Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Plead 'Not Guilty'

You know, I was starting to like Nancy Verrier a little bit, when I read her first book, until she up and opined that we Natural Mothers needed to apologize to our adult, reunited children. I want to ask why I should apologize for something I didn't do? Am I responsible for the conception of my surrendered children? Well, yes and no. I was deeply in love with the father of my first born so I will claim my 50% of the responsibility for her conception. I don't think being sexually assaulted by the sire of my second would allow me to claim that responsibility. But so what? NO CHILD ASKS TO BE CONCEIVED. I didn't, unless I was extremely precocious and could send out messages via uncombined DNA.

The biggie with angry adoptees is the act of surrender. It seems to be very difficult for a lot of adopted people to understand the situation and the social climate in which their mothers lived. It wasn't very long after our losses that women became a bit more empowered and the social stigma of single motherhood lessened.

But we have all told those stories and I think that most of the population of adopted people from the BSE have heard it. Those who choose to do the research and face the facts are aware that we were railroaded into losing our children to the adoption machine. Those that don't accept it are, in my opinion, holding on to their anger because it is the devil they know and they don't care to grow past their own pique. The few who actually had uncaring, unnatural natural mothers (oxymoron time) seem to want to lump us all into that category.

I hear that, at the recent NY Conference, both Verrier and B.J. Lifton had opinions on this and also had a field day with the use of the "b" word. I hope you had fun ladies. Those folks that walked out did so because you refuse to respect Natural Mothers. Angry adoptees, adopters and ovine beemommies are going to find that those of us who have fought for and regained our self-respect are not going to sit and listen to the careless disregard people such as these two speakers showed for Mothers.

I remember the agonizing guilt I felt when I became pregnant the first time. I was made to believe that I had shown myself to be loose and amoral, shamed my family and disgraced their name. It took me years and a lot of hard work to see the fallacy behind those feelings, to discard that mantle of guilt and shame for something that most people were doing anyway and were lucky not to get caught. I loved my daughter's father, whether he deserved my love or not. I refuse to feel shame about that. I have even learned to stop feeling chagrin at the fact that he used me.

So that takes care of "you didn't have to spread your legs," and we can move right on to "nobody held a gun to your head." SINCE WHEN have people been unable to understand the concepts of emotional  pressure, coercion, brainwashing, implied threats and ultimatums given by our parents and families? WHY IS IT so hard for some to see how terrifying it must have been to be young, banished, isolated and with no resources? WHAT IS SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND about being so beaten down that the only option left was surrender? Yes, I would have made a good mother, even at that young age. BUT I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO DO SO. I was never told of any social programs (and they were few and hard to get) to help me out and I was told I could expect no support whatsoever from my family.

The social workers were very clever in persuading us that we would be toxic to our babies, that if we kept and raised them, we would ruin their lives and destroy what was left of our own lives. We had it pounded into our brains that our children would thank us for surrendering. Did we cave? Hell yes. To my younger sisters and adoptees, if it had been you, living under the social and familial structure that we did, you would have waved that white flag as well.

So here is the bottom line. I am sorry that things were so f***ed up when you were born. I am sorry that your grandparents couldn't think past what the neighbors might think. I am sorry I was young, helpless and without resources. BUT I refuse to apologize for that which I am not responsible. I will not apologize for the fact that we were the victim of the Great Adoption Lie. There is an industry, a government and the people who power that industry who need to do the apologizing to both Mothers and adoptees.

Another trip that some adopted people are trying to lay on me and on others that are not in favor of OBC access at any cost is the mistaken notion that we are against adoptee access to their records. Not guilty! I am totally in support of open records. I am not in support of dirty bills that allow contact vetoes, call for mandated medical histories in violation of our HIPAA protection and that take hundreds of pages to say what the Oregon bill did in a few paragraphs. Be careful what you take out of context.

Above all, remember that we Mothers are human beings and we don't take kindly to being sold down the river, especially for something for which we are not responsible. So don't expect a door-mat variety apology from me. I will not relinquish the dignity I fought for so tirelessly. I and many others like me deserve an apology for what we suffered. Our children deserve one as well, but not from the majority of the mothers of the EMS. Look for the real villains.

And to Mss. Verrier and Lifton, take your suggestions and your "B" word, find an orifice on your person, and stuff them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One Lie Too Many

Musing Mother posted a pithy piece about the dumbing down of the American population and the lies we live with on a daily basis. I couldn't agree more. I see a very bleak future for the US, especially since history tends to repeat itself. Look at all the great and powerful civilizations that have crumbled from the weight of their own avarice and arrogance.

The Incas were conquered but the Mayans, supposedly a greater and more accomplished group, simply disappeared. Rome wasn't built in a day and it didn't die in a day. It just slowly eroded with power struggles, revolts, leadership difficulties and the weight of self-indulgence. Even the British Empire is no longer the world-wide, powerful entity it once was. The USSR crumbled like that wall, beaten down by simple economics and the mistakes of past despots.

Rome was so magnificent in its day as was ancient Egypt, enlightened Greece and all the other great empires and nations that are only shadows of themselves. While we crawl through various ruins on a tour and marvel at how accomplished these people were, we fail to look at them and see our own future. We still see ourselves as leaders of the free world and that is fast becoming major hogwash.

We have a literally crumbling infrastructure, a decimated economy, an educational system that is a slave to test scores and fails to teach independent thinking skills and a system of self-indulgent lies as the foundation for many of our most cherished institutions. And yet the Ugly American lives and shoot his mouth off with impunity.

We are self-indulgent, self-entitled and would rather let someone else think for us than to think for ourselves. If anyone dares to challenge the status quo on any level, they are dismissed as members of the lunatic fringe, yet we don't dare challenge the idea that Capitalism is the only way to fly. We worship the nuclear family, yet think nothing of destroying families to create that dysfunctional ideal. We have a constitution based on the separation of church and state, yet, in 1950, we went from "E Pluribus Unum" (one out of many) to "In God We Trust." (Anyone see a little bit of church invading state, here?)

Those of us who have suffered from the lies of adoption, mothers and adult children and our families, are seen as the losers, the lunatic fringe, the bitter and the ungrateful for challenging one of the biggest, legalized, government and church-sanctioned lies going, that of the beneficial, warm , fuzzy idea of adoption. While the human wreckage caused by this lie is all around, in every community and every neighborhood, the general population of the US refuses to take off the blinders and the rose-colored glasses and LOOK AT IT.

We challenge the lies and are called the liars. We talk of our loss and are told we did it to ourselves. We question the ethics and are looked at in shock. Adoption is the golden calf and Moses can't scream loud enough over the worshipers. The only thing we have going for us is the truth and our voices.  That sounds great until you try putting that up against money and corrupt power. Even with laws in place against discrimination, this nation discriminates against people every day.

I don't have a crystal ball and I don't claim to have precognitive powers. But I know we learn our greatest lessons about who we are and where we are going from our own, human pasts. If I am a decently educated student of History, then I have to say that what was a possibility has become a probability. What with our disregard for the natural wonders of our nation, our discrimination against single mothers, adult adoptees, gays and lesbians, the poor and aged,  the non-religious, we are on that slippery slope.

And the great US of A is going down in a whimper of lies.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Duck!! Incoming "Bitter" Bombs!

It never ceases to amaze me how easily others judge our entire lives based on the time we spend on the Internet. Someone found an obscure theory by a German psychiatrist and cleverly (not) sent me the link in my comments section. Once again, we have to dodge the "Bitter Bomb." It reminds me of those bomb drills in and cover. Here is the link to this theory called "Post Traumatic Embitterment Syndrome."

Now, according to this esteemed shrink or group thereof, this syndrome makes the sufferer barely able to function. Let me educate someone, here, whoever you are. (Doncha just love people who post anonymously?)

