Friday, August 29, 2008

What Are Those Senior Moms Up To Now?

Some people wonder what this SMAAC group is all about. Well, it isn't about reunion. And, while most of us are proudly anti-adoption, it isn't really about that. Nor is it about open records except where those records pertain to the experience of the Senior Mother of adoption loss, pre-surrender. Open records for adopted people is something for them to seek.

Rather, this organization, and any others like it, are about what happened to the mothers in a very significant part of our country's recent history. The EMS/BSE (Era of Mass Surrenders/Baby Scoop Era) was a time of wholesale mistreatment of the young women who dared to become pregnant while young and/or single and/or financially dependent on our parents. As we each waved the white flag, unable to fight the powers against us, and surrendered, our infant children were harvested like ripe grain.

This is not about hating the act of adoption or our own difficulties with those who adopted our children. Those are separate issues. I was the demand that fueled the market, but adopters are still a sidebar in this struggle.

This is about the massive injustice perpetrated on vulnerable young women, often with the aid and blessings of our own parents. This is about being placed in a demeaning category, labelled, judged, isolated from family and friends, made to labor for others while awaiting our own ultimate labor. It's about being harassed by social workers/counselors if we even breathed a thought about wanting to keep our babies. It's about being subjected to sub-standard medical "care" and being treated with disdain by nurses and doctors. It's about having legal documents that no minor should be asked to sign without objective, legal counsel thrust under our noses while still recovering from labor and delivery, often while still under the influence of the drugs they pumped into us.

This is about being denied the right to see and hold our babies or having to fight to do so. And it is about being handed trite, comfortless comfort by those workers/counselors such as "you will forget" and "you can always have more children." This is about the fact that, even for those of us who managed to suppress some of the memories, our emotions and our bodies never forgot. This is all about emerging from the fog of denial and fear and shame and seeing, clearly, the horrible legal crime of which we and our children were the victims.

It's all about righteous anger and determination that our stories will continue to be told and names will be named, wrongs will be revealed and someone will have to step forward and recognize what those in our age group have known, as fact, for decades. We were given no choice in our fates and were more punished than helped by these "homes" and "social workers." Feeding on our flesh and blood, the adoption industry and the field of social work "professionals" became fat and sassy while we, being the compliant, good little girls of our era, kept our secret inside where IT fed on our psyches and what was left of our self-esteem.

Surviving this horror and coming out of the secrecy closet into the light of day has made us much stronger. We are wise to the ways of coercion and emotional bullying. We realize that the brand we thought we would have to wear for life is easily removed, rejected and discarded. We scream for our modern-day sisters to hear us, to stop before they sign those papers. But, too often and sadly, they don't hear us and go their own way and Big Adoption grows fatter and more powerful.

Well, we now know we can't expect our younger sisters or even our own children, in many instances, to understand the historical impact of this era of mass eugenics. If attention is brought to this horror, we are going to have to speak up. We are going to have to let our passion and our determination show and we are going to have to risk being verbally attacked and denigrated. You have to have a backbone of iron to do what we are planning to do. We are going to have to lean on each other when that iron starts to melt from the furnace of reaction to our unpopular stance.

Most of all, we are going to have to keep some things separate...our personal lives and our reunions...from our battle. Those things are our private business and off-limits to attackers. We can share those things on private support-group sites.

The lady Justice holds the scales and there is a definite imbalance which she feels. It is up to us to tell her why there is that imbalance and what can be done to even things out, again. It may never be completely in balance, but we can knock a little weight off the other side of the scale before we pass on.

OK, here we come. Get out your dogs and fire hoses because we are not going to stop.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Realistic View of "Abstinence Only"

I read this article on a private list and it said so much of what I would love to say to the young people of today. This speaks to the reactionary groups that would take us back in time to a society where young women were chattel, breeding stock for the "right kind of people" and kept ignorant of their options and uneducated about sexuality and birth control. In fact, if they had their way, our daughters and granddaughters would not be allowed access to reproductive control of their own bodies.

I am a Senior Mother and I, most emphatically, endorse and, sadly, understand, all too well, this message!

Commentary;Moral tyranny and female tragedy: The terrible human cost of anti-choice abortion ‘values’By Dennis Rahkonen Online Journal Contributing Writer Aug 25, 2008, 00:14

A teenage girl finds herself pregnant after her first car date with a boy. The boy’s parents are prominent Republicans in their community, and the girl’s mom and dad are conservative evangelicals. Given their backgrounds, neither young person was ever exposed to appropriate sex education. And, because of who their parents are and what they believe, neither can even begin to consider telling them what’s happened.

The boy just shrinks away and leaves the girl to deal with her “problem” alone.
Having attended church with her family, she’s guilt-ridden by what she’s repeatedly heard about the “irresponsibility” of females (all unmarried women) who allow themselves (*yep, we did it all ourselves..where was the guy in all this?RW) to become pregnant.

She contemplates abortion, but has been effectively propagandized into thinking that even when a child terminates a pregnancy to prevent having a child -- regardless whether the abortion is performed early -- it constitutes “murder” in a supposedly nefarious “hidden holocaust.”
Then she ponders running away, giving birth, and keeping the baby. But where would she go, what about her education and future plans, how could she support herself and take care of a constantly demanding infant?

The girl grows increasingly morose. Friends at school notice the change and wonder why, but she’s not forthcoming. Her parents figure she’s going through a phase.
Then, on a Friday night, during her town’s biggest football game of the season, she leaves the filled, brightly-lit, clamoring stadium and walks alone to the darkness of the river just a few blocks away. Upon reaching its bank, she doesn’t stop walking. She splashes forward, into deeper water, until only her head is above the surface. The last thing she hears is cheers from the nearby game, then her own gasp, as she vanishes beneath the surging current . . . (*A moment of silence for my old friend, Janice, from SC, who died of an intentional overdose of Seconal, 4 months pregnant, in 1964. RW)

The foregoing is just one variation of a massive human tragedy that’s befallen countless girls and women in America, over decades. It’s a tragedy that needn’t exist, but does, because we live in a male-dominated society fraught with sexist assumptions and religious absurdities that crash down upon our female populace like a ton of falling bricks. Quite wrongly and cruelly, many of us place much greater value on the well-being of first-trimester embryos, or even initial zygotes, than on the living, breathing, already born, socially functioning females in whose wombs they reside.

