Demons in Adoption

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why I'm not celebrating "Birth Mother's Day"

Proud Birth Mother Angel Design cards
A really bad idea
The world's worst "holiday" is just days away--Mother's Day. For many mothers who lost their children to adoption, it is a day of miserable reminders of the children we do not have, and we approach it with all the joy of someone on her way to her own execution.



Lorraine, not on Mother's Day
And it can't be ignored. Ads are everywhere--in the newspaper, on television, in magazines, on the dam Internet, on Facebook. Send flowers! Buy a bracelet!  Perfume! A day at the spa! Will a card come in the mail? Will my daughter call? I must admit that I was not more zen about this when my daughter was alive, because I couldn't stop hoping she would call, send a card, do something to acknowledge that I'm her mother too. Of course I imagined that flowers, dinners, et cetera were going on back home to assure her adoptive mother she was appreciated and loved. I never found out if all this did happen because I couldn't make myself ask. But knowing the situation--the need to prove to her adoptive mother that Jane was indeed a good daughter, she she, the adoptive mother was the only mother who counted--well, I imagined flowers, dinner, the whole works.

Maybe it's because I never had any other children--I'm one of the vast number of first mothers who chose not to have a second child, the misery of relinquishment too keen on our minds to set us on that path--but Mother's Day, before, and then after, I found my daughter, was pure hell. No matter how I tried to steel myself against it, the ole' blues came up and got me.  Those years she did remember me with a card were wonderful, and I could sail through the day on an even keel. But of course, she didn't remember a great many years.

As for the substitute celebrations that some adoption agencies hold--Birth Mother gatherings to celebrate our "birthmotherhood"--don't get me started. Well, I am started. I can't think of a single thing worse that pretending that Birth Mother Days are anything but pap started and nurtured by adoption agencies to somehow...I dunno. I can't even imagine what they are for because they only emphasize the fact of our...er, birthmotherhood, which has to be one of the worst words ever concocted. Various websites blame this new holiday (another reason for a whole new set of cards from Hallmark) on a group of birth mothers in Seattle. If anyone has any more information about them, I'd love to hear it.

Were they women who were meeting under the aegis of an adoption agency? Whose social workers were holding their hands while they signed their children away? I know some of our readers have participated in these events, and said they were well, sweet, but they make me ill to think about. Kinda like, let's celebrate the worst thing that every happened to a lot of us. What's next? Rape holidays?

Okay, I know, we relinquished under all kinds of pressures and for all kinds of reasons, but if adoption is about finding homes for children who need them, why are mothers told today how "happy" they will make someone if they give up their child? That has nothing to do with finding a home for a needy child; it emphasizes finding a child for a "needy" couple or single person. It's $#@-backwards, that's what it is. At the site below,  you can even find a card that "thanks" the mother for "giving us the world." This is designed to make us feel as if we are doing something good for the child rather than setting him or her adrift among people who will never be like our child. This business of "thanking" the mother is wrong, wrong, wrong, and designed by adoption agency types to coat over the violence and trauma that is really being done to a child being given away.

I loved Jane's cards when they were the funny ones--especially one that showed an old picture of a mother and daughter who looked like carbon copies of each other. The one card I did not keep, that hit the trash can a week later--was the stupid BIRTH MOTHER CARD. Do the folks at Hallmark realize how much we hate BIRTH MOTHER cards? How demeaning they are?  How they small they make us feel? If you are an adoptee and reading this, and can't find a card that suits how you feel, send nothing and call instead. You don't even have to use the word, you can just say, I was thinking about you today...." We'll get the message. Flowers? We'd swoon.

If you are an adoptee and reading this, and don't quite understand what we are so worked up over, think about getting your adoptive mother a Happy Adoptive Mother's Day card. It's doubtful she will appreciate the precision of your greeting.

And to those who won't be acknowledged by your children,  I have this one single piece of advice: Joy and happiness comes from within us. Yes, that is the zen idea of how to get through the day. Instead of waiting for the phone call that may not come, plan for yourself a treat: a comedy, shopping therapy, an afternoon treat yourself at a spa. Since my own mother died, I avoid restaurants because they are jammed and you will see...all those mothers being honored. If you have other children, enjoy them.

We may be unusually depressed on this day, but this comes from the external messages and we need to dig deep and slough them off. And then, remember, tomorrow will be another day. This too shall pass. The day after will not be "Mother's Day." Or "Birth Mother's Day." It will be Monday. All day.--lorraine
__________________________
 From FMF
Does Mother's Day make birth mothers blue? YES.

