' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: When all else fails, call us 'bitter and angry' first mothers

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When all else fails, call us 'bitter and angry' first mothers

First Mother Forum has been getting flack from adoptive mothers and first mothers over what they claim to be our position on adoption and our characterizations of them. We're flattered we've caught their attention. Attacks are the harbinger of change.

We're also distressed because what our critics write is simply not true. We haven't denigrated all adoptive mothers or called them names as they accuse us of doing. Contrary to what they write, we are not against all adoption; in truth we have praised adoption as a loving act for a child who needs a family. (See What We Think About Adoption, link below)

We are sure these critics mean well; they have accepted the truthiness--that what they feel must be true!--of adoption as a GOOD THING, as close to Godliness as one can get. They truly believe that by giving up her baby to biological strangers, a young woman can improve her life while being assured that her child is well taken care of, that being raised by biological strangers allows a child to grow up in a stable two-parent home rather than an abusive home or orphanage, and that by raising another woman's child, a couple unable or unwilling to have a child naturally can form a family. Undoubtedly, in some cases these are true.

But in many they aren't. That's where FMF comes in. The truth is that adoption can tear families apart needlessly. Mothers who could raise their children are induced into giving them up through slick marketing, fabricated research, and false promises of openness. Others lose their children through shaming, lack of resources, or out and out kidnapping. Fathers lose their children through unconscionable adoption laws.

A handful of first mothers post comments insisting that they did the right thing, that they were not worthy of raising their own child. Ironically, their words belie them, showing them to be intelligent, articulate young women, capable of nurturing a child. We predict that eventually they will experience the hard truth of what they lost, what reunion will not fix.

We know these things through our own experiences and the countless comments from first mothers attesting to the ways that they were manipulated into relinquishing their children. We've received pleas for help from mothers desperate to get their children back, often within as few days of surrender. We've followed media reports of fathers fruitlessly seeking return of their children. We've reported numerous times on adoption corruption in China, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Guatemala, and other countries, and so have other sources, such as CNN, ABC, PBS, all the major news outlets.

But many who hold up adoption as basic good despite known corruption and other problems for the family of origin dismiss this evidence or treat it as irrelevant. They argue that no matter how egregious the conduct of an adoption agency, the child is better off. The truth is that growing up with biological strangers affects children negatively in many ways. As many adoptees who have commented here have stated, they ache to know why their own mother gave them away. They suffer from not being around people who look or think like them. They miss their birth families. A sad lament we read at FMF is encompassed in this recent comment: Even in open adoption where everyone is happy-dappy, I can't imagine a child not saying, "Why did she give me up?" In the worst cases, adopted children are abused or killed.

Critics dismiss these truths by pointing out that children can suffer at the hands of their natural parents. Adoption promises more though; adoptive homes are sold as better than, not just as good as, natural homes. Adoption experts agree that children should be raised with their natural families if possible; the corollary is that adoptive homes should be more than better, to outweigh the damage, the primal wound, that adoption inflicts.

We're accused of not providing factual information about adoption, We frequently cite research developed by child welfare experts with close ties to adoption, the Donaldson Adoption Institute; the Child Welfare League of America; Anne Babb, Ph.D.; David Brodzinsky, Ph.D.; Arthur Sorosky, M.D.; Marshall Schechter, M.D.; Robin Marantz, Annette Baran, M.S.W.; Reuben Pannor, M.S.W.; Nancy Verrier, M.A.; Johanna Oreskovic, J.D., Trish Maskew, J.D., and the late professor John Triseliotis, OBE who studied adoption for more than two decades. These are not half-cocked, "bitter and angry" first/birth mothers as we are accused of being; they are respected doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social critics, social workers, and attorneys who have examined the impact of adoption on the people most directly impacted by the discordant, the mothers who bear the children and those children. We cite research from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Richard Wexler of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, law professor Elizabeth Samuelson, respected journalist E. J. Graf, and psychologist David Kirschner. We analyze and quote from research papers published in respected medical and psychosocial journals. We've referenced memoirs by those who live adoption, that is, the adoptees themselves, such as B. J. Lifton, Patrick McMahon, Peter Dodds, Jane Jeong Trenka, and others. We've included statistics from HHS, England and Wales, The Netherlands, and Australia. We've used media reports to write about specific cases. We've provided anecdotal evidence from employees of adoption agencies and adoption attorneys.

Adoption in the United States is big business, funded by the frustrated desires of would-be parents. The truth is that desirable children are valuable commodities, and their exchange from natural mothers to adoptive families provides considerable income to lawyers, social workers, adoption agencies. Millions of dollars are involved each year. Adoption has been subverted to a program to find children for homes rather than homes for children. If there was not money to be made in adoption, if it was run exclusively by the government rather than profit-making entities ("nonprofit" means that they don't have shareholders, not that they don't make money), the number of infant adoptions would decline dramatically, as has already occurred in Western Europe and Australia.

Critics accuse us of bitterness and meanness in an effort to silence us. It won't. Social change starts with those who are unhappy with the status quo, religious minorities, blue collar workers, African Americans, gays, women, others. Our voices are joined by first mothers from all over the country.--jane and lorraine
From FMF
What We Think About Adoption
Favorite Adoption Quotes
How adoption agencies 'turn' vulnerable women into spokespeople for relinquishing
Abuse in International Adoption
Utah to Birth Fathers: Go Back to the Grave!
Adoption in Utah: No place for birth fathers
Should birth mothers to shut up and stay in the closet?

Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self One of Lorraine's favorite books about the experience of being adopted, written by an adoptive parent (Brodzinsky), a psychiatrist married to an adoptee, and a nationally known medical writer (Marantz). It coves the adoption experience from infancy to late adulthood. Highly recommended not only for first mothers and adoptees, but adoptive parents who wish to understand the stresses of the individuals they have adopted.

Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience "Important and powerful . . . [the author] is concerned not just with adoptees but with the experience of adoptive parents and birth parents."--Psychology Today

The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Stories Educator, writer, and adoptive mother Wadia-Ells has put together an enthralling set of essays from birth mothers, adopted mothers, and adopted daughters. Each story reveals a different facet of the adoption process and of family life in general.--AmazonAnd not surprising: "The more positive essays were from the adoptive moms - birth moms and adopted daughters were obviously struggling to make sense out of their experiences." 


  1. "Adoption promises more though; adoptive homes are sold as better than, not just as good as, natural homes. Adoption experts agree that children should be raised with their natural families if possible; the corollary is that adoptive homes should be more than better, to outweigh the damage, the primal wound, that adoption inflicts."

    Thank you!

    People do not understand why I am upset that I was adopted into an alcoholic family. After all, non-adoptive families struggle with alcoholism, too, right?

    Yes, they do. However, there is a difference. Non-adoptees were born into their families. I was PLACED with an alcoholic family.

    Moreover, I have always heard about being chosen. Wow! Thanks! I was chosen to be in an alcoholic family. How very common and unimportant I must have seemed to the adoption agency in order for them to place me into an alcoholic family.

    As a young child, I not only had to grow up wondering why my biological parents didn't want me, I had to wonder why my adoptive father wasn't around. (When my mother worked nights, my father would be in the bars drinking.) I often wondered what was wrong with me.

    In my young mind, I thought that clearly no one wants me. There must be something very wrong with me. I grew up feeling less than everyone else.

    Adoption needs to be about finding solid homes for children who need them. The industry didn't do a good job of this back during the BSE, and I fear that it is even more of an adopter's world now.

  2. Jane,
    First and foremost, I thank you and Lorraine for your fortitude in continuing to bring forward your opinions thru this blog. As an adoptee interested in reforming adoption, I am truly grateful.

    This is a blog that talks about adoption from the perspective of firstmoms in the Babyscoop era. Comparing their experiences to those of adoptive parents who are adopting within the past 2 decades thru international, foster 2 adopt or semi-open adoption is ludicrous.

