Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why First Mother Forum is moderating comments. Again.

Lorraine
THERE IS AN IMPORTANT ADD TO THE BLOG, READ BELOW...SILENCE HURTS US ALL

Late last night, after an upsetting day, an adoptee who follows this blog--and has her own blog--emailed me and suggested that many of the comments at the previous blog post would most likely be upsetting to my granddaughter.  I had a vague feeling like that myself, and was quite anxious about the blog all of yesterday as the comments veered into analyzing from assumption and were often wrong. Then I would have to answer the assumptions and presumptions and questions, and in doing so reveal more about the situation than I felt comfortable doing on a public blog. Seeing War Horse in the evening did not distract me as I love horses and this is an disquieting movie. I came home, then read the email from the adoptee, and knew I had to do something.


Fellow blogger Jane and I went over the comments together, and those comments that, even only in part, attempted to analyze my granddaughter, her motivations, or brought in her adoptive parents, were removed. In the process some good parts of comments are gone because of a small mention of something in them. However, blogger does not allow for editing at all, as on a newspaper. Some of the comments removed were by regular readers, or occasional commenters (adoptees) whose voices I respect and whose input I value. I am sorry. I know writing a comment takes time and thought. I do ask for your understanding and forbearance on this matter.

SILENCE HURTS US ALL
It is worth noting that it is precisely this kind of self-editing that prevents our story from getting out and thus changing more hearts and minds about adoption issues, including changing the laws that seal original birth records, and discouraging people from thinking that adoption is the answer for their fertility issues. Birth/first mothers don't want to hurt their families' feelings, and that includes their children, adopted out or kept; any siblings of the adoptee; parents, brothers, aunts, uncles, you name it.

Being gay and coming out of the closet certainly is fraught for a lot of people, but telling our story--whether first mother or adoptee--truthfully has the potential of not just shocking others, but offending them, and so silence becomes all the more pervasive. Writing a book and putting down true feelings is also a endeavor treading on dangerous water; so is writing a blog. One woman was asked to be the center of a TV movie but declined because it would probably offend her adoptive parents; another says she doesn't have a personal blog even though she is a very good writer because of hurting her family, if she tells the truth. Steve Jobs gave his biographer Walter Isaascon full control and apparently did not read the manuscript; one can speculate that Jobs did so in an effort to be completely truthful but then, not be responsible for what was said about both  his natural and adoptive families, as well as the daughter he originally denied he had fathered.

Because of the criticisms leveled here, there has been more than one time when I considered shutting down First Mother Forum--wouldn't I be healthier if I did? But the criticism and potential for hurting others is precisely why and how birth mothers and adoptees have been muzzled for so long. Speak up and god knows, someone will slap you down. Publishing my memoir, Birthmark, way back in 1979 was no picnic. Someone needs to tell our stories, and Jane and I will continue to do our part--and it is a part because now there are others willing to stand up--until the records are open in all 50 states or we just plumb get too tired.

IT'S NOT ABOUT AGREEING OR DISAGREEING
An ANONYMOUS then wrote a nasty comment and accused of us of being "shallow" for taking down comments, stating that I took down the ones that disagreed with me. They had nothing to do with "agreeing" or "disagreeing. (A charge that we have heard before from someone named Kippa aka Anonymous who comes here it seems only to tell me how wicked I am). IN FACT, PEOPLE WERE NOT REALLY "DISAGREEING,"  THEY WERE SIMPLY ASSUMING TO ANALYZE HOW MY GRANDDAUGHTER FELT, AND WERE NOT ABOUT MY BEHAVIOR, or telling me what to do when I had made it plain what I was going to do: go away. Do nothing. Make no contact. Comments that incited bickering among the commenters were also removed, or that misunderstood but required clarification were also removed.

Of course I understood what happened with my granddaughter and our relationship. Full retreat seems to be as common as not. I repeat, after receiving her email requesting no contact I was not going to contact her, and no where in the blog post do I suggest otherwise. I said I was glad to have this actually clarified. I have lived through this kind of retreat many times over the course of the 26 years I had with her mother, my  daughter, and read about it not only in numerous adoptee memoirs, starting with Betty Jean Lifton's Twice Born and Lost and Found, but also at many blogs, as well as talked to numerous adoptees over the many years I have been involved in adoption reform. We first/birth mothers might not like it, but if we have done any reading on the issue at all, we get it.

