Monday, September 04, 2006

About Adopters

I am about to step into some murky waters, here, and am concerned about lack of visibility. Sharks and 'gators hide in cloudy H2O and bite the unwary. But here goes.

I just got my first comment hit from an adopter, one from a woman who adopted who, like all the rest who have entered the world of the surrendering mom, "want to try to understand." To me, those words have always triggered the alarm bell because, usually, they have been followed with all the reasons their adopting is "different" and all the bad things that were wrong with "their b****mother" that necessitated their heroic adoption. She pointed out to me that other moms of loss had graciously helped her in the area of understanding, so I will try to explain, to the best of my ability, why I think she missed the boat.

Contrary to the belief of many who exaggerate and take comments out of context, I don't HATE adopters. Most adopters are people, just like you and me, no better and no worse, who have fallen for the industry hype that tells them taking the child of another woman and treating that child as if you gave birth to him/her is a "good way to build a family." Others, especially those involved in foreign adoptions, are really convinced that they are rescuing an unwanted or orphaned child while allowing themselves a shot at "motherhood," a sort of "win-win" situation in their minds. For the most part, I think that these people are decent if a bit blind to the other end of things or the true nature of the original mother/child bond.

But then, there are those that I read about on other sites, the ones for whom adopting a child, any child, is an obsession, and the ones who say things like, "how could she do this to me?," when a mother changes her mind and fights to keep HER baby. Or there are the ones who write the sacharrine and contrived "Dear B****mother" letters with a phone number that usually connects the reader to an adoption attorney. This has become known as "trolling" for babies. There are those, as well, who are vicious and terribly insecure and treat their adult, adopted children as infantile possessions when there is a reunion. There are those who spit venom about "16-year-old tramps (true words from a wannabe adopter) " keeping babies that (exact quote) "should have been MINE!!"

There are others in the adopter arena that I, simply and without apology, cannot abide..the ones who just don't want to "bother with getting pregnant," who want to compliment their three natural girls with a "baby brother" and don't want to take a chance on nature providing that boy baby, the vain who don't want their figures compromised by the natural ravages of child-bearing (I call them badges of honor) and the ones seeking public acclaim for their saintly nature. Oh..and the Hollywood adopters who acquire kids like fashion accessories. These examples are even more outside the pale and need to be stopped before they adopt again.

I see, in these adopters and even in the more decent and seeking ones, a sense of ultimate ENTITLEMENT that rubs my fur in the wrong direction. It is part and parcel of this entire national idea that if one wants something, one should have something, and that includes the precious flesh of the healthy newborn or darling toddler. If you talk to these Most Entitled Ones, they will offer their obsession and "need" to "be a mother" as justification for their drive to possess the child of another woman. They are so assured, by the industry and their own desires, that a mother who surrenders her child is, somehow, lacking something in the maternal department, that they don't consider the pain and the impact on her, at all.

I want to be long-legged, thin and blond, but Nature gave me short legs, a thick body and brunette hair (well, now more gray than brunette). I accept that and realize that there is a gratifying place on this earth for short, stocky, dark-haired women. Some want to be a mother, but Nature, risky lifestyle choices, whatever, said "no." Rather than seeking ways to make their lives count, or involving themselves in other ways to make a difference in the life of a child, the adopter uses money and clout and a corrupt industry to artificially circumvent the course that nature would take.

A big part of the blame goes to the partriarchial, capitalistic society in which we live that casts shame on the young, unmarried and financially challenged Mom. Those who are either married, or older and financially secure see themselves as some kind of "solution" to the erroneously perceived problem of "inappropriate" motherhood...they see themselves as the parental "ideal" just as do the eugenics-minded powers that be.

I wonder if any of these adopters know that most women who surrender see themselves as forever in a crisis situation and could just simply benefit, greatly, from a more realistic view and from an opportunity to bond with their child, learn parenting skills and receive some financial and emotional support to keep their babies? All most of these surrendering moms need is a hand up and some support. Growing up in a low-income family or without a live-in father is not necessarily a recipe for disaster or the worst thing to happen to a child if there is love and nurture. When a mother changes her mind, especially during the first year, I wonder if they understand that the most loving and decent thing they could do is return the child they did not bear to the woman who did bear that child? Even if you are attached to a child, that child's primary BOND (as opposed to attachment) is with the mother of that child...not the adopter. Hey, God/dess was the one who made HER the mother. There is a higher and prior claim on the privilege and responsibility of raising that is HERS.

