Monday, December 21, 2009
Well, here it is, almost 4:00AM, and I am looking out our motel window at snow falling softly on top of the two-plus feet already here in the West Virginia mountains, from the weekend blizzard. The manager at Carnifex Ferry Cabins is working to get the power back on and a driveway plowed to our Christmas cabin. We are at a lovely place in Beckley waiting for his call to tell us the cabin is ready. Ah, the best laid plans, etc., etc.
Actually, we are quite comfortable and enjoying this place very much. Our only real problem, so far, is persuading our Florida dog that it is OK to go poopies out in that cold, white stuff. He does look awfully cute on his plaid fleece coat, but refuses to wear the little leather boots. However, between potty battles, there are cookies, egg nog, cocoa and carols at the fireplace in the lobby. There is a 12-foot tree, decorated to the nines, in the center of the lobby/lounge and we're not complaining.
This is our unexpected adventure....plans sidelined by something natural, something awe-inspiring, something scary and beautiful at the same time. It made me wish that my unexpected adventure, becoming pregnant at 16, could have been viewed in the same light....as something natural and, while frightening and problematic, something miraculous and lovely. A new life, a new family member, the result of the most natural urges all life feels, should not be viewed as a crisis of disasterous proportions. What is wrong with this society that we would view unmarried pregnancy with such abhorrence?
It's even more ironic that I am pondering this question during a time when the Christian world chooses to celebrate the purported birth of a baby boy to an unmarried, 13-year-old girl. Yes, I understand that the baby boy in question is believed by many to be the Son of God and a holy miracle. But any time I look into the face of any newborn baby, I see a sacred miracle. And any woman who has ever felt that fierce, brilliant, frightening response to the first movement felt in her womb, the first sight of the child of her body to nourish and protect has participated in something that is worthy of carols, gold and celebration.
The story of that baby boy of Mary's goes on to tell of his later years, when he exhorted us to love one another, to care for the poor, the weak and the needy. I seem to remember a passage in Matthew, 25:40, where he is quoted as saying, "....in as much as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me." The "it" he spoke of was simple kindness and charity. Now, call me crazy, but I'll bet there are quite a few mothers who will agree with me that kindness and charity were definitely not a part of the reaction to their unexpected miracles. The same churches that celebrate Mary's miracle, denounce ours and promote the idea of our children being raised by those they consider more "fit."
All it would have taken would have been simple kindness, a helping hand and a family that could celebrate the arrival of an innocent child into their midst rather than react with shame and censure. Yeah, yeah..I know that was the way society was (and, unfortunately, still is with some groups and individuals) but that fact doesn't make the Era of Mass Surrender right or just. I remember thinking, when pregnant with my oldest and getting ready for a sad holiday, that all were saying to me, "We're going to take your baby...Merry f****** Christmas." And whenever I hear an adopter refer to the child they obtained as a "gift" from the natural mother, I cringe.
Humanity has yet to be able to produce any thing as awesome as a snow-storm. Such a thing is beyond the power of mere men. In the same vein, they can issue decrees and sign writs and make laws until it snows in Florida, but only Nature can make a mother.
Now, I intend to ignore the hateful responses I am bound to receive from adopters and grateful adoptees, etc., and take my dog for a walk in the snow. He has to let nature take its course, sooner or later.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Something that I DO remember, very clearly, in both cases, was giving information for the original (TRUE) birth certificates for both children. At the time of the inception of those documents, I was the only true, legal parent of each child. All the documentation of all the medical care that each of us received up to the time of legal surrender was legally mine. If the law is read, correctly, it all should still legally be mine and unavailable to anyone, including adopters, but my children and me.
In that same vein, the original birth certificate should be accessable to only me and each adult child. If any other legal, public record were to be altered in the way the OBC's were, it would be a capitol offense and punishable by imprisonment. Yet, though the majority of us knew the father of our child, they insisted on writing "unknown" in that slot. Then, they locked these precious documents away and substitued a legal lie, and a physical impossibility and that was used to identify our children from that point forward,
This makes the demand that mothers be included in the numbers of those who receive copies of identifying information all the more righteous. We were there! Many of us did name the fathers. Many of us did name our children. Many of us believed the stories told us of perfect, wise and wonderful adopters who would gladly help our children find us when they came of age. Many of us were sucked into the legalized lie of adoption, much to our painful regret.
We have more than a desire to be included in the numbers of those who receive indentifying information. We have a right..a right based on the fact that many of these documents, especially the OBC and medical records, were generated while we were still the legally recognized parents of our children. WE have a right to this information.....NOT the adopters. And our medical and psychological histories belong to us, kept private under the auspices of the HIPAA requirements and ours to share with our adult children as we choose.
I really admire the courage, the chutzpah and the irreverent humor of Bastard Nation. I have written many a letter to members of congress and newspaper editors, stating, in no uncertain terms, that we neither sought nor were promised anonymity from our own children. The only reason many of us are not standing with linked arms, beside BN in their fight is simple. We want in. We want what was taken from us just as every adoptee wants what was taken from them. Years of separation have made our reunion awkward. Years of lies have made our children see us as what we aren't and instilled painful resentment in so many of our children,
The only cure for this adoption disease is a heavy dose of the truth. Until the truth is openly available to adoptees and mothers, and until the enormity of that truth is realized, it will be business as usual for those who traffic in human flesh to fill the demand of the self-entitled and the arrogant. Sad but true, the fact is that only about 2% of women giving birth truly do not want their child and I know that is not enough baby-flesh to fill the demand. Tough. I don't remember any of us being presented with a gold-edged certificate of guarantee, when we were born, entitleing us to bear children when we became adults. Stuff happens, People.
The truth, overt, brightly lit,unmistakable and there for all to see, is the only way that we can return to a child-centered way of caring for the ones who truly need the help. But we need to be included, or only one half of the truth will be told. And remember...we Mothers were there.