Suggested reading
I Wish for You a Beautiful Life: Letters from the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to Their Children "Written in their own words-the book conveys the heart-wrenching decisions these birth mothers must face. As a Korean adoptee who is just beginning to search for my birth family this book not only opened my heart, but also my eyes to the social stigma in Korean and the reasons so many of these women relinquish their children. It does not offer all the answers to the many questions surrounding adoption, but it does offer a captivating look at adoption from the birth mother's perspective. I recommend this book to anyone touched by adoption whether international or domestic, especially couples contemplating adoption, adoptive parents and older adoptees. It is a powerful and compelling glimpse into a side of adoption often overlooked."--Melanie, an adoptee at Amazon

54 comments :

  1. Lorraine ~~ I am 'celebrating' by writing a letter to First Lady Michelle Obama. I hope you and your readers will join us:
    Please join us in a Mothers' Day letter writing campaign to First Lady Michelle Obama. Please start your letters with " I am a mother who lost her child to adoption". We will write how the experience has affected us. Will you?

    First Lady Michelle Obama
    The White House
    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Washington, DC 20500

    Through Mrs. Obama, we hope to let the country know what havoc this experience plays on the millions of women who have surrendered a child over the past three generations of closed, sealed adoptions. Our aims are, first, to encourage mothers who are still hiding in fear or waiting in silence to come forward - at least to sign up on passive registries such as ISRR, if not actively search; second, to stop unnecessary adoptions, and a good start is awareness of what this experience will do to women and their children for the rest of their lives. We believe that if society, our families and churches knew then what we know now about the importance of not separating babies from their mothers, they would never have forced us to surrender to adoption but would have helped us become successful mothers.
    In your letter, please also point out that adopted adults are still denied their original birth certificates in all but six states, thus depriving them of knowledge of their family, heritage, genealogy, medical issues, etc. that every other citizen takes for granted. Be sure to say whether, when you surrendered your baby, you never expected anonymity forever and especially if you were hoping that your son or daughter would come to know you some day.
    Send a copy of your letter to the editors of your local newspaper and the town where your child was born/adopted and please feel free to send me a copy and share on our Mothers of Loss (to Adoption) Facebook site (there's a place under "Discussions" to post your letter).
    Let's blow the lid of secrecy off of adoption once and for all! Mothers of Loss, rise!
    Priscilla Sharp
    Mother of Loss, '64 AZ, Reunited '86
    Now Search Angel/Genealogist/Adoptee Rights Advocate
    Mothers of Loss (to Adoption) on Facebook

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  2. Thankfully this abomination has not reached our shores and if it is attempted there will be many who will reject it more than firmly.
    I personally hate the concept, it is insulting, wrong and an invention of adopters to make them feel good and mothers bad while appearing to be generous, accepting and noble.There are plenty of 4 letter words to describe it but I won't bother to go there.
    I always sent my mother the best card I could find after we were reunited when I was 50, she deserved nothing less than the best.So do you.
    It's hard day for me too, partly for the loss of my mother but mainly for the spoilers my daughter's charming father put on it that first day when he refused to mark the occasion or celebrate because I was not his mother! This year I'm hopeful that things will be different.
    My best wishes to you and hope that the day goes as well as it can, Monday looks good!x

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  3. PS love that photo, may I borrow it please!

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  4. I will be happy to celebrate "Birthmother Day", if there is another day delegated to "Adoptive Mother's day", which will never happen; therefore I am not too concerned about any birthmother day celebrations for this mother.

    It is insulting, degrading and dehumanizing and quite frankly, it sickens me.

    Yet again, we are the "others", not worthy enough to celebrate actual Mother's day with the rest of the mothers of this world. Society gave us another day; a day to merely keep us in "our place" and let us know that we are not thought of as our children's rightful mothers.

    Thanks but no thanks. We can't upset or threaten the adoptive mother on that day, now can we? It's all HER. Actually, no it isn't. If not for the millions of women who lost their children to adoption, they would not have those children to honor them on Mother's Day (while we are ignored and forgotten about, year after year.)

    The first Mother's Day after finding my son I so looked forward to a mere acknowledgement on Mother's Day. It did not have to come in the form of a card or a gift, just an acknowledgement. That would have meant so much. I got nothing, while all the accolades and love went to his adoptive mother (the woman who conned me out of him with lies and false promises). That hurt so much. No phone call. No email. Nothing. Last year was the same, but I expected it. This year, I can honestly say I am apathetic to it; as boggles the mind too much to comprehend at this point.

    I will be sharing Mother's Day with my youngest son, who does honor me as his mother without reservation; character flaws, imperfections and all...

