Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Adoptee's Daughter Opposes Searching for Grandmother, and other comments from pop culture


Sometimes I feel like a childless mother...to turn a phrase on its side. And as if everything we say is swallowed by the wind, so strong are the forces that push back up against us, so hungry is society for more children to adopt! The other night on The Bachelor--yes, I admit, I am addicted, even after a day when tears come way too easy I find that when I am watching I have a big smile on my face and how can that be bad?--anyway, Monday night the bachelor, Jake Pavelka, is all cuddly with "swimsuit model, Gia" and he asks if she wants to have children, and she says, Yes, two. And then I'd like to adopt one from China.

Run that by me again, Gia? 

Obviously nothing about the coercion and monetary rewards for "facilitators" who make babies available, nothing we and others in more prominent outlets have written about the corruption in international adoption has reached Middle America. Okay, I know the young women on the show are not MENSA material, but still--Gia's comment make me realize that we can not stop talking about this because the rest of the culture has not gotten the message. Instead, the prevailing belief is that adoption, and adoption, period, adoption without question, is this great wonderful good thing related to domestic bliss--like apple pie--that every good citizen ought to do.

As for search and reunion, we still have a long way to go, even with people who are not adoptive parents, even with people who are directly connected to adoption as in their mothers...our friend Linda Bolton posted the "I'm Legit" video on Facebook and got this response from a "friend" she expected to be understanding. Sympathetic, even. First the video and thanks to everyone who sent us a link:





Linda, I think I understand your issue. But there are lots of birth mothers who cannot, for various reasons, have contact with their birth children. Some of the reasons are valid, and heartfelt. My mother was adopted, so I do understand the struggle, but truly, your identity is your own. It comes from your life and your own response to it. Your biology is just that - biology. It doesn't identify you - only identifies your genes. Is it worth potentially destroying someone's life and family, so that you can find your birth parent? I'm conflicted on the issue, but if it makes fewer women opt for adoption over abortion, I'm not sure I can support it. I'm not necessarily opposed to abortion...I just know there are so many parents who want to adopt children - it's a shame to disincentivize [her word] young women from going full term because they're afraid their decision will come back to haunt them later in life.

Anyway, just a different viewpoint....I welcome your thoughts...Peggy

Linda: So of course I tried to educate her...
Peggy, I didn't know your mother was an adoptee. Wow. I can say with absolute certainty, and the data to support my statement, that the percentage of women who do not wish to have contact with their adult children is about or less than 5%. Should those 5% prevent the 95% of women willing and eager to know their adult children? You know I've been in the adoption triad since relinquishing my daughter 33 years ago. In fact, today is the tenth anniversary of our reunion, which she has chosen not to acknowledge; I haven't seen or spoken to her in 4-1/2 years. I do not personally know any birthmother who doesn't/didn't look forward to reuniting with her child. Not one woman I know who lost a child to adoption never received the promise of confidentiality, nor did they want it...in my case, I left a trail of neon-colored breadcrumbs to make it easy for my daughter to contact me if she desired (I didn't seek her, I wanted search and reunion to be her choice, since she didn't have a say when I relinquished).

As for women choosing abortion over adoption if original birth records were accessible, just another myth. Studies have clearly shown that in the six states where open records are available, the abortion rate did not increase, it stayed relatively the same or even declined.

And thankfully social mores aren't as stringent as they were when your mother was born, or even when I relinquished in '76 (my friends, our former classmates, simply asked me "Why didn't you just get rid of it?" The shame and stigma attached to out-of-wedlock births is nonexistent, thanks in great part to celebrities.

It is commonly recognized today that in most cases it is in the best interest of a child is to be raised in his/her family of origin whenever possible. I know many adult adoptees, I'm talking about people in their 30s through 60s and sometimes older, who are beyond frustrated by the fact that they have no knowledge of their family medical history because of some archaic law "protecting their mother's privacy." The only people being protected by the continued secrecy are the adopted parents who might feel threatened that families of origin will meet their children and decide to "steal them back" or some absurd thought along that line.

As for the adoption industry in general, there's a huge need for reform. It's all about supply and demand...and with the relaxed social mores there simply aren't enough infants to meet the need for all those couples aching to create a "forever family," another term coined by the adoption industry that I loathe, it's offensive to their families of origin.

