Friday, May 30, 2008
When I reunited and started becoming really, genuinely educated about what had happened to me and millions of other women, I wondered where the feminists stood on this issue. I certainly had never heard it addressed in all the meetings I attended or spoken about at demonstrations.
As the years progressed, I saw some of my activist sisters who were a bit further along in the justice for moms and natural family preservation arenas apply to NOW and the movement for recognition and support. It never came and the reason was bitingly evident. Many of these women who purported to stand for the rights of all women were adopters. They were able to "have it all" by becoming predators who preyed on their more vulnerable sisters, taking their babies as if by right, and calling themselves "mothers."
It has already been established as scientific fact that one of the leading causes of infertility among women is delayed childbearing. As a woman ages, her eggs become less viable and conception is less likely. Building a career, making sure that all the "right" things for a "successful" life were in place, takes precedence over giving birth, and other considerations such as starving oneself to stay thin or becoming obese or smoking, etc, can tilt the balance of the fertility scales even more. Then these women become the object of great social empathy, the poor, barren women and no one sees that it is usually their own damn fault. They are quick enough to blame us, though, for being human, sexual and fertile.
The feminist movement said that a woman could and should have it all, a career, a family, prestige and a comparable paycheck to a man's. Perhaps that is where this attitude of self-entitlement comes from when the little stick they pee on in the bathroom keeps showing up as "not pregnant." I wonder if they see it as their due...they worked hard to get where they are, graduated with their degree, got a career, then married the right man, or joined the right political action committees and those who were "careless" enough to get pregnant before doing all these fine things just didn't deserve that baby as much as the infertile feminist. Rather than reaching out to their less affluent, less educated, less successful sisters with help and support, they prey on them like crocodiles on zebras. Rather than filling hungry stomachs like the animal predators, they just fill a crib with a child to whom they are genetic strangers.
I used to call myself a feminist, but now, if a woman cannot be respected for doing the one thing she can do that a man can't, if she is just seen as a brood mare by her sisters, then I don't think I want to be called a feminist. The National Organization for Women does not speak for me or for all the women who still fall into the hungry jaws of the adoption industry to feed the demand for healthy infants. We are disregarded, ignored and used as much by these "champions of the American woman" as we ever were by any man.
The adoption and surrogacy industries are anti-woman, as anti-woman as pornography or prostitution. We are not people but fertile bodies to be used and then kicked to the curb like an empty can.
I'd love to tell the John Birchers and Moral Majority mavens that it isn't political liberals, homosexual rights or "free love" or lack of sufficient religion that is the biggest threat to the family. Plain and simple, it is the failure to respect the bond between mother and child....it is Eugenics with a capital "E." It is self-entitlement and everyone out for themselves and what they want and to Hell with who they have to walk on to get what they want. It is sitting in judgment of a pregnant teen or a poor family with more than two children that is bringing us down. It is elitism and arrogance, and I remember there was a lot of that involved in the fall of Rome.
We no longer have a social conscience. If we did, I don't think that mothers of adoption loss would be so summarily dismissed as unimportant by one of the biggest, most powerful women's groups in the country. As long as women treat other women like convenient incubators, there are no true feminists, just female predators and female prey.
Let's support a set of choices
Melissa Weiler Gerber and Ann Fessler support choice for women
On the 35th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, impassioned words fill our newspapers and airwaves and pervade the discourse at the water cooler and on the campaign trail. Few, if any, issues generate the passion of the debate about a woman's right to a safe, legal abortion. Too often, the conversation is condensed into media-friendly sound bites unbefitting such a complex issue. Those who believe in a woman's reproductive freedom are characterized as pro-abortion or anti-life. Extraordinary efforts are made to limit, challenge and overturn the Roe decision as if that alone would solve the moral dilemma surrounding unwanted (I would call them "unexpected" rw) pregnancies. History suggests otherwise.
We know that in the pre-Roe era in America, as in every era everywhere, girls and women became pregnant unintentionally (pertinent to mention that there were two people involved in a woman becoming pregnant...we can't spontaneously become pregnant..it takes a man's "contribution" rw). The post-World War II era was a tricky landscape to maneuver. The nation was heading into a sexual revolution, but with no comprehensive sex education or access to reliable contraceptives. An extraordinary number of pregnancies resulted.
