Friday, November 13, 2009

Questions, Mysteries, Quandries and Enigmas

We fight for recognition of the coerced surrenders of the BSE. We fight for opening the records from this time of secret closed adoptions. And while we all fight, wrangle, debate and seek our goals, reunions keep happening, searches continue and mothers and adult adoptees meet. While SMAAC is not about reunion or even adoption, but surrender, reunion has been a catalyst for the need to know, correct and resolve.

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?


Karen Dawber said...

Thank you for voicing again the frustrations of reunion. I'm hoping that more private adoption agencies start educating their reunion facilitators better. I'm thinking about taking the Canadian classes for being an unbiased, educated reunion facilitator in the future after my wounds have healed more. My input has got to better than what I or my first son received. I learn so much from your posts too.

maybe said...

"...the stories of those reunions should be collected and read by everyone in the adoption industry and everyone contemplating adopting."

YES! APs and agencies need to read the words of ADULT adoptees. That's where the real information is to be found. And also from mothers who have lived this for 20, 30, 40-plus years. But they fear hearing from these groups because a very different view of adoption is made clear. They just don't want to see how things turn out in the long-term because all their focus is on the chubby baby cheeks.

Ever notice that ALL adoptive parent blogs are written by those whose adoptees are still very young? Do you think their blogs will change when the kids are grown up? Will the "adoption is grand" perspective take on a different tone when (if) they realize raising adopted children turned out to be quite different from what they were sold in the brochure?

Thinking Mama said...

It's interesting that mainstream media always seem to promote adoption somehow, if they bother to run a reunion story at all. And it is very interesting that adopter blogs are usually about young adoptees. Of course, by the time the adoptees are grown, they will have drunk so very much adoption kool-aid that they will probably be grateful to their adopters for all the entries. After all, their moms are suffering too much to blog, or for many, the moms live in rural China, where Internet access is not easily available at the neighborhood Starbucks. Those of us who can write should write, which is why I am ever grateful for your blog, Robin.