Women’s health -- their reproductive rights and choice -- are being demonized and obviated, supplanted by almost primitive fetus fetishism, which sees the “baby” as “innocent” against the implied (and sometimes openly stated) view that women who get pregnant contrary to their wishes are sinfully just the opposite . . . and therefore not worthy of comparable, or greater, consideration. Incredibly, not only is abortion equated with murder, but an overarching conservative failure to accept or deal with human sexuality erects obstacles to the comprehensive sex education and ready contraceptive availability that would vastly diminish the need for abortions, if implemented.

“Abstinence Only” is promoted instead, and commonly forgotten in the heat of passion. It’s also a veritable conduit for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Those who think that hoped-for iron will alone can stop peer-abetted temptation should note that many of the worst drug addicts we have were enrolled in the “Project D.A.R.E.” anti-drug program as kids.
Yes, abortion remains legal, but decreasingly so. It’s becoming harder and harder to obtain, particularly for poor women (*poor and poor married women are increasingly becoming targets for social workers and agencies touting surrender for adoption..RW) and those residing in rural areas.

Moreover, we’re just one conservative Supreme Court appointment away from a probable reversal of Roe v. Wade. Then we’d revert to the bloody, back-alley days of terrible female deaths -- in staggering numbers -- that we should ask our older female relatives to talk about. Especially if they were former hospital nurses, they’ll tell us of the real “holocaust” that took desperate lives in a fearful era when female reproductive health wasn’t recognized and choice was outlawed.

Even today -- somewhere, somehow -- some woman or young girl, who yielded to the physical and emotional pressure of a man or boy with just one thing on his mind, is likely involved in dire circumstances at this moment because outmoded attitudes born in a backward, benighted, biased age left her with no options.

Maybe it’s a suicide rope instead of a one-way walk into the water. Maybe her car crashed for no apparent reason. Or perhaps it’s a too-late arrival at an emergency room, following hemorrhaging caused by an ill-advised wire hanger “solution.”

In any case, it’s a loss of hope, and lives, that we can’t morally or practically sustain.
At federal, state, and local levels, please be sure to vote for candidates who advance women’s health and shield female reproductive rights. It’s the correct, necessary thing to do.

Dennis Rahkonen of Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the ’60s. Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal Email Online Journal Editor
I consider this a cautionary tale and, having lived it, can testify to the honesty and accuracy of this article. The women of America need to take a long and hard look at where we are headed. This is one of the reasons that SMAAC seeks justice, recognition and redress for the EMS/BSE. Surely, once the general public is aware of what was done to us, they would not want to go back there.
Would they?

Monday, August 25, 2008

That "Angry" Thing

I am beginning to think that the stock answer for every issue we mothers of adoption loss have, especially from "good little beemommies," "loyal, obligated adoptees" and self-entitled adopters/PAPs, is that we are, somehow, bitter and angry people without a life. I can remember some of the younger "good bee-moms" calling us Senior Mothers "bitter old birthmoms" or "bobs." That translates, I am told, into dildos or "battery operated boyfriend." Gee, wasn't that clever? Nothing to get incensed about there. Nosiree.

It came to me, last night, as I was lying in my husband's arms (going on 20, happy years here) and making jokes and laughing our heads off, that the people who make these judgments don't really know us at all. We have a cause and we have reason for our displeasure, but that isn't all we are about as individuals. We work jobs or careers, keep homes, some have raised children, grandchildren (I even have GREAT-grandchildren), go on vacations, have friends, hobbies, pay taxes...well, shoot, that makes us sound normal. What a concept!

Now, let's explore that Anger thing. Let's see....if you, as a young, vulnerable girl, were condemned as immoral, deviant, a disgrace to your family, isolated, given sub-standard medical care, told you were unfit to be a mother to your own, natural child and forced into surrender, not allowed to grieve and seen by those that knew the story as "soiled goods," all because you loved, not wisely but too well, wouldn't you be just a little bit sore? If you were blamed for it all while the guy you thought was the love of your life got off with a wink and a nudge, wouldn't you feel just a bit put-upon? I mean, we did carry and give birth to a living child only to have that child taken from us. Did anyone really think that the loss of a child was a minor pain we would "get past" and then "go on with our lives" as if it had never happened?

We were not like the young women of today. We did not enjoy the autonomy of the liberated female of this present era. Young women who had sex outside of marriage were called sluts whether we only had one partner or many or even if we were raped. We did what we were told and we were told to keep silent, so we did and we held it in for decades. When reunions started popping up all over the country, many of us sleepers awakened and, yes, we got mad! We also went through all the mourning we had stuffed down for anywhere from 30 to 40+ years. We worked through our pain and realized that we needed to speak out and demand attention for what was done to us and to our children.

Now we see our daughters and granddaughters in danger of facing the same kind of anguish. Unless the savagery of the Era of Mass Surrenders is described to the public in no uncertain terms, unless we can persuade our government that this would be a bad move, women will once again be treated as breeders and chattel. If being angry about what happened to us and to our children can help bring that about, then, Hell YES, we're pissed. But it is a righteous, earned anger and we are not going to apologize for it or be ashamed of it.

We're not the vulnerable victims we once were. We're empowered by that "anger" that so many want to use as an insult. As I have noted before, I think the African Americans, during the Civil Rights Movement of the '60's, were somewhat miffed and it powered an effective and historical change in our nation's social climate.

