Monday, February 28, 2011

They're All Alike...Aren't They??

I went through a period in my life when I pretty much judged all men by one standard. In my mind, they were all out for one thing only, incapable of fidelity and emotionally immature. I was pretty darn smug in my biased wisdom as I tarred each and every male with the same brush. After all, I had learned my lesson about the opposite gender through hard and painful experience. With a flick of my wrist and a twisted grin, I would proclaim, loudly, that "Men are all alike."

Was that fair of me or even accurate? NO. I was guilty of what I call "Center of the World Syndrome." If it was true for me, it was true for everyone. My experience with men, save my grandfather and a favorite uncle, was hurtful and traumatic. I obviously had a lot of maturing to do and I don't wonder that my first marriage was not very successful. While I don't think it was all my fault, I am sure that my attitude towards men didn't help anything. Thank goodness I finally stopped calling all equines mules and got to know men as individuals. I  have a wonderful husband and some terrific male friends and my sons are terrific.

It's unfortunate that some seem to see ALL Natural Mothers based on their own negative experiences with their own. I can understand the frustration, anger and hurt that an adoptee experiences when their mothers are too frightened, ashamed or too indoctrinated by the adoption myth to be open to their surrendered children. I don't blame them for telling it like it is FOR THEM. But we are not all alike any more than all adopted people are identical. We don't hold a set of magic keys to open all the doors to all their mysteries, but most of us welcome our reunited children and do our best. Some of us even searched for our children.

When making a statement about something an Nmom has done that is unfair or unkind, I think it's important to make it clear that it is that one particular mother who is being cited. When you say "Mothers," it indicts us all. Being surprised or resentful when we object is ignoring the obvious. When we ask that you don't say this about all of us, that isn't an attack. It's simply a reasonable request based on fairness and logic.

Now, I want to address one issue in particular and that's the idea recently put forth that we think, because we gave birth, that we can control all our children into adulthood. Nothing is further from the truth. Were I to try to tell my adult, raised children that they couldn't associate with their surrendered siblings, they would laugh out loud. I have not had that kind of "control" since they were 13. True, there might be the rare controlling matriarch among us who tries, but I doubt if she would meet with a lot of success. On the other hand, there have been any number of Adopters who have issued just such an ultimatum to their adopted, ADULT children and were obeyed. MOST of us Nmoms are not that insecure.

But the bottom line here is that stereotyping anyone, especially in the adoption reunion, open records arena, is cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. The "Us against Them" schism between mothers and adult adoptees as two separate groups IS unnecessary and counter-productive. All it takes to avoid this is to be careful to own our own situations without presenting it as an across-the-board portrayal of all mothers OR adoptees.

We have joined with adoptees in an effort to balance the scales for mothers, support the rights of our children to their original birth certificates and to bridge the gap between the two parties. I am sure that there are some mothers that would rather we wouldn't do that and some adoptees that would rather we not even show up in San Antonio in August.

But this is about all of us..not just the adoptee and not just the mother. There are decades of secrets, lies and painful experiences from which we all need to heal and even more decades of discrimination against both that must cease. We're all sensitive from our experiences. It doesn't take much to touch off that raw nerve on both ends of the discussion. Unfortunately, there are those among us who are so angry and so settled in that anger that trying to get those individuals to see reason and temper their comments with equity and compassion is dust in the wind. This is where I think we ALL need to be careful, adoptees and mothers, not to let those who have not dealt with their anger direct our actions.

I wish I could be mother to all the adopted adults who have met with heartache. I wish they all could be made welcome by their mothers and natural families.And I wish that the mothers who have been treated badly by the adoptee could have the kind of adult child that I have had the pleasure to meet, know and grow to admire and care for. I wish they could experience the love I have received from  my adult, reunited children. I wish reunions were all wonderful but even the best have their thorny moments. 

