' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: The Power of First Mothers Speaking Out

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Power of First Mothers Speaking Out

We got an interesting comment the other day from someone in the Netherlands, and I'm posting it here so that more of you can read it, because it is about the power of speaking out. The sealed-records laws would change quicker, make no mistake, if more first mothers spoke up about the pain of relinquishment and wanting to know our children one day.

The comment below is about what happened in the Netherlands where many birth mothers spoke up:
I just posted a comment on a rose-colored website on which nice-looking presumed birth mothers write about their bitter-sweet experiences with relinquishing their newborn child for adoption. In the Netherlands we have had two organisations for birth mothers. The last one, a foundation, existed from 1994 until 2007. We had difficulty finding funds and board members but throughout these years we got a lot of publicity in the media. Birthmothers told the public about the emotional pain they suffered. Our "outcoming" helped prevent legalization of commercial surrogate mothering which was propagated by homosexual men and their organisations. They were supported by "Opzij" a widely read feminist magazine which is opposed to sexual exploitation of women but advocates procreative exploitation of women to achieve gender equality. Christian political parties in the Netherlands tend to favor relinquishment for adoption over abortion but they do get little support. Our birthmother foundation had a few hundred members. I never heard one of them say that relinquishing your child for adoption is a bittersweet experience after which you can happily live on.
Denmark also has or had an organisation for birthmothers.
Oddly enough, when I was at a conference on kinship at the University of Pittsburgh a few years ago, the woman I felt who most found my point of view disturbing was the big Dutch lady from the Netherlands...She wrote about a process she called "kinning," that is, the bringing of the child into the culture and heritage of the adopted family.

Feeling under the weather with a cold these days, and a huge storm blew through Long Island last night. Going to get out and about and go for a drive while the air is full of negative ions. They are the ones that make you feel good. And by the way, those of you who read the post about the teenager I shared a room with at the hospital when my daughter was born, Adoption: Then, and Now, let me add the final note: unlike Catlynn and Tyler, who Jane wrote about yesterday in Inconsolable grief, when Lydia and her boyfriend came to sign the relinquishment papers, they went to say goodbye to their son one last time...and took him home.--lorraine


  1. "They were supported by "Opzij" a widely read feminist magazine which is opposed to sexual exploitation of women but advocates procreative exploitation of women to achieve gender equality."

    Oh yes, those gay people are just SO much more important than Adoptees are. NOT.

  2. When first mothers stand around saying how wonderful it is, they are hurting everyone, including their own children. It absolutely infuriates me that this occurs.

    And the ignorance of the masses is not an excuse to not speak out, it is the reason we should - not just in little known places, but everywhere that there is a person that will listen and anywhere that a legislative body meets - I don't care if it is a coffee shop.

    I boycotted Perkins Restaurants - and I love their food - because they support maternity homes...I boycotted Wendy's too.

    Adoption is, as practiced today, a crime against humanity.

  3. The Netherlands is disgustingly pro-adoption. A very popular gay male tv presenter got himself two chidren from America. Most if not all articles I have read about adoption are very dismissive of losses experienced by adoptees.

    The kidnapped boy from India who was found to be living in Alkmaar was declared by the courts to be a legal adoption (yeah I know sick huh?) and it was deemed to be in the best interests of all not to have a DNA test and not to allow contact for the boy's real mother and father.

    The Netherlands loves to let you all smoke as much dope as you want and have sex with prostitutes so it can act all liberal and hip but as a country it really is quite backwards when it comes to adoption.

  4. Isn't it interesting how what can look liberal and progressive in life can often in fact be repressive and subjugate the rights of others?
    Hope you got plenty of those negative ions!

  5. These days, I find that the words liberal and progressive are usually associated with causes that limit and repress individual freedoms. When you say that everybody is entitled to everything — a home, healthcare, a decent job — you're automatically including couples being entitled to children (i.e. adoption). And punishing those who struggled to save for a home, build a well-paying career, and pay (or get employee benefits) for healthcare.

    W are dead set on making sure even the least productive of our population have the same home, car, TV, etc., as those who work hard. through redistribution of wealth. How can we exclude the infertile simply because they can't make their own children? It comes from the same mindset.

    We are quick to have compassionate for those, not through tragic circumstances but by lack of effort, cannot achieve the American dream. By the same token, we should have great compassion for those who can't procreate, right? (An aside: NOT!)

    We are in a very entitlement stage in our society. There are pros and cons, and one of the cons that no one realizes when they spout availability of everything to everybody.

    There are no guarantees in life.

    Think about it…

  6. Denise:
    I do not think the word "compassionate" belongs anywhere in your statement. It is certainly missing in sentiment, and the body of what you have to say really has nothing to do with adoption. It is more appropriate to a Tea Party site.

