Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Moving From the Back of the Bus

A little over 6 years ago, I wrote this essay. I was just coming out of the deepest parts of my delayed mourning for my lost babies and trying to deal with the "gut punch" of realizing just how badly I had been used...how unjust it all was. I had been awakened to the greed of the industry, the hostility of adopters towards us and the anger of our own children.

We mothers from the Baby Scoop Era, who had our children taken for adoption, are still battling the stereotypes(loose sluts), the misinformation(we "made a choice") and the renewed efforts of the industry and adopters to keep us at the back of the bus. I thought I would like to re-visit these thoughts from December of 2000.


Name: Robin
Title (to others): "Birth-"mother
Role: Unclear
Status: Secondary
Status of Feelings: Secondary
Favorite Color: Shades of Gray

The murky waters of adoption have claimed more victims than any other disaster I can think of. The problem is, that the victims are killed over and over again. Every time I hear my daughter call me "Robin," every month that passes without hearing from my son, every time I realize that I had my motherhood amputated a long time ago where Sara and Jay are concerned, I die again, inside.

We are one of the last minorities for whom discrimination seems to be OK. We wear hoods and veils while the adopters wear halos. We are the women who, when reunited with our adult children, are often treated like "back-street" mistresses, visited secretly and never spoken of to the adopters.

Holidays, weddings, engagements, graduations, even wakes are for them, not for us. I was not even allowed at my daughter's wedding. My raised daughter was told she could come if she stayed to the back of the church and didn't bring notice to herself. I'm pleased to say that she declined the invitation.

By the very act that so many say is "noble" and "selfless", that of surrender of our children for adoption, we are relegated to the second or third-class section of our children's lives. We are thanked, but not honored. We are necessary, but many would prefer that we remain invisible. We are actively recruited, then have them pray that we will disappear. We are the "untouchables" of western society.

Those of us who do not chose to remain in the niche of second-class anonymity are thought of as "troublemakers," even by some of our sisters who surrendered. Those of us who rail against the lies and coercion by which our children were removed from us are accused of not taking responsibility for our own actions. Those of us who never stopped loving and grieving for our children are accused of "living in the past " and "not moving on with life." No matter how much pain we endure, it's all OUR fault.

So we walk on eggshells so as not to lose again the children we lost in our youth. We subjugate our needs and feelings to those of the adopters and act grateful for the crumbs we receive. Now I know how it must have felt to the African-Americans to be forced to sit in the back of the bus. I don't know about you, but I get nauseated riding in the back.

I am my childrens' Mother. That fact is carved into my heart in letters of blood. No legal doublespeak, no papers bearing any signatures or any judicial decree can change that primal and natural fact. And True Mothers don't forget and they don't accept second-class treatment and they don't ride at the back of the bus.

So, I'm fighting my way forward, not just for me, but for all my sisters who have felt less that who they truly are due to this tragedy of adoption. I am out of the closet and exposing myself, my past "sins" and successes to the light of scrutiny. I am here, at the front of the bus, and I want a seat!

Copyright © 12/31/2000 Robin Westbrook

Friday, January 26, 2007

Rape of the Soul

I am posting an article, today, written by *Stephen Fitzpatrick, in 2004. I'm sure that many of you might have read this, but it bears re-reading. Having been both a victim of rape and loss to adoption, I am comforted by the truth in his words.

Although the ABC game show he talks about never materialized, the media and industry glamorization of adoption continues. What really brought this to mind was another story about Melinda Duckett, a Korean adopted woman here in Florida, who took her own life a few months back, after pressure and media intrusion by the infamous Nancy Grace, and the disappearance of her son, Trenton.

There is now some evidence to indicate that, before she took her life, she may have had her son taken to Korea. She was in an intense custody battle with her ex-husband before her son disappeared and many have thought she killed the little boy. I hope the Korea theory is the right one and that Trenton is alive and well. It would make sense, in a way, that she would return her son to her own roots. If so, I hope he has family there who will keep him safe. This article is about adoption, expectations, media and how we all are raped in our souls.

Rape of the Soul

When one person, or more people, force someone to indulge in sexual activity against their will, we call this act a rape. We are aware of the horror of this despite our attempts to glamorize it in media and television. We know that a rape is a trauma, we know that the victims of rape take years to recover and we know that this road to recovery is a torturous one.

When one person, or more people, force someone to relinquish a baby against their will, we call this act adoption. We choose to ignore the horror, and describe this as a win-win situation. We choosenot to acknowledge adoption as a trauma. It is a trauma for the natural mother, a trauma for the baby, a band-aid recovery package for the adoptive parents who do not get to deal with their real issues around sterility and infertility.

No one consciously chooses to have their being penetrated by a stranger, to give away an intimate, vulnerable part of themselves. No one does it freely. It is an act done out of fear. It is a desperate act done because the belief exists that to do otherwise would result in death. No mother chooses freely, willingly or easily to give away her precious child, whom she has created. The overt and covert pressure from family, from society, from social workers, from people she believes have a greater power and knowledge than the power and knowledge of her own mothering instincts take over her being in an abusive swoop. She has to believe the direct and indirect threats in order to relinquish her flesh and blood. She believes her own life is in danger, that the shame that she will suffer will annihilate her. She believes that her child will be better off elsewhere, in a two parent, financially secure stronghold. These beliefs are false. The information fed to her is untrue. Her decision to relinquish is based on lies.