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  5. The only thing I can think of that would be more detestable than a "thank you for being a birth mother" card would be something along the lines of "thank you for being an African American" or "thank you for being a Jewish American" card or something equally presumptuous and back-handedly racist. Can you imagine what the repercussions would be to Hallmark if they sold those? Yet its perfectly fine to treat us as 2nd class citizens. I think it's time to add Hallmark Cards to my "no buy zone" list.

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  6. "Don't forget that birth mothers are special mommies too!"

    Blech. Double Blech. Every year this comes up and every year it is to barf.

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  7. So many people are made miserable by Mother's Day, I wish it would just go away.

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  8. Language is a reflection of a culture. New words are always being added to reflect changes in society. What bothers me as an adoptee about "birthmothers day" is that it is making being a "birthmother" and "birthchild" as if it is a normal and commonplace familial relationship in society. I would like to see adoption be as rare as possible not something that is now celebrated with its own holiday.

    P.S. As a feline lover, I loved the cat picture. It would piss off my a-mom but I can remember those sentiments very well :)

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  9. OMG, Lorraine! I didn't know these cards even existed until I read this post. I am close to puking...

    May was the worst month for me before finding my son. Mother's Day (I didn't have more children), then two weeks later, his birthday.

    After reuniting, I was active in PACER in the SF Bay Area. They used to have birthmother gatherings (for mothers, adoptees, a-parents) the day before Mother's Day. I attended a couple of years. Wouldn't now. I guess the Kool-Aid has finally drained out of my system.

    Thanks to Priscilla. I'm going to write to Mrs. Obama.

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  10. I was appalled when I first heard about Birthmothers Day and am still appalled. A mother is a mother is a mother...

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  11. I believe that these two are part of the proliferation of kool-aid drinkers.

    http://www.birthmombuds.com/

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  12. Birthmom Buds - yuck, yuck. Where do you suppose the money for the website, telephone, and so on for Buds is coming from?

    Could it be the Kool-Aid purveyors?

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  13. Robin:

    Agree agree about the language and what creeps into the culture.

    That's why the comment I heard on NPR the day after I wrote this post was so irritating...and led to the next
    Mother's Day: The Holiday from Hell, Part 2

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  14. Birthmom buds. Yuck, is right. I wonder how their children will feel seeing their bee-mommies proud to have given them away. If my first mother got involved with something like that, I would be offended.

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  15. "I'm one of the vast number of first mothers who chose not to have a second child, the misery of relinquishment too keen on our minds to set us on that path"

    Really? Is this a not-so-subtle way of implying that first mothers who do choose to go on and have more children are somehow less affected by the misery of relinquishment.

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  16. Sorry anon: Didn't mean that. It was just for me not going to happen again. Others have a quite different reaction. I meant no offense, or did not mean to imply what you read.

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  17. From Valerie: One simply cannot support the promotion or "celebration" of “Birthmothers Day,” as the very creation of this day perpetuates the message that mothers separated from their children by adoption are not considered to be mothers worthy of being honoured on Mothers Day.

    Having two separate social celebrations called “Mother’s Day” and “Birthmother’s Day” perpetuates the marginalization of natural mothers and undermines their recognition as being mothers.

    All mothers who are separated from their children by adoption have the same right as all other mothers to be honoured on Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day is rightfully and equally their day to reflect upon, celebrate and acknowledge their motherhood as they choose to do; and to stand equally with all other mothers on that day.

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  18. Ugh, I know how disgusting birthmom buds are. I actualyl used to buy into their crap. Their entire site looks to be funded by adoption agencies--hardly women that you can trust to help you make a "decision", eh?
    And did anyone check out the links that a pregnant woman is supposed to click on for "resources"? Total hogwash. Links to things that will only pertain to you AFTER you've been hoodwinked into thinking that adoption will solve all of your problems.
    No links titled "find resources in your state" or "your legal, enforcable rights as a parent", only "questions to ask prospetive adoptive parents" and "entrustment ceremony" bullish.
    Oh, and an "unplanned pregnancy blog" written by someone else who is getting paid off my adoption agencies.
    Lovely.
    Talk about being in bed with the enemy.

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  19. Birthmother Day...oh, please, gag me with a spoon. Let's all celebrate the very worst day of our lives. Lorraine, I have to say that your suggestion of a "Rape Day" for rape survivors got a chuckle out of me...and I was a rape-crisis counselor for many years.

    WTF is "birthmotherhood" anyway? It sounds suspiciously like the crap fed to the surrogate moms in The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

    I think I'm going to go throw up now...or have a drink.

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  20. It is classic adopter crap and all about them of course. Our mothers are NATURAL, adoption is an abnormal freak experiment that is unnatural.

