' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Lies in Adoption: You will have another child and other fallacies fed to first mothers and their adopted 'children'

Lorraine
"You will have another child and put this one behind you." Around a third of all women who surrender a child will never have another--more than half because they chose not to; the rest because they cannot get pregnant again.

"I am so sorry to tell you that your baby died right after birth." Could be true. Could be a convenient lie--who's ever going to know the difference? 

"You must forget and think of your child as dead." Not necessarily a lie, but a directive instead, an order impossible for most to follow, though some seem to come close. A priest told this to one of my friends. She found her daughter shortly after I found mine.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Adoptees: Make you voices heard! in an anonymous survey

Lorraine speaking up at a NY legislative
hearing. Not heard enough yet in Albany! 
Natural mothers and adopted people often say there is no place to make their voices heard and for the obvious reason: That is true. The generally accepted view is that adoption is just peachy, and those with an opposite view should sit down and shut up. This blog is a place to let our feelings out. Yet we can and do have different opinions about our experiences. I hear from adoptees who are quite content with their adoption, along with those who are not. (I don't hear from natural mothers who are happy with their choice, however.) Below is a way to let adopted people, through an anonymous survey, make their feelings about adoption known. Surveys like this become part of the research data about adoption, and that can be more effective than individual comments, because that way we can be dismissed as just one disgruntled individual after another!

The survey closes tomorrow! Be a doer--add to the research about adoption--and take it now before you forget. It really only takes a minute.

Tomorrow I will be back with a post about lies in adoption.

And while I have your attention, Suzanne Bachner's award-winning performance piece, The Good Adoptee, will be back in New York January 2-13. I've seen it once, and it is totally fabulous and right on the money. I'm planning to be at the matinee performance January 9. Details and link in the sidebar under the ad. See you there! Email me via forumfirstmother@gmail.com if you will be there too. Bring your copies of hole in my heart to be signed if you like. Now to the survey:

Adult Adoptees Anonymous Survey

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZPJ7YGH
We are seeking input from adult adoptees (18 and older) that we can share in the Winter edition of the CPFA newsletter to provide insight for our readers.

The link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZPJ7YGH will direct you to a brief survey.  The survey is for adult adoptees only, it is anonymous, and will only take a few minutes to complete. The survey will close on December 12th.

If you are an adult adoptee, we would appreciate your participation, and ask that you forward it to others you think would be willing to participate. If you do not fit the criteria, please share the link with adult adoptees you know.
Please contact Janet Pollio at info@cpfanj.org with any questions.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Dear World: Acknowledge the loss of a child to adoption

Lorraine
The widow can open cry for a partner who is lost.

The parent of a child who dies receives sympathy and understanding.

A mother who loses a child to war in some country on the other side of the world is acknowledged and honored.

In the natural order of life when our parents predecease us, or a sibling dies, we are allowed to grieve in public.

Airlines offer lower fares to those flying to funerals. Printed cards can be found for the above. Friends and family send condolences, flowers, perhaps even a casserole. If one openly cries in public, no one will tell her that she has to "get it together" and stop her bawling, for it's all right to be sad. In fact, it is appropriate and even expected. Sympathy for the loss abounds.

Yet not for us. Not for birth mothers, first mothers, biological mothers who give up their children.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Did my daughter die at Jonestown? and other tales from a mother's worry about her adopted children

Some of the 909 people who died at Jonestown 11/18/78
News accounts of the 40th anniversary of the Jonestown mass suicides where a third of the 909 people killed were children reminded me of my fear that my daughter Rebecca was among the dead. Jim Jones a megalomaniac and charismatic leader of the Peoples Temple, a cult with services in San Francisco, established a commune in Guyana. Among the inhabitants were children placed by foster care workers in San Francisco with Peoples Temple families. My daughter was born in San Francisco just 12 years before the massacre and placed by county social workers in foster care.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The promise of a stable two-parent in adoption home is not a guarantee

Jane
Many of us in contemplating adoption for our unborn child envisioned a home that we wished we had. I know I did. A devoted mother and father, just one or no siblings, having my own room.