A victim of sexual abuse is made to feel guilty by his or her perpetrator. The shame, the guilt, the self blame, the horrific feeling of being dirty, the one at cause, the one who deserves to have this happen, results in a downward spiralling, all consuming powerlessness. A powerlessness which silences. A powerlessness which does not allow for the truth to be said. A powerlessness which robs us of our authenticity. A powerlessness which can kill.

When a mother is separated from her infant, two beings enter a state of agony. The agony is turned inwards, for the society who created the shame, the society who does not approve of the mother’s sexuality, who does not approve of a bastard being born into the world, does not validate the torture that the separation creates. It does not wish to see the effects of its hypocrisy, and demands that the mother pretends that she did not give birth to her child. It demands that the child live as if the strangers to whom it is given created it, mistakenly believing that this relieves the child of its illegitimate status. Society creates denial for itself. It hides the real facts in brown envelopes, which are not allowed to be opened. The secret must be preserved at all costs.

The secret is preserved by refusing to allow mothers and children to speak about their experience. By pretending that everyone is better off. By creating a packaging around adoption which is so appealing, that no one thinks to look below the cover and ask what this institution is really about. A packaging so seductive that even those who are the most closely involved do not see what is really going on. People imagine that mothers are relieved to see their unwanted children leave their lives.

They do not imagine that the mother is no different from the blissful expectant mother who is radiant and glowing, alive with the sensuality of carrying her unborn child. They do not imagine the mother being desperately in love with her child, wanting to be there to hold and nurture and love her child in the same way that any other mother would. They imagine this mother to be different, to be a monster. But she is not a monster, she is the loving mother who is not allowed to love. The caring mother not allowed to care. The supporting mother not allowed to support. She is the mother whose soul has been raped.

The primary definition of rape is to take by force. No word is more apt to describe what adoption is really about. ‘Force’ has been smoothed down to such an extent that it is hardly noticeable. It is a technique which has become so subtle and professionally polished, that it gives the opposite impression of what it is about. Cigarette companies advertise their product with a huge dose of sexuality and glamour. They hide the truth that cigarettes are about addiction and the destruction of one’s health. Cigarette companies wish to create a fortune by promising love, attraction, romance, partnership, sex appeal. When will they be truthful about what they are doing? Why do their advertising campaigns not show deceased lungs, people on support machines, bodies which are yellow and crippled, with barely enough air inside them to keep them alive? This is what cigarettes do to a person. But the truth is distorted, and a lie is put in its place in order to make a profit through deceit. A person’s health is taken away from them, intentionally. This is a rape of a person’s birthright.

Adoption is the same. The lifelong effects of adoption are not made clear to anyone. The natural mother, by now relegated to a breeding machine by the inhuman prefix “birth”, was not told that she would suffer lifelong, irresolvable grief. The adoption agencies didn’t mention it. That the adoptee, literally born into a vacuum, will feel the loss, will spend the rest of his life searching for the missing link, is also glossed over. There is no acceptance of reality, no attempt to deal humanely with the consequences. We are all supposed to feel happy about this event. Society wants us to believe we have all been done a favour. Rape is too gentle a word for what has happened.

As if this vile violence is not enough, America has now decided to make a sport out of it. ABC television has created a show where prospective adoptive couples get to compete, on TV, for a baby. The lucky couple will get to take the child home. It is a return to medieval times, where human atrocities were spectator sports. People will cheer as the ‘prize’ gets torn away from its mother. They will gloat over the good fortune of the ‘lucky couple’ who have had their dream come true. This kind of behaviour mirrors a society which has become so out of touch with itself that it mistakes its own barbarity for entertainment. Did anyone wonder how the baby will respond during adolescence when she asks “Mummy, where did I come from?”. The reply won’t be “From my tummy, darling”. It will be “You were first prize on a game show honey.” How many of us can say we would enjoy hearing that from our parents. I suspect the answer is a resounding zero. Yet,the show must go on. The glamour is important, after all, and plenty of money is waiting to be made.

Rape by Media. Society sits back and enjoys the blood, and then washes its hands. Pretends it is innocent. The torn lives are never fully healed. As with the excessive smoker, adoption, also has fatal consequences. Unlike the tobacco industry, there is no large warning sign on the consent forms. This month, April 2004, two women took their lives due to the pain they suffered from being separated from their children. I dedicate this article to these two women, Cindy and Kate. May we stop manipulating and lying to each other with fatal consequences, and may we do it before too many more Cindys and Kates have to sacrifice their lives for us to take some notice.

*© Stephen Fitzpatrick, May 2004

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Please Help

Today's post is for Stephanie Bennett, her baby daughter Evelyn and her supportive parents in their battle against the shameful actions of a school official and a greedy, maniuplative agency. Please read and help. This was posted by a friend who has been helping the Bennetts.

Help needed for Stephanie and Evelyn Bennett

I am passing the following on as help is desperatly needed. Please feel free to pass this on to whatever blogs, lists, forums, etc...a flood of letters is very necessary.************************I really need help!

The Bennett family desperately needs letters to be written, preferably snail mail, if at all possible, and emails if nothing else. I am attaching addresses below, and I will bring you up to speed as much as I possibly can....I received a phone call from Judy Bennett this morning. She is Stephanie’s mother and a very nice lady. She got a phone call from the reporter and they are going to do another article about Steph and about the case. I will bring you up to speed as much as I can so that you will be informed.