(1) Angry does NOT equal bitter. Anger is just an emotion and, as such, can be dealt with and channeled into effective action. Debate is healthy and disagreement is allowable in the general, shared arena (not here).
(2) There is such a thing as righteous (right·eous/ˈrīCHəs/Adjective1. (of a person or conduct) Morally right or justifiable; virtuous. 2. Perfectly wonderful; fine and genuine.) anger or indignation. That's not "bitter."
(3) I doubt that a psychologically impaired victim of such a "syndrome" would be able to maintain a marriage, a job, raise children, write, paint, have friendships and all the other things that I and my sister Mothers have managed to do, quite well for many years.
(4) We are more than just our cause or one-dimensional people. We have lives. To judge any of us with such an obscure theory by what you read on the Internet is shortsighted and malicious on your part. Or, are YOU living on the "Net?
(5) Usually most people dislike and criticize in others the things that they like least about themselves. I just thought I would throw that in there.

A lot of adopted people responded to that last post so I wonder who you are calling "bitter?" I also know that these ladies are very functional in their daily lives...well, one or two are cheerfully silly but that is a plus.
Psychiatrists are already alerted to the number of adopted people, especially when they enter their teens, that suffer from very REAL identity problems and confusion.

Although many mothers have recognized, in themselves, the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the mental health community has failed to recognize this effect on Mothers whose children were appropriated for adoption. We have, more or less, with a little professional help, here and there, diagnosed and treated ourselves. Well, gee golly gumps! Now how on earth would a person "barely able to function" accomplish THAT? Maybe we could and we did because we have been through the fire and gained a pair of blue-steel ovaries?

Some of us coped the best way we could until we learned more about the whats and whys of our pain. Some still experience disassociation, occasionally but still function. Some have broken free of agoraphobia, eating disorders, addictions and a lot of other things that would have destroyed us. Most of us have made it and have good lives...not perfect, but as good as any of the rest of the world out there and better than some. Those few who haven't...well some are gone, now. Losing a living, breathing child is not an easy thing to live through.

As far as the adoptee is concerned, I can't speak to their concerns. I am not one, although I do understand feelings of abandonment. But I look at the adopted people who have posted replies to the preceding blog and I see very successful, functioning people. I see people who don't deny their pain and frustration but who examine it and try to deal with and overcome it. That sure seems healthy to me.

No matter which, Mother or Adoptee, we have a right to our anger. We have a right to refuse to keep silent about injustices that violated our human rights and the civil rights of our children and the people behind those injustices. And if it bothers you or anyone else, then keep on lobbing those old Bitter Bombs.

But maybe you need practice because you haven't registered a direct hit, yet.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Uh, Yeeaaah, Right

I read an interesting viewpoint on The Declassified Adoptee, this morning, about telling adopted children they are adopted..what to say, what not to say, etc. Being neither adopter nor adoptee, I've not been privy to the emotions surrounding this action, but I have been told things that were said that gripe my gizzard to the max. I have also been told things that were said that any child with a brain would question..even the younger ones.

I mean, look at what mine were told. How many children are going to miss the contradictions in a statement such as, "Your mother loved you so much she gave you up?" They don't understand coercion and social pressure and understanding that "she wasn't able to take care of you so she gave you to us" is also hard to swallow.

My oldest's adopters had one of those saccharine, little books about how special it is to be adopted and they read it to her at an early age. Rather than having the desired effect of her happy acceptance of the situation, she was full of questions. She never could understand why I didn't come see her and she would wait for me on special days, thinking that, surely, I would come to her. I guess she didn't understand closed records and secret adoptions either, or see the sense in any of it.

She did learn, at an early age, that she shouldn't talk about her adoption outside the home. That, I am sure, gave her the impression that being adopted was, somehow, shameful. She has never been able to accept the fact that the lies and fantasies she was told were generated BY her adopters. She blames the state agency.

I did a good bit of digging and found out a few things. The people that adopted her pulled a few crony strings and made sure that, should I ever ask for information, I would be told that no records of her birth and adoption even existed. I was told this AFTER it became legal to gain access to non-identifying information. Finally, in the early 90's, after persisting and persisting, my daughter received non-ID on me that, while not entirely factual, was enough for her to find me.

 Years earlier, when my daughter turned 18, she went to the agency, accompanied by her adopters, and was told a few facts along with a plethora of lies and twisted data. Although I cannot reveal my source, I was later told, by my source, that the information she was given was arranged between the state agency and her adopters. Insecure, obviously, and tired of her questions, the adopters (NOT the agency) told her I was dead, killed in an auto accident. She searched for a grave for many years.

When she went to see the adopters, excited and happy to have found me, she was greeted by this from the woman who adopted her. "We were told this would be impossible." I learned that this was a requirement from the get-go with these people...that there would never be a natural mother to muddy the tinted waters of their as-if-born-to fantasy. I also saw a picture of a very insecure woman who needed her dream world protected and reality kept at bay. I have managed, after many years of resentment, to feel a modicum of pity for her. My daughter has never accepted her adopters' culpability in all the flim-flam that went on. When I shared, as part of my own experience, here on my blog, what the woman who adopted her said to me after we reunited, she called an end to our 17-year reunion. I love her, but I can't continue to ignore facts and suffer lies. I certainly will not honor people who lied to my child for their own purposes.

My son has never shared what he was told and how he was told. He has kept his relationship with me on a very surface level, for the most part. The fact that he is a repeat offender with anger management problems does tell me more than he realizes. I do know that there was a lot of physical "discipline" involved in his rearing.

While both of my adult, reunited children were told of their adoption at an early age (I think I would have really blown up if they had not been told), I question what and how they were told. As soon as my raised children were able to understand, I told them about their siblings and tried to explain things to them. I had a lot of tough questions to answer from them, as well. One was, "why can't we go get them and bring them home?" Oh Lord, did I ever wish.... Then I had to deal with the one about, "why didn't you give us up for adoption?" Try explaining the sexual mores of the EMS to young teens in the early 80's. They couldn't believe that, as a child, I watched a black and white TV with only 3 channels and that we had to use a roof-based antenna. And how do you tell your children that their mother was raped only four months after losing her first-born to adoption?

Kids are smarter than we often give them credit for being. Our thought processes, as we age, become more and more convoluted by gray areas and situational semantics and all the blah, blah, blah of the adult world. A child cuts to the core with no side trips. For anyone to think that they can give a child a pat, canned answer like, "she loved you so much...." and that will suffice doesn't live in a real world with real kids. Kids need straight answers and all the facts.

Better yet, keep the child in the family of origin, preferably with that child's natural mother, and they won't need all those contrived answers.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Religions, Anti-Choice, Adoption and Other Oppressions/ Personal Opinions

It has annoyed me, personally, to no end, to see how the religious establishment has involved itself in matters of law, influence of lawmakers and the reproductive rights of all citizens. I am sick of hearing that we live in a nation founded upon "Christian values." I am sick of those seeking election to office who woo the fanatics, the dogmatic and the arrogant in order to be elected and who seek, then, to sneak some fundie's interpretation of Biblical law into the law of the land.

An avowed atheist, agnostic, deist or pagan, no matter how morally upright, no matter how qualified, could never be elected in this nation. As long as this kind of tyranny persists, adoption, denial of abortion rights and the raiding of other nations for infants and toddlers to fill the cribs of the faithful will continue. When you put religion (superstition) together with capitalism (greed), you have a witch's brew of the vilest nature.

Those who praise the assumed Christian faith of our founding fathers have obviously not read their history. So I pulled up a bit of information about who these people really were and then skipped to my favorite pundit on the world of today.

"All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution": freedom for religion, but also freedom from religion. (Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, p. 38. Jefferson proposed his language in 1776.)

I may grow rich by an art I am compelled to follow; I may recover health by medicines I am compelled to take against my own judgment; but I cannot be saved by a worship I disbelieve and abhor. (Thomas Jefferson, notes for a speech, c. 1776. From Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, eds., The Harper Book of American Quotations, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, p. 498.)

