Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Donaldson Institute Paper Answered

OriginsUSA has issued a press release in response to the Evan B. Donaldson Institute paper on the welfare of the natural mother. It has been noted that the EBDI report left a little to be desired, so expect to hear more from OUSA in the days to come. It is terrific, though, that the EBDI paper has opened the door to more dialogue and has reached the ears of the public. As was noted in a blog by another mom, the vicious hue and cry and attacks from the adoption apologists, adopters and the industry is proof positive that the concept of protection of the rights of the natural mother hit a very big nerve.

It's funny to me, though, how the apologists and the industry still want to speak FOR us, rather than asking us to speak out for ourselves. They still rely on those good beemommies who are sympathetic to the industry, rather than scoping out the real deal...those of us who can admit that we were conned, hoodwinked, scammed and screwed out of our own children. WE are the experts, WE lived it and WE know what was and is done.

I would love to challenge the mainstream media to convey the voices of the mothers exiled from their children's lives, the voices of those of us who had our motherhood legally deleted. I wonder, with the angry denials being spouted on some of the boards, if the fear of the real story becoming public knowledge is reaching a crisis point with those who benefit from adoption. That fear is what has kept the mainstream media in check for so long. With the exception of a few brave reporters and editors, they have only published the warm and fuzzy stories of sweet "forever" families built on the bones of an exiled mother. Maybe now, they might grow a set of cojones and be willing to print more of the real story.

They might learn what many other pro-adoptionists are not wanting them to know about us "deleted" moms...that they might have taken our parental rights, but our motherhood lived on in our hearts and souls. You just can't try to delete what Nature creates without a backlash somewhere down the line.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Problem With Pissing Contests

With the publishing of the very inadequate Evan B. Donaldson Institute Report on the Welfare of the (Natural Parent), the original family preservation groups and blogs are sprouting trolls and hit and run, anonymous detractors faster than a teenager can grow pimples. We've already seen how the threatened and the terminally resentful can overrun public boards such as the msnbc board and others.

I've had a hit or two, myself, here on this blog and I might or might not address them. But I am starting to question responding to people who post as "anonymous" and who want to deride rather than question. You can get into an endless dialogue with these folks and it never ends. The more attention you give to their attacks, the happier they are. I sort of liken them to the old "heavy breather," the obscene phone caller. The more you talk to them, even if you are telling them what inadequate excuses for men they are, the better they like it and the more aroused they become.

I have a policy of stopping the endless, angry debates before they can start on this blog. "Delete" is the new American power word. I'm here to air my views and experience with the failed social experiment of adoption and that's it. I have found a lot of the debates to be non-productive and a waste of valuable time. The fact is that none of the trolls, the arrogant and the assumptive have done anything but intensify our resolve. The work goes on and we still speak out so what have these intruders actually accomplished with their insults and tirades? ZIP...that's what.

I had a fosterer/adopter post a "shame on you" comment, not too long ago, with references to the usual crackwhore moms and abandoned children. I deleted her post because we let this kind of thing detract from our main focus and that is the millions of totally unnecessary separations of children from perfectly good mothers that has happened and does happen because the public does NOT KNOW THE TRUTH about adoption. We have our own ideas, as well, about what to do concerning the children whose mothers actually ARE incapable of keeping their children and it doesn't include adoption. We have stated and stated that and they still drag up the old distractions.

Remember the red herring of the dreaded unisex public restrooms used against the ERA a few decades ago? This is the same thing...a philosophy and strategy of the worst possible scenario and fear having very little to do with the big picture. They keep trying to poke holes with the same old awl and it's getting dull.

Those of us who put ourselves out in the public eye with our blogs and letters, etc., know that there are going to be the people who see us as a stationary target. I have been called everything from the standard old "angry and bitter" (well, DUH), to a "birther" to an "Ignorant Yank (courtesy of a member of the UK contingent)" to a "piece of work." I think I can live with those non-sticks and stones. I consider the source.

So, I intend to continue to pick my debates, carefully. I might entertain engaging an opponent whose true objective is a genuine pro and con exchange. But the mom-haters, the self-entitled and the just plain nasty with their vicious one-liners that just want to push a button and call names and pick at their own scabs can apply elsewhere. I might answer you once, but life is too short to be drawn into your dance of hostility.

So I wonder if we need to stop subjecting ourselves to the no-win reactions to the pouters and doubters and troublemakers. We have a course ahead of us...for some of us that means healing and for others it means activism and for many, it includes both. Why let ourselves get embroiled in melees that are ultimately pointless and non-productive? The truth is going to get told, published and spread regardless of the best efforts of the adopta-troll. Sometimes, the best way to show these "folks" how we view and value their comments is by ignoring them.