Stephanie went to the school guidance counselor’s office and mentioned adoption to him. The guy never said a single word to her, but turned in his seat, reached in his drawer and pulled out a pamphlet and business card for the agency and made a phone call. They made arrangements for Steph to come into his office the next day, the agency women were there, and they had Steph sign the papers there in the counselor’s office. The woman from the agency told Steph in front of the counselor that she should run away from home in case her parents tried to stop her. She said that it was illegal to run away and the woman told her no, that she was the mother of Evelyn and could. They sent her to some safe house place where she stayed.

The Bennetts were terrified and had no idea where she was, so they called the police. The police called the agency after speaking to the counselor apparently and the agency told them that they had no idea where she was. They essentially lied through their teeth… imagine that! An agency lying!!!

But, the point is that all of this was conducted in the Guidance Counselor’s office, in front of him. This is unethical, immoral and breaches every kind of trust issue there is for counselors. Oh, I have not been able to verify this, but the asst. Superintendent supposedly is the one who owns the agency, and he resigned last week as Asst. Super. I am including some addresses below. Please write to some of these folks and ask questions, register your unhappiness at the school’s part in this. I will also include other addresses, if you are in a letter writing mood…..Letters could turn the trick on this, I really think. BTW, the counselor’s name is Thomas Saltsman, and his signature is all over the relinquishment docs.

Glen Oak High School
1301 Schneider Street, N.E.
Canton, OH 44721

Mark Harman, Principal/HS Curriculum
CoordinatorMichael Labriola,
Academy Principal Dave Pilati
Academy Principal Cindy Donnelly, PrincipalMark Parent, Assistant Principal,

Plain Local School District901
44th St., N.W.
Canton, OH 44709

Christopher Smith, Local Superintendent
Tom Brabson, Special Assistant to SuperintendentN. Kathleen Jordan, TreasurerJim Aquilo, Admn AssistJim Knis, Business ManagerJim Gertz, Director of Programs

The Honorable Arlene J. SetzerChair,
House Education Committee
Ohio House of Representatives
77 South High Street13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43266

The Honorable Joy Padgett
Ohio SenateSenate Building Room 035
Columbus, OH 43215

State Board of Education
Office of Board Relations
Ohio Department of Education Building
25 S. Front St. 7th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

They are in District 8 and their rep is Deborah L. CainThe At-Large Members are Robin C. HovisStephen MillettEric C. OkersonEmerson J. Ross, Jr.Carl WickSue WestendorfAnn Wormer Benjamin

Here is the information for the Akron Beacon, which has been the only newspaper in the country that reported on this, and another article coming. The reporter’s name is Rick Armon and his email addy is rarmon@thebeaconjournal.com Very nice man.

Contact us by Email or Phone
Postal address:Akron Beacon Journal
44 East Exchange Street
P.O. Box 640
Akron, OH 44309-0640

Publisher, Edward R. Moss 330-996-3483 emoss@thebeaconjournal.com
Managing Editor, Mizell Stewart330-996-3507 mstewart@thebeaconjournal.com
Deputy Managing Editor, Bruce Winges 330-996-3858 bwinges@thebeaconjournal.com
Metro Editor, Ann Sheldon Mezger(Coverage of local news) 330-996-3586 amezger@thebeaconjournal.comEditorial
Page Editor, Michael Douglas(Comments about editorial page)
330-996-3512 mdouglas@thebeaconjournal.com
Letters to Voice of the People; vop@thebeaconjournal.com

And, finally the agency….A Child's Waiting.
Ohio Adoption Agency
3490 Ridgewood Rd.,
Akron, Ohio 44333

The names of the women there are:Jennifer Bessemer-Marandon and Crissy Bessemer-Kolarik. They are sisters and both are counselors at the agency. The husband of Crissy Bessemer-Kolarik is an adoption attorney. There can also be letters written to the Courthouse, where Stephanie’s case will be held. You can send them to the ;
Magistrate’s Office, Summit County Courthouse
209 S. High Street,
Akron, Ohio 44308

Thank you all so very much for the time and effort you are making on behalf of this family. They are good people who have done everything right. They do not deserve to have this kind of treatment, nor does Baby Evelyn. Please take a moment and send a note to some of these people.

And thank you, from me, Robin, as well. These people deserve all the help they can get.

Monday, January 22, 2007

About The Fathers of Adoption Loss

There's been some talk, here and there, about the "wrongs" done to the fathers of children lost to adoption. Again, the mother gets the blame and the shaft, which is another case of the same stuff, different day. But this one is a bit much for me to just let it pass.

Maybe this might help some understand;

I was deeply in love with my daughter's father, or, at least thought I was. I was as much in passionate love as a girl of 15 can possibly be. I trusted him, I gave myself to him in love and I believed him when he told me he loved me. We were both minors. When he found out I was pregnant, he got together with his buddies (a close group of about 9 guys) and they worked out a scheme. They would all claim to have slept with me and divert attention from him so that he wouldn't get "caught holding the bag (his words)."

They did a very good job of this and managed to totally ruin my reputation and my chances for any kind of normal life in my small community for years and years to come. If I had actually done what they all claimed I had done, I wouldn't have had time for anything else but quick meals and showers between sex partners. I would probably have been sleep-deprived. When would I have had time to even have a baby? Please remember that this was 1961/62 in the Bible-Belt south.