But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer [Jesus] of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State. (Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Samuel Kercheval, 1810; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1983, p. 370)

The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most dishonorable belief against the character of the Divinity, the most destructive to morality and the peace and happiness of man, that ever was propagated since man began to exist. (Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, 1794-1795. From Gorton Carruth and Eugene Ehrlich, eds., The Harper Book of American Quotations, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, p. 494.)

George Washington's practice of Christianity was limited and superficial because he was not himself a Christian. In the enlightened tradition of his day, he was a devout Deist--just as many of the clergymen who knew him suspected. (Barry Schwartz, George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol, New York: The Free Press, 1987, pp. 174-175.)

Washington's religious belief was that of the enlightenment: deism. He practically never used the word "God," preferring the more impersonal word "Providence." How little he visualized Providence in personal form is shown by the fact that he interchangeably applied to that force all three possible pronouns: he, she, and it. (James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell [1793-1799], Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1972, p. 490.)

And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together. (James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822; published in The Complete Madison: His Basic Writings, ed. by Saul K. Padover, New York: Harper & Bros., 1953.)

Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize [sic], every expanded prospect. (James Madison, in a letter to William Bradford, April 1, 1774, as quoted by Edwin S. Gaustad, Faith of Our Fathers: Religion and the New Nation, San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987, p. 37.)

"Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but is always the strongly marked feature of all law-religion, or religions established by law." Thomas Paine

(Historian Craig Nelson:) "When Alexander Hamilton was asked why the U.S. Constitution made no mention of God, he said the country did not require 'foreign aid'; when his mother insisted on a serious reply, he explained, 'We forgot.'"

Why am I so intent on this ideal? I have watched, in my lifetime, as the influence of the church continues to spread throughout this nation. I have observed the formation of Christian Political Action Committees and heard the hate-mongering of the judgmental pundits that push this un-American agenda. And I have witnessed the pain of many, many mothers and children separated and poured into the adoption cauldron because of the influence of the Christian church in the US. These folks are more concerned about who had sex than in who lied in order to start a war. They want to control us down to our very most intimate acts, including procreation.

From Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine, from George Washington to George Carlin, people have tried to practice and present common sense on this issue. Had they prevailed, I doubt there would be any problems with single motherhood and birth control and a social conscience that would allow us to care for those who need care. So the last word is from the latter George. Same song, present day.

"I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death." George Carlin

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Arrogant Assumptions and Oxymorons

Adopto-Land is full of them. The way the courts and certain churches treat adoption, is beyond arrogant. It seems that they believe they are as powerful as God/Nature. Even though the blank-slate/tabula rasa theory concerning the human infant has been scientifically disproven, they still sell that "as if born to" idea to the masses. It's even in the adoption decree. Boy, aren't we powerful, though?

The picture to the left is very sweet. But anyone with eyes in their head and a rudimentary grasp of zoology can tell that these two are entirely different species. When that little feline grows up, it is not going to swing from tree branches, have thumbs or be mostly vegetarian. A predator is a predator is a predator. What is the chimp going to say when she reveals her true nature? "We gave her all the love we had to give. Why is she LIKE this??"

Any adopter that raises the child born to another woman, thinking that said child will become like the adoptive family is seriously deluded. That adopter is also doing that child a heinous disservice. Supporting the adopted child as they are, and as they become, is the loving thing to do. My heart aches every time I hear another adoptee say, "I never felt like I fit in." Of course, it is my opinion that, barring the very worst of circumstances, a child belongs with his/her mother or family of origin. Trying to fulfill the needs of adults by supporting a legal fantasy is damaging to any child.

That leads me to my first oxymoron; "ethical adoption." How can adoption be ethical when it promotes lies, changes names, switches heritages and is based on, not the need of a child for a home, but the needs of adults for a child? Like it or not, there is a money-making Industry behind this and that makes it a flesh trade. The legal restrictions and requirements of that adoption document makes a life-long possession out of an infant. AND these "possessions" are supposed to be, and often are, grateful for their status as humans owned by other humans (See "Stockholm Adoptees" post).

How can it be ethical when it is bartering a baby for the purpose of supporting the emotional welfare of a childless couple? That is a hell of a load to place on a baby. How can an Industry or practice be ethical when it still uses new and improved methods of social brainwashing and coercion to achieve the goal of separation of mother and newborn? How can it be ethical when it is used to further the agendas of religious groups? How can it be ethical when it is supported by legislators whose palms are greased by the Industry lobbyists? That support has resulted in legislation that strips many mothers and their babies of their civil and human rights. Is that the American Way?

The next oxymoron is so self contradictory it is appalling; "Your mother loved you so much she gave you up." Like that is going to make any sense to a child? Listen up, Kiddo. Your mother probably surrendered you because her back was against the wall, she was brainwashed by adoption propaganda and your grandparents wanted a born-again virgin. Her love for you made her want to keep you. This society is steeped in adoption mythology and she either fell for the line or was forced over it.

This one is for all the good beemommies, still wallking around with that pink cloud engulfing what brain cells you have left.; "Surrendering Mother=Heroine". You know, when you read stories about heroics, a lot of those heroes die. William Wallace shouted "Freedom!" as he was being gutted, drawn and quartered. He still died. When we mothers of my experience were backed against the wall and forced to wave that white flag of surrender, we felt nothing like Xena, The Warrior Princess, "Forged in the heat of battle." I felt like the losing boxer in the match, being carried out, bloody and bruised, on a stretcher.

I wonder what it is going to take to show the general public, who, by and large, support adoption, that said Adoption, American Style, is a heartless and cruel business? When are we, as a nation, going to overcome the ridiculous ideas of our early, Puritan colonists and grow up enough to honor the bond of mother and child? When are we going to, as a nation, mature past the "I'm gonna get mine" self-entitlement that allows people to think they have a right to the children of others? This is what we have become, people. We are a country that barters babies and even raids other nations for newborns. As a society, we are as dysfunctional as they come and we bear the wounds of that dysfunction.

And the band aids we use to cover the wounds are assumptions, arrogance and oxymorons. That's like treating cancer with a placebo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just Plain Worn Out

I have a relatively new adoptee friend. I helped her mother find her and they have had one of the most decent reunions I have seen. They were both ready. They both needed each other in their lives but both had become their own person. But my adoptee friend is not feeling well. She is very tired and I don't blame her.

She is a mother and a grandmother. Her daughter is ill and she spends a lot of time taking care of her grandchildren while her daughter is treated for her condition. That is a very active, all boy pre-schooler and a happy, playful infant girl. She also runs her own business from her home.

As an adoptee, she has been raised to be a caretaker to everyone and to their emotions. She has been the recipient of very conditional love from her adopters and they think nothing of making heavy demands of her. Learning to say "No" has been an issue with her. Now, in a new relationship with her Natural Mother, and dealing with the ups and downs of emotions that come with reunion, she is feeling the effects.

It is that way on both sides, that of the Mother and the Adult Child. The intensity of the emotions, dealing with adoptive family members, running the gauntlet of everyday life, all this can enervate you in a New York minute. If I were to give anyone who is in a new reunion any advice (not on reunion relationships because I obviously suck at that), it would be to get plenty of rest, eat right and take vitamins. Our emotions act on our bodies just as much as our physical activity and if there was ever an ultra-emotional time in any one's life, it would have to be at reunion.

I am dealing with a beloved pet with cancer, a husband with a chronic condition that flares up now and then, trying to get the house ready and hope for a buyer, dealing with issues of septic systems, wells and other lovely necessities at our property in WV, plus dealing with the problems of my raised children. I am also dealing with the estrangement from my oldest child after 17 years in reunion. That may be a blessing in disguise, because I was never able to understand what she wanted from me and I always felt drained whenever we talked.