Friday, November 20, 2009
BEYOND CULTURE CAMP: PROMOTING HEALTHY IDENTITY FORMATION IN ADOPTION
Authors: Hollee McGinnis, Susan Livingston Smith, Dr. Scott D. Ryan, and Dr. Jeanne A. Howard
Published: 2009 November. New York NY: Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
Document Type: Research (112 pages)
This study, released in November, is the broadest, most extensive examination of adult adoptive identity to date, based on input from the primary experts on the subject: adults who were adopted as children.
The principal recommendations of the 112 page study include:
Expand parental preparation and post-placement support for those adopting across race and culture. Such preparation should include educating parents about the salience of race across the developmental course, instruction about racial identity development and the tasks inherent in such development, and assistance in understanding racial discrimination and how best to arm their children to combat the prejudice and stereotypes they will face. Preparation also should include the understanding that seeking services and supports is a positive part of parenting - i.e., it is a sign of strength, not failure.
Develop empirically based practices and resources to prepare transracially and transculturally adopted youth to cope with racial bias. This study, as well as previous research, indicates that perceived discrimination is linked with greater psychological distress, lower self-esteem, and more discomfort with one's race/ethnicity. Hence, it is essential to arm transracially adopted youth with ways to cope with discrimination in a manner that does not negatively impact their identity.
Promote laws, policies and practices that facilitate access to information for adopted individuals. For adopted individuals, gaining information about their origins is not just a matter of curiosity, but a matter of gaining the raw materials needed to fill in the missing pieces in their lives and derive an integrated sense of self. Both adoption professionals and the larger society need to recognize this basic human need and right, and to facilitate access to needed information for adopted individuals.
Educate parents, teacher, practitioners, the media and others about the realities of adoption to erase stigmas and stereotypes, minimize adoption-related discrimination, and provide children with more opportunities for positive development. Generations of secrecy, shame and stereotypes about adoption (and those it affects) have taken a toll, as the respondents in this research make clear. Just as discrimination based on color, gender, sexual orientation and religion - all components of people's identity - are broadly considered to be socially unacceptable, adoption-related discrimination also should be unacceptable. Professionals and parents also need to be better informed about the importance of providing diversity and appropriate role models.
Increase research on the risk and protective factors that shape the adjustment of adoptees, especially those adopted transracially/culturally in the U.S. or abroad. More longitudinal research that combines quantitative and qualitative methods is needed to better understand the process through which children, teens and young adults progress in confronting transracial adoption identity issues. Additional research is also needed on the identity journey experienced by in-race adoptees - and, pointedly, more of the studies of every kind need to include the perspective of adopted individuals themselves.
We must remember the last study, purportedly for the benefit of mothers, that came from that organization. Here and in the Barfmuggle study, EBDI admits that adoption is badly broken, causes trauma to both the mother and the adopted person and then goes on, blithely, to tell adopters, social workers and agencies how to "fix" things so that they can carry on with business as usual. It reminds me of Nancy Verrier's "The Primal Wound." Verrier, an adopter, rightly points out the pain that separation of infant from mother causes, yet still endorses adoption, thinks that adopter knowledge will fix the problems and then goes on to lay all the blame at the feet of the mothers. I see red every time I think about her urging mothers, especially those of us who were coerced through the system during the Era of Mass Surrender, to "apologize" to our adult children.
I have told my children that I am very sorry their family of origin did not give me the support I needed to make an unpressured decision to keep them, that I am sorry I was young and kept ignorant of the resources available to me and that I am sorry my constant prayers for their well being weren't enough to deter the damage done. But I WILL NOT apologize for something that was forced on me, against my will and desires and needs as a mother. "Nuff said about THAT one.
I have some advice for the EBDI and the industry who persist in thinking they can fix a totally wrecked train. Why not put your efforts and resources towards making sure that pertinent records, past and present, are made available to adoptees AND mothers and do what can be done to keep mother and child together? What a concept, huh?
Nah....I didn't think you would go for it. Ka-ching, ka-ching.
Friday, November 13, 2009
A mother in Canada asked, "But what are we supposed to mean to each other? In so many cases, parties meet and that's it. How can that be? How can healing take place? Has too much damage been done? How do we fit into each other's lives?" What many think will be the end of the quest and the answers to the questions is often just the beginning of a deeper search. My daughter once said that she thought everything would come about in the right way once the circle was closed. Instead, we were greeted with a different set of problematical queries.
The phenomenon of reunion has become a springboard for a lot of different activist groups, but reunion, in and of itself, is still scary, new, uncharted territory. I have been in reunion with both of my adult, surrendered children for 16 years and we are still feeling our way. We do a strange dance, we mothers and our grown offspring and, often, it is a jitterbug and the dance floor is a minefield.
What should be as natural as breathing, the primal relationship between mother and child, is an awkward, painful attempt to put together a puzzle with broken pieces. The very abnormal nature of separation of the mother/child dyad and the attempt to craft the "as if born to" relationship has usually done so much damage to both ends that only years of work and communication can bring even a bit of peace to this scene. And, it seems more and more evident that the ones in power that could help us don't want to hear us.
It is obvious that agencies, social workers, adopters, fosterers and social engineers want to steer the ship of resolution and reform out of the sight of society. These people are content with the pretty myth that is adoption, American style. It suits their needs and purposes. To recognize the pain of the mothers and adoptees would be to admit to mistaken notions about the importance of the blood bond and the rights of small families to exist and be accepted by society. No one wants to admit that they were wrong and no one who adopts wants to think that they might be causing pain to another mother and the child they adopt.
But, we have, now, thousands of reunions and the stories of those reunions should be collected and read by everyone in the adoption industry and everyone contemplating adopting. The evidence is there. It is irrefutable that a social experiment has failed yet it is pushed by politicians, media and celebrities as the best thing since sliced bread.