My parents divorced when I was 15 but were emotionally separated for years before that. I envied the girls whose fathers drove them to school when the temperature was below freezing, which was frequent in Chicago winters, fathers who took them to movies, who were just there, unlike my father who was rarely around. In mid-century, it was, if not a disgrace, at least an embarrassment not to have an active father in the home. We were told to be raised in a "broken home" was a recipe for failure. I had four siblings and had to share a room with an older sister. My mother was 36 when I was born, at least a decade older than my friends' mothers, and to me old-fashioned in her dress and hairstyle. She was a teacher at a public high school and did her best--something I did not appreciate for many years--but school clothes from Sears was all she could afford, unlike my classmate clothed by Marshall Field.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Father denies son what he needs--his original birth certificate; Dean Skelos--who fought OBC access--going to jail for corruption

Dean Skelos and son, Adam 
Adoptee Adam Skelos suffered from classic Primal Wound symptoms; he abused drugs and couldn't hold a job. He abandoned his wife and his two autistic children. His father, former New York State Senate majority leader, Republican Dean Skolos, 70, stepped in to help by trading on his  power in Albany to bury or push legislation favorable to businesses that gave his son $300,000 for a patchwork of no-show or low-show jobs, and offered support for Adam's wife and children.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

'Bull' deals honestly with adoption and feeling 'disconnected'

Lorraine
Last night I caught a few moments of Bull, about a trial consultant who takes on hard cases of course, it's a TV show. What he seems to do best is figure out how to pick and work the jury. Bull consults on jury selection or voir dire, a phrase I love using and saying. It rolls off the tongue most pleasantly. When I tuned in, about 20 minutes to the end of the show, a distinguished black man in an expensive suit and with a nice wife is being railroaded for a murder he did not commit.

But the DA had DNA. A match. Bull gets the DA to agree to 15 to life, if the suspect will plead guilty. He has 24 hours to decide. The man, a doctor from what I gleaned, is there with his wife, protesting total innocence....Of course we believe him--it's a TV show about protecting the innocent, right?

Fade to the morning. Bull goes into his office and finds two of his assistants have been there all night working. One says, Dr. X said something about feeling "disconnected" and so I came to the office and spent the night looking....

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Deported Parents May Lose their Children to Adoption. Who's surprised? We are not.

Lorraine
In the last couple of days, a heart-wrenching story about a little girl named Alexa who had been separated from her mother by U.S. immigration authorities at the border crossing into Texas has popped up. She was just two--28 months old--at the time she and her mother were separated; the mother says she was forced to sign away her rights to her daughter. More than a year would pass before Alexa was reunited with her mother. Adoption came into the picture--of course--through the notorious Bethany Christian Services who, not surprisingly, placed her with a couple who ultimately wanted to adopt Alexa.

This sounds like the same old story we've written about before: Separate a child from his or her mother, find a willing couple, and soon enough, the couple wants to keep the child permanently. It's an  old story.

In this case, the girl's natural mother, Araceli Ramos Bonilla, was back in El Salvador without her daughter within ten weeks of arriving at the

Sunday, September 23, 2018

So if Roe is overturned? What happens to women who give up a child? In contrast to women who have an abortion.

Dusky's jacket photo on Birthmark
1979 
What happens to a woman when she is coerced--by society or circumstance--to relinquish a child to adoption?

Even though I know a significant number of these women do not wish reunion, a fact that was foreign to me but I've heard from enough adoptees to accept its reality--let's look at the emotional damage that the act of losing a child this way leaves in its wake. I'm fearful that if Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed by the Senate--and he may well be--Roe v. Wade is in serious trouble. He's called the right for a woman to control her own reproductive system "settled law," which sounds comforting, but as far as I know, he's never added that Roe was "correctly decided," which apparently is key. In fact, I think he's likely to be the pivotal fifth vote on the Supreme Court that would overturn Roe, and give Trump's base what they are so anxious to have: control of women's bodies.

