Monday, September 10, 2012

'Parent' as a verb is beyond irritating

Jane
I dislike the word "parent" as a verb, not because I'm a grammatical purist (although my BA in English should mean something), but becomes too often "parent" is a tool in the social workers' arsenal, used to induce vulnerable mothers-to-be to give up their infants. The adoption industry loves the word; the Institute for Adoption Information includes it in its lexicon of "positive adoption language" replacing the "negative" to keep. Today, mothers choose between parenting their child or making an adoption plan; in my days we kept our babies or gave them away.

The other night I watched a re-run of a 2010 episode of 16 and Pregnant featuring pregnant teen Lori, herself adopted as an infant. Lori's adoptive parents refused to help her raise her son, pushing adoption at every turn, finally forcing Lori to "choose" adoption over "parenting." Of course without financial help from her adoptive parents (the son's father was a teen himself), Lori would have had great difficulty in raising her son. "Parenting," though, took on a gloss beyond the financial issue; it suggested that keeping her baby required a mystical skill, something beyond the capability of a teenager, tipping the balance to "choosing adoption." (Lest we get into an argument about the desirability of teens raising children, we need only look to President Barack Obama, entertainer Oprah Winfrey, activist Jesse Jackson, all  born to teen mothers, and poet Maya Angelou, a teen mother. Not coincidentally, these notables are all African-American.)

WHEN DID PARENTING BECOME A VERB?
"Parent" as a verb was used as early as 1663 according to the Oxford-English Dictionary but its meaning was akin to "origin." However, its use before the 20th century was extremely rare.

Cliff Price of the New Oxford Review shares my distaste for the word, comparing his reaction to it to children's instinctive revulsion of broccoli:
"This usage has crept into common parlance and become pervasive within the past twenty years. ....The conversion of the word 'parent' from noun to verb is an insidious instance of the illegitimate sort of neologism [a new word]. 'Parent' in English has always been a noun meaning the immediate, biologic ancestor. It expresses a relationship based on a natural fact. In the current usage as a verb, however, 'to parent' has no such clear meaning. Expressions such as 'parenting class, 'parenting magazines,' and 'how to parent well' are not instructions in begetting. ...'Parent' is being used as a vague replacement for 'child-rearing,' or 'raise' or 'nurture' or 'bring up' children. The verb 'parent' implies the things done by a parent,' without specifying what those things are or specifying the identify of the person doing them. Further, it negates the meaning of parent: a man or woman in an undeniable relationship with a child by reason of a biological fact." (emphasis added)
I think that may be precisely the reason that adoptive parents and the industry are so attached to using parent as a verb. If someone is parenting a child, they must be parents, negating the meaning of "parent" as an originator of something or someone.

Former Baltimore Sun editor John Carroll is more charitable. He "disparaged parenting but reluctantly gave into it for lack of a simple equivalent. Child-rearing didn't seem adequate to the purposeThe purpose was to indicate an attitude toward bringing up children that involved father and mother equally, emphasizing nurturing over smacking the little creatures, and generally reflected yuppie culture."

Lisa Belkin of the New York Times notes "now that parenting has become a verb--an active, measurable, competitive thing--it brings with it an expanding job description. We create one for ourselves, different from our neighbors', or even our partners', but always broader than the one our parents used decades ago."

LET'S DEEP-SIX 'PARENTING'
To Margaret Nelson of The Washington Post, American parenting styles are sharply divided by class. "Compared with professional, middle-class parents, parents of lower educational and professional status are more likely to impose non-negotiable limits on their children's behavior. Rather than sitting down and watching television with their children, for example, they simply block certain channels."

So there you have it, "parenting" means what the speaker wants it to mean.  I'll bet, though, that if pregnant teens were given the choice between nurturing their child, or having biological strangers do it instead of between parenting and adoption, more would "make a plan" to keep their babies.

_____________________________________________________
A Journalist's Guide to Adoption
Oxford English Dictionary
Cliff Price, Parent is a Noun, Not a Verb
John McIntyre, "You Don't Say," Sept. 2010
Lisa Belkin "Unhappy Helicopter Parents," July 7, 2010
Margaret Nelson, "Helicopter moms, heading for a crash," July 4, 2010

From FMF:
Natural and Real Language

119 comments :

  1. I hate gift as a verb too, as in, "how about gifting me your baby so I can parent it?".

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  2. Is "to parent" ever used by moms and dads who raise their own kids? Or the worst: "love" your baby enough to give it a "better" home? By that standard, every kid who can't afford to go to an expensive private school like Cranbrook ought to be automatically transferred at birth to parents who can pay the bill.

    One of the reasons I continue to use "give away" in reference to the children involved when I talk/write about adoption is that the harsh, accurate words remind people what is actually happening: A child is being transferred from his or her real parents to another set, who are not the real parents in the biblical, biological sense of the word. They are alternate parents because the real ones could not, or were convinced they could not, or they refused, to do the job.

    "Make an adoption plan" is what social workers do; mothers give away their babies.

    Other language shifts that are designed to obscure reality: People die, not just "pass," store clerks are "associates," though I doubt they are considered "associates," as in "associate with" the owners of Target or Wal-Mart except as underlings.

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  3. Well, the "parenting" form seems to be used sometimes by real mothers.

    http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/jennifer-maggio/fear-of-failure-in-parenting.html

    It seems that "to parent" has replaced "to mother" in her vocabulary to a great degree, I wonder whether this is because she is trying to include single fathers (they DO exist and might be rather likely to share interests with single mothers) too, or because she is reflecting a change in general use of the words.

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  4. I don't much care for the neologism "parenting" and usually say "raising the child." I would not say "nurturing the child" either because that sounds equally jargon-like and is a value judgement that can't be made about all parents.

    Nor do I see where it matters much what words you use, it is the intent that counts, and 40 and more years ago the intent was that unwed mothers should give up their children. That we were "giving up" rather than "making an adoption plan', that we were judged not ready to "raise a child" rather than "parent", that we were called natural mothers or real mothers rather than birthmothers did not really make anything easier or different for us.

    It is easy to focus on words as the cause of suffering and insist that they be changed, but that really accomplishes very little in the real world other than annoying those scolded for using the wrong words.

    As to the particular choice of the word "nurture" over "parenting" Not all parents, biological or adoptive, really nurture the children they raise. All children do get raised by someone, even if it is an institution, so I think a more honest way to say it than either "parenting" or "nurturing" is "raising".

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  5. Jane wrote:
    I'll bet, though, that if pregnant teens were given the choice between nurturing their child, or having biological strangers do it instead of between parenting and adoption, more would "make a plan" to keep their babies.
    _____
    From what I have read it is no longer teens that are most vulnerable to losing their babies, it's college students. It seems that teens are more likely to have a visceral reaction to becoming a mother. They are able to tap into the mother bear instinct in a way that college girls are not. College girls have more exposure and I'm sure feel brighter. That's why the adoption agency can get to them easier. "Make an adoption plan" sounds really grown up. "Look, I can make a plan for my baby". These adoption workers have reinforced that I'm really a piece of crap so just watch, I love my baby enough to give the child to married, moneyed STRANGERS. Aren't I just so mature that I can make a decision that is painful to me but just the all out best thing for my beloved child???? And no one at the agency ever breathes a word that adopted persons have horrid issues by being relinquished.
    It makes me want to scream!

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  6. On the content on this particular post, I feel compelled to put my thoughts (as controversial as they will be) into the puddle. It is a verb, and one who does not see it as such has not done it. It is the laborious, hard providing materially and emotionally over the course of a lifetime. It is lifting and carrying and deciding. Disciplining and rewarding and educating. It is changing 12 diapers a day and dragging out of bed for a midnight fever and making a series - one after another - of choices on behalf of a young one until they can do so themselves. In the case of modern adoption, it is often seeking resources and sacrificing to give a child the chance to heal from pre-adoption exposures, teratogens, maternal stress or depresssion, and in the most dire cases, neglect. This is the reality of modern adoption, in the here and now.

    I have biological parents, adopted parents, a biological child I am raising, a mother whose regret over deciding to parent as a teen has bled down to deeply and complexly affect the entire lives of three children (none of us will know what she wiould have become if she had not begun her journey into parenthood at the age of 16. There is no use speculating, but I do know she would describe her parenting experience as a verb).

    I am an unapologetic prospective adoptive parent, waiting for a placement.

    This is your space and I understand your grief over the way your parenthood experience has unfolded. It is not for me to diminish, and I don't carry your specific regret. I do believe that children belong to their stories, and open adoption/records/medical histories are groundbreaking progressions.

    I will say that modern adoption bears little resemblance to the era in which many of you frame your choices. We receive call after call, sharing birthmother stories, asking if we would consider having our profile shown. We hear about the alcohol, the crack, the methamphetamines, the addiction. Without fail we say, yes, we would be open to that placement. Perhaps there will be calls with simpler stories; those calls have not come yet. Part of me wonders if mothers ever make the decision to relinquish because they could not effectively "parent" before the birth itself, and fear the outcome. We hope for the best.

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  7. Yep, I was just at Pet Smart it's called "pet parent" there. My suggestion to anyone that wants to parent go there!! At least you would know these "kids" were truly in need of "parenting" not taken from their own flesh and blood so one could be a "parent"

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  8. tediunde Parenting is also not gender specific which makes it more PC in the mainstream.

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  9. Modern adoption bear little resemblance to what us old gals went through? I beg to differ. The only major difference is that adoptive parents are chosen by the pregnant woman. In the end, someone else raises your child and is called Mom.

    A woman who gives away her child wakes up one morning and says, what the hell happened to my life? My self-esteem? Where is my baby? Except for the Mormon mommies who "love" adoption (and say so on their blogs), I see little that tells me that the act of giving away your child is not the same soul-killing destructive act that it was for us.

    Obviously, if a woman is a crack addict, she is hardly likely to be able to raise her child, and adoption is probably in the bad deck of cards she's playing with.

    And Dear Anonymous, I feel compelled to ask you: have you considered adopting an older child from foster care? You do sound like you are totally imbued into the adoption culture of today, and so I wonder if you have not considered that route, and if not, Why not?

    You do not like to read our message, and yet you have to remind us that we do not understand the job it is to RAISE a child. That is your point, right? And that we are old ladies who aren't up-to-date on what adoption is like today? Since your own mother, as you say, did not become the woman she might have if she had not started having children at sixteen, you really think she uses "parent" as a verb? My, she managed to get a lot of reading in of Parenting magazine in between raising three kids--but you also have adoptive parents? Yes, I know, modern life is complicated. So unlike the good ole' days of our lives.

    BTW, mothers of all ages and both old and recent first mothers are here. And from the comments, I suspect that fully half of our readers are adoptees from all kinds of parental relationships, good and bad. it is true, that drugs were not as commonplace when many of us surrendered our children, and so our babies were not born addicted or carrying the AIDS virus. Perhaps that is the big difference.

    As for college girls being sweet-talked into giving up their children, it's hard to wrap my mind around that, but Barbara I am sure you are right, especially if you are in an evangelical area of the country. All I can say is better birth control availability is what these kids need. As well as the choice to control their own bodies.

