Monday, May 25, 2009

If a drug-addict first mother turns her life around, PLEASE pass on it on to the adoptee

SEE TROY DUNN'S RESPONSE in next day's (May 25, 2009) post

The other night I watched several episodes of The Locator, the show that does as it sounds--finds people for people searching for them. Troy Dunn, whom we've written about before is "the locator," along with his mother and a staff.

One episode that made me crazy reunited a platonic Friend of a woman who had died of AIDS and the woman's daughter, who was three when her first mother died. First Mother had arranged for an open adoption--she had met the parents while she was in the hospital--and had Friend promise that he would stay in touch with her daughter and watch over her. While it is true that the mother had been a drug addict and a prostitute when she contacted AIDS, she completely turned her life around by the time her daughter was born, and, in fact, became an AIDS counselor. First mother was gorgeous in her photographs.

Friend, now a successful entrepreneur, had stayed in touch for a year or so, but then the family moved and left no contact information. Friend knew none of their family or friends, he was a young man, and admittedly did not make any effort to track down the adoptive parents. Now, two decades later, he wanted to keep his promise to his dying friend.

Troy Dunn found the young women still living with her adoptive mother. The adoptive mother said that it had always been hard for the young women to let people be close to her, and yeah, maybe meeting someone who knew her first mother might be helpful. Understand, this woman did know that well before the young woman's mother died, she was off drugs, and as Friend said, her first mother was a beautiful person who helped others dealing with AIDS.

The adopted woman was now introduced; she was morbidly obese. She had no memory of her first mother; she said she only knew that her first mother had been a prostitute and a drug addict, because that is what her adoptive mother told her.

The meeting of Friend and the young woman was staged in a library where Friend was reading to kids...as he met the girl's mother in a library. Not on a street corner where she was injecting herself.

I'm sitting there thinking that if this women had heard that her mother was more than a drug addict and a prostitute, she might not weigh 300 pounds today. (I've seen enough of The Biggest Loser to estimate her weight; she was 300 plus.) Troy Dunn, my brain is screaming, ask the adoptive mother why she didn't tell her that by the time she was adopted, her mother was clean, and had been for quite a while, and was actually working in a drug/AIDS program to help others? Friend made it clear that adoptive mom knew this. You think knowing this information--that her mother was clean and a good person--might have made a difference in the girl's life?

Troy Dunn, ask the adoptive mother why--since it was supposed to be an open adoption with Friend having continued contact--why this was ignored? Ask why she reneged on her promise to the first mother? Can't you at least clear your throat, raise your eyebrows, look away--do something--to indicate that her behavior is shoddy?

Troy Dunn, ask the adoptive mother if maybe the incomplete information she gave her adopted daughter might have been--uh, downright harmful?

No, instead of any of that, the woman was treated with kid gloves. Asked if it would be all right if her daughter met Friend. I wanted to scream at his asking for permission of the adoptive mother, when the young woman was in her twenties. Why did the young women need anyone's permission? Because we have to be watchful of the feelings of the adoptive parents, that's why.

Troy Dunn, why are you so solicitous of the adoptive mother's feelings when she clearly withheld information from her daughter, when she had ignored the promise to her first mother to let Friend stay involved?

"Your mother loved your very much," Friend told the young woman. "Your mother was a wonderful person who made some unfortunate choices for a while, but she turned her life around." He was able to show the young women both pictures of her beautiful mother (and she was beautiful) with clear eyes and no sign of a drug problem, as well as photographs of herself at her birthday party, and with her mother. In the pictures she is a happy, smiling healthy child of normal weight,

I know adoptive parents are by and large good people, that many of them take on problem children and turn their lives around, but I'd like to see the awful ones featured once in a while, and not just the ones who murder or beat or starve their adopted children, but the ones who inflict emotional damage as this adoptive mother so clearly had. I'd like to see some adoptive parents called on the carpet for less than stellar behavior on prime-time television.

We first/birth mothers take our lumps, all right; how about some equal-opportunity here when adoptive parents do bad things?--lorraine

Troy Dunn commented on our post and comments on the post, and I thought I would post it as blog rather than leave it as a comment.

8 comments :

  1. Yes enquiring minds would like to know those answers as well. I wish that he would take a step further. There have been a couple of cases where it was obvious that some folks did some dubious things to procure a child. He did nothing to really confront the issue.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is why I am not partial to shows that reunite people via reality TV. I understand some think the publicity is good but then we get situations like this...

    I would also like to see more adopters called on the carpet for inappropriate (and sometimes abusive) behavior. The adoptive mother had NO BUSINESS being part of this reunion if the adoptee was in her twenties. It's between the girl and her mother's friend, period. Why does ownership via adoption give people the impression that the adopters get to determine everything, even after the adoptees become adults? Why are adopters the gatekeepers of the adoptee's information when they are so clearly biased and do not provide the full and complete facts that adoptees like this girl need to know?

