Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Adoptive mothers bully birth mothers--what else is new?

Lorraine and Daughter Jane in matching shoes
Whenever I think that adoption and the animosity that some adoptive parents feel towards their children's natural birth biological parents has abated in the years since I first got involved in adoption reform, something happens to set me straight. In the minds of many adoptive parents, nothing has changed since the Seventies. We are two warring sides of the "adoption triangle" with the kid caught in the middle. 

The acrimonious push back--from a few adoptive mothers--that fellow blogger Jane's recent post on two mothers who have truly open adoptions* generated indicates the amount of jealousy and tension has not gone down--at least for the vocal crowd of Adopters Anonymous who decided to come to FIRST MOTHER FORUM and throw bricks at both adoptees and mothers who lost their children to adoption. 

Adopters Anonymous apparently got wind of this blog--we do want readers, we're easy to find--and our posts from a first/birth mother's point of view became the subject of a lively discussion at Adoption.com, which we have noted here previously, is a blog run by a man who is a member of the Mormon community, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. By lively, I mean the Adopters Anonymous who came here to antagonize and tell us how wrong our feelings and attitudes are, and how our children will never mean much to us because they are the true mothers and we, poor wretches, are just the uteri who dropped them in the road and walked on. I mention the blog's Mormon connection because the LDS Church, by and large, encourages single women not to raise their own children, but give them up. That way they can be raised by a temple-worthy Mormon couple. (And see below.)

Personally, I was banned from posting at Adoption.com after a couple of days. I could not believe what I was reading from birth mothers who were justifying relinquishing their children with such assurance and expressing how much better their lives were now. I could not imagine their children reading those posts one day that, in essence, all said: Wow, life is so much better now that I don't have to worry about you! They were all such blissfulbirthmothers@ that reading was distressing. I can go back to read, but not post. I do not because I find it a waste of time. 

THEY FALL BACK ON CALLING BIRTH MOTHERS 'BITTER'
When we--specifically me--got angry with their nah-nah-nah attitude of the Adopters Anonymous coming here, and expressed annoyance, they were Oh so offended. We are bitter women, they said. This morning a comment stated I was a bitter old woman, while she, in contrast, was a contented woman who had just put her two (adopted) kids to bed and was waiting joyfully for her husband to come home. 

What the post did elicit was the sense that there are some adoptions that are truly open, some adoptive  parents do understand as much as they can our sorrow, the adoptee's anxiety and confusion, but for the adoptee, an open adoption may be not any less painful than a closed adoption. Adoption in most cases continues to be a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I am sure that when Jane, relinquished as an infant when I was single and without resources, met me when she was fifteen, and I was living with a good husband (not her father) in a nice house in a swell little village, she had to wonder why it had been her fate to have been adopted. Not that she didn't love her adoptive parents; she did. But still...what was she doing there? And not here with me? She made it plain one day that was on her mind, when she put her hands around my neck and shook me saying: Why was I adopted? 
Four Generations: My Mother, Jane, Granddaughter Kim and Lorraine , a family photo in 1995
And as she later so eloquently stated:
“I needed to know [who my natural parents were] for a certain completeness inside of me, and if I didn’t know, I wouldn’t feel whole. I wouldn’t have felt I belonged with you either, so it wasn't exactly belonging, it was completeness. I was this circle, and it was broken. I had this”—she held up her hands forming an arc—“but I didn’t have this”—she moved her hands to fill in the rest of the circle.
 
“So I felt like a part of me had been moving along, and all of a sudden Boom! and I’m supposed to go along like this isn’t happening—like one day I was this person, and the next day I was somebody else but I still had this other person somewhere inside of me. Imagine you have an ancestor who was just yanked away and you were supposed to keep on walking like nothing had happened. But I kept looking backwards—the way an owl can turn its head all the way around, you know, and I’m saying—So, where is she?

My husband and I on our wedding anniversary/ken robbins photo
In any event, all the schoolyard bullying comments by Adopters Anonymous were taken down this morning. If some of the comments from birth mothers now seem a tad odd, so be it. We have tried to keep this as open an forum for all comers as possible. We often discuss whether or not something should be posted. But we make mistakes too, and comments (as one did) are posted inadvertently, or we let a querulous comment go through because we know there will be push back from our readers, and the comments from Adopters Anonymous did yield many astute responses. But enough is enough. Calling first mothers "bitter" is an old bullying tactic and I'm sick of it. --lorraine
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LDS VERY PRO-ADOPTION
In further reference to the LDS Church in adoption, this is a comment that FMF received back in June: 
"In 2009 the LDS Family Services office in Dallas, TX were informed of approx. 280 pregnant unwed mothers in the neighboring Mormon congregations. Only 11 placed their babies for adoption. Please feel free to contact the office directly to verify." Assuming this is correct, this is nearly four times the national average of babies given up for adoption. And there is still time to vote in the Demons of Adoption Award for the whole state of Utah and the LDS Family Services. Do make your voice heard!
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28 comments :