With no access to safe, legal abortions, an estimated 250,000 to one million women each year resorted to unsafe abortions that were responsible for an estimated 40 percent of all maternal deaths during this period. Women who did not want or were unable to obtain an abortion were under tremendous societal pressure to conceal and deny their pregnancies. They frequently were shunned by their families, friends and schools. More than 1.5 million such women (some estimate as many as 6 million..rw) during this period were secreted away to maternity homes and host houses where they were hidden until they gave birth and surrendered their children for adoption, often (in MOST cases..rw) against their will.
This is an era in women's history that, until recently, had been as hidden-away as the pregnancies themselves. The impact of the coerced nature of many (MOST..rw) of these surrenders, and the denial of any emotions following them, had gone unstudied. It is morally convenient to portray abortion as the ultimate evil and adoption as the ultimate good in the quest to tidily resolve the untidy issue of unwanted pregnancies. But, as with most things in life, it just is not that simple.
Every woman who experiences an unplanned pregnancy is faced with a decision of enormous magnitude that is likely to leave its imprint on the rest of her life. About that there is little debate. The only debate is around who, at such a personal and introspective moment, should be empowered to choose the best among difficult options. We can daydream about an era when each time a woman learns of a pregnancy, she greets that news with celebration. But daydreaming is all it would be. We do not live in such a time. Our pre-Roe sisters did not live in such a time. Overturning Roe would not in any way change this.
Let us live in reality rather than daydreams. First, let us work to limit the number of unplanned pregnancies in our nation by embracing comprehensive sex education in our schools and requiring complete contraceptive coverage from our insurance companies. Next, let us support a wide range of choices for women confronting unplanned pregnancies. For those who seek to carry their pregnancies to term and raise their children, let us support them with family-sustaining public policies, such as quality, affordable child care and health care. *For those who determine that adoption is best for them and for their babies, let us continue to evolve adoption practice and policy in a way that recognizes the complexity and intensity of the act for all parties involved. And, for those who decide to terminate their pregnancies, let us pledge to support their right to do so safely and legally.
Let us give women the autonomy and respect they deserve to determine what is best for their bodies, their souls, their families, their futures. Let us believe in the wisdom of women.
Melissa Weiler Gerber is executive director of Women's Way, and Ann Fessler is author of "The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for
Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade." E-mail them at mweilergerber@womens
way.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Just a footnote to the article above. I think it is important to also offer to women who are looking at surrender for adoption complete information on the effects to both the mother and the child. Too often, women surrender for reasons that they think will be a forever thing. Situations change and help is available. There are really very few reasons that a women should not keep her baby and a plethora of reasons why a child should be raised in his or her family of origin.
To this end, there should also be the possibility of kinship or legal guardianship that could allow for changing situations in the mother's life.
If anyone who reads this blog has not read Ann's wonderful book, please borrow it or buy it and read it. The unadulterated truth about adoption during the BSE is in the stories of the women who were interviewed by Ms. Fessler. I have a few good friends whose stories were chronicled in that book. It may be hard reading and it may even produce tears, but it is still a must-read for everyone involved in adoption, including adopters.....maybe even ESPECIALLY adopters.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
This sucks. I've just had an epiphany that I'm totally wishing my life away waiting for my children to grow up so I can get on with MY life. I can't wait until they're old enough to go to school and get them out of my hair. I hate all of this and I dread each and every day. I wish this was a rant, vent or just a bad day but it's not. I HATE BEING A MOM. I get very little out of this and I'm beginning to doubt my capacity to love anything at all. I wouldn't mind wishing a few years of my life away if I had more of it ahead of me than I do. I'm 40 and these kids won't be going to school for several more years. The worst part of this whole thing is that both of my children are adopted and somewhere out there are two (*natural) mothers whose children went to an adoptive mother who has very little appreciation for them.