They did such a good job that every nerd and frustrated, out of luck, male virgin, who even slightly knew who I was, claimed to have had a crack at me, pun intended. These pitiful specimens figured the guys in the locker room would believe them if they told them they had "done" me. My faithless first love had gotten into a bit of a scrape with the law and had told his juvie officer that he wasn't even in town when I got pregnant and the idiot believed him.

They did such a good job that my son's (second child lost to adoption) father, in the act of beating and raping me, told me that if I "gave it to A*******, you'll BY GOD, give it to ME!" It was all so hurtful and horrible and demeaning and my raised children had to hear this garbage said about me, their mother, even years after the fact. My ex-husband was a voluntary martyr to that vicious gossip and he never let me forget about his, assumed, "moral superiority."

My daughter's father, however, did have a very ethical, responsible fatherof his own who knew, without a doubt, that my baby was his grandchild, despite what his son said. He ordered his son to give the SW all the information she needed and to admit to the SW and my parents, that he was the father of my child. Unfortunately, he was unable to stop what he said to other people, and by that time the damage had been done.

His father also begged my Mom to let him know how I was and all about the baby when the time came. He talked to her about forcing his son to marry me, but Mom knew that I didn't want him under those circumstances and she was still trying to "save me" from the gossip and the erroneous notion that having and keeping a baby would destroy me. She wanted me to be a carefree virgin again.

My daughter called her paternal grandfather the second day after our first meeting and, when she identified herself, he whispered her original name over the phone. We had a lovely visit with them and my daughter was in deep grief when this nice man passed away a couple of years ago. "Elmer" will be missed. Both he and his wife were very nice people who, unfortunately, overindulged their "shining star" son.

This jerk, however, still hedged when he met his daughter, alluding to my alleged "promiscuity." He reluctantly acknowledged that he was "probably" her father only after she talked about doing a DNA test to make sure. She laughed about that, later, because his youngest son was standing there, marveling at how they were "looking at each other with the same eyes and smile." He has since totally rejected her and any kind of relationship with her.

Of course the animal who raped me also rejected any contact with his son...he also denied that I was raped, stating that I had shared a beer with him, gone to the "lover's lane" with him and was, therefore, "asking for it" and that I was "that kind of girl (*nudge and wink)."

NEITHER ONE of these "dads" have ever had to suffer any manner of repurcussions from their acts. It was all on my head as was all the "blame." I was seen as the only one "responsible" for getting pregnant, even though it does take two, according to the biology textbook, and even when it was the result of an execrable act of violence.

No, I've seen too many of my peers (and a lot of younger women) go to the fathers of their babies for help only to watch these men swagger away with no qualms, whatsoever. Those that claim they were never told, well, some of them are telling the truth. But a lot more of them are outright lying. They married, they had jobs..many of them were successful and you cannot tell me that they ever spent more than a moment wondering if we and our babies were OK. They sure do jump like fleas off a dog when their adult children show up...usually trying to hide them from their wives and subsequent children.

Now, the talk on some other lists is about all those "poor Daddies" and we moms are, again, the goats, which, I am beginning to think, is just what adopters and our own children want us to be. The injustices keeps piling up and this is one where I have to balk and balk big time. Yes, there are a few men out there who did care and who tried, but they are NOT the victims. This all just shows how patriarchal and oppressive this society still is...men predate on women and women predate on other women to get their babies and the ones who lose are still getting the blame and the shaft and the crumbs and absolutely no respect.

If these daddies want to help, here we are. We've been needing them and their support for a long time. Hi Fellas! Better late than never? You don't have to marry me, love me or provide for me or my child...that time is long past. But we sure could use some down-home truth and honesty from your corner. You see, most of our children already believe that we are the ugly, unnatural mother demons behind their pain and are now starting to see you guys as innocent victims. There's a lot you could help clarify...if you have the guts to do it.

I am beginning to wonder what's the f****** use! We are at the bottom of the pile, due to our circumstances and our gender. But I'd like our adult children to know that, in the majority of cases, if Big Daddy had cared, then you wouldn't be searching and needing support groups for adoption issues and having to fight for open records. In other words, you probably would have never been adopted.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Well Moms, What Now?

‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ (Edmund Burke)

After the heart-breaking court proceedings of yesterday, in Akron, I am left with a decidedly bad taste in my mouth. You know, we rant and we rage about the industry and the society that perpetrates this kind of adoption atrocity, but that seems to be about it. We fall short of realizing that we are as implicit in this legal crime as everyone else is because we are silent, because we are fearful and because we are too busy and self-involved and think that "someone else" will do it. Don't get me wrong. I am not letting myself off the hook with this fact, either.

Although my friend, Sandy Young, and others have been in contact with the Bennetts and have flooded the Internet groups with pleas for help, only one person, out of several in that area, showed up at the courthouse, yesterday, signs in hand, to support this young mom. I was so disappointed that more were not there.

I don't know why I am surprised, though. For years, I have seen secretive aliases, fearful and timid mothers, frozen moms and happy barfmuggers doing their all to keep us penned into some kind of secret society where no one has to stick their necks out for what is right. We talk and talk and work this idea over and make plans for this event and that idea and NOTHING is ever actually done. PR's hit the Internet sites days after the event, if at all. Deadlines come and go, opportunities are missed and adoption flourishes while people argue over the placement of a word or date or sentence structure. The desire that many of us, who are now entering our sixth decade, holds dear..to see the injustices of the BSE addressed in our lifetime...is becoming a misty dream, subject to the inertia of us big-talking "activists."