Right now, I see little to no real altruism in adoption. One adopter, on an infamous pro-adoption site, recently said that there SHOULDN'T be any altruism...that is was perfectly OK to adopt for selfish and self-serving reasons. Hmmmmmm..That's a new one. True altruism would provide a safe and caring environment for a child without the need for an artificial parent/child setup. A person who truly wants to care for a child in need, one who has no natural family member to do the job, would be more concerned about making sure the child had food, clothing, shelter and nurturing than whether or not they were called "Mom and Dad." They would do this quietly and without wearing the public halo of the so-called "saintly adopter."

Funny, but there are so many foster children who don't have this option, who are older, have real problems, are not quite as "cute" and with definite awareness of the parent and family they lost and they don't get adopted. Funny, but there are children adopted with problems that get sent back to the agencies because of these very problems. Funny, but natural parents don't send their kids "back" if they have a problem. They hang in there out of pure parental love. The ones that don't are a miniscule minority. Funny, but for all the propaganda about the seeming plethora of crackwhore moms who spit out substance-abused babies on a regular basis, you don't see a lot of potential adopters lining up for these few poor kids that really exist. No, because those children do not fit the adopter fantasy.

For those who rush into an adoption agreement with a vulnerable mom, don't get too comfortable too fast. Don't rush to take possession of that newborn. Give that mom a chance to really see into her heart after the birth of the child when that child is a living, breathing reality. Give that mom the resources she needs to take the road to healthy, confident parenthood. Don't get the idea that she is truly happy and content with her "decision" no matter what she says. She has been just as brainwashed about her non-entitlement as you have about your assumed entitlement. And, if anyone is truly ENTITLED to a child, it is that child's True Mother.

I might also add that the potential adopter and anyone who has already adopted needs to read the words of the adopted people, themselves. Even in this day of "open" adoptions, the adopted person still keenly feels rejection and confusion and no amount of knowledge or love on the part of anyone involved can help them make sense out of a nonsense situation. In order to truly "understand" you are going to have to start thinking outside the adopter arena and open your mind to what you least want to know. Can you do it?

Robin, Mother of Four
"Neither society nor the (adopter) who holds the child in
Her arms wants to confront the agony of the mother
from whose arms that same child was taken."
(Margaret McDonald Lawrence)


Anonymous said...

My experience with adopters is that they are rarely capable of understanding what mothers,families, and adopted people have lost.

They are too busy focusing on their own "needs."I do agree with you, however, that once in awhile an adopter comes along who can see that we have pain and loss, even if they cannot feel it as we do. But these people are rare.

Usually we are treated as objects or tools to provide a child, and then only as databases to provide "medical" for the rest of our lives..information, body parts, etc. as needed.
We are not even seen as human.

Unknown said...

Robin, SO totally agree with all you wrote. One Hollywood mom or two spring to mind that should never ever be allowed to adopt again! As for wanting to understand things from our side. Can anyone but one of us truly understand who and what we are, and what happened to us if they did not go through it? I think the answer is no. (NO scratch that I know the answer is no) I am however always willing to try and educate these days. I never keep my mouth shut anymore..

Anonymous said...


I agree with your assessment of many adopters. I only need to look at my own situation. When I searched for my son who I had been forced to surrender in 1966, his adoptive *mother* sat on the information that I had made contact with the agency and would love to speak with him for 6 months! 6 month yet he was 22 years old and had been in and out of trouble since he was 4! (coincidently the age he was told he was adopted) She finally relented but it wasn't because of any kind of compassion for him. Instead he happened to ask during this time how he could find his real mother. Without a mention of the fact that she'd known I was available for months, she offered to help him find me. Her only concern was that she have total control.

After we reunited and Goddess forbid, he liked me, this so called *mother* reminded him frequently that he should think of me like a sister and not a mother! After all, I hadn't been there for him - she had.

Maybe I could have cut her a little slack for her disingenuous responses to him if she'd never borne a child. But she had. She gave birth to a daughter 2 years after adopting my son. Yet this woman was so invested in being territorial about something that any good mother would know was in the best interest of their child.

To completely eradicate the genetic and spiritual link to a child's natural family just to be able to play "as if" this child had no other history is immoral.
If adoption as we know it with the sealing of a child's OBC was prohibited, we could have a more humane and compassionate way of taking children who needed homes and become their legal guardians without denying who they started out to be.

FauxClaud said...

I just have to say...I am so thrilled that you are writing like this again.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...I miss you.

adoptionroadkill said...

right on, Robin! if raising a child and changing diapers makes one a mother, then there are millions of nannies out there who should be called "Mom."