    Adoptees think of their natural mothers on all kinds of days, that is a reality. Mothers Day is of course a day we think of our natural mothers, and many find it very difficult as well considering all the pain and grief that adoption has caused.

    Adoptees should not be dictated to by selfish, greedy, and insecure adopters period. And if this offends them I frankly do not care period!

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  21. Don't like it, ignore it. Most people do. Very simple. Nothing to get all upset about. There are enough real problems in the world.

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  22. Oh my goodness! Your adoption experience must have been awful. Please don't think they are all that way though! We adopted our daughter when she was just 4 days old. The birth mother had no prenatal care, and had preclampsyia and other problems. Mother and daughter both almost died during childbirth. The baby was only 3.5 lbs. The birthmom had no way or means of taking care of this child, as both her family AND the jerk that got her in this situation all left her. She chose to give her daughter a life with us. Her only other option would have been abortion. God Bless her for not choosing that.

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  23. Condescending and patronizing much, Gerri?

    Oh my goodness, yes some of our adoption experiences have been awful! That is why we come here and to other forums such as this to have a place to speak of our experience, the very REAL loss of our children to adoption.

    Why you and other adopters feel the need to negate that, by the tired ad true "your experience may have been bad but not all are" truly disgusts me. That is your way of telling us to go back into the corner and "shut up". That is your way of telling yourself that the child you adopted will never feel a loss of her natural family, because yours is just so perfect. Yeah, right.

    Sorry to break it to you, but she will.

    Most women who lose their children to adoption would have been good mothers to THEIR children. You are the typical self righteous adopter who thinks she is so much better than the natural mother of the child you adopted. You aren't.

    @Maryanne, losing a child to an unnecessary adoption was and is a REAL PROBLEM and it always will be. I wish it was so easy to just "ignore" it and ignore being negated to nothing but a birthing machine on a day when we should ALL be honored. I think if we were all so happy about losing our children to adoption we wouldn't be coming here to vent, ya think?

    HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO ALL OF YOU WHO POST HERE.

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  24. Anonymous @ 8:28 am:

    I almost didn't turn on the computer--why not have coffee first--and then I read Gerri's comment. I must have had a bad experience giving up my child? The direct implication is that the mother of her child did not.

    The natural mother's problems during pregnancy certainly did not make giving up the child easier.
    You said everything I wanted to. None of us gave up children without feeling we had no choice, or that the "choice" was not really a choice at all.

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  25. Geri,

    Thank you for talking about your daughter's mother as an object, as in "the birthmother." Your Daughter's MOTHER is not a "the" she is a person. She is your Daughter's mother or your Daughter's Birthmother, if you insist on using that vile term. WHAT SHE IS NOT IS "THE BIRTHMOTHER." Thank you for so spectacularly demonstrating what is wrong with adoption and the "its all about me" and "mine, mine, mine" perspective of adoptive parents. My son's adoptive female person (how does that feel?) treats me in the same way. I am a "thing", the "thing" that made her a mother, the womb that God used - you know - "the birthmother." God forbid that I be honored as a PERSON by an adoptive parent, especially on Mother's Day.

    Wow, Wow, Wow.

    Just sign me "The"

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  26. Oh and Gerri,

    What are you going to do so that "the birthmother" who blessed you with her child doesn't have a terrible adoption experience? Is your adoption open? Does she know the love of her child? Does she get to share in the milestones, both important and unimportant, the hugs, the smiles, the memories? Does she get pictures, letters, visits? Is she a part of her daughter's life on a personal level? Does her daughter know and honor who she is? Do you? What are you doing TODAY, to make sure that "the birthmother" knows that she is loved, valued, cherished and honored for who, not what, she is? What are you doing to honor the person, and not the object? What are you doing, TODAY, to honor this very important Mother???

    Walk the walk, Gerri!

    "The"

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  27. http://lanceandjulie.blogspot.com/2011/05/we-openess.html

    Oh, do check this out. The adoptive mother feels incredibly "sad" for me.

    At least she says hers is an open adoption, and so..of course that makes all the difference.

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  28. @Gerri,

    I do not know your whole situation and maybe adoption was best in this case. But your comment makes me realize you are missing the point. Most girls/women in a crisis pregnancy are dealing with issues of lack of money and personal support. However, in many of these cases help and support is what is needed not adoption. Adoption is a permanent solution to what may turn out to be a temporary solution (and one which causes lasting damage and grief to most first mothers and adoptees).

    Your comment reminds me of the BSE/EMS when it was considered best to give a child to married strangers just because s/he was born out of wedlock. Now it's give the child away because the jerk of a bfather ran for the hills. Our society needs to provide resources and help so that mothers and their children can stay together. This is truly the best option in most cases.