If anything gets done, it will be done better, quicker and more fairly if we do it together. I reiterate; We mothers of SMAAC support adoptees in their quest for open access to their Original Birth Certificates. We also believe that adult adoptees have the right to free association with any other adult, natural family members they wish to contact. And in saying that, we represent the thinking of the majority of Natural Mothers. Most mothers do NOT want to control their adult children. We're past the point where we want the aggravation. We know how to cut apron strings and nudge the young ones out of the nest.

As far as "Control?" I can just hear all of my children, raised and reunited, saying, should I try to exert control over their associations, "Get REAL, Mom," followed by belly laughs.

I so hope this clears smoke from the issue and that all my adopted friends know it is meant for a few, not all, and is a clarification, not an attack.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Body, My Rights, My Decision, My Goddess!!

It seems that all the patriarchal steam that has been building up in the breasts of the ultra-conservative, good-old-boy network of congress, the senate and even the clergy is erupting in the legislature. This article from MoveOn.Org about the war being waged against women has managed to piss me off more than anything that has happened in these benighted times. HOW DARE THEY? Chris Lee (R.GA), with the approval of the always offensive John trying to drag us back into the cave with the rest of the Neanderthals. How can they actually propose to redefine rape? Take it from someone who has been there and had that done to her. Rape is rape whether the victim puts up a fight or not. It is either done through force, superior strength, threat of bodily harm or death or, coercion or, for the real loser rapist, drugs. EVERY WOMAN HAS A RIGHT TO SAY "NO," even to her husband and to have legal recourse if that is not respected.

The onslaught against Planned Parenthood, the Right to Choose and even our right to our place in society according to our abilities is under fire. John BoneHead and the Tea Party putzes seem to be playing right into the hands of the Adoption Machine. If we don't have access to birth control, if we are treated as second-class citizens with no autonomy and our sexuality seen as immoral and needing Federal regulation BY MEN, then there are going to be a big bunch of babies for the salivating customers of the Industry.

The NCFA is a powerful and effective lobby for the baby-brokers. These schmucks we have elected are going to push the agenda that gets their palms greased the most and appeals to the ignorant, don't-ask-questions-just-have-a-tea-party, voters. They toss out buzzwords like "socialism" but you won't find a one of them willing to forgo their pensions and government health care. What's wrong with that picture? And where are all those jobs the Tea Party promised us via the GOP??

Never, in my memory, has a president ever been as vilified by the opposition, shown as little respect and hog-tied as effectively as our current leader. I am sickened by the viciousness of the hatred directed towards this man. Hmmm..looks like racism to me. Everyone has their own opinion of his record of activity while in office, and a few of his supporters are unhappy, but we can't even address THAT for the "birthers" demanding witnesses to his birth and documentation above what was supplied by the state of Hawaii. That is a gigantic waste of time...a red herring and just another attempt to obliterate the social progress of the past several decades and keep women and workers under the thumbs of the haves.

As much as I would love to remain aloof from all these teapot tempests, I cannot mentally or emotionally transcend the vicious attack against the ground we have gained as women and the roadblocks being placed in front of our march to justice for the mothers of the EMS. Any type of adoption reform would be totally doomed if these reactionaries have their way. I am not just pissed...I am royally pissed.

The debacle in Wisconsin in another case of a government official trying to remake a state government in His Own Image. Governor Walker seems to think that taking from the middle class and giving to the rich makes him some kind of Robin Hood. Education and the right to organize will feel this one where it hurts. I hope the protesters hang in there.

The wealthy and big business are calling in all markers, now, to keep the IRS out of their offshore accounts. So the programs that stand the most likely chance of being the object of deep cuts are those that offer assistance to the most needy among us. I breathe a sigh of relief every month when I log into our account and see that our Social Security is still coming in. Seniors, single mothers, poor children, anyone with a need who isn't financially able to provide these needs for themselves, these will be the victims of the self-righteous , arrogant social engineers. Oh, and the arts will definitely get the shaft.