  1. I'm so sorry you've been taking abuse from some crazy AP group. (I'm an AP--mom--and I've never heard of them. But except for Malinda's and Margie's blogs, I don't read AP blogs/FB pages.) I just want you to know how much I appreciate your blog. I love to be able to read the opinions of natural/first/bio mothers. It must be difficult to put your feelings "out there" with such honesty. Please don't let the zealots discourage you.
    Courtney

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  2. It seems that many adoptive parents think they are the experts on all things adoption. With that attitude they are probably bullying their adopted children, too. They may not expect the children to be "grateful" but they probably expect the a-children to be FINE with being adopted and expressing any sentiments to the contrary are not allowed.

    I do think it's important to remember though that one of the reasons they want to come here to bait us is because our message is getting across. We are silent no more and many are hearing and heeding our voices.

    I am glad you removed that last comment on another post from an AP directed at a specific first mother. It was vicious but probably a fairly comment sentiment among APs. Sad to think this is what some APs think of their child's natural mother.

    Robin

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  3. "In 2009 the LDS Family Services office in Dallas, TX were informed of approx. 280 pregnant unwed mothers in the neighboring Mormon congregations. Only 11 placed their babies for adoption."

    Perhaps the greatest tragedy (and indictment) is there is a large percentage of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (AKA, the Mormons) that feel there were 269 too FEW adoptions that occurred in 2009. :(

    The pressure to relinquish your child for adoption if you are a single (unwed) mother and a member of the LDS church is relentless, all in the name of love, of course.

    What is terribly ironic is the LDS church has no problem with single women adopting out of foster care or adopting internationally. I have spent years trying to figure out why it is OK to be a single mother in this culture IF the child is ADOPTED, but single parenting a child you conceived is frowned upon.

    M.

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  4. This is what fear does when truths begin to speak up.

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  5. Regarding Mormons accepting single mothers as long as it's through adoption -- sometime back Barbara Walters and John Stossel were discussing the negatives of single motherhood (family breakdown, poverty, yada, yada) on 20/20. Stossel mentioned that Walters was a single mother. She batted her eyes and said with feigned innocence, "That's different, John. I'm an ADOPTIVE mother."

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  6. " I have spent years trying to figure out why it is OK to be a single mother in this culture IF the child is ADOPTED, but single parenting a child you conceived is frowned upon."

    Maybe because giving birth to a child is proof positive that you had sex outside of marriage while adopting is seen as being a saviour. I'm not LDS but from what I've heard about them they seem extremely conservative.

    Robin

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  7. Here's a funny story--at least I think it is. Years ago I was on a forum when a first mother reported an attempted shakedown by the adopters. After the adoption, the mom eventually got her doctorate and had a very good job. The adopters, in the meantime, had fallen on bad times. They tried to hit her up for money--the kicker as when they demanded she by the kid a tuba. She cut off all contact. I hare no idea what happened, but she did say, her son knew where to reah her when he was 18 . She wasn't putting up with this crap anymore.

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  8. "Maybe because giving birth to a child is proof positive that you had sex outside of marriage while adopting is seen as being a saviour. I'm not LDS but from what I've heard about them they seem extremely conservative."

    That is true.

    Btw I wonder if any LDS single mothers have done a "Loretta Young" and tried to pass their biological child off as an adopted child.

    http://www.loretta-young.com/FY-judy.html
    http://www.loretta-young.com/FY-on-suspension.html

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  9. Back on subject: I think that it is easier for the insecure adopter to attack mothers than face their own insecurities. After all, you can't conceive, or if you can, you purchased a child at great expense. Then the child is an ungrateful brat because they might actually want to know their mothers..... or better, the mother reaches a point where she realizes that it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you don't give up or the situation changes so she doesn't have to give up. So who "loses" out - the adopter that hasn't worked out their own child hoarding or infertility. It is sad, but true.... And then they attack everyone that they blame for the lacks in their world. Since they still won't work out their own issues - much easier and rationalized to settle their own mental issues.

    It is pathetic, but you can't fix someone that is in denial.

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  10. One reason for the popularity of international adoptions is it removes the need to deal with birth mothers which is something many APs don't want to do.