I also think we need to look at the kind of panic that fuels a lot of the attacks. I believe that it is beginning to dawn on these people that adoption is going to be exposed for what it really is, a failed, cruel and unnatural social experiment and that the adoption industry's days are numbered. A house of cards, in which too many placed too much faith, is falling. A lot of these trolls and attackers might just be seeing a truth that scares them to death. People who think they are cornered tend to fight dirty.

In a real fight, if one combatant goes by the Marquis of Queensbury rules while the other uses mercenary tactics, the noble warrior will be carried out on his shield. We're not banging heads, for the most part, with people that want a fair fight or anything other than to get a rise out of us. I can see taking our message to the public boards to maintain a balance and the brave women who have done that deserve our respect and our thanks. But for those trolls and tricksters that hit the adoption boards and blogs? Well, I really think we have more important things to do.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Vicious Vitriol and VERY Vile Vilification

By the vain, vacuous and the venal....OK, I'm through with the "v" words.

But, boy have the mother-haters, the self-justifiers and the adoption worshipers come out of the woodwork after the Evan B. Donaldson Institute report on the Welfare of NATURAL Mothers. To see what I mean, just go here, if you can stomach it.

The nastiness has even gone international with (one in particular) would-be, self-appointed, secretly mom-hating pundits voicing whatever idiocy they can to attract attention. There are the self-entitled, compassionless adopters filling the posts with denial and charges of unfit mothers. Then there are a few courageous others, including my favorite Mom from Down Under, trying to get the former to listen to the truth with their hearts and minds rather than with their emotional wants, damaged psyches and grandiose egos. Pro-family preservation blogs and message boards are being attacked, infiltrated and all is being done that these terrified tyrants can think of to discredit their own people, the Evans B. Donaldson institute of "I Know What This Society Needs" fame...ya gotta love it!

For many pro-adoptionists, it is very threatening that the mother who has been or stands in danger of being separated from her child by adoption is finally getting a voice, although the voice is still not speaking, totally, for her. The report does fall short and contains a few glaring errors and erroneous conclusions that are nothing but concessions to the industry. However, this has given us the opening we need. We are being heard, someone is feeling the pressure, someone is running a bit scared and so they are throwing us a bone just like they did with the idea of so-called "open" adoptions. The problem is, that this time, the bone was something the pro-adoption community was saving for soup! Arrgh!

What these distinguished folks responsible for the EBDI report have actually done is given us a wonderful opportunity to get the COMPLETE message across. There are millions of women and their surrendered children who are owed least a major, public, detailed apology from the industry. There is a real need to scrap the current, profit-driven industry and dismantle the state agencies, altogether. It feeds on the most vulnerable, caters to the most self-entitled and has perverted the entire painful process with spins and media tricks and political rhetoric that have managed to make a pure and painful tragedy seem like a heart-warming, tear-jerking, Disney movie, and, whether they admit it or not, it is all in the name of the "bottom line" or $$$$$.

The dark and slimy underbelly of adoption is showing and there are those who have benefited or stand to benefit from adoption that don't like that at all. The angry adoptees, adults who hang on to their blaming, shaming anger at and hatred of their mothers like Linus hangs on to his blanket are also out in force. They don't want their emotional Binky taken away. I am waiting for the first of these "intellectual giants" to start hurling the "breeders" and "birth-bitches" names, because, like, that is waaay mature, you know?

Go ahead and have at it, Oh Minions of the Machine. Bash away with your specious, unfounded charges of welfare moms and baby dumpers and crackwhores. When you run out of steam and start repeating yourself (actually, you already do that), we will still be here, we will still be talking and posting and wearing our ribbons and writing our letters to editors and congresspeople and educating our friends and acquaintances and helping the frozen moms and the under-informed moms to awaken. We have the truth of what has happened to us and that is all the weapon we need in this can deny all you want, but you cannot, legitimately DISPROVE anything we say because it is real.

And to the baby-hungry that see that healthy, white infant slipping through their fingers, maybe it's time you learned that the desire for a baby doesn't translate into deserving a baby. No one owes you their flesh and blood just because you can't have one of your own or because you want a certain gender to compliment the child you already have or because you are deluded into thinking you can attain sainthood by adopting someone else's womb-fresh baby. We're going to continue to concentrate on keeping mother and baby together. After all, that's how it should have always been done.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Stop, Children! What's That Sound?

