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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. Thank you. --lorraine
Jane will be back with another post later today or tomorrow.