For the millions of young women who had their infants taken from them, who were seen as unfit because of age, marital status and financial need, who were not allowed to know our children as they grew, who were not allowed expression of their grief, it's our turn and "anger management" isn't going to stop us. We're not out to hurt anyone with our anger unless it might be the people who make money in the infant trade. We are out to find justice and recognition. That's a very effective use of a normal human emotion...anger. The emotion isn't wrong. It's what you do with it that counts.

Someone said that the name of our organization, SMAAC, sounded "angry." Well Gee...Ya think?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Adopteri Non Donum Anum Rodentum

While I am sure that my high-school Latin leaves a lot to be desired and the title I have given this post is not exactly good Latin usage, I hope it conveys a message to "Anonymous" and all the others out there who see the people who adopt as innocent and saintly and ignorant of our plights.

One more time...the adopters?...THEY WERE THERE. You couldn't live in that era and not know exactly what was going on and how we were "handled" by the social workers, our parents, school authorities, employers, clerics and others. It was a fact of everyday life so the argument that "they weren't there," doesn't hold water. So, not only did they know, Adopteri non donum anum rodentum, or, as we say in English, adopters didn't give a rat's ass. All they cared about was getting that baby. They justified it by thinking that any girl/young women who would have sex outside of marriage and have the nerve to get pregnant deserved the horrendous, punitive, heart-breaking treatment she received.

Some of these adopters were nurses and you should have seen how they treated us during labor and delivery. We were ignored, had nasty comments made to us and told that we had "asked for what happened to us." There were also doctors who behaved in that same manner and they, along with ministers, social workers, teachers, school principals, etc, were also among the number of adopters.

Aside from that, the attitude and actions were simply public knowledge. And they saw their neighbor's daughters, even their nieces and cousins, come home from their "visit to an aunt" with haunted eyes and an aura of grief about them or closed down, emotionally, like zombies.

Some of them were the "mental health professionals" that declared us delinquent and sexually "promiscuous." They were also among the ranks of those that adopted. All of them were part of the society that labeled us and demeaned us and felt smugly superior to us.

Even now, when a young mother and her caring family in Ohio cry for her lost daughter, the adopters are hidden and without compassion for the way she was taken in and abused by the agency and their shills. There is no compassion for the mother in adopters. That might mean that they would have to consider returning that baby to the mother and they are a very possessive lot. Most of them will be damned if they are going to give up their make-believe parenthood just because the mother (and the adoptee) will suffer.

So, again, don't ask questions that attempt to justify and make blameless the adopter in the equation. And, if they happen to feel bad about what we say, well, Materi Naturi non donum anum rodentum! Got it?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bad Old Days Comin' Back Again

Anyone who doesn't believe that private agencies, this government and its minions are not trying to "re-criminalize" and isolate unmarried mothers and deal in infants is not watching or reading the news. This is why Senior Mothers are so intent on getting attention for the EMS in order to show the public just what it might be getting from these baby brokers and state social workers and how it is hurting vulnerable women and their infants.
Our reproductive rights are NOT enhanced or bettered by this kind of operation. When will NOW and other feminist factions realize that the right to keep and raise one's infant should also be a part of a woman's reproductive rights? Where is the ACLU when we need them?
We had our rights taken from us along with our children. Do we really want to see this happen again and to this great extent? Think about your sisters, daughters and granddaughters being coerced and bullied and conned by a huge industry into surrendering the rights to YOUR flesh and blood. Gladney is a fancy holding facility for fecund mares. Any pregnant woman who walks through that door doesn't have a glimmer of hope if she decides she might want to keep her baby. In other words, if you go to Gladney, you're toast as a mother. Now they are extending their heinous tentacles into the third world countries and reaping their infants. Read this and weep.

Gladney Center for Adoption Announces New Marketing Campaign and Updated Website

Last update: 11:51 a.m. EDT Aug. 21, 2008
FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug 21, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Gladney Center for Adoption has recently unveiled a new marketing campaign as well re-launched Gladney's updated website.
The Birth Parent and Adoptive Parent Campaigns have a new look with the development of new marketing creative materials. Gladney's new Birth Parent campaign, "Encouraging Words," brings a message of hope to those experiencing unplanned pregnancies. Hope is hidden in the everyday environment and with Gladney; a birth mother can find hope. (Yeah, right. She can go there, knowing her baby will not come home with her.RW)
The Adoptive Parent campaign is designed to create a message of hope, love and anticipation that adoptive parents feel as they enter into the adoption process. The materials with a toy chest image, creating a message of love, hope and anticipation that adoptive parents feel as they enter into the adoption process. (Not to mention the self-entitlement, the emotions of covetousness, greed and total disregard for the mother's pain. RW) The toy chest and toys are used as the key visual element and the toys represent each country and program. The use of the toys demonstrates Gladney's connection to each country with which we work and underscores Gladney's expertise in adoption.
The updated website includes Birth Mother video testimonies as well as Adoptive Parent and Adoptee testimonies. The Birth Mother website has a different look and feel than the adoptive parent site. More media stories are included as well as information about Gladney's vast humanitarian aid efforts. The site is designed to be easy to use.
The Gladney Center for Adoption is one of the oldest and largest maternity homes and adoption agencies in the United States, placing more than 27,000 children in permanent homes and assisting more than 36,000 birth mothers. In addition to placing children born in the United States, Gladney's international program is committed to finding permanent homes for children in other countries. Adoption opportunities are available in several countries around the world including Eastern European, Asian and Latin American countries. A genuine commitment to client and social service makes Gladney an exceptional adoption agency and a national leader in adoption.
For more information about Gladney's adoption programs and humanitarian aid efforts please log onto
CONTACT: Jennifer Lanter
Public Information Officer
Gladney Center for Adoption
(817) 922-5968
SOURCE Gladney Center for Adoption
Copyright (C) 2008 PR Newswire. All rights reserved
And who says that adoption isn't an industry? This article is as slick as any spin doctor can produce.
Message to Gladney: STOP MARKETING ADOPTION!!!!!