I hope that our government and the fat cats that really run it are taking note of what is happening in the Middle East. Where there is injustice, poverty and oppression of ANY sort, there is a ripe and ready arena for revolution. Our Constitution guarantees us the right to peacefully assemble and protest. I think a lot of that is going to be happening.

And I have developed a sudden and deep distaste for tea.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Barring Death and Disease..SA, Here I Come!

Well, I tied down my airline reservations, yesterday. I don't know if there will be many SMAAC mothers in San Antonio in August, but this mother will be there, as will Musing Mother. I will be flying in on my wedding anniversary, leaving hubby at home with the two terrors..uh, I mean Terriers. That's how important it is to me to be a part of this gathering. I am lucky that he understands.

While this is a project of the Adoptee's Rights group, it will also be the first time that the mothers will be able to speak up for our rights as well as supporting the rights of adoptees to their original birth certificates. Will we be heard? I hope so, but it is also very important to note that we are actually speaking out in a venue other than blogs, letters and Facebook sites.

Our message will be a bit different from what has been talked about, prior to this occasion. We not only support the rights of adoptees, we also are stating that we mothers are worth the trouble of  real consideration of our own rights, as well...rights that were badly violated when our children were taken for adoption during the Era of Mass Surrender. We are neither fragile flowers needing protection, nor are we nothing more than a rung on a ladder for our adult children to climb. We are self-respecting, mature women who can handle our own relationships and decide, for ourselves, what we will and will not share with others, especially when that right is threatened by the state.

No, Mr. and Ms. Legislator, we do NOT need protection of our "anonymity" from our own children. We have the freedom of association as it is guaranteed in the Constitution and we can pursue that as we wish. Most of us are in our 60's. We have survived the worst that life could throw at us. Why should we need legal protection of a presumed right we were never, in most states, given in the first place and why is it assumed we would even want it? WHEN are these people going to listen to us rather than the various adoption-friendly organizations who have the temerity to try to do our talking for us? That one really chaps my hide. Every time Pertman or Johnson or an adopter tries to speak for us, I see red.

We have long had our differences with the content of many of these bills being considered or that have passed in many states. We do not have any patience with the idea that our personal medical and psycho-social histories should be on tap for the state to disseminate to adult adoptees as they see fit. We have long believed that there should be true equality in who has access to open record which means that mothers should have access to identifying information of their adult children. Fair is fair.

And maybe, just maybe, there might be time to say something, while we are there, about justice for the mothers of our era. Perhaps there will even be an opening to let these people know that it still happens to women of the present day. Maybe we can help create a crack in the mortar that holds together an elitist institution, a social experiment that has failed. Maybe people could start seeing that the rights guaranteed us in our Constitution do not include the right to take children from mothers just because they are single or poor or the right to recruit women to bear children for the infertile.

Maybe the day will come, hopefully, when we are no longer soiled goods with fragile psyches still in our teens...maybe the day will come when adult adoptees are no longer treated as infants and property.

But, I'm getting ahead of step at a time. However, this IS history and we are helping to make it. If all I ever do is this one thing, I can be at peace with myself and let things happen as they come. It took a long time for this Industry to become the power house it is and it will take a long time to take it down a peg or ten.

At my age, I have nothing but time. We'll see.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Valentine Wish For All

As it has been shown here and as I have said on my FB page, we don't all see eye to eye. We don't all agree on the same course to take or have the same priorities. Some of us are more negatively affected than others although we all bear our scars.

But today, in my eyes, we are all just a large group of wounded mothers and their adult children who need love, even when we are at our most unlovable. It's hard to be sweet and likeable 24/7, anyway, even for those who haven't been traumatized by the grief without a grave.

So, whether you like or don't like the Primal Wound theory, whether you have a good reunion or no reunion or a bad one, whether you think all parties to the adoption farce should have equal access or not, you are all my Valentines, today. You are all in my heart and on my mind.