There comes a time for both Mothers and Adult children when we have to go for some "Me" time. I'm not talking about backing off from a reunion, although some find they have to, but the more prosaic ideas of time for oneself...some self-pampering and relaxation.

And it might be a good time for my new friend to reflect on the fact that she has spent the biggest part of her life being a caretaker for the feelings of others. That, in itself, is enough to wring you out and bring you down. Observing from the outside, where it is not my child that is of concern, I see a lot of co-dependency in many adopter/adoptee relationships. They obey a tacit, covert command to participate in a life built upon a legalized lie and the expectations of the adopters. I'm sorry, but that can't be healthy. It is no more healthy that the fog many of us Mothers live in from surrender to reunion and the way many of us try to re-claim our babies from the persona of the adult adoptee or allow ourselves to be used by them out of guilt.

In the more severe cases of this dysfunction of the adoptive home, I have seen adults adoptees who never learned to work things out by honest communication but who are masters at manipulation. I have seen those who alternate between emotional neediness and raging anger. I have witnessed the most nasty behavior from some that I have ever seen. Their lives are ruled by their anger and misconceptions, many implanted by their adopters. The lucky ones are the ones who look within themselves for their identity and also recognize that bullshit stinks.

This is not true of all adoptees across the board, but it is indicative of enough of the population of adopted people to be problematic. For many of us who surrendered our babies, it is equally enraging to find these damaged adults (and it is noted that some are more damaged than others and some function better than others). We were backed against a wall and had no choice but to place our newborns, beautiful and filled with promise, into the hands of the Industry, trusting that they would be placed with paragons of parental perfection. Many found good, loving people but even the best didn't make up for the pre-verbal trauma of separation from the mother. And for Mothers like me, who found badly damaged adult children, it has been heart-breaking, anger-producing and, yes, exhausting.

I am a big fan of the mini-vacation. Even if it is nothing more than a day spent in one's PJ's, the phone and the Internet turned off and a good book, we need restoration for our emotions and spirits. My new friend needs a "Me" day, I need a "Me" day and I can think of quite a few family members and friends who could benefit from a lot of "Me" days.

I just threw the makings of an easy Beef Stroganoff into the crock pot. I am in my comfy lounger with the kangaroo pockets in front and have soft socks on my feet. I am reading an F. Paul Wilson "Repairman Jack" novel and Rocky is asleep beside my chair. Hubby is experimenting with baking, again and the a/c is set just right.

Me Day, here I come. Join me, if you need to.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

An Essay A Day...

....can be hard to produce. I am not Flannery O'Connor, Dorothy Sayers, Oliver Wendell Holmes or Charles Lamb. I see myself, all too often, as a one-trick-pony (but I turn that trick with pride). There comes a time when it is hard to be inspired by the same thing, over and over again. Sometimes, I am at a loss for clever analogies and new perspectives. Dealing with one subject can be creatively confining. I guess I am fortunate that so much happens in the OK Corral of Adoption.

For Instance:
Why is it.....
..that even though many of us gave the social workers and the birth records workers the names of the fathers of our babies, our archaic laws forbade those names appearing on the actual document?

Why is it....
..that Trolls of every description want to invade and disrupt our forums in the name of "really wanting to understand?" Are we posting in ancient Aramaic?

Why is it....
..that some adoptees get their knickers in a knot when you relate a bad experience with the adopters of your child? You aren't talking about THEIR adopters. We can only opine about our own children's adopters and our own situation and our own experience with adopters in general.

Why is it....
..that there are mothers who will paste themselves to the back of the closet, still? Haven't they heard that it is no longer a shameful thing to be a natural mother? Don't they know that secrets are toxic? Aren't they tired of all that crap?

Why is it...
..that there are nasty folks who will still use the term "birthmother" even after you ask them not to use it in reference to or around you? To me, it is as offensive as the "n" word is to an African-American.

Why is it...
..that so-called "spiritual leaders" can mangle the scriptures they see as the infallible word of God in order to justify separating a mother and child for adoption? Just off the top of my head...Moses was a "failed adoption" which ended with his reverting to his national and familial origins and Solomon gave the infant back to the real mother.

Why is it...
..that our government can give out money and tax breaks in the name of "adoption incentives" but cringe at the thought of using that same money to give a new mom a hand AND that rather than "mothering incentives" it becomes "welfare?"

Why is it...
..that our National Government supports an "Infant Adoption Awareness" program? Where is our representation in Washington? Are we not citizens, as well?

Why is it...
..that movies, novels (with a few notable exceptions) and news stories about adoption seem to tell only one side of the story and that is not even completely accurate? The most realistic movie I have seen about adoption is "Loggerheads" and even that one shows the mother resolving her pain....after never seeing her son prior to his death. That is not the way most of these stories really go in real life, at all.

Why is it...
..that a book about natural mothers of the EMS, written by an adoptee (and a fine book it is...not complaining on that front) becomes a best-seller, while books and articles written by natural mothers usually only get a lukewarm reception or have to be self-published?

Why is it....
..that I often feel as though we are living in a very controlled society  rather than the free one we are taught about in school? I have called it the United States of Adoption and I fear I am not far off the mark.

Why is it....
..that, though we were, in most cases, abandoned by the father of our child, isolated from our families, shamed, browbeaten and coerced, some still want to say that the only true victims of adoption are adoptees? We didn't have a choice, either (and I am speaking of those of us who experienced the full brunt of the EMS and parental and social coercion). Also, what infant, kept or surrendered, ever has a choice in the matter? A baby can't make choices. (Then again, when a baby arches his or her back away from the foster caregiver or adopter and frets and cries while doing so..well, that should tell them SOMETHING.)

And why it is, that no matter what I have going on in my life, all these questions and more keep running through my mind? I could fill up a notebook with these questions. I haven't asked them all here. I have yet to receive an answer from the ones who benefit from this social obscenity that makes any sense at all.

Why is it, that these people, this industry, can be so destructive to the hearts and souls of mothers and their children and get away with it? Answer THAT one.

(Final question: Why is it that certain people, who think they have all the answers and the only right ones, don't latch on to the fact that these questions are, largely, rhetorical?)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bonds of Blood; Deformed But Not Broken

My very astute and intelligent buddy, Musing Mother, posted about open records legislation in Missouri, and the notable omission of Natural Mothers from those who would have access to these records. That is an unfortunate fact about all the open records legislation that have either passed or are in different stages of the process.

We  have been told, in the past, that inclusion of Mothers would "cloud the issue." I think the only thing clouded would be the feelings of adopters and the marketing strategies of the agencies. I have noted, in several previous blogs, how reunions can falter, re-start, go off track, try again, die and disappear, etc. It is hard to be indifferent to the child one carried in one's body and I am sure it is equally hard to be indifferent to the woman who gave you life. But that natural bond has been warped by separation, secrets and lies, especially for mothers and adoptees from the BSE/EMS which is the group specifically affected by closed records.

Even when we don't see eye to eye and lifestyles differ and attitudes are polar opposites, there is still something that binds us and it is more than just DNA. The fact is that too many of us are not going to make it in that big reunion picture of Mother and Child, resolved. But there is one way we can bridge the gap, even when contact is sporadic or nil. Being advocates for each other where civil and human rights are concerned could, I personally believe, heal a lot of the hurt we feel.

There is so much pressure on the adoptee to remain loyal to the people who raised them and that is not unreasonable. But it really throws a monkey wrench into the engine of many a reunion. The Industry knows this and plays on the fears of the adopters to keep their businesses up, running and profitable. They use the fundamentalist churches and the anti-choicers to keep the supply up. They use the adoptees' fears of hurting their adopters and the lingering shame of a pitiful minority of Mothers to apply just enough force to keep us from forming a united front. They know what side their bread is buttered on and it is definitely NOT the Mother's side. The adopters are, for the most part, the ones with the bucks.