None of us can do what needs to be done, alone. And we all have lives apart from adoption activism. I am getting ready to sell our house and move to another state within this next year. BUT, I am also ready to work with anyone who will actually DO SOMETHING. It seems we can skip off to retreats and seminars and healing sessions, but we can't brave the light of public scrutiny and put our actions where our mouth is.

We go into our groups, supposedly to be active, and it becomes a mutual gripe session where we preach to the choir, ad infinitum. A lot of our groups seem to be not even for healing and moving forward, but more for mutual misery recitations. We are fast losing our edge in the more well-known groups, OUSA, CUB and others, while we measure our steps, micro-manage everything to death and try not to offend. This is an issue of passion and justice...not an intellectual exercise. We have the talent in a lot of different areas, so why are we so mired down in the details? (I am going to have some really miffed friends when they read this.)

I'm not a searcher, or a researcher or a person to sit down and analyze legislation and data. But I can write with some talent and I can speak and I can ORATE, with passion if need be. I can and am willing to stand in front of a crowd and exhort them to action and commitment. I can hold a sign and I can wear a button and I can be proud and unashamed to speak out for that which I believe to be right. Hey, I even use my right name and location on this blog. Here I am..use me...give me the facts you want included, and I will do my part while you do yours...but DO IT!

And, I figure, friends, that if we can make it to a beach retreat, a Heart-to-Heart gathering, a healing weekend or an Adoption conference, then we can, once in a while, gather a few of us together to support a mom who needs it when her whole future is on the line. The other side is winning battles and we are helping them win those battles with our inaction. Not cool...not cool at all.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Land of the Elite and Home of the Self-Entitled

What Has Happened To Our Country?

I am sick at heart and, honestly, quite furious. The court hearing for Stephanie Bennett to, hopefully, overturn surrender of parental rights to her daughter, Evelyn, that was held this morning in Akron, Ohio, did not go well. From what I am able to see, the total corruption of our national ethics and morals and sense of compassion, in our courts and in our laws, where the rights of mothers and families are concerned, has been accomplished by the eugenicists, adoption attorneys, social workers and the self-entitled adopters of this nation. Pat your sorry, pompous selves on the back because you won. Please take note, also, that I could give a rat's ass who I offend at this point.

A nice, average family, who didn't deserve this crap, has lost their little girl and that little girl has lost her chance at a natural and normal life in the bosom of her True and Natural family. Good going, you guys. Now, whose baby shall you snatch next or which mother shall you coerce and manipulate today? Work, work, work...*sigh. Maybe, if you guys rush, you can also get 9 holes in before dark.

To the people who have baby Evelyn in their clutches, right now: You know in your hearts (if you have one), whether you'll admit it or not, how this family is suffering, and that this child is going to suffer, as well. Is it all worth it so that you can have a baybeeee (whiiiine)? That you not only took that child and hid her and defied a custody order, but that you probably also feel justified in doing so, just reinforces my lack of respect for the majority of adopters. How lacking in compassion and caring can anyone be? How arrogant you are as to think that you are, in any way, superior to a child's natural family. How ugly you are in your smug, self-entitlement. Yet, you actually expect us to fall all over ourselves in sympathy for your infertility or other reasons for thinking that we owe you our precious children? What kind of people are you?

To the agency "A Child Wailing for Their Mothers...oops, I mean Waiting," and the affiliated attorneys and the school assistant superintendent and the school "counselor;" I hope this comes back and bites you all in the posterior. Your methods, while perhaps "legal" were certainly, egregiously and obviously unethical. I doubt that you have the moral fiber to be ashamed of yourselves, but what goes around, comes around. There are a lot of people who think you should be thoroughly investigated, and soon. This case vividly shows this horrible industry and its minions for what and who they really are.

I am totally ashamed to be living in a country where money and the arrogant ideas of a few, self-righteous proselytizers and the needs of a few over the rights of many can take precedence over simple compassion and fair play.

To the Bennett family; You are all in my heart and my prayers. I am so sorry that this happened to you. Please, hold on to hope and hold each other close. We are all hurting with you. We know how it feels.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Those Militant B****Moms

I wonder if our critics, those who think we are too outspoken ("strident") and militant, have ever really talked to any of us who are in this group of mothers who got mad as hell and decided not to take it anymore? They tout our anger as a fault ("bitter old birfmuggles") and dismiss our efforts and words as coming from a place of guilt. The idea of our anger as both righteous and a good tool if used correctly is also dismissed.

While I do acknowledge that guilt and shame were enforced upon mothers of adoption loss, a great many of us, who have reached this stage in our lives and our activism, have long since kicked that attitude to the curb. Guilty of what? Of being betrayed by our loved ones, victimized, used, denigrated, deprived of our precious infants and discarded? Hmmmm, well, bad old us. How dare we? And how dare we be angry that such was ever allowed? Naughty birfmuggle..naughty!

In talking to the many friends in the moms groups, I have also seen a lot of self-healing. We have accepted what we cannot change, but we will, by God, change the things we can. We are out to address an injustice, but we have also taken back our right to be respected and have some happiness in life. That's pretty healthy, if you ask me. I think that is called growth, maturity and having a just cause.