    They will bring forth discussions relative to adoption today to show that while some things have changed- there is still reform that needs to be made. Adoption should be in the best interest of the child. Birthmoms are created when a child is placed for adoption- expectant moms are not birthmothers until they sign relinquishment paperwork. Moms should be clearly offered all resources first and adoption last. Agencies shouldn't be answering crisis pregnancy hotlines-independant counselors should be giving guidance about all the options then referring to adoption if the mom asks to be.

    Because of the tens of thousands of dollars adoptive parents give agencies, facilitators or attorneys- adoption is an industry. It is to their benefit that adoption laws are state centered- because they can facilitate relinquishment across state lines, muddy open agreements by only presenting files of PAPs that live a distance from the expectant parent(s). By having these discussions open, it brings about awareness which may help bring about reform.
    Adoption should be regulated via a federal law level. A birthmom should not be able to sign relinquishment ppwk prior to or within a week of having given birth. A reasonable time (at least 30 days-90 would be preferable)for a grace period, and more specific and user friendly ways for fathers to declare their paternity rights. Also, a way to ensure that open adoption agreements are clearly defined and enforceable.

    If this was the case, and money was not involved, moms could make truly informed decisions about adoption placement. Adoptive parents should not be the adoptive agencies main client- it should be the expectant parent and the baby.
    If we take money out of international adoption- corrupt people wouldn't be coercing or stealing babies from families or forcing children into orphanages. That way true orphans would be available to adopt and wouldn't be languishing for year in horrible conditions while more marketable infants are offered for adoption first.
    Adoption can be a wonderful way to build a family- we want orphans and children in foster care to have forever families who can love, nurture and care for them.

    But when we see adoptive parents who know that birth families are contesting adoption drag it out in the courts, across state lines, it frustrates us.

    Blogs like this are important for all us in the TRIAD, because only thru our joined voices can we make the changes necessary to make adoption in the best interest of the child. Adoption is based on loss- birthparent loss, adoptee loss of firstfamily and very often- adoptive parents have to mourn their loss of ability to have bio-children.

    This blog is from the firstmom perspective and they come to that perspective thru their pain- this is where they express it. Doesn't mean they are ALWAYS bitter, angry and hurt- this is where they can vent that. Let's have a little respect for each other folks!

  3. Renee
    I agree with you. However, I don't believe for one moment that this blog wishes to connect with anyone other than those who feel victimized by adoption. You only need to see how they treat first mothers who are not angry to see that.

    1. You know very well that your lack of anger is not the issue anyone at this blog has with you. It's the way people like you come into forums like this one and *denigrate* those who are angry and hurt. And the truth is that even if all you do is come here and say, "Well, I'm not angry and I think adoption is awesome," you are still insulting people by implication: the great unspoken "I have managed to cope so what's wrong with YOU?"

      And I have my doubts that you truly are not angry. If you had no bad feelings about adoption you wouldn't be hanging out on blogs like this one. It would not even be a blip on your radar. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. It's not the well who need a doctor but those who are sick. Et cetera.

  4. Oh, Anonymous, with such a bland accusation like that, why not use your name? Jane and Lorraine do. And please point to a specific place where they "treat first mothers who are not angry" badly? Just an another empty accusation from someone who is probably an adoptive mother who wants her birthmother to feel "proud" and not have her mind corrupted by FMF.

    They do feel that women are pushed into adoption for their children when with proper resources they could raise their own children who in turn wouldn't grow up wondering why their real mothers abandoned them. They do feel that if you can't raise your own child then abortion would be the better option, for the children yet to be born of that woman. Amen to all that.

  5. Anon 11:26

    I don't feel that way at all. I think that we each come to sites like this to learn and perhaps validate our own feelings. I am not going to agree with everything Jane and Lorraine says anymore than I agree with everything anyone says. I will, however, take what I need and hopefully learn a little. And when I post-I try to be respectful- and maybe someone will learn a little from what I say as an adoptee.

    Personally- I was a victim of adoption. I have had a good reunion on my maternal side- but it doesn't change the fact that I was placed with an abusive adoptive family. Or that I missed out on growing up within my own family. My siblings have missed out on my being their older sibling as they grew up. We've all missed out on alot. When I approached my agency for information in the 1990's I was given a scolding about ingratitude by the very social worker who CHOSE the family who adopted me and the same woman who lied to my firstmother and told her she couldn't see me in foster care prior to her signing the relinquishment ppwk because my mom was trying desparetely to keep me. This MSW was filing abandonment charges based on lack of interest of me in foster care. After my mom gave in and signed, the social worker lied again to my mother during the grace period and told her that I was already adopted-when I was in STILL in foster care. This same MSW- wrote that "your mother intentionally got pregnant to prove that she could bear a child but did not want the baby" on my non-identifying info so that I would be dissuaded from searching. She wrote my non-id the week she retired- it was the last one she ever did. Her tenure of destroying people was over. All of this was confirmed to me during my search by her secretary who had access to my file- and would verbally confirm info from my file as I searched and found further information. This was thru a catholic agency and were very common practices in the BSE-so yes, many of us have jaded perspectives.

    Do I think all adoptive parents are entitled? Absolutely not. I also do not think that all birthmothers should have kept their babies. I have been in adoption groups for more than 20 yrs and I have seen the good, bad and ugly in adoption and frankly- I still see so much more bad and ugly in adoption today that I chose to forgive some of the inherent prejudices Lorraine, Jane and other birthmothers, adoptees and adoptive parents come to the table with.

    No one is all right or all wrong. This is their blog, but I honestly have never seen them being impolite in anything they say while many posters will be. We need to join together for the future children who will be adopted or families that will be preserved.

  6. I spent over an hour last night trying to compost an e-mail or a comment to respond to your comments to me. Then I read this post and realized the futility of trying to respond. I just don't understand your need to quash my point of view.

    You're flattered by the attacks? I am appalled that you seem to think that "attacks are harbingers of change". That's the mentality of terrorists and small children, not educated women like yourselves. True change is rarely the result of violence and attacks (did 9/11 teach you nothing?). How dare you liken yourselves to peacemakers such as Martin Luther King, Jr. or Gandhi! They wanted change through peace, through dialogue, and through education. This blog does none of those things. If it did, adoption reforms would come that much more quickly. Yet, you allow your anger (and the anger of your readers) to drag you down to the level of small children throwing a tantrum.

    How helpless and powerless you must feel, that you need to say: "We predict that eventually they will experience the hard truth of what they lost, what reunion will not fix.". Because our experience MUST be bad, otherwise you're wrong? Thank you for the support of my opinion. I know my child, spend time with her, taken her on vacation with me, and see her every holiday. Her adoptive mom and I talk regularly, and I feel content where things are. But, when I was pregnant with her, I wasn't in a place to parent (physically or emotionally). I made my choice. I did it with a clear mind and an understanding of what the potential consequences are. Why does that threaten you so much?

    I am a smart, highly educated, woman who made a choice. Who are you to say it was the wrong one? Who are you to say that I will one day regret my choice? And even if I do, it was MY choice. Mine! Not yours, not the government's, and not the adoptive parents.

    Your definition of "acceptable adoption" is so small as to be laughable. You regularly call adoptive parents (of foster children) abusive and domestic adoptive parents much worse. I seem to recall some pretty heated and mean-spirited comments about at least three adoptive bloggers in the last few months. Wasn't one of them doing what she could to maintain an open adoption with a woman in jail? And the other wasn't even an adoptive mom yet. And instead of defending them for coming here with an open mind and trying to understand, you let your readership bash them into submission. What goal does that serve, other to make you out to be a bully?