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  10. What difference would it make if my APs had told me that my NPs made an "adoption plan"? The outcome would still have been the same. I was given away.

    Barbara T wrote:"And no one at the agency ever breathes a word that adopted persons have horrid issues by being relinquished."

    And this is where the pro-adoptionists would beg to differ. I have read things from their side that say that adopted children do just as well behaviorally, emotionally, scholastically, etc. as their non-adopted peers. I have even read that adopted children are more sensitive and show more compassion to others. That I can believe. After dealing with such a F-ing painful bitter experience as being given away we probably are more attuned to others who are hurting.

    @Jane,
    Barack Obama was raised by his white mother and white grandparents. You also forgot to mention Justin Bieber. And I believe that actor Dylan McDermott was born to a 15 year old mother.

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  11. Anon,

    I began my parenting before age of sixteen. I was also guided by my own mother while I went to high school full time to finish with my class. There were no mommy and me classes.
    I was drug and alcohol free. My crime was being unmarried my sentence was to loss my second born
    full sib to my daughter. When I lost my second born I was subject to a new step thing. He made the decision. He was wrong hands down.

    Oh yeah and that loving adopter who patrented my son loved him so much she told him "I didn't want him" wtf
    What did she know of me not a thing. She was also wrong about that hands down.

    She learned that soon after I found my son when he told her "you know your mom" my son made his heart known he has one just like his mom.

    Ahh parenting or nurturing or sacrificing.

    Oh by the way my first born is a college grad guess a young teen mom is capable of raising a baby. I am proud of all my kids but I do know my son would have done so much better with me and his family.


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  12. Anon,
    I know about raising children, diapers, getting up in the middle of the night, and all the rest. After losing my first daughter to adoption, I married and had three more daughters whom I RAISED. All three graduated from college, have good jobs, and are responsible members of society.

    Your agency may handle adoption for crack addicts and the like but according to the EB Donaldson Adoption Institue most women giving up their children are low income women who believe they cannot afford to raise a child. As Barbara noted, many are college students. Many agencies do not accept women with a history of drug or alcohol use because prospective adoptive parents don't want the kids of these women. Agencies refer these women to state child welfare agencies and the babies are placed in foster care.

    From my experience, the mother you describe who regrets raising her child is an exception. I've met many women who regret having had children when they were young but I have never met a mother who regretting keeping her child.

    Adoption is different today but not as much as you suggest. Expectant mothers have limited choice when it comes to selecting adoptive parents; they are given profiles of three to five PAPS and believe they have to pick from that small group. Often the PAPs presented live many miles away, assuring that contact will be limited. Agencies may offer only a semi-open adoptions or open adoptions with very limited visits. Mothers are unaware that they could have a fully open adoption and more contact.

    While mothers today may have contact with their child (although adoptive parents have been known to close adoptions), mothers suffer as much as mothers of the baby scoop era. I invite you to take a look at the blogs of post-Roe v. Wade mothers. Links to these blogs are on FMF's right hand sidebar.

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  13. I don't understand why using the term 'parenting' is a bad thing. My daughter's birth mom chose not to parent her. She still loves her, is still involved in her life and is still one of her mothers....how else am I to describe the situation? My daughter's birth mom was not coerced or pressured and made the decision of her own accord. Apparently I am the dreaded adoptive parent who adopted privately. Just to be clear, she pursued us. We weren't looking to adopt but I am adopted and she thought we would be open to it (I'm in reunion btw and have a good relationship with my bmom). R's birth mom chose her own lawyer and social worker because by law, she was required to. No agencies were involved. I'm not ignorant...I know our situation is somewhat unique as we have a fully open adoption and see each other as much as possible.

    Ultimately, my husband and I are parenting R. Her birth parents are not. That's not taking anything from their role in her life....is just IS. They were the best parents they knew how to be while they were pregnant with her and I believe that choosing to place her with us was last parenting decision in regards to R. They would have make great parents I believe. She would have been loved and well cared for but they believed that if they couldn't do it by themselves then they didn't want to be parents. They had multiple family members offer to help them and would have had a great support system, it was just how they felt at the time. R's birth mom and my birth mom for that matter, both said they were not ready to be moms at the time. How do I argue with that?

    I'm not sure I understand why this terminology is such a big deal to you but then again, I am not a birth mom. If in your eyes it is not an appropriate way to describe the current state of adoptions, then I would love to hear from you how exactly we should describe our situation. And for the record, I mean no disrespect, just offering a different perspective and trying to understand yours.

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  14. Oh and two more things....
    1. The celebrities raised by teen moms are the exception. That is not statistically relevant. I AM BY NO MEANS SAYING THAT TEEN MOMS SHOULD NOT RAISE THEIR BABIES. I am of the opinion that it is a personal choice to parent or not to parent and shouldn't be judged by others.

    2. Not all or even most adoptive parents are wealthy. My parents were not wealthy by any means and most of the adopted kids I grew up with did not have wealthy parents either. I am not wealthy and in fact had to work A LOT of extra hours at my SECOND job to be able to afford to pay for the private adoption R's birth parents wanted. We would never be able to afford an agency adoption anyway. Then again, I am NOT infertile which is another stereotype against AP's. In a sad turn of events, R's birth grandfather passed away last year and R's birth mom inherited more money than I will see in a life time.

    Now that I've said my piece I guess I should go back to being an 'alternate mom' as someone above put it....ouch.

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  15. Aimee,
    We at FMF certainly agree that adoption can be the best answer to parents who are uncertain about raising a child. Glad things have worked out so well for you, your daughter, and her first mother.

    Many first mothers suffer intense pain and lasting regret. A new post on The Lost Mothers blog will give you an idea of what many of us experienced.

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  16. Re: Robin's comment that pro-adoption side states adoptees do just as well emotionally, socially, etc... I am an adoptee. I had a child psych college professor tell me that over half of the kids he treated in private practice were adopted.

    To Jane and Lorraine... I recently contacted my first mother by letter and have received no response. It is breaking my heart. Thank you for this blog; it has been so enlightening to hear perspectives of first mothers as I do not know any myself.

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  17. Actually, Jane, adoption is changing. You wrote:
    Adoption is different today but not as much as you suggest. Expectant mothers have limited choice when it comes to selecting adoptive parents; they are given profiles of three to five PAPS and believe they have to pick from that small group. Often the PAPs presented live many miles away, assuring that contact will be limited. Agencies may offer only a semi-open adoptions or open adoptions with very limited visits. Mothers are unaware that they could have a fully open adoption and more contact.
    According to this piece in the WSJ, the majority of domestic adoption are now occuring without an agency intermediary:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/juggle/2012/09/11/adopting-a-child-is-increasingly-a-diy-endeavor/

    I can imagine that if one has gone through the pain of being coerced to give up a child, it's impossible to imagine someone else freely choosing adoption for her child, but some people do. And yes, I'm an adoptive parent, but I was also a foster child. My parents wanted to place me for adoption but family pressure blocked it, and guess what? My parents failed to parent me.

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  18. "The celebrities raised by teen moms are the exception. That is not statistically relevant."

    Please, learn what "statistically relevant" really means:

    http://liesandstats.wordpress.com/2008/07/31/statistically-relevant-or-statistically-significant/

    And I do not agree with adoption being the "best answer", in case some parent still hangs around, even if they are crack-addicted, imprisoned or uncertain.

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  19. Great post, and excellent point, Jane. It's kinda like lunch has become a verb, although that it is much less consequential. I always thought of my loss as not getting to RAISE my child, not PARENT my child. Parenting is a non-biological word, meant to appease adopters, IMHO. Much like the new, politically correct "adoption language" that has been forced upon all of us. Like "adoption triad" or "constellation," which frankly make me want to puke. More like "adoption hierarchy" and let's just guess who's at the top, middle and bottom on that.

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  20. Today's bmothers are college students or mothers already who have no desire to "PARENT". Ladies, let’s be real, there are many females who have no desire to parent or be mommy at any time in their lives and adoption is the best "alternative" for them.

    There will always be a need for adoption because there will always be people who find themselves pregnant and lacking the desire to parent. In short, today's bmothers are not the stereotypical "young, poor and gullible" teens from the BSE.

    Also, the adoptive parents aren’t "alternative" parents(I beg you to tell that to your birthchild about their aparents). They are the child's psychological, emotional and physical parents-plain and simple.

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  21. The word "parenting" is by no means exclusive to adoption discourse. I see it all the time in mainstream childcare writing having nothing to do with adoption. It is used pretty much everywhere now to mean "raising a child" in books. features, and magazine articles about, well, "parenting". To an old lady like me it sounds phony and pretentious, but I bet the younger readers here see it as a perfectly normal word that is used all over. And yes, it is used rather than "mothering" to include dads as well.

    I do not really like turning either "parent" or "mother" or other nouns into verbs, but it is not something I am going to fret about.

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  22. I read everything I could on your blog and others about adoption loss before and after we adopted R because I know that just because I don't feel a loss, doesn't mean my daughter won't. R's birthmom grieved and still does just like any other birthmom. She is very open with me about it so that when she's not around as much as usual, I know why. I wasn't by any means negating the trauma and loss that birthmom's feel whether from the BSE or the modern ones we see today who are making their own decisions (not all, but many). I was just trying to understand why the term "parenting" is such a bad thing. I think it's a perfect way to describe it. My daughter's bmom is still one of her mom's but she is not her parent. I don't like the term "gave away" because that makes it sound like some old clothes or something. She made a choice between parenting and not parenting. I think it give much more respect to birthparents than "gave away". I have to correct people ALL THE TIME about that when I'm asked "why she gave R away, or why she didn't want her". I always tell people that she loves R very much and it was a personal decision on her part to make an adoption plan.

    On a side note, both she and my own birthmom both went on to have other children within the next few years. It is a personal choice and one I do not see the point in questioning. It just IS and we all do the best we can with what we are given and it's a choice to accept it and move on and let it drag you down day after day. I find a lot of peace in acceptance because it allows me to just enjoy what is.

    I am ALL about respectful adoption language towards birthparents (yes, I use birthparent because it is what R's bmom uses and my own uses) and I often correct people's disrespectful, stereotypical language. I would love to know from your perspective how I am to best describe the situation so that it is respectful to all involved. Any insight is much appreciated.

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  23. G. Dean,
    I'm so sorry your first mother has not responded. Give her time. If you don't hear anything after a few months, send her a short note.

    I know it's hard but don't take her non-response personally. So many first mothers, including myself at one time, have no idea why their child contacts them nor how important it is to the child.

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    Replies
    1. Any suggestions on content of a second short letter? I used the template that I found on a old post on your site to write my first letter. Again, thank you. This site has been invaluable to me!

      Delete
  24. Anon,
    Yes, lots of college students have no desire "to parent." But those students have abortions if they get pregnant.

    The image of a mother leaving the hospital with empty arms and not looking back, happy to be relieved of the burden of her child, is an adoptive mother's fantasy.

    Watch the mothers on "I'm Having Their Child" or "16 and Pregnant" who surrender their children; they're basket cases when their child is taken from them. Those interviewed later, while insisting they "made the right decision", are still grieving as reader Aimee noted in her her daughter's first mother.