Feigning Innocence..Saintly Adopters

This statement was too good to pass up. Comment from (of course) "Anonymous:" "I don't understand how people who adopted babies would know what you girls went through. How would they know if they weren't there? "

Oh, but dear Anonymous, they WERE there. They were part of the system, the society, the attitude and were the beneficiaries, along with the agencies, of our suffering. They knew who was being expelled, fired, sent to "live with and aunt" and who returned a few months later, an emotional basket case. They were the ones who whispered behind the backs of the girls who "got caught" while many of them were doing the same thing but were not caught or else had daddies with deep pockets who could pay the right doctor to perform a "therapeutic D & C."

Why do you think a women would call the reuniting of her adoptee with the natural mother "her worst nightmare" if she didn't KNOW, in her heart, the kind of pain we were feeling. Oh, a lot of them have told themselves the same fairy tale, over and over again, until they can push the truth back into a dark corner of their mind, but, being women, they KNEW. They were able to convince themselves that we were irresponsible sluts to justify taking our children.They were also given a lot more information about us that most of them will let on, especially to the adoptee.

Those paragraphs in the surrender documents were not there to protect us "girls" (BTW, we are women, fully grown, now) but were placed there to protect adopters because they, adopters and facilitators, KNEW that the love of a mother was strong enough for her to want to seek out her child unless there were some strong threats to deter her. Most of us were threatened with jail and/or financial ruin for our families.

So don't try to hand me or my sisters from the EMS that kind of bull manure. They knew, the social workers knew and all the other who chastised, mistreated, denigrated, labeled, coerced and devastated us, INCLUDING THE ADOPTERS, knew. Unless you lived in that era, you couldn't possibly understand or see the truth when it is staring you in the face.

Most adopters are still in denial. The reason we are their worst nightmare is that they know our anguish and their culpability in it. They also know the difference between a mother/child bond and an attachment formed by a child so that that child can survive.

They didn't want to be told how much we were injured, but they KNEW. If they deny it, it is because they don't want that halo to show its tarnish. Their "joy" was our anguish and they KNEW. If they don't feel guilty about it, they should.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ask An Honest Question........

..get a very skewed bunch of answers. The question, put to the readers and contributors of "Yahoo Answers" was "Does any adoptive mother or adult adoptee truly know the inhumane, graphic details of what happened to the Surrendering Mothers during the Era of Mass Surrenders?
That time in the years of Post WWII thru 1973? Do you really know what happened to us Senior Surrendering Mothers? Or do you really choose to believe in the supposed 'voluntary' surrenders we supposedly 'voluntarily' participated in? Would you choose to know the graphic details of our experiences prior to the act of adoption? While we were pregnant, L&D, Post-partum..prior to surrender and/or the finalization of adoption. Would you want to hear the Ugly Truth in how our babies came to be surrendered and adopted??
(question asked by shadowwinter)

Most of the answers were either avowals of complete ignorance or denials hinting that we were unfit and were active participants in the "decision" to surrender our babies. Anyone who has taken the time to read Ann Fessler's "The Girls Who Went Away," has surely absorbed at least a glimmer of the truth of that era. But too many wear ear plugs, blinders and do not speak of what they know, in their hearts, to be true.

Those of us in reunion are now having to explain the situation to our adult children who range in age from their 40's up to their early 60's. The biggest concentration of EMS adoptees are in their 40's. Along with these explanations of the times and the social climate of those years, they are having to confront the real probability that their adopters knew how we were being isolated, shamed, used, abused and discarded. It's not an easy thing for an adopted person to accept and understand. My daughter spent a lot of time trying to get me to understand why her adopters behaved in the manner in which they did (which was horrible and insulting) even though she knew they were wrong in their attitudes. What she didn't realize was that I did understand their fear, but that the situation and their reasons did not justify their actions or attitudes.

Whether the adult adopted person from that era or their adopter want to accept or admit it, these covetous couples KNEW what was being done to us, knew we were being treated as deviant, amoral, social "problems" and KNEW that we were in deep pain when our children were taken from us. Maybe they sort of bought the social workers' reassurances that we would go on to live full lives, have other children and everything would be just hunky-dory because they wanted to buy it. But, in the back of the female adopter's mind, there was that fear and prejudice. One adopter from that era was very frank with me when she told me that the thought of her adopted children finding their mothers and having relationships with them was "her worst nightmare."

I think this just goes to show the fact that no one can live, comfortably, in a lie, even a legal lie, for very long. And, in the end, most of those legal lies have come back to bite a lot of the people involved in the ass.

What is happening today is built on the arrogant use of young, single mothers during the EMS. This is why we Senior mothers, members of SMAAC, address that era and that era ONLY. We were overtly forced, bullied and coerced. As time went by and the industry used media, slick spin doctoring, and the vision of the surrendering mother as a heroine, the mothers and their families were more hoodwinked and conned. It's hard, in either instance to admit, as Senior Moms, that we had no control or autonomy, or, as the younger moms, that they got scammed. big time. These young "heroines" are the ones who show up one or two or three years later, on our support groups, in tears, trying to deal with the pain.

The fact that we have posted our fingers bloody, trying to dissuade a new mother-to-be against surrender goes unheeded. One such mother accused us of not speaking out soon enough to save her from her fate. Honey, we've been yelling at the top of our lungs for decades, only to have you and others like you, call us "bitter old birthmoms" or "bobs" which, also stands for "battery operated boyfriend.(dildoes)" Being insulted doesn't exactly encourage us to help you.