So with Roe in jeopardy--and already had to get in seven states that only one one legal abortion clinic--let's examine what happens to women who lose a child via adoption.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Once again women's voices ignored as Kavanaugh goes slippen' and sliden' to the Supreme Court. SNAFU.

Dusky testifying at a NY legislative
 hearing on sealed records in 2014
This was going to be a blog only about what will happen to the women who end up with a forced pregnancy if Roe V. Wade is rolled back by the anti-women's rights judges Trump and the Republicans are sending to the Supreme Court. One more vote there and Roe is toast--just as Trump promised on the campaign trail. The blog in question was written more than a week ago when technical difficulties swallowed it. (I will get to that later.)

Life then intervened (related to the ankle issue, getting two new-to-us vehicles that do not aggravate said ankle, a local political commotion we are involved in, and finally, relatives visiting for the weekend which provided a welcome respite from the aforementioned political firestorm) and here I am. But so much has changed since then with the allegations of basically a fumbling, attempted rape by a drunken, 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh. The incident occurred 36 years ago, and so there's not enough for a conviction, but his actions do speak to the character of the man who would be on our highest court.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The question that never goes away: Who do we tell we are first/birth mothers?

Lorraine
When do you tell strangers that you are mother of a child who was adopted--and then make them understand what you mean? That you are not the adoptive mother that statement might lead them to assume. You are the "other mother."

One would think that for me at least this question would be settled--after all, I wrote two books and more than three dozen magazine pieces, opeds, letters, etc. over the decades I've been involved in unsealing records for adoptees. So one might think I'd spill my story at any possible opening. Not so. Once in a while I meet someone who wants to know if I am "that Lorraine Dusky," and well, yes I am. Done and out.

But mostly I'm like everybody else, juggling this piece of information as a gauge what the response might me--mild

Friday, August 17, 2018

Review: Gus Van Sant's film about John Callahan doesn't shy away from adoption theme

John Callahan
Don't miss director and producer Gus Van Sant's new bio-pic about cartoonist John Callahan, Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot. A story of loss and redemption. Callahan's witty and sardonic cartoons were an armor to protect himself from the pain of two immutable disabilities, adoption as an infant, and quadriplegia when he was 21. He told everyone who would listen: "Here's the four things I know about my mother: She was unmarried, she was Irish American, she was a teacher, and she didn't want me.

Born in 1951 in Portland, Oregon, he was placed in a convent home, adopted a few months later, and raised in The Dalles, a small town 80 miles east of Portland. He never fit in with his adoptive family.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A first/birth mother on opening the door to her child after secrecy ruled her life

A comment too good to leave as simply a comment that will be shared with more people if I make it a full post. It's too good to not share widely:

My family did not know that I had a child that I relinquished. My other children did not know. Very few of my closest friends knew. When the call came that my son was searching for me, I hesitated for an instant. And then I opened the door to this young man who carried a burden his entire life. He thought he was unwanted, unloved, and all alone in the world. He had parents who loved him dearly, gave him all that they had to offer but it still wasn't enough. I too carried a burden. A burden of regret and shame. An unbearable sense of loss. The best thing in my life has been to say "yes" to my first born. No matter what it has cost me, it has cost him more. I would encourage every first mother to say yes to your child. 
Amen. That about says it all, right? --lorraine 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Slate's "Prudence" gets adoption all wrong; advice columnist ignorant about adoption--again

Daniel Mallory Ortberg
aka Prudence
Daniel Mallory Ortberg, the 32-year-old child of evangelical pastors, spews advice under the name "Prudence" in Slate Magazine. His skill as a writer -- nothing more --qualifies him to dig into the human heart and mind, and thus he's an advice columnist at Slate. Ortberg is not married and has no children. He transitioned from female and says he identifies as queer but has dated women. Nonetheless, Ortberg, aka Prudence, has no problem telling a women who identifies herself as "What Do I Owe Her?" who had just been found by the daughter surrendered to adoption over 30 years earlier that  "you do not need to tell her anything and, in fact I'm inclined to think you shouldn't have any further communication with her." (Emphasis his)

What Do I Owe Her? explains that the daughter is the product of years of sexual abuse by her half brother. She says she feels nothing for the girl and doesn't want a relationship. She concludes with "I have told no one in my current life about my past. You are the only one I can tell."