Meanwhile, we live the experience, ask the hard questions and dance through the reunion mine field. I wonder if we will ever have the answers?
Monday, November 09, 2009
My hubby has developed a serious condition with his spine...serious enough for his GP to send him to a neurosurgeon after viewing his MRI films. We see the neuro tomorrow AM. Meanwhile, hubby is on two Tylox (oxycodone) every 6 to 8 hours and is still in extreme pain. A chiropractor won't touch him. To say I am worried sick is an understatement. My oldest daughter is also unwell and needing attention.
My friend, Bastardette, has had a lot of health problems, lately, but has managed to keep her blog going. I feel guilty. I visited with another mother of adoption loss this past Friday out at the coast. In addition to reunion quandries, her health is not the best so her focus is diverted. Another friend, Musing Mother, has a hubby and adult children with ongoing health issues. As we Moms and our adult children age, these problems become more frequent and sap our time and energies.
For all the nay-sayers who think that all we do is gripe about adoption loss, surrender, open records, laws, etc., 24/7, this should remind them that we do have other things going on in our lives. As senior citizens, and I think that at age 64 (me) and 70 (hubby), we qualify, these life issues tend to take center stage. We are doing the best we can, before we die, to get some kind of recognition of the massive crime against single mothers in the EMS (era of mass surrenders) and, hopefully, cause people to look at the way adoption surrender is affected in the here and now. But life is what it is, and arthritis, hypertension, and all the other garbage that comes with getting older seems to take over more and more of our lives.
Also with age comes loss. In this past year, I have lost my mother-in-law, my last remaining uncle and two friends. Another friend has just been diagnosed with end-stage colon cancer. Saying goodbye is hard work and emotionally draining.
We want to speak loudly enough to be heard, even if we are called strident. We want to keep the impetus going and the debate raging (not here on this blog because this is for US, not the other side), we want people to ask us about our Strange and Mournful ribbons, we want people to begin questioning the entire institution/industry that has caused us so much pain.
We want to do all that, but, sometimes, life gets in the way.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
I came up with the name because certain lyrics from Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion" resonated, so deeply, with me. Today and all through the coming month, Mothers of adoption loss will be wearing our ribbon badges of black for mourning, red for anger and passion for our cause and white for hope and healing. Some of us will adorn our ribbons with the birthstones of our children that were taken for adoption. I have a diamond and a pearl for my ribbon....April and June are the months in which I gave birth to, and was forced to surrender, my two oldest children. I find it appropriate that it falls on a Sunday, this year.
While we refer to the lyrics of Simon's wonderful tune, this observance is not about reunion, but about the devastating effects of loss to adoption on the mother. I have high-lighted the pertinent lyrics in red and boldface.
MOTHER AND CHILD REUNION
music and lyrics by Paul Simon
No I would not give you false hope, On this strange and mournful day,
But the mother and child reu-nion, Is only a motion away,
Oh, little darling of mine, I can't for the life of me,
Remember a sadder day. I know they say let it be,
But it just don't work out that way. And the course of a lifetime runs,
Over and over again.
No I would not give you false hope,On this strange and mournful day,
But the mother and child reu-nion, Is only a motion away,
Oh, little darling of mine. I just cant believe it's so,
And though it seems strange to say, I've never been laid so low,
In such a mysterious way, And the course of a lifetime runs,
Over and over again.
But I would not give you false hope, On this strange and mournful day,
When the mother and child reu-nion,
Is only a motion away.
While most of the support groups online for Mothers of adoption loss tend to deal with the ups and downs of reunion (and God/dess knows, it is a rough ride), SMAAC is focused on the pain and injustice of our ordeal leading up to and including the "Strange and Mournful Day" when we realized our babies were lost to us.
So today and through the coming week, as we approach the last day of what we now call "Adoption BEwareness Month," we honor ourselves and remember the injustice of the EMS/BSE and renew our determination to be an active and vocal part of bringing justice to the mothers.
And to my daughter and my son that were lost to me in those dark days, always know that I loved you and losing you was not my choice or my wish. Some day, some how, some one is going to have to make restitution for what was lost to us. Not in dollars, but in acknowledgement, atonement and public awareness of the pain, the dark underbelly of the adoption myth.
Happy Strange and Mournful Day, Sisters. I'll be wearing my ribbon every time I leave the house until this heinous month is behind us.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
His big number epitomizes the kind of spin-doctoring that has kept the social engineers and baby traffickers in high cotton. These are the lyrics that bring to mind how warm and feel-good this institution has been made to appear, when, underneath it all, there is arrogance and the slaughter of natural families and a failed social experiment.
Give 'em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle dazzle them
Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it
and the reaction will be passionate
Give 'em the old hocus pocus
Bead and feather 'em
How can they see with sequins in their eyes?
What if your hinges all are rusting?
What if in fact... you're just disgusting?
Razzle dazzle them
And they'll never catch wise
Give 'em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle dazzle them
Give them a show that's so splendiferous
Row after row will grow vociferous
Give them the old flim-flam-flummox
Fool and fracture them
How can they hear the truth above the roar?
(Roar, roar, roar!)
Throw 'em a fake and a finagle
They'll never know you're just a bagel
Razzle dazzle them, and they'll beg ya for more
Give 'em the old double-whammy
Daze and dizzy 'em
Back since the days of ol' Methusala
Everyone loves the big bamboozala
Give 'em the old three-ring-circus
Stun and stagger them
When you're in trouble go into your dance
Though you are stiffer than a girder
They'll let you get away with murder
Razzle dazzle them and ya got a romance
Give 'em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle dazzle them
Show 'em the first-rate sorceror you are
As long as you keep 'em way off balance
How can they spot you've got no talents
Razzle dazzle them
(Razzle dazzle them)
Razzle dazzle them
And they'll make you a star
I will also quote an old friend of mine, now deceased who said, while referring to the press releases by the Big Oil Companies a while back, "They're serving up horse shit but it's on a pretty plate." Young women of today are taken in by this kind of fancy side-stepping and honestly believe a lot of the agency's or social worker's patter. Where surrender of a child is concerned, there is a lot of pixie dust being sprinkled around so that the reality doesn't hit right away. Then, when the daze passes and they look on the table, they see the horse shit on the pretty plate and the plate's not so pretty any more.