    As for your daughter's first mother not getting any pre-natal care I know that in many states care is available to low income expectant mothers. I am sorry she was unaware of any resources in her area.

    @Maryanne,
    I agree with Anon 8:28 that your comment was a bit simplistic. I agree that Mother's Day and Birthmother's Day are not the most important issues facing the world today. But these holidays do cause first mothers a lot of pain and dealing with these types of issues is the purpose of this blog.

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  29. anon wrote:"@Maryanne, losing a child to an unnecessary adoption was and is a REAL PROBLEM and it always will be. I wish it was so easy to just "ignore" it and ignore being negated to nothing but a birthing machine on a day when we should ALL be honored. I think if we were all so happy about losing our children to adoption we wouldn't be coming here to vent, ya think? "

    First of all, I am not at all happy about losing my child to adoption. Whatever gave you that idea? I am sorry you or anyone feels "negated to being a birthing machine." I do not, although I will always feel sorrow and regret that I gave up my son.

    I feel honored today to be the mother of all my children, the ones I raised and the one I did not. Nobody can take that away from me. The fact that some women celebrate Birthmother Day as well as Mother's Day is not insult to me. It really is, in the larger scheme of things, not important what we call ourselves or what day we do or do not celebrate. Nobody can make us not mothers, whether they acknowledge us or not.

    I am curious, what kind of recognition of your motherhood would make a difference? Adoptees have two mothers. Why does it have to be a contest?

    Happy Mother's Day to ALL mothers, natural, adoptive, step, Godmothers, grandmothers raising their grandchildren, anyone who fills the mother role.

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  30. I feel incredibly 'SAD' for the adopter you mentioned, Lorraine and the mother who lost her child to them...

    I couldn't stomach that blog for too long. It literally makes me want to vomit. UGH...

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  31. Maryanne:

    So happy for you that you can just ignore the day--well, dear, some of us cannot and your advice just to ignore is like a slap in the face. Because we are not as cool as you.

    When I was walking around today a man who I did not know smiled and said, Happy Mother's Day. I just smiled back but I thought, Brother if you knew the truth you'd be surprised.

    Of course he didn't mean anything except to be friendly, and I took it in that spirit. "You have a good day too," I said.

    I celebrated Mother's Day with presents for my mother, and my dad and I made dinner, and so that is what I remember, and what I'm so aware of missing, having given up my daughter. Reunion did not change things in the least.

    Maybe if the holiday was never noted in your house you can have this attitude, but many of us can't be so casual, and your comment just rubbed salt into the wound.

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  32. To all who do go to Lance and Julie's blog--if you leave a negative comment, as did at least one of our readers-- it's taken down.

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  33. I think Lance and Julie have had a few more visitors from several different states now ....hoidip

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  34. The name of that website you guys mentioned? The one that "feels sad" for Lorraine? Ugh! Cutsie name. Sounds like an ice cream shop for the adoption machine. Wonder what flavor they serve there? Rainbow Sherbert Doo-Doo perhaps? Or maybe it's "Just-The-Right-Shade-of-Vanilla". Either way, their product makes me sick!

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  35. Lorraine,

    I just checked at Lance and Julie's blog and my not so happy, dappy adoptee comment is still there. I agree with Stephanie that that blog has become too much for me to stomach especially on Mother's Day.

    Although I do agree with Lance and Julie in one respect. I feel incredibly sad for you, too, albeit for a different reason. My heart aches for you because you were forced to give up your daughter who you so much wanted to keep.

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  36. Sorry, anon, the day I meant you could ignore was Birthmother's Day which was the subject of this essay. I've gone to some Birthmother's Day events in the past which were nice, did not make me feel belittled or ignored or like a baby machine, but I do not consider it a real holiday either.I do not celebrate that I gave up my son, but that I gave birth to him and have a connection with him now.

    Nor do we ignore Mother's Day in my family. I got phone calls and emails from the far away kids I raised, and my husband took me out to a great Indian restaurant for lunch. My mother has passed away, but I did think of her and got flowers to plant in her memory. I always gave my mother and the aunt who was like another mother to me something when they were alive.

    I did not hear from my surrendered son today nor did I expect to. But for me, reunion made a huge difference. If it did not for you, I am sorry, but me talking about my situation is in no way meant to rub salt in your wounds or anyone else's. I thought I was permanently rejected for almost 20 years, so I certainly know how awful that feels. We all deal with things differently.

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  37. I'm just relieved the annual fracas is almost over.