Everybody look what's going down!! It's the sound of the Evan B. Donaldson Institute conceding and accepting, as fact, what we have told them all along...that mothers who lose children to adoption hurt, always and mightily, from the grief and the unfairness of it all, that this undeniable pain and inequity needs to be remedied and that mothers need to be protected from greedy agencies, potential adopters and even, sometimes, their own "loved ones." To read this report, go here.

Yes, they won't stop using that "b" word, but this is, at least, a step forward in acknowledging the myriad shortcomings of adoption. There are some of us who feel that, while the EBDI report is a terrific development, it addresses some issues too vaguely and still leaves some issues unaddressed.

The report speaks to the need for the mother to be more fully and completely informed, but by whom? In order to hear about the real pain of adoption, there needs to be input from those mothers and adopted people who have been honest with themselves enough to admit the extent of their pain. "Pet Beemommies" and "grateful adoptees" need not apply.

There is a call for a longer period for the mother to think about her decision and to change her mind without reciprocal duress or recriminations. This should be taken further to the extent of establishing a period of time for the mother, without any interference, to spend time with her child in order to learn exactly what she would be losing. Potential adopters and agency personnel should be banned from the labor and delivery rooms, the hospital or birthing center and legally compelled to stay away from the mother and child during their initial time together. NO infant should go directly from the womb into the arms of an adopter.

I would like to see a report that honestly addresses the pain and confusion and frustration of the adopted person. This relates directly to our pain and is the proof in the pudding, so to speak that adoption is not such a terrific "option." So many more adopted people would speak out, I believe, if there were no recriminations and hurt feelings and guilt trips placed on them by adopters and an unfeeling society.

For those mothers who are truly unable to care for and raise their own child, more should be invested in the concept of kinship guardianship and legal guardianship. Adoption is not a "fix-all" for the child of such a mother. It's just another burden for them to bear.

This report is supposed to be a rung in the ladder of adoption reform. I hope they act on the recommendations because that would be a really good start. BUT, the truth is that adoption doesn't need to be just "reformed." It needs to be prevented when at all possible. If this country can afford "adoption incentives" for those who adopt, then it can afford to offer a real helping hand to the mother in order to enable her to raise her own child.

Too often we hear the single mother or the mother who avails herself of social programs in order to support her family referred to as a "welfare queen" and a drain on the tax-payers resources. Well, who the heck pays the bill for these adoption incentives, major amounts, yearly, if not the taxpayer? That, to me is discrimination of the worst kind...discriminating against a mother for not being as well-to-do as someone thinks she should be. I'd like to see some of those fund invested in parenting classes and mentoring for these moms. You'd be surprised how much the love for their own flesh and blood can motivate a mom to listen and learn.

There is still a notable absence of any recognition of the abuses of the Baby Scoop Era between the end of WWII and the ruling of Roe v Wade. Millions of women and their taken in adoption children deserve redress, access to records for BOTH mother and adoptee and, at the least, a major apology. Enough time has gone by and enough evidence has been produced for public consumption about this heinous period that this requirement should be a no-brainer.

So, the report is a good, positive step forward and I am glad to see it. But I reserve my applause until I see action, clarification and expansion. You guys are on a roll with this effort, so let's see what you can REALLY do.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Eugenics-Pronunciation Key - [yoo-jen-iks]

Noun (used with a singular verb)
-the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, esp. by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics).

And what, you may wonder, is this word doing on an adoption blog? Perhaps it might help if we look at the eugenics experiments of the Third Reich during WWII. Among these experiments was the practice of taking desirable babies from the so-called "undesirables" and giving them, in adoption, to good, Aryan, Nazi German families to raise "as if born to." This was supposed to boost the population of the "Master Race" while curtailing the rearing of children by those that might not see Hitler's grand vision in quite the same exalted light. His dream was his own view of a perfect and "pure" society.

Lest you think that those days are gone, let me assure you that the good, old US of A has its own eugenicists, alive, kicking, writing and influencing policy where they can. And boy, do they love adoption! Among these people are newspaper columnist and self-proclaimed child-rearing "expert," John Rosemond and Paul Popenoe who wrote the marriage articles in Better Homes and Gardens for many years. Sound familiar? Nice men who write helpful articles, right? But they both espouse a view for a society that is "improved" through a very narrow vision of what is correct and who should be parents.

