Thursday, August 18, 2011

Birth Mother? First Mother? Both names are belittling

Lorraine
By Lorraine Dusky  (c) 2011

Shortly after my daughter, Jane—whom I had given up for adoption but had reunited with a quarter of a century earlier—died my husband and a friend of ours were talking about the circumstances of her death at a cocktail party I had chosen not to attend.

If you are an adoptive parent reading this blog, do I have your attention yet? I’ve used words that adoptive parents recoil from: gave up, daughter without modifiers,
and though you may be thinking, birth mother, I avoid the use of the term whenever possible. Women who relinquished their children are not having the same negative reaction to my choice of words.

To continue: both my husband and our friend simply spoke of my daughter as they talked. An adoptive mother walked up midway in the conversation. The second time she heard “her daughter,” the adoptive mother interjected, birth daughter.

I have never been able to see this woman since and not be reminded of that incident; actually my reaction is much more visceral: I want to pointedly ask about her “adopted daughter’s” migraines. 

To do so would be such a social faux pas—and it would hurt her to the quick. Yet she felt no compunction refining my friend’s language, and neither did another adoptive mother, and a friend, I thought, hold back when she interrupted me to insist that I not refer to my daughter’s adopters as her adoptive parents. “They are her parents,” she said willfully while I stood there, bewildered and diminished. Where is it writ, I wondered, that adoptive mothers and fathers are merely mothers and fathers, but we women who bore the children, who are, in fact, mothers, must always be reduced to someone with a modifier?

'PREFERRED' ADOPTION LANGUAGE IS FAVORED BY WHOM? 
The “preferred adoptive language” or "positive adoption language" that agencies and adoptive parents have promoted since the Seventies has made adopters—a term in common usage around the world--more comfortable with the situation of adoption, but this has been at the expense of the realities and feelings of the mothers who bore the children. The tough language of the past has been smoothed over to sooth the sensibilities of those who take the children, but in doing so increased the defensiveness and animosity towards those who raise them.

Once we were natural mothers, defining our role as conceived by nature; the term, to us, indicated exactly who we were and how we fit into the scheme of our children’s lives. It also signaled we were not raising the child, because mothers are mothers, no modifiers necessary. But as adoption became big business in the Sixties and Seventies, the clients—those who pay the fees, and thus the keep agencies in business— conveyed their discomfort at what the word, to them, implied: that they were the unnatural parents. So articles about “preferred adoption language” were written, charts of good and bad language drawn up and circulated, and the new, less harsh lingo was soon common currency among social workers, adoptive parents, and the media. But what was cleansed out of the equation was that every adoption begins with someone else’s catastrophe.

Along with the introduction of terms such as birth or biological mother were a whole passel of others: give up or surrender (which is how we mothers feel) was to be replaced by placed for adoption or the ever more noxious, make an adoption plan; mothers did not keep their children; they chose to parent them; mother and child reunions did not occur; they were meetings, or make contact. The rationale for that one goes into lala land, as it signifies that since mother and child never were never together, thus a reunion could not take place. Excuse me? After a squealing, live infant painfully emerges from one’s womb you two have definitely been together, and a meeting is absolutely a reunion. The concept of  make contact or a meeting also implies it is a one-time occurrence.

WHEN DROWNING, SWIM DIRECTLY TO LIFE PRESERVER
The most toxic  “preferred” term of all is make an adoption plan instead of "giving up your baby." Is someone who falls off an ocean liner and then thrown a life saver “making a plan” as she swims to it? Or is she just doing what she must to save her life? If I can make an adoption plan, certainly I am able to rationally weighing various options, and have the resources to make an alternative plan. My social worker at the time of relinquishment may have been “making an adoption plan” but I was drowning in a sea of shame and societal mindset that all pointed one way: Give up your daughter. Give her a good life, better than anything you can provide. She needs two parents, not one. Et cetera. Indeed, I was giving up and in doing so I was giving up my baby. For the vast majority of us most of us, even today, that is the reality of relinquishing a child to be someone else’s. 

This preferred adoption language calls we mothers up short and diminishes our connection to the children we bore; it is meant to lessen the calamity of losing our children due to circumstances typically beyond our control, such as youth and poverty, and turns a devastating experience into someone else’s “miracle of adoption,” a phrase commonly used on adoption websites. Our reaction is sometimes mere perplexity as we hear this language in common currency, on television, from acquaintances, not comprehending why the words make us uncomfortable. Yet we feel denigrated and react more negatively than we would if our true connection to the child, and the outright disaster that a surrender is, were acknowledged by everyone. And thus the divisions that separate us—mother/adoptee/adoptive mother—become intensified tenfold. As for calling this "positive adoption language," my question is: positive for whom?

A particularly noxious practice is calling women who are considering relinquishing their children “birth mothers” well before a child is born. Designating her as such establishes a mindset—in the social worker, in the adoptive parents, and in the pregnant woman herself—that she is on a track to relinquishment of her child—and changing her mind, and keeping her child, then appears to be some sort of chicanery on her part. Until she signs the surrender papers, she is no more a “birth mother” than a person who wishes to adopt is an “adoptive parent” until someone brings a child home. Those designations need to come after, not before, any birth, or signing of the surrender papers.

But “birth” and “first” and “natural” are genteel compared to what we are sometimes called on various adoptive parent blogs. Bitch, reproductive agent, uterus of origin, womb, source material, egg layer, and egg donor are some that I’m aware of.  In a collection of essays titled Wanting a Child, writer Jill Bialosky could not bring herself to use any “mother” term at all, but called her son’s natural mother “the woman who labored him.”  She goes on to say that this woman is her definition of a Messiah. I would like to see her reaction if this Messiah ever came to talk to her and the son who was “born from other sperm and egg.”

Does what we call the same thing make a difference in how we perceive it, in how we experience the world? Until very recently, thinkers assumed that the human experience was universal and language diversity could not modify that. However, new research from a Stanford University psychologist is demonstrating that indeed language shapes thought, so much so that the private mental lives of speakers of different languages may differ dramatically, even so far as to include basic sensory perception. While the work of Lera Boroditsky is with people who speak different languages, it is not a great leap to see how the words we use to describe the adoption experience shapes how people feel and think about it. Today the preferred language, or agency-speak, has been so thoroughly imbedded in English that the pain and suffering every adoption represents is all but obliterated in the public mind. Damn straight we’re pissed off about it.

ORIGINS OF 'BIRTH MOTHER'
The use of birth mother became common in the Seventies, and was even promoted by women who lost children to adoption when Concerned United Birthparents was formed, but it is little different from biological mother and I have never felt comfortable with either term: “They call me ‘biological mother.’ I hate those words,” I wrote in the Seventies. “They make me sound like a baby machine, a conduit, without emotions. They tell me to forget and go out and make a new life. I had a baby and I gave her away. But I am a mother.”

First mother? That too is stilted and unsatisfactory, and irritates adoptive mothers because it makes them second mothers. They are, in a sense, but they are also the fulltime mothers who pulled all-nighters when fevers were high and made countless PB&J sandwiches, and did the hard work of raising a child. After I found my daughter and developed a relationship with her other mother, that is what how I generally referred to her. Jane’s other mother.  In conversation with me, she referred to Jane as our daughter. Small concessions on each part led to a relaxing of barriers. Of course, she probably referred to me as Jane’s birth mother when I wasn’t there, just as I refer to her as my daughter’s adoptive mother. But not every situation is so personal and allows for the kind of leeway that Jane’s other mother and I enjoyed.

When I was deciding what to call my blog, I chose First Mother Forum because I liked the alliteration and thought that would make it easy to remember, and that became the URL (www.firstmotherforum.com);  however because birth mother is so inculcated into the language, I reluctantly added [Birth Mother]—now in parentheses—to the title so that people searching for the subject matter of the blog would be found by the greatest number of people. The numbers of visitors immediately shot up. Now I have to admit that in many circumstances, I do not flinch when I’m called a birth mother; first mother may be less offensive to some, but to me the degree is negligible, and should not be a dividing issue among us. 

Yet it is. The American Adoption Congress has a petition of “birth parents” in support of adoptees’ right to their original birth certificates, but many mothers will not add their names because of that distinction. This is sad. This is an intermural skirmish among us working for the same goal, but letting this fracture us as we try to change legislators minds and votes ultimately weakens us and drags down the movement. My hope that any parent—mother or father—involved in a relinquishment will sign the petition so that we can, together, be a greater force for change than we are if we are splintered into many factions. (See sidebar for link.)

Some young mothers, evangelicals and Mormons, particularly, call themselves “proud birth mothers,” but that comes out of being so thoroughly inculcated into the ethos of their religion. We shall see how they feel in ten, twenty years, or when what they expected to be an open adoption slams shut, with no forwarding address.

Yet I am sadly aware that some natural mothers refuse contact when reached through intermediaries, or even by the adoptee herself. These women have been able to shunt their grief and turn away from their children's need for a complete identity. I don’t know what to say to these women. I can understand what they do--years of lying by the sin of omission and telling their spouses or other children is a difficult hurdle to overcome--but I do not think they understand the additional pain they inflict on their children. If they do, they are without mercy for others, they are simply cruel.

CONTEXT IS ALL
4 Generations: My mother, Jane, Granddaughter Kim, and Lorraine
At my daughter’s wake, it was clear that some members of Jane’s extended family were not happy with the studio portrait picture of Jane, my mother, Jane’s daughter and me that was on display, or even with the fact that I was there, and so were my husband and a nephew, a cousin of Jane's. So be it, I thought. I'm here. Jane's friends were all friendly, but there were lots of time during the long couple of hours when I sat with Tony, or my nephew. At some point, a woman approached me with a couple of other people and I sensed immediately she was friendly. “Are you Jane’s biological mother?” she asked expectantly. "I knew Jane from Toastmasters."

You know, I liked her calling me that: biological mother. It was direct, honest and as accurate as natural mother. I liked that she didn’t know she should be using PC language--aka birth mother--that she was asking, Did Jane and I share DNA? Before I could answer, I saw that she was with a few other of Jane’s acquaintances from Toastmasters who were waiting for my response.

Yes, I said, wondering what would come next.  “She talked about you all the time,” the woman said, pleased to be telling me this. In that instant, I didn’t care how Jane referred to me with her friends.
--------------------------
 Do not reproduce without permission but may be linked to freely and at will. 


Suggested Reading:
 The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories
"Educator, writer, and adoptive mother Wadia-Ells has put together an enthralling set of essays from birth mothers, adopted mothers, and adopted daughters. Each story reveals a different facet of the adoption process and of family life in general. Wadia-Ells has chosen her contents carefully, and it shows. Stories of adoptions of all sorts--closed, international, private, and state-sanctioned?are included here, as are stories of a variety of women and from times throughout the last half of this century. Some adoptions were good for all parties involved, and some were not. Either way, the autobiographical compositions in this reader are consistently fascinating and poignant, and the broad spectrum of the writers' experience makes the book particularly worthwhile." Pamela A. Matthews, Missouri Western State Coll., St. Joseph Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

161 comments :

  1. Adoptive parents and the adoption industry chaffed when we were called "natural mothers." Their reasoning: If we were natural mothers then it made adoptive mothers "unnatural."

    So adoptive mothers and the adoption industry came up with "birth mother" to make adoptive mothers feel more natural.

    My question is this: If "natural mothers" made adoptive mothers feel like "unnatural mothers", then do "birth mothers" make adoptive mothers feel like "death mothers?"

    Howsabout we just all call our selves mothers?

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  2. After I signed the surrender papers at the social worker's office, she asked me "how to you feel?" "Terrible," I answered.

    She said "Why, you're making a plan for your baby." I mustered all the strength I had, looked her in the eye, and said "I'm not; you are" and walked out.

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  3. What a beautiful post, Lorraine! I understand your point - "I don't care what you call me, as long as you call me!" :)

    I hope you don't mind an adoptee's perspective (you might be on overload by now!) But, it does somehow make it easier to categorize about whom we are speaking. I've never reunited (yes, having given birth myself, you are correct - it's a reunion!), but when I say "mother", I have to remind myself in my head about whom I'm speaking - is it the mother who bore me or the mother who raised me? Or is it the mother who has "adopted" me as an adult after my adopted mother rejected me?

    And who am I? I'm a "natural" child of an unknown origin, never attached; an "adopted" child, no longer attached; I'm a wife and mother in this family with another name and heritage that is new.

    What should I call all of those who have helped form me? What should I call myself?

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  4. "So adoptive mothers and the adoption industry came up with "birth mother" to make adoptive mothers feel more natural."

    Wasn't it a natural mother who created the term (or at least made the usage official) "birth mother"?

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  5. Mei-Ling...er, did you read the whole post? Quote from the blog today:

    The use of birth mother became common in the Seventies, and was even promoted by women who lost children to adoption when Concerned United Birthparents was formed, but it is little different from biological mother and I have never felt comfortable with either term: “They call me ‘biological mother.’ I hate those words,”....

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  6. "If you are an adoptive parent reading this blog, do I have your attention yet? I’ve used words that adoptive parents recoil from: gave up, daughter without modifiers"

    Since you asked...I only noticed because you italizized the words. All APs don't recoil. The only person who protests me and others calling my daughter's mother her mother is her. She doesn't "feel like her mother" My daughter has two mothers. My role is not diminished by recognizing HER role. I cannot replace her, nor do I want to.