    I've had several first mothers tell me they don't express their pain in front of their children or the adoptive parents because they're afraid that the adoptive parents will cut off contact if they do.

    Aimee, if you don't like "give away" because it sounds like giving away old clothes, how about "surrender" or "relinquish", both used in adoption statutes?

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  25. Former foster kid,
    You're right, many matches between mother-to-be and PAPS are DYI. We wrote about this in March Finding babies through Facebook, and your manicurist. And...

    The majority of unrelated infant adoptions have been handled by attorneys (independent adoptions) for many years. Before the internet, attorneys told PAPs to place newspaper ads.

    Regardless of the medium, attorneys instruct their clients what to put in their ads and what to say those who respond. Attorneys also run their own ads and work with medical personal to refer pregnant women to them. The attorneys give these women profile books of their clients, the PAPS, as adoption agencies do.

    When I was still in the hospital after my daughter was born, an attorney came to my bed side and offered to place my baby with his clients, an engineer whose income was in "five figures" (this was 1966) and his wife. They had two boys and wanted a girl. The attorney had been sent by a doctor whom I'd seen based on a recommendation of a social worker at the Crittenton Home.

    Often the ads do not disclose where the PAPS are; the only contact is an 800 number. The attorney authors of "Adopt the Baby You Want" advise their clients to work only with mothers who live far away in order to minimize visits.

    So yes, mothers-to-be might have more choices of PAPs through independent adoptions if they know enough to sift through the ads and ask the right questions. Many don't.

    It's telling that the WSJ, a business newspaper, writes about infant adoption.

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  26. "Birthchild"?

    Oh please, what are you doing at this blog?

    You may be Mom but you will always be your adoptivechild's adoptivemother.

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  27. I don't have to tell my daughter that her adoptive parents are the alternate parents. She knows. She knows she is not like them very much. She knows she does not look like them at all. She knows that their history is not hers.
    She and I have missed a lot but she fits in with her family of origin like a pea in the same pod.

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  28. Aimee,
    No matter how much you pretty up the language the outcome/effect whatever you want to call it is still the same. Also, you mention that you are educating people ALL THE TIME. Well, let this serve as a wake-up call to you that your daughter will most likely be dealing with the stigma of being adopted all her life.

    G Dean wrote: "Re: Robin's comment that pro-adoption side states adoptees do just as well emotionally, socially, etc... I am an adoptee. I had a child psych college professor tell me that over half of the kids he treated in private practice were adopted.

    That is quite an interesting statistic given that only about 2 percent of children are adopted. Also, I hope you realize that I do not agree with what the pro-adoptionists say only that I do think it is possible that adoptees might be more sensitive to those who are hurting because of what they've been through.

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  29. "Also, the adoptive parents aren’t "alternative" parents(I beg you to tell that to your birthchild about their aparents). They are the child's psychological, emotional and physical parents-plain and simple."

    Why, because you bought yourself that right?

    Oh yes you are "alternate parents". Children already have a set of parents the day they are born, the people who created them and that was NOT you.

    Moreover, you don't have to "beg" me, or anyone else, for that matter, to tell our children anything. Is that a threat?

    Do you think we will be deemed to an even more lowly status in our children's lives than we already are, if we dare have the audacity to call ourselves our children's natural parents over the almighty adopters? What a travesty of justice! LMAO!!

    We are the natural parents of our children and I don't care who does or does not like it. My child already knows who his mother is. All he has to do is look in the mirror and he see's her; and his whole family for that matter. It is not them he sees. It is me. Sorry that is such a bitter pill for so many of you to swallow.

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  30. Jane:

    I beg to differ. Some women don't believe in abortion and choose to carry the pregnancy to full-term and then place ( it happens all the time). Moreover, although these women do experience pain-it was a choice they made when they placed the child for adoption and no one can be blamed for it. They weren’t forced ( as for example the show "I'm having their baby. They made a conscious BUT hard decision to place for a myriad of reason. So once again, today's bmother is WAY different from yesterday's bmom from the BSE

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  31. Jane:

    I beg to differ. Some women don't believe in abortion and choose to carry the pregnancy to full-term and then place ( it happens all the time). Moreover, although these women do experience pain-it was a choice they made when they placed the child for adoption and no one can be blamed for it. They weren’t forced ( as for example the show "I'm having their baby. They made a conscious BUT hard decision to place for a myriad of reason. So once again, today's bmother is WAY different from yesterday's bmom from the BSE

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  32. Oh come off it anon, no woman carries a baby for nine months and gives it up unscathed.

    The industry loves to hide behind the "it was her choice" just like the tobacco industry claimed smoking was a choice. Many mothers don't have a clue about the effect that adoption will have on themselves and their children.

    Although state laws may require licensed adoption agencies to provide some information to women considering adoption, the laws may not require attorneys or facilitators to provide ANY information about the impact of adoption or how mothers could raise their children.

    Much of the information mothers do get comes from people who stand to profit if mothers surrender their babies. Realtors have to tell you if the house you're considering buying has a leaky roof; stock brokers have to tell you if the company whose stock you're considering buying has had financial problems but mothers can make the most important decision of their livese without any information.

    Mothers are subject to relentless marketing campaigns including being told that "adoption is different today." Adoption is dressed better now that demand is much higher than supply but the core is still the same, the separation of mother and baby.

    This separation has to happen sometimes but too often it is unnecessary.

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  33. G. Dean,

    You might write something like this:

    "I think of you often. I imagine that my letter came as a shock. Let me assure you that I don't want to invade your privacy.

    I'd like to know you but any contact would be great."

    Then give her your contact information, phone number, address, email address.

    Readers, any suggestions?

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  34. @ anonymous 4:18 PM

    "They made a conscious BUT hard decision to place for a myriad of reason. So once again, today's bmother is WAY different from yesterday's bmom from the BSE..."

    Give me a break, lady. Yes, there are differences in all era's of adoption, only today baby brokers and their customers are much more slick and deceiving, most notably with the "open adoption" bogus promises that, BINGO, get slammed shut at the adopters whim. What happens then? The child disappears into the big wide void and the mother doesn't know if her child is even dead or alive; very much like, ahem, a CLOSED adoption from back in the day. What the hell is so different about that? The agony and misery of the natural mother who loses her infant is very much the same.

    One thing remains does remain constant in all era's of adoption; a scared, vulnerable young woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

    Women of the BSE didn't have a choice, per se, but women today don't have a "choice" either when they are lied to, manipulated, brainwashed and deceived. Top it off with them having a not so strong support system and you have vultures abound ready to get her infant from her arms and into theirs.

    Hang it up. It ain't flying...

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  35. I should add to my comment to anon, that I especially don't believe the mothers on "I'm carrying their baby" are informed. Once they go down the road of agreeing to be on TV (and get compensation?), it's hard to back out. The camera are rolling, the PAPs are waiting, and the mothers don't have any baby paraphernalia.

    If the mothers back out--and one woman has--they suffer the scorn of the TV producers, those ever so nice PAPs standing by to cut the cord, and perhaps their own families.

    Of course the TV show plays up the drama of whether the mothers are going to go through with the adoption to keep the audience watching. You may see this as the mothers making a conscious but HARD decision; I see it as role playing.

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  36. I don't think of my APs as alternate parents but as substitute parents. And I agree, adoption is different now than it was in the BSE. In some ways it is worse. At least my BSE mother didn't think she was some kind of a saint (i.e brave, selfless and heroic) for giving me to strangers. She knew she was being forced by societal values that offered her no realistic way to raise an out-of-wedlock child.

    My advice to G Dean is to call your first mother. Verify that you have her on the line and tell her that this is a very private phone call and ask if she is able to talk. It's not always possible to know where a letter ended up or if she even received it. I think a phone call that is very sensitive to her need for privacy is better.

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  37. G. Dean,

    I'm also an adoptee, and my reunion with my mother is progressing slowly. (However, it will probably always be just written communication between the two of us because she's in the closet.)

    Please be patient with her. She may come around. She may not. But, I would give her a couple of months to respond to your first communication with her before writing a second one. She needs time to process this.

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  38. I am for the private phone call. The letter is always iffy because a lot of people could see the mail, and say, "What's this? Who's this from? Who's that?"

    Because I did an underage (15) contact with my daughter's aparents, I called one Wednesday evening after supper. By ten p.m. that night (my time) I had spoken to her.

    I know it is different to call a first/birth mother, but I think a call is a better way to approach her than a letter. And it's true, who knows if she got it?

    It's scary, but what you gonna do?

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  39. "One thing remains does remain constant in all era's of adoption; a scared, vulnerable young woman faced with an unplanned pregnancy."


    Anon-4:18PM

    I beg to differ-many of today’s bmothers are PARENTING children already-and many of them are not young!

    I think there is denial on this forum because many of you cannot accept there are women who DO NOT want to parent! Yes I get if given the chance/support, you (general) would have parented your child.

    But many of today’s bmothers see "open adoption" as an alternative form of "parenting"( I think), which it is not.

    I think if we (general) can accept the fact that some people DO NOT want to parent, and that adoption will always be needed, then the divide between aparents and bparents would subside.

    Look at it this way: a women who is a “mother” already finds herself pregnant again-and with not support. Yet, she is willing to “slit-up” siblings and “miss” all of the milestones because it’s not worth the hassle?

    Can you honestly tell me she was “forced” to place?

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  40. "Robin said...
    I don't think of my APs as alternate parents but as substitute parents."

    Robin,

    let me ask you something? Have you told your "sub" aparents that you think of them as "substitute" parents? Do you call them by their first names instead of "mom and dad"? If so, then WHY haven't you allowed yourself to be adopted back by them? I am sure it can be very painful to hear the child you raised and love as your "own" to see you as a "substitute"
    -A follow adoptee.

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  41. Anon: You are using "parent" as a verb here just to be nasty, right? The comments have evolved into a discussion from ADOPTIVE PARENTS WHO WANT TO BE PARENTS and who do not like what we have to say, and so are "agendizing" the discussion to suit their POV. They--you--want to raise children, fine. But you can't seem to say that. So you just come here and "nastisize."

    And because you like "positive language" from adoption agencies, you also want to be "languaging" differently because it "betters" your image of yourself and makes you, ah, an improver of the human race.

    Good for you.

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  42. "Anon: You are using "parent" as a verb here just to be nasty, right? The comments have evolved into a discussion from ADOPTIVE PARENTS WHO WANT TO BE PARENTS and who do not like what we have to say, and so are "agendizing" the discussion to suit their POV. They--you--want to raise children, fine. But you can't seem to say that. So you just come here and "nastisize."

    And because you like "positive language" from adoption agencies, you also want to be "languaging" differently because it "betters" your image of yourself and makes you, ah, an improver of the human race"

    I beg to differ, because it is you who "hates" the verb "parent" because it represents everything that you ( general) could not OR did not want to do. So instead, you admonish aparents for being able, willing and ready to parent?