Someone, yesterday, sent me a link to a story about a natural mom who killed her child. That is sick and sad and, only accounts for a very, very small minority of natural mothers. I can direct this same person to a huge page of stories about adopters and foster parents killing and abusing the children in their care. Just take one of the links to your right about "Adoptor Abuse" and the one about Russian adoptees. You will quickly see that your argument is moot and irrelevant to our movement. We are not abusers. We are mothers and damn good ones, at that.

What we'd like to see is just a few HONEST answers to a very honest question. I have a feeling that will not happen in my lifetime.

Monday, August 18, 2008

SMAAC Is On Its Way

The Senior Mothers Adoption Activist Coalition, SMAAC, is nearing the time when we we unveil our website. There will be quite a few features and some of the information will be available to the public. We are excited and feeling very positive that something that has been allowed to slip under the justice radar for decades is getting even more exposure. The noose is getting tighter and tighter.

During the EMS (Era of Mass Surrenders*TM), just the staggering numbers of girls and young women who were overtly punished for their fertility, evidence of sexual activity, and robbed of their precious infants should have been reason enough for investigation. Now, in our middle and later years, we are gathering steam, throwing off the old programming of silence and secrecy, and speaking out. It is making a lot of people uncomfortable. Too darn bad. It's going to get louder before it's over.

Let me introduce us to you. We are everywoman. Some are career women, some are homemakers, others both work and have raised a family after the loss of their first born. We are blue-collar, white-collar and in between. Others have suffered from secondary infertility and never experienced raising their own flesh and blood. Even others, we are sorry to say, adopted to fill the void and, we believe, subconsciously, to try to get back what they lost. Some of us have reached retirement in one piece.

What we share is the sad and horrifying experience of having lived in a time when young women had no autonomy, were held totally responsible for the results of sexual activity (as if the young men didn't exist), were punished, labeled as "delinquent," "morally unfit" and "psychologically disturbed." We were expelled from schools, fired from jobs, refused rental housing, isolated from our families and friends in maternity institutions or sent to distant relatives, or hidden in basements and closets when company came. The fathers of our babies either abandoned us (actually, ran like rabbits) or, if they were caring enough to want to help, were warned off and threatened with arrest and statutory rape charges by families who wanted a magical restoration of their daughter's virginity.

We were constantly bombarded, by social workers, and, shamefully, even our own families, nuns, pastors, nurses, etc., as to our general lack of fitness to raise our own children and lied to about what would happen to our children once we signed those papers. Case in point: many of our infants were in foster care for months before they were finally put into an adoptive home. We were told there was an ideal family "just waiting" for our child and that our baby would go directly to them. That "ideal family" was usually no better than us and some were not as good at parenting as we would have been.

We were allowed to labor in pain without any comfort or family members with us, often given sub-standard medical care and treated with disdain by the health care "professionals" who were supposed to be caring for us. Many of us were drugged into incoherence so as not to bother the nursing staff while we labored. Some of those drugs were dangerous and caused us problems in later years. Many of us were terrified, without knowledge of the process of labor and birth, and so, so alone. Most of us were too naive, vulnerable and used to following the instructions of older people to fight back against this mistreatment.

We were presented with papers that no minor should have been required to sign, especially without legal representation, often while still groggy from the drugs given us during labor and delivery. Many of us were not allowed to see our babies and those of us that were, had to really fight for the privilege. We received no copy of the papers we signed. We were not allowed access to the original birth certificate, even if we, as in my case, named our children. Anyone who balked at signing received veiled threats of financial penalties and other horrible consequences.

We were sternly instructed to keep our "shameful secret" because that would be the only way we could ever hope to find a "decent man that would have us." And we were also told we would "forget," have other children and everything would be just hunky-dory. Like dutiful young women, most of us played those tapes in our heads for years, some of us married the first man that would have us and tried to replace our missing babies. Some were so crippled by the grief that they couldn't go that route and, instead, put their efforts into education and careers. Some of us went through a period of acting out because sincere expressions of our grief were not allowed. That was the elephant in the living room.

A little over 25 years ago, something happened that caused the sleeping EMS mothers to awaken. Young women started keeping and raising their "out-of-wedlock" babies and were even feted with baby showers. Safe, legal abortion became available, and single women and girls could go to their local health department and obtain effective birth control. AND ADULT ADOPTEES STARTED SEARCHING FOR THEIR MOTHERS (and vice versa). We awoke from our decades-long slumber and started remembering, started questioning and we got mad as Hell and are refusing to take it anymore. We found the Internet, found each other, compared notes and became even angrier. We started speaking out and making many people quite uncomfortable.

We have targets, now, for our accusations and demands. We are no longer frightened, intimidated, shamed and secretive. We count our taken children, with pride, among the rest when asked how many children we have. We have wiped that scarlet letter off our foreheads and no one, repeat...NO ONE...will ever put it back there. We are also several million, card-carrying, AARP members...most over 50 and many more headed for 70. We refuse to die before this horrible era and the injustices perpetrated against the vulnerable and the frightened is addressed in a public arena and the adoption industry's "storm-trooper" beginnings are exposed.

If the general public gets a good look at how middle-class, mostly white, girls were treated like brood mares for the infertile, perhaps they might start re-thinking their acceptance of adoption as some kind of "pink-cloud" fairy tale. Maybe adopters will realize that we never stopped being mothers just because some judge said that we were no longer the mothers of the children we bore.

And, to the young women and girls of today, unless you are planning on keeping and raising that baby you carry, start planning to be a mother. It's your right and your responsibility. To others, you have access to the means to prevent pregnancy. USE IT! Don't let yourself be caught up in that old chestnut about "not being ready to be a mother." If you are pregnant, and plan to carry to term, then Nature makes you a mother and you will be ready...maybe a bit nervous, but ready, none the less. And, for Heaven's sake, don't fall for the industry "hype."