The sequins were washed out of many of our eyes long ago, and we mothers of the EMS try to tell the truth, but the Razzle-Dazzlers are still doing their dance and it's hard to be heard above the roar.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
You know, it seems I even have to clarify "Clarity." When I said "wanting to parent" does not give someone the RIGHT to parent, I meant that all the way to the bank.
So many who adopt are under the illusion that the child they adopt would have no where else to go if they did not step in and give that child their name and identity. That, in and of itself, is a questionable "gift." That child already has a surname and a family identity and that is taken from him.
I can bet that when this mother with the "unwanted" (read "unexpected or unplanned") pregnancy reached out for help, no one suggested giving her a hand in dealing with her personal situation so that she could be there for her child. I will also bet that no one tried to see if there was a family member that could assume kinship guardianship until Mom got on her feet, nor did they suggest making Daddy financially responsible for his casual pleasures. No, not any agency who stands to gain profit nor a state agency who would get goodies for their state would dare to give this mother all her options, especially any that would allow her to keep and raise her child.
You can also bet your layette that this surrendering mother has the same skewed view of surrender for adoption as do too many of the rest of her contemporaries. They grew up with the myth and actually think that it is "heroic" to turn their child over to facilitators who will, in turn, give that child to genetic strangers. They do not have a clue as to the ultimate grief and dismay they will experience and the inner (and often well-concealed from their adopters) pain and confusion of the adoptee as they try to digest the fact that they are round pegs carrying the surname of and trying to fit into square holes.
I also bet that no one suggested legal guardianship of said child with no legal lies involved including altered birth certificates, loss of family history and name and the biggest lie of all on that certificate...the names of the adopters inserted to allow them to pretend this child was "as if born to." It is a real privilege to care for a child who needs someone but there is no right to be called "Mommy and Daddy" when it just isn't so.
I have called adoption a myth and a fairy-tale. I was wrong. Myths and fairy tales are things that are harmless and entertaining most of the time.
Adoption is an outright lie, harmful and painful.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Some may have noticed that I do not publish hostile, argumentative or mean-spirited comments, but I do read them all. It amazes me how many people scan but do not read and how many will take, or omit, one section or sentence out of context of the entire message. I also do not publish comments from people who tell me I should watch out what I say, be careful about what I say (I already do both), or who ridicule good people.
To the infertile, potential adopter who responded to my post about taking responsibility for situations; you must have missed the sentence where I stressed that not all people are infertile due to their own activities. You and others like you, though, are in the minority with the leading causes of infertility still being delayed childbearing, STD's and other lifestyle choices. Check with the medical researchers. And, even though it is unfortunate, and I am sure, painful, that you are infertile through no fault of your own, that infertility still does not give you the right to "parent" someone elses' child. I stand by my original statement and post.
To the adoptee who had the recalcitrant mother who insisted that surrender was her idea and that she wanted no contact with her adult child; Dear, I am so sorry. She is either terrified, brainwashed, ignorant or a combination of all three. Yes, such mothers exist, but our experience shows them, again, to be in the minority. Having such a mother, as well, does not allow or excuse hostility towards all mothers of loss to surrender. I know many adopted adults, reunited, who "get it" and who don't like what was done to us. Please note, I said "many," not "all." Again, I stand by my statement and original post.
We who are speaking out against the adoption industry, the crimes against mothers during the EMS and who are trying to reach our younger sisters with the truth of our experience are not speaking for everyone across the board. There are a few of us who did drink the Kool Aid the industry forced on us and that is heart-breaking.
And there are a few potential adopters who were hit by lightening where their infertility is concerned and we feel bad for these people. BUT, pretending to be the mother and father of another woman's child really doesn't work. You are still infertile, even after you adopt, and you have the disadvantage of not naturally having that "die for my child" bond. Having friends who have adopted and also had children of their own, I know, from their own words, that there is a difference. While the drive to reproduce is a natural one, adoption is NOT reproduction.
If someone is born without legs, they may be fitted with prostheses, but they will never have legs. A child should never be used as a prosthesis or panacea to fill a personal need.
A child should never be used, period.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Rocky woke me up at 4:00AM with that little urgent whine that let me know a walk was forthcoming. I struggled into my clothes, found the leash and we set out. The front of our house faces the northeast and the lights of Orlando and all the communities around it are to our southwest. There was a beautiful patch of sky there, with the moon surrounded by high, wispy clouds and lots of bright stars.
The humidity was down to a dull roar for a change and the temp was in the low 70's with a slight breeze. I thought about how wonderful it was to have a view of the night sky without all the neon and halogen and other lights of the ticky-tacky, plastic tourist region south of us obscuring the clarity.
I thought, then, about the fairy-tale, saccharine dog-and-pony show that surrounds the efforts to increase infant adoption. It's hard for a young mother-to-be to see the clear and natural reality when it is obscured by the manufactured bright lights of adoption mythology. The industry, social workers and their cohorts wave the image of the heroic but inept mother who cares only for her child's welfare, said welfare being, according to these spin doctors, surrender for adoption. That "heroine" label and $1.00 will get you a Whopper Junior. It tastes good at first, but doesn't last. There are a lot of adopted adults who would argue the perceived, skewed rightness of surrender.
