Sunday, May 17, 2009

Saying Good-Bye to Mom

This blog will have nothing to do with adoption or related topics, today.

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

Another Shout!

In this battle over unsealing closed adoption records, something interesting is happening in Missouri. There is an interesting post about this on Musing Mother's blog. She also has a link to an article about this issue. It is enlightening reading.

Seeing as how the records were sealed at the time of the adoption, NOT at the time of the surrender, we can figure out who actually wanted privacy. Those saintly adopters couldn't have us slutty beemommies reclaiming our babies and the agencies and attorneys couldn't afford our grief and awakening. The judges certainly didn't want to give up their God role of "creating families." So there you have it. They are throwing out a myth and hoping it passes as truth.

This just ticks me off, big time.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Can't Anyone Hear Us??

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

Stop, Children...What's That Sound...?

Everybody look what's going down.....

Sometimes, the best plans are not those that are touted while still in the embryonic stage, but that are carefully incubated and nurtured until they are ready to fly on their own merits. We are watching and formulating and refining our plans. We are standing up and speaking out.
Our adult children are turning out to be a very scrappy lot, as well. Their fight for their OBCs is admirable. I would love to know that those who believe the industry hype that it is us, their mothers, who block their worthy ambition, would read, listen and believe that we are capable of making our own decisions and forming our own relationships. We represent the majority and we want our children to know us.

We had our autonomy taken from us when we were vulnerable, alone, pregnant and without familial support. Now, in our 5th, 6th, and 7th decades of life, we are taking that autonomy back and speaking out. Though the message may differ a bit from mother to mother, the underlying truth that we all want to convey is this....we are mad as Hell and we are not going to take it, anymore. We are tired to our bones of pro-adoption entities, attorneys, agencies and social workers presuming to speak for us. Using "beemommie" privacy as a ruse to deny open records is one such presumptive action. Please, Mr. Legal me, in the body of the surrender documents that I was forced to sign as a minor, where it says that I am guaranteed any kind of privacy or protection from my own child. That's something I neither requested nor was I promised. But the myth rolls on.
Just as our children have a battle on their hands, so do we. We are the source. We are the first victims of the idiocy of transference of a healthy infant from our bodies to strangers. We are adults, longer frightened, vulnerable young girls who can be controlled by shame and intimidation and horror stories.
So, to paraphrase the song...There's a woman with the truth over there, telling the industry, "you'd better beware."
Special thanks to a very talented Senior Mom for the graphic.