Friday, July 27, 2018

Analysis: Three Identical Strangers separated at birth for a social experiment now in theaters!

"Disaster," "havoc,""pathology," "harmful" were words that peppered the language of a disgruntled, staunch opponent of unsealing the birth records of the adopted when I testified in favor of doing just that. The year was 1976, the place was the capital of New York, Albany, and the venue was a joint Senate-Assembly hearing titled: Sealed Adoption Records and Identity. I was there with Florence Fisher, founder of the Adoptees Liberty Movement Association, Betty Jean Lifton, and a few others.

When I'd spoken a few minutes before this old guy who used the language above, had made audible, disgusted noises that were heard throughout the chamber. Who was this rude asshole? Now that he was speaking, I learned he was the attorney, Shad Polier, representing the Louise Wise Agency in New York. And yes, one of the adoption agencies who were fighting unsealing records with an iron fist.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Megan's story: An adoptee fills in the pieces

Megan and Jane at the old Courthouse in Bloomington, Ill 2018
For adoptees in closed adoptions like my daughter Megan, life is a puzzle. "Where did I come from? How did I land here? In a recent blog post, Megan, referred to in FMF posts as Rebecca the name I gave her when she was born, tells of assembling the pieces of her origins. These pieces constitute the borders, the frame for our relationship. We're still filling in the middle.

After searching for over ten years, she connected with me in 1997 when she was 31. Despite an ecstatic beginning, our relationship like so many others--including Lorraine's with her daughter--has been rocky at times. Like other first mothers newly in reunion, I asked myself over and over "Where do I fit in? What does she want." "Not a new family," I was assured. She told me she needed "to know" but surely I told myself it had to be more than that.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dear First Mother Forum: Should we adopt through Gladney?

Lorraine

Dear FMF: My husband and I are new to adoptions. We recently decided we want to adopt due to fertility issues. I met a lady at the airport recently who recommended Gladney. I decided to read reviews online before contacting them. I did see on their website they ask for payment for the babies on a Huge sliding scale. So my question is.... do the mothers get a majority of that money? It seems that the center gets paid for the Medicaid and welfare benefits of the mothers, so what happens with the $40,000 the adoptive parents pay? I have a problem paying that kind of money with these horrible stories especially if the mothers do not profit. Could you give me advice? xxxxxinbrazil@gmail.com

Thursday, July 12, 2018

PTSD--Everyone else can have it, but not birth first natural mothers

Lorraine
I love that the 13 people got out of the cave in Thailand. I love that they are all right, basically. But now on TV they are talking about how they boys will have PTSD. However first mothers are supposed to give up our children and not even talk about, yet it is a lifelong arrow to the heart that bleeds and bleeds....

Personally, if I tell someone my story in a single sentence, they immediately understand the pain involved, and that it must be a lifelong tragedy. It's just not supposed to be talked about because it is still shameful, no matter that there are "proud birth mothers," or that we have supposedly progressed as a open society. It is still understood as a terrible blot on the trajectory of one's life, no matter how the agency-speak gobbledygook tries to obfuscate and diminish the pain of losing a child to adoption.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Think all those separated children are going back to their natural mothers? Think again. Guatemalan woman lost her son in 2012

                                          David Stonner/Joplin Globe
Encarnacion Bail Romero with attorney Omar Riojas
Today's emails brought a link to the story of a Guatemalan woman--an illegal immigrant when she was taken into custody--who lost her child to adoption in the United States. It was a terrible, sad injustice done to her and her son when this occurred in 2012. I wrote several posts about the boy's journey from his mother,  Encarnacion Bail Romero to  adoption and the parents who fought her every step of the way, Seth and Melinda Moser of Carthage, Missouri.