WHY WE USE BIRTH MOTHER
To the person who criticizes us for using birth mother: Unfortunately that is the term that the greatest number of people who looking for us will use when they search for related information on the web. Many natural mothers, adoptees and adoptive parents have never heard the term "first mother," and "natural mother" freaks out a lot of adoptive parents. Until there is a major language shift we will use birth mother, along with the other terms. We hope we are moving along this discussion and usage to a term less pejorative than birth mother. (See 'Positive' Adoption Language? one of our permanent pages.)

I hope that most of you will understand why we did this. We wish we did not have to use comment moderation. It is more demanding for us as we feel a responsibility to be timely, but it appears necessary any time Jane or I write from a personal perspective. We do get the occasional spam from someone who wishes to direct our readers to another site, such as a fertility center or even a porn site, but those can be taken down, and are. Moderation does inhibit quick discussion, and if we feel certain posts are not likely to be cause dissension or attack, we may let comments be published without moderation. It will be on a post by post basis.  Jane and I are only two people and do have other lives.

On another note, would the person who lives in or near Edison, NJ email me at forumfirstmother@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you. Thank you. --lorraine
---------------------------------------------
Jane will be back with another post later today or tomorrow.

29 comments :

  1. Lorraine,

    I agree with the editing. I had that same feeling that the adoptee did maybe this personal stuff shouldn't be posted.

    I remain anonymous because of one mom that always disregards mother's feelings. She is an oldy but if I said the sky was blue she would say it's green and then back it up!

    I am an oldly to and have spent way to many years being told what I should be doing this mom needs to let up on moms's or go back to beating herself up which I heard she did let us as mom's express our self's without her posting.

    Impossible I know but maybe she will read this and stop.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am very sorry that happened. I have always found both of you try your very best to see all sides which isn't easy when each side has is unique unto itself. You can never please all people all the time despite best efforts.

    Wishing both of you a happy new year!

    ReplyDelete
  3. ADDED TO THE BLOG:

    SILENCE HURTS US ALL
    It is worth noting that it is precisely this kind of self-editing that prevents our story from getting out and thus changing more hearts and minds about adoption issues, including changing the laws that seal original birth records, and discouraging people from thinking that adoption is the answer for their fertility issues. Birth/first mothers don't want to hurt their families' feelings, and that includes their children, adopted out or kept; any siblings of the adoptee; parents, brothers, aunts, uncles, you name it.

    Being gay and coming out of the closet certainly is fraught for a lot of people, but telling our story--whether first mother or adoptee--truthfully has the potential of not just shocking others, but offending them, and so silence becomes all the more pervasive. Writing a book and putting down true feelings is also a endeavor treading on dangerous water; so is writing a blog. One woman was asked to be the center of a TV movie but declined because it would probably offend her adoptive parents; another says she doesn't have a personal blog even though she is a very good writer because of hurting her family, if she tells the truth. Steve Jobs gave his biographer Walter Isaascon full control and apparently did not read the manuscript; one can speculate that Jobs did so in an effort to be completely truthful but then, not be responsible for what was said about his natural, and adoptive families, as well as the daughter he originally died he had fathered.

