Thursday, June 23, 2011

When The Myth Explodes

I received, this morning, a very interesting and poignant comment on my old post, "What Anti-Adoption Means," posted 9/09/2009. It was from a woman, here in Florida, who adopted a sibling group and has learned, the hard way, about the mythology of adoption. She was terribly disappointed when her vision of family was disrupted by the truth. She wrote:

"You know what? I totally agree with you, and I am the adoptive mother of 5 children (a sibling group) The two older ones are now adults, and the day they turned 18 they left us, found their birthmom on Facebook, and have never loooked back. We were lied to by the state of Florida, told the kids had no other options, that we were the last chance. In reality, it turns out we were the "last chance" the state had to pawn the kids off on someone that didn't need a subsidy or financial help. There were relatives willing to take the kids, but they were poor, so the state of Florida found it cheaper to give them to us, than to their own family members. Now I have to deal every day with the heartache of having raised the two older ones only to have them leave me for their biological family. I live in constant fear that the same thing will happen with my 3 little ones that are still with me. I DO NOT BLAME THE CHILDREN! Adoption is a horrible lie, it not only hurts the children, it hurts the adoptive parents."

I answered:

"Erin, you left someone out...someone that most adopters don't want to even consider. In the MAJORITY of cases, the natural mother suffers unrelenting grief and pain. MOST of us, especially from the BSE/EMS era, were not given a choice. Today, many SW's and agencies are coercive or, as you point out, don't consider the natural family if they can find people with more money. That is government-sponsored social engineering.

Rather than "living in fear," why don't you try being honest with the three you have now? Acknowledge their need to know, their primal grief and help them connect with their natural families. There is always more than enough love to go around.

You can't buy or assume motherhood regardless of what that piece of paper says. But you can earn your children's love and respect by realizing that they are not possessions but their own people. You can also realize that "as if born to" is only legal-speak and not a reality. You will always know that your children were born to other women.

You might also want to ask yourself why your older kids "never looked back." Did you place emotional demands and conditions on them about their relationship with their natural families? You have a chance to do things differently with the young ones. Face your issues and work with your old mistakes. Good Luck."

I can't help but be amazed that this woman sees herself as more of a victim than the natural family. These children were placed by the state for all the wrong reasons and now this woman is having to deal with the fact that the blood bond is stronger than adopters wants to think it is. I assume this was a foster situation in the beginning and those oldest children probably had complete memories of their natural family. The fact that they have a natural family that wanted them but were denied custody, primarily because the state of Florida is big on the social-engineering thing, had to have been a major factor in the "defection" of the two oldest.

But I would love it if just one adopter could be educated to the realities of adoption rather than the ephemeral promises made by the adoption mythology. There is the assumption of ownership of the child. Natural parents don't usually see it this way. We see it as our job to give the child love and nurture and prepare them to face life on their own terms. We don't own them in any way. They belong to themselves and they form other bonds where their primary loyalty is to a partner/spouse rather than to us. Letting go is part of love. And loving them, regardless of the choices they make is part of being a parent.

Adoption is the only arrangement where a person is never allowed to legally grow up, where the existence of a natural mother and natural family is literally ignored (and some wish would disappear) and where a fantasy is legally entered on the books via "as if born to" decrees and amended birth certificates.

No, don't blame the "children" (including the adult ones) and don't blame the natural family, either. Poverty is not a good reason to break up a family or take children from a mother. Have some compassion for those children in a situation that was not of their choosing and without their own kith and kin near to them. Have compassion for the mother that lost her children, many times through no fault of her own, and the family that lost their kin because they were poor and needed assistance. The adopter's disappointment, I opine, pales beside the grief of the coerced mother who has a child or children taken for adoption and the pain and frustration of the adoptee.

I was told by a woman who adopted during the BSE that I was a representative of her "worst nightmare." No matter how much adopters would like to ignore the natural parents and family (and how large those people loom in the minds and emotions of the children they adopt) they know we are out there. They know enough to, if they are smart, enable them to take a realistic look at adoption and learn to share and care.

There's that old thing about Butterflies and how you have to let go...I wonder if the reason these adoptees "never looked back" comes from being held too tightly? I wonder if holding on too tightly happens because we also loom large in the back of the mind of the adopter. Everyone tries to make a monster of the mother/natural family.