From the early Baby Scoop Era to more recent times, we have watched this society, the self-righteous and the eugenicists prey on women at the most vulnerable times in their lives. It's been a horror of the patriarchy and one that causes women to actually predate their own gender. Even NOW (the National Organization of Women), who, you would think would consider the right to raise one's own child even if a man is not present, a worthy cause, has turned their back on the mother of loss. This is due, I am sure, to the fact that there are a lot of adopters in the upper echelons of NOW. Our society is addicted, it seems to the legal lie of adoption.

We are fighting insulting and demeaning stereotypes, the greed, lies and selfishness of adopters (yes, that's what I said and it's the truth, uncomfortable though it may be for many), the greed, lies and arrogance of the industry and the eugenicists and, sadly, the misconceptions and expectations of our own adult children. We are expected to apologize to our children for something we didn't do (hold your breath for that one, Nancy Verrier) and always be on tap, even when they back off from contact.

We also have to listen to the ignorant pseudo-moralist/chauvinist who has to pop in, occasionally with the, "you didn't have to spread your legs" tripe. It matters not to this person that it has been found to be true, by reliable research, that 95% of people did not make it to marriage with their virginity intact. But we "wild women who got pregnant" are still designated as "less than" because, I suppose, we were fertile and birth control was unavailable. And remember, we got that way all by ourselves. At least I don't remember any of these critics ever mentioning the fact that there was a male partner involved.

So why am I militant? When you spend your life at the bottom of society's heap, judged by others using such a specious, biased scale of conduct..when you are seen as "unfit" and "loose" and "irresponsible" when you didn't do a damn thing but that which everyone else, including the sainted adopters, was doing...Well, you can get a bit tired of it all and ready to fight. When you have to see your adult reunited children, confused, frightened and in pain and know that it really didn't have to be this way but for the machinations of the arrogant, then your anger gets righteous. When you see people trying to silence you by treating you as unworthy of respect, when your own children judge you without really getting to know or understand the human being their mother is, when they relegate you to the back streets like a dirty secret or relegate you to the role of "distant relative" or "acquaintance," when adopters (the elite and more "fit," remember?) treat you like their worst nightmare come true and when the big machine that is adoption tries to mow you down and turn you under, then you come up fighting if you are any kind of a person at all.

I fought and won the battle against shame and guilt a long time ago. But my anger is righteous and empowering and appropriate, so I think I'll keep it. It doesn't rule my life and it doesn't keep me from loving, being loved, moments of joy, fun or appreciation of the good things in my life. But it does keep me focused on a terrible wrong that needs a powerful lot of righting.

"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)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Clarification on a Clarification

This post is probably going to generate a few hard feelings with some of my sisters, if, in fact, my blog is important enough to be read by enough people to make any kind of discernible difference. It may be that it is of no consequence at all. I hope do that all who do read it will understand that this is my personal belief and opinion and that I am led by my conscience and concern for the best interests of the original family preservation/adoption reform(abolition) movement. I hold no hard feelings against those with whom I disagree, but I am of a strong conviction concerning this issue.

Not too long ago, there was an email circulated by several people that stated they were clarifying a misconception regarding the Allison Quets case. They said that there was a rumor that she had actually been in a surrogacy deal with the Needhams and had backed out. Well, maybe that kind of rumor has been going around. I never saw it but I sincerely believe them when they say that was not the truth of the matter.

HOWEVER, nothing was said to address the point of real truth from which this rumor probably originated. While there is no reason to believe that she was ever involved in such a surrogacy arrangement, it is still a fact that the ova used in the IVF procedure that resulted in the problematical pregnancy of Ms. Quets WERE NOT HER OWN EGGS! Nope...no surrogacy here...just embryo adoption. Why is this fact constantly ignored or downplayed or diverted, hmmmm? I see the hands of a very savvy attorney who knows PR and how to use people to the advantage of the case he is working. In denying "rumors of a surrogacy arrangement" the real issue of embryo adoption was cleverly avoided. I, for myself, don't like my concerns being dismissed in such a cavalier manner.

For those who think that this is not an important aspect of this issue and that the Quets case can open doors for us, I'd like to refer you to the appearance on national television by Ms. Quets. The interview was all about her...and she gloried in it. Nothing..I repeat..NOTHING was said about the prevalence of coercion, the frauds used by the adoption industry or the hideous laws in Florida. It was all about the attention and publicity and her personal angst. So far, I have seen nothing but sensationalism and a few decent newspaper articles coming out of Canada that did focus some part of the articles on the issues but more on the splashy aspects of her dramatic flight north of the border...an action that I suspect was well orchestrated with promises made, etc. JMO, on this one. Other than the fact that Canada was the country to which Quets "fled," this is really not about Canada. The US needs to choose its own causes.

One other thing I need to insert here for those who scan rather than read...NO the issue is NOT about IVF. IVF with the mother's own ova is a good thing as far as I can see. The real issue is donor eggs/embryo adoption/helpless embryo adoptees with no chance to ever know their heritage.

I'd like to beg my sister moms and others in the original family preservation movement to please reconsider who you want to use as a poster child. There are other, horrible cases of adoption industry coercion and fraud being fought right now, by people without the wherewithal to employ a clever legal eagle with connections. These are regular people like you and like me...not professionals with deep pockets who adopted the embryos of others...but people whose lack of connections, financial and otherwise, made them vulnerable grist for the adoption mills and who lost their own, genetic children. Quets cannot deny that the eggs were not her own...that is a matter of record and easily discovered. When that becomes general, public knowledge, and taken with the fact that we have taken a stand against embryo adoption as groups and individuals, this is going to come back and bite all of us in our collective butts. Yes, the fact that the eggs were not her own IS important, no matter how hungry we all are for a breakthrough, a hero and how much we want to see a big splash made for our cause.

