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

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Talking about ancestry to an adoptee, Part 2

Path to the family tree...or trees?                         photo by Ken Robbins
What's the best way for a birth mother to talk about ancestors to the adoptee? What does "kinning" mean? There are two discussions going on under the last two posts, but they are about the same thing: family connections, whether adopted or biological.

Commenter Maryanne suggested that when birth mothers begin talking about the family ancestors to a relinquished child in reunion, one could use the word "my," if they appear to be uncomfortable with "your" ancestor, as this seemingly disavows the adopted family and ancestral line the individual has heard about, and accepted, growing up. We agree.

Friday, April 27, 2012

What does "ancestry" mean to an adoptee?

Jane and Family on White House Lawn
On April 9, my grandchildren, ages six and nine, my daughter (their aunt) who lives in Washington and I participated in the White House Easter Egg Roll. About 35,000 people attended the event which has been held annually since 1878.  Easter Egg Roll participants come in groups of several thousand and stay for two hours. Because our tickets were for the late afternoon, we did not see the President or the First Lady, who were there in the morning.

The event was much like a neighborhood festival held in a local park.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Adoption in the Netherlands is "undutch" while America's love affair with it continues

The Netherlands
Relinquishing a child for adoption in the Netherlands is considered "inhumane, unwomanly, undutch, not done," according to Theodore, one of First Mother Forum’s regular readers who comments frequently from across the pond.

As in Australia, England and Wales, adoption rates in the Netherlands are dramatically lower than in the US.* With a population of 16.7 million, one eighteenth that of the United States, the Netherlands has approximately 20 domestic infant adoptions each year compared to 15,000 domestic infant adoptions in the US. If Americans were relinquishing at the same rate as in the Netherlands, they would have given up a fraction of the babies relinquished today--a mere 360 babies, not 15,000.  Why the discrepancy, we wanted to know. Theodore filled us in.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

How adoption agencies 'turn' vulnerable women into spokespeople for relinquishing

Catelynn and Tyler, spokespeople for Bethany
Is adoption in America a business? Yes, it is a billion-dollar a year business. How do you get more babies to satisfy the customers, the prospective adoptive parents? How do you get other women to give up their babies? 

You get still-stunned mothers who have relinquished their children recently--brand new birth mothers to jump in and convince others that they too can do the "right" thing by giving up their children to better fixed folks. Catelynn and Tyler of Sixteen and Pregnant and Teen Mom

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shining the light on 'forced' adoption at home and elsewhere

Adoption or Abduction May 1
Spurred by recent events in Australia, Canada, and Spain, Dan Rather Reports produced a documentary, “Adopted or Abducted,” about forced adoption. Rather, a former CBS news anchor, and his staff interviewed first mothers women from around the world including Americans Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy (Faux Claud), Carol Schaefer, Karen Wilson Butterbaugh, and mothers featured in Ann Fessler’s The Girls Who Went Away.

“Adopted or Abducted” airs Tuesday, May 1 at 8 p.m. ET on HDnet. Readers can find their local channel by going to Dan Rather Reports, hitting subscribe and entering their zip code and selecting their cable provider.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Would-be Egg 'Donor' imagines a child growing up with genetic strangers

Why would you not donate your eggs?  The profit is great--$10,000!--the risk seems at first blush small (if inconvenient), and you seem... magnanimous. So why not do it?

An awareness of what is lost when there is not shared blood led one young woman, Simi Lampert,  to change her mind about selling her eggs. Calling her a donor is such BS the head spins. Yet what she became aware of as she considered marketing her eggs is exactly what is ignored in adoption: how being with genetic strangers marks one as different. The other. Not from the same stock. Together but separate. From "Why I Couldn’t Donate My Eggs" on Tablet, A New Read on Jewish Life:

"My siblings and I were raised by my mother, who was an only child, and my stepfather. One of the things about my childhood that’s always bothered me, something I wish could be different, is that my step-cousins never really felt like my cousins. (Emphasis added.)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