Ah, Confessoress, but these women were in what they perceived to be a "crisis" mode and these agents/social workers were too intent on filling YOUR order for a baby to think about whether you were psychologically prepared for the job or to work first to find a way to help the mother keep her child. They put the screws to these women and never suggested that there might be a better way. That is the way of the big industry of adoption. Also, 40 is a bit long in the tooth to be keeping up with energetic little ones. That is why it is best to have your own children at a younger age when the eggs are fresh and viable and a real bond can be formed. This waiting for the "optimum" conditions is against all the laws of Nature.
This is the dirtiest, most awful--probably the ONLY awful thing I've ever done, but boy is it a doozy. I can't tell a soul this because it's just too terrible to say out loud. It's probably every (*natural)-mother's nightmare...to plan an adoption for your child who ends up with a mother who doesn't want or appreciate them. I really have no idea how I got here or why this happened, but I know it makes me an awful person---a person I can't look at in the mirror because my heart is so small that I can't stand being a mother. I used to like me.
"Boy, is it a doozy?" An understatement. These kids are probably just being normal, energetic, children and they could also be acting out their primal grief over the separation from their mothers. That is a reality. It could also be that each of them, as an intuitive child, feels your hatred on a gut level and is fighting back. Your bad...not theirs. Your heart is not necessarily small so much as you just were not cut out for motherhood, which leads to my original question...why did you seek it out in the first place? Why couldn't you have taken the money you spent to "become a 'mother'" and help a little family stay together? For God/dess' Sake, find their mothers and return them.
I hate having kids. This crushing boredom, endless need, bottomless thanklessness, blatant greed and inconsideration are slowly killing me. Even worse still is that I pretend very poorly that things are "okay" and in the end that will only rob these two kids of something real. It's clear that I can't "fake it 'til I make it" in this situation. If there was any way to save face and send these kids away, I'd do it. The worst of the worst? I hate myself, but I think I hate them more. Maybe they'll get lucky and I'll die before they really figure out what a horrific bitch their "mother" really is.
I find myself echoing your wish, Confessoress. The fact that many people who adopt fail to consider is that the human child, especially during infancy and the toddler years, is the most selfish creature on earth. It's how they survive, Dummy! The don't even see themselves as a separate entity from their natural mother until they are over 6 months old. That's why a separation at birth is so traumatic for them. You have to have a conscience or you would not be agonizing over it. Put the energy you are putting into self-pity and loathing and find those mothers. Work out a way to return them and, while you are looking, consider yourself a legal guardian of these children for whom you can feel some fondness and concern but are not required to provide "mother love."
You know, I'm not really a "kid person" myself, but Goddess, how I loved raising my two raised kids and my heart was firmly connected to all four of my born children. I even have an earnest and loving, long-distance bond with my great-grandchildren and they are at that mischievous, squealing age which, from other people's children, is a total irritant.
You are not alone, Confessoress. There are probably thousands or more adoptors who feel exactly the same way and are playing the "as if" game and all parties suffer for it, worst of all, the children. Those adopters who care for the children they are raising "as their own" attach...they do not bond because the most important bond was forming before these kids were even born.
You know, the only real answer to this is to do more to help mothers and their children stay together. This country has become so adoption-crazed that people do it because they THINK they should...not because it is what is best for either them or the children they might adopt. She's wasting energy hating the children because she's the one who decided to raid the baby market. She's also wasting time hating herself when she needs to be taking action. Let's hope she can forgive herself, be kind to these kids and do what is right by them...FIND THEIR MOTHERS.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
The man was at a loss. If he said "yes" that would imply that he had beaten his wife which would have been a lie. If he said "no" it would sound as if he was currently beating his wife. He decided that, since he had never beaten his wife, the only honest answer was "no" and the psychiatrist had him committed for wife-beating.
We Moms often get those kinds of questions from facilitators such as "why did you DECIDE to place your child for adoption?" The only honest answer for most of us is, "We were given no 'choice' in the matter so there was no decision made." But, on the questionnaires they have, there is no room for the honest answer.