    There a few reasons for this. One is they don't want to feel they are co-parenting. Another is risk of litigation or a the birth mother changing her mind. Finally, a significant number of APs probably feel they have been victims of fraud when a Birth mother changed her mind.

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  11. Anonymous 11:56 -

    "Finally, a significant number of APs probably feel they have been victims of fraud when a Birth mother changed her mind."

    The only way a person can defraud another is to fail to produce the goods or services that are contracted for. To enter into a contract that transfers "ownership" of another human being, e.g. a child, is considered slavery.

    Howinhell is that not a sure sign that it is about the adopter - not the child? And at what point does that make any mother feel secure in allowing someone to adopt their child?

    That is a sick point of view!

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  12. Apparently the hammer has been brought down on these schoolyard bullies at a.com. Now that's a feat.

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  13. Thank you for the tuba story, BD. It gave me a laugh.

    Q. How do you mend a broken tuba?
    A. With a tuba glue.

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  14. Speaking flippantly of another's pain -- whether that pain was/is via an unethically-gained relinquishment, a closed-open adoption, adoption/relinquishment-related abandonment, or infertility -- is hurtful.

    I get the reasons for anger here. I get being fed up all too well.

    That said ...

    generalizing about all adoptive parents and/or women suffering from infertility amounts to tit for tat.

    Generalizing, IMO, erodes the very good points made here on FMF.

    All one has to do is look around to see some damned wonderful women who happen to be on all sides of the triad (or constellation or whatever term we're using now. I can't keep up.)

    (I'm not speaking to the post but to some comments.)

    I for one think it would be a very good thing if we all had to sit in a room together and just listen to one another. Listen and feedback, ala "I hear you're feeling ..."

    Yes, we've listened to the majority for a long, long time. But I'm talking about really, really listening -- looking one another in the eyes.

    Sounds stupid or utopian or new-agey to some, but it's saved my husband and I a fight on more than one occasion. It requires I listen even when I know he's 100 percent wrong ... only to find out that maybe it's not so black and white.

    Those that come here and attack are scared and hurting and insecure. Still, I wonder what would happen if the cliques were separated out and we had to relate to each other one on one.

    I'm as pissed and disgusted by bullying as the next person, but I guess I've watched too many feel-good movies.

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  15. To add: I'm not saying tolerate abuse, games, or intentionally hurtful b.s. No way. When I speak of listening, I mean to those who don't engage in that sort of behavior or are willing to admit to it and lay it aside.

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  16. Morning Song, While I have never adopted, I am a mother and I am infertile and have been since my daughter was born. Giving up my daughter was horrific, then finding out that she really was the only baby I would ever have - that was even worse. So I do look in the others eyes and I do listen. It still does not excuse the taking of a child or the idea that children can be bought and sold like merchandise.

    JMHO

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  17. "Maybe because giving birth to a child is proof positive that you had sex outside of marriage while adopting is seen as being a saviour."

    I wonder if these people would have had heart attacks [while going to post-secondary school] upon learning that many students have sex with their signficant others, way before marriage is even on the horizon.

    Cuz all I can think of is some of my friends who have had sex, who aren't married, and whom aren't even done their schooling.

    Also, the two-parent rule fails under the norm that divorce is really common. Out of my 9 regular friends in high school, 7 had divorced parents before the friends even reached their toddler years.

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  18. "Finally, a significant number of APs probably feel they have been victims of fraud when a Birth mother changed her mind."

    Yeah, just like a significant number of natural mother's DO feel they have been victims of fraud when adopters "change their minds" (actually, I mean NEVER intended) when it came to honoring an open adoption.

    A woman 'changing her mind' about keeping and raising HER flesh and blood is not fraud. That is her child and she has every right to change her mind. She is not bound to give someone her child and it is not her duty to provide her infant to an infertile. These are our children, not yours.

    Entering into an an open adoption agreement, for the sole purpose of manipulating a woman to give up her child is blatant fraud.

    I love how adopters love to play victim, when the child is not even theirs to begin with; as if someone else's child is owed to them for some reason...

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  19. I completely agree with your last comment, Lori, and I cannot imagine the pain of not being able to have another child after losing one in this way.

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  20. "here a few reasons for this. One is they don't want to feel they are co-parenting. Another is risk of litigation or a the birth mother changing her mind. Finally, a significant number of APs probably feel they have been victims of fraud when a Birth mother changed her mind."