I know one adoptee who said that her adopters didn't pay a penny for her....Oh, except for the attorney's fees and her medical expenses and a few other fees, but it was only a few thousand dollars. That was back in the early 60's. A few thousand back then is like $50K, today. That was an agency. But it takes money to run a state's social services department, as well, so someone has to fork over the dough for that healthy infant. When we say it is an Industry, a business, a market, we mean just that. And business has no conscience.

So, what if we understood that reunions can be rocky and problematic and that we might have to love from distance, BUT, that we could do this one thing for each other, as Mother and Adult Child? A united front in the face of legislators (attorneys who support adoption for the most part) and lobbyists (the NCFA and others of that ilk) would make things a bit harder for them to manipulate. The idea of going with what we can get and tweaking it later, is about as much good to all of us as "the check is in the mail" is to the collector dunning the deadbeat.

We've had our motherhood dismissed. Our children have been obligated to try to fit their square peg selves into  the round hole of the adoptive family. Lies have been told and misapprehensions encouraged. Yes, those  ties that bind that are forged by nature, have been altered and deformed. But they haven't been broken. I read too many comments by adoptees and mothers. We all care to much for them to be completely severed. If the bonds were not there, the pain wouldn't be there, either.

Maybe there are many of us that can never be a family again. But we can look out for and support each other in this fight for the truth. And if that isn't love, I don't know what is.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Escaping The Myth

The Legend of Daedalus and Icarus

Daedalus, King Minos' architect, built a labyrinth in which King Minos was able to hide the awful Minotaur, a horrible half-man, half-bull born to his cursed wife. Afterwards, Theseus, an Athenian king, killed the Minotaur and escaped with the king's daughter, Ariadne. At the failure of the labyrinth, Daedalus lost the favor of the king and was imprisoned in a high tower. Daedalus wanted to escape from his prison, but all sea-going vessels were searched carefully.

"Minos may control the land and sea," thought Daedalus, "but he does not control the air. I will escape that way."

Daedalus set to work fabricating wings for himself and his young son, Icarus. Daedalus put many feathers together over a frame of his design, beginning with the smallest feathers and adding larger feathers, to form an ever-increasing surface area with which to harness the power of the wind. The larger feathers, Daedalus secured with strong thread, but the smaller ones he secured only with wax. To his final creation, he gave a curvature like that of birds' wings.

When the work was done, Daedalus, waving his newly constructed wings, found himself buoyed upward on the currents and hung suspended, poised on the beaten air beneath his constructed wings.

But he could not leave without his son, so he had to build another pair of wings, smaller in size. Daedalus equipped his son with the smaller set but cautioned him, saying, "Icarus, my son, I charge you to keep at a moderate height, for if you fly too low the damp will clog your wings, and if you fly too high the heat of the sun will surely melt these wings of yours that I have created for you.

Daedalus kissed the boy, not knowing that it was for the last time ever. Then, rising on their wings, father and son flew off, escaping from the prison that King Minos had put them in. The boy, exulting in his new-found freedom, began to soar upward as if to reach heaven. The nearness of the blazing sun softened the wax, which held the smaller feathers together, and they came off in bundles. He fluttered frantically with his arms, but no feathers remained to hold the air beneath the wings. He cried to his father but fell to the ocean and was submerged in the blue waters of the sea in which he drowned.

Bummer. And the moral is supposed to be that you can't aspire beyond your abilities or something like that. It's probably also a fable about moderation. But I can also see all the trepidations and frustrations of motherhood in this one. You give your children wings, but where they fly and how high is up to them.

For our surrendered children, we were not there to give them their wings. Some of our adult, reunited children never learned to fly. They are still imprisoned in the tower. The tower is constructed of lies, misconceptions and fear. They can't fly, ie; please everyone, and they can't face the possibility of losing the only security they have ever known, however falsely fabricated, so they retreat to where they feel safe, even though their haven can also be their prison. Conversely, some mother stay mired in the prison of their secrets. It certainly isn't just the adoptee that does that, although it is an adoptee that inspired this post.

Facing and examining the truth is not an act of disloyalty and has nothing to do with love unless love has been a conditional thing for an adoptee. Perhaps the perception of adopters as paragons has to do more with the way they were taught to love than the actuality of the love that accepts the person, warts and all, and has no need to try to deny the human faults of the loved one. The adage that "The truth shall set you free" is not wrong. Retreating into the den of denial and lies is not living a free and open life. Yet it is what many choose and it makes me sad to see it happen.

I'm a big fan of The Eagles. Their rough and ready poetry and rock/country sound are the go-to music for me when I need a certain kind of grounding. One of my favorites is  "Already Gone," a golden oldie. I like this phrase.

"So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains,
And we never even know we have the key."

The only key I see to the freedom of the adoptees and the mothers of the EMS is not in wings of feathers, wax and string, but in the key of truth. Towers built of lies are flimsy and shaky. They take a lot of emotional energy to maintain. And, they are never totally comfortable. If we face the truth and speak the truth, loud enough and long enough, maybe the walls of the prison will fall on their own.

It's scary to use that truth key. It is frightening to realize that there is much you believed that never was true. But I have found, for my own self, that facing the truth is better than tethering myself to the lies on the ground, never able to fly at all. It's like lancing a hurt to get over a bigger hurt. And, I have found out for myself that the real world isn't such a bad place after all, once you learn to navigate.

So maybe the real message in the legend of Icarus is all about fear. If the sun is the truth, then the implication is that the truth can kill you. Not so. The truth can hurt, but it can also heal. I much prefer truth to the lies of denial.

And the truth CAN set you free.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Room Smells Like Bananas

My youngest son has been agonizing over spending the holidays with members of his father's family. He is very NOT religious while certain members of the paternal clan are, shall we say, fundamentally and terminally dogmatic? One person, in particular, could try the patience of Buddha.

My maternal grandmother was a great believer in the value of tact. Though a strict Southern Baptist and a active, life-long Democrat, she did abide by a rock-hard rule. When in a social situation or enjoying time with family and friends, one should according to Grandma, never discuss politics and religion. I know that is a good idea, in theory, but there are times when the harder one tries to avoid the sticky subjects the more aware everyone is of those issues. Sometimes, that 800-pound gorilla in the room just won't stay invisible.

There has been so much that I have learned to avoid in discourse with my reunited children. Unfortunately, I still make my opinions known here on my blog and curiosity prevailed and all the avoidance did no good. I tried to make it clear to my two adult, reunited children, where I stood on the subjects of adoption, adopTING and adopTERS. It seems though,  that once that gorilla is ignored enough, erroneous assumptions are made about who sees what, how and why.

I don't hate adopters. I know many that are good people. I also know many who have lied, given conditional love and have a very self-entitled attitude or have done even worse things. The hard truth is that I know more of the latter than the former. The problem is not the people who adopt, but the fact that they DO adopt. Those who adopt infants, especially, help feed the greed of a going industry that is reaching out into the world to obtain product to meet the demand. If there were no demand for adoptable infants and toddlers that would effectively break the back of that big industry. I will always maintain that adopters fuel the industry and no one can ever really debate me to the point of changing my mind on that. I am just as persuaded in my mind that a better system of kinship and legal guardianships would be preferable to adoption of older children. I can't help it...adoption is a legalized lie and I can't see it any other way.

I have been in situations where there were adopters present. I bit my tongue. I have heard my own child tell me that it was "meant to be" for me to lose her to adoption and to her particular adopters. I tried to express my disagreement, but gently. And I bit my tongue. My tongue is sore from biting and I wonder if it would be reasonable to ask that these pro-adoption stories not be told around me? Could my viewpoint be respected? It seems that it is either agree to disagree or just let the lies sit there like a big, hulking brute taking all the air out of the room.