    Jane and Lorraine, my problem with this blog is not that you exist, but that you refuse to acknowledge in a meaningful way that adoption is NOT just how you see it. You can quote study after study, trot out first moms who are bitter, adoptive parents who are abusive…yet there are always going to be those first mothers who know you are wrong. And by not supporting us, not allowing our opinion to be heard and validated, YOU are contributing to the problem.

    There will always be people like you, who like Sisyphus, thinks that by craftiness, violence, and pride they can overcome the greatest of odds. Well, we all know how Sisyphus ended up. Perhaps if you toned down the hubris and pride of pain, more people would help you roll the rock up the mountain.

  7. @Anonymous You certainly don't need to be an "angry birthmother" to realize that much change is needed in modern adoption practices.

    I don't think non-angry first mothers are treated badly here at all. I think that first mothers who are all smiles and sunshine are challenged here, certainly. And really, how could anyone expect not to be challenged when they comment about how happy they are that they gave up their child?

  8. "Critics dismiss these truths by pointing out that children can suffer at the hands of their natural parents. Adoption promises more though; adoptive homes are sold as better than, not just as good as, natural homes."

    Not JUST this. What bothers me about that deeply dismissive (infuriating) statement is it completely ignores the fact that after being abandoned by our entire natural family, we were GIVEN (SOLD) to our abusers! And then constantly hammered with the message that we're lucky and should be grateful to be raised by abusers.

    Do you know any kids abused by their biological parents who are told they are lucky and should be grateful?

    1. I do: That's what my bparents said often as I managed to grow up under their roof. However, I've been fortunate to have access, as an adult, to excellent psychiatric help, and have married happily and raised our own children.

      An adoption in my extended family that has torn up that branch initially brought me to FMF. I came to learn, and every time I'm here, I do.

  9. @1stmama,

    I happen to agree with Jane that attacks are the harbingers of change. She was referring to people who are verbally upset at this blog. No one is talking about actual violence and attacks. Surely, a self-proclaimed, highly educated woman such as yourself can extract the difference?

    This forum/blog has provided dialogue and education. It provides thought provoking commentary about the first mother experience. It might not be YOUR experience, but no where is it written that you can not start your own forum if you so choose.

    I am not sure why free speech is considered an attack on adoptive parents. Beating them into submission? Bullying? Ridiculous accusations.

    What exactly is your opinion about adoption? That because you, personally, had a great experience, that all talk of corruption and reform must be sidelined? I am really clueless about what it is exactly you want to happen?

    How does painting a portrait of happy birth mothers help "roll the rock up the mountain?"

    Most people who are secure in their choices do not seek out those who disagree with them. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you stumbled here accidentally at some point, but why do you continue to read? You've obviously been reading for quite some time if you are citing past comments from adoptive parents. What is the point, if you are truly secure in your choice? What do you hope to gain from reading here?

  10. Thank you Renee, Leeburke and Dana for your comments.

    It is refreshing to hear from an educated woman who knows she did the right thing for herself and her child. What is interesting is how defensive she is about her wonderful adoption plan for her child, when it apparently has worked out so well. Oddly enough however, she is the one name-calling here, and exaggerating and misinterpreting our words because FMF threatens her world view.

    One wonders what has she done for reform. Is she writing letters or lobbying to unseal adoption records? Somehow I don't think that's on her accounting schedule for this day, this week, this month. How, may I ask, could we be nice enough so that you would join us in working for reform? But then, she apparently sees nothing about adoption that needs reform.

    I remember once being asked repeatedly by my granddaughter why I gave her mother up for adoption. Couldn't I go to the bank and tell the man I needed money? Wasn't there anybody who would help me? She was about ten at the time. She wouldn't quit asking me, Why? until I said: I made a mistake. That she understood.

  11. Yes, let's beat up on each other! That's the way to do it. That's going to show the world that we're worth listening to! Why don't we set up a ring and punch each other too.


    Jane and Lorraine...as usual, you have managed to sound both snarky and nice at the same time. I think it's time that you put some limits on what your readers are allowed to comment here.

    1stmama...good for you. Really. If you're content, God Bless you!

    Now, both of you to your corners and move on.

  12. 1stmama said...
    "I spent over an hour last night trying to compost an e-mail or a comment to respond to your comments to me."

    Thanks for the making me smile this morning....I keep picturing your comment going into the compost bin...

    1stmama - it sounds to me like Birth Mom Buds or something like it is the place for you rather than this forum. This forum challenges the current social norms around adoption and works towards reform. You might think its wonderful that an agency sold your child to a couple for 39k...but it makes many of us sick. The fact that you can go merrily on your way is great, but a lot of women are being coerced out of their children because of the huge amount of money adoptive parents are willing to pay to possess them. Many of these women would have been wonderful mothers to their children if given a chance.

    So what happens if the parents of your child divorce, experience job loss, alcoholism, drug addiction, illness or any of the challenges so many of us face...what if your child is affected by the challenges...will you still be a cheerleader for handing children off to strangers? What if your child dies in their care because of an avoidable mistake?

    It's very amusing to me to read through the comments on the last several posts; i laugh at the people coming here to name call because they think your readers are mean!

    Keep up the great work Jane and Lorraine! I appreciate every word.

  13. 1stMama said: "Your definition of "acceptable adoption" is so small as to be laughable."

    I just went and re-read their Lorraine and Jane's page on what they think of adoption.

    I agree with them completely so there is my bias.

    They are against unnecessary domestic or international adoptions and provide examples of what that includes.

    They are also firm on relinquishment timelines. I agree - regardless of how sure a mother is that she has chosen adoption for her child - signing pre-birth surrender documents or post birth surrender within mere hours of birth is wrong. I don't care how you dice and slice it - if adoption is the right choice then it will be the right choice a week later. The child deserves that much time for the mother to carefully reconsider her decision after birth.

    Nor should there be directive counseling, or any of that type of activity - it should be non-directive supportive help. Why is that wrong - because again - if adoption is the right choice it will still be the right choice after a full review of all the options - the child deserves that much consideration.

    I too support repealing the sealed record laws that make adoptees second class citizens that deny us a factual record of our birth that every other citizen has access to. The right to our identity and knowledge of who we were born to be. It's a big deal and open adoption today has not changed the fact that most states still deny adult adoptees the right to their identity at birth - regardless if they have known their mother their entire life.

    I have read this blog for seven or eight years now, and have seen many exchanges between Lorraine or Jane and mothers (first and adoptive) that are so different that what you describe.

    People often fail to remove themselves and their story when reading blog posts. It is a common trap to fall into. If your reasons for choosing adoption for your child aren't the same as in a given blog post - then there is your story is not what they are talking about and no fingers are pointed at you.

    I don't expect Lorraine and Jane to post stories of Joy - there are literally thousands of blogs that do that enough. I expect them to post on things that need improving or are important to know because that is there focus. I think it is a very small counter-balance and as a BSE Adult Adoptee I can honestly state that things really haven't changed that much - instead of shaming mothers they exalt mothers but the underlying message is the same - you aren't worthy. If that is not part of your experience please don't discount it as something that doesn't happen to anyone else because it does.

    We all get snarky sometimes and buttons get pushed - can you honestly say you haven't been there and done that? If you can then you must be perfect unlike all the rest of us who are flawed human beings.

  14. Holy terrorists, Batman! Is Homeland Security monitoring The Bitter Birthmom Brigade(TM)?

    Better change the secret handshake at the next meeting.

  15. I hate to let the happy birth moms in on a dirty little secret but probably 98.5% of the human race think it's fuc#ing weird to be happy about giving your baby away.

  16. Sally, trust me, I don't feel like being nice today. And I'm not trying.
    Despite how irritated I am by 1st mama's interpretation of FMF, I truly hate dumping on any first mother. Yet no matter how well her adoption is working out for her, the final outcome is far from known.

  17. YES...THE FINAL OUTCOME IS FAR FROM KNOWN!!! That's the truth!

  18. Lorraine and Jane do tend to get a little "preachy" about how all adoptions are doomed to be horrible for first moms and adoptees.