We don't have a powerful lobby that would intercede on behalf of natural family continuity. We don't have an eager market for our message as does the adoption industry. All we have it the natural truth and you have to look away from the hype and the hooplah in order to really see it and understand it. While the industry pitches its product like a manic Billy Mays, we are trying to calmly tell the truth.
Maybe people will get tired of the noise and the bright lights and start listening.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
No matter how it is drawn, triad means triangle...three equal parts with equitable powers that make up a whole. Adoption "Triadinists" use the natural mother, the adopters and the adoptee to symbolize their concept of a triad.
I've said it before and I will say it again. There is no such thing as an adoption triad. First of all, and thank you for this sentence, BD, "surrender does not equal adoption!" I just love that truth. We did not surrender our children to adopters. We were backed up against the wall and had to wave the white flag for agencies, the state, lawyers, our parents and social workers. We were the source of supply, only, and our rights ended where the facilitators' began. How can we be considered an equal partner when we were stripped of all autonomy from the get-go? There is NOTHING equal about what happened to us or to our children who are still being denied, in many states and provinces, the simple right to their own, true identities.
If we held up a scale, and placed the powerful on one platform and the powerless on the other, we natural mothers and our children would be hanging on for dear life to keep from sliding off. If the industry ever gets honest, which I believe will happen when it snows two feet at the equator, the general populace will be appalled.
The triad is another myth, misleading as were the things that were said to us when we were being warehoused and stripped of our parental rights. It's just another industry trick like "open" adoption and post-birth "counseling." In my opinion, a social worker with an adoption agency counseling a mother who has surrendered is like a murderer counseling the loved ones of their victim. This is why there are so many groups for mothers to get together and for adoptees to share experiences with each other. We cannot get compassion, understanding or cooperation from anyone but our own.
That triad weighs a million tons and it is sitting on our backs. Getting out from under is a fight but we are a scrappy lot. Adoption is an INDUSTRY and big business and the bottom line and spin doctoring have no place when the life and future of a mother and her child are concerned. The self-entitled are the market and the facilitators are coming up with all manner of ways to fill the demand. They have to be more creative, these days, than they were in the EMS, but, they still manage to play that religion card, appealing to the puritanical and the rigid.
So, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are a triad. Executive, Legislative and Judicial are a triad. Peace Love and Hope are a triad. But, there IS NO TRIAD IN ADOPTION.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
That's why is it so easy to delight in less "news-worthy" but very important good things. A friend, out of work for months, finally got a job. Home prices in our neighborhood rose a bit making our imminent retirement a tad easier and we have received two inquiries already. A friend's granddaughter decided against surrender and is going to keep and raise her expected little boy. A family member with liver failure finally received a transplant and is doing well. My sister-in-law is recovering well from her surgery for early-stage cervical cancer and another sister-in-law is making her way through the grief of the death of her son after three years and is taking a great deal of comfort from her faith. She has also adopted her late son's dog and the two of them have become very good friends. A little girl in my husband's family who was dealing with some hard times and parental neglect has been taken in by her aunt and is loving her new neighborhood and school and has made three new friends.
Those are the things of everyday living, but we tend to fail to appreciate them if we are too single-minded. We can also give the impression that all we are is the sum of our issues and debates online. That's why Internet communication can be misleading. People can seem so one-dimensional.
We mothers who lost our children to coerced surrender during the EMS are everywoman. We live lives that are very similar to everyone else's. Our lives are not constant bitterness and pain. We laugh, we celebrate when appropriate and we fight for justice when appropriate. We are in every walk of life from housewife to artist to secretary to teacher.
I think it is important to stress this so that those who oppose us know that they are not dealing with overgrown teens stuck in the past as has been charged. We were victims then. We are NOT victims today. Our very survival has made us strong. We won't back down from a fight. We have loving families that have our backs. We have adult reunited children who care enough to try to understand.
I would suggest that some of these folks who attack the EMS moms on Yahoo Answers and Craigslist not underestimate us. There is more to us than what you see on a message board.
This is just a FYI that is overdue.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
We just got back from a wonderful trip that included several nights in a rustic cabin on the side of a mountain in West Virginia. The nights and mornings were cool, the days were warm and balmy without the oppressive humidity of Florida and the scenery and wildlife were breathtakingly entrancing. Our cabin was one of a group off Hy19, north of the New River Bridge and close to a sweet little town called Summersville. Due to the abundance of Mountain Laurel that grew wild on that mountain, along with wild black raspberries, blackberries and wild red currants, sweet peas, daisies and Queen Anne's Lace, the spot was called Laurel Ridge Cabins. Deer shared the meadow with the owner's horses and let us get close enough to take pictures.
The only "off" moment of this idyllic situation was in the form of an agreement we were required to sign for the benefit of the owner, a former Texan turned WV mountain man, with a large brood of five children, and a very quiet wife, who was a leader in his local church. Said document stated that we agreed to no public drinking, no drunkenness, no consumption of spirits outside your cabin and no profanity. It also stated that we were to "dress modestly," which meant, no drooping pants or going shirtless for the guys, but, more emphatically, no tube tops, short shorts, spaghetti strap tops, backless tops or swimsuits without "street clothing" covering them for the female guests.
Now this is something with which my hubby and I had no problem. We are past the age to dress in that manner, though we would have when we were younger and had the bodies for it. But, on very hot days, and having struggled through Florida summers, I was compelled to tell Mr. G that, in our part of the country, such dress was common and, indeed, necessary in order to withstand the heat and humidity. His reply put my back up faster than a cat when cornered by a dog.
He first said that he sure was glad he didn't live in Florida. Then, he said that he didn't want any husbands being tempted to stray by the sight of these scantily-clad nymphs. I replied that we should hope that the husbands of which he spoke had the maturity and self-control to avoid infidelity. With his broad Texas accent and his stock delivery style of the fundamentalist Christian, he offered this "wisdom." "Well, to me, it's like taking a person who really loves to eat, sitting that person down at a banquet and then telling them that they can't eat any of the food."
