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

Monday, November 28, 2011

Natural and Adoptive Families: Let's Gather Together

This holiday season families will gather together, give thanks for having each other, and wish each other well for the New Year.  Except many families separated by adoption.

As a culture, we’ve made great progress in traversing divisions of race, class, religion, and geography. Surely, we can cross the adoption boundary, knock down that artificial barrier created by a judge’s signature on a piece of paper, celebrated with a baptism or cemented in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple.  Let’s bring our families together, natural and adopted, conceptually, if not physically.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Being grateful for what is, not always wishing for what isn't...

Lorraine and Tony celebrating their 25th anniversary
Chance favors the prepared mind said Pasteur and it seemed that way this morning as I read Tuesday's New York Times Science section and came across this headline: "A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day." After the gloom of the last post when I was admittedly down in the dumps myself, this sounded promising:  A new study shows that cultivating a feeling of gratitude has been linked "to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life, and kinder behavior towards others, including romantic partners." The study also found that feeling grateful makes people less likey to turn aggressive when provoked.

Well, good god, let's do some of that!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Is the Adoptee/(birth) mother reunion ever (re)solved?

Evelyn Robinson
"When I talk to people about the loss of my son, they sometimes ask why I want to 'take up the past' and why didn't I let 'sleeping dogs lie.' When you give birth to a child, especially when that child still lives, that child does not exist in the past, but in the present. Once you have given birth, you are that child's mother and you will always be a mother, no matter what. Being a mother never ends; it is never in the past. There is no such thing as an ex-mother.

"Natural mothers have spent their lives apologizing. We apologized for getting pregnant, but we were not the only people having sexual relationships. We apologized for giving away our babies, but we were told by everyone that it was the right thing to do for our children. We apologized for missing our children, but it was a perfectly natural reaction for missing our children. Some mothers are still apologizing for wanting to find their lost children. It is time we stopped apologizing. It is right for us to search for our children, We are mothers, after all.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thinking of Placing Your Baby for Adoption? Think very hard.

photo/ lamb white
Should you give your baby up for adoption? 


The truth is according to child welfare experts that in most cases staying with you, his mother, is the best for your child.

Your body is preparing for your baby to come into the world and preparing you to care for him. Your breasts will produce antibodies to help your baby ward off disease, antibodies that he can only get from your milk. Once your baby is here, all your instincts will tell you to nurture him. In fact, your body at birth releases a hormone (oxytocin) to assure that you will bond with your baby, and be flooded with love for him.

Your baby knows your voice; your scents, your movements. When he is born, he wants to be with you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Adoption Nation is No Country for Birth Mothers

Adam Pertman’s Adoption Nation: (second edition) is a grateful adoptive parent’s accolade to adoption disguised as a treatise. Pertman is the often quoted Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute,
but he doesn’t get it when it comes to birth mothers. As in the first edition, Pertman gives lip service to first/birth mothers’ pain but quickly diverts the readers’ attention to the stories of a handful of women who become “true believers in adoption” with “no regrets.” As a first mother reading this book, I could not forget that Pertman is an adoptive father of two.

Pertman minimizes the pressures and in some cases the outright corruption which cause mothers in the United States and abroad to lose their children. In his zest for all things adoption, he ignores the opinion of recognized child welfare experts--including that of his employer, the Donaldson Institute, that “”Every society, including our own, accepts that it is generally in the best interests of children to be raised by their biological parents unless they cannot or do not wish to.“*

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sandusky is not alone in abusing adopted children

"Adoption, that's an opportunity to enrich your own life and hopefully enrich the life of another. It's been a very positive experience for us. A kid is a kid. Sometimes it's easier to deal with kids who don't have your own genes."--Jerry Sandusky (NO RELATION!) in a 2001 story in the Philadelphia Daily News. The occasion was the publication of Sandusky's book, Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story, and sport columnist Stan Hochman was writing a "positive piece about a guy helping disadvantaged kids." The story continues:

"Jerry  and Dottie Sandusky adopted six kids of their own, [emphasis added] while helping thousands of others through The Second Mile, a charitable foundation he organized." As we know today, Sandusky is the Penn State assistant football coach accused of multiple counts of sexually abusing young boys over a 15 year period, and that university officials covered up the scandal for years.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Letter to (Birth) Mothers Who Reject Reunion

My birth mother doesn't respond/ why does my birth mother reject contact/ birth mother rejects contact... must be among the saddest words on earth to type into Google. And then the person finds First Mother Forum and we are all about wanting a solid, good, reasonable relationship with the children we relinquished, and we are torn apart when they reject us. Or put us through what seem like unreasonable paces.

Carrie, an adoptee who found FMF the other day, wanted to know why some mothers reject contact from the children they gave up for adoption, as her mother did. Carrie's not the only one to face this, as we've heard this many times before. Every time my friend who is a confidential intermediary in a partially "open" state is in the middle of a search-and-reunion, she expresses fear that one side or the other will reject contact, and she cannot pass on the contact information. Carrie asked if I would write a letter to all those first/birth mothers who reject contact and reunion. It's a hard assignment because I'm not in their mind set, but here goes:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Adopted children killed by their parents as they "train" them

Spare the rod and spoil the child goes the old adage, but in today's post we change it to: Spare the rod and SAVE the child. 

The front page of The New York Times carries a story about a simple preacher from Tennessee, Michael Pearl, who with his wife, Debi, has sold more than 670,000 copies of his self-published book, To Train Up a Child. Train is another word for corporal punishment. Christian websites and magazines are all atwitter over To Train Up a Child. They love it, and so do, apparently, parents who home school their children.

Trouble is, some kids in families who have To Train Up a Child are dying because the use of the rod (and switch, and a quarter-inch plumbing line that can be rolled up and carried in one's pocket for immediate use). And you know what? The ones reported on the Times piece are all: Adopted. Many from Africa.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Joan Didion's Blue Nights is really an adoption memoir

Joan Didion's adoption of her daughter Quintana Roo has been on my radar ever since I realized she and her husband had adopted a daughter because their daughter was born within weeks of mine, and both girls were surrendered as infants. It wasn't until Quintana was ten or eleven that I paid more attention because one of my best friends in New York, who followed the lives of literati with interest, began insisting that this girl Quintana had to look a great deal as I must have as a child.

It was true. Except for the fact that I was a bean pole growing up, she did seem to me (and most assuredly to my friend) that she looked like I did as a kid. Photographs bore this out. Quintana was often mentioned in the magazine stories about her famous parents, including her age, and just as my daughter turned eleven, so had Quintana.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Should I tell my (adopted) child she's adopted?

Same-size Lorraine and real daughter Jane
You would think that the old and tired question of whether to tell your ''adopted" child she or he was adopted would have gone the way of Fifties Poodle skirts and Sixties love beads. But you would be wrong.

Over at Salon the guy who writes the advice column "Since You Asked" finds himself responding to an I-own-this-remarkable-kid-adoptive-mother who basically asks if her daughter ever need to be told the truth of her origins, and oh,. how she is wrestling with this question. (This issue of truth in identity must be in the air because yesterday's column idea--about daddies--seemed to come to me out of the blue.)

Are you friggen' kidding me? In this day and age?

Why not wait until some truth-telling cousin spills the beans? Or your best friend's daughter who is friends with your  daughter, and who has heard her adoption spoken of at home, blurts out the

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Biological Fathers everywhere hiding in plain sight

Did anyone come around your house saying "trick or treat" and pretending to be a biological father in hiding last night?

Thought so.

I wish I didn't know that a few of my friends fathered children they do not acknowledge but it's true. I always find it disturbing when they reveal the truth to me because it's something I don't want to know. Call it TMI. There's the father whose child was adopted and when the birth mother called him asking for help in finding the son, he said no. He didn't go into the details, but I assume she was asking him for money to hire a searcher. This is a man who could have afford a thousand bucks easy. We've never talked about it again. He has a strong and