The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, aka, the Mormons, are truly gung-ho, along with other denominations, for seeing that children are raised by "the right kind" of people with the "right kind" of homes, incomes, beliefs and voting histories. There are quite a few religions on this earth that seem to want to see society made over into the image of their doctines. Some kill to get it done...others push adoption. There's that eugenics word again.

In the name of their God and in the name of Good Government and in the name of Noble Vision, then, we have people in places of power and influence that want to make sure that the poor, the less well educated, the disenfranchised are relieved of their children as soon as possible. If some of these Big Thinkers had their way, some young women would be sterilized at puberty or, at least, right after they produce a healthy, preferably white infant for some "deserving couple." Those of us from the Baby Scoop Era were designated delinquent and psychologically disturbed and, therefore, unfit. It makes you wonder how long other people have been making our decisions about what is fit and unfit, doesn't it?

The two men I mentioned above are just two among many, but I mentioned them because of their access to the media. Many Americans tend to believe what they read or see on TV without ever questioning it or the motivations behind the message. We're a trusting lot that tends to see the word "expert" and we're ready and willing to absorb the words of the elite.

I remember parroting a lot of pro-adoption propaganda in the early days of my reunions with my two adult, surrendered children. I cited this "expert" and that "expert" until a friend of mine stopped me and insisted that I start thinking outside the lines. "After all," she said, "Just what IS an expert, after all? An 'ex' is a has-been and a 'spurt' is a flying drop of fluid. No one has all the answers and if they make is sound simple and easy to believe, then watch out!" Thanks, Liz. I have found I like thinking for myself.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

So, What's with the Ribbons?

Every year, in November, a month is given over to the publicizing and advocating of adoption. Every year, mothers of adoption loss feel this "celebration" as a stinging slap in their faces and a rubbing of salt in an open wound. For those mothers and families and all the adopted people who have suffered from this unnatural separation, OriginsUSA has instituted a "National Strange and Mournful Day," to be an annual occasion, starting this November 30th.

For every "happy and heart-warming" story of the joy of adopters as they take a child as their own, there is the story of a deep and painful tragedy behind it. Even with overseas adoptions where unscrupulous facilitators assure the adopters that the child is an "orphan," there is usually a mother or other family members left behind with a heart's load of pain and grief.

The Internet is full of support groups here, in our own country, for women who thought they were "doing the right thing" under the careful guidance of facilitators and "Dear Beemommy" letter-writing adopters,who believed they would be able to live,comfortably, with their "decision."(Coercion doesn't have to be a gun to the head)

These women, along with those of us from the older generation who had our children just taken out of hand with a dose of shame and censure added in to boot, have come out of the fog and realized that adoption is NOT the wonderful win-win solution that proponents would have us believe. No amount of agency-sponsored "grief and acceptance" therapy can take away that hole that is in the heart the mother separated from her child. The amount of propaganda that goes into keeping the mythology of adoption alive and suitably cloying is tremendous!

So, on this November 30th, we will be wearing our pretty ribbons to honor and respect the feelings of mothers whose children were taken for adoption...For original family members, mostly grandparents, who weren't given the choice of becoming guardians for the children of a relative who was unable to care for her child...For women who trusted an "open" adoption, only to see it close and their child disappear behind a selfish veil of secrecy...For women in foreign lands whose tragedy of poverty, illiteracy and government oppression became a boon for the adopter..And for our children, for their confusion, pain and sadness.

The title of the day is, of course, taken from Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion" posted here a few days ago. One of the phrases in the song, "I know they say let it be, but it just don't work out that way," is very appropriate when dealing with the lie that mothers who have been exiled from their children through adoption just "go on with life" and that we "forget." So we use this day to denote the unnatural (Strange) and painful, grievous (Mournful) results of that sad social experiment of adoption and invite anyone who is interested to join us. Contact the PR chairperson at OriginsUSA for more information or click on the link below.

Read More about this observance at

The colors used in the observance ribbon are the colors of OriginsUSA and they signify even more to each of us who will be wearing them.

Strange And Mournful Colors

Black is the color of anger and mourning,
A grief that's as cold as a bottomless well,
A color of yearning, of fear and not knowing,
From the shadow of pain and the lining of Hell.

Purple is dignity, a striving for justice,
A royal-hued banner that flies as we the fight,
A color of pride and a color of honor,
The soul of respect and a toast to what's right.

White, then is pure and above all the others,
The hue of new snow or a peace-bringing dove,
A color that calls to the heart of the mothers,
A color of hope and a color of love.

