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.


maybe said...

Are any of you ladies attending the AAC conference in Cleveland next year? I would love to see a huge group of as many mothers and adoptees as possible. We must be heard!

maybe said...

Robin, you said, "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.'"

Did she say why that was her worst nightmare? Guilt, shame, fear?

I would expect death to be the worst nightmare of any mother.

Unknown said...

Brava, Sister, you are smack on target once again. Are you okay, tho?

Go ask Alice said...

A picture is worth a thousand words, 'Hear no evil, see no evil,speak no evil' pretty much covers it. Me thinks it is definitely an up hill battle. We new it would not be easy, like trying to play pool with a rope.
The idealistic bubble that surrounds the EMS is obviously still intact, but not for long. If we keep poking at it, it is bound to burst. The lies living inside are about to take a hit.
SMAAC Member
Senior Mothers of Coerced Adoption Surrender; Empowered, Wiser and Demanding Justice

Robin said...

maybe, she said she told them both that if they found their mothers and had a relationship, she didn't want to know about it. She is in her late 70's and still insists that the mothers of her adoptees gave her a "gift." I disagreed with her on that, totally. She didn't want to hear any more, but I still wore my BSE MOM tee shirt to the Y, just about every day. LOL

And, Sandy, we are fine. Fay is drenching us and tearing leaves,small limbs and palm fronds on the groung and flooding some low-lying streets, but our power is on and we are warm, safe and prepared. Hugs to you for caring.

Michelle said...

What is incredibly sad is that so many people do not view the atrocities of the Baby Scoop Era as a Violent Act Against Women. Whether babies were taken for adoption or something else - it was being pregnant and unwed, and the societal perception that women were irresponsible shameless tramps because they had sex. This allowed the child welfare system and adoption industry to move in and gain control of the already existing government-endorsed baby selling market.

Jessica Lynn said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog for a short time now. I stumbled here from another adoption blog...I can't remember which one at the moment.

I am completely out of the adoption circle? world? stratosphere?--
whatever you want to call it. My only involvement is through reading blogs.

That said I just wanted to thank you for being so bold. It's good that you are getting your story out there. I had no idea that anything so awful has or could happen as the BSE. I am glad you are sharing, I am glad that I know.

My heart breaks for the women of the BSE. Especially as I just laid my 3-month old down for her nap. I couldn't imagine my life without her. It would be sheer agony if either of my children were taken from me. It makes me angry that this was done to you. That this was done to your children.

I guess I just wanted to say that I didn't know about the BSE until I started reading your blog. You have completely changed my views on adoption. My husband and I have always thought that we would like to adopt a child (or maybe two) when we were finished having biological children. But after reading your blog and some other blogs about the horrific ways birth/natural mothers are treated in this country, and others--I don't want to.

I am wondering what your thoughts are on fostering. I love the idea that the goal of fostering is ultimately to get the original family back together. I'm not sure however if this actually happens or not.

I'm afraid this is much to long, but I just wanted you to know that I was here, reading, supporting, and having my eyes opened more widely.....

Robin said...

There are times when it is, I suppose, necessary to remove a child from his or her home when their health and safety are in jepoardy. However, some social workers will consider a dirty kitchen a reason to remove a child, especially if there are adoptable infants and toddlers involved. These families might get their older children back, but those "cute little ones" mean government $$$$ for their bureaucracy.

A lot of older children are shuffled around in the foster system and never really have a sense of a solid home because they come with built-in issues and baggage. It takes a very strong person to agree to be a guardian for the older kids in the system. Once they are taken in by a fosterer, there is pressure by the social workers to adopt, and these kids have too much history to go the "as if born to" route. It also takes someone who is in it totally for the sake of the child and not for a shot at sainthood or to have more kids calling them "Mom and Dad." It's hard to find that kind of real altruism.

From my observations, I see very little effort put into family reunification by the various social agencies.

Anonymous said...