"So," I countered, "it is your belief that infidelity is the fault of women in provocative dress, that she bears the total responsibility for the transgression and that the man is excused of responsibility because of his inherent appetites?" He started to quote scripture and invoke the image of Eve, the seductress and I had to stop him. I told him that we were paying guests and that his rules were easy enough for us to follow and that we would just agree to disagree. He said he would pray for me, which meant that he would pray that I would see things his way and the subject was dropped.
All this brought back the mindset of the EMS/BSE. We were the transgressors and the fathers of our children were just boys being boys with a wink and a nudge. It is unfortunate that this dusty, moldy, archaic attitude still exists. How convenient for the fathers of our children that we were seen as the ones who must control the lust and lack of self-control of the male gender. St. Paul did a really good job incorporating thinly disguised mysoginy and patriarchy into the early church. A predominately male clergy has taken his letters and run with them.
I watched Mrs. G, a very sweet, pretty and talented lady, as she quietly followed her husband's lead in everything. She baked me one of my favorites, a carrot cake, for my birthday which fell during the time we were there. Yet, it was Mr. G who graciously presented me with the cake as if he were totally responsible for its existence. I made it a point to express my thanks to Mrs. G and telling her that she was a formidable baker (which she is). I felt like, any minute, Mr. G was going to pat his wife on the head and talk about how well she followed his orders. This is a man who admits to being weak enough to let a bathing suit or a tube top tear his moral fiber and compel him to commit adultry, yet he is the leader over his wife in all things because he is a man. WHAT is wrong with that picture?
Now, our beef with the EMS is about coerced surrender, mandated secrecy, civil injustice and lack of access to information about our children, not sexual behavior, but I feel that we must address this whole "responsibility" thing. We still get that ignorant, self-righteous comment, "well, you were the one who spread your legs" from time to time...usually from an adopter or an angry adoptee. Don't forget, for a minute, that, from the fathers of our children, there was a lot of cajoling, begging, manipulating and even threats that went into our perhaps unwise, but normal and predictable encounters with the fathers of our children. With my first pregnancy, which I thought of as a tragic love story, I will acknowledge 50%, and no more than that, of the responsibility for the conception of my daughter. I give the responsibility of her subsequent surrender to the facilitators, social workers, tormenters, family members and her faithless father who pushed me into that horror.
The conception of my son is 100% the fault of his father. What I refused to give, he took. Even that trauma was blamed on me due to my previous behavior with the father of my daughter. I had been marked with a scarlet letter and the animal who fathered my son was ego-driven to not be turned down by someone with my "past." Even those in authority saw my sexual assault as something I had, more or less, "asked for."
So, these randy deacons and elders, patriarchs and judges feel that a woman who dresses in a certain manner, or is no longer a virgin is a Jezebel who will lure them to their doom. Ergo, they must see themselves as weak, sex-obsessed, drooling satyrs who can be led around by the foreskin by any decent-looking young woman showing cleavage. I wonder if Mr. G really thought about what he said and his reasoning.
And I wonder if Mrs. G heard what he said and thought the same thing I was thinking. I am going to light a candle for her. She needs it.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
I just love this picture. It shows just how insidious secrets can be. I also love the article it accompanies about STD's and Infertility.
We get a lot of very nasty comments from the general public, as well as those who have a stake in our criminalization, about taking the "responsibility" for the loss of our children to adoption. You've heard them all, I assume..."you didn't have to spread your legs," "you could have said no (what about rape?)," "no one held a gun to your head (they might as well have)," etc., ad infinitum! Well guess what? A lot of infertile people, who think they are more deserving of our children than us bad, old, unwed mommies didn't keep their knickers on and their chinos zipped, either! GASP!
It has long been known, by the medical community, that STD's, along with bad lifestyle choices such as smoking, obesity, prior drug use, etc., account for an appreciable number of infertility cases. Rather than a bundle of joy, these unfortunates received inability to produce those little swimmers, scarred and impassable fallopian tubes and other such goodies for their early sexual activities. Who is holding THEM responsible? On a personal note, I know one contemporary of mine, now the wife of a dentist, who was always raring to go when the boys suggested a trip to lover's lane. Yes, she adopted. Now I am saying, "Hmmmmmmm?"
Don't get me wrong. I do know that there are some infertile people who just were struck by lightening and are not responsible for their infertility. There are also many of us who were raped, molested and intimidated by older men or used by inconstant lovers and were not solely responsible for the results of those actions. For many of us, it was a matter of loving, not wisely but too well, believing in our beloved's constancy ('coff, coff') and being young and impulsive. This has been happening since the beginning of recorded history. Those that didn't get pregnant were the "lucky" ones, I thought. Well, looks like old Mr. Chlamydia might have had something to say about that along with The Great Applauder (clap).
The assumed sainthood of the infertile adopter grates on my sensibilities. Being called a slut and a tramp when you are nothing but a disillusioned and frightened girl who has values just like everyone else, can make you a bit resentful of the secrets and lies that put us in that position. We weren't sluts...we were PREGNANT..a perfectly natural condition for healthy, young women. Now, if I can get this straight, a girl can get pregnant in a committed (on her part, anyway) relationship with ONE partner. But contracting an STD usually occurs when the activity, on the part of one or both, has included MANY partners. Now who's a slut? Hey...just postulating, that's all.
In any event, I doubt that adopters who fit into this category will ever come clean (yuk, yuk) about it. I just think this knowledge gives us all a good, object lesson about judging, name-calling and assumptions. Before anyone else jumps, when they see a natural mother, to the conclusion that she was loose and immoral, remember these medically documented facts and think about it. It would be just as wrong to assume that we were sluts as it would be to label every adopter as an STD carrier.
What goes around.........