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  43. Robin: I am very well aware that my daughter will deal with her adoption for the rest of her life considering I've been dealing with it for the past 31 years having been ADOPTED MYSELF ( I say that in most of my posts to avoid this very assumption that I don't know what I'm talking about). I don't feel the need to 'pretty up adoption language' however, I do feel the need to use RESPECTFUL language especially when an opportunity to educate people comes my way.

    Jane: I don't think anyone is implying that just because a birth mom is not ready to be a mom and therefore makes an adoption, she comes away from it unscathed. Quite the opposite actually. Most mothers (maybe a very small percentage don't) who place their babies will grieve for the rest of their life however, isn't it possible to somewhat be ok with that grief? I think a lot of modern era bmom's are in this position.....they feel unimaginable grief and loss that they will live with for the rest of their life but yet, do not regret the decision they made. My bmom and my daughter's bmom have both said similar things to me. I don't think it's one way or the other, some bmom's just deal with it in different ways. Some are as ok as they can be with it and some aren't. Just a thought.

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  44. Jane: One more thing... :)
    I don't use 'surrender' because that is a more appropriate term for BSE mom's because it is an accurate term for what happened to them, and to you. R's bmom didn't surrender OR relinquish her to us. She dictated the terms from the get go and decided who, what, when, and where. She signed TPR when she was ready. So in my opinion, that is the perfect example of making an adoption plan. I tell people that she placed R with us because she wasn't ready to be a mom because that's the accurate description of what happened. Surrender and relinquish sound like what happens when people give up (hence totally appropriate for the bmom's who are coerced/forced) BUT R's bmom as well as my own didn't give up.....they took CONTROL. Every situation is different but these days, my story is not unusual.

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  45. Anon,
    In my case and I'm sure in many other cases of both BSE and more recent mothers, it's not that we couldn't or wouldn't raise our children. It's that we were convinced that our children would be better off without us.

    We were totally unaware of the lifelong grief that losing our children would cause. Worse, we were totally unaware of the effect adoption has on those who are adopted.

    I'm thinking anon, that the mother you're referring to who had a child and surrendered the second was one of the mothers featured on "I carrying their baby." According to the EB Donaldson study on Birthmothers, it is not uncommon for mothers to relinquish because they believe they lack the resources to nurture a second child. It's NOT because they think raising their second child is not worth the hassle. This was certainly true of the mother on "I'm carrying their baby."

    Aimee, It's wonderful how well you and R's first mother have navigated the adoption. Would that all open adoptions were like yours with trust, frequent contact, and understanding about the effects of adoption.

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  46. The discussion here is very interesting. Theodore states that growing up with a "crack-addicted" mother is preferable to adoption. My mom wasn't on crack, but she was addicted to speed and heroin -- does that count? She tried to responsibly make an adoption plan before I was born because she knew her life was a mess, but family shut that down and I ended up in foster care. I loved my mother, but I suffered while with her in ways you can't imagine if you haven't lived it, experiences that leave me with with PTSD to this day. She loved me, but she wasn't able to raise a child or protect a child from the dangers in her lifestyle. Living with a drug addict is in no way better for a child than living in a stable home with loving adoptive parents. that's my opinion, anyway as someone for whom the scenario is much more than a hypothetical. I have a really hard time understanding the adoption is ALWAYS bad stance, but maybe if someone has a bad experience with it, they can't help but feel that way

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  47. Lorraine, in regard to G. Dean's situation, if the first contact hadn't already been attempted, I would recommend that G. Dean choose whichever method (phone, letter) feels best.

    However, the first attempt has been made. And, couldn't a phone call closely following the original mailed communication put G. Dean's mother on the defense?

    G. Dean, I don't know what amount of time has transpired since you contacted your mother. If it has been at least a month since she received the letter, then it's probably okay to do a follow-up call. You could preface the call by saying to her that you want to confirm that she has received your letter, and you want to make sure she is okay.

    Good luck!

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  48. Former foster kid,
    We've NEVER suggested that living with a drug addicted mother is better than living in a stable adoptive home.

    We've NEVER taken an "adoption is always bad stance." We've made clear repeatedly that adoption is not only appropriate but necessary in some cases. Please read our paper "What We Think About Adoption." The link is at the top of the home page.

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  49. Where was I talking about "growing up with"? As a former foster kid you should already know that adoption of a non-consenting adoptee is not the only alternative to "growing up with".

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  50. To the adoptive mothers who come here to push their point of view and be deliberately triggering:

    You only make yourself look bad. You make yourself look petty. You show yourself as being ugly. You make yourself look jealous. You make yourself look ungracious. You make yourself look like you don't have a fulfilling life. You make yourself look like you don't appreciate what you have.

    By all means come on in and leave your comments but know that it makes you look like you are lacking in admirable qualities.

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  51. “Why, because you bought yourself that right? Oh yes you are "alternate parents". Children already have a set of parents the day they are born, the people who created them and that was NOT you. Moreover, you don't have to "beg" me, or anyone else, for that matter, to tell our children anything. Is that a threat? Do you think we will be deemed to an even more lowly status in our children's lives than we already are, if we dare have the audacity to call ourselves our children's natural parents over the almighty adopters? What a travesty of justice! LMAO!! We are the natural parents of our children and I don't care who does or does not like it. My child already knows who his mother is. All he has to do is look in the mirror and he see's her; and his whole family for that matter. It is not them he sees. It is me. Sorry that is such a bitter pill for so many of you to swallow.”

    Anon 9/12 4:08:

    If you feel this strongly (that you are your child’s parent and the aparents are “alternative parents), then why didn’t you raise your child? I hear it all the time from some bmoms: “I AM the parent”. Fine- you want the title, but when did you do the “work”? Yes, for nine months you”parented” but for the remainder of the child’s life, “someone else did your job”

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  52. Here's the deal in my opinion. Telling an adopted child that his parents made an adoption plan (and that's such a good thing), that his APs are his REAL parents that his mother loved him soooo much she gave him up is dangerous. These platitudes and brainwashing create a disconnect between the fact that an adoptee may feel crappy about having been given up and yet here are all these (mostly) non-adopted people telling him it is such a good thing. So what's the conclusion? Well, there must be something wrong with him for feeling so bad. And there isn't. It sucks to be given away by one's parents. Let's quit trying to put a PR spin on being adopted.

    With that said, adoption is necessary and good when a child has the bad luck to have NPs who can't get their $h!t together to raise him or who simply don't want him. I, for one, appreciate former foster kid telling his/her story.

    There is too much taunting that everyone who writes or comments at FMF thinks that adoptions should never occur. Despite the fact that the bloggers and others have repeatedly said this is not the case. FMF offers a different and much needed perspective than the usual rainbows and unicorns view of adoption that is so prevalent, at least in the U.S.

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  53. Robin:

    Once again, thanks for your input here, and reminding readers who hate what we have to say that both Jane and I understand there are times when adoptions--fully open adoptions--are both desired and necessary. And yes, we did appreciate hearing from a former foster kid too. The stories that are told here--from both adoptees and birth mothers and former foster kids--are often heart-breaking. And they often come up at very old posts that someone found while Goggling.

    Aimee, I can see your point of view and understand why you use the language you do. While it may be true that "surrender" is more accurate to the good old days when society strongly condemned a single woman giving birth and keeping her child, and her shame, on view, it can still be true today, but I see your point. Relinquish seems like a more neutral term, but then again, they way you frame the situation for R's mother is right on the money. Coming as you do from both words (adoptee and adoptive parent) you are truly sensitive to all that surrounds adoption, and Hey, girl, let's have coffee!

    I admit the constant carping here is wearying sometimes, but Jane and I both hope that it adds to a sense of reality about adoption--as a institution it is neither all bad or all good.

    One last note on the "parenting" discussion: Last night I caught a few moments of Modern Family, which I find pretty hilarious, even with the adopted Chinese daughter by the two gay guys. The first or second line I heard when I tuned in was something about "parenting skills." It certainly fits there, "mothering" or "fathering" skills would certainly not have sufficed. My objection with the use of the word is as Jane explains it: Are you going to "parent" or "make an adoption plan"? In that use, the language removes it from the harsh realities of what is actually happening: a mother is giving her child to someone else.

    Now I'm going to try to have a new post sometime later today. But there is a lot on my plate, including putting my house back together after shampooing the rugs, right after hosting a fund-raiser for 70 plus people for our local Congressman on Sunday. Yes, and whew! The big rug in the dining are however is still damp.

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  54. @anon 6:06 AM
    "If you feel this strongly (that you are your child’s parent and the aparents are “alternative parents), then why didn’t you raise your child? I hear it all the time from some bmoms: “I AM the parent”. Fine- you want the title, but when did you do the “work”? Yes, for nine months you”parented” but for the remainder of the child’s life, “someone else did your job”

    Well let's see, genius, because I was lied to, manipulated, coerced and deceived out of my child. Very interesting how so many of you leave that very significant detail out when you claim we just "walked away from our job as mother".

    By the time I realized what a mistake I had made, which was NOT long after, it was too late. We all know there is next to nothing that can be done if one changes their mind and does want to be the mother and "do all the work" that is rightfully hers, not some self entitled adopter.

    You make it sound so cut and dry and it is anything but. I agonized over my decision and made the wrong one, even signing papers when I was still drugged from morphine drip. Tell me how ethical that is? I have vultures hovering over me at the hospital when my family and support system was thousands of miles away. How very convenient for the baby broker vultures and their customers...

    I find it laughable when adopters act as if the 9 months of carrying a child and giving birth is "no big deal". Sorry you could not have that experience so you feel the need to denounce and dehumanize those of us who can; but most natural mothers would give anything to go back and do all the "WORK" you all take such delight in gloating in. I would have been there in a second had they called me and asked me to do any of the "work", since it was supposed to be an "open adoption" and all and they lived less than 20 minutes from me, (come to find out all these years later).

    Get over yourself, lady.

    Your "work" also consists of dehumanizing natural mothers, apparently. That must be exhausting... pat yourself on the back, good adopter mommy you...

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  55. Apologies, Jane -- I was not ascribing the "adoption is always bad" stance to you and Lorraine -- sorry if it sounded that way. Still, there IS a lot of that floating around the adoption world,, which I think is just as bad as the idea that adoption is always beautifu// uncomplicated. Theodore, not sure if I'm misunderstanding you or not, but if you're saying that foster and/or institutional care is generally better than adoption in most cases, I have to respectfully disagree.

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  56. [Yes, for nine months you”parented” but for the remainder of the child’s life, “someone else did your job”]

    Didn't realize it was so much of a verbal burden to raise us adoptees.

    Convenient for you to throw that first stone, yet that is exactly what some adopters claim - that raising a child is "work."

    So why did you want to be a parent, then?

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  57. In response to Lorraine's comment, the adjective "parenting" doesn't bother me the way the verb "to parent" does. I read in the "Oregonian" today about two mothers who left five children, ages ranging from nine to four, alone for five hours and without food while the mothers partied. The judge placed the mothers on probation and required them to take parenting classes. Sounds right to me.

    The thing about "to parent" is that it comes across as smug, something requiring very special skills, which a mother considering adoption surely does not have.

    Regarding those who speak of parenting in terms of changing diapers and the like, let me point out that throughout history these chores are often performed by nannies and other non-parent care givers.

