' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: March 2012
Join Lorraine in Indianapolis! She will be opening the IAN conference on Friday morning. See details on sidebar.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What are the happy birth moms celebrating?

Note: For those coming here from Tyler Baltierra's Tweet, we have answered his rant against us and published it at a current post:   Tyler of 16 and Pregnant Tells FMF Off!
 (Below is the original post that he first responded to)
 November 18, 2012 8:39 AM

Open adoption or keeping the baby? We know that while overall very few teens--around one percent*--give up their babies for adoption anywhere anymore, the United States is far ahead of other developed nations in this regard. This is not a statistic to be cheering about--even if the impact of giving up a child in a fully open adoption does not lead to the depth of sorrow that we mothers from closed adoptions have dealt with. This is the perceived wisdom of those who compare the effect of closed adoptions versus open adoptions on the mothers who relinquish their children.

In the recent Donaldson report, Openness in Adoption, the authors state that the degree of openness generally does not affect their level of behavioral or socio-emotional adjustment [to being adopted]. The Minnesota-Texas Adoption Research Project study found, however, that higher degrees of collaboration in the adoptive kinship network [emphasis added] were associated with better

Monday, March 26, 2012

No Matter How Adoption is Done, Grief Remains for Mothers

“Putting an end to secrecy in adoption does not erase the grief or loss embedded in the adoption experience” according to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute March, 2012 report, Openness in Adoption: From Secrecy and Stigma to Knowledge and Connections. With that caveat, the institute strongly endorses openness in adoption because "ending secrecy empower(s) participants by providing them with information and access so they can face and deal with facts instead of fantasies.”

IF adoption is necessary, we at First Mother Forum concur that openness is not only better but essential in voluntary infant adoptions.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Update on state bills and meet my new constant companion

Lorraine yesterday in her sling, named Herman the Terminator
To update on all the noxious state bills regarding contraception and abortion that I wrote about in the last post: Some--if not most--of them have been tabled as women like us have pushed backed---in the state legislatures, on television, on Facebook, and on blogs. Many of the governors and legislators do have Facebook pages that were pretty lame until this got started; women have burned up some of the pages and the legislators have either taken theirs down or not let others comment. 

Meanwhile, in New York, we may actually be making progress on our clean bill this year. By clean I mean that it would give all adult adoptees their original birth certificates upon request. No birth parent veto.  When I get back from my "therapy evaluation" this morning, I'll be pecking out a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, explaining why pushing our bill (and without him, we can't get traction) is good politics across the nation. Cuomo wants to be president, make no mistake--and I want to let him know that backing our bill would be noticed by the adoptee constituency throughout America. If you have a connection to adoption in New York, please write to Cuomo, your local legislators, or Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. We need letters from first mothers, adoptees, adoptive parents. This is an equal opportunity effort. For more on the bill, see Unsealed Initiative, led by the tireless Joyce Bahr, a first mother. The letter you write might make the difference.

Well, above is how I look these days. Not photoshopped, no skill with blow dryer, no makeup. Au naturel. (And have you seen the ridiculous phot-shopped pix of Demi Moore for Helena Rubinstein? She's pushing 50, right? but looks 20. ) As for news of the limb in question, it will be months before it's up and running, good as can be. But I can nearly dress myself--but closing the bra strap is quite a while away. Apparently recovery will be months long, and how quickly I gain use of my limb again depends on how faithfully I do the exercises. So far, so good. Can't even drive, obviously, like this!

Jane is working on a new post reacting to the Donaldson report on open adoption and will be here soon.

So it goes.--lorraine

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Conceived in rape, but joined by a daughter's love

Katherine (Kathy) Stockton was born in 1960, blind, severely retarded, and physically disabled because her mother, Linda, contracted German measles early in her pregnancy.* Linda and her husband, Dale, divorced and Linda was left to care for Kathy and Kathy's older sister alone.

Following  doctors’ advice, Linda placed Kathy at Fairview Hospital and Training Center in Salem, Oregon. Fairview, opened in 1907 as the State Institution for the Feeble-Minded, was a hell hole when Kathy entered and was little better by 1979 when Kathy’s daughter, Amanda Campbell, was conceived through rape.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Improved reproductive technology: Will it reduce the demand for infants??