Since America is in the middle of a large-scale problem of separating mothers and their children--one baby is reportedly nine months old!--the likelihood that all the

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Separating children from their mothers: the connection between Trump's immigration policy and adoption

Daughter Jane and Mother Lorraine after
reunion, 1982. We look happy there but
the trauma for both of us was indelible. 
I have been avoiding writing about the crisis of all the children being separated from their parents--fathers as well as mothers, but the likelihood that it is more mothers is a given--because the parallel to the separation of mother and child via adoption is so clear, and so heartbreaking, I haven't been able to really dive into it as I am recovering from surgery* earlier this week.

The public outcry over what Trump did by executive order seems to have stopped the continuing separation of families, but now the problem is: how to get them back together. Mothers and fathers do not even know where their children are. Horrific stories about the traumatized children are now burbling up from his well of beginning to burble up from the miasma of human grief that Always Lying Trump has wrought. (And he does--always lie.)

Well, take away Trump, and doesn't that sound like adoption? I write as a someone who entered into a closed adoption for my daughter, fully aware at the time that such a closed system--take a child, erase her

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Human rights going down again in New York; Sometimes anger is justified and this is one of those times!!!

Lorraine testifying in 2015
I am so f&^cking angry and upset. This is not a regular blog post but instead I want to tell you why I am so angry, Dear Reader.

Again it appears the 2018 legislative session will end in New York, and again we are getting shot down in New York--unless Joe Lentol, chair of the Codes Committee in the Assembly, is struck by thunder and enlightenment, unless the what's-in-it-for-me governor of New York, Cuomo, sees a political advantage in our bill over the next few days, our bill to end the tyranny of sealing original birth records of some people will again die.

It is a clean bill--no hide-behind-the-skirts of women in the closet bill; no, the bill, (A9959-B; and S-7631-B)) would give adopted people over 18 the right to their own birth certificates. That's all it would do. It wouldn't bomb anybody, cause panic in the streets, destroy the environment, cost an appreciable amount or anything at all,  but no, once again some people will lose out of the full freedoms that the rest of us know because we are: not adopted. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Review: "You Don't Look Adopted" rips away the fairy-tale image of adoption to reveal the painful truths of being adopted

Heffron's book at home
on my desk
Anne Heffron's searing memoir "You Don't Look Adopted" is not a book that I, a woman who relinquished a child, could read at one or two big gulps. Too painful. Way too painful. It's short--only 159 pages--but in those pages, Heffron plunges the depths of the long-term impact of being given up for adoption, and growing up in a new family, with such relentless pain in the prose that I had to do it in a long couple of weeks, a few pages a night.

For what Anne Heffron has wrought is nothing less than a full-blown indictment of taking a child away from their* natural mother--the one whose body has nurtured this being, the one whose DNA the baby shares--and sent it out into the world, tetherless, tied to no one. Despite the fact that Heffron was adopted by good people who she loved, nothing has ever overcome or diminished the deep sense of abandonment that courses through her veins and onto the printed page.

I thought I understood quite a lot about the pain of being given up and adopted, having spent the decades since I gave up my daughter in 1966 studying and learning and writing about adoption, but nothing prepared me for passages like this:

Monday, June 4, 2018

Writing to Gov.Cuomo about unsealing records--just do it!

Lorraine and daughter Jane, 1981
Sent today via the post office

June 9, 2018

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Dear. Gov. Cuomo:

When you were nine, I had a child in Rochester as an unmarried woman of 22. I felt I had no choice at the time but to give her up for adoption. I was horrified to learn during the process that she would never be able to have her original birth certificate, and that if I wanted to do a legal adoption in New York, I had to agree to take away her right to know who she is, who she was at birth, what her story is—for her entire life.

It wasn’t my birth certificate that I was sealing—it was hers and I was participating in this obviously unwarranted and unjust system of social engineering by making this unholy bargain with the state. The state and I were making a lifelong decision over a third party. I anguished over this but in the end had no real choice in that era and signed the relinquishment papers at North Haven Terrace—the euphemistic name for the adoption agency in 1966—and tried to put my life back together.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

An action alert for New Yorkers (or anyone) connected to adoption in any way!