    Qualifiers need only be used in very limited circumstances for clarity, not for emotional reasons. I read many blogs from all angles, and I am never confused about whom the blogger is writing.

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  7. This is a beautiful piece, Lorraine. Thank you.

    I, for one, will not tiptoe around the sensibilities of the selfish, possessive of OUR children, 'adopters' any longer. They gained gained while we lost. Isn't that enough for them?!? Apparently not. They have to regulate us to "birth" things to make them feel complete, apparently.

    I am my child's mother. We are all our children's mothers. Without us there would be no them; and no ADOPTIVE mothers to covet them.

    I make no apologies or concessions in saying that. There sure are no apologies to us for the vile, disgusting terms we are sometimes referred as.

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  8. Trish:

    You are a good woman! And I think, unusual in this crazy world.

    Thanks for reminding us that not all adoptive parents think of us in a way that has to be diminished. When I wrote a piece for Newsday and called myself a first mother, the adoptive mother who wrote in--quite angry--made a point of saying that she was not his first mother, but birth mother.

    BTW: I'll be gone for several hours now.

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  9. I wish I could just call them both "mother." Or their first names. I don't like using prefixes. Sometimes I call my amom the "mother who raised me," and my other mother just my mother. I hate having to use special words. Just hate it. So I do try to use their names as much as possible to avoid it. I *really* hate the *b*word and use it almost never, except when talking to civilians who don't know any of the other terms, and I use it to get them into the conversation, and then I tell them that I never use that word, and why.

    My APs use the term "biologicals" but I hate that, as well. They use that to help them deal with what my family means to me; it provides them with psychological distance from them. But it hurts me. Do I have the guts to tell them it hurts me? No. I don't have BPD. I have DPD (Dependent Personality Disorder, yes, diagnosed by an MD). I am a people-pleaser, and it sucks. I love that my mother told me that I need to stop being a people-pleaser, but it's much easier said than done. And it runs in *my* family, yes, that BIOLOGICAL family. Nice.

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  10. Please please please can we get past the name game? What purpose does this serve but generate pointless fights? Or is this blog becoming Fight Club? It begins to look that way.

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  11. Really, Anonymous?

    You find this a pointless "fight"?
    Seriously?

    I am not fighting--I am simply telling you what is in my mind and heart about being denigrated with language that I do not prefer.

    I did not prefer hearing that an adoptive mother insisted on calling my daughter only my birth daughter. Yes, sometimes we have to have words to signify who we mean; I get that.

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  12. Words are vital and names so important. I called my mother, mother which is what she preferred and was proud to be known as. My adopter was Mum..no problem to anyone although they never met.

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  13. This is a relevant discussion to have because the power-holders in the adoption industry, and society, specifically use adoption labels and language to control what marginalized women can and cannot say about themselves and how marginalized individuals, such as adoptees, can and cannot speak about their own experiences and embrace their own families.

    Every mother has the right to identify herself with whatever label or lackthereof she pleases. Adoptees likewise have a right to identify their family as they choose--this largely goes unacknowledged in the industry.

    I think it is a shame when adoptive parents cannot call their son or daughter's mother, "mother," especially when they resort to the nasty labels you've mentioned in the post here, Lorraine. Not only does this teach children that it's OK to call people that you don't like derrogatory names, but it teaches the adoptee something is wrong with their original family.

    And as I always say, I am part of my original family. If you hate them, does that mean you hate part of me?

    Children are smart. These things do not escape them. Speaking respectfully of the original family is the right thing to do; even if you don't like them. Parents should let the adoptee come to their own conclusions.

    I call both my moms "mom," and distinguish only when the conversation gets confusing.

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  14. @the other anon, this is a fight. The loss of the term natural mother, helps adoption agencies and insecure adoptive parents diminish the relationship between mother and child, which is somthing we should be fighing for. Don't get me wrong I'm not usually a person who worries about titles, because if you have a good relationship with someone its usually doesn't matter what you call them, the relationship is clear to you and that person who its with. But adoption terminology irks me because it's the spawn of insecurity, it's harmful, and its used to make the adoptive parents feel good and say a big f-you to the childs natural mother and father- reducing the mother to a incubator and the father to a sperm donor.
    -LLG

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  15. "The use of birth mother became common in the Seventies, and was even promoted by women who lost children to adoption when Concerned United Birthparents was formed"

    It says "became common" and "promoted."

    It doesn't say specifically who invented the term. I believe it was a natural mother who first coined the term "birth mother."

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  16. BTW: I was initially asked to write this piece for an adoption magazine (and it was accepted) but we could not come to an agreement about whether I could ever post it at the blog, and the magazine is not one that is accessible to anyone but subscribers. I chose First Mother Forum for I hope that this can gain visibility and help nudge the language question away from what I have always perceived as quietly but persistently denigrating.

    If some see this as a "fight," so be it.

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  17. I also hate to hear adoptees called "birthdaughters" or "birthsons," as someone mentioned, and I especially hate to hear first families call their children these things (it's common in some of the more industry-friendly places). Why? Is is so that we share their labels? I don't get it.

    Would mothers call their kept/raised children "birthkids"? Seriously? Weren't we all born from the same body? End of story. I know my mother wants to call me by my name, and has a hard time calling me her daughter. Fine. If she wants to call me the daughter she placed, fine. But I am still her daughter.

    It's enough be an adoptee. I don't want to be stigmatized in yet *another* way.

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  18. Lorraine,
    Since you addressed adoptive parents in your post, I will comment.

    I'm sorry that woman at the party was so rude and thoughtless. I didn't recoil from your words at all. In our family, we refer to my children's parents as "your parents," "your first parents," or call them by their names; it's fluid. My role is not diminished by their love for their parents, and the role of their parents isn't diminished by the love they have for me. There's plenty of love to go around, and loving language is no threat to anybody. I wish more people understood this.


    As someone who grew up in kinship foster care, I will say that I've never found the concept of "making a plan" offensive. My parents didn't make a plan, and I understand why they couldn't, but I commend those who find the strength to do so for their children if they know they can't parent.

    I also fully understand that many first mothers and/or fathers who placed a child for adoption in the past would've made a plan to parent had they received the needed support and encouragement to do so.

    Finally, I just want to say that while I encounter a lot of ugly stuff in the online adoption world, I've never met few adoptive parents in the real world who spoke of their children's first parents with disrespect. I don't know if this means attitudes are changing or I just hang out with the right crowd.

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  19. Mei Ling,
    I am not positive, but I think Pearl Buck or someone like that first coined the term, birth mother. The piece is not about the origin of "birth mother" or "birthmother," and I did not get into that more than in passing. I think you can find articles about this on the net. I'd love to see a good one, if you find one.

    Lee Campbell, the courageous natural mother who started Concerned United Birthparents [one word, which I also hate], in 1976 did use the term, obviously, but as I say, I always found it only slightly less offensive than "biological mother," though I naturally have used it.

    But as the piece says, calling us anything is so much about context. Look at the permutations that African Americans (or blacks) have been through. Now--because the "preferred language" is deemed to be so PC by the adoption industry--given a choice I actually prefer "biological mother," as in the last anecdote of my piece. Of course, nothing beats "natural mother." Which we are and which we were before adoptive parents found the term offensive.

    I find "adoptee" rather neutral and descriptive. But some adoptees prefer "adopted individual," what about you?

    And while you are asking about the origin of the term, and seem to be quibbling with this point, does the piece upset you?

    And now I am shutting down for the night. I will not be at the blog much tomorrow.

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  20. I too was corrected by an adoptive parent when I called myself a natural mother, and told I was wrong. Gee, silly me, that was the legal term used at the time I relinquished. I refused to apologize or back down, and they were very offended. Shrug.

    At the risk of stating something completely obvious that somehow escapes the "miracle of adoption" crowd, adoption IS UNNATURAL. ADOPTIVE parents are not parents because of nature, they are parents because of economics and legalities. I am sure they argue that their love is natural, but we aren't talking about love here. We ALL love our kids. It is NATURAL to love our offspring. Me being the mother that nature provided my child doesn't make my child's adoptive parent unnatural. She did that all by herself when she went out and hired an agency to acquire a child for her. Where in nature does adoption exist? In what species is it "natural" to take a child from a living breathing mother and raise it as your own?

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  21. In a divorce with the dad remarrying the mom is still referred to as mom. The husbands new wife is referred to as a step-mom etc. Why should adoption be any different? I refer to my adoptive mom as such. My mother gave birth to me. There is no such thing as an Ex-Mom.

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  22. "Diminish" "Invalidate" "Eradicate"
    These were the feelings the adoption agencies, people involved in the business of placing children and a lot of the general public that were not involved in the triad shoved down our throats. Many of us bought it with the shame we were made to wear.
    After relinquishing my daughter I fell into a somewhat functioning breakdown that lasted two years but did not get the psychotheraphy I needed 'til my daughter was 15. I refused to go back into the closet. I will never again let people have that power over me. I found my own strengh and then I found my daughter. Call it what you want. This bond is too strong to be called biological (sounds like a test tube in a laboratory).
    By the way, Lorraine. I love your writing. Always have and always will. I bought "Birthmark" when you first published it.

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  23. Von found the best solution, the woman that gave birth is your Mother, and should be refered to as Mother NO prefix. The people that riased you are your adoptive parents or your Mom and Dad.

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  24. Hey Lorraine,

    I'd like to be totally frank here if I may. When I first sought help in dealing with the adoptions of my daughter and son, I joined a large internet triad site whereupon I was told immediately - and in no uncertain terms - that I was to call myself "birth mother" or be banned.

    Desparate at the time for help and ignorant of the adoption machine, I went along with this even though I'd never heard the term before. I felt then that I had no other choice. Later I would realize that that was exactly the circumstance in which I found myself both times I relinquished.

    However, I wholly resented being forced to use a lable I did not create and had never defined myself by. I simply saw myself as a woman who'd lost two children. (I would also learn that the term "lost" was not acceptable at this particular site.)

    Flash forward 6 years. Recently I found myself at odds once again with Admin at another site - this one a first parents site - when I was publicly told that I was never to use the term "first parent". That I was to call myself "Natural Mother" and nothing else. That no other term would be accepted and that if I couldn't go along with that, that I was free to take my business elsewhere.

    I was both furious and disgusted because I felt I was being coerced the very same way that a pro-adoption site had coerced me six years previous.

    Nowadays, I see the term "natural mother" everywhere and that is fine. I may not particularly care for it - but only because it does not define my experience with adoption as I see it. That does not mean I don't respect another person's right to use it.

    It is said that adoptive parents don't like the term. Flat out - how long are we going to bow beneath the will of others?

    I have first mom friends who call themselves "birth mother". I don't use the term but that is how they see their journey and I respect that.

    I do understand, of course (don't mean to sound arrogant), that the first parent community is looking for a new national definition for media and print purposes.

    But on an informal level, at first parent sites where we are simply posting of our individual experience? If we reach the point where those of us who call ourselves first mothers/natural mothers/birth mothers are told by our own kind that we are wrong and that we must call ourselves ONLY "X" or "Y" because the powers that be have deemed that that term is THE term?

    Then, as a community, we have become everything we've fought against.

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  25. Lorraine,

    I wanted to clarify re. my comment about bowing to the will of others, because I realized after hitting "send" that that sounded harsh. I apologize for that. It wasn't at all meant that way.

    I have a neighbor whose mom & dad immigrated to the States from Mexico City. I commented to her that that was fascinating and that I'd never met a person with a Mexican heritage before.

    She smiled and said, "Latino heritage".

    I felt terrible as I thought I'd offended her but she said she wasn't offended. She explained that she prefers to be called a Latino American and not a Mexican American. Then she said, "My family is from Mexico but we call ourselves Latino".

    I immediately understood that she wasn't correcting me out of any political stance. It was far simpler and more human than that. She sees herself as Latino. That is her idea of her own identity, her heritage, her perception of her own existence.

    She does not bow to the mandates of any other race regarding who or what she is. She does not change her lable because any other race is offended by it.

    That's what I meant.

    Though I could have phrased it better the first time. Sigh......

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  26. Well, I've been thinking about it,
    "birth" can to people with a rather shakespearean worldview leave out adoptees who left their mother by c-section and it is rather artificial, not to say idiotic, when applied to dads.
    "Biological" is a good one, in contrast to "legal" or "official", but that shows the bias of a biologist to whom biological is just a politically correct expression for "one and only genuine really real", but it does neglect that fostering/adoption is a natural biological process too.
    If a b-word has to be used I would think about something with "blood" like "BLOOD TIES".

    First mother implies the necessary existance of MORE mothers, which is not always the case, say adoption by a male couple, in that case mother is just mother, of course, but still it can be problematic.

    "Natural mother", is the worst in my opinion, it is a correct way to indicate motherhood as a result of sexual contact with a person of the other gender, and can be used to indicate family relations, but if you have the guts to say to a mother of 12 b-children that she is not a natural mother, because she adopted two after that... You see, a natural mother will fight for her children, as such the use of "natural mother" is an insult to all those naturals who can stay far away from adoption. There is nothing natural about allowing your child to be adopted, as long as you have a choice.