The loss of a child to adoption is agony and so-called "open adoption" is an industry farce. You have more autonomy than we had in the 50's and 60's. Take advantage of the strides taken for the rights of women and declare your right to either not conceive or carry, or to be a mother whether you have $100K in the bank, finished school or have a husband or not. It can be done. Michael Phelp's mother did it and look at him.

Now, watch your older sisters as we pick up the reins that should have been handed to us 40+ years ago and drive this team to our destination. Weeee're baaaaaa-aaaack!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mixers and Poseurs

There is always someone around who wants to stir things up for attention, malice, or whatever. Those who complain about the numerous organizations for mothers with different designations or needs tend to be those who, themselves, were instrumental in bringing about some of the rifts. The fact is that there are mothers of all sizes, shapes, flavors and colors whose needs are not exactly the same. Anyone who wants to pour us all into one pot and stir will get a noxious brew that is unpalatable and just causes one to run in circles without any real results. These are the mixers, the ones who provoke in a passive/aggressive style and then deny their intent. These are the ones who are anathema to the goals of any of the mothers' groups.

There are some moms who are still searching and have yet to learn a lot about what was actually done to them, there are some who are older and want to have the particular trespasses of their era addressed, others who need help in dealing with reunion, some in "open" adoptions....the list can go on and on. Some were coerced, some were brainwashed and some believed the hype until it was too late.

I am a member of some support groups where there are mothers just starting to deal with the many aspects and heartaches of reunion. I am not the militant activist there that I am in SMAAC or here, on my blog. That is because the need is DIFFERENT! (Maybe if I shout, someone might get the message.)

This is the reason we have formed SMAAC (Senior Mothers Adoption Activism COALITION) as, not only a group to seek redress for the horror of the mass surrenders during our era, but as a way to be open to what any other groups are doing and, if it meets our criteria, act in support. Motherhood and the loss to adoption are the thread that loosely ties us together, but circumstances, eras, state of reunions, and attitudes give us different needs.

I went out to Geneva, FL, to a wonderful horse farm there to visit a friend, not too long ago. There were horses everywhere but there were different areas for different horses. The breedable mares and the stallions were kept separate for obvious reasons. There were geldings, yearlings, the untrained and, in another place, the steady, trained, trail-riding mounts. There were roans, blacks, pintos, palominos, whites, Appaloosas, mustangs, huge draft horses and Arabians. Due to the different temperaments and uses, these various animals were kept in their own areas. Yes, they were all horses, but with very different needs. Some could pasture and feed together, some could not...but yes, they were all horses. Mothers of adoption loss? Same thing.

Now, I might be wrong, but I question the motives of anyone who wants to lump us all together in one "brew." Could it be that someone wants to be a big fish in a big pond rather than a big fish in a little pond? I rather think that could possibly be the case. Inflated ego and arrogance are terrible things in anyone, even a Mother of Adoption Loss.

In any event, SMAAC, BSERI and other groups will continue to do what they need to do to meet the needs of their particular constituents. We are not just going to jump into a cauldron and will not be assimilated by the Mother of Adoption Loss Borg. Resistance is not only NOT futile, it is necessary. We have to do what we have to do for ourselves. No one else is going to do it for us.

So, quote Gandhi or MLK or anyone else....these people were devoted to a cause for a specific group of are we. BN works for the adopted person...nothing else. They sure as heck won't get thrown into a witch's kettle and neither will we! We work for the good of the Senior Mother and we are proud of our designation, even when there are those who would mock it.

Wicked potion brewers never learn.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Adoption-Speak / Fantasy Speak

I am going to go out on a limb here (bada-bump!), and echo the words of an adopted friend who says that many adopted people hate the term, "Forever Family." Move over, friend, and make room for your natural mothers. We hate it, as well, and that is because we can see the fantasy/legalized lie it promotes.

Courts, agencies and adopters do everything in their power to erase us, diminish our importance to our children and superimpose their personal history on infants and children who have heritages of their own. That covers everything from the horrible "birthmother/baby-donor" title they have hung on us moms, to the specious "Pregnant by Adoption" and "Paper Pregnant" tee shirts and the fact that people refer to adults as "adopted CHILDREN." I wonder when they are going to be allowed to grow up and be respected as adult citizens with rights to their heritages and to communication with their natural families.

I guess that is why I look upon adoption as a manifestation of emotional illness. The whole idea of "as if born to" is man playing God and impossible to truly accomplish. That leads to dangerous and emotionally abusive games in an adoptive group and the child's heritage is that large, pink and purple, polka-dotted elephant in the living room that everyone ignores. At best, it is only given token service, ie., "your mother couldn't raise you so she loved you so much she gave you to us." Oh, Puh-leeeeeze. Now tell them the one about the three bears.

The reality of coercion, psychological manipulation, industry machinations and legal loopholes belie the fairy tale and what all that creates is often very unhealthy. Language is powerful and the industry knows that. These cutesy, little catch-phrases, horrific celebrations, such as "gotcha day" and the skewed "compassion (wink, wink)" for the beemommie are all tools used by the adoption moguls and their customers striving to keep the fantasy alive and/or profitable.

I wonder if adopters realize the silent or implied message they are sending their adoptees about the quality of their heritage, which translates into the quality of the adoptee, themselves? My children, surrendered and raised, have a great and interesting, natural family that anyone with sense would be proud to acknowledge. But that is not what my daughter was told. The truth shook both my surrendered children to the soles of their adult bootees. Self-esteem cannot be "grafted on" by a non-genetically connected family. Neither can traits, talents and traditions.

Someone asked me how it would have been better had I raised my surrendered children. I said that I guessed that depended on what you consider "better." They would not have had the material goodies they enjoyed in equal abundance, but they would have had firm knowledge of who they were, where they came from, why they look and act as they do, devoted nurturing and a warm, caring family. Isn't that all any child really needs?