Lorraine at a hearing on unsealing
records, 2015
THIS IS AN ACTION ALERT.  While the New York legislature is winding down, and again we have bills to do away with the archaic laws of the 1930s ending up in the dustbin, there is one bill that might have a chance of making even a small difference. A crack in the New York sealed door, you might call it. I refer to the bill that would allow adopted people to find their biological siblings (S2939). That ought to be a no-brainer, right? Why was this crucial information even denied adopted people in the first place? Because people have cockamamie ideas about the importance of knowing your roots and having a sane life. Because people who know their own roots, who are familiar with people who look and act like them, who do not question their biological place in the world, do not comprehend what it means to lack that. They do not understand or empathize the need for everyone to have the same comfort of true identity.

So this morning, I get an alert from Joyce Bahr of Unsealed Initiative to make a call to Sen. John Flanagan (518-455-2071) and ask that the adoptee-siblings bill (S2939) be moved to the Senate floor for a vote. Since I have been crusading on a sometime lonely soap box about unsealing the birth records of adopted people since the fucking Seventies, since I was forced to reluctantly agree to sealed records when I signed the relinquishment papers for my daughter, since sealed records are detrimental to the mental health of millions of adoptees, since they absolutely discriminate against all adopted people, I was in a fighting mood when I made the call.

So I dial 518-455-2071 and go into a short and heated rant about why at least bill S2939--the adoptee siblings bill--ought to be moved to the floor. I said I was a 75-year old birth mother who had been lobbying for this since the Seventies, had found and reunited with my own daughter, criticized the legislature for letting these open-records-for-adoptees bills die one after another, called sealed records emotional slavery--YES, I DID--said that we mothers should not be protected from our own children, that that was crazy!

Then said you can tell I am pretty passionate about this, and she said, I agree with you completely, I am an adoptee! and I will let the Senator know! SO MAKE THE DAMN CALL AND FEEL YOU HAVE DONE ONE THING TODAY FOR YOUR RIGHTS! Don't forget to give her your name and location. My own senator, Ken LaValle, has put his name to the bill. Action can have results! 

And after you make the call, have a nice long weekend everyone. 

 Sen. John Flanagan's office (518-455-2071). --lorraine

Friday, May 18, 2018

Queensland man believes his parents are Charles and Camilla

Lorraine
Along with the rest of the English-speaking world, let us now visit the British royal family while the Prince Harry/Meghan Markle wedding is tomorrow. Not only are there stories in the gossip magazines about who Harry's real father is--not Charles, but someone who has been close to Harry most of his life, and especially since Diana died. Former Welsh guard, Mark Dyer, took on many fatherly duties to Harry over the years. Photos of young Harry and Dyer show them together at sporting events; Harry was himself a groomsman in Dyer's wedding. Harry apparently introduced Meghan to Dyer soon after the engagement, and Dyer most definitely will be a guest at the wedding. As for the James Hewitt paternity story about Harry, that has been denied and debunked numerous times. Hewitt wasn't even around when Harry was conceived. We all know that Charles and Diana's marriage was rotten from the start. You never saw pictures of them being touchy-feely, the way Harry and Meghan are.

Personally, I think Dyer and Harry look enough alike to consider that they are connected genetically--beyond their shared red hair--as Harry really doesn't resemble Charles in any way we can see. But whatever the truth, the Crown sees Prince Charles as Harry's legitimate father and heir.  I love that Meghan is divorced and biracial and American and an avowed feminist and has an adorable rescue dog named Guy. Enough of that.

The story that has fascinated me as a first mother much more is that of Simon Charles Dorante-Day, an Australian man who was born in Portsmouth, England (in a hospital that did not normally do births), on April 5, 1966. He was adopted at 18 months by a couple whose parents were servants in one of their royal households. The couple moved to Australia, and mysteriously had plenty of money. He looks very much like a son of Charles and Camilla; one of his daughters resembles the Queen. Not only does he look like Charles, he also resembles a brother of Camilla--someone who would be his uncle.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Notice to adoptive parents: Your child is not a gift

Jane
I hoped I could go one Mother's Day without reading a piece by an adoptive mother expressing her gratitude to her adopted child's first mother for "the precious gift you gave me" and also insisting that giving up a child is a brave and loving act. No such luck. There it was on the first page of the Portland Oregonian's Opinion section "A message to my daughter's birth mother" by Ann Grimmer of Boring (that is the actual name of the town outside of Portland), Oregon.