Follow this link to NJCare to find a wealth of info about the NJ Bill that's been stalled for the past three decades. [Ed: And this one at Unsealed Initiative to learn about New York's efforts to change the law. And the many other blogs from various states that work towards reform of today's archaic adoption laws that violate the natural rights of the adoptee as well as the birth parent.] 
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Peggy. I'm glad you did. :)
Never heard from her again.  A lot of my high school friends love Jesus, very conservative.  Mind you, on my profile I clearly state "bleeding heart liberal" for my political view....--Linda
_________________
Lorraine: Every now and then someone posts a very anti-abortion comment and tells us how generous we are for having given up our children. I assume they come from the same group-think as Peggy. Comments? We are open for discussion.

And if anyone can help me embed the I'm Legit video, please help! 

17 comments:

osolomama said...

I know how to embed vid in Wordpress, but I can't help you in Blogger. Sorry! (Zara Phillips has an amazing voice.)

About beauty queens or whatever wanting to adopt: this is purely, as you say, a stupid cultural cliche. They're not thinking it through at all. It's ironic: when I initiated the adoption process in '96, I got another cultural cliche thrown back at me one day: this person's reaction was that I was nuts to adopt some foreign kid just to become a single mother; she wanted the hubby, the stay-at-home label, the house and picket fence. She thought I was a freak. So there ya go.

Ms. Swimsuit Model might be counseled on the Special Needs program if she is determined to pursue this path. Not that it won't be tainted either.

I agree: a lot to keep talking about.

valency said...

Lorraine -

Go to youtube & search for "I'm Legit." Then select the video - on the right hand side you will see a gray box w/ both the URL and the embed info in it. I can't leave the embed info here in the comments because the HTML can't be accepted.

Hope that helps!

M.

The Improper Adoptee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maybe said...

I find the attempt to marginalize biology and DNA a bit fascinating. Why the forceful repitition that biology is meaningless? It flies in the face of everything we've learned about DNA (and continue to learn).

It could be that I have a different view of family - I only think of family as those people I'm actually RELATED to by a BLOOD connection. Friends, colleagues, neighbors (not matter how close the relationship) - they are not my family. I think this comes from my father's view that family is a permanent biological connection while other connections can be pretty easily broken. I used to argue this point with him, that friends were just as important as family. But over time I've seen how friendships come and go, while family ties, no matter how irritating and frustrating, remain. There are many things I would do for my family, even the ones I'm not close with, that I would not even consider doing for non-relatives.

That's my take on biology, I'm sure others see it differently.

e said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZbKNJUyGQ0

This is the one you want, Lorraine.

*Peach* said...

Your response to her was great!
I wish I could lay it out so clearly when I get a "friend" comment like that!

Kitten said...

I can not understand why "Peggy" seems to be so ready to deny her mother's heritage--after all, it's hers too. And why she is so defensive about mother's hiding in the closet?

My guess is that, like Linda suggests, this is the baloney that she has been fed through her church--and it simply continues the idea that it is so shameful to have given up a child that these women want and need to stay in the closet forever and ever. Lord, hasn't she learned about Redemption? She is living in the dark ages. What other reasons can there be for hiding from your own flesh and blood? Thank god my own mother was not like this even though she is wayyyyyyy more church-going than I am.

Thank you Linda for letting us see the window into another world out there.

Anonymous said...

I am a conservative Repub (ducking) and I believe 100% in open records. It has nothing to do with abortion, IMO.
Abortion is not the choice to "not parent" it is the choice to "not continue a pregnancy."

Lisa Roberts said...

"Instead, the prevailing belief is that adoption, and adoption, period, adoption without question, is this great wonderful good thing related to domestic bliss--like apple pie--that every good citizen ought to do."

Yes!

You would be suprised (or maybe you wouldn't!) how many people I know...people who have had one or more biological children even...who say they hope to adopt. And I'm not talking about adopting a teen that has languished without a family for years, either.