The twists and turns of adoption-speak are, in my opinion, totally contrary to any ideas the industry and the pro-adoption organizations have touted concerning "adoption reform." Potential adopters need to understand, if they absolutely must adopt and if some poor mother does gets pulled into the web, that they are raising a child who is NOT their own, who has a family, a heritage, and questions that deserve honest answers with no warm-fuzzy fairy tales to confuse and confound their little minds. Face it.."as if born to" is something that no legal document or wish or hope can accomplish. The truth is out there. Wanting to believe otherwise won't make the truth go away.

My children, surrendered and raised, have, in truth, a "forever family" and I am part of it, along with my family and their natural fathers' families. It's a truth that might hurt, but a lot of the truth does hurt. Tinkerbelle does not exist and there is no fairy-dust vernacular that will alter genes and DNA. I don't think that the industry, in going back to the drawing board, is going to be able to find a way to pull THAT rabbit out of a hat.

And to those women who take hormones in order to lactate so that they can "nurse" their adoption-acquired infant.....Oooooooh, YUCK! Those drugs are not good for baby or for you. You must be pretty desperate for a fairy tale ending.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Existence of Evil

There are some who will argue that evil is Satan, the Devil, demonic influence, original sin and all that other mystical mishmash. Then there are others that outright deny the existence of evil and characterize it as only emotional and mental illness. Both ends will argue the point and never come to any agreement.

I believe that evil is real. But, I don't think that it is caused by a demonic influence and there are many perpetrators of evil actions who know the difference between right and wrong. I see evil as a lack of spiritual values (*please note that I said SPIRITUAL, not religious).

In my definition of evil, the one that stands out the most is arrogance/false pride, a lack of the spiritual value of humility, an inability to accept and learn from one's own mistakes, to apologize and grow. The person who is arrogant cannot see themselves as just another member of the human race, but rather, they see themselves as transcending the "lesser" people in our society. They also see their religion as superior to all others and the only way to the presence of Divinity. Extreme vanity is also aligned with arrogance, as I see it. Others might disagree. I do not equate strong personal stances for what one might consider just and right with arrogance, although some are misled.

After arrogance, comes intolerance. That is where I have seen evil manifested in the very bosom of our churches. Hitler, the KKK, David Duke...bombastic bigots all, professed Christianity while practicing the most heinous kind of intolerance. Intolerance is the opposite of love and charity...both spiritual values. Many of us Senior Mothers from the BSE were treated with intolerance, judged and deemed unworthy by the people who profess to follow a religion based on love. We were denied comfort, support and true assistance due to our perceived "sin" of sexual activity resulting in unmarried pregnancies.

An off-shoot of these evils is self-entitlement which is seeing oneself as more deserving of the good things in life than others, including children. If one can see the mother of the child they covet as "lesser" and someone to be judged as "unworthy," then one can justify the taking of that child from the mother as a heroic, even "saintly" act. These are the same people who persuade the mother to not be selfish, when their own needs are being met in a selfish manner, whether it is an agency, social worker or adoptor. Self-Interest is, along with all the other evils mentioned, the cornerstones of the horror of the Baby Scoop Era and the crimes against the mothers of those times.

It is foolish to deny that anyone who sees themselves as better than another based on gender, age, education, financial situation, race, religion or nationality is perpetuating an evil practice. In my mind, the evils listed above make unmarried sex look like small potatoes. Yet people will storm the fortress with torches and pitchforks if someone is caught with their pants down, while war, poverty, intolerance and the arrogance of megalomaniac leaders are accepted and allowed.
I find Dante's "Inferno" to be merely entertaining and I can't say that I see Satan or Hell as a reality. But evil is real. It moves among us and in us and only we can overcome it.

That brings me to the evil that bothers me the most and that is intentional ignorance. It isn't bad for someone to not know something, but to refuse to learn when the knowledge is presented to one for the taking is akin to the first evil of arrogance.

I watched a program, centering on the works of Mozart, last night and the happenings during the year 1791. His music was written during a time that the intellectuals of the day called the "Age of Enlightenment." Now, don't rely on the movie "Amadeus" as your guide to who and what Mozart was. As the moderator put it, the movie was great drama but very skewed history. He was a thinker and a person with strong beliefs. The intellectuals and creative people in this movement used, as their guides, the Golden Ages of Greece and Ancient Egypt. I think it would behoove this arrogant, technologically prideful society to emulate that striving for true, spiritual enlightenment and intellectual growth.

As with the push by our current government to reinstate the bad old days of punishing the unwed mother by incarceration in maternity homes and increasing infant adoption, we are on a downhill slide with our unfortunate dearth of spiritual values as a society. We need a prophet, but, I think if we were to have one that was the real deal, no one would hear him or her.

Please note that this is my personal philosophy. I certainly don't know all the mysteries beyond the veil and my approach is philosophical and emotional, rather than scientific. But, I am getting a little bit tired of science and finance jumping ahead of art and philosophy. In order to survive as a civilization, we need to get back to a balance. Until and if we ever do, evil will be a prominent, present and active force among us.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

In Memorium; Countess Precious VonSturrm Heinlein, 1991-2008

She was my daughter's "baby," but the whole family loved her dearly and enjoyed her "wild and crazy" personality. She was a purebred, miniature daschund with a very noble heritage.

She had, in her 17th year of life, developed severe arthritis, poor circulation, lung problems and incipient cancer. She was gently released from her suffering, today.

My daughter always teased me and said that I treated that dog like I did my grandchildren...I guess I did, but Lord, she was just like her name...totally Precious.

Her remains will be cremated and my daughter has a little, black urn with a plaque. Now, if I can just stop crying..............

Well, my whole life isn't about adoption!

Friday, August 01, 2008

When It's Too Late..How To Avoid The Adoption Trap


I've put a lot of thought into this post. It was inspired by a conversation with a mother the other evening who had just lost her second child to open adoption in Florida, four months ago. Now, when little can be done due to the horrible laws in this state, she is regretting, grieving (badly) and wanting to fight.