That is the power of language. In using a term to describe a pregnant woman as a "birth"mother, she is already placed in the position of having made the "decision" to "place" her child. To use the term "place" or the phrase "make an adoption plan" makes it sound so much more like a thoughtful choice rather than the truth which is that most of us, especially from the BSE SURRENDERED our children....meaning, giving into massive, constant pressure, waving the white flag, going out in defeat. Surrender of one's child is an act of desperation, one where the mother can see no hope. And the facilitators and social workers will do all they can to foster that false notion of no light at the end of the tunnel.
This is also why many of us refuse to use the term "adoptive PARENT." If they can verbally lop off our parenthood at the moment of birth, why would we want to see them as "parents?" Hence, the proper term (it's in the dictionary), "Adopter." While I respect the fact that my adult children do see the people who raised them as parents, I am not required to see them in that light and I don't. My children know how I feel and we have decided that our relationship is more important than arguing the fact.
The use of Honest Adoption Language can go a long way towards showing more respect for mothers, adult adopted people and the trauma they have endured. It shines the light of truth on the fact that adoption is messy, painful, selfish and not the wonderful solution to "social problems" it was thought to be. It is actually a big business that preys on the vulnerable and threatens the fabric of the natural family.
Sometimes, even those of us on the same side can argue over language, especially the "b" word. One Mom and I got into a discussion where she stated that she didn't mind being called a "birthmother" and I, most adamantly, stated the opposite. I will stop someone in their tracks if they use that word. Her response was, "well, you say 'potato' and I say 'potahto.' It's all the same thing." To which I replied, "it most definitely is NOT the same thing."
There are those that claim to be advocates of "adoption reform." I find this as specious as trying to reform the cobra to keep it from biting. You don't reform the snake, you pull its fangs and, by doing so, it's not really a cobra, anymore. In Matthew 7:21, Jesus is quoted as saying "Not every one that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.... In that same vein, not everyone who talks big about reforming the corruption of adoption is in it to help the mothers and their children escape the big "A." Many times, the only kind of reform they want is that which makes it easier for people to adopt and for agencies and other entities (CPS) to break up natural families. There's a simple, English word for that, too. It's EUGENICS. Look it up.
It's getting bad out there, people, and language is adding to the confusion. It seems that any pregnant woman who appears to be young or may not be wearing a wedding band is prey to the b-word title. One pregnant women, who happened not to be wearing her wedding band at her job as a waitress, was solicited, outright, by a couple at a table she was serving. You can find the story at, Adopter Trolls. Just by being young, pregnant and not wearing her ring to work, she was spotted, labeled as prey and the predators circled.
Speaking of language, adoption advocate, Adam Pertman, in referring to this outrage, was quoted to say:"Generally, people should not go up to someone on the street who happens to be pregnant and ask her if they can adopt her baby." First of all, by saying "generally," does Mr. Pertman imply that there are times when such behavior is acceptable? And, Adam, old boy, it happens more often than you know. I know one young mom-to-be and her mother, who were out shopping for baby items, that were followed all through the store by a potential adopter who was trying to give the young lady her card.
Yes, language is important and has been throughout history. Spin doctors and Madison Avenue know this and use it. It behooves us to use it as well, with honesty and clarity and courage. And remember that other people with their own agendas will still try to twist your words and make their own meanings out of what you said. Stand your ground and call them on it. Don't let the language/emotional bullies fool you or confuse you. Stick with your message, whatever it may be, and stand proud.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Speaking of sore spots, Bastardette directed me to am editorial piece called the "Gift of Anonymity," which lauded the idea of closed records and "protecting" the privacy of the mothers. I wonder how many times and in how many ways we are going to have to say this before they stop pulling that old chestnut out of the fire? Most of us have looked and looked and wracked our memories and we can find NOTHING in the surrender papers we signed, especially those of us from the Baby Scoop Era, that states we are guaranteed any sort of anonymity, confidentiality or "privacy protection."
Only those few mothers still cowering in the closet of shame and blame find confidentiality to be a good idea. The rest of us are looking at each other and going, "Say what?" My fondest dreams came true when my daughter found me and we found my son just a few months later. I was not ashamed, nor was I feeling the urge to hide the fact that I was an (shudder and organ music) UNWED Mother!! EEEEEK! For Pete's Sake, get real People! The entire idea of such secrecy is anathema to the mental and emotion health of both the adopted person and the mother. The ONLY people who are "protected" by anonymity are the adopters and the facilitators.