    What distinguishes a parent from a care-giver is the ability to relate to the child emotionally and intellectually and guide his moral and educational development, something that is more likely if the child is related biologically. I call this nurturing.

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  58. Former Foster Kid,

    I was thinking rather of the guardian/foster parent case, mind you, where I am living "temporal" means "up to 18 years(23 in special cases)" when foster care is involved...
    In circumstances in which foster parents can just as easily provide a permanent home as adopters can, I do not see any reason for adopting a non-consenting adoptee, though I do agree that often adoption is needed or desirable.

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  59. Since we are back to playing with words, it seems that some words have very different connotations depending on the reader. To me,"nurturing" as described by Jane is as much a special acquired skill as "parenting", and it is something most parents, adoptive or biological, learn as they go along with a first child, not a skill that is conferred by giving birth nor that is absent in all adoptive mothers.

    I do not think that giving birth automatically makes one a nurturing mother. We all know women with biological children who are not the nurturing type at all, and the kids suffer. Some skills involved with raising children can be learned, no matter what the age or economic status of the mother. That is why parenting classes exist, because it is not something some people can do well without some help.

    I really do not see how being biologically related makes a mother more nurturing or more "able to guide a child's moral and intellectual development."
    Sometimes being related helps to see strengths and weaknesses, but sometimes not if the child is not that much like the expectations of the biological parents.

    I do not see where the words "to parent" or "to nurture" in the context of what mothers do really makes the difference you see.





    ReplyDelete
  60. Regarding those who speak of parenting in terms of changing diapers and the like, let me point out that throughout history these chores are often performed by nannies and other non-parent care givers. "


    Jane:

    I don't agree. Yes, a "caretaker" does change the diapers and the like BUT the parent, verb, the one raising the child, didn't relinquish their parental rights & responsibilities of raising/parenting their child-and that make a HUGE difference!

    Remember, DENIAL IS NOT THE RIVER IN EGYPT!

    -An Adoptee!

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  61. Yes, for nine months you”parented” but for the remainder of the child’s life, “someone else did your job”]

    Didn't realize it was so much of a verbal burden to raise us adoptees.
    Convenient for you to throw that first stone, yet that is exactly what some adopters claim - that raising a child is "work.So why did you want to be a parent, then?

    Anon-September 13, 2012 3:35 PM


    Its funny you say that because the very same thing should be said to today's bmoms-why didn't you want to raise me?

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  62. To Anonymous:

    "BUT the parent, verb, the one raising the child, didn't relinquish ..."

    I'm sorry, but you've made the head of an English major explode.

    As you have written it, parent is a noun. One, which refers to the parent, is also a noun.

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  63. Jane said: "What distinguishes a parent from a care-giver is the ability to relate to the child emotionally and intellectually and guide his moral and educational development, something that is more likely if the child is related biologically. I call this nurturing."

    Ouch Jane. I would be lying if I said that one didn't hurt. As an adoptee and an adoptive parent, I totally disagree with you on this one. Maybe I'm reading more into this than I should, but I take that as you saying that my parents were just caregivers and I am just my daughter's caregiver. We are all human beings and can relate to each other easily through love. I don't think it's fair to make the assumption that adoptive parents can't nurture a child just as well as a biological parent. It may be hard to hear but my adoptive parents were MUCH better at nurturing me morally and educationally than my birth mom would have ever been. My birth mom is very different from me. She doesn't believe college is important nor does she have any redeeming moral qualities that I can say I admire. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE her no matter what but we are VERY different people. I grew up in a house where mutual respect and education were very important...not so much in her house per my younger birth sister. I'm not saying I'm GLAD I'm adopted because of this, I just accept what is.

    Biology is overrated if you ask me. Biology doesn't tell my daughter to run to J when she needs to be nurtured emotionally...she comes to me. Biology doesn't tell my daughter to love me and feel safe with me. Love will ALWAYS be more important than biology. Loving relationships are not based on biology otherwise, incest would be commonplace.

    Don't freak out on me...people bond and nurture each other over biology as well it's just not the ONLY thing that can make for a healthy parent/child relationship.

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  64. "Biology is overrated if you ask me."

    Biology is reality, if you ask me.

    "Biology doesn't tell my daughter to run to J when she needs to be nurtured emotionally...she comes to me."

    Biology tells her to do that because you have substituted yourself for J.

    " Biology doesn't tell my daughter to love me and feel safe with me."

    Yes, it does. In the same way, as a young cuckoo's foster parents are told to feed it.

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  65. "Biology is overrated if you ask me."

    Hmmm. Really. If not for that pesky "biology" you wouldn't be here today. None of us would. Nah, that's not important at all, is it?

    What is important is the ability to con and manipulate someone out of their child; buy and take possession of someone else's BIOLOGICAL child and claim them all for themselves; so the child can worship their adopters for all eternity. When that is all said and done, they also get the added bonus of the child they covet saying over and over again like some robot that "biology doesn't matter". Funny, "family" and "biology" is mighty important to them, until they have someone else's child then all the sudden it is not so "important"....

    The hypocrisy and double standards in adoption are beyond astounding.

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  66. Th hyperbole, hysteria, blind worship of biology and mindless hatred of adoptive parents expressed by some commenters here are "beyond astounding" too.

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  67. Anonymous at 10:48 said: "Biology is overrated if you ask me."

    Hmmm. Really. If not for that pesky "biology" you wouldn't be here today. None of us would. Nah, that's not important at all, is it?

    What is important is the ability to con and manipulate someone out of their child; buy and take possession of someone else's BIOLOGICAL child and claim them all for themselves; so the child can worship their adopters for all eternity. When that is all said and done, they also get the added bonus of the child they covet saying over and over again like some robot that "biology doesn't matter". Funny, "family" and "biology" is mighty important to them, until they have someone else's child then all the sudden it is not so "important"....

    The hypocrisy and double standards in adoption are beyond astounding.


    Me: I never said biology wasn't important...it is. It's just not the MOST important...love is. Oh and my sweet girl (as well as myself) are loved my MANY adoptive and biological relatives. We are very blessed in that way. And what an awful assumption to make that we "adopters" "buy" children to "worship" us....wow. That's about as hateful as it gets. You have no right to assume that someone has bad intentions when adopting anymore than I have a right to assume that birthparents had bad intentions when placing.

    Parent's who adopt for the right reasons will always respect the biological aspect of their child. I know I do and many of the adoptive parents I know in open adoptions do as well. When people ask me where my daughter gets her beautiful curly blonde hair or gorgeous blue eyes, I am proud to say she got them from her birthmom. I'm not going to lie...a lot of people say she looks just like me (we are both blonde with blue eyes) and if it's a stranger I simply say thank you but if it's someone I know or within a context of a possible educational opportunity my answer changes to "It's interesting that you say that because she gets her beautiful traits from her birthparents". Now, let's talk personality. R's mannerisms are quite similar to her birthmom's but she couldn't be more like me in personality. Her birthparents are quiet and introverts for the most part and I'm loud and social as is my daughter. Her bmom comments quite frequently when R is acting crazy...did ANY of my genes make it in there?? We can laugh and smile about it because we both know and agree that she is a product of both of us.

    When some adoptive parents get all freaked out by the whole biology thing it's mostly done out of fear. Everyone wants to be #1 in their child's eyes but I am quick to remind them that peace comes quickly when you accept what is and realize that your child doesn't every have to choose. She can love you both. I tell R all the time that love grows and grows but it never divides and loving one person never takes love away from another.

    Adoptive parents aren't perfect in their opinions and practices and neither are birthparents. We could all stand to learn a thing or two! I really feel though, that if we could move away from the fear and focus on what's right and fair for our children whether adopted or not, we would find a lot in common. :)

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  68. "Th hyperbole, hysteria, blind worship of biology and mindless hatred of adoptive parents expressed by some commenters here are "beyond astounding" too."

    Kind of like the blind worship of adopters and adopters hatred of the natural parents of the child they covet because they know that child is not really theirs, correct? Hypocrite.

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  69. After reading these posts it amaze me how the aparents are described as "caretakers" or thieves. The question I want to know is have you told this to your bchildren or their aparents this? Have you told them or addressed them as “the help?”

    I have read so much jealousy and hated towards aparents from these post that it’s laughable. The very thought of my bmother addressing my parents as "caretakers" would definitely end any possibility of a relationship. Moreover, if raising a child is akin to being a nanny/caretaker then why didn't you raise your child?

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  70. TIME OUT!

    The great divide exists between natural parents and adoptive parents largely because of how the adoption system has set up this gulf between the two, and how a GREAT many adoptive parents have treated the biological/birth/first parents--as if they counted for nothing. Consequently, many birth parents are very angry, and come here to express their hurt and frustration. FIRST MOTHER FORUM IS A BLOG FOR FIRST MOTHERS.

    SOME adoptive parents act as if their children's biological parents are pariahs; they do not want to talk about that part of their children's lives, yet their children would not exist without them; they do not want to hear that their children are searching for their biological parents; they do not want to know they have been found; they do not want to meet them.

    How does that make birth parents feel? As if they are the lowest caste members. How does that make the adoptee--the child inbetween--feel? Like he must keep his feelings secret, as if he is disloyal, as if...he has no right to his own feelings, they belong to the ones who have bandaged his knees and wiped his butt when he was a baby, for which he is supposed to be eternally grateful.

    YET THE FIRST PARENTS, THE BIOLOGICAL PARENTS, THE BIRTH PARENTS ARE THEIR CHILDREN'S PARENTS TOO, AND BRING THEM THEIR HISTORY AND A CULTURE THAT STRETCHES BACK INTO TIME, a link that is normal and necessary. Yet this is what some adoptive parents who have commented here want to deny. And thus the anger expressed here from the first mothers.

    Obviously, first mothers don't call adoptive parents "caretakers" or "thieves" in real life; but so many first mothers have been treated like dirt they are pushing back in a place it should be safe to do so.

    I do wonder how many of the adoptive parents who have caused so much anger here actually feel toward the OTHER parents of their children. Most of them commenting--and it may be only a few--seem so angry over the discussion of the shift in grammar over the use of the word: parent. We think its usage as a verb is irritating, and especially wrong when it subtly is used to influence women into giving up their children.

    Why so much anger? Why so much hate? How will you treat your children's other parents...when they day comes? Refuse to meet them, if a meeting is possible, and you are denying the reality of your child, And that is what he has to live with. That is less than loving; that is claiming ownership along with that love, that is demanding he choose between the two when in truth, he is tied to both parents. That dichotomy demanded of him can only cause him grief and confusion.

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  71. @Anonymous 3:54 AM

    "I have read so much jealousy and hated towards aparents from these post that it’s laughable."

    Jealousy and hatred toward adopters? I think you have it backwards. I know all about jealousy and hatred, towards MYSELF and my family because we dared be the natural family of my child and we dared exist.

    I was treated with disdain and malice by my child's adopters for no reason, besides JEALOUSY and HATRED. Funny, they were so saccharine sweet before they got their hands on my infant. All that sure changed. Go figure.