    I'm not going to say that surrendering my son was the best choice I ever made, but it wasn't the worst either.

    But you know what life isn't perfect. I wasn't coerced. I wasn't forced. My son has a good family and he feels loved and supported by them. It's been 17 years, and I don't feel angry or bitter or even particularly sad about it. I wish things could have been different in my life back then but it wasn't. No use crying over it now.

    All I can do now is be the best first mom I know how. And today that means going to his baseball game and cheering him on. And tomorrow that means something different.

  19. When I adopted my daughter a few years ago (from Russia) I had no idea that some birth mothers would feel this way. I also was blind to the plight of adoptees. To say I was uneducated in adoption would be an understatement. When I found this site a year or two ago, it was scary for me. A real eye-opener. But I was hungry for information about birth mothers, as our daughter's birth mother died shortly after our daughter's birth (years before we knew about her). I read occasionally when I have time, and I'm thankful this forum exists. And it has certainly informed how I've approached our second adoption (foster care).

    As an adoptive parent, I do feel we get a really bad reputation from many of the posts. I'm sure I'll be maligned for even posting a comment. And it's not a bad thing. This isn't my space. I don't think Jane and Lorraine need to sing the praises of adoption. But I do hope they know (and all who read this) that some adoptive parents do have good hearts. We don't abuse our children. We don't feel entitled or greedy. We don't have horns and breathe fire. We're human. Like you.

  20. Alexa and any other adoptive parents reading here:

    We've said it many times, and we will say it again: We know there are good adoptive parents with good and generous hearts. We know them in real life too. And we are always glad to hear from them. If we have informed them about the other side of adoption, if we have challenged and changed their attitude toward first mothers and their children, we are glad of that.

    I had a complicated but not terrible relationship with my daughter's other family. They accepted me when I called them when our daughter was fifteen. They are still part of my life through our granddaughter. They are, at heart, good people. They are not the only ones. Hello, Alexa.

  21. The first mothers who come here to criticize our bloggers for not letting them express their contentment with relinquishment are doing the same thing to Jane and Lorraine. You want respect for your peace with your decision, yet you refuse to respect Lorraine and Jane for their lack of peace with their 'decision'.

    And for those first mothers who say that they weren't forced or coerced, you most likely relinquished in a different time period than Lorraine and Jane. In the BSE, adoption was the defacto 'solution' for every out-of-wedlock pregnancy regardless of what the mother wanted. I liken that era to a form of legalized kidnapping.

  22. Alexa,
    I appreciate your comment. We do not intend to attack all adoptive parents. I know many fine adoptive parents -- in fact I can't think of any I know personally who is not fine.

    My complaint is with SOME segments of the adoption industry and SOME adoptive parents.

  23. No-one ever said that all adoptive parents are bad, but there are certainly some adoptive parents who believe and do things they think are right, then defend themselves and dismiss others, while not realizing that their own behaviour is either unethical, supporting unethical activity, or retraumating.

    Examples are those adoptive parents who:

    1. Support coercion.
    2. Are okay with the use of coercion in their own adoptions (i.e. doing it themselves or paying an agency to do it).
    3. Deny that coercion exists.
    4. Don't support a mother's human rights
    5. Happily exploit mothers who have been left vulnerable due to human rights abuses.
    6. Consider natural mothers to be non-mothers and uses terms that refer to them as such.
    7. Refuse to give back a child (or offer such) to a mother who has been coerced into surrendering and wants her child back.

    I think that even ethical adoptive parents would find these actions to be reprehensible, but they are so common, and people keep on justifying their behaviour. :(

  24. I think Jane and Lorraine would both be less "preachy" about adoptions if they didn't read about so many adoptions that did not work out so well for either the natural mothers or the adoptee. Does 1stmama, who sounds so educated and together, really think her kid is never going to wonder why she didn't keep him or her? No matter how she explains it, a little kernel of What is wrong with me? is almost certainly going to be there.

  25. IMO, the adoptive moms who read this blog are the ones who actually care about natural moms. The ones who want a baby by hook or by crook are not here. They have what they want. They are not reading about first moms or adoptees.

    All that said, I don't see how your statements about adoptive moms weaken the adoption reform movement - because it is weak already.

    The truth is that the reform movement is weak due to its numbers. You are not harbingers of change. Change is not on the horizon. Most people don't even know that there is an adoption reform movement.

    The renewal of the adoption tax credit proves that. It passed easily even in the midst of a fiercely-partisan congress. It was a non-issue to Congress.

    You liken the adoption reform movement to having the momentum of civil rights or gay rights movement. But, in truth, those movements were numerically larger. There are more African Americans and LBGT community members than moms who relinquish.

    Fewer than 1% of moms place their children for adoption. There are only approx. 14,000 domestic infant adoptions per year.

    Although there were more relinquishments during the BSE, that population is aging and will be less vocal in fifteen years.

    Additionally, the look of adoption has changed so that many perceive it to be completely different from the BSE. The stigmatized unwed mother with a closed adoption is perceived as very different from the open adoption norm today. Even if people frown on the BSE practices, they perceive them to have already been reformed by the popularity of open adoption.

    The internet has enabled first moms to reach out and tell their stories. The internet is a big place, however, and the public has to find those stories before they read them. If someone doesn't know that there is an adoption reform movement, what will prompt him or her to look for blogs discussing it?

    I have been reading adoption blogs for several years now, though I almost never comment. It seems to me that most of the followers and commenters are part of the adoption reform community already. It seems that most of the blogs are "preaching to the choir."

    The only exception to this dismal prognosis is sealed records. Sealed records might actually have a shot at reform, especially with the proliferation of electronic health records. There are many adoptees living from the BSE who are vocal about wanting their original birth certificate. At the same time, the advent and widespread popularity of electronic health records are underscoring the importance of a comprehensive medical history. Perhaps these mindsets will dovetail to give new life the the adoptee rights movement.

    For other adoption reform issues, I don't see much of a future.

  26. Robin, your empathy with first mothers is exceptional considering that you are an adoptee--not to diss any adoptee's feelings about his or her natural mother. But you really seem to be able to put yourself in their shoes and you seem to understand the historical period in which the BSE occurred, though you can't be more than 40+. I'm sure your first mom is grateful for your empathy.

  27. @Anonymous 2:03,

    Love making weird to be happy, yes. To say you are happy, so the fragile egoes of the adopters aren't hurt and they still allow you information, pictures, to visit or even to babysit your beloved child is of course completely normal. Happy birth mommies have a very good reason to lie about their feelings, even to themselves.

  28. I do have empathy for 1stmama although I doubt the veracity of her 'choice'. Withholding information from moms voids informed consent. I am new to the reform movement and if you were to ask me before I reunited with my son if I had a choice I would have said Yes! of course. It isn't easy for me to admit I was brainwashed and coerced. I'm a Gen Xer and we are just starting to come out of the fog. I have spoken with dozens of my peers that too have said they had a choice. I understand it because it gives us a sense of control. However, it doesn't take long to learn the truth of it. Some will retreat back into the fog because of the fear of facing the pain but many more will find compassion and understanding in the mothers that have gone before us.

    I have yet to meet a mother of loss that was told of all of the well documented and known effect of adoption on their child. I can deal with them not telling me how it was going to damage me for the rest of my life. What makes me angry is that they didn't tell me the damage that it would do to my child. THAT is coercion, THAT is fraud and that is why I can say I HAD NO CHOICE.

    1stmama, can you truthfully tell me that you were told of all the risks that your child would be subjected to? The 'side effects' of feeling unlovable, that mommy gave me away so anyone could? That adoptees are over represented in suicide, addictions, ADHD, and a host of other mental health issues? That they are more likely to have auto immune issues such asthma and allergies? That they will likely suffer from post traumatic stress? That the screening of adoptive parents is inadequate and they are just as likely (actually more likely) to suffer from physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse?