As the spectre of a Democratic administration looms on the horizon of the far right's perfect world, I see a Media scramble to spread the scare tactics. "Juno" was nothing but propaganda, "Baby Mama" is more of the same and Madonna's not only "Keeping Her Baby, " but is raiding the third world for more child-flesh. I noticed in the daily comics, today, Lu Anne's friend, Delta, was naming all the things that were wrong with this world and mentioned "teen pregnancy." The funny thing about that is that recent statistics show that there are more single mothers in the 20 and over age group. And most of these young women have been brainwashed by the same media representation of adoption as has everyone else. Everybody wants to be a hero, even when the heroism is just so much smoke and mirrors and mythology.
The sore places in my mouth will go away, God willing, and I should soon be off my smoothie and soup regimen. I wish the adoption sore spots would go away as quickly.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
This blog and my adoption-related and other Internet activism and support groups are just a part of my life. I have a husband, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, a huge extended family of in-laws and I have been blessed with some very good friends.
We go to the doctors with our aches and pains (Hubby has an incurable gastric disease that acts up occasionally, and I am currently suffering the agony of losing de teeth), we plan our financial futures, we go out to eat, we watch movies (may I recommend 'The Golden Compass"...all about free thought), and plant petunias in our front yard. We laugh and play and cuddle at night. We worry over my stubborn 93-year-old Mother-in-law and save pictures of the little ones so we can print them out and frame them. We are planning a move and retirement...all part of a normal life.
I think that the Internet can, at times, constrict the view of other people, and make a lot of folks tend to see one-dimensional beings, ripe for harassment, argument and abuse. The very anonymity of the Internet makes it a playground for bullies and verbal abusers. I know that there are a lot of people who just love to do the "hit and run" thing...posting something nasty on a blog or a message board, anonymously, and then heading for other sites, looking for victims. Then there are the petty dictators who will not tolerate opinions that differ from theirs and the emotional bullies who can dish it out but not take it. Like any other jackasses, they bray the loudest when they are called on their actions.
I am not MLK, JFK, Abe Lincoln, Ghandi or Mother Teresa. I know that I am just one of the human herd. But my thoughts and feelings are just as important as anyone else's and I am not going to shut up just because someone has self-assumed the mantle of superstar. I think that if a "leader" divides rather than unites, then it is time for that "leader" to pick up her keyboard and fade away.
The good thing about the Internet is that it can be the great equalizer. We can look at each other and decide not to be overly impressed or star-struck. Because we can't see faces or hear voices, we make our decisions based on the content and context of what is written and I can tell you that there have been many times when I have been inspired and many more when I have been decidedly unimpressed. Isn't it great to have the freedom and the option of holding to our own perceptions?
Anyway, I have "Pool-Lattes" this morning at the Y, we need to go to Hubby's work today to fill out his short-term disability paperwork, I have to wash our cars, and I am expecting an email from my grandson in Iraq. I need to check the mail and send off a couple of bill payments, do some laundry and fix dinner for me and Hubby.
Life, Thank God/Dess, Goes On.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
And also watch out for pundits, divas and petty dictators. The "mind police" even tend to pop up in the natural family preservation movement. Unfortunately, a certain"umbrella" organization has a doozie.
A person I know once defined an "expert" to me by breaking the word down. "Ex, she said, is a has-been and spurt is a drip of water." Humorous but apt. I'm not saying that there are not real experts on a lot of subjects, but when it comes to the subject of being a mother of adoption loss, each of us are our own "experts." I look upon anyone who acts like they have all the answers for everyone with a very jaundiced eye.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Some experts, and I do mean scientists, psychiatrists and psychologists postulate the very reasonable theory that abuse might be more common where there is no biological connection between the caregiver and the child. I know that stories like this are finally reaching the light of day. I guess the lobbies and attorneys of the facilitators can't fight a "free" press (or, at least, it used to be). Read this one and weep. It happened just a few miles south of my home and it breaks my heart for these children and their bereft families in Guatemala.