07/08/2009 *As a good friend pointed out in the "comments" section, I neglected another leading cause of infertility which is delayed childbearing. In the battle to "have it all," many women put off having children until they had/have attained some vision of what they consider success. The thing that chaps my bootie on this one is that these women then turn and predate on their sisters, using the desperation that comes when a woman has no other choice than to surrender their child against them. So, what I have learned from this is that childbearing is for the young and that the sisterhood of feminists flies out the window when it comes to the old "give me a child lest I die" syndrome. This is one HUGE women's issue that is ignored by NOW and anyone else who would be an advocate for the rights of all women.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Even though I am reunited with both my adult, surrendered children, I would still like to have a copy of all my records, signed surrender agreements and the amended birth certificate. Fair is fair. With the adoption industry as part of the sacred, American bottom line, we lag far behind other nations in this important arena. If it makes money and is in that good, old spirit of free enterprise and capitalism, then it is one of those things that have to be dismantled, brick by brick, like the Berlin wall, and done with stringent opposition.
For the members of SMAAC, open records is not about reunion, although anyone saying that reunion is not an issue is in denial, nor is it just about adopted adults. It is about a national injustice visited on vulnerable, young women and their innocent babies. The industry and the government, social workers and "the experts" began by throwing our (the mothers) civil and human rights in the crapper and are now doing it to the children who came from us. The thing is, why do they want to control the right to know for adults in their 40's??? My daughter is a grandmother, for Pete's Sake! What is wrong with that picture?
To take it even further, what is wrong with the idea that we mothers need some recognition of just what was done to us? Why is this ignored? Whose ass is being covered? The industry has spent the majority of the time that this issue of open records has been around blaming us and our (fictional) "guaranteed privacy" and setting our children against us. I get so furious when these people presume to speak for us and don't even tell our truth. THE ONLY PARTIES GUARANTEED ANY PRIVACY OR ANONYMITY WERE THE ADOPTERS! Was that loud enough for you or should I enlarge the font?
Ontario has taken a giant leap forward and I applaud the efforts that got them to this place. Meanwhile, we in the US are still being dragged around in 1950's-style hypocrisy. It sucks.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
You see, for the past 20 years of being married to her wonderful son, I have been honored to be allowed to call Alice Genevieve Case Westbrook "Mom." She knew all about my "scarlet" past, yet loved me unconditionally because I loved her son. She treated my children as her grandchildren, just as if they were her own. My two youngest call her "Grandmama Westbrook."
Mom was born on February 18, 1915. She married my late father-in-law when she was 18 and had eight children, which included one set of unexpected twins. She raised these children, did hard work on the farm and in the house and, when Dad got tired of Michigan winters, moved with him and their 3 youngest daughters to Florida. She also has 21 grandchildren (25 including mine), and I think, 27 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great grandchildren. The family is so large, there could be more or less in the "great-great" category. She lost her husband of 59 years in 1993. A little over 2 years ago, she lost the second man in her life, her gentleman friend, Grandy.
Although severely hampered by arthritis, loss of hearing and macular degeneration, Mom tried to live to the fullest, right up to the end. A defiant red-head, she would remind her daughters when it was time to hide the gray roots. She knew her bank balance to the penny and had every piece of business correspondence read to her and explained if she didn't get a point or two. She lived life on her own terms and died the same way.
Last night, at 11:25PM, one week after falling ill on Mother's Day, Mom passed away, peacefully and painlessly, in her own bed, in her own home with four of her children there. I was honored to participate in her care and be included at the bedside. At 94, Mom had decided she was due a good, long rest.
Mom was known to my hubby and I for what we call "Mom-isms." Our favorite is the one when she was complaining about all the shark attacks on Florida's east coast a few years ago. She grumbled about how no one could go to the beach and have fun, anymore, because it was too dangerous. My husband tried to remind her that, when people entered the surf, they were going into the shark's territory. "But they have the whole ocean!," reasoned Mom. We also will go the rest of our life knowing that Alzheimer's is really "Al Hizer's" and that you must "unthaw" anything that is frozen. She hated turning on the air conditioner, even when it was really hot and we would often have to turn the thermostat down in her house when she wasn't looking because we were sweating.
We will remember Mom's really not-too-good meatloaf, her refusal to buy bananas when they reached 50 cents a pound, how she loved a party, the way she would get pink-cheeked and sparkly-eyed after an eggnog or a glass of wine and her fondness for strawberries in any form. We will remember her generosity to her children that contrasted with her tendency to pinch a penny until it screamed. We will look through her massive collection of DVD's of old musicals and comedies which she would watch and re-watch, even after her sight started failing. We will remember her full and hearty laugh when something was funny.
I lost my mother when I was only 23, but, for the past 20 years, I can honestly say I had a Mom.
Goodbye Mom. Enjoy your rest.
Monday, May 11, 2009
This just ticks me off, big time.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
It seems that, no matter how many times we say it and in how many ways we say it, the ones who need to hear this just can't seem to pick it up. Here goes, one more time...NO WHERE, IN ANYTHING WE WERE COERCED INTO SIGNING WHEN WE WERE YOUNG, UNMARRIED MOTHERS CAUGHT IN THE EMS/BSE WEB, DID IT SAY ANYTHING WHATSOEVER ABOUT GUARANTEEING OUR 'PRIVACY!'
The whole argument given by the closed-records proponents seems to be built around protection of the natural mother's privacy. That is just so much reeking manure! Guaranteed privacy was for the adopters....not the mothers. We were supposed to go away, keep our loss a secret and, if the wishes of the adopters were granted, die young.
Too many of us took those injunctions to never speak of our experience to heart for too many years. There is a very small minority of mothers from that era who still operate from shame and secrecy. But they do NOT speak for the bulk of us anymore than the, so-called, experts do. In other words, ask US. Don't ask the Evan B. Donaldson Institute or the social workers or adoption attorneys and anyone who has adopted. They are going to cover their asses and lie.