The characterization of children as gifts given freely to deserving strangers is just nonsense. Children are not baubles to be passed around. It's wishful thinking on Grimmer’s part when she writes that the birth mother “made the decision that she [the daughter] was better off without you, better off with me, thousands of miles away.” If Grimmer had read even one book by an intercountry adoptee or an inquiring journalist, she would have known it is unlikely that the surrender was a voluntary, thoughtful decision.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Is Mother's Day the worst day of the year for both birth mothers and the adopted?

Lorraine
Here it comes again, Mother's Day, impossible to delete from the calendar or ignore totally because of the incessant ads that pop up everywhere, from the internet to the newspaper to the super bargains on the Today show that are just "perfect for mom." All if it reminds us of our own fractured motherhood. I've been through the gamut of emotions about Mother's Day, beginning when I did not know where my daughter was (call it a nightmare), and my own mother did not even know my daughter existed (no one to share the blues with), to those years after reunion when I tried to ignore the hoopla the week preceding the big day hoping she would remember me in some small way, but alas, she often did not. (A good day to dig in the garden.)

Sunday, May 6, 2018

What if our son's birth mother wants a relationship with him--but not us? Why mothers should be leery of 'open adoption' contracts

Lorraine and daughter, Jane, 1982
In a sign of the times, The New York Times ethics columnist Kwame Anthony Appiah is tackling adoption again, after a recent debacle in a column a few months ago.

This time, the subject is exactly what the first part of the headline reads, for that is the headline in the New York Times Magazine over his column as The Ethicist. The kicker in this adoption story is that the son in question is "about 25" and the contract was a deal which stated that the adoptive parents could somehow can control the adopted person's relationship with his natural mother up until he was 25. The contract stated that he could search--with the adoptive parents' permission--for his birth parents (mother and father) after he was 18, but not search for them without their permission until he was 25.

Clearly this was a so-called "open adoption" contract that relied completely on the agency staying in business, and that fire or flood or other natural disaster did not destroy any records that connected Mother A with Son B. The letter writer goes on to say that the birth mother somehow found the family's home address (quelle horreur!), wrote them and asked to open up the adoption further.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Arizona law forces parenthood on the unwilling

Three-day-old embryo--8 cells in toto, 
barely visible to the naked eye. At
implantation (between 5-8 days), an 
embryo is approximately one-
hundredth of an inch long.
A bill signed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on April 3 requires that frozen embryos go to the party who wants "to develop them" in the event of a dispute. In other words, the non-consenting partner is forced to become a parent, sort of. The law  provides that the unwilling parent would have no parental responsibilities and would not have to pay child support.

The bill was supported the Center for Arizona Policy, part of the anti-abortion Family Research Council. To tell the truth, the anti-abortion people drive me nuts. They love babies (or embryos) until they're born. Then it's "tough luck, parents" if they need some help raising the kids. Arizona won't even pay teachers and support staff a living wage--they rank 47 out of 59 in teachers' pay--and they are staged a one-day strike today.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Dear Mom~A wonderful, uplifting, emotional conference in Indy put on by Indiana Adoptee Network! Kudos to all!

From left; Jennifer Fahlsing, Suzanne Bachner, Lorraine Dusky
and Marcie Keithley at the IAN 2018 conference in Indianapolis,
Racing to Records, The Final Lap
Dear Mom~

Just back from a  conference in Indianapolis organized by the Indiana Adoptee Network where I talked about you in the keynote speech. I told everyone how understanding you were when I told you about Jane in 1974, six years after she was born. I can still see us in the restaurant--you picked the place--on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn. We ordered drinks and lunch and between the drinks and the time the food came I told you that I'd had a child and given her up for adoption and furthermore, I was going to be public about it. It was time somebody had to be public, and that was going to be me.