This is in my own back yard. I live in Sanford, FL, just 20 minutes north of Orlando. I have already had a recent letter to the editor published and they require a three-month interval between letters from the same contributor. So, if anyone would like to comment to the sentinel, go to email@example.com. Begin your post "To the Editor" and cite this article and today's date, 5/8/08.
Child-abuse allegations against dad shatter life of luxuryThe father is arrested after a nanny provides video to Orlando cops.
Walter Pacheco and Bianca Prieto Sentinel Staff Writers
May 9, 2008
The new neighbors in one of Orlando's toniest areas appeared to have an ideal life.Brian Kloosterman and his wife, Stephanie Schreiner, had invested millions in real estate. They also shared their luxury with five children, including four they adopted from poverty-stricken Guatemala.
But now Kloosterman is under investigation and the children are in protective custody. A nanny told police Monday that one of the couple's adopted daughters had a suspicious bruise, and that Kloosterman -- a stay-at-home-father in the brick mansion on Cherokee Drive -- had beaten one of his adopted sons.Police say the nanny showed them a video recording that captured Kloosterman whipping his adopted son with underwear and crushing the child under his weight on a bed. Kloosterman was arrested on charges of child abuse early Tuesday and was released a day later from the Orange County Jail after posting $1,000 bail.
This is the second time Kloosterman, 33, has come under scrutiny following allegations of child abuse. The Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office investigated an aggravated child-abuse complaint in 2007, but no charges were filed.In that case, it's alleged that Kloosterman, a former EMT, shook and injured the couple's 9-month-old adopted baby girl, state attorney's spokeswoman Danielle Tavernier said.
Details of that case have not been released, but the child's X-rays were reviewed by Orange-Osceola Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia, of the popular TV show Dr. G. Medical Examiner.Garavaglia told reporters Thursday that she reviewed the infant's records as a "professional courtesy" to Schreiner, a pathologist at Orlando Regional Medical Center whom she had met only once three years ago.Garavaglia remembered that the baby in that case "appeared to have suffered non-accidental injuries, but no clear-cut evidence on the time frame." She urged prosecutors to conduct additional tests, which might determine when the infant was injured.After realizing the injuries would be the focus of a child-abuse investigation, Garavaglia said, she severed communication with Schreiner. "I didn't want any more to do with it," she said.
The case remains open.Neither Schreiner nor Kloosterman could be reached for comment.Investigators "did everything they could to make sure the children were safe, but there was insufficient evidence to go any further," Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Carrie Hoeppner said of the 2007 case.As a result of the new case, the couple's five children were placed in protective custody."Potential caregivers have been identified, and they may not need to enter foster care," Hoeppner said.
A judge ruled that Kloosterman is not allowed to see his children and Schreiner can have only supervised contact.On Monday, the family's most recent nanny, Cynthia Velez, contacted police after videotaping Kloosterman. That's the videotape, according to police, that shows Kloosterman flicking the child in the face with underwear and pressing him down on a bed with his body.
Some neighbors were shocked by the allegations.Maggie Rogers described Kloosterman as a loving and attentive father."They seemed perfectly normal," Rogers said. "They seemed like responsible, normal, devoted parents."But Velez told police that Schreiner fired her after she confronted her about Kloosterman this week. The previous nanny, Alice Martin, also was fired after complaining to the mother about similar behavior, Velez told police.
Adoption experts said it's curious that the couple could continue to adopt children -- their most recent adoption was three weeks ago -- after a previous allegation of child abuse."Even if the accused is cleared of any wrongdoing, the standard practice is to suspend any pending adoptions or deny placement outright," said Chuck Johnson, vice president of the National Council for Adoption. (*looks like someone is dancing as fast as they can..RW)
Henry Pierson Curtis of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. Walter Pacheco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-6262. Bianca Prieto can be reached at 407-420-5620 or email@example.com.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Now, Ladies, it is OUR turn. Whether we do it all under the umbrella of one organization or from auxiliary cells, we can work together for the ultimate goal..recognition, investigation, redress and an apology for the Adoption Holocaust of the Baby Scoop Era.