We wear the colors for what you took from us,
With never a "pardon" or reason or rhyme,
Empowered and stronger, we're facing you proudly,
The mothers have turned and it's just about time.

Robin Westbrook 11/13/2006

Proud and True 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)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wearing Ribbons On The 30th

If you happen to run into a woman sporting a tri-colored ribbon badge of black, purple and white on the 30th of November, stop and ask her about it. That distant rumblings you are hearing is the silence of years being broken. More about this, later.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Truth During Adoption (Beware)Ness Month

Time magazine has posted this pithy piece at their online site and I love their timing. I only wish that they had included the additional truth of how various state CPS agents will comandeer the children of the poor and vulnerable (usually single and struggling mothers) under the thinnest of pretexts in order to have the money-making infants and toddlers to offer to adopters. Their pay-off? Federal $$$$$$.

For those who still think that the ultra-gooey, National Adoption Awareness Month is beneficial for the "sake" of children in the foster care system, read and think again. I still have to wonder how much more truth can be brought to the attention of the American public about adoption before they realize that the Emperor is naked. I have added my own parenthetical comments just because I can! Power is a heady thing.

Is Adoption the Solution?By TIMOTHY ROCHE
Posted Monday, Nov. 13, 2000

To hear federal officials tell it, one of the best solutions to America's foster-care crisis often boils down to one word: adoption. New figures released by the Department of Health and Human Services show that 46,000 foster-care children were legally adopted in 1999, a 28% increase from the previous year's total. Money is part of the picture. For every child adopted beyond the number of adoptions in the previous year, the feds pay the states a bonus of $4,000, to be used for their foster-care and adoption programs. Kids with special needs are worth $6,000. In September federal officials announced that 42 states would receive $20 million in adoption bonuses. (*Who says it isn't about money? *RW)

New regulations have contributed to the rise in adoptions. The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 shortened the time for a state to make decisions about a child's placement. In the past, federal inspectors did little more than check necessary paper work to ensure that states were following placement guidelines. Now, however, teams of inspectors will descend upon states to track specific kids and their families. States have up to one year to show, through a court order, that they have made reasonable efforts to develop a permanent plan for reunification or guardianship or adoption.(* Now, there's an idea! Help the family out and keep them! I wish I'd thought of that. RW) The new regulations, announced in January and phased in throughout the year, have "re-conceptualized" the policies with the intention of requiring "continuous improvement," says HHS Secretary Donna Shalala. For the first time, she says, "we really are going to hold the states' feet to the fire."(*Just like an adopter I read about did to the feet of the child she acquired...she showed that ungrateful little so and so! RW)

Just how the states will respond to the changes in federal law remains to be seen. Some have written new legislation to overhaul their foster-care systems. But many states, like Colorado, face even bigger challenges, because the real control over foster care rests with local agencies, not state officials. Policies vary not only from state to state but also from county to county. "It's part of the Western culture to be independent," says Representative Doug Linkhart, a Colorado Democrat. "But it presents a problem, because the system is so fragmented, and too many things are going wrong because of poor communication."(*What about..the entire concept is flawed, Representative Linkhart? Scrap it all and start over and leave adoption out of the equation for the nonce. RW)

Earlier this year the Governor of Colorado appointed a task force to study reform after three foster kids died in 18 months. What it found was startling: the bureaucracy was so fractured that overburdened state officials had given up trying to inspect all the privately run child-placement agencies. So the state simply granted them permanent licenses, and foster kids suffered.

As it is, however, the new federal policies may engender a whole new set of problems. Critics say the reforms put a bounty on the heads of unwanted children. They fear that timetables tied to disbursement of money may (*May????) keep social workers from trying harder to rehabilitate biological (* As in "REAL"?) parents and reunite families, because government leaders now consider adoption a panacea(!!!). "Skewed financial incentives are the single biggest problem in the entire child-welfare system," says Richard Wexler of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. (*Au contraire, Mr. Wexler...the biggest problem is the knee-jerk gravitation to adoption as a cure-all, motivated by the big the numbers! RW)

And what happens, asks Rachel Oesterle, an expert with Aid to the Adoption of Special Children, when a foster adoption fails--an incidence that can run as high as 12%? Does the government get its money back from the states? A report for Wexler's coalition says, "States get to keep the money even if an adoption fails. In fact, if they place the same child again, they collect another bounty." Says Wexler: "The bounty is paid when the adoption is finalized, so there is an incentive to place a child with little concern about whether the placement will really last."(*Hmmmmm, says Robin. So someone realizes that adopters return children like defective merchandise and the state agencies still get the bucks...what a concept! *wink)