    I think that this last statement is where these people have been taken for a ride already, by the industry. The concept that a mother can actually "choose" or "decide on" adoption while she is still pregnant is a very dangerous idea to hold. The fact that they intentionally hunt down ("dear birthmother letters," "birthmother marketting," etc.) expectant mothers and get involved in their lives prior to the mother *recovering from giving birth* is where they make a conglomerate of mistakes. And of course the industry promotes this behaviour because you can increase surrenders this way (COERCION).

    It is unethical to the extreme to engage in this behaviour. And, to feel later on that they are been defrauded comes straight from the fact that they were led to do something which in itself is harmful and dangerous. And hence ended up harming *them* by giving them false expectations.

    But, if you ask an average adoptive parent not to pursue expectant mothers, not to get involved in coercive practices such as pre-birth matching, then you get a huge amount of resistance, because they are afraid of not getting that baby. I have tried, gently and politely to suggest this, and been mercilessly ripped to shreds for it.

    What can be done? Maybe laws preventing reproductive exploitation and reproductive predation. But that will take an immense amount of political will, because the industry has gov't by the balls (and ovaries).

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  21. It appears that at least one of the bullies has moved on to the blog of yet another mother. (One who was befriended while pregnant and subsequently disregarded by her child's (now) adoptive mom.)

    The bully is now querying this mother on why she didn't parent, etc.

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  22. Anonymous: Do tell, what blog? so I can commiserate with the sister blogger.

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  23. "Those that come here and attack are scared and hurting and insecure. Still, I wonder what would happen if the cliques were separated out and we had to relate to each other one on one." ~~Morning Star,

    Morning Star, normally I would agree with you on just about all the points you raised in your comment. I've spent years now trying to build bridges between AP's and natural moms. Unfortunately this particular clique of schoolyard bullies has absolutely no interest in participating in open, honest dialogue, especially its ringleader. This person has driven away some very wonderful amoms from a.com, several of whom have written me that they won't be returning until she's gone for good. The bullies ostracize any of their peers who dare to promote ethical adoption practices and adoptee rights. They also go after any adoptee who isn't choking on Kool-Aid. The ringleader, especially, has some twisted need to hurt natural moms on a very personal level.

    When dealing with classic narcissists, the best thing to do is ignore them completely. Ignoring them drives them absolutely crazy and enrages them at the same time. You can pretty much summarize Narcissistic Personality Disorder with the phrase, "She who will not be ignored."

    I did try to find common ground with the group's ringleader, which turned out to be a nightmare. There is no desire on her part to understand or communicate with any of us. She's a very sick and twisted individual who gets her kicks by hurting other women.

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  24. We will do our best simply to not post the comments of the bullies. Then they go away. They get tired of not seeing their oh-so-rational comments on the internet.

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  25. Raven,

    I completely agree and am also aware of at least one of the bullying parties. (It's actually been going on for many years on birthparent forums, blogs, boards and, failing that, private email. Which you may already know.) A rather sick kind of sport, it appears.

    It's interesting you mention NPD. That is exactly the conclusion at least a few people (including a professional, privy to some running commentary) have come to.

    That's why I added the disclaimer after my comment.

    I tend to give people the benefit of doubt, way too much really, but there are some people I (and others) would NEVER engage with under any circumstances. NEVER. To do so would be fool-hardly and, frankly, there's been some concern for our safety.

    So, yes, I think we're on the same page with what is hopefully just a relatively small sampling.

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  26. NPD = narcissistic personality disorder.

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  27. Anonymous said...
    ""Finally, a significant number of APs probably feel they have been victims of fraud when a Birth mother changed her mind."

    A woman 'changing her mind' about keeping and raising HER flesh and blood is not fraud. That is her child and she has every right to change her mind."

    You're not wrong, but that's not how it always happens. My APs were lined up to have a lad before me, only the bmom changed her mind/swindled them/whatever you want to call it. Not by keeping and raising the kid herself, but by letting them believe they were about to get a kid, and then giving the kid to a home (Barnardos, IIRC) to give away instead. I suspect that's possibly the worst kind of mind-changing/scamming that there could ever be (for an AP I mean).

    Of course, it also means that had they got that lad, then that lad would've grown up living the life I had, and I'd've grown up living an entirely different life - just goes to show how pot-luck being adopted really is.

    Also, on the subject of APs hating bmoms; I've spoken to my amom about why she hates my bmom so intensely, and she's explained it very simply, how the frak can ANYONE abandon their own kid? It's a concept neither my amom nor myself can understand, and so I do sympathise with her on the issue, even though I can't bring myself to hate my bmom in the same way, even though I do hate her for abandoning me - especially when she kept the rest, including the two born after me.

    Hope that sheds some more light on the subject.

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