    In case you are a Christian of any sort, remember "whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me".

  7. Lorraine Dusky said...

    Denise, you are right in that the idea that we are all "entitled" to whatever comes across the horizon is what leads us in America, and perhaps elsewhere, to think that comes with as many children as one would like, no matter the personal reality of infertility. Jane and I are both liberals, in the traditional political sense, but we draw the line at the assumption that children can be created and readily distributed among, well, among anyone who wants.

    As for making traction in legislatures, we have found that understanding why the records ought to be open comes from both liberals and conservatives. In New York at least, some of our staunchest opposition in the legislature comes from adoptive parents of either liberal or conservative persuasion, and gay liberals such as Helene Weinstein, who wields a great deal of power in the Assembly, Danny O'Donnell (brother of Rosie), and his buddy Kemp Hannon in the NY Senate. They will oppose us to the end.

    They of course are all for gay marriage, which I have no objection to, but against adoptee liberation. Go figure. Suddenly they are "protecting" closeted birth mothers. Hmm. Maybe the "closet" issue is the problem. As I said, birth mothers, we gotta speak up.

  8. "Closet" is a term we should make use of. Would these gay APs support the idea of gays staying in the closet? Do they support the notion that a rape victim is to blame, therefore she should stay silent and in the closet? No, they would argue that there is nothing shameful about these circumstances and that living in the truth will set you free.

    Yet, birthmothers should stay in the closet! They need to be protected and hidden! Why? Because it protects the APs as we all know.

    Everyone knows being in the closet about anything is really driven by shame, fear, and societal misconceptions - birth mothers included. How sad that gays and others who advocate for social justice would fight so hard to keep birth mothers in the closet.

  9. Maryanne,
    I agree with every word you wrote! Thank you.

    @Denise, on the other side of what you wrote is the notion that if a woman is not 100% able to care for her child, alone and by her independent self, she is not worthy to raise it and would be better off surrendering. That is part of the mentality that cost so many of us our children.

    All of us, no matter what your political leanings, need help occasionally. I am on Social Security now. Does that make me a lesser person? Am I about to be a more moral person because for the first time in 2 years I will have health care benefits because of my husband's new job? I see some very great dangers in your statements, including that those who pay greater taxes are more worthy to parent than unmarried young women who are either temporarily or permanently out of work.

    To demonize others who need help is neither a left or right wing thing to do, but it certainly plays into the hands of those who earn their livings from adoption.

  10. Maryanne, I heartily concur. Besides, the self-entitled who adopt are very often from this elitist tier of society who got the breaks and feel they should have it all in deference to their achievements. Denise, I don't think your comment is appropriate to the subject. It is more political than it is social commentary.

  11. Lorraine, in reference to your post, mothers need to speak out for themselves, not just for the benefit of their surrendered children. ALL injustice needs to be addressed.

  12. Kitta here:

    Denise, I do not see a general view in the population that 'everything should be available to everybody'.

    However, I do see support for basic needs...adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care..made available for all citizens.These needs are life-and-death matters and spill over into the general population as well.

    Health care effects everyone.An unhealthy population spreads disease. This weakens everyone.

    Frankly, your term "productive" as applied to people comes straight out of Ayn Rand (you and I have had this discussion before.)

    I am not a fan of Ayn Rand.

    At some point, or points in life, all of us are un-productive.It is unrealistic to believe that voluntary charities-of-choice are going to take care of all people in need.

    Charities cannot be forced to take care of basic needs unless the law requires them to do so. Otherwise,they can pick and choose whom to help and how to help and what kind of help to offer.

    Voluntary charities are choosing whom to help now, and that is why so many of them are involved in adoption. They get gov't grant money as well.

    And it is unrealistic to believe that all economic/social problems can be solved by simply being 'productive."Life is long and complicated with many unforeseen circumstances....especially the ones that involve other people. We have less control than we think we do.

    If basic needs are met, for all citizens,then people don't have to worry about dying from starvation or finding shelter.

    in my opinion, having basic life needs met is a far cry from being over-entitled.

  13. Robin: Agreed, but we are so far from giving first mothers the right to abrogate the damn papers we signed under laws that gave us no choice, I'm talking here about accomplishing the possible, and whose needs to be addressed first: adoptees getting their original birth certificates.

  14. Next time I'm lobbying a gay legislator (whether in, out or suspected) who starts talking about why he opposes our bill, maybe I'll have the nerve to say: So what other groups of people do you support staying in the closet?

  15. Next time I'm lobbying a gay legislator (whether in, out or suspected) who starts talking about why he opposes our bill, maybe I'll have the nerve to say: So what other groups of people do you support staying in the closet?



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