' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: October 2011
Join Lorraine in Indianapolis! She will be opening the IAN conference on Friday morning. See details on sidebar.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween ushers in National Adoption Awareness Month

November is National Adoption Month, ushered in prophetically by Halloween, a harbinger that adoption is not all treats. In fact, it can be downright demoniac. A reminder! Today, Halloween, is the last day you can vote for your favorite Demons in Adoption. There’s a stellar list of nominees; if you haven’t cast your ballot, do it now at Pound Puppy Legacy. (And see our previous post about our favorites to vote for--and scroll down and vote in all three categories.)

Back to National Adoption Month. NAM had its beginning in 1976 when Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced Adoption Week to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in foster care.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Steve Jobs’ mother didn’t abandon him, nor did she 'make an adoption plan'


Steve Jobs “was born out of wedlock and abandoned” Steve Kroft stated on 60 Minutes. If Kroft had been schooled in the adoption industry's “Positive/Respectful Adoption Language," he might have phrased it differently, Jobs’ mother Joanne Schieble (later Simpson) “made an adoption plan.”

Simpson did not abandon her son (although according to Jobs’s  biographer, Walter Isaacson, Job felt abandoned). Nor is it likely that Simpson "made an adoption plan." Most likely, Simpson surrendered her son for adoption as single white mothers were expected to do in 1955. She cared about him enough that she insisted his adoptive parents agree to send him to college.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Job's adoption was a pivotal factor in his life

"If there was one trauma that persisted throughout much of his life, and which seems somehow connected to his extreme behavior, it was the effect of his adoption," according to the new biography of Steve Jobs, as reported in the Washington Post with Bloomberg Business this morning. Based on reading an advance copy of the new biography, the response was to a question asked by someone who knew Jobs: Why was he so mean?

Biographer Walter Isaacson was given complete control over the content of the book after Jobs asked him to be his biographer, and so it was not subject to Jobs's editing, and thus the answer above. From the Post:
At the age of 6 or 7, Jobs told the girl who lived across the street that he was adopted and she asked if that meant his “real parents didn’t want you.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

Steve Jobs Did Meet His Father--without knowing it

Steve Jobs’ biological father, Abdul Fattah Jandali, shown here with Joanne Carol Schieble, Jobs’ biological mother, never met his famous son. The 80-year-old Jandali, a Syrian immigrant from Homs, lives and works in the U.S. state of Nevada. (Photo courtesy Al Arabiya)
Steve Jobs’ biological father, Abdul Fattah Jandali, shown here with Joanne Carol Schieble, Jobs’ biological mother, (Photo courtesy Al Arabiya) See new details in the post today, Saturday, Oct. 22.

In the category of you couldn't make this stuff up--Steve Jobs did meet his father--and neither knew they they were father and son! This is a snippet of the new biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, today gleaned from the Huffington Post
Meeting His Biological Father
Jobs, who was adopted, was a customer at a Mediterranean restaurant north of San Jose without realizing that it was owned by his biological father -- from whom he was estranged.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Adoptive mothers bully birth mothers--what else is new?

Lorraine and Daughter Jane in matching shoes
Whenever I think that adoption and the animosity that some adoptive parents feel towards their children's natural birth biological parents has abated in the years since I first got involved in adoption reform, something happens to set me straight. In the minds of many adoptive parents, nothing has changed since the Seventies. We are two warring sides of the "adoption triangle" with the kid caught in the middle. 

The acrimonious push back--from a few adoptive mothers--that fellow blogger Jane's recent post on two mothers who have truly open adoptions* generated indicates the amount of jealousy and tension has not gone down--at least for the vocal crowd of Adopters Anonymous who decided to come to FIRST MOTHER FORUM and throw bricks at both adoptees and mothers who lost their children to adoption. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Adoption is Not Gleeful; Fox's hit show tells it like it is

An adoptive mother who finds the adoption plot lines on Glee so offensive has started a petition asking for a Public Service Announcement that would offset the "harmful inaccuracies" the show perpetuates. Really, we wondered when we first heard if this--after all the inaccurate and nasty portrays of first/birth parents we've seen. What does this woman find so offensive on the Fox teen hit, FMF wondered.

It's about a birth mother who wants her child back. Quelle surprise! A cheerleader, Quinn (played by Diane Argon), is a birth mother who wants to get her child back from the adoptive mother; another character (born by surrogate) has had her real mother come back into her life. Well! How outrageous is that!?!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Is adoption ever funny to the adopted, to first mothers?