    "The very thought of my bmother addressing my parents as "caretakers" would definitely end any possibility of a relationship."

    But it is A O.K. for them to treat her sub-human, lie, deceive and manipulate everyone to get what they want? It is always the "bmothers" fault, correct? How dare that birth vessel! What a nice guy/ gal you are. Your "bmother", as you so eloquently call her, would be better off without the likes of you in her life.

    "Moreover, if raising a child is akin to being a nanny/caretaker then why didn't you raise your child?"

    It's useless, people. How many times do we have to read this b.s. and how many times do we respond with WHY? People obviously can't read, or selectively read what they want so conveniently omit what they want; to denounce every thing that is said by natural mothers. I do believe it is futile...

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  72. To clarify, we at FMF have never said adoptive parents were caretakers. I said that the duties that some adoptive parents emphasize, changing diapers for example, are care-taking chores.

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  73. “Why so much anger? Why so much hate? How will you treat your children's other parents...when they day comes? Refuse to meet them, if a meeting is possible, and you are denying the reality of your child, And that is what he has to live with. That is less than loving; that is claiming ownership along with that love, that is demanding he choose between the two when in truth, he is tied to both parents. That dichotomy demanded of him can only cause him grief and confusion”

    Lorraine:

    See, I think this is where the problem lies, your use of the word PARENT. How can you be a “parent” when you choose “not to” parent( regardless if you were forced or not to place)? As an adoptee, I have two mothers, two fathers BUT only one set of parents-my aparents. I can easily see an aparent being tick-off at bparents who addresses themselves as a parent to the child.

    Look at it this way, where were you during infancy, childhood, teenhood and young adulthood? Did you help raise the child? Did you pay child support? It’s like a parent, who was AWOL during the important years, who has resurfaced and wants to claim the credit and title! That would make me angry too. I think it has nothing to do with aparents jealousy or insecurity-it’s the fact that someone would try to downplay all the sacrifice, dedication and love that the aparents invested into the child and their family.

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  74. "Look at it this way, where were you during infancy, childhood, teenhood and young adulthood? Did you help raise the child? Did you pay child support? It’s like a parent, who was AWOL during the important years, who has resurfaced and wants to claim the credit and title! That would make me angry too. I think it has nothing to do with parents jealousy or insecurity-"


    That's why they banish the natural parents as if they don't exist, correct, because they are so secure in their role of parent? No, they aren't. They want it all for themselves and are jealous and insecure because they know they are not the only set of parents.

    Here we go again with the "they did all the WORK", bit, except that tiny little detail of actually being responsible for you being here, so "they could do all the hard work". Those pesky birth vessels have some nerve to suggest there was an "work" involved in bringing a life into this world, then having to suffer for the rest of her life because she thought she was doing the right thing at the time.

    Yes, when you are banished and cut off from contact, it is rather hard to "do anything" for your child.

    I can suffice to say I think MANY, many mothers (and fathers) would have been more than happy to do anything for their child, had they been allowed and if they would not have been cut out of the picture, not even knowing if their child is dead or alive. Adopters are too selfish, JEALOUS and insecure to allow the natural parents to "do any work".

    Even adoptees like to "gloat" for their adopters. My good god it never ends...

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  75. Anonymous Adoptee: Why so defensive?

    Okay, your biological mother, by your definition is not your parent, but she still sure is your mother. You are conflating the use of the madeup "verb" to parent, which we have said is somewhat annoying. This seemingly nonthreatening post, due to the adoptive mothers and possibly fathers, and possibly the person from St. Catherine's in Canada who will not use her name here, have turned the screw to make this chain a repository of the animus of adoptive parents towards their children's natural parents.

    But go back to look how it started: the third or fourth commenter wrote: "On the content on this particular post, I feel compelled to put my thoughts (as controversial as they will be) into the puddle. It is a verb...." Though I did not raise other children, Jane certainly has--three other daughters.

    If this were a blog about racism, it is hard to imagine that white folks who are racists would come here to argue with such vehemence. All that I have learned from this chain is that SOME ADOPTIVE PARENTS truly do fear and loathe their children's natural parents, without whom their children would not exist.

    Wikipedia:

    A parent (from Latin: parēns = parent) is a caretaker of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is of a child (where "child" refers to offspring, not necessarily age). Children can have one or more parents, but they must have two biological parents. Biological parents consist of the male who sired the child and the female who gave birth to the child. In all human societies, the biological mother and father are both responsible for raising their young. However, some parents may not be biologically related to their children. An adoptive parent is one who nurtures and raises the offspring of the biological parents but is not actually biologically related to the child. Children without adoptive parents can be raised by their grandparents or other family members.

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  76. To respond to one of the "comments", where were we when someone else was raising our children? I can only answer for myself.

    I was slowly going crazy with grief, trying to have a normal life, trying to find balance while I felt this incredible loss and longing for my daughter.

    I was trying desperately to get them to feel safe enough about me so that I could have some news of her.

    I was not allowed to have anything to do with her.

    Would you like to know what I did for her after I found her? Do you want to know how much money I spent on her so she could have money while she was studying, overseas trips, becautiful gifts at Christmas and on birthdays?

    Would you like to see the box sitting on the grand piano waiting to be posted to her? It's full of elegant things to celebrate her upcoming birthday.

    Do you want to know about all the times that have been gracious about her parents, what about all the times I chose NOT to be negative about them because it would be upsetting to her.

    Where was I then? I was shut out and had no choice. For you to compare that to an absent father who can't be bothered seeing his children after a divorce is ignorant.


    Where am I now? I am in her life. I am remaining respectful of her needs and doing my best not to trample over her boundaries.

    I am someone that she knows loves her very much.

    Even when I found her I waited almost an entire year before letting her know that her parents had lied to her about me. I gave them that time to come clean and tell her themeselves.

    How can I parent when I am not there? I can't. I don't really give the word parent much power actually because my status doesn't rely on an action. My status is as non negotiable as my gender. I am a female I am her MOTHER.


    Please notice that I will not share your anger, I will not be abusive back. I will not because like a Destiny's Child song I know better than that - check the lyrics for "I'm A Survivor".

    Lorraine and Jane, it would be a much more supportive forum here if these trolls were not given a voice. I seriously doubt them coming here will reduce their bitterness. Their absence will certainly increase my reading pleasure.

    One loving and magic mother here. Take your poison elsewhere please, or stay and be supportive. Thanks for letting me speak.

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  77. Anon adoptee, Am I glad I am not your mother. You have no heart, no empathy, just bitter invective. Are you possibly an adoptee who also adopted? Sounds like you would kick your mother into the gutter and be glad you did it. That "where were you" business and your tone is sooooooo angry I can see the smoke coming out of your ears.

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  78. Hateful, thoughtless, dismissive, dehumanizing behavior, which some adoptive parents have inflicted on some first mothers, does not in any way justify the same kind of behavior back at adoptive parents as a group. Yet we keep seeing it justified here, and used as an excuse for anything insulting said by first mothers about adoptive parents in general. Two wrongs do not make a right.

    Someone has to be adult and decent enough NOT to strike back and escalate a war with no winners. I can't speak for adoptive parents and what they say or do, because I am not one, but I am a first mother and I am ashamed of some of the vicious comments other first mothers have made.

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  79. Yeah, I am shutting off the nasties.

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  80. But Maryanne, I don't think the first mothers commenting here have been as nearly as nasty as the adoptive mothers aka adoptive parents and that angry adoptee, so I don't see this the way you do. Adoptive parents came here to tell us our way of thinking is wrong. That we didn't do the work, etc., and so....we have no right to our feelings and opinions about this bit of grammatical usage.

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  81. and Maryanne, where are the 'vicious' comments you are speaking of? I am reading comments speaking of how mothers have been treated despicably by adopters, and you have the gall to call hurting mothers who have been treated this way 'vicious' and how 'ashamed' of them you are. I am 'ashamed' you are among one of us who lost our children, by the way you seem to delight in denouncing and dismissing the pain and heartache we have been through. I don't get you, at all...

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  82. Anonymous said:" It is a verb, and one who does not see it as such has not done it. It is the laborious, hard providing materially and emotionally over the course of a lifetime. It is lifting and carrying and deciding. Disciplining and rewarding and educating. It is changing 12 diapers a day and dragging out of bed for a midnight fever and making a series - one after another - of choices on behalf of a young one until they can do so themselves."
    Anonymous, I do hope you know your audience here. You speak as if no one here has done this. I raised and Mothered, 3 children into adulthood & beyond. All those things you listed out..I've done all that & more. I never not once thought of my caring for my children as 'parenting'...I was mothering, because I am their mother. I also changed countless diapers, bottles, picking up from daycare, blah, blah, blah...for my grandchildren as well. I wasn't 'parenting'...I was being a Grandmother who loved and cared for her grandchildren, while their parents worked and continued a college education (I was working full-time as well).
    I lost my firstborn to adoption at the age of 18. I was pg with my 2nd born at 20, pg with my 2rd born at 22 and my last child at the age of 25. BTW..also for the most part held a full-time job outside of the home. Don't automatically assume...that we older mothers know nothing about your verb usage as you like it to call it...parenting..and what I believe YOU (or possibly your aparents?) think you did (they did)...sacrifice. Plenty of us have done it (most mothers though never think of the word 'sacrifice') and as very young women/mothers. I stayed married to my children's father for 43 years, til his death. Me thinks you think too highly of yourself and somehow 'special', and/or unique. You aren't. You are only one mother amongst billions around this planet...that have changed diapers, fed bottles, blah, blah, blah. Daycare workers/babysitters do this too. I get the feeling your 'specialness' has come from being a 'prospective adoptive parent', not from being a mother to your own child, you gave birth to. JMO! the feeling I got from reading your sermon.

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  83. Jane, Lorraine...why have you both allowed supposed adopters, would-be adopters or supposed adoptees, to run rough-shod here, in a forum that's clearly titled.. Birth Mother, First Mother. Personally...I think you have a bunch or even one major troll in here (possibly agency connected), just to rile everyone up. I submitted one comment. I'm just sorry I didn't read thru the whole comment section first..because then I wouldn't have even bothered. O! Well!

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  84. Sorry you don't "get" me, anon 4:03 but then you do not know me or what I have been through. My surrender story is a horror to equal any,(severe post partum depression is just one part)and my son's adoptive mother turned out to be mentally ill and abusive. I have in every way paid my dues as a depressed, suffering, heartbroken rejected mother for way too many years. And I wrote about it, a lot, in prose in poetry, but mostly in the days before the internet. I am not a mother who did not care, did not want my child, or will not love him forever no matter what happens.
    Nor do I love adoption, I just do not see it as an all-encompassing evil or demonic plot.

    Where I differ from some is that I do not generalize, I do not assume my story is everyone's story, or that because my son's adoptive mother was horrid that all adoptive mothers are horrid, unfit, or inferior to all biological mothers. I do not meet stupid insults with even stupider, meaner ones back.