    I firmly believe if people like Troy Dunn are going to put themselves in the search-and-reunion business, they had better do their homework about what that actually means. They have an obligation to point out things like this adoptive mother keeping information from an adult adoptee. Otherwise it's merely sensationalism, grabbing advertising dollars at others' expense.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yee gads, Lorraine, what a mess. Every time someone says "we have to be watchful of the a-parents' feelings," hey someone else around here wants to scream--ME! I agree: a huge piece of the story was omitted for the adoptee. But is it possible this was skipped over to make a more dramatic story? Is it really true that the adoptee knows nothing of this? Well she does now!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've got to agree that there is a huge cultural bias that automatically demonizes birth mothers and makes adoptive parents into automatic saints. I don't know where I absorbed this from, but I certainly accepted this bias far, far too long. I assume statistically there are cases at every extreme, but I've come to see quite plainly that across the board both Natural mothers and Adoptive mothers come from the same types of backgrounds socially, intellectually, economically, etc. Just sometimes the snapshot in time for the Natural mom is not so swell at the time she happens to become pregnant. My adoptive Mom was always kind regarding what she told me which boiled down to: sometimes young women don't have the resources to raise a child. I can't regret my childhood anymore than I can regret myself, however both my adoptive parents were serious alcoholics by the time I was 8.
    With my natural mother, ---after I found her, but before I made contact, I actually had some sort of fantasy that she might be needing my help, (again the cultural bias)...Well, boy was I wrong. She remains one of the most together, successful individuals I have ever met, quality by anyone's judgment...just that of course in her teens, she was forced to give me up. No one, except a distant Aunt ever offered to help, and when long-term boyfriend flaked, she was too alone to do anything else. Society just seems to be in love with this Madonna/Whore judgment. I would have loved her had she been the latter, but point is why in 27 years of my life had it NOT EVEN OCCURRED TO ME ONCE that she might be the former?
    Anyway alot of Amoms are great, and I would like to think that most wouldn't tell their child crap about the Bmom, or let their child go on national T.V. under such potentially negative circumstances. I do however see how moms of all stripes still get a say even when the kid is 20, or 90.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Seems to me people that adopt are ok they are just like everyone else.

    They do some of the same things, that others do divorce, excessive drinking, drugs, illegal businesses but they always have the special hat on of the adopter. The one who is a saint with a past but the adoption seems to override their flaws. I believe if we are called out on why we got pregnant and had to give our babies over to "saints" these saints need to be called out too!

    my son's adopter was a wonderful woman until I found him and then she told him "that I didn't want him" and this is love for him?

    it is just outright selfish, jealous, and controlling, there were other things she said like he stabbed her in the heart...oh, please, I found him! So much for the good adopter and bad mommy thing it doesn't apply in adoption.
    I have seen it first hand as many of my online moms are in reunions with their adults and the adopters do their best to make sure their stake is in the fire. Just like my son's did, you know what I am just so sick of the media bias on mothers and how they "handle" the reunions, asking permission, of anyone, most of all the person that got to raise a child even though they couldn't have a child of their own is absurd.

    Adoption=ownership

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just a note about what the adopted woman in this episode of The Locator said very clearly: That she grew up only knowing that her mother was a drug addict and a prostitute. She was very emphatic about this, and tremendously relieved and happy to know the whole truth about her mother.

    Will blog later today about the other episode that got to me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It is worth asking people who have been in the adoption community online for a long time what they think of Dunn. There are plenty who recall his profits from adoption search thru his old International Locator firm which charged high fees with no guarantees regardless of info or state, and many recall his high priced "Locator Kit". Plenty also recall a "conference call" set up to address these issues and others... which he set up so that no one could speak but himself. He's been around a long time, at least 10 years, and has still not developed enough savvy to handle issues like speaking directly to an adopted adult and not her mom.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We are adoptive parents. Our 20 year old daughter is about to meet her mother for the first time this week. We have always been very open with her and we give her our absolute support in this. We think that knowing her natural mother and family can be a really positive experience in her life and bring a whole new dimension to her sense of self.We don't see it as a threat to us at all. She is a wonderful person and it's the most natural thing in the world to want to know all about herself. We are hoping it will be a good experience. We know that most things in life carry risk, this may not work out for her but she will be a more authentic person for trying.

    ReplyDelete

We welcome comments from all, and appreciate letting us know how you relate to adoption when you leave your first comment.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED. Our blog, our decision whether to publish or not. We are trying to find a way to end the endless anonymous comments, which drive many of us crazy. Pick a name! Any name. Choose the NAME/URL selection. You do not need a URL. Your name does not have to be your name IRL though we appreciate those who do, and we understand due to the sensitive nature of our subject, many will prefer to use a nom de plume. Okay with us, but the endless Anons are tiresome for everyone. If you post as "anonymous" you run the risk of not being posted.

We try to be timely but we do have other lives.

For those coming here from Networked Blogs on Facebook, if it does not allow you to make a comment, click the "x" on the gray "Networked Blogs" tool bar to exit out of that frame and it should then let you comment.

THOSE WHO WISH TO LEAVE LINKS PLEASE WRITE MORE ABOUT IT THAN SIMPLY LEAVE THE LINK--TELL US WHY WE SHOULD GO THERE--AND ALSO KNOW THAT YOU CANNOT COPY AND PASTE FROM LINKS. We are unlikely to post comments that consist of nothing more than a link and the admonition to go there.