The inglorious New York Times Op-Ed Page today has a story about adoption! You might think that it might at at long last a piece about the continuing battle to open the vaults where the original birth certificates (OBC) of adoptees are still locked up in the vast majority of states--but NO! It's a spoof from someone named James Collins about how the writer is the biological father of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and billionaire behind Facebook, and alas, how said father needs a heart-lung-liver transplant and asks if Mark wouldn't mind sending him a big check to help out.

The piece makes the nod to the adoptive father as the lifelong, long suffering caregiver who provided food and shelter, but points out that he is not the father " in the sense that you [Zuckerberg] are his authentic, natural child." Okay, I admit I smiled at that--at the language, at the choice of non-PC words.

Friday, October 14, 2011

How to make an Open Adoption work

Linda Schellentrager is a remarkable adoptive mother I met at the Coordinators2 Symposium in September in Richmond, Virginia. Remarkable because she accepts that she’s a second mother. A second mother not in the sense that she is subordinate--she has been the fulltime mother in every sense of the word--but that she is another mother, an additional mother to the one that her son was born to.

This was not the case in 1992 when Linda and her husband, Marty, adopted  a newborn boy they named Eric. While they met Eric’s first/birth parents, sixteen-year old Laura and eighteen-year old Justin, shortly before they took Eric home, they did not have an open-adoption agreement.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Steve Jobs, Mona Simpson, and Paternity: It's all in the family

How history repeats itself in families in so many ways. In the family of Steve Jobs, we know that he was adopted, and though he found his natural family, he also "abandoned" his own daughter, Lisa, who was the daughter of his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Chris-Ann Brennan, since high school.

    Lisa Brennan-Jobs
    Lisa Brennan-Jobs: Look like dad much?
    Job's father, Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, did not marry his pregnant girlfriend in grad school, Joanne Schieble, because her father was opposed her marrying an Arab, and so Jobs ended up being given up for adoption. When Jobs was 23, his­­ on again/off again girlfriend Brennan gave birth to a daughter, Lisa in 1978. Jobs denied paternity for two years--while the mother and daughter were on welfare--even going so far as to swear in court documents that he could not be Lisa's father because he was "sterile and infertile, and as a result thereof, did not have the physical capacity to procreate a child." (He has three other children with his wife of twenty years.)

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    A Child of War Discovers 'Dad' Killed Her Parents

    The difference between truth and reality in an adoptee's life comes crashing down on all adoptees who grow up not knowing the truth, but few with such harsh reality as that of Victoria Montenegro. She grew up as the daughter of the man who tortured and killed her parents. This happened during the civil strife in Argentina, it happened in the Seventies and early Eighties, when the military dictatorship ruled, the Catholic Church stood by and did nothing as babies were taken from the parents in clandestine detention centers and handed over to military or security officials, or even third parties. The new parents were supposed to hide the true identities of the babies. (Yesterday's New York Times* reported the story.)

    Ms. Montenegro, now 35, grew up as the daughter of Col. Hernan Tetzlaff, first learned there might be a possibility that her father was involved in baby stealing

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Like father, like son...John Jandali and Steve Jobs

    Like father, like son ... John Jandali and Steve
    Jandali and Jobs
    Before his death earlier this week, Steve Jobs and his natural father never met, according to news reports. Abdulfattah "John" Jandali--Jobs's biological father--earlier expressed regret over having no relationship with his son and said that he hoped to meet him before he died, as Jane wrote about recently here.* But apparently his pride prevented him from picking up the phone and calling Jobs. 

    Jobs's natural parents, Syrian-born student Jandali and graduate student Joanne Schieble, married ten months after Jobs was given up for adoption in 1955, and had a daughter, the author Mona Simpson.

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Vote for your favorite Demon in Adoption!

    Lorraine's Desk
    It's that time of year again. Time to consider all the really bad agencies and people who promote adoption in way that we, Dear Reader, find despicable, immoral and unethical. It's time to vote for the annual Demons In Adoption Awards to raise a voice against adoption propaganda and the self congratulatory practices of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's annual Angels in Adoption Awards.

    This is the brainchild of the Pound Pup Legacy blog, as its creators noticed that many of the recipients of the Angels in Adoption Awards have nothing to do

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    How the media encouarges separation of mother and child

    The cover story of New York magazine last week was titled: "Is She Just too Old for This?" and showed a freakish and obviously photo-shopped picture of a very pregnant woman in her, hmmm...late sixties. The story eventually went on to say that old motherhood is great and as long as it's possible, go for it, if that is what you want. There are a lot of bothersome issues about having kids at an age that they will be taking care of senile parents while they are in college or right after, but that's not what caught my attention. Here's one issue that did:
    "Among women over 40, birth rates have increased. Among women ages 45 to 49, they've risen 17 percent....Women over 45 who want to carry their own babies most often use donor eggs...."