    Because of the criticisms leveled here, there has been more than one time when I considered shutting down First Mother Forum--wouldn't I be healthier if I did? But the criticism and potential for hurting others is precisely why and how birth mothers and adoptees have been muzzled for so long. Speak up and god knows, someone will slap you down. Publishing my memoir, Birthmark, way back in 1979 was no picnic. Someone needs to tell our stories, and Jane and I will continue to do our part--and it is a part because now there are others willing to stand up--until the records are open in all 50 states or we just plumb get too tired.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Some blogs do not allow anon comments. Perhaps you could just disable the "anon" option, and that would solve that problem.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is so indicative of the enormous pain and damage that adoption causes that even those of us who are basically on the same side can't discuss the issue without the conversation become contentious.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I started reading the FMF a few weeks ago, after searching the web for so long looking for help, friendship maybe an answer.
    I never knew I was so "in the dark" about adoption, all I knew was that I hurt because even though, my daughter communicates to me through letters, we have not met face to face yet.
    I think about her every day, sitting and waiting for the next e-mail to come.
    I have a wonderful family,two young children, wonderful husband and parents that I can talk to openly about my daughter but it doesn't help the hurt I feel.
    I have learned so much about adoption in the few weeks, even though I long for my daughter, I understand her feelings and my feels so much more. I am not sure if our relationship will ever develop into more than it is, at least I am not living in a "fantasy world" any longer. I so wish I knew all this 25 years ago. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  7. Kathleen Moran Indianapolis, IndianaJanuary 4, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Thank you Lorraine for your very fine blog. I'm a firstmother reunited in 2006 and currently going through a silence time with my daughter. I don't have any idea when or if it will end anytime soon. I appreciate the fine work you ladies do on the blog. For so many years I was quiet-not any more. It has alienated me from quite a few relatives and my daughter as well. Luckily, my youngest daughter understands and my Dad and sister continue to speak with me. It has been painful to uncover all these feelings, but I'm committed to myself and healing-if that is even a possibility. I've found an uncommon bond with all these women, like yourself, who have spoken out. I'm inspired by your strength and devotion to the cause. Sincerely, Kathleen Mary Moran Indianapolis, Indiana

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you all, and thank you KATHLEEN MORAN for being able to speak out and use your full name. It does it easier over time and I hope that more mothers are able to find the courage to speak up in 2012--afterall, it might be the end of the world, according to the Mayans. What have we to lose?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lorraine,
    This is just a note of support for the comment deletion project. I think you did the right thing and I felt so bad for you that you were put in the position to have to do what you did. As firstmothers we seem to be especially vulnerable to attacks from all sides.
    Hang in there.
    Gail

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lorraine and Jane - I believe you both do a fabulous job of balancing the issues, feelings, vitriol found in adoption, particularly adoption blogland. I respect and understand your decision completely and echo all your other thoughts. Thank you for being here, for giving mothers like me a voice.

    ReplyDelete
  11. It seems a bit ironic that the first post on this thread is from an anon, not dealing with an issue but attacking another mom and asking that she "stop posting" because she (could it be me?:-) disagrees. Maybe that anon and I could work something out and both use our real names and air our real differences honestly. We do not have to demonize each other just because we see things differently.

    Have I ever posted anon? Yes, but I am not the only or all the anons who come here, and from now on if I have anything to say will sign my name. Mostly I use my real name everywhere, as I have for years, and yes, my full name as a mother who surrendered has been out there since the 70s in all kinds of forums. Sadly, I have never been afraid of reprisals until attacked by other mothers and adoptees who disagreed with some things I wrote, and made veiled and not so veiled threats. It is not adoptive parents or the industry, but other people in adoption reform who cannot tolerate a different point of view from theirs, even when we agree on many other issues. This is not Lorraine or Jane or restricted to this blog but it has happened here and I hope it will not in the future, to anyone.

    I strongly recommend no anons here, if that is the issue. Let's stop all personal attacks, not just some. Fair is fair. I applaud the effort to keep this a fair, no-attacks place.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I continue to come here because you make me feel safe (among other reasons!) I'm sorry you had to enable moderation, but it does perhaps make us all feel a bit safer. Thanks for being here!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just want to thank you, Lorraine and Jane, for your bravery and dedication. And for being there for other mothers. This kind of blog is hard work: to write, maintain and sometimes read. Moderating makes it harder. Sorry it has become necessary. Please do keep going. You are appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tough decision, but I support you. The ex-journo in me abhors censorship, but the adoptee I am knows full well that there is enough hurt connected to this issue for all involved. It's not necessary to allow more into the equation if it can be helped.
    I love your blog and look forward to what you have to say.
    Terri S. Vanech
    Old Greenwich, CT
    www-pushingonarope.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have always used my name and if you click on a name it will take you to their profile. Sometimes there are mothers that are still afraid to use their names and I respect that. Sometimes there are adoptees that don't want their mothers to know that they are posting or are just not able to use their names - I respect that.