That is my son's problem. He is an atheist. That is his choice and I respect it. But certain other family members feel it is their place to correct his (as they see it) erroneous thinking. So I ask, if he isn't preaching his ideology to you, why should you feel you have the right to preach yours to him? Segue into the topic of adoption, and if I am not trying to force you to look askance at adopters, why should you expect me to listen to you extol them?

In a way, I am glad things came to a head on that subject. It was often frustrating and hurtful to talk to my own child and hear things I knew were not true. I spoke the truth about MY experience on MY blog and was raked over the coals for it. I take that from no one. It's healthier to know where everyone stands and then try to build from there. If we don't stay honest with each other, then all we are doing is trying to ignore the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

Even if we don't look at him, we know he's there because the whole room smells like bananas.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Empty Arms and Raised Children

the pain of saying good bye to my two oldest children. I have noted that the loss of my babies left two hI've posted about oles in my heart. But, while you cannot replace one child with another, I did go on to have and raise two wonderful children that are my heart's balm and salvation.

For a good percentage of mothers of adoption loss, that did not happen. Secondary infertility has been a common burden which many of our sisters bear. In fact, one such mother started a support group for exiled mothers who never had other children after losing their first to adoption. I stumbled across this painting by Virginia Van Boven and thought about how appropriate it is to this condition. I feel the sadness of the childless mother. I am not saying that their loss hurt any worse than the loss we mothers of raised children suffered. But it does seem to cause a difference in how we approach reunion and resolve issues.

It is not that the mother with secondary infertility doesn't know how it feels to have a child. She had one and was coerced into surrendering that child. She has a mother's heart and a mother's need. The causes for her secondary childlessness can be attributed to physical problems, but also can result from the emotional and psychological trauma of her loss. I know one such mother who said she felt that having another child would be, somehow, disloyal to the child she lost to adoption. Another opined that she bought into the idea that she was unfit, as she had been coerced to believe, to mother any child.

The promise that was made to many of us, by the social workers who "counseled" us, was that we would go on to have other children and we would forget our loss. I married in haste, the first time, for respectability and to have those promised babies that would heal my wounds. Don't get me wrong. I love my raised children with all my heart. They have made a better person out of me, just by being and I cherish every moment of their lives. But they couldn't replace the two I lost and expecting that of them would have been hideously unfair to them. In a way, it's just as bad as adopters expecting the adoptees to be the "cure" for their infertility. I love my raised children for who they ARE. They made their own places in my heart and I thank my lucky stars for both of them, every day.

Let's face it. The big bonus of having children to raise after losing to adoption is that we don't have to cede our place in our kept children's lives to someone else. We don't have to live in the shadow of the adopters with our own flesh and blood when we have raised children. The relationship is easier, more natural, less filled with angst (although my two have given me some moments) and there seem to be no conditions placed on the relationships. If we get angry at each other, then we get angry. We also get over it and even can get to the point where we can laugh at the problems and ourselves.

Our raised children can also, often, act as a bridge to our reunited adult children. A sibling is a lot less threatening to them than the two-headed demon/angel mother. In my case, they get along a lot better with the sibs since I am the one with the militant stance concerning adoption, family preservation and the one who will not pay homage to the adopters. We NMoms usually see through the adopter-worship, denial of lies, and refusal to see that it might not have been "meant to be," to see the hurt child who is trying to survive and holding on to the lie of adoption as the only safety they have ever known. We are the ones who tend to bite our tongues until they bleed. And heaven help us if anything we say might shine a light on lies told or poor behavior on the part of the adopters.

My raised children need me in their lives. I am their beginning, their maturing and their life's experience as their mother. I can't re-raise my two surrendered children, but I am not willing to accept the role of "lesser than" either. I guess the act of raising children gives us a perspective that the natural mother with secondary infertility doesn't have. In raising a child, you learn how to let go, from the first faltering steps, to the first time driving a car, to setting out in the world to make their way. We have learned the value of kicking the fledglings out of the nest. Maybe it is just a little easier for us to do that letting go of our adult, surrendered children than it is for those who had no more children.

I can identify with the mother who has not had this experience...this wanting to sacrifice all for the reunited, adult child. That is the "Mother Tiger" response of the mother of a newborn. But that child is not a baby, anymore. The difference seems to be in expectations. We mothers who have raised children to adulthood expect adult behavior from their reunited children, as well. When we don't get it, we are often bewildered and a bit angry. It has taken me many years to understand the adoptee's feelings and a few more to realize that I don't have to take disrespect and abusive chiding from my adult, reunited children. It can be a real Catch-22. For some, it is never resolved. But good communication and honesty do help.

By knowing many of the very dear women who suffered from secondary infertility, I appreciate my raised children all the more. Kerry and Sam, you are my rocks. You are my adult babies, you are my friends and I am so glad you ARE. I hope you know that I have never loved you any less by grieving for my lost babies. You gave me purpose and joy. Part of my heart will always ache from loss. But another part of my heart will always soar with the wings of a happy Mom.

Thank you both for being.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Memories Untwisted and Revealed

I had to take another look at the dates on the yearbook photo that the very nice woman at Spartanburg High School sent me. It states that it was the yearbook for the 1961-1962 school year. My daughter was conceived on my birthday in July, 1961 and born, 40 weeks later, in early April of 1962. I withdrew from school not long after this picture was made. I was pregnant in that picture. I wonder if I was in collusion with "teen Robin's" denial when I first published this picture. Now I know why those eyes were so sad. This was another memory break-through...the kind that hurts.

Now I understand, even more, why it has been so hard for me to look at this photo. At the moment this picture was taken, in September of 1961, I was praying for a miracle. I was hoping with every fiber of my being that what I knew to be true was not so. Not too long after this, I felt that first tiny, faint movement inside. The mother was emerging from the chrysalis of a girl.

What I came to understand as the months progressed was that I had received a miracle. That miracle was growing inside me, resting under the beating of my heart and listening to the whooshing of my blood through its vessels. That miracle was being nourished by the food I ate and the air I breathed and was a part of me in a way that only an expectant mother can comprehend. However unplanned, inopportune or inappropriate to society, it was MY miracle. It was formed inside ME, not another woman and NOT FOR another woman.

As my breast enlarged and started leaking colostrum, I was also being prepared emotionally and mentally to nurture this child. I grew very protective of that little life inside me. I would sit and move my hands over my growing abdomen and talk to the little one in my womb. I told her and myself all manner of pretty fantasies that always ended in us riding off into a glorious sunset, together, Mother and Child and, just perhaps, her father, repentant and loving us. Sometimes, when reality would intrude, I would cry, but quietly, because I didn't want my baby to hear and be sad or frightened.

I had truly loved the father of this little one. This baby was almost like a gift he gave me before he left to spend time with family in California for the remainder of the summer. I was unprepared for his rejection of both of us when he returned.

And, as much as I tried to prepare myself for the inevitable, I knew I was going to lose my miracle. That is why I demanded, threatened and behaved like a spoiled child in order to see her on a regular basis while I was in the hospital after her birth. Those moments, with her in my arms, were among the most valued in my life. I can, to this day, recall the small weight of her on my chest, her infant eyes looking into mine, her greedy little mouth seeking the nipple. So why did I forget that I was pregnant in that picture?

I guess we could put it down to the confusion of age and the passage of time. But it has been very hard for me to look into the eyes of that young mother-to-be. I didn't want to see the sadness, the anxiety, the pain that was there. Some painful memories never dull with time. I can even remember how labor felt with my two oldest. It is as if every memory, no matter how hurtful, I hold close to me because those memories are all I have left of my deleted motherhood.

The mind plays tricks on us. My subconscious wish in the early years following the loss of my two oldest children, was to forget. So some memories were clouded over the years, but I couldn't forget it all. And with reunion and the subsequent revelations about what happened to me and to my children at the behest of an unjust and judgmental society, the clouded memories have become clear and distinct. I guess this one was among the last bits of sadness to find its way to my fully conscious mind.