Whether or not you agree with my personal opinions, whether or not you have the same aims and goals that I do, I am loving you, today. We are all in that same, big, old, leaky boat sailing the sea of uncertainty and anger and confusion. We are all survivors, fighters and seekers of the truth. We might not agree on how to get there, some of us might be behaving from our broken and wounded state, but we all suffered an inconceivably painful loss. We all need love and affirmation. We all need to hear our truth told and heard.

So, short and sweet, because tomorrow we will probably be wrangling over the fine points again, Will You Please Be My Valentine, today?

With Love,
Just a Mom

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Talk About Runaway Horses....Whew

Some may notice that I deleted yesterday's blog entry which was MY personal take on the use of certain theories of therapy and trauma to justify calling NMoms nasty names. It was NOT directed at either side of the legislation debate nor was it meant to deny the real pain that comes from adoption. It was not posted to precipitate a debate on whether or not we should apologize to our children for anything. It was meant to say one thing and one thing only.


I will not apologize for feeling like there is no excuse for any one adopted person slandering mothers across the board just because they drew a loser. I will not apologize for considering name-calling juvenile, ill-mannered and counter-productive.

We have reached a place I thought we'd never reach..where we are being acknowledged as having some stake and some rights in the ongoing battle. I didn't want to mess that up at all.

So, to my adopted friends, I am sorry if it sounded like I was denying your wounds. I don't deny them. I know they are real because I have a few of my own. I was objecting to the unkind, incorrect and vicious name-calling of a minute but very loud number of adopted adults.

As far as the legislation is concerned, I have friends on both sides of that issue and my ideas about it are already known. I also have a lot of respect for those on both sides of the legislation debate.

But I don't respect a person who doesn't even know me, lumping me in with the lowest common denominator of mothers. I don't respect people who don't even make the effort to be civil and mature. It was to those that I directed yesterday's blog...NOT to the entire community of adoptees.

And I still have serious reservations about Verrier's work.  Now, I am going to go take something for this headache and sit in a dark room and scream like a chicken.

Time out, everyone!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Good Girls Did

I am downloading Patti Hawn's book, "Good Girls Don't" to my Nook reader. I was just a couple of years ahead of her in age and giving birth, but it seems that she tells the story of many a Senior Exiled Mother. One thing about the book review I read that really resonated with me was the phrase, "(Hawn) tells of a time and society that young women of today find hard to visualize." Hell, the generation directly after ours finds it hard to comprehend the oppressive nature of the burden we bore to stay "pure."

I had several pairs of white gloves. I think they were reminders to us of our need to never sully our hands or ourselves with the dirt of the human animal's nature or we would be tainted, forever.

I have also been reading "The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession With Virginity Is Hurting Young Women" by Jessica Valenti. Same Stuff, Different Day. Now they have "Purity Rings" and father-daughter "Purity Balls"  and abstinence-only pledges. While young men are invited to make a pledge, it still seems the emphasis is on the girls.

That little bit of tissue carries a lot of importance in this Puritanical society of ours. I know for a fact that many "Good Girls" did have sex before marriage and, unfortunately, some of us got caught with an unplanned pregnancy. During the course of those pregnancies, most of us fell in love with our little passengers and the real pain was just around the corner.

I remember asking a guy why he hadn't called me back after I refused his advances on a date. He told me then (1964), that there were "two kinds of girls, the kind you married and the kind you f*****." It was his opinion, since I was no longer "pure," that I was of the latter variety. Needless to say, I did get married, I had children I was allowed to keep and raise, but it took me decades to believe in my own basic decency and worth again. I had received that hypocritical message once too often and the shame stuck with me for a long time.

To give the younger generations an even more graphic picture of the kind of horror that greeted our painful confessions of fertility, a dear friend's mother put her in a tub and made her douche with Lysol. I  wonder if she thought she could wash any previous activity away with a disinfectant?