    Of course, there have been kidnappings, frauds, thefts, but the really distinguishing act of your "typical" b/f-mother is relinquishment, surrender, giving up, not giving birth, not being first, certainly not an unnatural lack of aggression towards child robbers, and not even having a child adopted by somebody else...

    OK, using something like "relinquishment mothers" might not be a good idea in self organization, or introducing yourself, but it seems the best option to make clear which group is intended.

    It is as with the black/negro/
    colored/... thing, the correct word depends on context, there are not many Afro-Americans in southern Africa... For the title of a "neutral" scientific/medical article I would prefer some sort of surrender related indication, but otherwise it just depends on context.

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  27. I do not like to be introduced by my adopted son to his friends, this is my birth mother. But, I understand he is trying to keep everything sorted out in his mind. His a-mother is also very insecure,and has refused for years now to meet me.So my son has to tread lightly around her. My son just calls me by name, other wise I do not care what I am called, just as long as my son's both raised and adopted keep calling me.

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  28. I find today's AP's hard to understand at times. The need to elevate themselves by demoting someone else. No one deserves respect simply because of how they use language - how you treat others in life is what defines who you are.

    Mom and dad simply used "your mother" or "your father" to distinquish the difference - as in speaking in the third party (does that make sense?). It was not confusing at all. Instead it was respecting the fact we had two mothers, two fathers, and the fact that society dictated our surrender. Each set of parents played a different role in our life.

    I still use the term mother out of respect for her role in my life, as I will never be able to have a relationship - if we had had the chance to form a relationship, then the term may have evolved into something more familiar like I do with mom.

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  29. Oh, I completely forgot to write down why "Natural" is so bad, "Natural child" implies, born out of wedlock, as such calling yourself "Natural mother" as a "mother who lost her child by surrendering, implies that surrendering for adoption is the "natural" thing done, in case of an out-of-wedlock parturation, and thus should calling the blood mother "Natural mother" be seen as part of the pro-adoption vocabulary.

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  30. It's lost in the piece, but I have to say when someone I considered a friend--we cried together when she was considering adoption because her husband really wanted a child-- "corrected" me when I referred to my daughter's adoptive five years later as as her adoptive parents, I recoiled nearly as much as when I heard about the "birth daughter" incident.

    I mean, WTF? Did it not occur to her that even if she found it offensive, she might not say anything? We are still friendly acquaintances but we have drifted in the years since she adopted--more or less naturally because she and he husband spent more time with other families that have children, especially other families with Chinese girls.

    The couple had a lot of problems with the girl when she was a baby and toddler (she was very aggressive, she had been in an institution for more than a year) but they got help, my friend was a great mother (and also the primary bread winner) as far as I could see, and today the girl is doing fine, is a nice girl, and going off to college this month. I'd have to say: good job!~

    I saw the other woman ("birth daughter") at physical therapy recently (still my hand and shoulder problem) and she is friendly as all get out because she has no idea how I felt about what she said. OF COURSE she happened to mention her "daughter" in our 10 minute conversation....I said nothing. I could only say something if I had coffee with her and told her how her comment affected me, but it's probably not worth it.

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  31. Jane Karr:

    Good lord, I had no idea the birth and first business got so contentious but I do recall that Betty Jean Lifton was once told that she could not give a her talk at a conference if she used "birth mother." My recollection is that she reused to back down and was uninvited and Bastardette wrote about it.

    For my own and others edification, would you let us know what sites you are talking about? I am so busy here and with rewriting my memoir once again that I don't cruise the net other than a few blogs I'm familiar with--of course I got thrown off of adoption.com almost immediately. But then, that is a site run by a Mormon man and they do not counter anything but rather happy talk from mothers--natural, birth, first.

    I will continue to use all terms but you know my preference! When we have to use a modifier, everybody should use what they feel comfortable with.

    Jane K, you must let me know what sites you are talking about.

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  32. Jane Karr wrote:
    "But on an informal level, at first parent sites where we are simply posting of our individual experience? If we reach the point where those of us who call ourselves first mothers/natural mothers/birth mothers are told by our own kind that we are wrong and that we must call ourselves ONLY "X" or "Y" because the powers that be have deemed that that term is THE term?

    Then, as a community, we have become everything we've fought against."

    It is a sad truth that we have come to this. Totalitarian communities with prescribed and proscribed language are never free or democratic.

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  33. "but it does neglect that fostering/adoption is a natural biological process too."

    Substitute "necessary" instead of "biological" and I'd agree with you.

    How does biology have anything to do with fostering/adoption? Or am I reading this wrong?

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  34. Even though we (okay "i", my husband is not on the same bus) have not found Emma's first mother, i've always wondered what S would want to be called.

    And then, it dawned on me.

    She's Emma's mother.

    I'm Emma's second mother.

    Emma (who is 4 now) calls me "Mommy" by her choice. We (my husband, Emma and i) call S "Mama" in our night time prayers or whenever we look though Emma's life book.

    I hope that S is okay with that...maybe one day, when i manage to find her, she'll tell me that "Mama" is what is perfect for us to call her.

    I wish that everyone could realize that there IS enough love for everyone from a child's heart...i hate to hear that an ap is 'insecure'. Of what? Not being "first"? An ap's "feelings" should never top in that sense....as an adoptive mom, i pray that S knows Emma loves her and i pray that S will love her back.

    Why would i want anything else?

    I'll call S whatever she wants me to call her. But to me, "Mama" is perfect.

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  35. Another wonderful post Lorraine!

    When I was pregnant the agency kept referring to me as "the Birth Mother" before I gave birth. I was young and scared and never thought much of the name. Later I heard the term "Biological Mother", this made me feel like a science experiment, like I was something from a cold, sterile lab. I heard the term "Natural Mother", my first thought was of my Aunt who was a hippy back in the day, every time I heard this I felt the need to make sure my legs and underarms were shaved. "Birth Mother" is what I was told to use, I really didn't know any different, now I know the agency used it to convince me I could never be "Mother". I heard "First Mother" a few years ago, I do like this better, especially since I refer to my lost daughter as "First Daughter".

    I'm really not big on labels and I honestly don't care what people call me. I know in my heart I am a Mother, a Mother who was young and naive and easily coerced. My First Daughter can call me whatever she is comfortable with and I'm okay with that.

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  36. @Isobel, it's lovely that you say such nice things about the mother of the child you are raising but you're never going to meet her are you?

    How do you even know that she voluntarily relinquished her daughter?

    So many people adopt from far away places in situations where an open adoption is not possible then speak so longingly and lovingly of this woman they will never know, never speak to, never see.

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  37. "How does biology have anything to do with fostering/adoption? Or am I reading this wrong?"

    Well, that depends on how one understands "Biology", to me it is the science that studies living entities, as such starting to act as if the offspring of another entity is one's own offspring, is just a basical behavioural phenomenon. If one has seen geese do it, bullying a single mother goose so they could take "ownership" of her goslings, as I did, one knows for certain that adoption as a family building strategy only takes a bird's brain. Great science, biology.

    But more seriously, in the horse industry hundreds if not thousands of orphan foals are adopted each year by mares, a homosexual pair of vultures turned out to be fine adoptive parents too, so did male penguins. Adoption is a rather basic behaviour, better studied with biology than with philosophy, at least at the adopters side. Biology may not be so fit to tackle the mystery of the signing of surrender papers, though.

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  38. "Well, that depends on how one understands "Biology", to me it is the science that studies living entities, as such starting to act as if the offspring of another entity is one's own offspring, is just a basical behavioural phenomenon."

    Ah, I see. Then you are using the scientific analysis.

    In terms of "biology", I talk about blood bonds.

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  39. I for one salute Isabel and feel that her heart is in the right place. Criticizing the adoptive parents who comment here and are not disturbed by what we say is worth of note and welcome. Yes, she can't know the complete facts of her child's background, but since she is raising a daughter and has openness in her heart, I am only going to say: Hello! Thanks for reading, learning and sharing your feelings.

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  40. Theodore, what am I missing about your comment? Maybe you did not leave it at the right post? Or did I miss a comment that you quoted here?

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  41. Theodore wrote: "There is nothing natural about allowing your child to be adopted, as long as you have a choice. ... Of course, there have been kidnappings, frauds, thefts, but the really distinguishing act of your "typical" b/f-mother is relinquishment, surrender, giving up, not giving birth, not being first, certainly not an unnatural lack of aggression towards child robbers, and not even having a child adopted by somebody else... "

    Theodore, unfortunately this argument against the term natural mother does not work, because most surrenders do involve, and still involve coercion. You can see the difference when comparing statistics for North America vs. Australia, where mothers are protected against many forms of coercion which are legal in the US and Canada. Not only that, but most surveys which have been done on natural mothers indicate that the majority were coerced -- see "Coerced Adoptions - Evidence from Research" for some examples. And, when coercion is present, there is no choice.

    I agree that it is not natural to "give up" one's baby, and that is another reason why legal child adoption is not natural (invented in 1851) and why we are still mothers by Nature despite being forced by society to perform an unnatural act.

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  42. “She talked about you all the time,” the woman said, pleased to be telling me this. And in the instant, I didn’t care how Jane referred to me with her friends.

    That’s exactly how I feel Lorraine.

    I understand your, and others, point about the origin of “birth” and “first” mother and work not to feel like a completely unnatural mother and woman when I say I surrendered my son and the response is “oh I could NEVER do that”. FU.

    As long as others approach me with the respect of being a human being and there’s no apparent effort to denigrate me or what I’ve done, I don’t care if I’m called birth or first or natural mother. I really don’t. As I’ve experienced it, mostly, it’s a means of distinguishing between which of my son’s mother’s the other person is referring to.

    Within the adoption world it’s something different because we are seen as the moneymaking vehicle that so many adopters hope will go away after the papers are signed. Forever. So it’s advantageous to them to parse us out and in doing so diminish and undermine who we are and what our place is in our child’s life.

    The really difficult part for me is how much energy we put into arguing about our title, birth/first/natural mother, and how that keeps us from meaningful adoption reform. You’re correct about the AAC petition. It’s shortsighted and damaging to our children and it’s damaging to us. Some of us hold back our support of things that are vital to our children and to adoption reform over a label. I don’t understand that.

    We have the experience, the brains and the numbers to be a force for reform yet there are a number of groups that won’t tolerate any other term for us than mother. Even if I refer to myself and no one else as birth/natural/first mother it isn’t tolerated.

    It’s time for a priority check. Do I want my priority to be adoption reform, like access to OBCs and rights for expectant mothers, or do I want my priority to be adoption reform, like being called mother?

    In a cotton ball world I’d hear “You must be Chris’s mother. You two look so much a like.” And not “You must be Chris’s birth mother. You two look so much alike.” Chris has two mothers and whether I like it or not, distinguishing between the two of us is necessary.

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  43. "It doesn't say specifically who invented the term. I believe it was a natural mother who first coined the term "birth mother."

    Not unusual that this is a common belief. Two popular websites that state this to be a fact, but it is not true.

    The fact is that the first documented use of birth-terms was by adoptive parent and industry promoter Pearl S. Buck, in 1955. She employed it again in 1956 and 1972 articles. Two adoption industry employees (Baran and Pannor) then co-authored articles in child welfare journals in 1974 through 1976, spreading these terms to the social work and adoption industry. They were then included in adoption industry worker Marietta Spencer's new "Positive Adoption Language" terminology set, rolled out (not under that name though) in the journal Child Welfare in 1979. In PAL/RAL, the adoptive mother is defined as being the SOLE mother, the adoptive parents the SOLE parents. This leaves a 'birthmother' as being a non-mother. Google "Positive Adoption Language" and "Respectful Adoption Language" and all articles on it talk about the adoptive parents as being the sole parents, no qualifiers. :(

    If anyone is interested, email me and I can send a PDF document containing copies of these articles I refer to above.

    It was in 1976 that CUB formed, and this is when it is claimed that the term was coined. But
    according to a letter from BJ Lifton, "... somehow the struggle with the agencies and adoptive parent groups narrowed down to 'birth mother' and 'biological mother.'" So, CUB wasn't even given much of a choice. :( They chose to use the name "birth" because anything else would offend adopters and agencies, and "biological" sounded too cold and clinical. :(

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  44. Lorraine, I guess you missed Mei Ling's comment, our conversation made sense in this context, we were just talking about the meaning of the word "biological" in an adoption context.

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  45. I couldn't help but notice no one yet has used the term most contested on all venues: "real mother." Yet I did a Google search just now for this term in conjunction with the "adopted" or "adoptee" and found an abundance. Even the media headlines have blasted this term. Yet what an incendiary term that one is!

    I'm one who has grown quite weary of the debate over terminology. Yes, vocabulary is important to everyone in defining themselves. And yes, it would be delightful if we could all coalesce around a term that is burden-free as well as politically correct. But must we waste so much valuable time and energy hashing and rehashing what that term should be? Is it really that important? Let's face it: there is nothing about our experience as birth/first/natural/former/genetic/biological/original mothers that will ever be "delightful." It is not the noun, I feel, that defines our rage. It is the event that even made a defining noun necessary.

    Herein, I feel, is the crux of our clashes. It was/is the experience of unwilling, denied motherhood that is the acid that eats at us in a thousand ways. We felt powerless when we lost our babies. We felt powerless when we were denied any knowledge of them as they grew and matured. And even if we were lucky enough to cross paths with them again one day, we still experienced powerlessness in our attempts to normalize a relationship with them. Now, we feel powerless to gain the support we need to change the laws to stop using us as red herring in the access-to-OBC legislative attempts. Powerlessness is a time-bomb waiting for a detonator. But the resulting explosion can be hurtful to many others.