The sad teen in the photo above is a mother-to-be, sad in her heart, anxious in her mind and holding a miracle in her womb. She needs all the love I can give her. She's had a rough time of it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We're Heading For The Hills

I am really disturbed, on so many levels and for so many reasons, with the tidal surge of hate and intolerance that has emerged with the Tea Party gang. I hate to say it, but I find, in their numbers, many old friends who used to lean a bit to the left or, at least, were on the moderate side. The ignorance about and vilification of President Obama has left me with jaw dropped about the way these people lap up misinformation. I have my own criticisms of his performance, but I don't swallow hate-based lies. This is the kind of mindset that prevailed during the EMS. Seeing it out there, alive and squirming with malice, makes it more urgent for us to head for the hills, literally and figuratively.

Where we are moving, the nearest neighbor is a mile away and people mind their own business. If we are careful about what we watch on TV and read online, maybe we can put some kind of distance between us and the madness. I feel like there is a huge, nasty monster nipping at the heels of the moderate sector of our population. We are in very real danger of seeing religion worm its way deeper into our government. What that has to say about the future of family preservation is really frightening.

Since I know, personally, a few of these TP's, let me tell you what I know about just them. They are members and true believers attending fundamentalist, evangelical Christian churches. They were avid supporters of both Bushes and despised Clinton. They tend to question our president's citizenship and shudder at the thought of any social program to aid the people who need it. They see anything with the tags of "socialism" or "social welfare" as lurking shadows of communistic evil. They are unaware that with Medicare, Social Security, EOE, unemployment benefits, disability income, free public education and many other things that we take as our due, we are already dabbling in socialism. These people are appalled at the sexual behavior of others but feel very self-righteous about any war in which the US is involved, even  those predicated upon outright lies (and for every lie we bring to their attention, we get back, "well, Clinton got a blow job."). These are people who are hanging on to the repressive and bloody legacies of the Puritans, the Native American-killing "pioneers" and the McCarthy era. They really, really liked Ike and think Nixon got a bum rap. Reagan is, to them, a demi-god.

They see Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin as great, political minds and will believe outrageous things if these sickos say they are so. And they believe that adoption is just the best damn thing since sliced bread. They want to keep maternity homes running and build more. They are the kind that blame the victim for her rape and blame the mother for her loss. They are the kind that think records should remain closed and that no single mother is good enough to raise her own child. Please note that this applies to the ones I, personally, KNOW. And it breaks my heart to see a couple of them, really intelligent women, go down this road. Rather than being the kind of friends that will say, "Hell yes, you got taken," they are the kind that are quick to assure me that I have been forgiven for my sin of fornication. I wonder at the group as a whole if these folks are so involved in it.

We have two choices, those of us who are middle of the road or lean to the left and who want to bring Big Adoption down. We can either fight or run. My husband is 70 and I am 65. We are not very scrappy at our time of life. I can write and I can blog, but I can't get out there in the hot sun and debate people who have no intention of allowing reason of any sort to sway their thinking. I can vote and I can write letters telling our leaders that something really nasty is going to happen, but I cannot, on my own, influence the US congress, the state legislature or even our town council.

If what I fear comes to pass and this political scenario becomes fact, then I am going to be glad to be hidden in our very private retreat in the hills, far away from neighbors, neighborhood associations, political block parties and surrounded by rugged individualists who mind their own business. I have even tried to persuade Hubby to emigrate to Canada, but the hills of WV is as far north as he is willing to go.

If I sound like an alarmist, so be it. I've been leery of this kind of political activism since Robertson tried to run for President and Falwell started up the, so-called, "Moral" Majority. Every time I dare to look, I see these monsters gaining steam and gaining ground. In fact, they are right on our heels. Unless we are really equipped and ready to fight for our rights and freedoms, I guess we had better run. But I hate to sound like a coward. I really want to preserve the momentum that began in the 60's when so much became so much more open.

Say, what about a group, with a PAC, banners and media coverage? We could, maybe, call ourselves, "The Humane Majority?"

It might be worth a shot.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And The Beat Goes On

Life always has a way of sideswiping us while we are making plans and pursuing our avocations. It's been a lot of up and down with me and mine, lately. At my age, there always seem to be things I have to stop and see to while I am trying to change the world (said tongue in cheek..I know I am not that powerful).

We are still involved in a battle against Mast Cell Tumor cancer in our little rat terrier mix, Rocky. We just discovered his third mass since April. He was just healing up from having his second one removed when we came across this one. He gets daily massages which he enjoys but which are, in reality, us checking him for any lumps that shouldn't be there. He is in surgery, right now and will be starting chemotherapy next week. We have placed a limit on how far we will go with this and it has been a rough decision. If any more tumors appear while he is undergoing chemo, then we are switching to palliative care until the time comes to let him rest. He is a real trooper and I think he knows we are trying to help him. He just gets so stressed when we go into the vet's office. I was in tears when we left him this morning.

Meanwhile, my husband and love of my life is ill again with a flare-up of a chronic illness. His IBD is considered "mild to moderate" but the flares are no fun. We are having to jump through the usual medical and insurance hoops just to get him treated and it's frustrating. He's been diagnosed long enough for us to know what is going on. Just get the treatment started, already! I have to thank whatever powers there are that brought me to this man. He keeps his spirits up, no matter how bad things get. He is my anchor. It is my honor and privilege to care for him when he is unwell. He is also a lot of fun to be around, as you can see.

I have so much in my life for which to be grateful. It isn't easy to stop and count your blessings when you are plowing through the audacity of life, but it is the only way I can stay sane. The other way I hold on to my (relative) sanity is with activism and laughter. I do what I can, say what I can to  be a voice for EMS mothers. And I have learned to do something I wish a few other loved ones would learn to do...I can laugh at myself. What would have mortified me when I was young, now just tickles me. I think that age enables us not to take ourselves so seriously that we miss out on the fun of being alive.

I could get all bent out of shape about so many things, such as the glassy-eyed beemommies who are acting as young Judas goats for the Industry and sailing along on the drug of assumed heroism and righteousness. They do make me want to barf. But then, I had to laugh when the picture popped into my head of row after row of Mattell's First Lady of dolls, and calling them "Birthmom Barbies." I see the pictures and read the saccharine stories that exalt the surrendering of their own flesh and blood and have to wonder if every last one of them is 'Legally Blond."

Once in a while, you have to live. It is a fact that you need to see about things at home, first. And all the time, you need to take time to laugh and be aware of what good has come your way. And I have to also be grateful for the fact that I am real, I am whole and I'm not up on that wall with all the Barbies. I wonder if any of them would have had the strength to endure what we did? This is an age of being self-entitled and self-deluded. I don't think that many of them would make it without the fairy stories they tell themselves and others.

So, today, I am going to let the BmomBarbies hang, while I see to my guys and to my life. I might even take a nap if I get the time. Life IS and it sure beats the alternative.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Demonizing Natural Mothers

You know, the media and the Industry has really done a chop-job on Nmoms. We are either the sacrificing sheep, acting as Judas goats to lure in the unwary, pregnant woman, or we are nebulous monsters who didn't care, abandoned their babies and don't want our kids to have their original birth certificates. They don't seem to be too good at taking a look at the real mothers of adoption loss with an unbiased eye.

It never dawned on me before, but a perfect example of the "good" adopter versus the "bad" natural mother can be found in the movie "Aliens." In this second chapter of the 'Aliens' saga, our hero, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) returns to the planet where the first alien monster was found. While there, she finds Newt, an orphaned little girl who has been hiding in the duct work of the ravaged settlement. Instant bonding (unrealistic) and they go on to struggle for survival against the very hideous, vicious monsters.