Maybe the attorney representing Ms. Quets would like to take one of these really worthy cases on, say the Bennett case in Ohio, pro-bono? For some reason, I highly doubt that will happen. Meanwhile, I am watching the anti-adoption movement floundering in the waves created by one woman who decided she had a "right to a child," even if it meant using the eggs of another woman. This situation has diverted, divided and conquered and other objectives have gone begging. I advise us all to head for high ground and let her and her attorneys navigate these seas. Meanwhile, I am also resigning myself to being an iconoclast, once again. Luckily, in this one, I am not completely alone.

Good luck to the Bennetts and their supporters in Akron on Friday, the 19th. I will be there with you in spirit. To my other sisters and others in this valiant fight, I apologize if I have offended any of you, but my conscience is my own and I have to answer to it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Ask A Slanted Question; Get An Honest Answer

It's amazing how old stereotypes and assumptions made by so-called "experts" in sociology have endured, way past their expected lifetime, in the world of adoption. Dan Quayles of the world, unite!! I have just heard from another one of your school of thought that believes a child raised without a father-figure in the home is doomed to a life of bouncing about the penal system. This person opines that criminals originate in fatherless homes...only?

Let me take this, point by point, if I can do so, rationally, because I have a personal ax to grind with this particular, specious idea.

Point "a"...No child is "fatherless." It takes two to make a baby (unless you are into cloning...then it takes an entire lab staff). No father in the home doesn't necessarily mean no father involved in a child's life. In some cases, it would be better for some fathers NOT to be around. Does that mean that the mother should be penalized by having her child taken?

Point "b"...The same percentage of adopters as natural parents wind up divorced and the child winds up growing up in a (male adopter)-less home. Men have deserted their wives and ignored their children for centuries and that happens with those who adopt as often as it does with the rest of us. Some fathers die young...should the widows surrender their children to adoption to make up for their inadequacy of being "manless?" (Yes, that is sarcasm you are reading.) I wonder if the number among adopters might not even be higher with the divorce thing. I know too many who have adopted to save a marriage or where the man didn't want to adopt but the woman did and pushed it through.

Point "c"...Which leads me to wonder why it should be assumed that an adoptive situation would be less dysfunctional than a natural family sans Big Daddy? The ones I have seen have actually been more dysfunctional and full of undertones, emotional expectations placed on the shoulders of the adoptee and rife with pretenses.

Point "d"...AND THIS IS THE BIGGIE...The numbers of adopted people to non-adopted in our psychiatric institutions, penal facilities and under psychiatric care is disproportionately larger in ratio to their percentage of the population. David Berkowitz was an adopted person..Jeffrey Dahlmer was adopted...ad infinitum. The research, facts and figures are out there and mental health professionals have been delving into this for a looooong time, but, it seems, this research is not widely touted...wonder why? In case you wonder, here's a link to these figures; http://www.amfor.net/statistics.html#ADOPTEES

I know a bit about this myself. My son, surrendered for adoption in 1963 so that he could "have a better life in a two-(adopter) family," is currently incarcerted, for the third time, for a crime of violence. From what I have learned, he got a lot of "fatherly" discipline while he was growing up. Before you start yelping about "bad genes," let me tell you that, on my side of the family, there has never been this kind of thing. His natural dad did have some problems and, had I kept him and raised him, I would have known what to look for. Believe me, when problems arose, he would have been in counseling immediately...I sure wouldn't have tried to "discipline" him out of it to the point of actual blows.

My son's case is not that isolated. I know legions of other moms who have reunited with adult children who are felons, alcoholics, addicts, thieves or are just prone to violence. Yet, for those of us who have raised other children, there are very few to no problems of this sort with the children that grew up with an intact natural family, live-in Daddy or no live-in Daddy.

So I have come to a conclusion that belies the old stereotypes and reinforces my belief that is that it is much better to be raised by your own mother than to be sacrificed to the confusion, rejection and primal pain of adoption for the sake of there being a man in the house. Yes, fathers are important, but many a fine person has been raised by a widowed or divorced mother. Mothers are important, but I know a dad or two who have raised well-adjusted children who lost mothers at a tender age. Single parents have been doing fine at raising children for a long time.

Saying that being raised without a father is a root cause of criminal behavior is touting adoption propaganda without real, definitive back-up. Maybe you should go into any adoptee support group and hear the pain. They aren't talking about "poor me...Daddy's not here." They talk about the identity problems, the rejection, the pain of primal separation that comes from adoption and no, "open" adoptions do nothing to help the "rejection" side of things. And they are angry at US, their MOTHERS for this separation. And all because we were diminished, coerced, and emotionally bullied into making sure that our children went to a two-(adopter) home for "their own good" despite the pain it caused us. Yeah...right.

Maybe you need to start thinking outside the box, commenter. There are chances that a kid will turn out skewed, sometimes, no matter what. But believing that adoption into a family that has a male figurehead will avoid future criminal behavior is biased and erroneous and not in line with the truth about adoption. I think I'll send my son a card.