But we are all just ordinary people who either got caught up in extraordinary circumstances, got swept into the web of the state or agencies, or fell for a myth and acted out of panic. We are families who are sad when one of own becomes a prisoner of their bad choices and we want to take care of the children of our own but are not allowed to if the state gets there first. Nope, no monsters here.

Perhaps the expectations of those who adopt should be scrutinized. It doesn't help that the Industry, including the state, pander to those wants and expectations. The court presumes to do something that only nature can accomplish with that "as if born to" nonsense. That is the arrogance of humanity and social engineering.

And that myth can often blow up, right in their astonished faces.


Sandy Young said...

I think that the fact of our ordinariness is what makes us the worst kind of monster to adopters. If we were drooling, drug crazed addicts or irredeemable prostitutes who sell ourselves because we WANT to rather than lack of other options or victimization, then they would be able to feel superior and place us back in the category or "Other" which is much more comfortable and mind-easing for them.

Good blog, Robin. I agree with this one to the max, too...imagine that! By the way, have you seen this link?

lol, my captch was!!

Robin said...

That's quite a list, Sandy. I wish the people who fostered/adopted these children could see that they are cooperating with fiends.

Megan said...

My husband and I have always intended to adopt, but our assumptions were based on adoption myths. The more we learn about adoption processes; the more involved we want to become in adoption rights activism.

However, all of this research has left our future plans murky. We think that we could provide a loving and stable home for a sibling group out of our state system, but we also feel that by adopting, we are perpetuating the conditions of inequality and privilege in the current system. Meanwhile, kids that could be loved in our home are stuck in foster care, even if we don't agree with how they got there.

Would it be better to protest the system entirely and work for adoptive rights, or adopt children while working for adoptive rights? We could help our children to reconnect with their families, which is a right they might not be able to receive in foster care or a group home. A child can have more than two parents, after all.

But what if the children were taken away from their biological families because of abuse or neglect? How do you go about contacting extended families in this case while protecting children from their abusers?

All of these questions are weighing on my husband and I. We would love any advice or resources you have in order to navigate through them.

maybe said...

I do have sympathy for the foster/adoptive mother in this situation. It sounds like she tried her best based on the information given to her by the system. The system is where I place a great deal of the workers with smug attitudes who refuse to tell the truth. They continue to hurt those they are supposed to be helping by refusing to be honest and withholding information. I hope she will help the little ones still in her care connect with their families rather than see it as a competition for ownership of the children.

As far as ownership and not allowing adopted children to grow up...have you noticed that many adoptees assign super-human status to their APs (at least in public)? They often claim they are the best, most perfect parents ever. Contrast with non-adoptees who in my opinion come to see their parents as regular folks with good and bad traits all rolled up together. I see this pattern as a result of the loyalty/ownership issues that are inherent in adoption; adoptees must always prove their gratitude by singing the praises of impossibly perfect parents, so often trapped in wide-eyed child mode.

maybe said...

BTW, the media is staring to sing the praises of Michelle Bachman's supposed devotion to foster children (she had 20 to 25 in her home over the years from what they are reporting). This will surely turn into a never ending pat-on-the-back-fest for Bachman who will likely exploit these kids for political purposes. Wish I could be less cyncial, but I see the writing on the wall.

Robin said...

Maybe, I have to disagree. This woman talked about how she didn't blame the children and how the adoptees and adopters suffered but left out the mother and natural family. I consider her fate a disappointment...not anything to compare to the grief of the mother or the primal grief of the adoptee.

Robin said...

Megan, I usually do not allow comments from PAPs or Adopters because our interests are diametrically opposed. I can tell you about my two aunts who never had children. They and my uncles still managed to have a fulfilling, happy life and a lot of us very lucky nieces and nephews gained attention and guidance from them. Foster children come with loyalties already formed to their natural families and many of them were taken for the most specious of reasons. Sandy Young, who posted the first comment, has a link that you should read. It will tell you just how far our nation is going to procure children to accomplish their social engineering. Have you two had counseling to help you deal with infertility? I ask this because, even if you adopt from foster care, you will still be infertile and the child will still be the child of another woman. Mentor some children, mentor some young mother who is raising her children by herself. But don't place your dreams and hopes on the shoulders of an innocent child. That's what adoption does.