    You will be the first women in my experience that was told of all these risks and STILL chose to subject your child to adoption. It would be akin to a mother being told of all the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrom and choosing to drink anyway with a hope and a prayer that it wouldn't happen to yours. Please take a moment to read this link that contains the effects of adoption on a child (that has been known and documented since the 40s) and tell me you were made aware of it. Please, make no mistake, open adoption doesn't fix any of it.


  29. I agree, Sarah Feb 28, 9.33 PM, especially about sealed records being the best bet for reform. I also think unsealing records is fundamental to making positive changes in other areas of adoption reform.

    With the exception of a few obvious trolls it seems to me that most of the people who comment here are members of the "choir". The trouble is the music is complicated and there are many variations on the theme. Its easy for people to get offended when they are trying to do it right according to their version of the score. IMO a perfect chorus shouldn't be expected.

    I understand why some people miss a beat when they hear another person declare themselves to be anti-adoption, as I am sure I have read here somewhere. Or when an adoptive parent hears an opinion that states they can't love their adopted children as much as the mother who relinquished them (whether "voluntarily" or not ) - particularly if they have adopted their child from an abusive situation. It's hard for them to accept being told that such statements aren't meant to be condemnatory, or to remember that these statements come from a place of pain and that the first mothers who are saying these things are *not* people who would ever have been abusive themselves. In fact, if they had been given the opportunity, they would have been good mothers.

  30. @Sarah:

    "For other adoption reform issues, I don't see much of a future."

    Why, because we live in such a close-minded backwards society that we will allow these crimes of humanity to continue? Crapola. Change is a comin and you can be rest assured it will happen.

    You almost sound gleeful in your projections you are certain that more women will needlessly lose their children to adoption. How progressive and forward thinking of you.

    The more stories young vulnerable women read about what adoption is really like, instead of the "win, win" fallacy the adoption industry tries so hard to promote, the less needless adoptions will take place, for starters. The rest will come too. Look at Australia.

    I am ashamed that I live in a society that sits back and does nothing while vulnerable women and their children are being exploited; when people will permanently destroy their lives by relinquishing their children to a billion dollar industry that cares not one bit about how these women (and their children) will suffer for the rest of their lives.

  31. @Sara:

    "IMO, the adoptive moms who read this blog are the ones who actually care about natural moms. The ones who want a baby by hook or by crook are not here."

    I call B.S.

    Oh yes they are here. They got what they wanted? No, they did not. They still want us to shut up and we never will, so NO, they are not getting what they want. They "think" they own our children and our words here clarify that no, in fact they do not. They don't like that very much and guess what, I care about that about as much as these women "care about me", which is not at all.

    The adoptive moms who "actually care about natural moms" are the one's who are reading here? Are you kidding me? I suppose you have completely skipped over all the "non caring" vitriol so many adopters on this site have spewed.

    I'll be laughing at that one all day...

  32. @MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel , I'm not talking about offspring who are told ***by their parents*** they should be grateful. I'm talking about children who are told that by all of society, for all of their lives.

  33. @ buckwheat

    Didn't you read the comment to the last blog entry citing a study stating that adoptive parents are LESS likely to be abusive? Where is your cite contradicting this study?

  34. There's so much narrow-minded weirdness in Sarah's comment, and I don't have the time or inclination to get into most of it, especially since a lot of it is based on opinion. Everyone has opinions.

    There are between 120-140K adoptions in this country every year. I realize not all of those are private/domestic, but the majority are, and bottom line, it doesn't matter, since reform needs to happen across the board. That's a lot of people, when you realize that each of those adoptees has a couple of sets of parents, siblings, grandparents, children, spouses, etc. My son and husband are supportive of and vocal about reform--and so are a couple of my close non-adoptee friends.

    Unsealing records blow a whole lot of issues out of the water, though. Coercion becomes much less effective when no one is willing to keep agency secrets anymore, for example. Unsealing records brings transparency into so many of the issues that require reform. Sarah writes as if that one reform exists in a vacuum, but it does not. It is the the whisper that triggers the avalanche.

    And the rest of it, I'll leave to the moms. I need breakfast.

  35. K said
    "I call B.S."

    Really? Most of the adoptive moms that I've seen post here are genuinely curious, open, and willing to learn. Of course there are some who aren't (but yet, there are some first mothers who spew that same vitriol).

    I've rarely seen an adoptive parent here telling us to "shut up".

  36. Hey, there are two Sarahs posting here.

    I ain't the second one. That one says a lot of stuff I could respond to but don't have the time but I will just say that she seems to think the whole movement to open records ought to come from first mothers--what about the millions of adoptees living without their original birth certificates? For me, reform is about starting with openness on all levels.
    As for the rest, there is so much pressure from middle-class and wealthy infertiles that changing the whole apparatus surrounding adoption today is pretty much impossible. Adoptive parents are Shocked! Shocked! when they read the attitudes and opinions here of adoptees and first mothers! And that is because everyone around them is telling them what a great thing adoption is and crossing their fingers that the nice neighbors down the street will be able to find a baby. Is that not expressing the entitlement of the better off? That some poor young teen or poor woman without enough resources to take care of her own baby will him give away to someone with $39K?

    Yes, it is.

    Call me Sarah the first.

  37. Renee

    In 2012:
    38% of adoptions were private (domestic infant, step parent, and attorney arrange adoptions)

    37% of adoptions were from foster care.

    25% of adoptions were international.

    Just so we have our facts straight before we start land-blasting other posters.

  38. I am not Anonymous 2:03....I will always say I am happy, fine, okay, at peace, etc....because I do fear if I don't say these things to my childs parents I will be cut off...because it happened before for a short time. What a fool I was! And never again...I will play the role of the obedient, good, content birthmom...I have too...any of us doing the open adoption thing HAS too...maybe some are happy and I am glad they feel that way and would love to know their secret. I really would like to be alright with all of this, but I am not. I will always post here as Anonymous also because of my fear of anyone that knows me that is connected to my adoption might read this.

  39. Bparents or aparents, such badgering of children of any age to be "grateful"--not just by the parents, but by relatives, parents' friends, teachers, and others who don't know or who willfully turn a blind eye to what goes on behind closed doors--is one aspect of dysfunctional family dynamics that shares certain similarities in experiences whether a child lives with natural or adoptive parents.

    "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it," bragged my bparents. For many years, I was forced to thank them for not killing me--which on several occasions, they nearly did.

    Adopted children who do not feel remotely lucky or "special" to have been "chosen" by a parents with whom they may share no interests, appearances, affinity, or background many, many times are informed that they MUST coddle their aparents' egos by saying, yes, I am SO lucky--just to keep the peace.

    In a culture that hates to admit that abuse goes on behind the facade presented by parents who wish to have unspeakable behavior affirmed by its targets, these demands are shared and endured by the children (natural or adopted) of dysfunctional parents. The details and degree of abuse differ, of course, but the burden of thanking and enabling our parents is a heavy price to pay to society to ensure its specious comfort, rather than risking further parental displeasure by standing up for ourselves, whether we are six or sixty.

  40. @ Renee Davies

    The majority of adoption is foster adoption which comprises approximately 60,000 adoptions each year. Domestic infant adoption is next in line with 14,000 adoptions per year. International adoption has declined to 12,000 per year. Altogether, they total 86,000 per year, not 140,000.


    IMO, most Americans do not even know about the adoption reform movement. The moms who read adoption reform blogs are already supporting reform.

    If most of America sees adoption reform as a non-issue, I am not confident that change is coming.
    I see a lot of people writing blogs on adoption reform, but I don't see them reaching the fence sitters or those who are not aware that reform is needed.

  41. @Kristie

    "Really? Most of the adoptive moms that I've seen post here are genuinely curious, open, and willing to learn. Of course there are some who aren't (but yet, there are some first mothers who spew that same vitriol)."