    If you've ever dealt with someone who has suffered a stroke and struggles to regain speech, you know that often the only discernible words that make it through the fog are curse words - even by those who never cursed before. And caregivers can be hurt by this, even though that was not the intent of the stroke victim. This is the picture I get of the vitriol I find in some of the Internet discussions on this topic (though not on this one). In core-level pain and frustration, in rage that sometimes challenges our sanity, we seek to regain control over the situations that left us speechless by controlling the language we feel best describes it.

    It's OK, and very healthy, to give voice to our feelings relative to the toxicity we may feel is attached to a certain term or terms. However, when we begin to hurt one another for using a term used by some of our sisters but we find objectionable, we go beyond 'healthy' to destructive. And let's face it: we can't even agree among ourselves about the "politically correct" term us use. How in the world should a newcomer to our sites and our FB pages begin to assimilate when they feel they must walk on eggshells so as not to set off a barrage of nasty comments? One group, at least, expels anyone who uses the "dreaded b word." How ridiculous is THAT?

    We need to welcome, comfort, advise, respect, and encourage our sisters, not drive them off with the kinds of nitpicking that has become a preoccupation of late. I've come to the point where I'm on the verge of dropping out of the entire adoption reform effort. I sure hope this fluff blows away in the wind soon.

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  46. Well - this is a very interesting discussion!!
    When I gave birth to my daughter in 1969 - to this day - I don't recall 'what' I was called by the nuns at the home!! LOL! When I started searching for my daughter (I ALWAYS call her "my daughter", since I don't have any other children) on the urging of an adoptee - the adoptee called me a "birth mother"; so that was the only term I knew! Then I joined adoption dot com - and there I learned of the other terms that were being used - "first", "natural" and "biological". When I first wrote to my daughter - I signed off with "birth/natural/first/biological mother" and in paratheses put - which ever you want to call me!! So I left it up to my daughter to call me what she wanted; she just addressed me by my first name - which I didn't mind either! BUT the letter I received from her amom was quite different!! She said - I stopped being M's mother when she & her husband signed those adoption papers - she (daughter) was now HER daughter!! And when my daughter got married - the amom wrote that M now had a NEW triad - M, amom and her 'new' mother-in-law!! HOW RUDE, eh??!!! I was pretty pizzed off about that, but of course never said anything about that, as I wasn't supposed to write to them anymore...
    Anyway - I don't care WHAT I'm called either - JUST CALL!!!!

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  47. Adoption Digger:

    Fluff?

    I agree that bickering over birth versus first is ridiculous but the language preferred by agencies certainly was not written by mothers who lost their children to adoption--opps, not supposed to say that, right?

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  48. Ah, Cedar, I knew that, to the mothers who have lost their children to the adoption industry that is a rather valid defense, but I know there is a difference between forcing and coercing, and in spite of that claim about forcing in your link I do not accept that. Forcing is the use of direct threats against mother or child, or something like that, coercing is more subtle.

    As such the ideal name to identify mothers who lost their children to the adoption industry should inspire terror, horror, pity and gratitude in the lucky ones not belonging to that group, something like "Child relinquishment survivors", but that is rather a mouthful.

    "Natural mother", is too much like "natural child", and hides too much what sucks about being one.

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  49. Whoa Ceder, that is interesting about AAC--adoptive parents are members and that is the issue there and probably why natural parents was unsatisfactory. However, you will find my name and Jane's there, and I encourage all to sign that document.

    And Thanks for the detailed clarification about Pearl Buck and the follow up usage of the term birth mother.

    The Adoption Triangle, the influential book by Sorosky, Baran and Pannor, came out in 1978, two years after Concerned United Birthparents was formed.

    One thing I didn't mention, that if birth parent must be used, I prefer it as two words...as adoptivemother is NEVER USED. Some women say, well, grandmother is one word, but a grandmother is a grandmother--no wait, I'm a birthgrandmother. Never never never ends, does it?

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  50. I was fortunate with my son, as he refers to me as he introduces me to his friends as his mother. He was so happy when I found him he took me all over places where he lived and introduced me to his friends and co workers. At his wedding they were confused when they saw his adoptive mother because they didn't even know she existed. And luckily, after they met her had hoped she didn't.
    Yet he still calls me by my 1st name.
    I once told him that when his adopters refer to me as his bmom, to tell them that I refer to his amom as the "can't b,,," mom. He laughs.

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  51. Viktoria, you made a good point:

    "... the language preferred by agencies certainly was not written by mothers who lost their children to adoption"

    The irony is that today, many of the "mothers who lost their children to adoption" prefer to use the very language that was "preferred by the agencies" during the BSE. In agency files and the court documents, we were referred to as "natural" or "first" mothers. So the language of our oppressors is OK to the exclusion of all others. That's why I call these discussions fluff.

    Too bad we can't come up with an absolutely unique term that isn't so emotionally charged and that everyone could agree on.

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  52. @Cedar, Thank you so much for the coercion link. I was unaware that a body of research supported the coercion tactics used. I have always said "surrendered" because that was the word that seemed to describe my situation best.

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  53. Whenever I briefly check in to this site to see if I can gain a new perspective as a parent, I am always struck about the underlying anger towards adoptive parents. So a question: If you could go back= what would you change? Would you still place your children? Would you demand more rights, or would you do it the same?

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  54. "... AAC--adoptive parents are members and that is the issue there and probably why natural parents was unsatisfactory. "

    Shows that there is a fundamental problem in the concept of "triad groups" -- support and activist group which use the "triad model of adoption" as their base.

    It is interesting that you mention "The Adoption Triangle" as an influential book, as this is likely the one that most promoted the notion of an "adoption triad." But if one looks at this model, it renders invisible the role of the broker, the industry, the agent who obtained power to obtain the baby and provide the baby to customers who in exchange provided something in return (normally money). It is also interesting that two of the authors of this book were baby brokers who made a living from separating families.

    Groups in the triad model have a fundamental flaw: they include both parties in the adoption transaction who had no power, and one of the two parties who have/had all the power. Hence, invariably the interests and opinions of natural mothers in triad groups is given less weight than those of adopters. Their needs come second, and often adoptive parents in these groups are almost put onto pedestals, especially if they join "open records groups" and show support there. A lot of social energy goes into keeping them there and keeping them happy. I think that the AAC is an ideal display of this in action.

    The 4-party transaction model of adoption is increasingly being recognized: 2 parties with power, 2 parties without power.

    The triad model is falling by the wayside, being replaced by groups that support those who had no power, no voice, no choice.

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  55. " Forcing is the use of direct threats against mother or child, or something like that, coercing is more subtle. "

    I think that this is splitting hairs, as both can result in the same outcome, that a mother loses a child she loves and wants to keep, or loses the ability to make an informed decision, or loses freedom of choice. It is a technicality. A coerced surrender is just as bad, just as traumatic, as a forced surrender, and there is a blur between the two when the outcome, and the trauma, is the same.

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  56. "The Adoption Triangle, the influential book by Sorosky, Baran and Pannor, came out in 1978, two years after Concerned United Birthparents was formed. "

    And these three were using birth-terms in articles published in 1974, 1975, and 1976. What is interesting is that they also used the term "natural mother," "natural child," and so on in the same articles, because these were the standard industry terms before birth-terms began to be "distributed and promoted."

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  57. Dear Anonymous @ 9:12--Yes knowing what I know I would have kept my daughter. Great harm was done to her, and me, by the adoption.

    But no one can go back and relive their lives.

    Yes, many of us are angry because of the way we were treated by society, the agencies, our families.

    Do you mind if your neighbors start calling you: The Adopter?

    Sounds like a neutral term to us.

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  58. I am so sorry to hear that Lorraine.I'm sorry for the loss of your daughter and for whatever circumstance led you to place her. Of course you have anger when your daughter was hurt. I guess this site is not for me. and yes you can call me adopter all you want because it's what I am. I'm proud of being an adopter. I'm sorry for the hurt of all of you. I am an adopter of a beautiful girl, She has a natural/first/birth mother and I'm her mother too= so in your anger dont forget that.

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  59. My amother used the terms real and natural mother. I use those also. I have been chided natural implies unnatural to which I reply the birth parent the opposite is death parent

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  60. Anon,

    Yes, knowing what I know now, I would have kept my daughter.

    I think the underlying anger towards adoptive parents you may see is not directed at specific adoptive parents but at the fact that their demand for infants created the need to supply infants and thus fueled the adoption industry. The real object of our anger is (and should be) toward the industry itself.

    Most of us realize that in many ways adopters were also victims of the adoption industry. Adopters were told many things that were not true: raising adopted children was the same as raising biological children ("Just take them home and love them."); adopting would make up for not having biological children; mothers willingly gave their babies away; adopted children won't search for their biological parents; and so.

    I hope all of us can join together to reform adoption laws so that everyone has the information necessary to make informed decisions.

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  61. Mary, "Real" and "Natural" are FINE, but only as long as it is known that we are talking about family relations of an adoptee. Though "Natural" may better be avoided by adoptees born in-wedlock, to prevent confusion.

    To indicate the group of women who lost their children to the adoption industry, "real" and "natural" cannot be used.

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  62. Cedar, an adoption industry FORCING is making itself too vulnerable. If they were only FORCING, that would be like a blessing to abolitionists.

    It may not differ much to the victim, but if they were only forcing to sign at gunpoint, the criminal nature of the enterprise would be clear...

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  63. "Anon,

    Yes, knowing what I know now, I would have kept my daughter.

    I think the underlying anger towards adoptive parents you may see is not directed at specific adoptive parents but at the fact that their demand for infants created the need to supply infants and thus fueled the adoption industry. The real object of our anger is (and should be) toward the industry itself."


    Jane:

    I am sorry, but I can't agree. It's not adoption as an industry; it's the lack of using birth control which fuels the adoption industry. In today's world there are MANY forms of birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies; just like back in the day they were condoms. For many women the father cutting out and the stigma of being an unwed mother was too much! Some women didn’t want the commitment of keeping their child and facing the stigma, or being a "parent again” (many of today's bmoms have children already).There are many reason WHY today's bmom's place their child. Personal responsibility goes a long way when it comes to reproductive rights and the desire to parent.

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  64. Anon 9:12 wrote:" So a question: If you could go back= what would you change? Would you still place your children?"

    This question makes me wonder if you spend much time at FMF. It is clear by so many of the posts and comments that a large percentage of the first mothers feel they were coerced to give up their child or that there were simply no options especially for a single (then called unwed) mother during the BSE (1940s through 1970s). My natural mother would most certainly have kept me, there is no question about that. However, the societal mores of the time and they way society was structured (unmarried mothers could not get housing or jobs, the only acceptable family unit consisted of a husband, a wife and children, etc.) made it impossible. Plus it was hammered into her that she was an immoral person to boot, thus damaging her self-esteem and self-confidence.

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  65. "Personal responsibility goes a long way when it comes to reproductive rights and the desire to parent."

    And personal responsibility goes a long way when it comes to how you treat the mother of the child you so fortunately get to parent. HER loss was your gain, yet so many adopters act as if she no longer exists after they procure her flesh and blood from her.

    Moreover, personal responsibility goes a long way when it comes to staying out of the wombs of people you don't even know. What business of yours is it what method of birth control (or not) someone uses? It IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS. It never ceases to amaze me how involved strangers try to be in the uterus of another woman. It actually quite creeps me out.

    Of course, if you are an adopter, someone's birth control method or lack thereof enabled YOU to covet a child as your own. That is why you are here with your condescending rhetoric, correct?

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  66. Anon 5:23 wrote:"it's the lack of using birth control which fuels the adoption industry."

    Wow, Anon, I want to move to your world where birth control is 100% effective. I personally know several diaphragm babies, condom babies, a Today sponge baby and even a few birth control pill babies. Even the pill which is 99% effective still has 1 out of 100 women using it get pregnant in a given year. Given the millions of women on the pill that is actually a lot of unintended pregnancies. And that is our most reliable form of birth control. I'm not saying that there aren't people who are irresponsible when it comes to protection but I don't think you can blame everything on the individual and not on the profit driven adoption industry.

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  67. Theodore:

    I don't know about the Netherlands, but in this country people who raise they children they bear do not call their children their "natural" children. They just are.

    And their mothers are mothers--without modifiers. If we talk about adoption and someone refers to the child's natural mother--we know who they are talking about.

    I can see why the use of the word "real" makes adopters crazy, but I suspect kids will go on using it and understand who that means. In that context, I don't see it as a pejorative. It's what comes to mind. It just is.

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  68. Folks:
    can you please tell me what sites do not allow the use of the various things we are called? I mean, it's their rules, so why the pussy-footing around not telling us which sites they are? Do it anonymously if you like.

    I was blocked from adoption.com in two days. Period. Mormon-run site. Yes, it is, and proud of it. So why not name these sites here?

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  69. "I am sorry, but I can't agree. It's not adoption as an industry; it's the lack of using birth control which fuels the adoption industry."

    How does this claim start to make sense? A perfect use of birth control in a country, or more likely honorable motherhood becoming fashionable, only means a shift towards foreign adoption.