Von said...

Wherever adoptees have a price on their head and money is made from their sale, mothers will be exploited, duped, tricked and conned.Adopters too who haven't done their research or who believe the myths unquestioningly are at risk of exploiting others.The world of adoption is ugly and greedy.Great post!

Amanda said...

One thing I always want to say is please, please, please do not "fear" an adoptee's natural family. The adoptee is part of the natural family and the natural family is part of the adoptee. Can't you imagine what it says to an adoptee when their natural family is something that makes their adoptive parents uncomfortable and fearful?

Adoption sets up a myriad of horrible lies. One big one being that the natural family doesn't exist any more and is a thing of the past. The natural family does exist and the adoptee may very well want to find them and reunite...and what's wrong with that?

It is not fair to set up the expectation that the adoptee has no other family. It is not fair to the adoptee to see that they've hurt their adoptive parents when they want to embrace their natural family. The reality of the adoptee is, they have a natural family out there. And one should not expect them to ignore their own reality.

(my response is for the a-mom, BTW)

Sandy Young said...

Robin, is this the one to which you are referring?

Robin said...

That's the one, Sandy.

Sharon said...

The SS is really to blame here, where adopters are concerned. I would have thought they have to get them councilling for their infertility? But I doubt it, I especially doubt it in the BSE. I was sitting here reading and was just astounded that that adopter actually wrote as if the natural mother/family did not exist. I wonder if there is a sickness/illness called 'adopter delusions'?? It just amazes me everyday. I especially never dreamed that my sons adopters would be that way. G-d in heaven only knows what they were or were not told about me............

Megan said...


I am not infertile. That is not the only reason people seek to adopt.

Robin said...

Then, Megan, I would wonder why? Is it a feel-good thing? If you want to help these older children in foster care with such issues, try for legal guardianship without the lie of adoption, or mentor. Like I said, I very seldom open comments to anyone on my blog that even seems to be slightly pro-adoption. I'm not here to debate it. I'm here, basically, to tell the truth about it.

I will tell you that I do not believe there is anything altruistic about adoption.

Nancy said...

Bravo Robin!
Social Workers in the BSE put a pretty face on what was state sanctioned kidnapping.
Those who wanted to create their by adopting "forever families" wanted to believe the myth, wanted to think of the natural mother as either a little scoolgirl who couldn't wait to get her education, or a slut. That is if they gave any thaught to her at all.
I'm always amazed that those who adopt think it's natural to take a woman's child, don't seem to get it that something is amiss with the story the social worker or agency told them.

elizabeth said...

Great title for this post!

I'm surprised we don't hear more stories about children who were adopted leaving their adopters for their real family at some point in time. (Which is exactly what I did when I was a teenager).

Anyone know of any stats or reasearch about this?

I have to say the commenter certainly got one thing right "Adoption is a horrible lie." Couldn't agree more.

Von said...

The 'adopter delusions' are what some of us call adoption myths.Some call the obsessional quest for an adoptee 'baby lust'when no price is too great, no unethical act too horrible.Adoption is ugly.

Amanda said...

Elizabeth, the only stat I have heard is that several hundred Korean adult adoptees have returned to Korea in the past few years.

@ Megan, Oh, and I second the suggestion of becoming a foster parent or guardian of an older child in foster care, or mentor.

Why not follow some natural mother, adult adoptee, and foster alumni blogs to learn more?

Elle said...

Hello Robin I've been following your blog for a few days now and it's very interesting stuff you write. Not only interesting but also enlightening and eyeopening.
I can understand the need that some adoptees (not only adult adoptees) may feel regaring their need to know their birth family.

This story is yet another example of not only adoption myths but also presumptions and generalizations...

I must confess I don't know much about the US birthcertificate system but I'm slowly learning...

I recently reunited with my birth family and I'm still personally struggling sometimes between my adoptive parents and birth parents...

Robin said...

That's the problem...there should be no struggle, Elle. You are your own person. You are no one's possession.