    I've rarely seen an adoptive parent here telling us to "shut up".

    Ahhh, ok. Now all of the adopters who post here are so nice, caring and concerned for us? Sure. I'm still calling B.S.

    I didn't say they told us to shut up. They WANT us to and have a serious issue with the truth we speak about OUR own lives.

    MOST of the adoptive moms who post here are genuinely concerned? No, a few of them are. I think there is a small majority of adoptive parents who may care, but that is a very small one compared to those who think they were and are owed some vulnerable young woman's infant, thanks.

    By the way, this a blog called First Mothers Forum. If First Mothers went to a blog called Adoptive Mothers Forum and denounced what they said and tried to speak for them, you can bet they would be "spewing a little vitriol" too.

  42. Of course adoption reform is a non-issue for most people. Especially the sweeping changes some people propose here. The percentage of people touched by adoption in a meaningful (positive or negative) way is insanely small. And the number of outspoken "angry" people involved in adoption is even smaller.

    When you take into consideration that a majority of people involved in adoption are "happy" (adoptive families, social workers, agencies), it's going to take more than a few thousand outspoken adoptees and birth moms to do anything. Then, think about how much money adoptive parents and agencies throw into adoption....if it's really a billion dollar industry...who is going to stop that in this economy.

    Frankly, the US government has much bigger fish to fry than adoption reform. Especially when "reform" means less money for practically all involved. And our government right now doesn't want to touch that sort of issue with a ten foot pole!

    So, we can bang our heads against the wall all we want, it's not going to change a darn thing. That is, unless we can get more people to see the harder side of adoption. And that means working TOGETHER with adoptive parents, and not treating them like dung because we can.

    If we continue to no reach out to them, call them names, say they are mean/bad/greedy/evil, and whatnot, then we are going to get no further than the proverbial lobby. If we continue to harass them (on their blogs and here), if we say they aren't welcome to post their thoughts, if we shut them down, then we don't have the numbers to make changes. Pure and simple.

  43. I'm an adoptive mom in an open adoption with my daughter's first mom (T). We see her at least once a month for "family night" and exchange e-mails/texts/calls on a weekly basis. She lives only a few miles from us, and has an open invitation to come by any time she wants to see her daughter.

    I've been reading here for a while now, mostly out of curiosity. I generally don't comment because I don't feel welcome to do so.

    But I wanted to today. Honestly, I understand why many first moms and adoptees (especially from the BSE) would be very upset. I understand living in shame, I've been in a similar place (raped at age 17, and told I was to blame because I was wearing a "tank top" around men).

    I'd love to help reform the adoption industry. I've talked to "T" about it. She wasn't exactly coerced, but there were some lies that the agency told both of us. The agency told us that she wanted a closed adoption. We didn't believe them, and went around them to connect to "T" directly. They told her that we wouldn't allow visits, just letters. And a few other "small" lies. Thankfully, those have been cleared up, and the agency closed soon after.

    As I said, I'd love to work for changes but I don't feel welcome because I'm an adoptive mom. When I see the names that are thrown at "adopters" (entitled/greedy), it makes me nervous to put myself out there.

    Yes, I've called and written letters (especially about the agency before it went under). I've gone to meetings, read blogs, and signed petitions.

    So, all of you who think I feel entitled or who am just here to belittle you, I'm sorry that others have made you feel like that. And if just by coming here, you feel as if I'm trying to "shut you up", then I don't know what hope there is of us working toward change.

    Lorraine and Jane, thank you for writing what you do. Thank you for helping me gain some insights into the other side of adoption.

  44. I hate to tell some of you this, but some of us come just to see who is getting their panties in a twist this week because of what Anon. X or Anon. Y said.

    I see adoptees, First Moms and Adoptive Moms all acting up and out ~ guess that's the beauty of Anon./blogging sites! With EQUAL amounts of the absurd and vitriol.

    One thing I have noticed ( and I am an Adult Adoptee) is that without AP's to kick around, many of you would have to actually look yourselves in the face and ask what part in all of this you played. They are the scapegoats here and that's fine.....let's just not pretend otherwise por favor! Without them, the children you relinquished would be where???? Government orphanages? Foster care? I guess then your blame would be focused on those agencies?

    Or do you feel entitled to finanacial support to care for that child? For how many years? From whom? From the infertile or those wishing to adopt for other reasons? Isn't that entitlement too?

    Who cares if they (AP's) feel entitled? Doesn't everyone at one time or another? 47% of folks in this country "taking" from the government dole out - and they don't feel entitled to a helping hand? To a free phone? To subsidized housing? Food stamps? No?

    Good god the first explorers who "discovered" this country felt entitled as do most politicians!We put a U.S. flag on the moon for crying out loud...entitled? Stand in line AP's!

    So you've called them out? What now? Should they return the children? Whip themselves daily with a raw hide? Yell from the rooftops what horses a$$es they are? Who else needs to stand in that line?

    Bottom line...not even sure why this post was generated except maybe the blog authors were looking for some positive kudos and self affirmation!

    Jen 2

  45. The "vitriol spilled" here by some commenters has come from all sides, not just adoptive parents. Some first mothers and some adoptees are equally vitriolic and tar all of their opposite number with the same broad brush.

    I do not think this should be excused because "our side" has been hurt, nor does sinking to the level of mudslingers make anyone look better.

    Everyone has a right to say what they want about their own life and the people in it, including those who adopted our kids. Especially if they were abusive. My son's adoptive mother was. We do not have the right to generalize that to all adoptive parents or all adoptions. Nor does snark or rudeness convince anyone we are right.

  46. G.P: Thank you so so much for leaving a comment today of all days. I can't explain why hearing from someone like you today is especially important, but please just know it is, and it just not that this post is generating so much heat.

    I particularly love the one who said we wrote this so we can get kudos. I think we are getting more brickbats.

    Now if I can, I think I will not have the cry I can feel starting. Yes...it has passed.

    And thanks Maryanne for your dose of reality. Sometimes I wonder if we are doing the right thing by publishing almost all of the comments we get. Notice I said, "almost."

    There are times I wish for a different life, but this is the one I have, and I'd better make the most of it.

  47. Adoption blog comments get somewhat crazed because adoption is such an emotional issue. But in the final analysis, when you take away all the hearts and rainbows and the flowery language, it is inhumane and unconscionable to force, manipulate or coerce any woman to give away her child. It's sick.

  48. @Maryanne:

    Yes, we know, Maryanne, you are so much more enlightened than the rest of Us bad, bad b mommies who speak up for ourselves. We ought to be ASHAMED! lol!

    You are right about one thing, yes we all have a right to speak about our lives and that is what the blasted problem is here... when we do we get told we have no right to feel that way, "didn't have a gun held to your head", "you might have had a bad experience, yada, yada, yada..." so spare me. Now everyone is complaining how "bad adopters are treated", when some of us here have been treated abhorrently by the people who made off with our children. We can't even talk about that here without getting shot down. What the frack gives?!!?!!?

    I for one have never gone to any ap blog and do what they do here. NOT one, so stick up for them all you want. They spew THEIR vitriol at us and some of us respond. I happen to know no adopter will ever speak for me or speak to me like I am some incubator for the infertile again, so yes, I will continue to respond.

    Thanks for the two cents you love throwing into the "vitriol" pile, Maryanne.

  49. Awww aren't you so cute and clever, Jen2? Go pat yourself on the back, cutie pie!

    "Who cares if they (AP's) feel entitled?"

    Yeah, who cares if people's lives are destroyed when they lose their children and their children's lives are equally as painful?

    Lorraine, I just read your comment under Maryanne's post, scolding us for speaking up for ourselves and standing up to some of the entitled ap's that come here. )YEP, JEN2, I said "entitled!!!" I have never felt entitled to someone else's flesh and blood, so they got on up on me, relating to that...)