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  70. Well, maybe not anymore in the 21st century USA, but it was a morecommon expression in that country in the 19th century, but it was indeed more commonly used with children in relation to fathers, who had achieved fatherhood by causing pregnancy rather than by marriage to the mother. It's legal meaning could be similar or identical with bastard... and it is still used, mainly in historical novels, and such, granted. Somebody who is familiar with the concept from such a context could easily apply the historical out-of-wedlock
    meaning to the adoption context, and to be honest, I guess that the meanings are connected.

    It is quite obvious that as long as we know we are talking about adoption every option suggested here, is clear. But what if it is not clear yet? Suppose the topic is breast cancer, or something like that?

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  71. I think most of the adoptive parents posting and reading here, all mothers it seems, are modern day, adopting in the last 5 years or so. Perhaps that it why we seem unusual. All of the APs I know today call their kids parents mother and father. When we are talking we all know who we are speaking about. All of the semi-closed or closed adoptions I know of are also the choice of the first mother/fathers, much to the regret of the adopters.

    My daughter's mother relates no coercion. In fact, she was pretty peeved that she was counseled so stronlgy about ways she could keep our daughter. Truth be told, her intention was to Safe Haven but things did not go that way when she dropped baby off at the hospital, agency was eventually called in and the detriment of Safe Haven (no heritage, no med info, need to know blood relatives) to baby was described to her. After 2 months of counsel she placed, with me and hubs. Baby girl is still a secret to her 3 adult sisters, and everyone else, 3 years later. Mom was 40 at the time of birth. This story is unusual, but not as unusual as you may think in today's adoption scenario. She was not shamed or coerced to place. In fact, she did not make an adoption plan at all until after birth, she made no plan. Sadly for our daughter, her mother simply did not want to parent. We entered an "open" adoption, but it is not really. All contact is one sided. Thanksfully, with the unwitting help of Ms. Marginalia, I got the words to plead with her about our daughter's rights to know, and got info on father. I have a multi generational family tree for our daughter, and thanks to public social netwroking pages, over 300 pics of family members (only maternal for now). Do I think that will replace having her blood relatives in her life, knowing them? No I do not. My 3 year old does not understand why she doesn't see or talk to her first mother- we've seen her once since placement when our daughter was 2While she knows she grew in her first mom's belly and was born to her, and I tell DD that she is her mother too, her 3 year old mind rejects that idea. It is all very sad. And there are days I do wish I did not particpate in this industry. But mostly, I am glad I get to be this perfect girl's mother and help her through the shit she has been dealt. I shudder to think of the Safe Haven happeneing and her knowing nothing. I only hope her other mother comes around. I will never give up.

    Sorry for throwing up on your blog. I can completely appreciate the anger, and I do not take it personally.

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  72. Hey Lorraine and Jane)!

    Lorraine: You had asked which sites I was reffering too (re. being banned/asked to change my language usage).

    The site that demanded I refer to myself as "birth mother" only was adoption.com. A site from which I was banned after I privately protested (rather rudely in all honesty) a particular post in which a woman stated that she wanted "to smack OUR birthmother in the face".

    The other site? The first parents site? I would like to quietly pass on naming it. Forgive me for that. I know it makes me seem a coward. I suppose in many ways I still am (sad smile inserted here).


    Anon wrote: "There are many reason WHY today's bmom's place their child. Personal responsibility goes a long way when it comes to reproductive rights and the desire to parent."

    Hello Anon. Hmmm...thinking here. The only way I can respond from my own experience is to say that my desire to parent was not in question. It was my ability to do so that was. I take no argument with that circumstance, however, for it was my reality and there is no use in denying it.

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  73. and by no means does posting about my experience diminish the experience of anyone else. Ther are horrible APs an PAPs out there, whose intent it it to otain a baby at all costs. I have "met" them in online communities. And my post was ot meant to imply there is not coercion of expectant and new mothers to "plan" an adoption of their child, there absolutely is. And there are APs who call their child's mother a vessel, consider her a necessary evil to procuring a child.

    NY does not allow "adoption facilitators", who are in many cases just baby brokers with a more positive name. It is also telling that in NY there is a 30 revocation period after surrenders are signed with agency adoptions, but it is extended to 45 days in attorney only adoptions. Flyning expectant mothers to states with more adopter friendly laws (hello Utah) is a travesty. But I digress from the topic.

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  74. Wow!!!
    Lorraine,
    Having just got back from a GREAT few days with my daughter, her adopted Mother and our grandaughter I am almost afraid to say I was feeling very positive about the relationship we all have had for the last six years.
    After reading here I feel that what I experienced must have been a dream of some kind.
    I found this blog a couple of years ago and felt it was what I needed to help my healing. I am now not so sure.

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  75. In addition, don't think for one minute that this all doean't still suck big time.
    It is just time for us as a family to close a few old doors and open some new ones.

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  76. I have 5 adopted kids. I do not recoil at the language. It really does not affect my daily life all that much. I do not go around introducing the kids as my adopted kids. I do not refer to myself as the adoptive father. The awkward language battle really does not come up but once in a blue moon and I just deal with it patiently when it does. I am 100% secure in my role as the father of 6 kids.

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  77. Janet:

    That is great that you had a good visit and that the last six years have been good for you--we do need to hear from people like you because otherwise the perception of adoption reunion is so negative. Sp please, now and then return and let us know how you are doing, okay?

    However, most of the people who read blogs and comment are going to be those who have bad experiences and need to hear that they are not in this alone, that their experiences are not unique, and so that is what you find on line.

    But as for what we are called, this has been a slow burning flame within me and only after was asked to write about it was I able to clarify my feelings. But I will admit that the "preferred adoption anguage" has always been a thorn in my side.

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  78. Theodore write: "To indicate the group of women who lost their children to the adoption industry, "real" and "natural" cannot be used."

    Two questions: (1) Why ever not? (2) What gives you the right to make up rules and impose them upon natural mothers?

    Yes, my son whom I lost to adoption is my natural child. I did not artificially adopt him. I am his natural mother, and have always been so. Why would "natural child" as opposed to "adopted child," "fostered child," or "step-child" be so hard for anyone to understand?

    Natural mother is short-hand for "the natural mother of an adoptee," and it makes perfect sense. We are mothers by the laws of Nature, and if it were not for modern society's laws and the modern social/legal/market mechanisms which ensured that we were separated from our babies, we would still have been with them.

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  79. Lorraine,

    Please don;t take my comments in offense. I have learned alot from this blog and am still learning. It seems that things have just taken a nasty turn here.
    I understand your passion about the name calling. What we have been through for the most part didn't need to happen to us and that is where so much of our pain and our childrens pain lies.
    Adoption is far from a fairy tale and has hurt far too many people.
    People who have no history with the subject just don't get it.

    I will still read this blog often. It has been a source of information, has brought me a feeling of not being alone in this anymore.

    It has just been pretty harsh lately.

    Your efforts here are greatly appreciated.

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  80. Janet: Agreed, passions have been flaming, and particularly at a previous blog, and now new comments at coming at the blog abut John Wyatt and the situation in Utah regarding father's rights.

    To those interested, the link is at the top of the sidebar to the right.

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  81. I enjoy hearing the perspectives of each person in the adoption triad. How else would I ever ever learn?

    It's important to hear the voices of the women who have borne our children, to hear the thoughts of our children themselves, and to be open to listening to adoptive parents who are sensitive enough to look past their own gains and learn that gain (in adoption) always starts with someone's loss.

    I'd like to comment on the use of acceptable 'names', which are somehow more like labels, if you ask me. My children came into our family through international adoption, so I just refer to their first mothers as their Chinese mothers. This may be one of the only areas in the complexity of adoption where the 'naming' seems fitting.

    I like that I'm not taking away the word "mother" from the women who bore my/our children. And, if I didn't have the racial/cultural dynamic at play in the making of our family, I'd stick to using the term "first mother" as it seems fitting enough.

    As I see it, and whether anyone likes it or not, a mother is a mother forever. No matter where she lives. My children's Chinese mothers gave them more than a womb. My babies are a reflection of who they come from, and I honour this.

    ~ Laurie Anne
    Adult adoptee and adoptive parent.

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  82. The deleted message again, editing error removed.

    Cedar:"Two questions: (1) Why ever not? (2) What gives you the right to make up rules and impose them upon natural mothers?"

    Because real mothers are mothers who have given BIRTH, your average childloss-to-adoption victim IS a real mother, no doubt about that. Natural has nowadays (post-1970's) counterparts in all sorts of more or less "artificially" started pregnancies. Of course, "Real mothers of adopted children", is to my standards fully acceptable, actually even the best description.

    I do not impose rules, but if one is trying to translate a book concerning a rather similar issue, you know children born in one family,raised by another family, with this difference, the other family had no defense IF the mother or her hubby came to get her real child back, one spends a lot of time considering how to indicate different types of parents.



    "Yes, my son whom I lost to adoption is my natural child. I did not artificially adopt him. I am his natural mother, and have always been so. Why would "natural child" as opposed to "adopted child," "fostered child," or "step-child" be so hard for anyone to understand?"

    Because, "natural child" can be understood as non-artificial, but also as "out-of-wedlock", as an euphemism for bastard, none of those meanings imply that such a child would NOT be raised by one or two loving biological parents. There is NOTHING in "natural" which suggests "lost to adoption".

    "Natural mother is short-hand for "the natural mother of an adoptee," and it makes perfect sense. We are mothers by the laws of Nature, and if it were not for modern society's laws and the modern social/legal/market mechanisms which ensured that we were separated from our babies, we would still have been with them."

    You have a point, but that is all much better covered by "biological
    mother" or even by "birth mother", if we are on the outskirts of the adoption debate. I am mostly considering the rather naieve reader...

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  83. @ Anon: 10:25 PM

    "I'm her mother too= so in your anger dont forget that."

    Excuse me? In your "anger" don't forget that? You have the nerve to tell us not to "forget that" when YOU and all adopters are the one's who covet our children? How can we forget that they aren't with us, where they were born to be?

    The gall of some people never ceases to amaze me.

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  84. Question for first parents:

    Please accept this in the spirit in which it is asked. Not meaning to offend anyone.

    When you found yourself facing an unplanned pregnancy, had no idea how you could possibly cope, didn't have the support you needed, etc., was there ever a time when adoption seemed like a good idea?

    I'm speculating here but I can understand how having the adoption option would have given you a sense of relief. As in, thank heavens there is a way out of this mess. I can give the child up and get back to my life the way it was before and move on (I realize this isn't what happened).

    Just curious. Appreciate your thoughts.

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  85. I have quite a lot of the paperwork from the birth of my son. On that paperwork I am referred to sas his Natural Mother or simply as his Mother. ALL children born to women were their natural mothers or mothers only. That was the terminology of the time of my loss and that is How I refer to myself in discussions. ?To my son I am Mom.

    Further, despite what Theodore said, women WERE threatened during the BSE. We were told, most of us, that if we tried to keep our children without our (which was not given or we would not gone away in the first place) our economics would mean that our children would be taken away anyway, and then we would be "in the system" and would be in danger of losing all subsequent children. And, further, we knew that that exact things COULD happen so these were not empty threats.

    I am not sure there is any feeling in the world WORSE for a human being than to have ZERO control over their circumstances. To be utterly powerless and at the whim of others is a pretty threatening feeling in and of itself. There are threats that can be worse than physical violence. I was violently raped after I came home from losing my son and that paled in comparison. The only similarity for me was the utter and total lack of power.

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  86. Robin: Adoption seemed like the only option.

    Relief was not in the equation, though I can understand how you can ask the question--no baby to take care of, to raise, etc. But there was so so much sadness for me that "relief" was never a sense I had. That would have been a useful emotion if I could have pulled it up.

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  87. August 6, 2001

    NY governor George Pataki signed into law replacing the phrase, natural parent with birth parent in each respective section of the law, the Domestic Relations Law. the social services law, insurance law and the surrogate court procedure act. According to Unsealed Initiative board member & natural mother Carole Whitehead, the bill was backed by adoptive parents.

    Carole and I have written on this topic on the Issues of Mothers page of the UI site. We refer to ourselves as mothers but when in Albany we are at odds with the term "birth parent." A few times during lobby mothers have spoken out in Albany saying the term "birth mother" is politically incorrect.

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  88. Eyeyiyi!

    A step backwards, and only a few years ago. It is all about what adoptive parents en masse prefer, even if some who comment here do not.

    Can you imagine this happening to African Americans? What if whites insisted on calling them legally: colored people or Negro, or worse? There would be holy hell to pay!

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  89. Robin,
    My daughter wrote in a letter to me that she had always thought that I was relieved that she was with a family.
    Since being reunited she now knows that was the last emotion I was feeling.
    After losing her I never did get on with my life as I had planned. Those dreams just didn't matter anymore.

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  90. Robin said: "I can understand how having the adoption option would have given you a sense of relief. As in, thank heavens there is a way out of this mess. I can give the child up and get back to my life the way it was before and move on..."

    Never, not for one moment, was I "relieved" by the adoption option. It was a last ditch, hail Mary effort born of desperation to "save" my daughter. My church leaders and culture exerted tremendous force to convince me I was party to the most evil and wicked of circumstances; which was raising my daughter as a single mother.