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  38. wow...

    some of you took time out of your lives to run on over to lance and julie's blog to leave rude anonymous comments?

    you couldn't even leave your names?

    i'm disappointed in people in general. so adoption was an awful experience for many of you. that doesn't mean it's awful for everyone. i'm adopted, and i'm proud. i am also an adoptive mother, who has a very open relationship with our son's birth mother (sorry if that is offensive to some).

    it works for us. if it doesn't work for you, that's fine, but it seems awful for anyone to attack someone for their life, decisions, etc.

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  39. Brenda RomanchikMay 9, 2011 at 7:41 AM

    Lorraine, I actually know Mary Jean Marsh who lost her daughter to adoption and is one of the founders of Birth Mothers Day. She was part of an independent support group that held the first few. It was not meant as a "celebration" but more of a commemoration. There was no "Happy" Birth mother's day cards, etc. She, and the others in her group felt they needed to honor themselves since no one else was doing it and have a place to share the heartache this week-end so often brings.

    Like the term "birthmother" it has over the years been twisted by the adoption industry and adoptive parents for it's own use, but it did not start out that way. There are still some events out there run by birthmoms only... some who use it to express their loss.

    If you are interested, here is how I see it and why I go to these things.

    http://www.openadoptioninsight.org/html/honor___remembrance.html

    For me it is cleansing, so that I can go into Mother's Day without all my baggage waiting to crash down upon my head. It lets me fully enjoy all my kids on that day, Matt included.

    I do not like what it has morphed into either, and to me it is not a replacement. But it gives me a place to really feel all the crappy stuff among others who have been there, and really, for that I am grateful.

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  40. There have been times when I have considered adopting a child, many things have made it a reacquiring thought in my mind (none of which are because I can't have my own). Recently I felt a stronger pull to make adopting a child a reality. So I began to do more research to learn about adoption. I came across this site, and I have now decided to never ever adopt a child and to scrub the idea out of my mind. I now feel like I have received an honest look from the "other" side of adoption and frankly I want no part in it. After visiting this site, adoption looks like babies are being stolen from there mothers by needy pathetic women. That the no one (especially the child) is happy ever again by this horrible unnatural act. There is so much rage coming from the mothers on this site that I just cant see throwing myself into that drama. I wish all people would have to come through this site before adopting. To know how people really feel about adoption. Before reading this site, I thought that there were women out there who for whatever reason decided they didn't want to parent their child. Then someone comes into the picture who wants to parent a child and an adoption takes place. But now I'm confused. Question, Is it not the mother or at least someone she keeps close to her that is the first to think of putting her child up for adoption. Is it not the mother who makes the decision not to parent her child? I care not the reason why she comes to this conclusion, I only want to know if it is the mother who is in charge, no matter how twisted her arm maybe, short of a gun to her head. I want to know, who is initiating the process. Who is forcing mothers to give up their babies and how are they doing it? And please the word force has a definition and lets make sure the answer provided will fit it.
    I honestly hope that the government ends all adoptions and no matter what, anyone who brings a child into the world will be legally responsible to parent that child. Then all you birthmothers will have no one to blame for your issues other then your self.

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  41. Anon, Thanks for writing.
    I'm pleased that FMF has given you another perspective on adoption. It is not the win/win/win proposition proponents claim. There is much pain for mothers and children, even in much touted open adoptions.

    Regarding your question, "is it not the mother who makes the decision not to parent?" Signing a surrender paper is not the same as making an informed decision to give away one's child. Vulnerable women can be strongly influenced by adoption promotions conducted by religious authorities, advertised on the internet, and pitched on TV and in movies."Do what's best for your child; adoption the loving decision, etc."

    When women seek information about adoption, they turn to adoption practitioners who often give them misleading information and fail to tell them about services which would help them nurture their infants.

    State laws are tiltled to adoption. Mothers can sign irrevocable surrender documents within a day of giving birth. The sidebar has a link to a summary of the state laws.

    We at FMF believe that adoption is necessary in some circumstances. The sidebar has a link to position on adoption.

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  42. Brenda wrote:"Lorraine, I actually know Mary Jean Marsh who lost her daughter to adoption and is one of the founders of Birth Mothers Day."

    Thanks for setting the record straight, Brenda. I met Mary Jean as well at an AAC years ago, and participated in a very touching Birthmother's Day ceremony workshop. As you say, it was more to memorialize our loss and celebrate our survival and motherhood despite that loss than to celebrate the fact that we had surrendered. Like the word "birthmother", it did not begin as an agency plot or an alternative to Mother's Day, but an addition to that week, especially for those mothers who never had another child and were never acknowledged at all as mothers. The ceremonies I attended were planned and led entirely by mothers who had surrendered a child. They were solemn and a source of solidarity, not insult.

