Monday, February 28, 2011
They're All Alike...Aren't They??
Was that fair of me or even accurate? NO. I was guilty of what I call "Center of the World Syndrome." If it was true for me, it was true for everyone. My experience with men, save my grandfather and a favorite uncle, was hurtful and traumatic. I obviously had a lot of maturing to do and I don't wonder that my first marriage was not very successful. While I don't think it was all my fault, I am sure that my attitude towards men didn't help anything. Thank goodness I finally stopped calling all equines mules and got to know men as individuals. I have a wonderful husband and some terrific male friends and my sons are terrific.
It's unfortunate that some seem to see ALL Natural Mothers based on their own negative experiences with their own. I can understand the frustration, anger and hurt that an adoptee experiences when their mothers are too frightened, ashamed or too indoctrinated by the adoption myth to be open to their surrendered children. I don't blame them for telling it like it is FOR THEM. But we are not all alike any more than all adopted people are identical. We don't hold a set of magic keys to open all the doors to all their mysteries, but most of us welcome our reunited children and do our best. Some of us even searched for our children.
When making a statement about something an Nmom has done that is unfair or unkind, I think it's important to make it clear that it is that one particular mother who is being cited. When you say "Mothers," it indicts us all. Being surprised or resentful when we object is ignoring the obvious. When we ask that you don't say this about all of us, that isn't an attack. It's simply a reasonable request based on fairness and logic.
Now, I want to address one issue in particular and that's the idea recently put forth that we think, because we gave birth, that we can control all our children into adulthood. Nothing is further from the truth. Were I to try to tell my adult, raised children that they couldn't associate with their surrendered siblings, they would laugh out loud. I have not had that kind of "control" since they were 13. True, there might be the rare controlling matriarch among us who tries, but I doubt if she would meet with a lot of success. On the other hand, there have been any number of Adopters who have issued just such an ultimatum to their adopted, ADULT children and were obeyed. MOST of us Nmoms are not that insecure.
But the bottom line here is that stereotyping anyone, especially in the adoption reunion, open records arena, is cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. The "Us against Them" schism between mothers and adult adoptees as two separate groups IS unnecessary and counter-productive. All it takes to avoid this is to be careful to own our own situations without presenting it as an across-the-board portrayal of all mothers OR adoptees.
We have joined with adoptees in an effort to balance the scales for mothers, support the rights of our children to their original birth certificates and to bridge the gap between the two parties. I am sure that there are some mothers that would rather we wouldn't do that and some adoptees that would rather we not even show up in San Antonio in August.
But this is about all of us..not just the adoptee and not just the mother. There are decades of secrets, lies and painful experiences from which we all need to heal and even more decades of discrimination against both that must cease. We're all sensitive from our experiences. It doesn't take much to touch off that raw nerve on both ends of the discussion. Unfortunately, there are those among us who are so angry and so settled in that anger that trying to get those individuals to see reason and temper their comments with equity and compassion is dust in the wind. This is where I think we ALL need to be careful, adoptees and mothers, not to let those who have not dealt with their anger direct our actions.
I wish I could be mother to all the adopted adults who have met with heartache. I wish they all could be made welcome by their mothers and natural families.And I wish that the mothers who have been treated badly by the adoptee could have the kind of adult child that I have had the pleasure to meet, know and grow to admire and care for. I wish they could experience the love I have received from my adult, reunited children. I wish reunions were all wonderful but even the best have their thorny moments.
If anything gets done, it will be done better, quicker and more fairly if we do it together. I reiterate; We mothers of SMAAC support adoptees in their quest for open access to their Original Birth Certificates. We also believe that adult adoptees have the right to free association with any other adult, natural family members they wish to contact. And in saying that, we represent the thinking of the majority of Natural Mothers. Most mothers do NOT want to control their adult children. We're past the point where we want the aggravation. We know how to cut apron strings and nudge the young ones out of the nest.
As far as "Control?" I can just hear all of my children, raised and reunited, saying, should I try to exert control over their associations, "Get REAL, Mom," followed by belly laughs.
I so hope this clears smoke from the issue and that all my adopted friends know it is meant for a few, not all, and is a clarification, not an attack.