If we are successful, it could change the national image of adoption as a positive thing to the tragedy that it really is, it could prevent more mothers from surrendering their newborns and it could, hopefully, force the CPS to do what it is supposed to do and that is to HEAL families..not pick them over for adoptable newborns and toddlers. It could put into place a system of kinship and/or legal guardianship that would leave the identity of the child intact for those children in real need of removal. To me, this sounds like Heaven on Earth.
Many of us are feeling a renewed self-respect...something that many of us lost during the BSE. Nothing that any adopter, social worker or eugenicist from the far right can say will ever make me feel "less than" again. I wasn't a slut then and I ain't one now! But being branded as one by the society of the BSE has left a scar on many of us. I can still feel the pain of having my friends turn against me and even avoid my younger sisters. I can feel the disappointment I would always feel from coming home from another date where the only thing that was on my date's mind was that he was going to "get lucky" with what he thought was the "town pump." I learned some good defensive moves during that time, but it still didn't prevent the rape that conceived my son.
That pain of yesterday, the loss of my children and my self-respect, is the fuel for today's anger. I can't change what happened back then and I cannot get my babies back. All of us have enough sense to see that. But we can try to get some justice and that is a fight worth fighting. Let's make a mighty noise...one that might bring the BSE moms still in the closets of shame out into the light. If they know we are waiting for them with arms open wide, maybe they will have the courage to face the light of truth.
To the nay-sayers and the self-promoters and the "careful" ones out there, don't discount us and don't sell us short. We're older, but we ain't dead yet.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Birthmothers Day Celebrations" - An Adoptee's Perspective , Anne Patterson, adoptee and activist states;
"Of all the most condescending, insulting visions of adopters and baby brokers, the day called "Birthmothers Day" would win the prize for ignorance and disregard."
You said a mouthful, Anne. To grieving, shattered mothers who have lost children to the adoption machine, and to adoptees who are struggling with feelings of rejection, identity confusion and grief over the loss of their heritage and their natural parents, "Birthmother's Day" has got to be one of the most heinous of constructs of the industry and adopters to date. I so agree with Anne's statement and her entire perception of the "celebration." It is, indeed, a slap in the face of every mother who was sucked into the adoption maelstrom, and in the face of the lost and confused adoptee. I encourage you to click on the link and read her entire article.
This specious observance is looming in the near future, again, this year. Adopters, agencies and "good beemommies," hungry for the "you did the right thing" lie and pat on the back, will gather to "celebrate" the mothers' loss as a "donation to the joy of the adoptive family." In other words, don't give blood, give babies. As egregious as that sounds, we have been referred to as "baby donors." How much worse can it get? Why don't they all just drop the pretense and refer to us as "human brood mares?" Maybe the good barfmuggles of today can hack it, but those of us who have been through the BSE mill and others who recognize that they were coerced and robbed of their child are appalled at the very idea.
I participated in one of these ceremonies in 1993, a few months after my daughter found me and a couple of months before we found my son. There was nothing celebratory about it. The weeping was audible, the tears were abundant and the sorrow was a dark, palpable presence in that large room. It wasn't a celebration....it was like a funeral, I left that room an emotional, sobbing, grieving wreck and I vowed never to participate in that kind of thing, again.
How do these people who push this day think that it makes our children feel? We are celebrating losing them...having them taken from us...surrendering to the forces that came to bear upon us? That is a slap in their face as well as a further kick in our rears. Well, this MOTHER is mad as Hell and is not going to let this inane idea of a celebration go by without throwing a few stones in that direction. My children and I do NOT celebrate our separation by greed and covetousness as a "happy occasion." We celebrate the renewal of our connection and the fact that the bond never broke, no matter how hard the adopters tried.
I will receive my good wishes from my adult surrendered children on MOTHER'S DAY, as is right and proper. That is how it has been since we reunited and how it continues. If that bothers some of you adopters out there, too frickin' bad. I didn't ask to be a "baby donor," and I refuse to behave like one. The industry, if it hopes to survive our wrath, is going to have to come up with something better than this kind of garbage. We are NOT "heroines" who did "what was best" for our child. We are the coerced victims, along with our children, of a hateful institution, a social experiment of eugenics by social workers with God complexes, a media-driven mythology, the covetous greed of adopters and a $1.6 billion-a-year industry.