An essay in Portland Oregonian, "Grim message in fertility 'gain'" about the downside of improvements in fertility technology caught my eye. To Bonnie Rough, a Seattle writer and author of Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA, research finding that women could create new eggs via stem cells can be interpreted as "yet another attempt to fit women's reproductive lives into an unnatural stress system" where motherhood is dictated by the demands of the workplace. What leaped out at me was that the reasons women postpone trying to conceive are the same reasons other women give for giving up their babies. In spite of all the rhetoric we're hearing during this election season about helping America's working families, the fact is, our work places are not child-friendly.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"The Rescuer's Path"

Something about being a birth mother compels up to tell our stories. While many tell their stories in memoirs, first mother Paula Friedman has woven her birth mother experience into a piece of fiction; adoption is the vehicle for universal themes of acquiescence and conviction, love and loss, separation and reconciliation.

The Rescuer’s Path begins in Nixon-era Washington DC. Fifteen year old Malca Bernovski rides a horse through a park and discovers a severely wounded fugitive—antiwar leader Gavin Hareen, prime suspect in the bombing of an Army truck which killed three people.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Choice is largely a myth when it comes to relinquishing a child

"Julia,"* a 30-year-old married professional woman who learned her husband was having an affair gave up her new born son for adoption, a story that we have been writing about in the last two posts.  We wrote critically of her decision, but back tracked somewhat, recognizing that Julia was more sinned against than sinning. “Anonymous” commented that Julia was “a woman who has freely chosen to surrender, evidently was not forced to this choice. … Whatever happened to the concept of informed choice, even when another person's choice is not the one you wish you had made?” (Emphasis added.)

Since the infant adoption system in the U.S. does little to assure that mothers surrendering their babies are informed about the consequences, it's almost certain that Julia did not make an informed choice as Barbara Thavis, one of First Mother Forum readers, commented:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mea Culpa to Julia and others who give up their babies today

I've taken some heat for being so harsh towards Julia* in the not-quite-infamous story in February Elle about being 30, a divorcing attorney, and getting pregnant with your husband just before you find out he is more than knee-deep into an affair with another woman who has no idea he is married. I was hard on poor "Julia," I admit. Reading the story was really triggering for me as this woman seemed to have the resources--family, friends, a husband in name--to keep her baby.

But she chose not to. And I said something that was well, quite brutal. I've been lambasted at alt.adoption on Facebook by someone who is screaming about "her choice" and more sympathetic but questioning comments have been left at the previous post for not being more understanding to a woman in a difficult situation that I certainly can understand.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The saddest story of all: Opting for adoption today

Not an adoptive mother
"Julia [the mother] left the hospital the next day without stopping in the nursery—the baby was in an incubator because he was five weeks early—but a few days later, she took a friend’s advice to visit her son to say goodbye in real life. 'My gut reaction was not to do it, but I drove to the hospital when I knew no one else was going to be there. And I just bawled uncontrollably as he slept. It was the worst thing I’ve done in my entire life.'"
That's from a story in February Elle about Julia,* 30, who decides to give up her child for adoption because: her husband was having an affair. Because she decides to divorce him. Because she did not want to raise a child alone, even though she had the support of her mother, who offered to take her in and help with the baby. And who is Julia?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Finding babies through Facebook. And your manicurist. And....

“Loving professional couple looking to adopt newborn. We want to build our family through adoption with love, laughter, fun and passion.” A typical baby wanted ad except that it appeared on Seth Edlavitch’s Facebook page according to "Adopting Through Facebook" on Parenting.com rather than the Sunday classifieds or The Penny Saver. 

Seth’s friends passed the notice along via the social media and voila! A friend of a friend called Seth about the pregnant wife of one her employees, Lisa. She and her husband had several children and wanted to place this baby for adoption. Seth and his wife, Melissa Segal, met Lisa; they hit it off immediately. Lisa had the qualities they wanted: her children were happy and healthy and she passed drinking, smoking, and other health tests.