--By Timothy Roche. With reporting by Melissa August/Washington, Julie Grace/Chicago and Maureen Harrington/Denver
With reporting by Melissa August/Washington, Julie Grace/Chicago and Maureen Harrington/Denver

Friday, November 10, 2006

America, The Land Of The Naive

We deal with all kinds of people when we enter the arena of adoption reform activism. There are the vicious (usually angry, threatened adopters and adoptees), the smug (self-righteous "experts" who think they represent reform), the judgmental and those that are just actively holding on to their denial and sense of entitlement. We counter the spin-doctors for the industry with the facts that we painstakingly gather, we appeal to the compassion of the self-entitled with our personal stories and we stand toe-to-toe with the vicious and we don't back down.

That leaves us with the clueless...the ones living in the dream world of media-induced warm fuzzies. These are the people who see every adoptable child as a curly-haired moppet, cast out into the storm, and adopters as the selfless saviors of that child. To them, the story ends with the adoption...Annie and Daddy Warbucks walk off into the sunset and everyone says.."Awwwwwwwwwwww." Mom is either dead or a self-sacrificing heroine or a total, abusive slut. That she might be "everywoman," worthwhile and decent and broken with grief, as the vast majority of us actually are, is a puzzler for the naive in the US.

These are the people who have never been put into the maelstrom of adoption. Oh, they might "know somebody," usually an adoptee, who seems just fine, thank you and then they'll go on to voice their worries about teen pregnancies, dumpster babies and crackwhore moms because that is what they see on TV and read about in the papers. I have noticed that, when I talk to someone like this about adoption, they seem shocked and almost unable to comprehend what I am saying. The idea that adoption could be anything but all warm and gooshy with heart-rending, positive emotion is so foreign to their social conditioning that I might as well be speaking to them in Klingon.

They all have their mental slide-show of what adoption is, and when we edit the frames, it's hard for them to take it all in. Some argue, some listen and some even try to learn more. But there is a lot of industry-driven conditioning of the American public out there. We, as a society, seem to be in some sort of national, self-centered childhood that allows many of us to just buy the package without really checking the quality of the product as long as we get what we want. We were taught lies in American History when we were growing up, and we are hard-put to think that our government or anyone else in authority or who proclaims themselves to be an "expert" or who drapes themselves in the mantle of religion or good, old conservative values might ever steer us wrong.

The naive, the clueless, the average person-on-the-street...they are all out of the adoption loop and only the ones with the big money and the mass media connections can reach them unless our campaign of revelation gets loud and vociferous. That's hard for a group of regular women, especially those of us from the BSE (Baby Scoop Era), to do because we were raised to be "nice and lady-like." Between working to gather our ovarian fortitude and dealing with Frozen Moms who are still in denial, we have our work cut out for us. But the Civil Rights Amendment didn't get passed because the African-American community was quiet and unassuming. They were non-violent, but they were also LOUD and FRANK and TO THE POINT.

To those moms who are ready to march, here's a suggestion. This month, the dreaded Adoption Awareness (BewareNess) Month is a chance to fire a volley and gain the attention of the naive (unaware) citizen. Some of us are thinking to run with the "National Strange and Mournful Day" idea (see previous post), observing it on the last day of the month claimed by the adoptionists..November 30th. If you're interested, watch this blog. There'll be more information to come. Happy November, America. Are you ready to learn something?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

National "Strange and Mournful Day?"

I never realized, until I had my eyes opened to my own grief and pain and the reality of what had happened to my children and to me, why this song struck such a chord in me. I cried when I heard it played on an "Oldies station" in 1993 when I reunited with my adult children.

Mother and Child Reunion
Words & music by Paul Simon

No I would not give you false hope, On this strange and mournful day,
But the mother and child reunion, Is only a motion away,
oh, little darling of mine.
I can't for the life of me, Remember a sadder day,
I know they say let it be,
But it just don't work out that way, And the course of a lifetime runs, Over and over again.

No I would not give you false hope, On this strange and mournful day,
But the mother and child reunion, Is only a motion away,
oh, little darling of mine,
I just cant believe its so, And though it seems strange to say,
I never been laid so low, In such a mysterious way, And the course of a lifetime runs, Over and over again.

But I would not give you false hope, On this strange and mournful day,
When the mother and child reunion, Is only a motion away,
Oh, oh the mother and child reunion, Is only a motion away,
Oh the mother and child reunion, Is only a moment away...........