    My leaders (and parents) incessantly "counseled" me of the irreparable harm I would cause my daughter by "selfishly putting my desire to be a mother ahead of her entitlement to be raised in two parent home."

    Eventually, I gave in. They had succeeded in convincing an otherwise strong and capable woman that her daughter was doomed to a life of abuse, neglect, and low achievement, all because of my (at the time) un-married marital status.

    Even at the tender age of 19, I knew there was no going back to how it was before, not physically, not emotionally, not intellectually. I knew there would be no "getting over" or "moving on." I had hopes to muddle through somehow because I had done what my church leaders counseled me to do. I had hoped that time would heal the gaping wounds because somehow God would compensate my loss.

    But relief for a way out of a "mess"? Never, not for a moment. I have never considered my daughter to be a "mess" I had to take care of and have never felt that adoption brought any sort of relief to our circumstances.

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  91. The site that demanded I refer to myself as "birth mother" only was adoption.com. A site from which I was banned after I privately protested (rather rudely in all honesty) a particular post in which a woman stated that she wanted "to smack OUR birthmother in the face". ~~ Jane Karr

    I'm surprised to hear that you were forced to refer to yourself as a birthmother at adoption.com. Janey, I joined the site a year or two before you did, and at least half of all natural moms on those boards were already calling themselves "first moms" at that point in time. I took back the term "natural mother" for myself at least a few months before you were even banned. I've never gotten any flack at all from the administrators about calling myself anything I want to. If you look at even older posts from 7 or 8 years ago, you'll even find the administrators and webmaster saying that we could call ourselves whatever term we were most comfortable with.

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  92. ""It's not adoption as an industry; it's the lack of using birth control which fuels the adoption industry.""

    O! Puleeze!! The adoption industry is big business in America. Businesses are in business to make money....profit. Who brings the money to the adoption industry...seeking newborns? PAPs/Adopters!! It is the people desperate for newborns who fuel the industry/business....Demand for a certain product. Anyway we already know that in today's world...the supply of newborns is ever decreasing...but the demand by PAPs/Adopters is still increasing/high.

    And on 'personal responsibility'. Older women who CHOSE not to become pregnant in their younger fertile years have to hold 'personal responsibility' as well. Yet how many older women now are looking for newborns to adopt...now when their female bodies have failed them, not because of life-long infertility, but simply because their reproductive bits no longer work, because of their older age. "Personal responsibility"...swings both ways.

    BTW....my surrender doc, simply says "Mother". And that is what I am....end of story.

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  93. Sandy, you are right, of course. This is such an N-dimensional issue.

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  94. A child is not a "mess" it is a blessing whether planned or unplanned. The attitude of parents, grandparents, religion, society that an inconvenient pregnancy creates a mess is what gives adopters their power. In their minds they are the heroes who ride in with their bags of money to clean up the mess(adoptee) some silly girl made and get to live high on their moral high ground.
    Adoptee (MESS)

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  95. Robin said

    I'm speculating here but I can understand how having the adoption option would have given you a sense of relief.

    No Robin, for me the “adoption option” never ever had an element of relief attached to it. It was the single, most difficult and heart wrenching decision I’ve ever had to make in my entire life. Relief didn’t enter the picture until I found my daughter fifteen years later.

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  96. "Robin said

    I'm speculating here but I can understand how having the adoption option would have given you a sense of relief."

    One of the reasons the law isn't changing about access to the OBC is because most people think that first mothers were promised confidentiality but in truth, my truth anyway, that was not even in the equation.
    I was a 16 year old,sent to an unwed mother's home so I would not disgrace the family. I was told not to bring a baby home so throughout the months that followed I tried to come up with a plan, not an adoption plan, to keep my child. I did not receive emotional support from the agency. Instead I was coerced by being told 'Do you see what you have done with your life and how you shamed your family? How do you expect to raise a child? Do you want to take your baby down that road? Don't you want to give your child a good life? You can't do it. You can't even do it for yourself.'
    I was told 'You will go on with your life and forget this. You will start over.'
    For months, we were brainwashed with this bs and, afterward, our self worth was zero and we found ourselves in the midst of grief so powerful it immobilized us for years. For some, for life.
    I thank God I found therapy and then found the strength to find my daughter.
    The 'adoption option' has killed so many of us emotionally. Some have picked up some pieces of our lives and some have not.
    So for me there was no relief.
    I have felt more whole since our reunion which happened 30 years ago.

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  97. In reference to Raven's post, perhaps I was overly judgemental in my thoughts on adoption.com. Perhaps - in all fairness - that is my perception of my experience at that other site but not the reality of the site (if that makes sense).

    It may be that there are becoming friendlier to first mothers.

    My apologies if I offended anyone who is a member there.

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  98. In response to Raven's post, perhaps I was mistaken in my thoughts on adoption.com. That may have been my preception of my experience there but not the reality of their policies. Sometimes it is difficult to negotiate the difference with the emotional baggage I carry as a first mother.

    My apologies if I offended any members of that particular site.

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  99. For me, terms and labels have more to do with the person saying it than the actual word. Two people can say "Birthmother" and what comes through can be two different meanings. One person bites, yet the other praises.
    Also, as an adoptee, I have always been asked about searches. Never once have I been asked if I want to find my Birthmother, never, not once. I have always been asked, "Do you ever want to find your REAL mother?"

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  100. Hey, wait one minute!

    adoption.com is run by people in the adoption business. A Morman man, as far as I understand.

    I was kicked off in two days, after being asked to comment.

    My isp address is blocked at adoption.com and I didn't think I said anything that inflammatory, I was just reding all the happydappy birth mom stuff and getting ill.

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  101. Well, it turns out that in Belgium they think that a woman, herself the product of a youth misspent in an orphanage, who has given birth to her first child, at the age of fifty, feeling sorry about having said that she did not want it, but falling in love with her baby in time, stopping the adoption procedure, which means that her 8 year old son now lives in a foster family, except for the weekends and the vacations when he is living with his mother, who has the full legal capability and right to take him back from his foster parents full time forever, is considered a birth mother, she thinks about reunification of their natural family unit when her son is 12...

    To me she is just a loving mother getting needed support from the foster care system. Somebody who prevented herself from becoming a birth mother. Really, having one's 8 year old child two days and three nights a week and all vacations, (every Christmass)and the right to reclaim your child fully, with a weekly phone call thrown in as well, if that would be standard issue for "birthmothers", this site would have no reason to exist.

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  102. There have been many many moms banned at adoption.com, and I'm not talking about amoms. There is a huge double standard there, and I have been censored and admonished there for treading on the feelings of aparents. There have been more than a few times I thought I would be banned for speaking my piece. You have to walk a very fine line there.

    However, the administrators have sat on their hads while I was attacked by aparents, called a troll and some really harsh things because I took the fun out of thread where they were all talking about how many children they would adopt if money was no object. I said I would't adopt, even though I have secondary infertility and lost my ONLY child to adoption, but instead would take that money and use it to keep existing families together. I felt like I got caught in the scene from the exorcist after I said that!!! Wow, I have never seen such head spinning and anger directed at me! They called me all sorts of names and were extremely nasty because I ruined their fun. The administrator, CRICK, an adoptive parent hereself, did nothing to stop the attacks and then posted and asked why I post there? I didn't respond. I post there to hopefully educate an expectant mother so that she won't relinquish and to shine light on the selfish evil of so many there.

    Also, I kept looking for those few adoptive parents who I thought were doing it for the right reasons. I wanted someone to show me that adoption wasn't all bad. Boy, that is a hard thing to find at adoption.com!!! Anyway, there are a few truly good aparents there, but the emphasis is on few!!!

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  103. Natural,First, or birthmom usually one doesnt last long at that site. Disgusting that a man runs it too.

    Raven, why did you get banned way to many mothers get
    banned when they try to speak their truth.

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  104. Lorraine,

    The group I’m familiar with that is militant about using “mother” to refer to us is Mothers in Open Adoption Fraud on Facebook.


    Robin,

    I would like to understand the thought process that brings you to “I'm speculating here but I can understand how having the adoption option would have given you a sense of relief. As in, thank heavens there is a way out of this mess. I can give the child up and get back to my life the way it was before and move on (I realize this isn't what happened).”

    Adoption was never an option. It was forced on me with the omnipresent statement from the social worker that people better than me would raise my child. I never thought my pregnancy was a “mess” and I never believed my life would be what it was before I became pregnant. I was 16 and I knew better than that. The social worker was wrong and I was right.

    I don’t understand how a human being would think losing a child under any circumstances would be a relief.

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  105. LOL! Lorraine! This is Jane Karr. My response post came up twice and was written as "anonymous" again. Sigh....I am NOT computer savvy and Google will not be hiring me anytime soon! Big surprise there! LOL!

    Anyhoo I talked with some other "ex" members of a.com and found out that it was more of an implied thing than an outright expressed rule re. the title of birth mom. It was just that if me or they used "first mom" or "natural mom" that some aparents would immediately correct the usage. I somehow got that stuck in my midn that it was policy but it was just my bruised ego I think. Sigh....

    Anyway, you are still absolutely correct about adoption.com's attitudes!

    Here's hoping I can actually post my name on this this time and not do it wrong! Good grief!

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  106. AMEN, Chris/Gypsywinter! Thank you.

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  107. @Jeanine,
    1. Because I am an adopted person and I see things from a different perspective.
    2. When I have found myself in a difficult, extremely challenging situation in my own life I have felt some relief when anyone offered me any sort of lifeline at all to get out of the difficulty. In these times of crisis I often find myself not thinking too clearly (although I don't always realize it at the time) and sometimes even terrible options sound reasonable.

    I found it interesting that Janet's daughter also thought that she (Janet) would be relieved that her daughter had been placed.

    I meant no offense to anyone by the question. I like to understand more of the first mother's perspective. And I don't consider any child a "mess" but situations can be messy.

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  108. @ Jeanie-

    "The group I’m familiar with that is militant about using “mother” to refer to us is Mothers in Open Adoption Fraud on Facebook."

    Can I ask, Jeanie, why you are singling out this group? I am (WAS, after reading your comment I will no longer post there either) a member of that group and don't recall it being MILITANT about names or prefixes. I think that discussion may come up in a lot of different groups or forums but I don't recall it being MILITANT.

    Geez...

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  109. @Mother, I agree it is an utterly biased, boring, horrible, disgusting, abusive site, making me sick by its dishonesty, but what is wrong with a guy running it?

    Aren't fathers adopting, trying to prevent their children from being relinquished for adoption, looking for their children? Aren't sons missed? Aren't guys looking for their roots too? Aren't the laws regulating adoption voted in or out by male politicians?

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  110. As I said, a Mormon man run adoption.com.

    LDS believes in adoption in a big way, possibly because it increases church membership. They do not like single women raising children, even though some individual social workers may be nice. Their numbers of adoption are much higher than the non LDS membership.

    We have written about this before many many times.

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  111. Lest we doubt for a moment the idea that adoption is a business, and a business that is out to make a profit, look at the "business plan" for Catholic Charities in Indiana..."Catholic Charities had hoped the Indiana General Assembly’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood would mean more placements"

    http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/lake/6653144-418/adoption-process-changing-with-the-internet.html#.TlEkc62D2p4

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  112. I have been reading this thread all afternoon and consider it very good use of my time! First of all, I just want to say that I am in awe of all of you moms/dads/sibs/grandparents, etc. who are living each day with the reality that in a perfect world you would have your child/ren in your life. I simply cannot fathom the pain you have and daily continue to bear. I applaud you all for trying to prevent even one more parent to go through the gutwrenching ordeal you have all had to endure. Now some confessions.
    1. I was at one time so ignorant of anything adoption related that I thought in terms of real parent versus adopted parent. I am embarrassed to admit this, but I had so little exposure to adoption that I.didn't.have.a.clue.
    2. I am not an adoptee, not an adoptive parent, nor have I given up/been co-erced into losing my child.
    3. I am a 39 year old mom to 4 (biological-is that offensive to say?) children together with my hubby, and in addition, we are foster parents to 2 infants. Since becoming a foster parent I have soaked up anything and all things related to fostering. And yeah, sadly that means that although the goal is to bring families back together, it often does end up in crown wardship and adoption. Such a broken world we live in.
    Okay, so all of that to try to give you an idea of who I am, when I try to explain the whole idea of 'relief' in adoption for natural/birth parents from my vantage point.
    Adoption in my world (until I started self-educating myself on blogs such as this one) was very stupidly only focused on the joyful and the miraculous side of things. I swear, I thought that children that were given up were generally all coming from grateful parents that were unable/unwilling to raise their children. Sure, there were the odd exceptions that were removed from abusive homes and no doubt those parents were none too happy about things, but that didn't keep me up at night so to speak.
    This is coming from a reasonably intelligent 39 year old. What rock was I living under? Honestly, it never came on my radar and I based my interpretation on books and movies I had seen. D-U-M-B. *hangs head in shame*
    I thought that just like someone who has an abortion must feel like their crisis has been averted, so too it must be for those people who have chosen a different ending and opted for birth/adoption over death/abortion.
    Now, before I come off sounding like I have now seen the light and am an expert-um, no! I learn from you all every single day, and it has been a painful learning curve for me. How could I not have known better? I was rather matter of fact about how families are made in many different ways. I still struggle daily with being sensitive to parents that have experienced all of this in such life changing ways, and no doubt there will be something offensive in all of this ramble as I fully admit to being naive and clueless. Please believe me though when I say that it is NOT my intent to hurt or belittle in anyway. I just wanted to share my perspective, because for those who have lived this from nearby, it may be shocking and unfathomable that there are still people out there who haven't got a clue. I need to be educated in this, and I will spread the word. Hope this helps you understand in some small way, that ignorance can be hurtful, but it is not necessarily done with malicious intent. Wishing all of you hurting some sense of peace, and again, thankyou for your openness on here. Hope that doesn't sound patronizing...I mean that with the utmost respect.
    Sincerely, Suzanne

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  113. The FB group "Mothers Of Open Adoption Fraud" is an Origins Canada group. We are by no means a militant organization, but we do ask that our members use the terms "mother" or "natural mother" in our groups so as not to offend others within the group who find the birth terms triggering and hurtful. This is simply being courteous and and sensitive to all members. The group is a supportive one for mothers who have been "scammed" by the promises of open adoption, and left without contact, pictures or other promises made to them by adoptive parents. If anyone is having a problem with this group in any way, I would invite them to contact me at any time as our group policies do not allow for abuse, harassment or hurtful comments on our boards.
    Valerie Andrews

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  114. Hey, wait one minute! Adoption.com is run by people in the adoption business. A Morman man, as far as I understand. ~~Lorraine

    Lorraine, you're absolutely correct. Adoption.com is a pro-adoption website. I walk a fine line there every day trying not to get banned. It's a fine art I've developed over the past few years...

