/ Show Spelled[vik-tim] –noun
1. a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency: a victim of an automobile accident.
2. a person who is deceived or cheated, as by his or her own emotions or ignorance, by the dishonesty of others, or by some impersonal agency: a victim of misplaced confidence; the victim of a swindler; a victim of an optical illusion.
3. a person or animal sacrificed or regarded as sacrificed: war victims.
4. a living creature sacrificed in religious rites

Well now, Golly, Gosh, Gee Whiz! Take a look at number two! Although, from the standpoint of us Bible Belters, I cannot be sure that number four doesn't include us, as well, I have to say that is a pretty good description of what happened to most of the mothers of the BSE/EMS.

So, we WERE victims of that impersonal agency and a judgmental society. To say we weren't is to deny history. That doesn't mean we are still victim material. But it is a perfectly good word that means nothing bad about those who have been victimized. Sorry Dr. Phil (Ill), but blaming the victim is not sound psychology. These celebrity life gurus do more damage than good, in my opinion. Meanwhile, those who feel guilt at having survived their trauma, can feel more because the good Dr. says they caused it, themselves. Arrhg!

I have often hesitated to apply this disorder to mothers because the PR of the industry has already presented us as emotionally frail and in need of "protection." I don't want to encourage that kind of thinking. But the fact that many of us have been affected by PTSD and survived and made lives for ourselves says more about our strength than our weaknesses. It is an individual thing as to how much each mother was affected, but I know a lot of really smart, strong and accomplished women who have fought this battle. Our fallen heroes, like Di Welfare, Carol Anderson and others are prime examples of what we CAN do.

Perhaps, just perhaps, our experience with PTSD can become a sword of battle rather than a burden to slow us down. We can respect ourselves for dealing with this emotional mine field for decades and we have the right to ask that the rest of this society respect us, as well.

In fact, I think it is time we demanded that respect.