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

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Part two: Navigating the first meeting between birth mother and child

A continuation of Sunday's post (June 24, 2012) about how best to manage and survive a first-time meeting with your surrendered son or daughter.

As we noted in the first section of this double-post on reunions between mothers and their surrendered children, you may spend some time sight-seeing if either of you have come a long distance to see the other. But that can turn out to be expensive, and the question of who pays for what can be a tricky one. While you, the mother, may feel as if it is your job to pick up all the costs--event tickets, meals, transportation--just like a parent, that may not be the best course of action. Your newly found son or daughter may feel that taking gifts implies a continued relationship--just as in a courtship--and he or she may be not sure if that is how they want to proceed, and feel that the gifts of tickets, expensive meals, whatever, places him under more obligation than he feels comfortable with. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Navigating the first meeting between birth mother and child

Jane and her surrendered daughter, Rebecca, connected soon after Rebecca's 31st birthday in November, 1997. They corresponded via email and telephone and agreed to meet over the Martin Luther King holiday in January, 1998. At the time, Jane lived in Salem, Oregon and Rebecca in suburban Chicago. It seemed best that Jane come to Rebecca's home because, with a husband and three young children, it would be difficult for her to get away.

Jane was slow to exit the plane when it landed at O’Hare, her heart racing; her breathing labored, her legs unwilling to move. The crowd had cleared by the time Jane stepped into the waiting area. This was before the 9/11 security precautions when people meeting arriving passengers could still come to the gate. She searched for a familiar face although she did not know what Rebecca looked like; they had not exchanged photographs.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father wins right to fight for his daughter in Michigan legislature

Fighting Father Daniel Quinn
On this Father’s Day, First Mother Forum again salutes a father who fought for the right to nurture his child. Michigan father Daniel Quinn Maeleigh sired a daughter, Maeleigh, with Candance Beckwith who was married to--but separated from--Adam Beckwith. He supported his daughter for two years until Candance and Adam reconciled and moved with Maeleigh to Kentucy.

Quinn sued asking a court to grant him paternal rights. Court ordered blood test showed Quinn was the Maeleigh's father. But that wasn't the end of it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An adoptive mother speaks: Why adoptive parents resist reunions

"Raising an adopted child is not like raising a biological child" adoptive mother "Gale"  wrote to First Mother Forum. After years of infertility, Gale and her husband adopted domestically a girl, now 19, and a boy, now 17, as infants. Gale, a nurse and writer who lives in Atlanta, asked us at FMF for advice about her son who wanted to meet his birth mother. We suggested working with a counselor to contact the birth mother and, if she was agreeable to meeting the boy, to encourage the birth mother to put aside any issues she may have and work together as a team for the boy's benefit.

She thanked us and went on to write: "Also, since I know you and [fellow blogger]Lorraine are devoted to helping adoptees and birth mothers, I’d like to offer an adoptive parent perspective ... that may help you understand when adoptive parents are resistant [to reunions]." We eagerly accepted her offer and post her email here.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Two mothers. Birth and Adoptive

Две матери. Мать приемная и родная


Readers, use your imagination and tell the story behind this picture. What happened? What's going to happen?

The title of the picture, painted in 1906 by Vladimir Makovsky, translates literally from the Russian to "Two of the mother. His mother and foster native." Others have called it "Two mothers. Native mother and stepmother" and "Two mothers. Birth and Adoptive."

Makovsky (1846-1920) was a critic of Russian aristocracy and "stood uncompromisingly on the side of oppressed people. After the October 1917 Revolution, Makovsky helped carry over the realist traditions to the early stages of Socialist Realism" the purpose of which was to further the goals of socialism and communism (Wikipedia).

Jane and Lorraine

Vladimir Makovsky

Friday, June 8, 2012

First Family Bashing: A sport for some adoptees

First Family Basher Lisa Lutz
Our mothers always said “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” It seems too often, though, that adoptees either didn't hear this or somehow internalized that the rule didn't apply to their first mothers, those selfless individuals who loved them so much that they – well you know.

Lisa Lutz joins a gaggle of literary adoptees, which includes B. J. Lifton, A. M. Homes, and Amy Dean, who find what they see as seriously deficient birth parents and feel free to tell the world of their sorry genetic origins.

Lutz, the author of a series of detective novels featuring a sleuthing family, writes about her reunion with her birth parents in the “Lives” section of the May 6 issue of The New York Times Magazine, “Where Did I Come From?" The online version adds the title "I Found My Biological [not natural, real, birth, first, but the icy biological] Parents and Wish I Hadn't."

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why Be Normal When You Could Be Jeanette Winterson?

Jeanette Winterson 02.JPG
Winterson in Warsaw, 2005
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal is the title of a scrupulously honest and soul-baring memoir by the acclaimed British writer, Jeanette Winterson, who was adopted not by a loving "forever family" but by a crazed, larger-than-life Pentecostal woman who hated sex, force-fed the Bible on her brilliant, rebellious daughter, and kept a gun in the dresser as she waited for Armageddon.

What about this daughter that seemed to have no earthly (or heavenly) relationship to the woman the world knew as her mum? Well, as her adoptive mother--almost always called the distancing Mrs. Winterson or Mrs. W.,--used to say when Jeanette angered her: "The Devil led us to the wrong crib." That's on the first page. Hold on, you're in for a bumpy ride.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Edwards Expresses love for 'love child' Quinn

Frances Quinn Hunter Pic

John Edwards' mistrial may seem a bit off topic but there is that baby, Quinn, who looms behind it all. And that kid--conceived out of marriage, conceived in "sin"--grabs at my heart. No baby, no problem this size of this doozy that has been in the national spotlight for months. And while you may disparage John Edwards, I found reason to feel good about the statement he made yesterday to the press after the mistrial was announced. As The New York Times put it:

"And to the surprise of many, he expressed his love for the daughter he had with Ms. [Rielle] Hunter, 'my precious Quinn,' whom 'I love more than any of you could ever imagine.'"

Well, damn. Good for you, John Edwards. You didn't forget her in this most public of moments.

I have been more interested than most in the vicissitudes of this story as, in my day, I could be compared to Rielle in the broadest of ways: I was the younger woman who had an affair with a married man I worked alongside, and "got caught," in the language of the times back then.