Patti Hawn was sent away to a relative. Many of us were warehoused in maternity homes. The goal, for our families, anyway, was a daughter returned to them "re-virginized" and purified. I so wanted to be loved by my family. I wanted them to see the good in me. I wanted a lot of things, including the love and loyalty of my older daughter's father. I got nothing and had my babies removed from me, to boot.

I'll be interested to read Hawn's story. I hope she found peace and self-worth in her journey. It's a tough road to travel and none of us intended to make the trip. But few of us managed to be the person our purification was supposed to produce. Tragedy, loss and ostracism at a young age can change the course of a person's life in a big way. Many of us are now in our 7th decade of life and have come to terms with something that no one from the recent generations can even begin to understand.

It's funny. I see young girls at the Mall and out and about elsewhere wearing clothes that we were only allowed to wear at home. We would have been expelled had we ventured to school in a pair of jeans. Of course, we would be either withdrawn from school or expelled once our pregnancy became known. Girls were the property of their fathers and then became the property of their husbands. It took a bit of bitching to gain what autonomy we now enjoy. Anyone who thinks we have it made just has to read Valenti's book to see that we still have a struggle to overcome the prevalence of unrealistic, patriarchal expectations. It would be a total tragedy to see any more progress made in the effort to undermine and obliterate Roe v. Wade.

It's scary that there are those that want to take us back there. I wonder if white gloves and dresses would come back into fashion? Have you ever tried to keep white gloves clean?

Clorox would make a fortune.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

What Do We Want?

You know, FAQ bullet-point answers are all well and good, but when it comes to the question of what the Natural Mothers of SMAAC want, in my opinion it just can't be power-pointed into a nice little sentence or two. We do our best, but there is so much dangling over the sides that I keep wanting to expand the platform. I guess that is what these blogs are all about. Here, I can expand.

I remember when I was active in the early feminist movement of the late 60's -early 70's. I wrote a letter to the editor about something, I don't remember exactly what, and it was published. Of course, my name and location was also published.

I was appalled to receive a call from some strange man, the day after my letter appeared in the newspaper, asking me, in an exasperated tone, "just what do y'all want??" I told him I wanted the right to express my opinion without having a total stranger call my home and invade my privacy. He apologized, which surprised me, and said goodbye.

It's funny that now we are still trying, as Natural Mothers, to have the right to speak for ourselves and to educate others on the difference between privacy, confidentiality and anonymity. That's number one on my personal "I Want" list. I want other people to stop speaking for me. By other people, I mean anyone who supports adoption, benefits or profits from adoption and I do mean the likes of Adam Pertman, the NCFA, the ACLU and adopters. HOW DARE those entities speak for us?

I have to use the analogy of my friend, Musing Mother, who, in a discussion of the matter, said that a male adopter (Pertman) speaking for us is like a woman describing what it is like to pee standing up via a penis. It does not compute. WE know how we feel. For people like Pertman to presume to advocate for us (in a way that is sure to keep adoption a going concern) is more than just is insulting.

Now, let me warn some FB friends from the get-go. I consider anyone speaking on behalf of Pertman and in his defense to be violating my rules about no pro-adoption or pro-adopter rhetoric here. I am not one of those who believes that for us to succeed we need adopters on our side. That's like the flies inviting the spiders to dinner. I can not conceive of there ever being a proper addressing of the crimes against the mothers and equal access to information happening with the assistance of those who adopt. It certainly won't happen with the "help" of the NCFA or the EBDI.

More than anything, I would love to see all these people stop their jawing and ask US what we want and then LISTEN. They might be amazed to learn that we are not frail, fragile, ignorant, deviant, amoral, careless or without respectability. Those few fear-ruled, shame-infused, coward moms that protest open OBCs need to put on their big girl panties and deal. Those of us who are not afraid of our pasts, are not ashamed of our lives and who care about the children we lost to adoption are stronger and more plentiful than these few, pitiful, shallow women who are being used  by the industry.