The most ridiculous aspect of this whole thing is the fact that these people are trying to control free association between ADULTS!! My daughter's adoptress tried to make me back off after my daughter found me. I answered her by letting her know that my daughter was 33 years old and it would be her decision as to whether or not to pursue a relationship. And here I thought that the Civil War took care of this ownership of human beings thingy.
The legal machine in this country, the courts and the judiciary have played God so long that I think they actually believe they should have the power to create virgins out of young girls who have given birth and something superior to the blood bond when they "make a family." Puh-leeze, people! You can twist and pull at that bond, but it never breaks. Unfortunately, it does distort and causes unbelievable pain.
SMAAC and other groups like it are not about what happens after adoption. We are concerned with what happened to us from the time we became pregnant until surrender. Some of us are finding out that the period between surrender to the agencies and the actual adoption was a time when we were the only parents recognized. It was a time when, had we been told and received the proper support, we could have taken our children back. The lies we were told are legion. The truth-twisting of today is nothing more than the original liars trying to paste Kevlar to their quivering butt cheeks.
Stop blaming mothers and start opening the records for us all. It's time for the secrets and lies to be laid to rest.
And a word of advice to a few of you adopted people; It really scares a lot of the moms, who are still traumatized by the treatment we received when we lost you, to read the vile and hateful things many of you post about natural mothers. We DO have a right to protect our peace of mind and to protect our personal safety. Get mad at the right people and stop raking your mothers over the coals. Just a suggestion.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Friday, April 03, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
We've only had him since December 13. He sheds, he wakes me up at 5:00AM for walkies and he loves to bark at anything and everything. He also owns our hearts, totally.
Today, I had to leave him at the vet. Rocky's unfortunate dietary quirks (snatching old garbage and worse if we don't get to him in time) has given him a case of pancreatitis. He will be receiving shots and IV fluids for three days and will be on meds and a special diet for the next three weeks.
As I watched the tech walk away with him, I found myself shaking and fighting back the tears, even though I know he is going to be OK. It just reminded me, too much, of how I felt when I had to say goodbye to my two oldest children. Of course, I know he is just a dog, but he is a member of the family and most dearly loved. If it is shaking me up this much to leave my dog at the animal hospital, how did I ever manage to make it without my babies?
I remember going totally numb after the second loss. I didn't want to feel anything. I was a zombie, emotionally. For years, I would become a screaming bitch every April and June. I would hide it, as best I could, from my raised children, but it was only denial, self-anesthetizing with excess food, pot and fantasy that allowed me to live any semblance of a normal life.
Someone on one of the groups said that every social worker should be a mother of adoption loss as part of the required experience for the job. Boy, would that turn things around! Every mother who has lost a child to adoption, unless she is cold to the bone, who insists she did the "right thing" and "has no regrets" is lying to herself. That lie will consume her, from the inside out. It will haunt her, even if she can't recognize the specter for what it is.
Adoptees are not the only ones who suffer from abandonment issues and separation anxiety. We moms have it, as well. Especially the separation anxiety. They say I will have him back in three days. I wish it had worked that way with my babies.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Life goes on, YEAH!
This is the very first picture I received of my newest great-grandson, Sean. He is now a healthy 4-month old. He is the grandson of my reunited daughter, my firstborn.
Sean comes into the world with his heritage intact. His genetic relatives are alive and kicking. Those of the adoptive variety are deceased or scattered. I and I, alone, have the honor of being his paternal great- grandmother.
Sean's big brother and his cousins know that Grandma was raised by other people, but that I am, in my oldest great-grandson's words, their REAL great-grandma. I am the one that sends Christmas and birthday gifts and receives the pictures and relates the stories about the cute things they say and do. There is no confusion or misunderstandings about why they have full lips, straight hair or big feet.
I hope you will forgive me a bit of a "so there!" attitude on this one. All the attempts, by the industry, the social workers playing God, and the adopters trying to live a fantasy, to wipe out the natural heritage of my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren has come to naught. Their socially engineered "solution" to my problem and that of my daughter's adopters has faded like a fog in the sun. Yes, we have the scars from that weird transplant surgery called adoption, but they are not crippling us for life and have not hidden the truth from the world. I am here, alive, available and honest about it all.
My reunited son also has the full story. I was noting, during a recent phone call, that he has a mannerism very much like one of my mother's and my raised daughter's. His reply was that you could "take the boy out of the Kinneys, but you couldn't take the Kinney out of the boy." I think that is a testament to the fact that the entire idea of secret, closed, coerced adoptions under the auspices of an intolerant society, has failed, completely.
Those trying to protect this struggling, sick dinosaur by filing suit to try to keep records closed, by closing off so-called "open" adoptions and raising the non-existent specter of (natural)Parents' right to privacy are spitting in the wind. Whether it happens in my lifetime or down the road, the beast is dying of internal rot. Adoption agencies are dropping like flies and all the corruption and child-theft is coming to light in the world at large. Mothers of adoption loss from the closed, secret era are making noises that repute the right of the nay-sayers to speak for them.
It was while organizing my photos and lingering over those of my great-grandchildren, the ones the industry would have prevented me ever knowing, that it came to me that every word we type or speak is being read or heard by someone. I can get discouraged at times, but I stood back and took a look and realized that what they are hearing are the first tremors of the earthquake to come. The industry and those that benefit from it are hearing the rumblings and feeling uneasy. I love to watch the adult adoptees, our children, rattle the chains of the status quo.
The dinosaurs were eradicated. The saber-tooth cat and the mammoth are no more. But life goes on. It will go on long after I am gone. And the best thing is that ALL my descendants will know from which branch of the Tree of Life they grew.
To those who shamed, punished, coerced us and tried to silence us; Ain't this a kick in the head?