That would be me.
So after just having had that horrible eruption with my close friend and neighbor, Yvonne, I got gob-smacked the other night by childless successful corporate attorney, also a friend. Call him Aston. He is godfather to one Chinese adoptee, who lives down the street from us, she's now fifteen; friend to another women who also has a Chinese girl, now fourteen; and one of his very best friends has a white son...from Gladney in Texas, one of the agencies that supports the National Council for Adoption.
Anyway, those are only the adoptions we know about that Aston is close to. God knows what started it, but he went on a long nasty harangue about how any birth mother coming back is always interfering, always upsetting this nice family, and after the parents have "invested" so much, both financially and emotionally, this WOMAN HAS NO RIGHT TO DO THAT!!!!
After I tried to make a case for the agony of not knowing, and gave him a brief history of sealed adoptions (Kansas and Alaska didn't count because they weren't big enough states) he came up with this question: What part of the pie chart of a birth mother who searches can be ascribed to self-interest? ....
Tell me, how do you answer that?
My husband Tony was there throughout and took Aston on as much as I did because that question left me speechless. The "discussion" might have taken place in a courtroom. Aston didn't know (why would he?) there was any research about birth mothers. Or the great mystery in the life of an adoptee. I did have him leave with both a copy of The Adoption Triangle and the Donaldson adoptee report. He's never had kids, when he and he wife wanted to adopt, his mother talked them out of it.
Damn, I can't even write about this without crying. All I know is that birth others are really seen as the pariahs by the elite class of adopters who have never been in the position of being poor, or feeling they had no options. Yvonne is one, Aston is another. Aston's wife, who did want to adopt quite badly, it came out, mostly said nothing but she at least got it that birth mothers would feel ...what is the word? Aston and I ended up using agony to refer to the pain birth mothers feel.
Here is what I emailed him the next day:
I'm just one person but I have had stacks of letters over the years thanking me for what I do from adopted people; what they want is for their mothers to find them. Adoption is painful, and keeping everything locked up--no matter who does the searching--does not make it less so. Only in the minds of people who have never walked the walk. Since you have such strong opinions that I'm in the wrong in such a major way, I hope you will take the time to read some of the material, including the birth mother survey that is at the site I sent yesterday. (you don't need to read it all, you can find the relevant sections from the TOC.
Lorraine,I have given the following young lady your email and asked her to contact you, as her adoption was handled in New York. Please if you can pass her along to anyone who might be of assistance to her. She contacted me through the Care2 network.
Hello Ms. Roberta,
Thank you for responding to my inquiry. The main dilemma that I have been encountering is that I was born in Miami FL, but taken away from my mothers arms (when she moved up to NYC I might have been 1 yrs old) and put into foster care in Bronx, NY and that eventually led into an adoption by a family that was not well receiving of me as the adoptee. I somehow remembered from the time I was 4 1/2 yrs old that the foster care agency was located on 349 East 149th Street; Bronx, NY 10451 because of the building structure and the CitiBank logo on there; however, nobody knew the name of the agency that was once in the basement area of CitiBank back in 1984-1990's. I was told by CitiBank reps that that organization left during the 90's. This is the only detail I could recall of that has made me continue asking people if there's a way to get the agency's name during 1984. I even wrote Governor Pataki to please help me in this search and he replied with several agency's names in the Bronx and they claimed that I don't exist on their system.
I greatly appreciate your interest to assist me in any way, I hope to receive guidance if that's possible so that my life mystery can come to an end. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
One more thing, that I did not bring up that night: Aston's father was the guardian ad litem for the Schmidt/DeBoer child, Baby Anna/Jessica. Who argued in the Michigan court that the baby's best interests were with staying with the DeBoers....Who in my mind were nothing but baby snatchers as the real mother asked for the child back within the time limit but fought her for two years in the courts. Incidentally, the DeBoers later divorced.
Oh yeah, where did all this take place? At my dinner table, just the cozy four of us. I'd love to hear from other birth mothers about the reactions they get when it becomes clear they were the ones who did the searching.