Sunday, October 08, 2006

Space Deleted, Film at 11

We have recently received word, here at Motherhood Deleted, that the people at Concerned Unitd Birthparents who claimed credit for coining the derogatory and coercive "birth(?)mother" title have now admitted that they were not very original at all. The term had already been used by the author and adopter, Pearl S. Buck, and later by a facilitator, adopter. No, as it was "clarified" to someone most recently, the term was MODIFIED, to read as one word..."birthmother" rather than "birth mother" to allow a flow of first letters that gave them the acronym "CUB" rather than the somewhat awkward "CUBM". That means that quite a few of the arguments by proponents of that hideous misnomer are just a wee tad invalidated.

Why all the hubbub, you ask? Well, from this reporter's vantage spot, it looked like there was a bit of resistance to moving ahead and finally allowing the Mother of Adoption Loss to choose what she would be called. Call me picky, but I don't want anyone, not Pearl Buck, Lee Campbell, Marietta Spencer, the "sweet folks" at the CUB forum...ANYONE...deciding what I am to my children and how that relationship should be described. African Americans refuted the titles, "Negro" and "colored" and worse, that designated and denigrated them, as they moved towards more equality. They knew the power of language and they decided it was time to move past the old labels. THEY decided what they would be called as a race.

I was on the CUB forum mailing list for a while until I got booted for not complying with the moderator's demand for my biography (another Mom I know, just to show this person the depth of their foolishness, even included her bra size in her "bio). I read and observed, first hand, the battle of egos and status-quo, the derision with which those who wanted to move forward (including those who wanted an end to the "birth" prefix) were treated. I read long, ego-inundated, pseudo intellectual rants that really put a bad taste in my mouth where CUB, the organization, was concerned. Their forum is part of their voice, and I am NOT impressed.

As the African-American community progressed, so it is time for us to move on as well. We can sit and spin our wheels in the shadow-world of the "poor birthmother," we can continue to cater to the sensitivites of the adoption industry, adopters and angry adoptees, or we can become empowered as Mothers who lost children to adoption. It's not a matter, at all, of invalidating the steps taken by those that started the wheels turning that began opening of the eyes of this country to the problems of adoption. CUB does have some moments of which they can be justifiably proud. And, we all have to start somewhere. But nothing is gained by remaining stuck in a rut of sameness and what we are called IS important. It has become more important now that the word is being, in the here and now, used to effectively coerce mothers-to-be by naming them "birthmothers" before their child is even born or surrender documents are signed.

So now we know and now we can be sure that we Mothers of Adoption Loss did not put the onus of being a "birth-thing," a breeder, a walking uterus, upon ourselves. It's a step forward just knowing this.


Anonymous said...

The Devaluation of Motherhood

The purpose of motherhood is to teach hope, trust, and love to her child. This relationship between infant and mother is the core of the process that humanizes us. We know that when this relationship is damaged or disrupted, fundamental emotional problems will be created for both mother and child. In adoption, we fail to recognize this primal nature and purpose of motherhood as evidenced by the name we give it. Adoption is not the beginning of the process it’s the second chapter. Before there is an adoption there is a separation. In order to create a new family an existing one is divided. The term adoption denies the existence of the mother child bond and assumes that mothers are simply interchangeable. The primal relationship between first mother and child cannot be duplicated by a new mother. Adoption creates a facsimile. Who among us would consider that the loss of a loved one can be resolved by the introduction of a new loved one? If a spouse dies, can one remarry and wipe away the grief? Can the pain of grief be ended by replacing that loss with another person? Adoption as it is practiced today, makes the assumption that mothers are simply interchangeable and there is nothing unique about her relationship with her child. Any mother will do and the child won’t know or care. Experience teaches us that this is not the truth.
There is no relationship in all of nature that approaches the primal intimacy of a mother and her child. When a child is born it has no sense of self. It shares its reality with the mother. In the beginning, there is virtually a single mother child being, emotionally and spiritually bound. Adoption separates them before they can naturally grow apart creating in them both the pain of grief and the desire to find one another later in life. By what moral sensitivity does the state or any institution stand between a mother and her child, in adulthood, keeping the knowledge of their names a state secret? What gives anyone the right to say two adults so intimately, bound cannot know one another again? That right belongs only to them. If we are truly interchangeable then our uniqueness means nothing. We may as well all have the same name or no name at all. Adoption can work if we respect the relationship of the mother and her child who make it possible.
Adoption can only work as long as we respect, and not fear the primal bond between mother and child. Only then can an adopted child accept love, only then can a mother express her love. There is no place for fear and secrecy in the adoption process.

Robert Allan Hafetz
1014 Surrey Lane
Warrington PA 18976

Robin said...

Wow, Bob. You really had me up until the very last part. Suffice it to say that I applaud and agree with 99% of what you are saying here. However, I still submit that adoption is not going to work, no matter WHAT we do or how much we give service to the idea of the primal bond.

As long as there is adoption, there will be fear...fear on the part of the adopters that they will be confronted by the reality of the truth of their contrived parenthood...fear that the adult they raised from infancy will want to pursue a more natural relationship with their true kin and fear of rejection on both the parts of the mother and her adult child. Secrecy will survive as long as we kowtow to the government mandates re., adoption and as long as the agencies have the legilatures and other politicos in their hip pockets. There is always going to be some eugenically-minded, self-important social engineer who wants to be named "keeper of the keys."

Adoption does a whole lot more damage than just to interrupt a vital and natural process. It also impresses upon the adopted child the need to feel "grateful," to deny all of their original heritage in favor of the family name and heritage of the adopters, and to "fit in" among those who are not of their true kin.

Not only should no state or agency deny the right of Mother and child to know one another, ie; via closed records, intermediaries, etc. There should also be no separation of this sort in the first place.

Anonymous said...

hey robin!!!

thought you might be interested in this
small blurb on "homes for unwed mothers" and mentions adoption in the 50's and 60's

Anonymous said...

Bob, you have listed some of the very real and powerful reasons why mothers and children should not be separated.
Adopters do fear the power of the bond and the heritage and DNA connection.That is why they try to deny it.
Adopted people feel the loss of that bond and familial connection.

Mothers suffer greatly from the loss of their children and their role as their childrens mothers.
Adoption is indeed something to be feared..for those whose losses are created by adoption.
The only way to honor our birth, life and heritage connections is to maintain the families in the first place.Open adoption, even if it stays open, is not a substitute for the real day to day natural family life.

Robin said...


Thanks for the link. It makes for some interesting reading. AND it's good to "see" you again.