Saturday, May 21, 2011

Another Day, Another Clarification

I wonder how many who read my blog on angst, drama and terminal uniqueness realized that it is about BOTH the mother AND the adoptee? I got some good comments and then I got some that, though complimentary in nature, showed that some didn't get it at all. Here is some clarification.

I did not say that what happened to mothers and adoptees was GOOD...just that it wasn't the worst thing that could happen to anyone in this nasty world. Mothers deserve acknowledgement and redress for the injustice and adoptees deserve the right to know their heritage. THAT hasn't changed. What I was addressing was this breast-beating anguish over something that can't be changed and that isn't as horrible as some of the tragedy that could be visited upon a person. I am a big fan of the idea that you shouldn't keep carping about something when you could be out there doing something about it.

The other thing I was trying to say is that NO infant has a choice about anything. Vlad Tsepes (Dracula) had kids. Would you choose him for a daddy? We BSE moms, and many of the moms that came after, were victims of an industry that had us believing we were giving our babies a wonderful gift of "better" parents. We REMEMBER being impaled by the sharp stake of loss. (How's that for dramatic?) A good friend of mine says that every drama should have a statute of limitations. After a certain period of time, it is old news and over. While surrender and adoption are not quite in that category, the anguish, tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth over it is no longer appropriate for most of us.

The name calling and thumb-sucking just gets to me. I had two children that were taken for adoption. ONLY THOSE TWO are any responsibility of mine. I am not the bad mommies of other adoptees. I do not owe you a thing because I did not have a thing to do with where you were or are. It is NOT all about the adoptee just like it is not all about the mother. Both parties have feelings and issues that are EQUALLY important. I have found that "un-friending" is a good way to preserve my serenity.

And both parties have a right to work through it and find a place of peace and happiness in their lives. You read on some sites and on FB and you would think that we all sat in our misery 24/7 and we don't need to be perceived that way. If you are miserable 24/7, then you need to seek professional help and find the answers within yourself. Ranting, raving and calling names won't change a thing.

The bottom line, for me, is this. When I was a teenager, I was betrayed, abandoned, made to feel shame, assaulted and suffered the loss of my newborns. That was awful and shame on any and all who contributed to that experience. I am no longer a teenager. I am a senior citizen and if I let all that happened almost five decades ago decide my current state of happiness, shame on ME.

To my adoptee friends, shame on all who really caused your adoption (the Industry, those who fuel it and society). But you are adults...some of you are even grandparents. If you are calling names and raging at all mothers, shame on YOU. Shame, especially, on those who refuse to accept the truth of the BSE and who lump all of us under the heading of birth things.

I have made some personal progress in recent years. There was a time when I would have likened our experience in the BSE to the Holocaust. Yeah, there were a lot of us, but most of us came out of it well-fed and alive though grieving. It is easy to over-dramatize just as it is easy to not take it seriously enough. Balance is essential. We all have lives to live and if I thought that I would be required to never know peace of mind or happiness because of that one aspect of my life, I would have ended it all, years ago.

And, of course, while the concept of a primal wound is feasible, it has, to too many adoptees, become THE PRIMAL WOUND (*terrified scream)!!!!! What has been done with a simple theory has become an excuse to consider one's pain more important and worse than anyone else's, especially the mothers. It has become an excuse for not facing issues and a way to blame others for their shortcomings. Hey guys! You are adults. The buck stops with you.

The ones who shout the loudest are the ones who want us to bow, scrape, prostrate ourselves upon hot coals while begging forgiveness for something that was as much done to us as to them. They say that they were the only INNOCENT victims and refuse to look at the times and social structure that made us vulnerable and helpless victims as well. Remember, that an adopter wrote that book.

Fine, as I have said before. Call YOUR mother anything you like, but I am not now, nor have I ever been, a birth thing. We want to help, but having it demanded of us, being told we owe this to strangers, those who are not even our own children, is not a good strategy. It just isn't the way to win our support.

Has it occurred to anyone that we have better things to do with our time than accepting abuse or dishing it out? Chicken Little says that the sky is going to start falling, today. I think I'll sit back, have a cup of Mocha Java, pet whichever dog winds up in my lap and watch the show. We'll probably grill burgers, tonight.

Now THAT's what I call "Rapture!"


Lori said...

You always make me smile. You say, with much more eloquence, all the things I have been saying - ad infinitum - for the last two decades... give or take. Sure, there are times when I am so angry that I can't see straight or when I am so hurt that my heart is out there and I am fighting back... but for the most part, it is the same as the rest of the world..... Nice post! Well done!

May I quote you? or Link?

Amanda Woolston said...

I always miss these discussions and incidents that happen on Facebook pages and feel lost when it gets mentioned in the bloggosphere. Except, for one recent incident on Facebook, and I only know about it because I read adoptee bloggers vehemently defended the mother on their blogs.

Which is why I wanted to tell you, I've been doing a lot of thinking about people saying "there are worse things" in response to others, whether it be in response to genuine anguish or someone who needs to get over themselves and I have a pending blog post about it. I want you to know that if/when I post it, it's not in response to what you've written here or in disagreement with you or anything else. It is in response to people who say "it could be worse" specifically to be mean or have an excuse not to listen.

Like I said, I too often miss these things when they happen. Sometimes I recognize genuine meanness. And sometimes what I recognize is an adoptee just trying to work something out that they were never permitted to work out until they reached adulthood and were out on there own. I've been there and I know I never meant to hurt anyones feelings when I was there and was processing whatever I was processing. I recognize the same "processing" with my first mom, as we are a year into reunion, from time to time and I see how painful it is for her. Not better or worse than each other's pain or anyone else's. Just different.