    Please forgive me, Lorraine. You post things here about how adoption affects us and things get heated at times. Now, you are hanging your head in "shame" at us because we are not being refined enough for you? You don't want to publish ALMOST all the posts because you are embarrassed? No, this is not place for first mothers. Not at all. I won't be back so you won't have to worry about posting any more of my comments.

  50. K,
    I think the problem is that it's one thing to talk about your own experience with adoption and another to blame the random APs or adoptees who come here for your experience. Whatever the adoptive parents of your child did, chances are they aren't coming here!

    Vent away about YOUR experience and I will vent about mine. But, let's not blame every AP who comes here for the status of the adoption industry.

  51. K:

    We did not publish a few comments where the language really gets terrible and it is just name-calling without anything else. We did not publish one the other day that was just a few words name calling Tyler. Those we do not publish, and they are far and few between. Jane and I usually confer about them before we do not publish.

    I for one wish this blog did not get so heated, but Marley told me it would always be because the subject is so emotional. I did not see my comment as "scolding" but I admit, I hate the heat when it boils over here, and it does frequently. That is all I meant.

  52. K, the "nobody held a gun to your head" comment was one of the bad ones I was referring to, probably made by an adopter. I did include rude comments by them as well. Nor should anyone be ashamed of telling their own story, whether it is just like every other mothers' or not. I am not "more enlightened" but I try not to generalize or be rude and crude.

    My "two cents" are worth as much as yours or anyone's. I too am a mother who surrendered a child, under difficult circumstances and with little choice or option. But since I have a different viewpoint on some things, I am fair game, sometimes even accused of being an adopter, because where there is one party line, everyone is supposed to hew to it or shut up. No, I am not shutting up or going away either. Different views are welcome here. Hopefully they can be conveyed with respect, not mockery or hatred.

  53. Bea:

    I in no way think every adoptive parent who comes here is just like the one's who adopted my son, BUT the way many of them talk to, or at us is who I am referring to. You can read many of their own comments right here! It is not every adoptive parent, but a good many!

    Let's not be so sure my son's adopter and all her family and buddies don't stalk these blogs/ forums, either. He is way of age. They are not hiding away with my child in their house anymore. He has discovered the truth, so I am sure they are apt to come here say many things like what are said to us.

    I only speak to those who make derogatorily inflammatory statements to me and other mothers, such as "no one held a gun to your head" (something I know my son's adopter would say), or "You don't know the first thing about adoption"; among many others.

    Yeah, I'm speaking up when I read words like that and yes, things will get heated because those of us who have been oppressed don't take to kindly to people who continue to try and control our narratives, tell us we have no right to speak out because "we made our bed now we need to lie in it" and many, many other forms of mental abuse they use to manipulate the situations and public perception in their favor. They don't care, one bit about the anguish we have lived without our children. Those are the women I am speaking to.

  54. Over the years I have heard some variation of "we made our bed now we need to lie in it" so many times my head spins.

  55. You know what is so funny? Those that comment here and call Lorraine and Jane names and accuse them of this that and the other and yet don't realise it is themselves, the commenters, doing that which they accuse Lorraine and Jane of. Hilarious. And shows how ridiculous adoption is. The angst, the anger, the nastiness it causes.

    If you don't like what is written here, simple solution: don't visit and read if you cannot be open minded about what is said. As many of you like to say to mothers of adoption loss, "No one is holding a gun to your head".

    As for being "victimised" by adoption... well yes, many have been. Why do you have such an issue with that? What makes you get so angry about people speaking up about clear crimes and injustices that you need to be so cruel? By speaking out about the wrongs that have happened, they are NOT victimising themselves or others anymore, they are actually being survivors. Those who are victmising anyone are those who want them to shut up and keep quiet.

    If you feel angry about what you read here to the point you need to attack the blog authors then you have obviously overstayed. Comments that disagree with a person's point of view are one thing, comments that continue to accuse the authors of doing things they clearly do not do and making assumptions about them, name calling, telling them how to feel or not to feel are another thing entirely. I know there are adoptive parents capable of offering great discussion and post great comments (reagrdless of whether we agree or disagree) however the rest are purely attacking and are simply hypocritical.

    Seroiously, some of the comments of this and the last post are deplorable. This is a blog written by people from their perspective and their experiences. If you don't like it, get over yourselves and leave but keep your dignity in place rather than vomitting all over the comments, it is infantile and pathetic in the extreme.

  56. Lorraine can I make a suggestion? I've only commented here a few times over the years, for various reasons. But perhaps you might want to put a tab on the top with some rules for how people can and cannot comment. Perhaps some guidelines for adoptive parents who come here? Just a few words about how everyone (not just FMs and APs) should behave towards each other.

    I'm not saying we have to be nice to each other, but at least civil. Perhaps that might lead to a more productive discussion (which I assume is what you're really looking for).

    I think there's room for both APs and FMs to learn from yours and Jane's insight. Perhaps it would encourage more people to comment with actual constructive thoughts.

    Just a suggestion. I don't presume to tell you what you should do.

    I just know that as a first mom, I might be a bit more inclined to comment if I didn't think APs would jump on me for my comments.


  57. Reading so many of these comments leaves me feeling sad...and very tired. I've been reading and commenting on this blog for years now, although I have been laying low the past few months. I have never seen either Lorraine or Jane ambush an adoptive mom. I have seen them respond, along with many of us, to mean-spirited comments. I saw Lorraine delete a bunch of comments one night when a group of adoptive mothers who hate my guts stalked me here and left very personal, very hateful comments directly addressed to me.

    Lo, about the first moms who come here and feel just wonderful and happy about surrendering their babies to adoption: I wonder how many of them are in actual, true reunion -- not just email contact or messages through Facebook, but real-life face-to-face contact and a real-life relationship. When I reunited with my son 23 years ago, it was the first time that the blinders came completely off, and I saw with my own eyes the damage that adoption had done to my son. Until that point in time, I thought I had given him a better life; and now I know without a shadow of a doubt that the "kool-aid" was a self-preservation defense mechanism for those first 18 years. It's not hard for me to think back to those early years and see how easily I would have taken offense if someone had pointed out to me that I was in denial. I imagine that some of the first moms who feel so warm and toasty about their relinquishment decision today may very well feel differently in 20 or 30 years, when they get to know their grown children face-to-face.

    I surrendered my son 41 years ago this coming week. I thought I was doing the very best thing I could for him. I thought I was saving him from my dysfunctional and abusive family, especially my mother. What I did was put him into harm's way...and he's so very messed up because of what I did. For the last 22 years, he told me he was abused by his aparents -- now he has retracted that and claims he was raised in a loving home with people who are "much more wonderful" than myself. I don't know what the truth is anymore. I'm just trying my best to survive day to day.

    Before I go, I do want to add one more thing. Adoptive parents are NOT the enemy. I know quite a few aparents who are seriously involved in the fight for adoptee rights and who are also fighting to reform the adoption machine. I am honored to count them as my friends, although I do get torn to pieces from time to time by other "mothers of loss" for it. I don't see how any serious, meaningful reform in terms of ethics will ever happen within the actual industry without the participation and insistence of adoptive parents. That's just my own opinion, so please don't flame me for speaking my own mind on the subject of the third side of the triad.

  58. Keep up the excellent work Lorraine and Jane! I agree that attacks can be harbingers of change. We can never let the kool-aid drinkers like Jen2 silence our voices. It was people with attitudes like her that fought against all reforms. They must be dismissed. We will prevail. For those that resign themselves that things will never change just look around you. Observe what is happening in Australia. Watch the news reports. See how many bills are being introduced, how many lawsuits are moving forward, the decline in adoptions, the countries that are shutting down the export of their children, the agencies closing in the US. The voices that are rising. I just have to remember my sicko mother who said things would never change in South Africa and how I lauded it over her when Nelson became president.