    The comments I was referring to are not about anyone's personal suffering or story or their own kid's adoptive parents and what they did. I have no problem with that, no matter how awful the story or angry the storyteller. What I find terribly counterproductive to getting any sympathy for our cause are statements that all adoptive parents are child-stealers, just caretakers, hate and are cruel to all first mothers, or are not real parents at all, that only giving birth makes one a real mother, no exceptions. And those kind of statements have been made here again and again, and are much more inflammatory than the adoptive parent statements published here, although of course there are adoptive parents on the internet who really are awful and cruel.

    I do not feel that as a mother who surrendered and had a very bad experience that gives me the right to trash all adoptive parents, or adoptees who do not instantly rush to reunion, or any other whole group of human beings.

    I hope now you "get" me and my motivations a little more. Whether you get me or not, I am not someone you can just dismiss as being on the wrong side. I have suffered as much as you, but I deal with it differently.

    It works for me, I am more hopeful, healthy, and at peace than I have been in years. Rage, blaming others, and refusing to take responsibility for my own part in surrendering my child did nothing but make me sad and sick. Moving beyond that I finally feel some healing, and also some empathy and sympathy for adoptees and adoptive parents, not just "my team" of mothers.

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  85. I am so glad there are first mothers out there who have the strong voice for us. When I read a lot of what some first moms write on here, I think, "Yeah, that's what I wanted to say."

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  86. To answer an earlier comment: The reason Jane and I allow comments here from angry adoptive parents and some adoptees (who were also bothered by the original post--or at least one who left a snotty comment) is that we find it instructive to see what they have to say. It's like watching the convention of the party NOT of your choice, which I did. I wanted to see what they were saying, and learn from them. I am glad that we have adoptive parents who do not agree with them, and push back against the comments that we find so galling. I think it is good to see these people reveal their true colors, so that when we are yet again confronted with how good adoption is TODAY, we know, wait a minute, things haven't changed all that much.

    The adoptee who was angered by the comments was to me the most bothersome. It was as if we did not have a right to have our feelings, or point out that using the word "parenting" as they do at agencies (in their "positive" adoption language spin) encourages adoption. The writer sounded so much like an adoptive parent, not the child adopted, and certainly, with the bitter--and I use that word judiciously--attitude she evinced towards her natural parents, that individual is not ready to have a wholesome relationship with her or his natural birth parent. Yes, parent, mother, father.

    The fighting here seemed to be a reflection of the animosity in the air, just like between the West (aka United States) and the Middle East (Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan et al).

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  87. [I do not think that giving birth automatically makes one a nurturing mother.]

    It doesn't.

    But I'll be damned why we protest so much about if it doesn't matter.

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  88. [I do not think that giving birth automatically makes one a nurturing mother.]

    ... and I do not thing procuring a child someone else had created and given birth to automatically makes one a nurturing mother, either. I wonder why people who purchase their children rather than bore them always seem to get a free pass of saintly mommy? Because they had more money?

    Hogwash...

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  89. . If you have never given birth how would one know??

    Giving birth DOES make you a mother!! When baby is held by mother that's when oxytocin starts going from mother and baby. Natures way of relieving stress of birth...

    Nurturing, isn't allowed to happen if an adoption "plan" or adoption is even mentioned.

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    1. Maryanne,

      I said nurturing isn't allowed to happen of an adoption "plan" Or adoption is even mentioned.

      Here is an example to clarify what I meant when my son was taken for adoption I was not allowed to see or hold him. I was his mom I had every right as a mother to do that though social worker had other plans and it didn't include what ANY mother should be doing as mother.

      You can google oxytocin which will explain that a touch by mother or even a loving look will produce oxytocins. I did NOT mistake nurturing for nursing. I DO know the difference.

      A child can be nurtured by anyone I didn't say an adopter couldn't nurture a baby. Babies are stressed when they are departed from their mothers. They know their mother's voice, her smell etc. When they are whisked out of delivery room away from the loving nurturing of mother it is trauma they need.

      Because my baby was going to be adopted he was not allowed what ALL babies deserve love which he deserved.

      Hormones do play a big part in childbirth, thoughts, feelings and there SHOULD be no adoption until a woman is allowed to understand all those hormones there to protect her baby.

      Of course, adoptions wouldn't happen if mom's were given a minute of compassion and love.

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  90. So, "Mother", the only nurturing a child can receive must come from the biological mother and is purely hormone driven? What about fathers, grandparents, siblings, friends and other relatives? Are they all incapable of nurturing a child, as well as adoptive parents?

    I think you are confusing "nurturing" with "nursing". Human beings are more than mindless creatures driven by hormones and real nurturing requires more than hormonal cues.

    Yes, giving birth makes one a mother. So does raising a child, in the emotional sense. Neither automatically makes one nurturing.

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  91. Maryanne wrote:
    "So, 'Mother', the only nurturing a child can receive must come from the biological mother and is purely hormone driven? What about fathers,[etc]? Are they all incapable of nurturing a child, as well as adoptive parents?

    I think you are confusing 'nurturing' with 'nursing'".

    Maryanne, I think you're confused.

    Of course others can assume the role of what psychologists like to call psychological parents but as adoptive parents and countless books and website on adoptive parenting attest, that relationship is different that the natural one between mother and child.

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  92. (I'm Jane, I posted previously with the link)

    Incidentally, a colleague of mine was personally called on the phone several years ago from a former neighbor's 28 year old daughter to ask if she'd adopt her child (she was pregnant with #2) because she had her hands full and no desire for another.

    This colleague and her husband are the parents of a little boy GIVEN to them by the child's genetic mother the day of his birth. And despite this being an open adoption, do you know how many times the genetic mother has reached out? Not once. In fact, it was a topic of discussion for my colleague that she was so concerned that her son wouldn't receive a warm welcome by his genetic mother some day. She simply detached.

    And via an infertility group I joined years ago (yes, I endured IVF for my own daughter) I met a woman who was GIVEN embryos by a couple who had 11 leftover from IVF. She has twins now that are not genetically hers, yet she carried them. The genetic parents rarely chat with her and she is desperately trying to maintain the friendship because she went OUT OF HER WAY to have a child that would always know their genetic roots.

    So I realize there are countless stories of heartbreak and loss but don't place that on every single woman who gives her baby, eggs or embryos away.

    Many of these woman are good, loving people who simply don't place the stock in genetics that you all do - and they are able to get on with their lives without feeling suicidal daily.

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  93. "Many of these woman are good, loving people who simply don't place the stock in genetics that you all do - and they are able to get on with their lives without feeling suicidal daily."



    What kind of sick crack was that supposed to be, the "without feeling suicidal daily." That was disgusting; given that many women HAVE committed suicide and suffer from severe and debilitating depression after losing their children to the almighty alter of adoption. This is proof positive of the dehumanization natural mothers face.

    I tell you what, lady, if giving your own flesh and blood is so grand, offer up one of your own and come back here and tell us all how wonderful it is (but that's right, it is so easy for you to denounce genetics because you couldn't have your own, correct?)

    As was stated before, "genetics" suddenly become unimportant when we are talking about someone "else" giving up her child. Let's see how it would play out if it were you, "Jane"...

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  94. Annon..5:16,

    Do you realize how dismissive and demaeaning it is to call your childs other mother a "genatic" mother? And no i don't mean towards the actual first mother but towards your child that you profess to love so much. Yes, I get you think you do as much as they can give you what you need...after all they will AWAYS be 2nd best..all those awefuyl treatments you had to endure, all the pain of not normally having your own...must have been hell...well you got your prize ..the prize that has to live with the fact that their "gneatic" mother doesn't give a shit(whew...what a relif for you huh/) pretend that you are so TRYING to do it right but your child will feel s2nd best...its just the way it is...so really don't get suicidal over it. Your child just might! After all....we were just GIVEN away....biology does not matter! We were born of biology..without biology we would NOT be who we are but hell...it does't matter! Only nutureing does(and also the money spent MUST account for something right? Must get your money's worth!)

    so it the "genatic" parents don't give a shit...and you all TRIED..so hard...but whew..they might be too truamatized but hey the kid can deal with it....

    It is natural for a human being to wanttot know their genes, their beginnings and to have that broken is a blight on all genatic, first, adoptive parents and society that try to mimize a human being because the truth may hurt one of the crazy differnet kinds of parents that are out there.

    you minimize the parents, you minimize the child...because of biology...they came from biology they are a result of biloogy..don't make it less important then what it is...otherwise you make your child less then and trust me..even in the best of circumstanses the adoptees may feel less then, may feel suicidal, may feel they are not worth it....BECAUSE THEY WERE BIO CONCIEVED, biologically made then made to feel it does't matter. Once those kidsstart having their own they get it...

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  95. Betty said:"as adoptive parents and countless books and website on adoptive parenting attest, that relationship is different that the natural one between mother and child."

    No,Betty, I am not confused, and I agree with your above statement, but that is not what was originally said. Of course being an adoptive parent is different in the sense meant here, but "different" does not mean "inferior, unnatural,greedy, not nurturing" etc.

    Here is the comment by "Mother" that I was responding to:

    "Nurturing, isn't allowed to happen if an adoption "plan" or adoption is even mentioned. "

    What she is saying there is not that adoptive parenting is different,taking into account the special needs of adoptees, but that there is NO nurturing in adoption, adopted children are not nurtured by anyone, because by Mother's definition, only a biological mother with the right hormones is capable of nurture.

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  96. In response to the other Betty (Sept. 17, 2012 4.52 PM), I disagree that Maryanne is confused on the issue of nurturing.
    She is absolutely correct that the ability to nurture is not confined to biological mothers. As she points out, fathers,grandparents and others have that ability too.
    And nowhere does she suggest that de facto parent/child relationships are the same as biological parent/child relationships.
    It seems to me that what we've got here is a failure to communicate.

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  97. We are still getting comments from adoptive parents who found this post so infuriating, such as one that tells us Joe Biden's wife, step mother to his children, is the "real" mother and their mother who died in the car crash, is simply the "first" mother.

    We write First Mother Forum for mothers who have relinquished their children to adoption, and while Jane and I find the comments attacking us and our readers often informative, as it shows their true feelings hiding behind anonymity, the continuing badgering and baiting of our readers here has become abusive. We have sent several such comments to spam, and will continue to do so.

    Oddly enough, when Jane posted this blog, we thought it was rather innocuous. Instead it unleashed a firestorm of hostility towards birth mothers, and exposed a great need to put us in our place, wherever that is. This being the case, some of this hostility must extend to their adopted children: We love you--but we get hives when we think about how you, beloved child, got here.

    And that would be us that upsets these adoptive parents so much, even as to how we use language.

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  98. Aimee,
    I wonder how much your daughter's other mother knew about the long lasting trauma she was embarking on when she decided to relinquish. She clearly wasn't a woman who didn't want to be a mother. Neither was she a woman that would have harmed her child. In my book these are the only women that should place. I wish that when scared pregnant women come to the (almost always older and more financially established) potential adopters, the facts were given to these mothers. Our society has a happy, rosy view of adoption. NO CHILD WANTS TO BE ADOPTED AWAY FROM THEIR MOTHER. If their mother is poor, they want their mother to get education and work. If their mother is immature, they want their mother to grow up. If their mother is on drugs they want their mother to get clean. But they always, always want their mother. My opinion is that when you were sought out, you needed to do everything possible to keep mother and child together. If the mother had a plan for raising her child, was explained the implications for both she and her daughter, and insisted upon adoption anyway, only then would I say okay, you did your due diligence.