    I don't respect people that use pen names or anon to attack anyone, even if the comment has nothing to do with the blog entry. I don't believe anyone does. It makes them appear to be bullies or just ignorant. I am sure that is not what they intend, or at least I would like to believe that.

    I don't expect others to agree with me - but since I respect their opinions, I hope they respect mine.

    Lorraine and Jane, thank you. I love your blog, it shows unique insight and intelligence.

    ReplyDelete
  16. At this point, we are not ending the ability to make anonymous comments. Some people feel the need to be totally anonymous, and though I wish they would at least chose a screen name for clarity, that is up to them. The only way to totally get rid of anonymous comments would be to make everyone register and have permission to comment, and we do not wish to have such a closed blog. Even people who usually use their own names sometimes wish to make anonymous comments, and that remains their right. We simply will continue to moderate.

    Thank you all for understanding why this is again necessary (except the person who sent a nasty comment), and your words of support and encouragement. Jane and I appreciate hearing from you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I just want to say thanks for continuing to blog.

    I don't always agree with you, of course, but your blog remains a breath of fresh air against those horrific beemommies who are so glad to be rid of their kids.

    Keep on. Please.

    BTW do you have any thoughts on these women? Those who are joyous to not be raising their children? I find them intolerable.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anon,

    I know beemommies who insist they did the right thing; "I wasn't ready to be a mother; I couldn't care for a baby at that stage in my life," yada yada, yada. They take a perverse pride in giving up their babies.

    At the same time, they talk and write endlessly of their pain.

    Many of these women are educated and articulate and, from all appearances, would have been able to nurture their child. I suspect in a few years, most of them will figure out they were had.

    Unfortunately, some of these "happy" birth mothers work or volunteer for adoption agencies, talking up adoption to vulnerable young women.

    When I hear these women, I want to scream.

    I know, too, that there are some birth mothers who truly could not care for their infant. My heart goes out to them.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I was wondering if anyone could share there feelings or thoughts on this for me.
    I have not year met my daughter face to face, we have been writing letters to each other for the past 3 years.
    She knows everything about my life including that I have two young children.
    My daughter will not give any comment or incite as to her feelings towards my other children. I certainly do not push or bring up the subject but in the past I have spoke about them briefly in letters.
    My daughter does have a brother in her family that she does not get along with at all.
    Is this common for adoptees to not want to discuss or not to be interested in other siblings.
    My children are so excited to know they have an older sisters but I feel the feelings are not mutual and there is a good chance they may never meet her.
    any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Jane, I can understand your wanting to scream. I can't comprehend how anyone can be happy about the loss of their child. It just doesn't make any sense at all. I was grief-stricken and devasatated as most firstmothers seem to be.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Suz'a blog has a really educational post about how anonymous posters can be tracked down which makes it clear that nobody can really be anonymous in blog comments. Anyone thinking of posting anon anywhere for any reason should read this:

    http://writingmywrongs.com/2012/01/06/sine-auctore/

    I know I learned a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Maryanne: Thanks!

    I just installed Sitecounter.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Lorraine and Jane,
    As an adoptee who meanders over here every so often, I wanted to thank you for what you have given those affected by adoption as a collective unit-your words bring me to tears, laughter and every other emotion one human can possibly have.

    Perhaps I should post this comment on the previous post's no contact request,but I wanted to address it here, as some of the comments still pertain on this most recent post.

    I found my mother 2 years too late. Heartbroken is an understatement.She passed away of kidney failure due to diabetes in 2008. I can only pray she was like so many of you wonderful mothers out there.
    The point I'd like to make, though, is about retreat, and how it has applied to my own story.
    My amazing mother left me 3 precious gifts, in the form of 3 younger siblings whom I am fortunate enough to have met. She had also told 2 of them that they had an older sister out there somewhere, so they were somewhat prepared when they finally got the phone call that I was, indeed, out there.
    I never thought I'd be one of the ones who pulled away. I had a beautiful reunion with my sisters in Hawaii (it's a special treat to be in reunion, but in Hawaii? Double awesome points!)last March. Nothing bad can be said about this trip. I was blessed beyond measure.