Ya know, maybe we should set Mother's Day aside for the Natural Mothers, only, and have an "Adopter's Day" and a ceremony, complete with a "gotcha" cake and "chase the pregnant teen" contests and each one could talk about their infertility. Maybe, if they were to be kicked in the teeth the way this day kicks us and our children, they might think better of trying to cheat us out of even more...at least they could stop trying to take away our right to be acknowledged as Mothers on the day put aside to honor the Mother.
I am so tired of the industry and their customers throwing crumbs at mothers while continuing with business as usual, that I could barf. "Birthmother's Day" is just another handful of crumbs and any mother who participates is lowering herself to the role of handmaid to the adopters. Please, mothers, get some pride, some backbone and some self-respect and refuse to be a party to your own degradation. Losing our children was the ultimate injury. This so-called "tribute to beemommies" is the ultimate insult. Remember, "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission." Eleanor Roosevelt said this. I may not have it exactly right, but I believe in the spirit and intent of those words. Don't let them keep you in an inferior role. Stand up as a MOTHER.
Robin Kinney Westbrook
MOTHER to Sara (4/6/62) and Jay (6/3/63), taken for adoption and back in the fold.
And very grateful MOTHER to Kerry (9/12/65) and Sam (1/15/71), raised by me.
Friday, May 02, 2008
To paraphrase Dubya's equally inept Dad, "Read My Lips. There IS NO Triad." Trying to effect the kind of change that is truly needed in adoption cannot be accomplished with feeble efforts to "educate" adopters. That's like trying to tell a horse they shouldn't eat sweet feed because it could cause the runs. Telling an adopter that what they are doing is going to hurt a mother and a child is just as fruitless. I've known a few adopters who did get most of the message, but never enough to admit that the child they were raising was not ethically theirs.
Adoptees have their own axes to grind. They are concentrating only on opening their records and having access to their original birth certificates. They are not interested in combating the crimes against their mothers or, at least, that is not their primary concern. Many of them are holding on to their childish anger at us (there's a group at cafe mom that reeks of resentment and refusal to accept the truth) and they would like nothing more than for us to stay at the very bottom of the adoption pecking order. There are a few, wonderful adoptees who get it and who do support us, but who do have their own issues to address.
So, this is an open challenge to any and all "mothers' groups" who have decided to expand at the expense of their core membership...go back to the beginnings and speak only for the mothers..not just prevention, but retribution, justice and redress should be on the agenda. If it isn't, then you are not speaking for all mothers...just those about to fall into the abyss. True, they need help. I've been doing that for years, but just like all younger people, many of these "good barfmuggles-to-be" think that things are different and that it will be better for them. Some of them just cannot be reached, period.
Meanwhile, there are millions of mothers growing older, grayer, and feeling more and more frustrated and abandoned. Right now, there is only one group that advocates for us and they know they have an uphill battle to fight. It's even more uphill without the support of the total community of exiled mothers.
I'll respond to the call for open records when mothers are included and their rights recognized. I'll commiserate with an adopter when they admit that the child they are raising should not be with them. And I'll support an organization when it remains true to its original goals and identity. Until then, I'll challenge and debate and refuse to back down. I'll be 63 in a couple of months. Even with the good genetics in my mother's side of the family, I have, at best, maybe 30 more years and that's if I keep on really watching my health. Then, one never knows...I could pass on tomorrow. But, be it at age 63 or age 93, I'm going to go down fighting, even if it is nothing more than making sure my opinions, experience and knowledge are known.
I'm on the down-sloping end of a distorted rectangle...the "loser's corner." That doesn't sound like a "Triad" to me. The natural family is under attack and we older moms are the only ones, seemingly, who see that reality. Atwood (author of "The Handmaid's Tale) is eerily accurate in what might happen to this society. Read the book and let's get back to where we need to be.