Ahh Robin, the ring of truth once again. I read Yahoo!Answers in the adoption category far too often for my own peace of mind. The q's and a's make me wanna holla. What so many refuse to recognize, is that while all of this started with the BSE (and justice needs to start there) is that even younger moms like myself experienced the coercion and lies. No I didn't go away, but alot of the same crap was used on me. Literally leaving me with no choice, even in 1984. Guh, and worse it is still going on the lie of open adoption and the push to bring back the homes just makes me want to cry and I wish people would open their damned eyes and see the truth. Keep fighting for your justice and speaking the truth, and I will too.
Mary aka Meggles

Jessica Lynn said...

Robin~ Thanks for responding to my comment. I appreciate your views/advice on fostering. I am not one of these women who want a foster child to be "as if born to"--that's just not possible. My husband and I just want to help the many children who are in the system. We want to love them, and be their friend. Preferably the older children--the ones no one wants. Maybe I'm not strong enough, I don't know. I do know that I want to help them, maybe fostering isn't the best way. But I don't know what else would be helpful. All I know is there are a lot of children in the foster system who need some love and stability...and I have a lot of that. =)

Michelle said...

"Preferably the older children--the ones no one wants."

Jessica, though your intentions are good, there is a possibility that these kids are indeed wanted -by their own parents and family. Children have been removed from families unjustifiably for decades. Once in the system though, the parents can get emotionally, financially and mentally beaten down so badly that they lose the stamina and money needed to continue the fight. It may very well appear that some children are not wanted, but I think every situation regarding foster care adoption requires further invesitagtion into the child's family and present circumstances. Don't believe anything any social worker tells you. Do your own family research.

Robin said...

Thanks, Michelle. There are too many good parents out there whose only "crime" is poverty. Is the US becoming so econimically elitist that we deny the less affluent among us the right to their own children? I have always thought that the best thing anyone could do would be to take on the entire family as a "project," helping increase education, teaching good nutrition on a very slim budget and helping these parents get some pride and a hand up to some dignity. Being poor is not equated with being poor parents. And women with addiction problems CAN find recovery.

Robin said...

Maybe, I was reading your first post. There is not a lot of trust among many of us mothers for the AAC. Also, we are concentrating on the Era of Mass Surrender, AKA the BSE Mothers and the drimes against them. We don't want our message diluted by a lot of other concerns. If we are able to have our own table with just information pertaining to that era and the actions taken to cause the surrender of our infants, then it might be feasable.

maybe said...

Robin, I understand your concerns about AAC. I'm just trying to think of more ways to get your stories "out there." The problem with adoption practice today is the reliance on the social work community to set the standards via their own research and academic publications.

Mothers and adoptees need to develop a body of peer reviewed and published research to counter the studies produced by agencies and pro-adoption social workers.
I've read some of the BSE research that is being collected, it is excellent. Of course, stories, mass media, movies, etc. work well for the general public, too.

But to get the attention of legislators and others, academic papers are crucial.

My two cents.

Robin said...

Maybe, SMAAC is grass-roots. It has been done in the past...that injustices were addressed because of the passionate involvement of the "common" person. I don't think that a scholarly treatiste brought about the triumph of the Civil Rights Movement. We have to go with what we have. We are strong, intelligent and we need to stay focused. The scholarly works have already been written. Rickie Solinger and Ann Fessler have made themselves heard and Jess DeBalzo wrote her thesis on the subject. Now, we need the squeaky wheels demanding the grease.

Michelle said...

The public and goverment also needs to see the faces of the women from the BSE. They need to hear your loud voices and understand that they are promoting lies and myths.

The conference in Phillie next July would be a good place to be seen and heard.

Jessica Lynn said...

Michelle and Robin thanks again.

I love your idea of adopting (if I can use that word) an entire family.

You've got me pondering/rethinking things yet again....=)

Diane said...

I have to say that reading your blogs feeds something in me ... I was adopted at 6 days old in late 1965 and have no clues as to my history, and I DO want to know, I want to know everything. I want to know what my mother - my birth mother- had to endure. My heart goes out to her and I wish to God that I could tell her that myself. I wish we could sit together and she could tell me everything.
I myself became pregnant at 16, in 1982, and my mom wanted me to give my child up for adoption but I wouldn't.
I just gotta tell you ladies that it's soul satisfying to finally hear the truth.

Diane said...

... and the idea of meeting all of you in Philly next year is wonderful! I was part of the group at the protest in New Orleans this year and it was incredible.