Oh, and another thing...as a mom of 3 boys, I get asked all the time if we are planning on trying for a girl or if I want a girl. This question, which is mostly asked of my by complete strangers really gets on my nerves as it always makes me think, 'who are you to even think that I might not be satified and happy with the children I have'. Usually I just blow it off by saying that my eggs are too old or that my uterus has closed up shop or something to deflect my annoyance. But then, that inevitably brings on the adoption comments. Well then, why don't you just adopt a girl? That would solve everything. *rolls eyes*

Lorraine Dusky said...

Dear Republican:

Having been involved in this fight for open records for four decades, I can say without hesitation that one's political leaning has absolutely NOTHING to do with how one feels about giving adopted people (and birth mothers) the right to find the way to know one another. Nothing. There are Republican sponsors and Democratic sponsors of such bills. This issue cuts both ways, in fact, open records is a very libertarian issue, wouldn't you say?

Thanks for commenting.

Texans for Adult Adoptees OBC Access said...

Even though I disagree with an Indiana adoption attorney, he has dispelled that myth of adoptee access and abortion. I got to give him that much.

That assumption is just so far off base. It amazes me that people really consider that.

Lorraine Dusky said...

Abortion versus adoption is always an issue, and comes up when one works for open access to original birth certificates for adoptees.

Little Snowdrop said...

I wonder if one of the reasons abortion stats haven't increased (and even in some cases actually gone down) in open records states could be partly because, within O.R states, open adoption is a more secure proposition than in those where records are closed.
For most women, the prospect of knowing they will never know what will happen to their child in the future is almost intolerable.

Not that I think in any way way that open adoption is a panacea for adoption loss, either for child or mother.
But where parenting by the original mother, father or extended family is impossible, I think it would be the preferred option for many.

maryanne said...

I do not think adoption practices impact abortion statistics one way or another. They are unrelated decisions, but it was brilliant move on our opponents' part to spuriously link them.

Women do not decide to abort or not based on whether adoptions are open, closed, secret, whatever. I doubt anyone could find an actual woman who had an abortion that made her choice based on adoption law or practice.

Once a mother decides to carry to term, then she is faced with the adoption question. It is a separate and unrelated issue.

Whatever the numbers of abortions relative to the number of adoptions, the old saying applies; "correlation does not imply causation."

Little Snowdrop said...

Maryanne said "I do not think adoption practices impact abortion statistics one way or another. They are unrelated decisions,"

Indeed, but that's not what I was saying.

" but it was brilliant move on our opponents' part to spuriously link them."

I don't think it was particularly brilliant. Conflating issues is a tried-and-true political manoeuvre.

"Women do not decide to abort or not based on whether adoptions are open, closed, secret, whatever. I doubt anyone could find an actual woman who had an abortion that made her choice based on adoption law or practise."

Not on "adoption law or practise", for sure. But I do know women who decided to abort rather than run the very real risk of having to relinquish their children.
They never considered adoption as an "option" because they'd have found it intolerable, particularly the prospect of never being able to know their children's fates.

"Once a mother decides to carry to term, then she is faced with the adoption question. It is a separate and unrelated issue."

I fully agree that adoption is not a reproductive issue. Suggesting that open records, by removing stigma, *might* help lower abortion stats doesn't change that.

"Whatever the numbers of abortions relative to the number of adoptions, the old saying applies; 'correlation does not imply causation.' "

Nothing unfailingly implies causation, but some correlations imply causation more than others. Like HRT and breast cancer. Or lung cancer and smoking. I think don't think it's helpful to generalize or dismiss possibilities out of hand because they don't fit in neatly with a particular view.

maryanne said...

I too have heard women who have had abortions say they could never have the child and give it up. The choice was between abortion and raising the child. I don't think open adoptions would matter that much to someone at the point of choosing abortion.

Those I have heard who regret having abortions regret that they did not have the child and raise it, not that they did not carry to term and surrender. Those who do not regret their abortions are satisfied that they made the right choice for themselves.

I may be wrong but do not think the offer of open adoption would have much impact on the choice of whether or not to abort.

That is where our enemies have it wrong, the choice is not between abortion and adoption, it is between abortion and having and in most cases raising a child.

Little Snowdrop said...

"I do not think the offer of open adoption would have much impact on the choice of whether or not to abort."

On consideration, you're probably right.
I don't know why I was getting my knickers in such a twist.