The pro-adoption faction has their dubiously cheerful National Adoption Awareness (BEWARENESS) month. I propose that we who have suffered from the inequities and pain of adoption designate a day in November as "National Strange and Mournful day." It would be a protest against the celebration of an institution that has brought so much injustice and hurt to so many. I'm still appalled at the people who would rejoice in something that is a tragedy to others.

Designating such a day might bring to the foreground the fact that reunion doesn't take away the pain and the damage done. No matter how good a reunion might seem to be, there is always the bitter with the sweet. All the years are lost to us, we can't get them back, ever, and most adopters are reticent to share what they consider to be "their" private memories.

The truth of our manipulation at the hands of the industry and its minions and an unjust society comes home to us with a huge blow. No longer the shell-shocked, vulnerable pregnant young women, we (those of us who haven't been "frozen" by the trauma) see how unnecessary our loss really was and how we were betrayed by those we had been taught to trust. We enter the morass of adopter possessiveness and adoptee loyalty and confusion.

Our babies are gone from us, forever and we have no way to mark that occasion. There is that familiar stranger standing there and we both look at each other and feel so much it can't be verbalized. Some of us get the brunt of our children's anger. Some of us get treated like back-street mistresses...dirty little secrets with our children visiting and communicating clandestinely. Those of us that arrive at a workable relationship have to work at it with sweat, blood and tears and we never know when it might all topple like a house of cards from the weight of years apart and the painful erosion of adoption cliches and mythology.

So, if the industry and adopters and their government supporters are Hell-bent on celebrating the number of little families they destroyed to form their own idea of perfection, then we can have our own day to let them know they are too wide of the mark on this issue to qualify as compassionate human beings. We can remind adopters that, without the market they create, there would be no drive to secure a supply...that they are NOT entitled to a child just because they want one. We can let the non-adoption-affected American public see the carnage that has been going on among them without their real understanding.

Hmmm...I wonder if we need to ask Paul Simon for permission to use the phrase?

"We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal"and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal."
Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Why We Can't Wait, 1963

Monday, November 06, 2006

Adoption BEWARENESS Month

Ah, November is here again, and along with cooling temperatures and the headlong rush into the Holidays, the time is at hand, again, for the adoption industry and adopters to trot out their annual, self-righteous, specious and misleading propaganda. A very smart member of OUSA came up with this wonderful idea for those of us who are in the fight to put a hurting on this major, big-money industry, to call November "Adoption Bewareness Month."

We are looking for ways to reach the pregnant women out there who see themselves in a "crisis" situation and let them know that everything passes and changes, that no "crisis" lasts forever, but their child's need for them will be forever as will their grief and pain be if they fall into that trap. We are doing all in our power to try to show the unnecessary nature of adoption, even in the worst-case scenarios. We are working to see the rights of natural family members to raise their own children upheld when the mothers are truly unable. We are writing letters and emails to lawmakers and editors citing the many trespasses of the industry, the CPS and the social work profession, many members of which are totally knee-jerk in pushing adoption as a solution for everything but the common cold. To anyone who sees us as non-effective, look again.

We also have taken a stand of support for the different foreign countries that are moving to block the ease with which potential adopters can come into their country and take their children without a thought to any family members, the reliability of the information given them by the facilitators or the ultimate affect on the children involved. Yes, we write, we publicize, we meet, we strive to educate, we have PAC's, we involve ourselves in every aspect of the media, and we won't give up or back away. Most importantly, our numbers are growing.

We now have active Origins chapters in 3 countries, a radio show about adoption, which was started by a Canadian adoptee, and a lot of facts, figures and investigative work under out belts (thanks, Karen). We have online activism groups, private and strong and active, that are a study in constant brain-storming.

So, in addition to telling the mothers, fathers and other family members of an expected baby who may fall victim to the adoption industry to BEWARE the trap of adoption, we can also tell the industry and all those who benefit from this sad social experiment of adoption to BEWARE if they're not taking us seriously. Sooner or later, you are going to have to sit up and listen rather than attacking and denying. If you want to celebrate something that causes others so much pain, then be prepared to be called to account for that. Happy Adoption BEWARENESS Month!

Robin Westbrook
Mother of Four, No "Birth" About It
"Reformers who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon."
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton-
"We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was "legal"And everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal."-Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham Jail," Why We Can't Wait, 1963

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Good Article about Foreign Adoption

This appeared in the Toronto Star, this morning, and it says it all better and more in depth than many similar articles have. I've been wondering how to address the issue of the adoption, by pop "star," Madonna, of an African child. The story been tugged and pulled to death, but this piece spells it out from a very astute viewpoint. The author's position with the African Medical & Research Foundation in Canada has obviously given her a good idea of what kind of damage is done with foreign adoption.

