' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Real Parents in the News

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Real Parents in the News

Hello Lifegivers! (I see we are still discussing the noxious terms at the end of earlier blogs. Well, why not?)

Photo by Ken Robbins

Just a short note this a.m to tell you that in the Adoption News Service today came a story from Vancouver, B.C., that referred repeatedly to "real mother." I cheered--at least not every writer and editor has gotten the memo that "birth mother" is an absolute PC must.

And the acquittal of a father who left his adopted Russian son in the back of a hot sports utility vehicle has the international adoption world buzzing....will the Russians tighten up on letting their kids go to Americans? Oh my...Now where do we get kids?

Another story about a Korean adoptee raised in Germany has this to say in the OhMy News (you gotta love the name of the publication):

"Miriam Yung Min Stein is not only harsh on her 'home country,' but also rants and raves about the institutionalized altruism that brought her to Germany, highlighting the dark sides of feel-good charity.

"I am not ungrateful, but international help makes me puke. People like Angelina Jolie or Bono make me puke."

While she knows that her German parents meant well and gave her more than she can ever return, it is also clear that the act of adoption affected her life in incalculable ways."

And ours too.

Which is why I hated hated the movie Juno so much. It made the whole situation--pregnancy, finding cool adoptive parents, flirting with the dad-to-be, etc.--such a nightmare for us. Because yes that kind of crap does inform public opinion about what it is like to give up a child. Cry once at the hospital and then..hooray, life goes on. The vapid BF stays.

And then we end up dealing with folks like my "friend," Aston. Got an invitation from a mom of a Chinese girl for a Christmas Eve party tonight in an email. She noted, incidentally, that Aston and his wife would be out of the country for the holidays and so we could come without hesitation...so the news of our frisson has indeed spread. Ah...life in the adoption lane....

Dear Significant Other Tony doesn't even want to know the reaction of another friend, also mom of a girl from China, because she's a bit more (actually a whole lot more) morally absolute about her take on life and is super sensitive about being an adoptive mother. She twice felt it necessary to correct me when I referred to Jane's "adoptive parents." As in: They are her parents. Said with stern face daring me to counter. I did not. But !@!%ing hell, I wish I had. For the sake of our conversation, she couldn't hold her tongue? Ah...off to brunch today and I am sure that the adoptive mother who had to correct Tony when he referred to my daughter as daughter, no modifiers, and say: "birth daughter" will be there. This is just after we got back from the funeral. I will do my best to avoid her. I'd have to have a lot of punch to ask her outright about her "adopted daughter."

Look, the two Chinese girls mentioned above are great friends and they do seem to be thriving, so though I have reservations about adoption in general, the likelihood that these two girls would have languished in a Chinese orphanage does not make me think that's where they should be. They have good parents and good homes. One of the girls was, in my opinion, traumatized by being in an institution for a year, and she has, with much patience and love, come a long way to being a normal teenager.

We are visiting my husband's family (a passel of niece and nephews and their kids) on The Eve, and then onto Pennsylvania to see my step-son and his wife and nine-year-old son on The Day.

The picture above? The photo on the Christmas card of photographer friend Ken Robbins.


  1. On the Korean adoptee: Bono makes her puke? Has he adopted any kids??
    If not, why puke?

    On "Lifegiver": well, yeah, but so what? I never considered abortion so it wasn't a choice. I suppose any woman who gives birth is a lifegiver but who would call themselves that?

    Finally, sometimes people do get it, even those not connected to adoption. Yesterday I got my first gift ever from my surrendered son! He had sent a couple of cards other years, and I always sent him something for Christmas and birthday for over 20 years, but this is the first time he has sent something to me.

    The gifts were lovely and fitting; an Irish pig ornament, the Belleek kind white with shamrocks, and a box of tiny blown glass ornaments with a sea theme, fish, starfish, octopus. We both love the beach.

    When I went to church this morning I told one of the priests, who said "congratulations" and that he was very happy for me, and one of the nice ladies who said it was a great blessing and answer to prayer, and of course he knows I am his Mom and will always be there. Really nice comments, warm and loving. Sometimes that happens too, as well as the snarky stuff.

    Next time someone tells you what words to use ("you mean birth daughter, not just daughter") tell them it is really rude to correct someone like that and that they are out of line.

    Blessed Solstice, Happy Hannukah, and Merry Christmas to all!


  2. Mairaine, congratulations! Can't imagine how you must have felt receiving your first gifts ever from your firstborn. Gives the rest of us hope.

  3. Mairaine:

    Yes, just fabulous! Any one of us knows what it means to receive a gift from your child, and the gift is so perfect!
    Yes, Indeed congratulations are in order.

    As for the woman who corrected the daughter to "birth" daughter, it was done as she overheard my husband talking to a good friend who knew Jane. It was New Year's Day, about two weeks after my daughter died. Genie said "daughter," and the second time she said it, Fran interjected: "birth daughter." Tony ignored it.

    But yeah, I think that was the height of insensitivity.

    Anyway, kudos to you!

  4. Yay! I am so happy for you, Mairaine.
    Have a wonderful Christmas. You truly deserve it.
    You and all your loved ones, enjoy.

  5. It's ironic that Miriam Yung Min Stein was adopted by a German family. Many of the original foreign adoptees came from Germany after World War II.

    Perhaps Koreans will begin adopting Vietnamese children. Then Vietnamese families may adopt Iraqi children. If we keep waging war, we can continue to supply the newly affluent of the world with needy children.

  6. Thanks all for the kind words. I am still amazed and touched. I do wish I knew what my son thinks, but if he doesn't tell me I won't know:-)

    Jane, adoption of Korean kids is big in Europe. I've seen several speak at conferences. In some ways it is even more extrems in homogenous countries like those in Scandinavia where everyone is big and blond, and you are the only Asian kid.

  7. My heart soared when I read about Mairaine's gifts from her son. I have known of Mairaine since 1987 and the rejection her son displayed towards her. So this news was doubly wonderful. I just love that he chose Irish porcelain to obviously acknowledge her Irish and his Irish heritage. God love and bless you and your family in this Christmas season and always.

  8. Hi Kathleen,

    Which Kathy are you? I knew several. Thanks for the encouragment:-)You can find me on the CUB list (open to all, you just have to register)if you want to email me privately.

    Merry Christmas to you and all!




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