    Just because both the word and the day have been co-opted by some adoption promoters, does not make either in and of itself evil or insulting. Perhaps both the word and the ceremony are ideas whose time has passed, but at the time they were proposed they were good and honorable and do not deserve to be demonized by people who don't know the real history. If you don't like the day, don't celebrate it. Don't like the word, don't use it. There are many alternatives now.

    I was really disgusted to read that some mothers would not sign the AAC birthmother petition only because it uses the word "birthmother". Who are they hurting, and who are they helping?

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  43. Maryanne wrote: "I was really disgusted to read that some mothers would not sign the AAC birthmother petition only because it uses the word "birthmother". Who are they hurting, and who are they helping?"

    I agree with this. It wasn't that long ago that I thought birthmother was the preferred term. I had heard of CUB and had read many books about adoption which used the term. I knew that biological mother was offensive as
    it implies a breeding machine or someone who is simply a conduit to create a child for someone else.

    I am still sometimes referred to as an adopted child. I just tell the person that the preferred term is adoptee or adopted person but I don't get all bent out of shape about it.

    It is good to educate but not to hurt our cause over less significant issues.

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  44. I am glad you hate Utah. We only want nice people to live here anyway. Hope you find the "happiness within" some day. Good luck to you.

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  45. I have never seen such a hypocritical site. The comments many of you left on Lance and Julie's blog as well as those left here completely contradict the post I just read about what you claim to think about adoption. It makes me sick that women are treating eachother in this way. Everyone has their own trials. It is selfish to think you are the only ones who have felt pain or betrayal or loss. Please think about that before you bash another person just because they have different views or have experienced different trials.

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  46. Dear Heather & Tyler:

    Many if not most of the people who post comments here have been scarred one way or another by their adoption experience. Jane and I have our own opinions about adoption, and how it is sometimes a necessary option, and you indicate you have read that at our sidebar, What We Think About Adoption. Some of our readers are much more radical on this subject than we are, and you seem to have conflated their opinions with ours.

    We also do not believe, cannot believe, that giving up a child is not a singular negative experience that continues throughout a lifetime, not only for the birth mother, but also for the child who is adopted and thus raised with people who are usually genetic strangers.

    Certainly we cannot control the comments at another blog, and we do like to keep this one open to everyone. To the adoptee, to the "birth" mother who does not forget, adoption is always painful; it always hurts.

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  47. "It makes me sick that women are treating each other in this way..."

    So it makes you SICK, does it Heather?

    Yeah, it makes me SICK that some women think they are so much more entitled to another woman's flesh and blood than she is.

    It makes me SICK to see how your friends have exploited that young woman who is so brainwashed by adoption propaganda, that she sprouts off her happy-dappy rainbows and sunshine rhetoric that they so need to hear to validate their experience; to keep THEM happy. We know what will happen if she doesn't, now don't we?! They will cut her out of the picture so fast her head will be spinning.

    It makes me SICK to hear and read so much GOD's Will crap in separating a mother from her child, most often needlessly. There is no god whom allows one to gain at the expense and suffering of another. If there is he is one hateful, mean, cold hearted, selfish supernatural being (much like a few adopters I unfortunately know).

    Wasn't it your friend who berated and dehumanized Lorraine on their blog, calling her "sad" because we don't worship adoption and of course the adoption industries paying customers? Sure it was...A few people struck back and it is such a travesty??? They can dish it out but can't take it? Awww... poor things.

    Guess what, Heather, most of us are done being dictated to how we are supposed to feel about the horrific fact that we lost our children to adoption.

    I, for one, will never again allow myself to be dehumanized, degraded, demonized, silenced told that my experience and how I feel about it does not matter; because there are just "SOOOO many positive adoption stories out there". BS. Your friends and others like them can't stand the fact that we are speaking the truth about adoption because it makes them uncomfortable. GOOD. I can't tell you how gratifying that is. The truth hurts, now doesn't it?

    Adoption is woman's inhumanity to another woman, and guess what Heather; IT MAKES ME SICK.

    Now excuse me why I go vomit (and it won't be rainbows and sunshine adoption Kool-aid either, you can be rest assured of that.)

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  48. Did you ever read step mothering blogs and forums where woman go to post about their problems with their husband's ex wife?

    Stepmothers in high conflict relationships with the mothers of their husbands children often refer to their husbands ex wife as "the birthmother" and often "BM" which in the nursing profession is an abbreviation for bowel movement.

    http://www.steptalk.org/

    Here's one post--
    "If BM dumps SS10 and SS8 on her parents for 95% EOW visitations and almost every extended visit *summer, spring break etc.* can this be used against her in court to reduce her visitation time."