I had to tell her that her chances of getting either of her children back were slim to none and how much I wished that she has contacted me or other older mothers BEFORE any papers were signed or agencies contacted. Once you become a target of an agency, you're screwed.

Quite a few of us Senior Mothers have drawn back from the battleground of the un-winnable, current tragedies of babies lost to adoption and are trying to concentrate on revealing the Baby Scoop Era and the wrongs done, back then, to Senior mothers and their children, hoping it might lead to a serious reconsideration of the entire mechanics of adoption. We have also posted our fingers raw, trying to talk some of these young moms-to-be into giving themselves and their babies a chance to become a family. You win some, you lose some. It's heartbreaking and enervating.

Since the young woman I spoke to has a clear and verifiable case of coercion on the part of the agency, she might be, at least, able to file a civil suit against them for pain and suffering and hope the agency's license gets pulled or they receive some sort of punitive action. As for her daughter and baby boy, Honey, they are probably gone for good. And, believe me, a heartfelt letter to the female adopter is not going to do the trick. She is latched on and holding and she has the financial means to fight, as long as it takes.

So, I am going to try, one more time, to reach the mother-to-be BEFORE she is drawn into the net by social services, agencies, so-called "crisis" pregnancy centers and avid PAPs. Here are some basic rules that put YOU in control of the outcome. We are going to assume that you did not avail yourself of birth control or decided against termination of the pregnancy....both options that were not there for the Senior Mother. If you have made the decision to have unprotected sex and to eschew termination, then you still have more than one choice and one of those choices is to keep and raise your child within the family of that child's origin.

1-Even if you are considering surrender (you don't "place"..agencies do that), do NOT contact an agency or a "crisis" pregnancy center. You can find all the info you need online and don't go into a message forum full of adopters and wannabe adopters. They will turn into the vultures and you will be the dying meat. Read, but don't approach these entities because they will pressure you until you wave that white flag and surrender.

2-Try going to the "horse's mouth." Talk to other and older mothers who had lost children to adoption. They won't lie to you and they won't steer you wrong. You might also want to speak to some moms whose promised "open" adoption was slammed shut in their faces as soon as the adopters became a little bit insecure about the mother's very existence. One mother took her own life after this happened. Find out what the guidelines are for open adoptions as they affect the mother in your state. Also, know that adopters will skip town, hide and draw out any legal actions until the child is older and a judge is reluctant to disrupt the life of an older child.

3-DON'T SIGN ANYTHING!!! Pre-birth agreements are usually not bindable (except in a few states with adopter-heavy legislatures), but they can make your life Hell on earth. And, do not allow agency officials, social workers or potential adopters into the labor and delivery room with you, or into your hospital room after the birth. Give yourself a chance to recover from the birth and to spend time with your baby. Don't accept offers to "come into the agency's office and talk about it." That is how one mom got pressured into signing when she truly did not want to lose her baby. That pressure is unrelenting and criminal. Look carefully, as well, at that "love-bombing" the potential adopters lay on you. It will ebb and fade away once they have their names on the altered birth certificate and the adoption decree in their hands.

4-Get your own legal counsel! The agency will tell you that the attorney they have is representing you. That is NOT TRUE. That is like a divorce attorney representing both parties.

5-Don't think that today is how it is always going to be. You will not always be poor, single or alone. There are services, mentors, day care in schools, and everything you will need to get by until your circumstances change, and believe me, change they will. It is NOT the end of the world and your baby needs YOU...not "things." And is a prom or a party more important than that precious infant? You became a mother because Nature made you don't need a husband, a 3-bed, 2-bath home with two cars and a savings account to be a good mother.

6-Hold the father responsible for his 50% donation to the conception of a child. Seek child support and a DNA test will not allow him to wiggle out from under his obligations. Some young dads are good about taking the responsibility. You might be pleasantly surprised.

7-And most important....don't sell yourself and your baby short. Give yourself a chance. The bond between you and your child is already established, even if you have tried to convince yourself that it hasn't. That baby will see him/her self as a part of you for months after the birth and that immediate separation is terribly traumatic to your little one. Take time just for the two of you. You're a unit, created by Nature, herself, and nothing is more sacred nor stronger. You can do it.

8-Find those mentors...they are everywhere and can help you with all the questions EVERY new mother has, married or unmarried. If you are fortunate enough to have the support of family members, take it and rejoice. We Senior Mothers didn't have that. If you still feel that you are unable to raise your child or just don't want to, find someone in either your family or the family of the father who is willing to take legal guardianship (NOT adoption). Don't rob your child of his or her heritage. And an open adoption is not a case of legal babysitters or co-parenting. All it means is that you know who adopted your child and, if you are lucky, you will get a few pictures and some letters.

Remember, it's not education, careers, money, a husband or age that makes you ready to be a mother. Heck, even moms with all those things have moments of insecurity and fears of inadequacy. Nature prepares you and it is a process as old as the human race. Give yourself the opportunity that we from the BSE didn't have. Keep your baby. It's not easy, but it is so worth the work, worry and effort and the rewards are your heart's treasures for life.

Are you pregnant? You have options that do NOT include adoption. Keep an open mind about raising your child and be the mistress of your own destiny and that of your child. Don't let strangers make your own flesh and blood a stranger to you.

Post Script: I had to add this due to the very correct post from Shadow who talks about married couples conceiving and then surrendering a child due to financial problems. If we all waited until we could "afford" a second or third child, there would only be one child per family and no chidren to adopt (hey....there's an idea). I don't know what has happened to society over the past few years. I was not raised in an affluent family but there was always room for one more at the table. My surrenders were based more on social stigma than on finances. Prior to birth control, there was always a way to care for another child. So, married folks, either use birth control, abort or keep. Don't have a child out there wondering why you could keep their sibling but not them. It's hurtful to the child and money isn't a good enough reason.