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  99. NO CHILD WANTS TO BE ADOPTED AWAY FROM THEIR MOTHER.

    Thank you, Barbara :)

    This really is the crux of the issue since adoption is supposedly all about the child.

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  100. Mother, what happened to you and your baby right after the birth is a shame. I know what you mean, I was moved from maternity to the psychiatric floor 24 hours after a very over-medicated forceps delivery because some idiot feared I was suicidal. I was not, just had a bad reaction to the drugs I had been given. I was not allowed to visit my child the rest of the 5 days in the hospital,after seeing him briefly once.It was a real nightmare experience.

    However, I do not think that in the long run, horrid as that experience was, it mattered in the person my son became, and believe me, he had many more challenges growing up in a dysfunctional adoptive home. But he is a generally healthy, happy man with a good marriage, good job, good life.

    I do not believe that infants recognizing the mother's smell and voice translates to life-long trauma if another loving caregiver is substituted, and that the memory of that situation fades. There is no proof of permanent trauma caused by separation from the mother at birth, just theories that one can believe on faith or not.

    Human beings and human infants are very flexible creatures who have had to adapt to less than perfect situations after birth over the millenia. Many mothers used to die in childbirth, wet nurses were common, especially among the wealthy, and yet the human race has thrived and most people turn out ok whether mom nursed, had natural childbirth,slept with the baby, went back to work, stayed home etc.

    Yes, I know about oxytocin, I nursed the three children I raised for several years each, and know it is involved in milk letdown among other things. I do not think it the sole cause of love of a mother for her child. It plays a part in bonding but is not the whole story. We are not ducks imprinting on the first thing seen after hatching!

    I also did the natural childbirth thing with my other kids, kept them with me at all times, made my own baby food etc. This worked well, made me happy, but as adults I see little difference in the sons I raised and the one I did not. That of course is my anecdotal evidence, but I am wary of any belief that makes too much or prenatal and neonatal experience as predictor for a person's whole life.

    We do the best we can, but have to move on at some point and deal with the present, not cry endlessly over the past.

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  101. To Jane who ENDURED IVF for her OWN daughter, the daughter you call your very OWN.....

    Can't you just enjoy your daughter and find some joy in life or do you really need to be HERE on the first mother's forum to make snide comments to those of who have either taken their own lives (Rose Taken and others) or who find it almost impossible to move forward from the grief of being sepapated from their child?


    If you talk like this to mothers who annoyed you by a fairly mild post, I shudder to think what kind of awful things you say to your OWN IVF ENDURED daughter when she is not pleasing to you.

    Egads woman, get a life!!!

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  102. Maryanne needs to include the fact that she initially spent years dwelling and grieving over the loss of her son. She wrote of her grief often. Decades worth of grief. You can google her.
    And then she changed her tune.

    You have some nerve telling other mothers to "get over it" now after giving yourself years to come to the point where you seem to have arrived.
    Where is your compassion Maryanne?
    You don't even seem human when you speak to your peers.

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  103. Shari, Maryanne has already admitted that publicly many times. I've seen her say it here too.

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  104. True, Beehive, but maryanne's comments are often demeaning to other first mothers who are not a evolved as she is, or thinks she is. Otherwise her comments would not be so inflammatory to mothers.

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  105. Maryanne wrote:"We do the best we can, but have to move on at some point and deal with the present, not cry endlessly over the past."

    I am not writing this to be snarky because I truly am perplexed. After your comment of 7:30 am I do not understand why you come to FMF. It is clear that the purpose of this blog is for first mothers who have had and are still having difficulty to have a safe place to vent and discuss. Not to be told they just need to get over it already. Most of them were told that they would forget and move on and have found after decades and in some cases nearly a half century that that was a lie.

    "I do not believe that infants recognizing the mother's smell and voice translates to life-long trauma if another loving caregiver is substituted, and that the memory of that situation fades."

    As an adopted person (which you are not) I resent being told what my experience was like and how it has affected me in the long run. I left the hospital after my birth in my ADOPTIVE mother's arms. And I can tell you that being transferred from my bio-mother to a substitute, non-bio related mother was hardly as easy as you make it out to be. Your comment sounds like something the NCFA would say. I have had a myriad of issues in my life that are related to being adopted despite the fact that all humans are to some degree malleable and able to adjust.

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  106. Maryanne,

    You are an enigma you perplex me to no end with your comments here. Time after time you have commented to natural moms while stroking adopters and adoption.

    I posted to you answering one of my posts that you were assuming you KNEW what I was saying when you did
    not. I answered trying to answer nicely.

    You then proceed to tell your story which is fine but IF you truly have moved on why do you find it necessary to even tell your story?

    Telling a mother to move on and get over it is absurd!!
    You are assuming an awful liot about me who said I cry endlessly over the past?

    Gale

    Thank you ladies for compassion that all mothers share especially those of adoption loss.

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  107. That's right Shari, I made no secret of the many years I spent feeling sorry for myself and lamenting my loss.If you think you are exposing me as some kind of fraud, think again. As Beehive said, it has never been a secret, was all very public and I have mentioned it here. So you are not letting anyone in on any "shocking secrets" by telling them to google me. Go right ahead, some of it is there to read, the good, bad and ugly. Oh, but if you do that, I am not the person of the same name who writes diet books:-)

    And yes indeed, I did turn around and change my tune, no secret there either, documented all over the place, blog comments, CUB and other newsletter, conferences. I only wish I had seen clearly enough to have done it sooner. I deeply regret leading myself and others into a loop of misery that feeds on itself and mistaking that misery for love of our children. It isn't, nor is grieving forever for a living person who has their own good life.

    How does this make me not human or lacking in compassion? I kept myself in a self-destructive mindset for years, which did not do me or anyone else any good. I am sorry to see others in that place, but know how hard it is to move beyond. Like everyone else here, I am just telling my story, what worked for me. If it does not work for you, try something else.

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  108. It sounds like Maryanne had a truly horrific experience as a young mother when her son was born. Imagine having a bad reaction to medication and being imprisoned in the psychiatric ward and being forbidden to see your baby. How awful.

    It sounds to me like Maryanne finds her own way to survive this and to fight to have a good life despite what happened. I am a bit the same in that I feel determined not to let the adoption experience cripple me.

    That said I sometimes will cry and will be triggered, I'm not made of stone.

    I can also see how the kinds of comments she writes are annoying and seem very insulting and dismissive. I always had this view of her but after reading what happened to her it has opened my heart to her and made me want to be more generous to the other mothers.

    I too have been scathing about mothers who wallow in their pain, I'd like to apologize for that. I'm sorry, what was I thinking.

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  109. I, for one, am very glad that Maryanne takes the time to share her thoughts and feelings here at FMF. I look forward to her voice and often agree with her because I find that she makes a lot of sense. As a first mother myself I believe it's important that a blog such as this one represent divergent views. Maryanne, I am so glad that you don't allow others to silence you.

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  110. I agree, Gail.
    Maryanne doesn't "stroke" or suck up to anyone. She is a first mother who tells it as she sees it, and if she sees things differently now from when she was first involved with adoption reform, well, it takes courage to break from the herd.

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  111. It is fine if she speaks or expresses herself. I am not saying that's wrong. It's when Maryanne time after time "expresses" her thoughts while trying to surpress others thoughts.
    The only person she doesn't do this to is adopters. Maryanne, I have no doubt where you stand on many issues but don't think your thoughts or feelings are those of others. They aren't mine for sure and if you think they
    are stop before you try to tell me what I should be doing!

    I am not crying endlessly, have never had sever depression, nor will I ever get over the loss of my son. Telling a mom to get over it is what adopters do after all they were able to get over it by using our babies to do it.

    Guess it works for them not for us.

    Gale

    Courage to what pick off moms and adoptees when they express themelves because they aren't thinking like you feel they should admonishing while doing it. I don't agree.

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  112. I'm responding to remarks Maryanne made on the CUB list about Lorraine and myself and to CUB members who have rushed to Maryanne's defense here. My comment has been rejected by the CUB list, perhaps because my email address changed recently.

    In way of background--Maryanne has been engaging in arguments with some of our readers which appear on this post. We did not post her response to a critical comment immediately although we have posted it now. We have also rejected a mean comment directed to her.

    Totally separate from this, one of our readers noted that the link on FMF to a CUB pamphlet "Making An Adoption Plan" providing valuable advice to mothers considering adoption no longer worked. I emailed CUB to get an updated link but the email was rejected.

    Maryanne then told me to contact CUB member Patty for the link. Patty requires people to be pre-approved to email her and I wasn't. I then asked Maryanne if she would contact Patty for the link. I assumed that CUB would be glad to provide the link, not only because the pamphlet contained valuable information but because it would direct traffic to the CUB website.

    Maryanne then wrote a snarky comment about me and Lorraine on the CUB list. I tried to respond to the list but my response was rejected.

    Here is Maryanne's post on the CUB list and my response:

    "I sent this to Patty, but now am not sure if someone else does not
    handle the website stuff as well? It concerns Heather Lowe's booklet
    that used to be on the website.

    In fact I am pretty pissed at Jane and Lo and First mother forum as they are currently letting everyone trash me for daring to disagree with some of their commenters and opinions, which is a bit ironic coming at the same time Jane Edwards asked me to pass this on. Oh well.

    Doing what I said I would do, even though according to some people I
    have "no compassion for mothers". Right. Jane if you remember quit CUB for Origins USA. Do they even still exist?"

    Here's my response to Maryanne's last paragraph.

    I did not leave CUB for Origins. I left CUB because of a lack of interest on the part of CUB's board to work on adoption reform. Later, I was asked to work with the new Origins board on some projects and served on the board for
    a couple of years. Origins is alive and well. Check out its website. http://origins-usa.org/

    I am still working on adoption reform. I am proud to announce that the Oregon Law Commission which develops legislation for the legislature has taken on adoption law as its latest project. This is a direct result of a bill I wrote for the Oregon legislature in 2011. The legislation, requiring that mothers have the time and information to make informed decisions on adoption, did not pass. It did, however, start a serious discussion with adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth parents about reforming Oregon's adoption laws.

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  113. Origins-USA is still going strong. We just announced our new board and I was delighted to be installed. We are hoping that every mother of adoption loss joins as a way to make our collective voice heard. Adoptees and other family members are also warmly welcomed. We are working on family preservation.
    Our current project is a pamphlet hot off the presses to give to pregnant women that might be looking at adoption. I will get a link to you, Jane.

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  114. Thanks, Barbara,
    Send me the link and we'll get it up forthwith.

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  115. COMMENTS CLOSED.

    While we try to keep this forum as open as possible, we are not publishing any more comments pro or con regarding the individual controversy that has taken up the last day at CUB and here. Of course Jane and I have read all the comments, but deem this the best policy now. Please understand everyone who is commenting.

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  116. Shari, please email me at forumfirstmother@gmail.com.

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

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