*01/18/07 To the anonymous poster who was so angry with me...point taken about Bundy..I have removed him from my list. I didn't include Eileen Wourmos so I don't know where you got that. HOWEVER, the rest of "Point d" remains as stated and I have backup. I never said that all adoptees turn out to be criminals. I said that the adoptee is over-represented in penal institutions and psychiatric care in ratio to their number in actual society. That is not an opinion...that is established, well-researched fact and one that pro-adoptionists, the industry and others want to ignore. I choose not to dismiss it and I don't really think that you can, realistically, because much of it was done by professionals in the mental health field...not anti-adoptionists. Sorry you took it so personally.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Stumbling In The Dark and Seeing The Light

I have spent the better part of the last couple of weeks either deep into post-holiday clean-up, trying to relocate my missing muses (they were right where I left them) and fighting with Google/Blogspot to gain access to this lowly, non-updated, old-fashioned blog dashboard in order to post. After an abortive attempt to upgrade to the new blogger system, I decided that this old war-horse site would do just fine for a technically-challenged great-grandmother.

If there are those who did not have their comments show up, it's because, either I couldn't get to them to approve them, or I wouldn't have approved them if I have been able to get to them (I still refuse to make this blog over into a place for hit and run, anonymous bitching). It has been frustrating, to say the least. I feel as if I have been operating blind for quite a while and have just now found my spectacles. It's great to be back.

Speaking of frustration, I am really at sixes and sevens with something that is going on right now. I posted another piece on this, but it was not exactly one of my better or fairer efforts and was not kind to some worthy people I know, so I deleted it. It now involves the very worthy case of the young mom, Stephanie Bennett, in Ohio who is fighting an agency whose ethics are very questionable, in an attempt to get her little girl back. The baby, Evelyn, is in the custody of Stephanie's parents, but the adopters, at the advice of the agency attorneys, are hiding the child from them. The scamming of this vulnerable young mother with the execrable aid of a school "counselor" is textbook coercion at its worst.

What bothers me, is that the majority of the media and other attention seems to be centered on the more flamboyant actions of Allison Quets, an embryo adopter who fled with the twins resulting from donor embryo implantation, to Canada in order to wrest custody from the custodial, potential adopters. Ms. Quets is financially in much better shape than the Bennetts, who are middle America to the core, had an ongoing case in the courts that had NOT been lost, the adoption of the twins by the Needhams was not accomplished fact, and I find her "cause" dubious.

The only thing that I can support where Quets' situation is concerned is the fact that she was truely and harshly coerced after a hard pregnancy and C-section birth. Her case also brings to light the heinous adoption laws of Florida, top-heavy in statutes that favor the adopters and agencies. The adoption lobby in Florida is huge and has very deep pockets. They would have to be, because they have the Tallahassee legislature in one of those pockets...I think it's the one on the hip.

But I cannot support Ms. Quets, personally, because, as I see it, embryo adoption is still adoption and, if we are going to be anti-adoption, then we need to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Embryo adoption is totally unfair to the children that result, who will have little to no recourse in recovering their family, cultural and genetic histories and YES, they will want that. I hold to the opinion that the Quets issue is a fight between adopters and none of my business as a mother whose children were taken for adoption or as an anti-adoption activist.

On the other hand, the situation of Stephanie Bennetts should strike a chord in the hearts of every mother who has lost a child or children to the adoption industry. She was practically pounced on in a moment of weakness and fear, "advised" by a counselor from a school whose assistant superintendent was directly connected to the infamous A Child Waiting agency, and even told that she should lie to her parents who were helping her keep her baby or run away from them until the papers could be signed and the baby turned over to the agency. There are so many smarmy, ultra-questionable aspects to what was done to this mother and child, that I am amazed and disappointed that more people, everywhere, are not joining the hue and cry against the perpetrators of this outrage.

The Bennetts are struggling along with a lot of courage and dignity, if you ask me, taking the legal route, garnering support and being totally truthful along the way. In this case, there are no hidden "details." They are not high-profile, high-paid professionals...mom is a student, granddad is a truck driver and grandmom is a housewife. There are no deep pockets for legal work. There has been no big "splashy" gesture to draw media attention but there is increasing media awareness in the Akron/Canton area and we hope it will spread.

Stephanie's parents have legal, court-ordered custody of little Evelyn, but cannot find the potential adopters in order to take custody. We are also hoping that, on the 19th, when Stephanie's case goes to the Akron court, she will have the support and the ammunition she needs to get her baby back and prove coercion, a horrible activity of the industry and others that is still alive and well in the USA today. It didn't die, folks, with the end of the BSE, and I know too many moms from the time after Roe v Wade who went through it to even think for a moment that coercion is no longer used as adoption apologists would have us all believe.

I'm in FL and unable to make the trip to Akron, OH. But, for those of you who are nearby, your presence outside the probate court in Akron, at 9:00AM on the 19th of January could give this family a lot of well-deserved support and bring media attention to a truly worthy cause. You can also visit this site, http://www.cafepress.com/antiadoption/, to purchase buttons and a bumper sticker to support bringing baby Evelyn Bennett home to her family. Proceeds will go to the legal fund for the Bennetts. This site, http://www.prlog.org/10005842-adoption-legalized-lies-to-raise-funds-for-bennett-family.html, will also give you information on how you can contribute.

The story of the Bennett family is a worth-while and deeply emotional one that is the perect venue for those of us who believe that a child is not a commodity and that mothers are not interchangable or disposable.