Fast on the heels of wanting to be able to speak for ourselves and be heard, comes the wish that we could all come together, mothers and adopted people, without egos, rancor, stereotyping or arguments about trivia. If we could agree on one thing, that Natural Mothers and Adopted Adults deserve the human and civil right to know their origins or the welfare of their children without government, agency or any other institutional interference, that would be a start.

The ego thing, unfortunately, figures large and looming in the effort to organize and find common ground. There are a few that are so much more concerned with being the star of the show, more wounded than thou or leaving a legacy as the consummate experts on adoption that they draw back and unconsciously sabotage the rest of us...come to think of it, some of that sabotage has been pretty darn deliberate. There are a notable few who can disagree without being disagreeable. These folks can let others have their say, have their own and leave it at that.

Then there are the ones who hammer at a disagreement until they have alienated scores of people..people whose minds have not been changed one whit. That these people would shut the f*** up, is way,way up there on my Want List.

So, you see, when it comes to FAQ's, just getting past the first one..."What Do You Want?"....takes me a whole lot more than a couple of succinct sentences. But I am also a realist and know that attention spans are short and sound bites and Power Point presentations are the communication of the day. So SMAAC and ARD do a good and effective thing with the FAQ's.

But thank the Cosmos for blogs. Sometimes you just have to elaborate.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Elitist Feminism

I find my best inspirations, here of late, in the blogs and comments of adopted people. Amanda's blog on Adoption, Surrogacy and Feminism should be a classic. It seems that protection of women and upholding the rights of women, including reproductive rights, seems to stop at these issues. Mothers with unplanned pregnancies are seen as incubators and surrogates are actively recruited as such. This is something that those of us who have been around the activism block knew but deserves retelling.

You would think that the use of women for breeding purposes for those who wish to adopt would be a Women's Issue, now wouldn't you? A movement that purports to uphold the reproductive rights and autonomy of all women should be up in arms when told our stories, shouldn't they?

NOW was approached, a long time ago, by activist mothers and they gave out the same kind of crap they give out now. They see adoption as a "reproductive right," but for WHOM? It is my observation that the right to adopt and to have a living incubator for a child is the exclusive, if unjustified, right of the women who wanted it all and didn't count on the biological clock and other factors. I have scary visions of a special class of incubator women who produce children for the elite faction of the so-called feminist movement. NOW is top-heavy with adopters as is the media and the entertainment industry. Margaret Atwood wasn't too far off the mark with "The Handmaid's Tale."

So, perhaps the feminist movement was so intent on proving that women were as capable as men that they forgot that there is one area where we are unique. The fact that we are the gender that brings life into the world is left in the dust of equal pay for equal work and the attempt to crash through that glass ceiling. That's where we start seeing, to quote my good friend, Celeste Billartz, "Woman's inhumanity to woman." Rather than seeing the need for more assistance and education to help women with unplanned pregnancies, they are falling back on the old "abort or surrender for adoption" garbage.

Just a bit of support would have been enough for most of us who truly wanted our children. An organization for women's rights should, in my mind, be in the forefront of the effort to provide ways for women and their infants to stay together and make a good life. Instead, they are putting on the steel-toed boots of the patriarchy and kicking us while we are down. Thanks for nothing, Sisters.

I really think that "Wake Up Little Suzie," by Rickie Solinger should be required reading for everyone who wants to become an advocate for the Natural Mothers of the BSE. If our children want to understand us, that book and Ann Fessler's, "The Girls Who Went Away," can help with that endeavor. To know how the same injustice has been carried into the present day, all we have to do is look around us and learn.

I am proud to be a woman. I think that I have intelligence and aptitudes that are the equal of any man. BUT, pregnancy and childbirth are exclusively issues of women. And the feminist movement has been so caught up in birth control and abortion rights that they have overlooked the multitude of women who have suffered a grievous injustice just because of their fertility. They seem to have very selective vision.