Robin said...

Amanda, my previous post was not meant to diminish anyone's pain or disrespect it. It was, hopefully, just a way of putting things in perspective.

I still believe that "working through" something does not give anyone a license to be mean and derogatory on either end. It is our repsonsibility to deal with each other in a civil manner.

I just can't help but think of all the horrible things that can happen that are, yes, worse than what we, mothers and adopted people, went through. But we beat each other with our pain rather than seeking solutions for all.

Without perspective and balance, we are not going to succeed at anything. That's something I have learned in 66 years of living.

Robin said...

@Lori...certainly, you may quote and link. I know where you are, but I also know that peace of mind and heart are possible. Don't give up on getting there.

Amanda Woolston said...

I didn't think you were diminishing any one's pain :-)

Sometimes, people really are rude and nasty and that's not OK.

But there have been times where I've seen an adoptee say something that looked rude and they were misunderstood, but I knew what they had meant. Honestly, there are some things about being adopted I don't talk about because I know it won't make sense to anyone else in the way I want them to understand it and I'll just sound awful.

Gail said...

I do not know you and normally do not do a lot of adoption-related blog reading. I must tell you, however, that I loved both this post and the last one. I kept nodding my head in agreement as I was reading. You also brought a smile to my face as you wrote about a serious topic with a touch of humor. And, btw, I'm also a senior citizen and firstmom from the same era.

Robin said...

Thank you, Gail.

Lori said...

Robin, Actually, I have have been forced to withdraw from reunion... unwillingly for the most part.... or go nuts - nothing like having the reunion/non-reunion from He** to give you perspective, once you have stopped letting them hit you so hard your ears ring. I have found that there is no way to make peace with someone that is not willing to even try. But I am getting there for myself.

Von said...

Thanks Robin for sense and reason, balance and perspective.Hopefully all will attain and occupy that space in time.Posting a link to accompany the link to your other post.Thanks.

maryanne said...

Giving credit where it is due, it takes a big person to admit they were wrong and change a viewpoint. There are many tragedies and horrors like the Holocaust worse than adoption. I too used to see adoption as almost the worst thing, many years ago.

But the longer one lives, the more things are seen as more complex and nuanced. There are people who cannot deal with anything that is not either/or, black/white, and they do not take kindly to anyone with a less rigid stance.

Robin said...

I didn't change my viewpoint so much as I moderated it. To do that, I had to attain a measure of healing.

What happened to us was a personal, individual holocaust (lower case h)that affected us deeply and with many negative results. But the "more wounded than thou" stuff has gotten on my last nerve.

There are a lot of wrongs that need to be righted and justice that needs to be pursued. But it is time to stop wrangling over who was hurt the worst. I would think that the tragedies from recent days would put things into perspective. How many of these damaged whiners have spent years in a jungle POW camp watching their friends go crazy and their skin rot? How many have slowly starved to death and watched their loved ones go through the same?

A grave and painful injustice was done to millions of mothers and their infants and it WAS terrible and it WAS wrong. So face the demon, and get to work. It's the best way to get over that terminal uniqueness. We are still alive and healthy enough to do the job.

No, being adopted or losing a child to adoption...those are not the absolutely most terrible traumas that can afflict a person when put up against concentration camps and natural disasters of biblical proportions. But those thing ARE wrong, painful, cruel and unjust and I remain staunchly anti-adoption. I also do not deny the pain of those still seeking healing. I just want to see them make progress.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

great post, Robin.

While I do consider the re-distribution of children and the government social engineering adoption programs to be wrong, I have not considered these to be among the worst evils of all time.

Nor do I think that losing my son to adoption was the saddest loss of all.

My biggest fear was always that he would die.

. When I was searching for him I was overjoyed to learn he was alive.

I am glad I found him when I did. He was young and healthy then,at 21. He died at the relatively young age of 39, from a blood disease that my family now realizes we probably carry in our genes.

Death of a child is a far greater sorrow.

Robin said...

Kitta, I have to agree with you. I was overjoyed to find my two oldest children alive. Not long after we were reunited...about 3 years later, I watched my husband go through the loss of his only child to suicide. I hurt and was in mourning for him, but my husband was nearly destroyed.I realized how fortunate I was that my four were alive. It caused a big guilt trip there, for a while.

The tragedy of that awful time has helped both of us put things in perspective. If we can learn to live with such a horrible loss in such a terrible way and still find happiness and still grow as humans, then we don't sweat the small stuff and we deal with the bad because we have been through something worse.

It took me years to heal, but that was because I has suppressed the pain and didn't realize I stood in need of healing from my adoption loss. I have healed and have learned how to live with what is.

My husband has made a very good and fulfilling life for himself. If he can do that, then so can we.

maryanne said...


I am so sorry about your son. It is my greatest fear as well. There are no words for the death of a child before the parent, but I hope there is some comfort in having known him.

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

thank you, Maryanne, for your kind words. yes, there is comfort in the 18 years I knew my son and I am glad for that time that we had.

Robin said...

At my mother's funeral, another who died too soon, the minister and our friend said, "one day, rather than distressing over how we came to lose her, we will celebrate the fact that, for this time, we had her." Yes, Kitta. Your 18 years are something no on can take away from you. ((hugs))

Anonymous said...

Kitta here:

thank you Robin. time and life are gifts we are given but we never know just how much we have.

I think we must learn to celebrate the good that we have, and be happy for what we have been given even if it is now gone.

And I believe we should still try to right the wrongs of family separation/adoption.

None of that is easy, as you have so aptly pointed out! ((hugs))