    The reason I am at adoption.com is that is where most women from the BSE who come out of hiding first go...and I want to be there for them. I'm also there for the young ones who've just relinquished and feel like jumping off the nearest bridge...seriously.

    Believe me when I tell you that I'm not a "happy dappy beemommie." I do speak my mind openly on controversial issues all the time. I haven't really gotten into too much trouble, as long as I remember to treat all members with some modicum of respect.

    Even though you were banned for no reason, you can still read the boards. It's a good way to see what we're up against on a daily basis as far as adoption reform is concerned. Just clear your cookies first, so the system will consider you a "guest," and you should have no problem reading the threads.

    The happy-dappy beemommies don't hang around very long at a.com. It's mostly women from the BSE and women who've surrendered in the past few years.

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  115. The one thing that I found most disheartening about the AAC petition is that they refused, when asked, to include the term "natural mother" as well. They were politely requested to include this term along-side the term "birthmother." Not to replace it, but to be inclusive of us who consider ourselves to still be mothers.

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  116. " The group I’m familiar with that is militant about using 'mother' to refer to us is Mothers in Open Adoption Fraud on Facebook."

    I'm a member of this group as well, and i wouldn't call it militant, but that this language rule is a way to make the group a "safe place" for mothers who have been used and abused by the industry and want a place where they can be honoured as mothers (which the industry and certainly didn't treat them as when it [or its customers] took their babies).

    As "birthmother" means a non-mother, a breeder, nothing but a convenient uterus, this group is one which encourages natural mothers to respect and honour themselves again as being mothers.

    I believe that the language guidelines are posted where new or prospective members can read them ... if they are not, let me know and I'll let the administrator know so it can be added to the group description.

    Militant, or keeping it safe for all members? My own opinion is that it is the latter.

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  117. This is just my own opinion, and I do not mean to offend anyone.

    I personally feel that a modifier such as; birth, bio, natural, first etc.. should not be used. I do not think of my mother in those terms, and I make no apology for it. She is my mother!

    However, I feel that it should be left up to each individual and what they are comfortable with.

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  118. To Suzanne,
    I applaud you for doing the research and trying to learn about all the emotions that go into this
    lifechanging event.
    Your openness is refreshing.
    I do want to say, in reference to your comment about abortion, many women feel the pain of loss and go through the grieving process when they take that direction. The difference is they won't be walking down the street looking into children's faces and thinking "Are you mine?".
    I am a feminist and I totally believe women have the right to do with their body as they wish. For me, I felt there was no other option than to give my child life. The adoption industry coerced me into feeling like I didn't deserve to be in it.
    I also wanted to mention the anger I have felt all these years where I had to say I wasn't a mother on all those applications I filled out. Health Insurance applications, Army enlistment papers (I could not finish them because of the Lie), job applications, etc.. Society and the law had forced us to deny nature. I carried my daughter for 9 months yet a relinquishment document was supposed to invalid my motherhood. My family would not even talk about what happened but it was a pink elephant in the room. I would try to talk to my brother about my pain and I would get silence in return.
    I thank God it is not 1962 any more and people can open discussions about everything.
    Again, Suzanne, I applaud you and if more people would open their minds and do the research we could probably get the open birth certificates law passed in every state of the U.S.

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  119. Suzanne, your idea of "relief" is not nonsensical, some mothers do really seem to feel that for a time, up to a couple of years, but I know of no mother who still felt that way when her child hit puberty.

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  120. "I carried my daughter for 9 months yet a relinquishment document was supposed to invalid my motherhood."

    It was SUPPOSED to but it didn't; and it never will.

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  121. Theo:

    Your comment, August 21, 2011 11:53 AM, is nothing more than a "mother" ducking her responsibilities on the tax payer’s dime and on the foster family's time. The woman that you used as an example is not a "caring mother". She is a woman who doesn't want the "burden of motherhood/parenthood" but all of the perks. She should be ashamed of herself, just like anyone who would agree with her set-up!

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  122. I just mentioned her to demonstate the extremely different uses can be given to words, but according to, say, typical Dutch or southern Indian values, she avoided doing the single worst thing a woman can do, debasing herself, betraying her child, following the example of the prostitute who had born her. Why would she care about your Saint Tax Payer, who had let her grow up without a family, without even paying time or money to teach the girl she was the basics of newborn child care?

    She had chosen not to surrender him for adoption, but to command the law to recognize her claim on her son established by birth, she may not be much, in your eyes, but in my eyes, she has chosen wisely, honorably and informed.

    Maybe what she does is ducking responsibilities, but is that anything compared to the shameful alternative of full denial of motherhood?

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  123. Thanks to Suzanne for your comment. I'm glad you're hearing our voices...this gives me hope that others are, too.

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  124. Militant is my opinion of the group’s stance on using any other term than mother. I certainly didn’t mean to malign the group and didn’t think I did. I apologize to those who were offended by my opinion.

    I understand the position of wanting mothers to feel safe and appreciate the efforts of birth/first/real/natural mothers’ groups that do so. I also understand the position of allowing mothers, birth/first/natural/real, to come to terms with how they see themselves and how they want to be referred to in their own time.

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  125. Theo:


    This is where we differ! She is/has betrayed her child( she doesn’t want to do the hard work), kids know who is “mom and dad”. She’s not raising her child, the foster parents are and they most likely are seen by the child as “mom and dad”. I wouldn’t be surprised if the kid doesn’t resent her because of her “lack” of parenting. She chose not to place because she still wants to be “mom” but doesn’t want the “burden” of being a parent. I’m quite should her kid has put two and two together and has figured it out already.

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  126. Anonymous, we differ indeed,

    The situation: a woman discovers she is pregnant as a result of a relationship with some married guy, woman is already a basket case as a result of what society did to unwanted children, has not been raised by a loving mother and is incapable of being a good mother, gives birth, falls in love with her child and decides never to betray him like her mother did betray her. Solution used: the child is raised part of the time by somebody who can be a mean, coldhearted, unfair, overstrict bitch, who also gets the job to teach the mother how to take care of her child.

    What would you suggest in this case?

    About your claim that she is not raising him,... where the heck did you get THAT idea? You weren't raised on Friday evenings, Sundays, Saturdays, vacations? We are talking about a mother whose longest bout of being the mom in charge lasts TWO SOLID MONTHS a year. She is not the only person raising her child, no, but she is most certainly one in the team.

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  127. Dear Suzanne -

    Thank you for taking the time to wade through all of this. Obviously, you can see that adoption leaves behind many wounded and broken hearts and relationships for both adoptees and natural families. Even the best of reunions are fraught with difficulty and heartache and frequently derail for years at a time.

    Hopefully there will be more who can read these posts and understand that adoption is NOT the great panacea for a woman facing a pregnancy on her own, nor does it always offer the "happily ever after" for adoptees that society wants us to believe.

    Sincerely,

    Melynda

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  128. "Jeanine said...

    "Militant is my opinion of the group’s stance on using any other term than mother. I certainly didn’t mean to malign the group and didn’t think I did. I apologize to those who were offended by my opinion."

    I have not seen anyone in that group having any qualms about the term natural mother, as it still means a mother. But as we're not incubators, i think that the terms "birth mother" and "first mother" are not appropriate, because you cannot run a support group and treat participants as less-than-human, treat them as being inferior to, or "less than."

    The feminist movement showed that a vital part of support groups includes "consciousness raising," or education about how oppression works and how to live as full human beings with equal rights and dignity. As long as we call the people who adoptee our children "their Mother/Father/Parent" and denigrate ourselves as being non-mothers, non-parents, we will never be able to come out from under the heel of the industry. Uteri don't have voices, they do not speak, and the industry wants to semantically reduce us to this level, of being a silent body part.

    To reclaim, regain, retain our motherhood is empowering.

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  129. “Anonymous, we differ indeed,

    The situation: a woman discovers she is pregnant as a result of a relationship with some married guy, woman is already a basket case as a result of what society did to unwanted children, has not been raised by a loving mother and is incapable of being a good mother, gives birth, falls in love with her child and decides never to betray him like her mother did betray her. Solution used: the child is raised part of the time by somebody who can be a mean, coldhearted, unfair, overstrict bitch, who also gets the job to teach the mother how to take care of her child.

    What would you suggest in this case?”

    Theo:

    Thank you for more insight. Since you mentioned the bdad was a married man, I am even more convinced the “mother” is using “the taxpayer’s dime and the foster parent’s time.” What woman places her child because her married lover would not marry her? Do you think that makes her a good mother? She didn’t want to parent but didn’t want the shame of placing her child ( nor the “burden” of raising them). Look, to me, she took the easy way out: she gets to retain her “parental rights” without doing the work full-time ( Dutch foster care)… that’s ducking your responsibilities!

    Also, two months out of twelve months of “parenting” doesn’t make you a “good parent”. Far from it!

    What planet do you come from?

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  130. Anonymous since you are
    a) refusing to answer my question.

    b) paying so little attention to the case, that you forget that we are talking about a Belgian case.

    c) using the word "place"

    d) mutilating my name,without using one yourself

    I conclude that you are an adoption pushing troll.

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  131. "Anonymous since you are
    a) refusing to answer my question.

    b) paying so little attention to the case, that you forget that we are talking about a Belgian case.

    c) using the word "place"

    d) mutilating my name,without using one yourself

    I conclude that you are an adoption pushing troll."

    Theodore:

    I have answered your question, the "mother" should have placed her child with afamily that was willing, able, and ready to be "full-time" parents to the child. Not come around at her convenience’s and play "mommy".

    As an adoptee, I think its "ok" for a woman to admit she doesn't/isn't ready to commit to being a “good full-time" parent to her child. This is the reason why abortions are legal here in the states. Some women don't believe in abortions but don't want to parent either so they place their child/children up for adoption. It doesn't make you a bad mother because you don't have the means or desire to parent.

    However, I do think it is selfish, as in the case you noted, the mother is abusing the tax payer’s dime in regards to NOT wanting to make the sacrifice and commitment of wanting to be a "parent/mother", and I'm sure the child sees it too.

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  132. Theodore:

    ETA:

    If the "mother" in the case you used wanted to she could raise her child. She can "raise" them for two months out of the year but can't do it full-time, and wants to get the kid back when their twelve? She doesn't want the burden and when the kid is twelve and she takes them back, most likely they will have to raise themselves and take care of her too. That’s mostly likely why she’s waiting for when they turn twelve.

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  133. @ Theo

    And I will agree. One wonders why she is so adamant and hell bent on denouncing biological relatives being in the lives of THEIR flesh and blood, in any realm or scope.

    Before adoption, words we hear are "courageous, selfless, brave and oh so wonderful". After adoption, we hear "ducking her responsibility" and that she "took the easy way out".

    My vote goes for adoption pushing troll.

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  134. My vote goes for adoptive parent pretending to be adoptee based on similar syntax, tone and comment content in other natural parent forums.

    If a name makes things easier I'll go by deb.

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  135. "I have answered your question, the "mother" should have placed her child with afamily that was willing, able, and ready to be "full-time" parents to the child."

    But she did, exactly that. Foster families are families too.

    " Not come around at her convenience’s and play "mommy"."

    She isn't the one playing, she is her son's MOTHER, by birth, blood and law, her main described fault is that she cannot be strict with him.

    "As an adoptee, I think its "ok" for a woman to admit she doesn't/isn't ready to commit to being a “good full-time" parent to her child. This is the reason why abortions are legal here in the states. Some women don't believe in abortions but don't want to parent either so they place their child/children up for adoption."

    So you have been adopted because your real mother did not want you? This boy has two mothers on call, a foster mother and his real mother, who are both willing and able to comfort him, play with him, clothe him, feed him, and above all love him. The difference is that in his case the family he was placed in, understood that a succesful placement was a temporal placement. Those two months were more of a test placement: if the mother had shown she could be her son a mother and a father, without exhausting herself, the boy would have been a lot closer to going home forever.


