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


Anonymous said...

Wow!!! Robin, this is stunning ... just, stunning. I treasure your truth-telling.
Never stop telling the truth.


Anonymous said...

If anyone wants to know how it really feels--this is it.

Anonymous said...

You are a great writer and you are speaking for many of us. Thank you and keep it up...you give me the strength to keep up my activism as well...some day when I have the strength I will send you my sad story....


Another mother arrested...

joyceregina said...

Robin: Fascinating!
I wished you wrote more. You tell it the way it was.