Newt is captured by the aliens and cocooned to act as a host for one of the alien infants when Ripley, armed with flame-throwing tommygun, finds her. The queen alien, the natural mother, is busily doing what her species does...reproducing. Ripley frees Newt and holds off the alien horde by threatening the precious eggs of the mother/queen alien. As Ripley backs away with Newt in her arms, she reconsiders and flames the eggs and aliens and runs for it. Naturally, the mother screams (that is not just fury but pain...those are her children), magically detaches from her reproductive system and heads out after the hero and her adoptee.

What follows is a classic for lovers of the sci-fi genre...the battle between Ripley in a souped-up, robot Hyster and the Alien queen. As the Alien tries to capture Newt, Ripley emerges from the bay in her Hyster suit and grinds out, "Get away from her, you BITCH!" Ripley manages to fight the monster off long enough for the android assigned to the expedition to rescue them. There is more mayhem and a final expulsion of the Alien into the vacuum of space and Newt cries out "Mommy" as she is gathered into Ripley's exhausted arms. Then the adoptive (human/righteous) mother and her cute little girl settle down to sleep until their ship can be found by rescuers.

I wonder if anyone else but me felt a moment of sympathy for the Alien Queen as her infant ova were being turned into barbecue? The fight scene was called, by one critic, "the battle of the mothers," but the adoptive mother was a long-legged, strikingly attractive human and the natural mother was a hideous, slavering monster with acid for blood. Maybe I am reaching, but the subliminal message here is not a nice one. For me, it is an all-too-true analogy for the exalting of the adopter while demonizing natural mothers. A lot of those who haven't walked in our shoes wonder what kind of unnatural creature would give up her own flesh and blood?

I think that I have mentioned before that a lot of adult adoptees and adopters are dismayed, when the mother and her adult surrendered child are reunited, to find, for the most part, normal, everyday women, some accomplished, intelligent and very respectable. They are looking for the crack whore Alien. It is very hard for many of our adult children to understand the pressure we were under from society, our families and the, then, infant Industry. They can't understand that, while we sacrificed our parental rights under duress, we never stopped being mothers. When they want to treat us as the lesser "others," many of us rebel at that.

I guess we do look like alien demons to many an adopter. We have lurked in the dark back rooms of their psyches from the time they took custody of our children. We frighten them. It is their own fear because we are not wanting anything but a chance to know our child. We went deeply into the lair of the beast to save our children from what we were told would be certain tragedy and dysfunction. Funny but there is dysfunction in adoptive families. Adoption makes for dysfunction. There is no perfect family. But they didn't tell us that when they were appropriating our children.

If we were the evil entities that many say we are, it would probably be easier for the adopters to fight us. But they might as well look in a mirror. Most of us are just normal, natural.........Mothers.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

That Night In The Rain

The blog post by Musing Mother about the surrender documents brought back so many memories. I had a long labor with my firstborn and had also been treated for phlebitis while pregnant. I was back from the hospital and moved from my upstairs dorm room to the large room downstairs that was designated as the "Mothers' Room," a title that I now find interesting and a bit cruel. I had a huge episiotomy so I had to spend a certain amount of time on the bed, covered by a sheet while a warm light was shone on my privates. That, sitz baths, Anacin and a lidocain ointment were all the relief I was given.

It was just after supper and I was under the light, again, when my social worker, a stocky little woman with blunt-bobbed, salt and pepper hair and thick glasses, came in. She gave me time to get decent and I noticed that all the other Mothers-With-Empty-Arms had disappeared and I was alone with Ms. Stone.

Ms. Stone was very solicitous. She got one of those stupid, inflatable, doughnuts cushions for me to sit on and brought me over to the little table that was in the center of the dorm room. It was the 12th of April. My daughter was six days old and I had left the hospital without her. It was raining, heavily, outside and the weather more than matched my mood.

Ms. Stone had brought the surrender document for me to sign. Fighting tears, I tried to read it through the blur and each word that I can remember was a knife through the heart. "The undersigned, Robina D. Kinney, does willingly and with full knowledge relinquish all parental rights, claims and responsibilities to the infant child known as Sarah Irene Kinney...." There was a lot more gibberish, but, for some reason, that one part stayed with me, brought to the surface of my memories after reunion. I signed because I knew I had no other choice. If I didn't  sign, I had been convinced I would have no place to go and no way to make a life for us. I had also been coerced into believing that I would be a toxic and damaging mother to my child. I signed while crying.

Ms. Stone seemed moved by my tears and asked me if there was anything she could do for me. I practically begged for one more visit with my little girl before she was taken away. Mrs. Stone made arrangements for me to be at the exit door at the end of the corridor and she pulled her car around. I opened the door and she opened the car door and I dashed the few short feet through the heavy rain and took the front passenger seat. I thought we were going to ride to the hospital, but she just told me to turn around.

There, in a blanket-lined basket, wearing the white outfit that my grandmother had sent me, was my baby. She was asleep, and sucking on the middle finger of her right hand. She looked content, but my heart was breaking. Ms. Stone remarked on how pretty she was. She did look like a little angel with folded wings. She was still wearing the pink and white beaded bracelet from the hospital and I asked if I could please keep the bracelet. It really meant nothing to anyone else since it had my alias on it rather than my real name. The name "Eve Knight" would haunt me for years because I spent five months of my life being called by that ridiculous name. Ms. Stone slipped the bracelet off my daughter's little wrist and gave it to me. I reached back and touched her and opened the door to get out. I couldn't stand another minute of that pain.

I stood in the rain at the door until the car was out of sight. The house nurse fussed at me, taking my temperature and hustling me into a warm bath. They couldn't send me home to my parents if I was sick. They could prevent most physical illness but not the deep sickness of the heart and soul that would never leave me. That night in the rain, with the lights of the hospital across the street making yellow puddles where they shone on the pavement, standing there, alone, with that little bracelet in my hand, will always be one of the most painful moments of my life.

14 months later, the victim of a violent date-rape nine months earlier, I stood in a parking lot, under a sunny June sky, with my newborn son in my arms. Still unwed, still deemed unfit even though I had not done anything but be with the wrong person at the wrong time, I kissed him goodbye...something I had not been able to do with my daughter....and placed him in the lap of a lady riding shotgun with the social worker there to take him back to Columbia, SC to the same agency that had taken my daughter. He was dressed all in yellow...another gift from my grandmother. I remember his shiny dark hair, which I learned, later, fell out and came back in blond, and how husky he was at eight pounds.

I didn't expect it to hurt every bit as badly as it did the first time, but it did and I clutched a second little hospital bracelet in my hand on the way back to the home, dry-eyed until I could get some privacy. I closed myself in one of the less-used bathrooms and sobbed until my throat was sore and my head ached. I still, to this day, do not remember signing surrender documents for my son.

On December 23, 1968, before they closed the lid on my mother's coffin, I slipped both bracelets into her hands and silently asked her to look after her grandchildren because I couldn't. Numbed with grief, for my children as well as my mother,  I was still trying to say good-bye. Those farewells just never took. How does a mother say goodbye to living, breathing children, forever?

In 1993, I reunited with both children, now adults, familiar strangers, and started learning a few hard truths about adoption, what it had done to me, to them and to all in my world. It has been a bumpy ride. My daughter and I are estranged for the second time in 17 years. My contact with my son, while cordial, is sporadic. I have learned to make my own peace and happiness, one day at a time, and have become, unashamedly, anti-adoption as it is practiced in this society. My stance has nothing to do with the nature of my reunions. It is about what I feel and believe in my deepest heart and a stance arrived at with a lot of thought and research and interaction with other mothers and adult adoptees.

My efforts are now directed to the mothers of my era, the EMS, and the injustices they endured. I don't have to explain or justify my stance to anyone. I didn't come to the place where I am now, in activism, overnight.

It was a long, slow process that began on April 12, 1962 in Charlotte, NC, that night in the rain.