  59. Raven

    So sorry that has happened with your son. I know you truly were acting on the best for your son.

    In many cases adoption just ruins lifes' not safes them as GQpublic would like to believe.

    I think most anger is because so many people think their opinions on adoption and how others "should" behave is the "word".

    I have know you for quite a while and I know you truly tried to get it from all sides and it still didn't end up as well as could be. Who knows why your son is reacting the way he is, who knows if it was the action of adoption that made him, or contribuated to his feelings today and it is not up to anyone to judge him or his reasons. But i can't help but feel horrible that you both can not come to a comfortable place for each other.

    There truly needs to be more supoort for adoptees and bfamilies to navigate our lives.

  60. Fannie: We've tried to encourage only commentary that is not so nasty and vitriolic, but people's (APs, and fellow travelers) emotions get so heated about this topic of adoption when they read it is not all happiness and bliss. Anonymity allows them free rein to say what they would probably not want to put their names to, and then our readers respond in kind. Perhaps the solution would be to not post comments that are inflammatory--and what is inflammatory depends on your point of view, and sensitivity at the moment--but then that cuts us all off from coming face to face with how some people--APs, relatives of APs, adoptees, relatives of adoptees, and some recent birth mothers feel about their own adoption experience. So in the end we feel boxed in between allowing free expression and containing it. Right now there is a stupid comment from an adoptive parent (commenting at the previous blog) of the kind: You made your bed, etc., that I sent to spam.

    Then we hear from others who do want to encounter the harsh true feelings of some APs, and thus have reason to vent and tell their own stories, and feelings. And they need a place to do that.

    It appears that the other day when new APs came here, FMF was linked to by an AP listserve somewhere (country unknown), and that drew new people who had never heard of the likes of what we had to say! And they were going to give us an earful! I think I will let those comments go out to pasture today--ie, spam, where they will be not seen. That way they won't upset me, or anybody else, but I can read them to see how much people get upset with those of us who raise our voices against the mighty institution that is adoption today.

    I had a bit of reality myself hit me yesterday (connected to FMF, my memoir-in-progress), and though I understand it, today I am feeling pretty fragile myself.

    Now, back to work on my memoir, which like Birthmark, is going to upset some people. But I will not be silenced.

  61. You know, lost in all the anger and pain sometimes, I think, is what I,for one, feel and that is true gratitude (I'm trying not to choke on my words) and I know I am going to get attacked for this. My son's a-parents kept him safe and gave him good values and for that I am very thankful. Before he died, my Dad told me I owe her(a-mom) more than I can ever pay. This is all true, but when I let myself think about and feel all that I missed out on ,it's not a good feeling. So, things are what they are. My son turned out great but I can't expect him to feel about me the same as if he had grown up with me. It's still good,however, and the love that's deep inside us is still the same.

  62. Anon: No one is going to attack you for a comment like that. At least, not here, not today. Hugs and good vibes to you, wherever you are.

  63. Sometimes I wonder if at least some of the weirdo commentators don't create false stories about themselves and their adoption related experiences, just so they can support their own agenda or just stir the pot. Especially the really nasty ones. Too often they don't seem credible.

  64. @ anonymous 12:12

    kind of like the anonymous above you at @11:28? This is not an attack, just my personal opinion and I am not believing this one.

    She sure she includes how much the amom is "owed" and how the child will "never feel the same about me because I didn't raise him".

    Sounds like that could have been written by an amother to me.

    If not for the natural mother, there would be no amother to be "owed" such a debt of gratitude, but we "owe" them so much? I don't think so. I don't owe anyone a damn thing and sure didn't owe anyone my infant.

  65. Hannh wrote:
    In 2012:
    38% of adoptions were private (domestic infant, step parent, and attorney arrange adoptions)
    37% of adoptions were from foster care.
    25% of adoptions were international.

    Just so we have our facts straight before we start land-blasting other posters."

    We absolutely agree.

    The only collector of adoption statistics which actually reviews court and other data from all states for all kinds of adoptions is Dept. if Health & Human Services. Its latest report, published in 2011, is for the years 2007 and 2008. Approximately 136,000 children were adopted in each of these years. Public agencies accounted for 39 percent of the adoptions in 2007 and 41 percent in 2008.

    Foreign adoptions accounted for 14 percent in 2007 and 13 percent in 2008. (These adoptions have declined from 17,416 in 2008 to 9,319, in 2011 the latest year State Dept. information is available.) This would about 7 percent of the 2008 total,

    The balance, 63,775, 47 percent, came from private agencies, Tribes, independent adoptions, and family adoptions. No accurate count of how many of these are voluntary, non-related infant adoptions but other sources put the number at 14,000 - 15,000 per year for the past few years, less than 10 percent of the total.


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  67. Lorraine and Jane,
    Thank you for your comments to Alexa. Like her, I am an adoptive mom (and a bio one). I also found your blog a few years ago because I was looking for insight into how my son's mother was feeling and why she expressed so little interest in him. I was afraid that would hurt him in the coming years. I found many first mom blogs, as well as adoptee blogs. I found books, lots of them, that I didn't know existed. I read Birthmark, Primal Wound, The Girls Who Went Away, and lots more. To say that my eyes were opened would be an understatement. I have learned so much about adoption as an industry, corruption, and mostly pain that is felt on all sides. It has made me acutely aware of the pain my son may feel later, but hopefully better prepared to help him through it, too. I appreciate your blog.

  68. Jessica,

    One day I may be able to tell you why today of all days your comment means a lot to me. I cannot say more publicly except to note that their is an effort to censure what we say here because is too upsetting some, especially for adoptive parents, and so thank you so much for your comment. Someday I will be able to not be so cryptic.

  69. As an adoptee, I can not even count the number of times I've been called 'bitter' and an 'angry adoptee'. It seems that whenever someone does not believe in the status quo and choses to point out flaws, it immediately goes to, 'sorry YOU had such a bad experience, but I know a cousin's friend's sister who thinks it's wonderful.' I've had people tell me that who have NO idea who I am or my experience.

    So, I think it's a go-to phrase when people want to cover their ears and do the 'La La La La - I'm not listening'...

  70. Why not send those who want to censure your blog to the many really vile, crazy insulting anti-adoption blogs out there? They will see that this one is really quite moderate.

  71. @ anonymous 12:39

    "Why not send those who want to censure your blog to the many really vile, crazy insulting anti-adoption blogs out there?"

    Or, they could just send them to one of the many really vile, crazy insulting anti-natural mother/ family blogs out there; you know, where they degrade a woman who dare keep her child, how horrible she is for disappointing them, how she should have kept her legs shut, how no one held a gun to her head and made her sign papers, so forth and so on...

    I have never read blogs that were really vile, crazy insulting anti-adoption; but have read blogs where people speak of their adoption experiences in a less than stellar way, as opposed to the rainbows and sunshine adoption is so wonderful propaganda everyone demands be written about.

    Anything to take a dig at people who don't agree with your views on adoption, huh adopter?

  72. F'n brilliant! The articles on your blog should be mandatory reading in all Sex Ed classes. If I, as an adoptee, had read something like this in my early teen years, I would have felt support that was missing due to adoption's taboo status. If young people were to read this as part of a school course, and even if it helped to keep one more family together, then a change for the better will have begun.

  73. As an outsider looking in, since I am not a first mother, I think that the blog authors have been very generous in allowing many different points of view about adoption in their comment section. The purpose and scope of FMF is to stress the fact the adoption is not the win win that our culture makes it out to be, not to provide what some consider a 'fair and balanced' picture of adoption.

    I don't think Lorraine and Jane have any obligation to give a lot of space to first mothers who are happy and at peace with their decision to relinquish. And I don't think they are attacking these first mothers and telling them that they don't feel how they say they feel.



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