SMAAC will be joining the adoptees in San Antonio in August. I would love to have a sign that says, "Where are you when WE need you, NOW?" I wonder if they would notice?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Gathering of Ghosts

I read a great post on the 'My Birth Name Is Allison' blog, this morning, and it started a chain of thought in my mind about the haunting of the Natural Mother and the adopted person. Haunting sounds right because we are beleaguered by ghosts for our lifetime. The trauma of unnatural separation of mother and child is haunting, in and of itself.

You see, when a mother and her infant are separated in the almighty name of adoption, two people are lost forever...the person the child might have become had he/she been raised in the natural family and the person the mother might have been had she not lost that child. Those two people become nebulous and drift on the wind.

The NMom of the EMS, and afterwards for many, was left with the Grief Without a Grave. It was a tacit understanding that she could not openly grieve, and such grief is harder to reconcile since there was no death...the child she lost is alive, somewhere. The presence of that child, or in my case, children, hovers just out of reach of our sight and hearing but always THERE.

The loss of a child is so life altering that the person the mother might have become is lost, forever. I know that, rather than saving me and giving me a new shot at life, I struggled with trying to replace what I had lost, protect what I had from the nebulous "them" that might come and take my raised children and battle for my serenity and sanity. I also waged an all-out war for my respectability until I realized that I held it in my own grasp. The girl I was before and the woman I might have become were now members of that ghostly community.

The adopted person is also haunted and not just by the phantoms of the missing mother and other natural kin. They also lose the person they might have become had they grown up in their family of origin. They, too often, also lose themselves in order to fit the adopters' needs. Then, there is the haunting of the adoptee by the ghost children of the adopters...the natural children they might have had but couldn't. It's hard to live up to these ghosts and accept the realization that one is a second choice.

It is especially hard in the few instances where a child was adopted to replace a child who had died. It has and does happen. I know of one woman who was adopted to replace a little girl who died in infancy and she was even given the dead child's name. What a burden for a child to carry.

Natural Mothers suffering from secondary infertility, most often as a direct result of their initial loss, have a gaggle of "children that might have been" ghosts. Knowing a mother who had no other children because she felt that would have been a betrayal of the child she had taken for adoption is a vivid depiction of how lives are altered and dreams are murdered.

When we reunited, we also lose our fantasy children and mothers. I had set ideas of who my missing children had become based on the promises made to me of perfect lives for my children. What I found was nothing like what I had been promised. My children were damaged and in pain and that was nothing like my fantasy..nothing at all like the false assurances of the social workers. NMoms are often rejected or visited on the sly as Back Street Moms, not good enough to take their place in the lives of their own flesh and blood. When we find open hostility, it is a kick in the gut and another lost dream gone to Ghost Town.

And how many adopted people have fantasized about movie stars, rock icons and other prominent people as their mothers? How many have envisioned us as heartless, uncaring, careless tramps with no feelings for the child we lost? What they usually find is just us...everywoman. Human and still hurting, in most cases, from the loss we suffered all those years ago. Some find the fearful mother and a few find the mother who cannot allow the past back into her life. Add more fanciful constructs to the ghost community...reunion often tends to swell the ghost population rather than diminishing it.

Many popular ghost stories have to do with the avenging spirit. A person dies at the hands of another or commits suicide because someone has greatly disappointed him/her, and they haunt and terrify the offenders and all around them. These ghosts want justice.

Now, the real flesh and blood people want justice. We want it for the girls we were whose promise was often lost in grief. We want it for the identities stolen from our children. We want some form of this elusive justice for the mistreatment, the imposed fantasies, the human suffering, the unfair labeling and the fact that we and our children were subjects of a social experiment that evolved into an Industry with no conscience.

It has been said, here and by other mothers, that we may not see this justice in our lifetimes. But, should I die before it happens, I have every intention of doing my best to become an avenging spirit, haunting the agencies, the lobbyists, the government Industry apologists and the greedy customers of the Industry. I think I might make a very scary ghost.