    " It doesn't make you a bad mother because you don't have the means or desire to parent."

    Lack of means, no.
    Lack of desire, no.
    Lack of willingness does.


    "However, I do think it is selfish, as in the case you noted, the mother is abusing the tax payer’s dime in regards to NOT wanting to make the sacrifice and commitment of wanting to be a "parent/mother", and I'm sure the child sees it too."

    I guess you are projecting your own warped views.

    "If the "mother" in the case you used wanted to she could raise her child. She can "raise" them for two months out of the year but can't do it full-time, and wants to get the kid back when their twelve? She doesn't want the burden and when the kid is twelve and she takes them back, most likely they will have to raise themselves and take care of her too. That’s mostly likely why she’s waiting for when they turn twelve."

    Those two months were a vacation, but also a test case of motherhood,to see whether the time was there fot a full reunification, the result : not yet.

    I understand you are jealous, but please, be reasonable.

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  136. "My vote goes for adoption pushing troll."

    NO. Just an adoptee "voicing" her opinion!

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  137. "My vote goes for adoptive parent pretending to be adoptee based on similar syntax, tone and comment content in other natural parent forums."

    Exactly what I thought.

    My vote STILL goes for adopting pushing troll.

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  138. The anonymous poster who began by introducing herself as an adoptive parent is the same poster who morphed into an adoptee later in the thread. She is known for doing this sort of thing and will usually say something like "I give up on you people" when her identity is questioned.

    Seen it before.

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  139. Theodore:

    It has nothing to do with jealousy-it's the whole concept is pathetic. Here you are agreeing with this irresponsible form of "parenting" and thinking its "ok" without seeing if it is damaging the child. Not only that, it seems it's "ok" as long as the "mother" still retains her parental rights regardless if her lack of parenting is hurting the child.

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  140. You are NOT jealous?

    Not jealous at a boy, who will never have to wonder why did she abandon me, who is she, would she love me, how did she get pregnant, is she lonely with christmas?
    Just because his mother loved him too much to surrender him for adoption, even though she could not raise him by herself?

    If you are not jealous, why are you, as an adoptee, so negative about this? You call it pathetic, that a family takes care of a child, without making lies about blood ties the legal truth, at the expense of recognition of the blood ties to his real family.

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  141. Actually, adoption pushing trolls are PATHETIC.

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  142. Anonymous,

    Placing your child with a foster family, because you, as you are, are not capable of taking adequately care of him, as he is, while participating in his upbringing, while retaining the RIGHT to take over again, the moment you see fit,

    you consider as less responsible parenting, than

    signing some surrender papers, so your child may be returned by the adopters, but not to you, may become a child in a single parent household, may be genitally mutilated, may grow up to become a Mormon, may be abused by the adopters, may not claim that you are his mother, can never flee to you, may be forced in becoming a birth mother too, can be forced to hear insults to his mother, no man should have to take from a couple of pretenders, all that without you having any retained right to end the placement, while quite possibly giving (him) the impression that you are abandoning and rejecting him?

    You are comparing assisted parenting, which is what most mothers do to some degree, with not parenting at all. A foster placement like this, is rather similar to a real open adoption, with the power balance completely reversed, yes, the mother may need to convince the social workers or so that she is good enough, but she will not have to prove she is better than the foster family, to take the child away and welcome it home forever.

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  143. Separation of mother and child is harmful to baby rhesus monkeys:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14562120

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  144. http://www.world-science.org/blog/baby-monkey-gangs-reveal-genetic-effects-of-loneliness/

    Cole and his colleagues had some baby monkeys grow up in “gangs” of other youngsters. Without a mother to offer a safe home base, the monkeys spent a lot of time clinging to each other. They didn’t explore their environments as much as normal babies (raised by moms), and they got in more fights, suggesting that they were experiencing some sort of social stress.

    When Cole’s team looked at these monkeys’ genetic signature, they found that it resembled that of human loneliness. There was evidence of increased inflammation and decreased immunity to viruses. When the researchers gave the monkey kids a fake mom—a mere cloth-covered wire basket—their genetic functions started to ease back toward normal.

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  145. How does anything in the last group of comments even remotely relate to the original subject? Time to close this thread and move on, perhaps?

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  146. If people want to have these discussions, that is fine with me. I will continue to post comments.

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  147. Which Anonymous said that?

    You see, my link simply suggests that the separation of mother and child, is in itself harmful to the child. If the effects of this are not mitigated, as was, alas, the case with that poor woman in the discussed example of a woman called "birth mother", who had not lost her child to adoption,...
    You know, kept in orphanage, tossed around in the foster system, abusive adoptive home, it's quite reasonable to suppose that this can destroy the abilty to parent unassisted. Stefke Taxpayer is in this case just paying for the damage, his parents and grandparents refused to pay for.

    Being separated from a mother makes different babies, different children, different teenagers, different adults... that the link shows that there is no lack of evidence pointing to that simple fact made me decide to post my link. Concerning that cuddly doll, in spite of being a loving human being, even the best adoptive parents will never amount to being anything much better, they will stay a mere surrogate.

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  148. Theodore:

    Apparently you are a first/birth mother who is so "lost" in "keeping the child regardless" that your vision has been clouded. Please, I rather have been adopted ( which I am grateful for because my bmom was too young to take care of me) than be "put on a shelf until she got it together, when and if she wanted to". You’re very funny! You think it’s “ok” a mother ducks her responsibility and lives her life while the kid is raised by someone else, and she still gets to call the shots. That’s a great image/ definition of what makes a “real mother/parent”

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  149. For your information:
    1) As it is untraditional for me to believe in virginity, I never did anything to get rid of it.
    2)Female low fertility, seems to be running strong in my family, only one of my family members has given birth before marriage. I'm sorry to say that the others of her generation, who did marry needed fertility treatment.
    3) I happen to be male.

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  150. Anon, Aug 25, 3:41 PM here.

    My link suggests that the effects of separation on the child can be mitigated if not entirely ameliorated.

    Of course adoptive parents are surrogate parents.
    However, I have to wonder what your personal experience has been that it causes you say that that even the best adoptive parents amount to not much more than "cuddly dolls".

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  151. I was referring to the fake mom, thinking of those movies demonstrating how important a "mom" base is for young primates...

    Haven't you seen them, a cloth covered wire basket model, sittng in for mom to a baby monkey, clinging to it, looking for some protection, some affection, but only able to give them some warmth and a place to cling too. That, a cloth covered vaguely mom shaped wire basket, is what I referred to as "cuddly doll".
    Look, I accept adoption as natural, but I do the same with war. Neither of them are good, but they are often justified.

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  152. As a mom I really must say that bashing on women/men who are faced with the hardest decision of their life to give a part of their soul, their natural child to new and extreemly lucky parents is in extreemly bad taste. Just as I feel that bashing on women/men who make the decision to dedicate their life to a child and raise them as their own is also in extreemly poor taste. I dont care who came first or 2nd or 3rd in a childs life. Is that really what is important here? A label? People should be ashamed using the term "fake adoption" or "death parent" or "cant birth parent" How horrible to speak of the people who kiss the boo boos, change the diapers, help with sickness and everything else it takes to raise a child. Adoptive or not they are being parents for a child who may otherwise be stuck in the system with no one to love them. That does deserve a high level of respect. Period. Give respect to get respect thats what I believe. And also how dare anyone slap some pathetic label on someone who gave up the most precious gift that could ever be recieved by anyone!!! My daughter has 2 moms & I wont ever let her feel at any moment that she was tossed away by some worthless person. Her mother has 100% of my respect & love and I could never in a million years repay her for OUR beautiful little daughter. No way could I ever give her a label or tell this beautiful blessing of a girl that she cant also call her mother or that because she isnt here that she doesnt play a HUGE role in our lives. Its called RESPECT. A child should never feel given up by some biological science project who doesnt really count to some money throwing parents who bought them like a new car at the ford dealership... they should feel like the biggest present ever given or recieved. If my kiddos mother ever called me the adoptive mother or downgraded my love with a label just for the fact that im not the one who gave birth...I would feel just as hurt...its cruel and ignorrant and no one should say things like that, especially if they expect respect and to not be called "biological mother" in return. As far as political correctness goes the term should simply be.."mom, mother, momma or mommy" My daughters first moments was with her mother. Her secound moments are with her Mommy (which at her age she now calls me mom cause shes not a child, or so she tells me) lol I love her just as much as any mother could. Sure I didnt give birth to her but I dont treat her any different then if I had and no adoptive parents should be down played just bevause they didnt either. Birth is tough...raising a child is too. Sorry about going on but some people on here, I feel, really need to hear it. Labels are rediculous. We could be on this subject for years... Call urselves whatever you want... Doesnt matter what others think or say.. at the end of the day deep down we all know just how important we are and just how important of a role we play in our kids lives. Right?

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  153. @Anon 6:19

    While we are talking about names here one thing I do not like to be called is a gift. I am a human being not a sweater that one gets for Christmas. And you seem to forget that I could have been "gifted" to any of a number of different couples. It was pretty much a crapshoot where I ended up. My natural mother did not go through pregnancy and childbirth to give someone else a "gift". She did it because she wanted to be a mom but society forbade her. I'm sure many of the other ladies here would agree that they did not have their children in the hope of "gifting" them to others.

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  154. Thanks Robin, I just wondered about why those adoptives, never seem say to real mothers: "You can come and live with us, if you want."

    or

    "Surrender was a mistake? Glad to hear it, I'm happy to hear that the baby will go home."

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  155. Who or what are you, Theodore? Most people here have no problem identifying as a natural parent, adoptive parent, adoptee, or relative of one of them. Nobody wants your real identity just a category to better understand where you are coming from.

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  156. @anonymous 6:19 am:
    You have truly spoken like an adoptive mother. YOU don't get to decide on what any surrendering mother, will or will not be called, what she will or will not talk about. Your comment sounded much like a lecture a mother would give to her minor children. I hope you do realize that you are speaking to an audience...that is comprised of very grown women (mothers and adoptees alike here), and have no need to be chastized by YOU! I'm betting...that I'm old enough to be your mother!!
    You are not the first adoptive mother that I have heard, busting in and lecturing to mothers who have surrendered a child for the act of adoption..I'm sure you won't be the last. You may be the adoptive mother of your children...but YOU are nobody's mother here...surely not mine! So quit talking as if you were. Respect?? You haven't a clue about respect, based on this lecture of yours.

    To add...no newborn surrendered will end up in the 'system'. That is the most sought after commodity in the adoption market. So much so, newborns are in short supply these days and the demand high.
    Nor was my newborn ever a 'gift' to anyone, at anytime...not even to her adoptive parents. I didn't 'gift' my newborn! I didn't surrender out of love, I surrendered out of desperation, at the age of 18. Surrendering my newborn for the act of adoption, was probably the most unloving thing, as a mother, I did for my newborn baby.

    And why is it so many of you adoptive mothers always have to list out all the things you have done for your adopted children:
    ""kiss the boo boos, change the diapers, help with sickness and everything else it takes to raise a child."" Blah, blah, blah! And so did I with my 3 subsequent children and some of my grandchildren as well. But I have never felt the need to publicly list out that which just comes along, on a daily basis, when raising/caring for children. Just seems that some adoptive mothers have this extraordinary need, to constantly remind one and all, with their lists of what they do and have done for their adoptive children. I think that says a lot about the difference between women who adopt and women who birth and raise their own children. Just comes with the territory, no need to list out, evidently what you perceive, as your special adoptive mother accomplishments. You didn't do anything special...you wanted a kid, you adopted, you signed on the dotted line...it was your duty, your obligation, your responsibility to kiss the boo-boos, change the diapers, etc., etc.,...without looking for special commendations and honorariums. You should just be thankful...that you have these precious children in your life, without seeking awards/attention for giving that which most mothers, just do without giving a second thought to...caring for her children.

    How does it feel to be lectured, by another woman, another mother?!?

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  157. r.o.i.a. from a country that went from "keep your bastard, slut"to "keep your baby, sweetheart" by its version of the B.S.E.
    Mind the I of illegal...

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  158. Kudos to Chris and Robin,

    Exactly the thoughts that crossed my mind!!!!

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  159. "But I have never felt the need to publicly list out that which just comes along, on a daily basis, when raising/caring for children"

    You might do so if you found yourself in a situation where a woman you and your children have never met started claiming she was your kid's "real" mother, and that you were their captor.

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  160. ""You might do so if you found yourself in a situation where a woman you and your children have never met started claiming she was your kid's "real" mother, and that you were their captor.""

    Nooo... as the 'real''natural' mother of ALL my children..and if a strange woman I had never met, nor had my children, said to me she was the 'real' mother and called me a 'captor'...I definitely would have called the police or the local nut house!
    Now if you are speaking of your adopted children's natural mother...she may have been unknown to you...but once upon a time your adopted children, had an upclose and personal relationship with their natural mother. Your adopted children and their natural mother do have a connection whether you like it or not.
    And no, not even with a 'captor' crazy woman bothering me (me,a woman who gave birth and raised those children I gave birth to, other than one)...would I feel the need to list out my mother duties, on a public blog and then sign.."Anon". That's the difference between you and me. But if it makes you feel better/more worthy..have at it.

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