    Since then, however, I am faced with the social stigma of "Just get over it, already. You found out what happened to your mother, you've been in reunion, just stop talking about it!" Civilians can't possibly understand it's not something you just get over. Grieving for a life lost from someone I "never even knew," (not my words)has had to become something done in complete privacy and takes its toll emotionally, as I'm sure a lot of you well know.

    In order for me to do this, I have had to do a standard adoptee-issue coping mechanism, and retreat and bury it all. Healthy? Not likely. Necessary? Probably. Habit? Definitely. I have utterly convinced myself that the pain is entirely too huge and no one wants to listen to me anymore. Staying away from the topic (and in this case, 3 very beautiful souls who asked for none of this either)seems to be my only(at the moment, anyway)defense. I truly feel like I still have to protect everyone around me from my pain. Aps, fsibs,friends, family, etc.

    Wrapping this up (thank you for your patience as I am rather long-winded), I can't speak for everyone, only myself. Maybe just to give you another perspective that it's quite possible that it's not a personal attack, or that you aren't wanted-maybe it's just another coping mechanism so many adoptees have perfected over the years.Fight or flight instinct-in my case, flight seems to be the only thing keeping me from pure insanity these days.
    Keep up the beautiful work. Thank you for being here. So many of you moms can't possibly imagine what your insight and stories do to my heart and soul. You give my mom a voice each and every day.
    ~Rachel

    ReplyDelete
  24. @Ann,
    I think that sometimes people don't want to meet face-to-face not because they don't want to see the other person but because they don't want to face the pain.

    I am my first mother's only child and as far as I know my first father's only child also so I can't help you with the issue of how adoptees deal with and feel about raised children.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Lorraine and Jane,

    While I'm disappointed that comments have to be moderated, it's not because of any censorship theme. As a somewhat outspoken adoptee who has been graciously allowed to be myself here,and to participate with out being muzzled at all, I really commend your concern for your granddaughter's feelings Lorraine, even when you are hurting. I'm disappointed that you and Jane have to work even harder to keep this very valuable blog here for natural Mom's and yes, like Rachel who posted above and myself, for some of us adoptees who were too late to find our's. I have said it before, but I am forever grateful to all the Mom's who have so freely shared of themselves, here and privately,and have given me a mosaic of my own Mother, and allowed me to "know" her in the only way I can.

    Thank you again Lorraine and Jane,for the courage and grace you display in balancing this very emotional, personal and sometimes incendiary blog that is a gift to many of us.

    Respectfully,

    Tamara

    ReplyDelete
  26. Tamara, I will admit that there are many time I do feel like quitting the blog, and comments like yours and from the others who have posted make me put off that decision. I am sure Jane feels the same way. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Anon 11:01 wrote:" but your blog remains a breath of fresh air against those horrific beemommies who are so glad to be rid of their kids."

    As an adoptee I am astounded at the insensitivity, callousness even of those birth mothers who love to tell the world how happy they are to give their child away and how good this makes them feel about themselves. Don't they realize that one day their child will be able to read this stuff?

    When an adoptee is rejected in reunion, are they really so upset because they didn't get an up-to-date medical history or didn't get to learn whose eye color they inherited? Hardly. They are so devastated because I believe we are hard-wired to want and need our natural parents love and acceptance. The only thing worse than these proud beemommies is telling the world how much you didn't want your child in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Rachel - thanks for letting me understand the silence better. It's maddening but now I have a bit more compassion. My heart is heavy always. Every day, every moment I miss my daughter. Even though she found me two years ago she doesn't want a deep relationship. Maybe she actually does but cannot. She has her own pain that I can't fathom. You helped explain it.
    And why be anonymous? My daughter went off about my blog and I do not want to upset her. I took down my blog and now maybe I'm paranoid. I don't want to say a word that will disturb her. Or maybe I should get more of a backbone. But a backbone without her in my life doesn't seem worth it.
    Rita

    ReplyDelete
  29. Dear Anon whose comment was not posted (or posted briefly):

    The comments that dealt with my granddaughter's motives/etc were taken down--as this post tells. If you read the comments, they are from other mothers and adoptees who have had fractured reunions for one reason or another.

    As you came to this blog goggling my name, it's clear you had direct knowledge of me and Minneapolis....and the person you write about.

    ReplyDelete

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

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

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

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

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