How a birth mother's No to adoption turned into a Yes

There is more yesterday regarding Bethany Christian Services (cough, cough)  and others who turn dazed new mothers who relinquished into recruiters, and so I am reposting her comment again for those who do not read the comments. See below the wonderful graphics---lorraine  

 unplanned pregnancy options

 From another give-up-your-baby-site...but guess what keeping your baby aka "youth parenting" looks like? Mopping the floor while clutching your child. Give him up and you are the happy college or high school grad. What me worry?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Former Bethany "recruiter" speaks up

First Mother Forum received this anonymous comment today, but it is too heart-breaking and revealing to leave to a comment that few will ever find. As I can hardly type for the time being* I thought I would post it because what this first mother writes about that occurred in the Eighties--when she relinquished--is still certainly happening today, as we have learned from following the Catelynn and Tyler story. So I am just posting this here today:
I relinquished through Bethany's "counselor" in the 80s. Just weeks later, I was recruited to speak on their behalf (on Q&A panels for potential adoptive couples).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Joyce Maynard's adoption "disruption"

Joyce Maynard’s writing—and thus her, because her writing is her—has always irritated me, perhaps irrationally. She was too famous for celebrating the banal. But when the news that she disrupted her adoption of two sisters from Ethiopia became public the other day, my reaction was not to rub my hands gleefully and think Aha! The great comeuppance for that navel gazer! Instead I hoped that her celebrity and this public admission about a disrupted adoption would help stem what often seems like the wholesale exportation of children from one part of the world to another by do-gooders of all political and religious stripes simply because they have more money.

Far too many of them think that they are doing something noble by taking these poor children from the over-crowded orphanage where they find them. People in my large social net have adopted from Guatemala, China, India, Nepal, Romania, and Russia. In truth, I am not close to many of them. And it is undoubtedly true that in many cases, they are saving a child from an uncertain and perilous future and giving them a home in which to flourish.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

After the birth mother/adoptee reunion: Dealing with rejection all over again

Jane and Lorraine in Sag Harbor, circa 1996
The reaction to the post about my daughter that have stayed with me were with ones from first mothers whose children, now found, are not speaking to them. I mentioned the lapses in my relationship with my  own daughter's at the end of the previous post, Remembering my daughter on her birthday.

I usually don't write about her not talking to me much now because it's obviously no longer an issue. She is gone. I don't cry anymore because she won't speak to me; I have cried plenty, but now she cannot speak to me, except in dreams.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Remembering my daughter on her birthday

Jane and Lorraine, 7/25/83  NYTimes photo
Today is my daughter's birthday, but of course the correct syntax is "would have been" her birthday if she had not died in 2007. What runs through my mind in crazy seemingly random fashion are images of the two of us together: the second time you came off the plane to visit Tony, my husband, and me in New York. You were planning to spend the summer with us. What a surprise to see that you had lightened your mousy blond hair (that was so like my mousy blond) to look a lot more like mine! Highlighted! Yes, I was thrilled to see that. You were my daughter, through and through. Was that the visit that we went to the Statue of Liberty and were the first off the boat from Manhattan and first up the stairs as we scrambled up to the crown? We both enjoyed that, and joked about it over the years.

I see us hanging out downtown in Sag Harbor, at the pier, with our first dog, Fred, a friendly female lab, and just, well, just enjoying the view with the water, the boats, the sunshine and reveling in being with each other, after so many years apart.

Monday, April 2, 2012

What can you write about adoption? And what is off limits?

Lorraine and her new accessory
What are the limits of what one can write about in regards to adoption personally, since after all, in writing anything at all, you are writing about at least one other person, possibly more. It's an issue that has come up not only at First Mother Forum but other blogs--and now The Huffington Post.

Last week a brave adoptive mother, Dina McQueen, wrote a revealing post about her four-year-old daughter from Ethiopia. In it she wrote of how, since McQueen had video of the girl's birth mother bringing the daughter, now named Aster, to the drop off, the little girl wanted to watch the video over and over and over again, and how she became inconsolable for a brief time after--though it seemed long to Mother McQueen. I forget exactly what the girl, Aster, called her video but it had some version of "birth mother" in it. Eventually, with time, love and patience, McQueen was able to calm the girl down and the post ended with the girl, at least for the time being, able to move on with her American mother to a sweet resolution.