It has long been acknowledged that American adopters will go to foreign countries to adopt in order to avoid "messy" interactions with the parents of the children they covet. Here in the US, it is hard to avoid the mother of the adopted child due to open adoption, reunions and now, contested adoptions. It has also long been observed that there is an arrogance in the American adopter that assumes our material wealth and (sometimes questionable) national values make us a superior environment to their own country for any child, regardless of their families, cultures and beliefs. I have heard enough from a few adult Asian and other foreign adoptees to know that they are not the most "grateful" group on the planet. If anything, many of them feel robbed of both their original families AND their native cultures. This need to be seen as "saviors" by the American adopter is becoming downright pathological and, as I said before, extremely arrogant.

Here's the link and the article. Peruse at your leisure.


The best thing for orphans is to help reunite them with family members, says Salima Pirani

Nov. 2, 2006. 01:00 AM

Last week I watched, along with millions of viewers of the Oprah Winfrey Show worldwide, as Madonna spoke out against the media for discouraging international adoption and called for African laws to enable more international adoption of African children. All of this following her own adoption of 13-month-old David Banda from an orphanage in Malawi.

Via satellite from her home in the U.K., Madonna called the lack of adoption laws in Malawi a "state of emergency," urging viewers to go to Africa to see what she had witnessed: "8-year-olds in charge of households ... mothers dying ... a state of emergency," she repeated. She added, "Adoption laws have to be changed to suit that state of emergency. I think if everybody went there, they'd want to bring one of those children home with them and give them a better life."

In another interview, she told the media that the adoption was not an easy one. Nor should it have been. Fourteen million children under the age of 15 have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The majority of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Madonna's story raises two common approaches to this problem: adoption and orphanages. But foreign adoption and orphanages will only create more problems down the road.

Displacing orphans hurts the child twice. Not only do these children lose their parents, but also their inheritance, their home and all their family ties. A child in an orphanage reaches 18 years of age and is asked to leave. They walk out of the door with nothing. No land, no home and no relationship with relatives or home community.

Madonna made a plea for adoption laws in Africa to change to make it easier for foreigners to adopt African children. If this takes place, the implications on Africa's children, its workforce and its future will be immense.

While African governments will struggle to set up adoption laws, facilities and processes for foreigners to claim these children, on the other hand the conditions that lead to poverty, disease and death will continue.

The result? Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children will be removed from Africa. There is no evidence, as Madonna suggests, that children adopted by foreigners will someday return to Africa to work as doctors, civil servants or other contributing members of society. On the contrary, the trend has always been for the African professional to leave the continent to work overseas because of the lack of infrastructure and economic opportunities at home.

If we look at the UNAIDS statistics for a country like Uganda, one out of every 30 people is a child under 15 who has lost one or both parents. Institutional care or foreign adoption for every 30th person is simply not an economic option.

As the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." In Africa, orphans are traditionally cared for by the community. Guardians receive the rights to the land the parents leave behind while the children remain in their care. Work is being done to ensure these children ultimately inherit their parents' land when they come of age.

In the African model, the child grows up with an identity and possibly an inheritance, too.

I believe in the traditional system of supporting the guardians and communities to deal with this huge and increasing burden themselves. By supporting them with loans and by building their capacity to generate the extra income, caretakers of orphans are able to help pay for the extra food and schooling. This support costs only a fraction of the price of putting children into orphanages and is much better for the child.

People who really want to help alleviate the burden of poverty can assist in many ways, adoption not included. Educating the public about HIV/AIDS to reduce stigma, working with teachers and schools to accommodate the special needs of AIDS orphans, encouraging communities to be active participants in raising orphans in their community, working with elderly grandmothers and young heads of households to decrease the burdens they face, protecting and upholding child rights and working with African governments and ministries of health to bridge the gaps between communities with orphans and the health-care systems are all long-term and sustainable solutions to the ever-growing number of AIDS orphans.

It is estimated that by 2010, there will be 20 million children orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

The best thing we can do for these children is educate them, reunite them with family members — however distant, as long as they are willing and able guardians — and support these guardians so that they are able to make a living to care for the children.

Salima Pirani is the communications manager of African Medical & Research Foundation (AMREF) Canada, an international African health development organization bridging the gap between communities and health-care systems.