    You can see from the thousands of posts on that forum where "Birthmother" and "BM" for short is cleary being used as a deragotory term by angry stepmothers who are in bitter conflicts with their step childrens mother.

    The stepmothers post viscious insults about their "BMs". Stuff about their looks, weight, education, income etc...
    They also scheme with the other step mothers on ways to minimize the mother's time and involvement in her childrens lives.

    The word "birthmother" is an insult.

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  49. Jill, Last year a seven year old boy in Portland OR disappeared. His stepmother was in front of the media all the time talking about she raised him and referring to the boy's mother as his birth mother. The media referred to the mother as birth mother as well. A few weeks letter, it turned out that the stepmother is the prime suspect in the disappearance. Now the media refers to the mother as "mother."

    Every time I see a news article where a mother whose child has not been adopted is referred to as birth mother, I email the reporter. Usually they apologize and say they are following a style manual.

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  50. Heather and Tyler wrote: "It is selfish to think you are the only ones who have felt pain or betrayal or loss."

    ???? I am reading back through comments and I'm not seeing anyone who posted that THEY - as first mothers - are the only ones who've suffered betrayal or loss.

    As to remarks left on Lance and Julie's site. With all due respect, Lance and Julie's blog is a PUBLIC blog. And when you run a public blog you can expect to have detractors - for whatever reason.

    So if a person is looking for like-minded individuals to share their news and beliefs, then they should save themselves the grief and take their blog to a more private venue. But as long as anyone's blog anywhere is open to all? Well then, comments - however unwelcome they may be - are part and parcel with doing business on the web.

    A lot of people seem to forget that blogs are basically Op-Ed pieces. They garner opinion, good bad and in between.


    As to first mother's not speaking here because it might offend others? All I can say to that is that adoption represents a grievous loss for many first parents. Whether that sits well with anyone else is their problem. We've been silent long enough.

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  51. I have a question for ya all. You don't have to publish it or anything I just want some advice. I was put up for adoption the day after I was born andthe foster parents whose home I went to adopted me a year later. I love my mom and dad and have learned to live with the circumstance and everythintat has happened. I wrote my birth mom a letter last year Sept 7, 2010 is when she text me back. The whole adoption thing for her was a rough experience but she married a good.man and continue on with her life as normal. When she got my letter she was a little frightened to meet me but her husband talked her into it and I met them 4 days later Sept 11 2010. The year has been really good, her husband loves me and her kids love me and I feel comfortable with them but whenever I get around her I feel really nervous and stuff. Well anyways about a month ago I asked her if she was uncomfortable about the relationship becauseher mom doesn't know that she met me and she is afraid of her finding out. And she said that this whole adoption thing has never been about her and that nobody ever does what she wants and I said I do want it to be about you and whatever you want and she said that she wanted to pretty much end the relationship and hat she is not ready and is too busy for me but an occassional text would be fine. I said ok I will be here when you come back. I haven't text her since. Would it be inappropriate to send her a card and gift celebrating the first time we met or is she just thinking that she is glad to be done with me.

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  52. monker123,

    I doubt very much that your mother is glad to done with you. My guess is that she is stressed when she is around you because you is afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing. She's "walking on eggshells."

    She's cut back the communication to avoid the stress. It would be great if she could find a support group or a counselor to discuss her feelings with.

    Sending her a card celebrating your first meeting would be fine. Include a cheery but not overly sentimental message. I wouldn't do a gift unless it's something you made like cookies. A gift may make her feel uncomfortable that you spent money on her.

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  53. Thankyou so much. A homemade gift like cookies would be difficult right now because I am away at college...I have already done things like a scrapbook but I think that was really hard on her. This relationship is a lot different then I imagined. For some reason I just thought she would be so excited to know me and that we would just pick up where we left off 21 years ago. Can someone help me understand what she may be thinking so I can feel ok with this whole rejection thing all over again.

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  54. Great idea about the letter, but I'm addressing mine to the person who is supporting the bill for open records for adoptees after age 24. That's the gift I'm giving myself for Thanksgiving. Closed adoption also took my life. I am still trying to repair the damage to my children who I had later on when I was married. They endured growing up in a home with a depressed Mother. Finding my daughter 3 years ago has been no picnic. Right now none of my 3 girls speak to me at all. To say I regret my decision is beyond simple. I pray my children can overcome the damage. BTW, I just came clean with my adopted daughter, my oldest about the fact that someone changed her DOB on her 2nd birth certificate. Due to the circumstances, the adoptive parents were aware this was done, and kept up the lie for 39 years.

    ReplyDelete

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