' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Political commercial leaves First Mother Forum speechless. Almost.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Political commercial leaves First Mother Forum speechless. Almost.

Is there anything about this commercial that bothers you? Bothers me. Quite a bit.

It's kinda like the jewelry commercial from Kaye that we wrote about a few months ago. Once again, a commercial celebrates the joy of adoption--which I know is very real for many people--but this ad is so unthinkingly heartless for those of us who have a different sense about what adoption means-- the actual mother who gives birth, to the child who is handed over to genetic strangers, the family who lost a child. This ad certainly will trigger negative feelings in adoptees and birth mothers, which is why it was sent to me in the first place by an adoptee friend from Facebook.

A little digging finds that Deb Goldberg is president of Adoptions with Love a non-profit in Massachusetts. Her parents started Stop & Shop. Adoptions with Love does both open and closed adoptions.

What all of this means is that it is fine to repeatedly celebrate how fortunate someone is to be able to adopt without paying a nod that it might be offensive to others, including a grown-up adoptee (aren't they all grateful?) and that another mother somewhere is behind a door somewhere sobbing. Here the real mother who gave birth is immaterial, out of the picture. The ad implies that the happiness of the adopting parents outweighs other considerations, and the child will grow up happy and secure and not ever wonder: How come I was adopted? Who are my real parents?  Yes, that is how people think.... and yes, we all understand that the parents who raised you are also real parents.

The commercial came from You Tube, but it is closed to comments, as any political ad would be. Goldberg has a Facebook page, but it is closed unless you are friends. We apparently have one mutual friend, but that person also has more than a thousand friends, so we might not be, er, close.--lorraine

BOSTON — Deb Goldberg has won the three-way Democratic primary for Massachusetts state treasurer. The former Brookline selectwoman defeated state Sen. Barry Finegold of Andover and state Rep. Tom Conroy of Wayland in Tuesday's voting. We need to seriously educate her. ASAP--but then, she heads up an agency, so she probably thinks she knows all she needs to about being adopted and first mothers.
PS:  Hobbling around on my boot--the ankle replacement operation was one month ago today. Everyone tells me I am doing great and I think so too. The ankle is taking some getting used to, but I am stepping down on it and stretching it out and doing that exercise where you make the alphabet with your foot, which means you stretch it every which way. However, I cannot get through the alphabet yet without it burning, so I stop midway.

Take that offensive Kay Jewelers ad off the air!
Dark Ages Adoption Spewing over at Huffington Post
Does surrender (for the birth/first mother) and adoption (for the child) lead to PTSD?
Using DNA to Find Family: You Can't Have Too Much Family

An old book (1991), but still relevant
Birthbond: Reunions Between Birthparents and Adoptees — What Happens After
by Judith Gediman abd Linda P. Brown
"In 36 interviews with women who relinquished their children to adoption, the authors present anecdotal documentation of what happens when birth mothers and their children meet. The case histories are bittersweet. For some, reunion provides enrichment and release from guilt; for others the event is wrenching, especially when it occurs in the adoptee's adult life. In considering the many facets of adoption--including the views of birth fathers, adoptive parents, grandparents--the authors of this helpful study allow us to hear voices and attitudes that could change future adoption practices in this country. Gediman is a Connecticut-based marketing consultant; Brown is legislative director of American Adoption Congress."--Publisher's Weekly.

Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA
by Richard Hill

This is the book about using DNA and incredible, indefatigable detective work to locate siblings by a Michigan man that we mentioned in a comment at an earlier post. From Jane's review:

"Hill's memoir is well-written, easy to read, a can't-put-down tale. It's more than that, though, as Hill reveals himself in the process of discovering his roots. When he obtains a picture of his birth mother, he writes of the "delayed grief over my birth mother's death and our lost relationship."

"It's a warm story of a man who finds family as well as roots. "Looking back, I do not regret a minute of it. While frustrating at times, my search proved to be a rich and rewarding experience. I uncovered the truth about my birth parents, acquired wonderful new siblings and cousins, and built a family tree for my descendants." Read more: 

Using DNA to Find Family: You Can't Have Too Much Family


  1. It doesn't even make sense. I wouldn't vote for her for dogcatcher.

  2. I find the ad tasteless, period. I feel that she is trying to use her child who is adopted as a way to gain votes. Nothing about being an adoptive parent makes you more suited to deal with politics. I can see where if you are running on a platform of education, if you have a child with special needs, you might be able to say you are more suited to understand people who are dealing with the difficulties of trying to get their child an equal education. But adoption? That has nothing to do with anything.

    Furthermore, I obviously know nothing of the circumstances surrounding her adoption. But we know that in many cases, adoption results from a lack of support or financial resources. "Everything in life depends on opportunity." Yes! And how incredibly sad it is that you completely miss that there are mothers who lack the opportunities to support themselves and thus must give up their children? I find that comment utterly lacking in both compassion and intelligence. That alone would keep me from voting for her- she is obviously incapable of understanding multiple points of view and that what is joyful for one person is sad for another. Opportunities indeed need to be equalized, but I think she is missing out on an important aspect of women's rights that is sadly lacking in our country- the right to be able to have support to keep your children if the desire is there without regard to socioeconomic standing.

  3. Wow. Just wow. Let's add another word to our collective consciousness about pursuing adoption: "OPPORTUNISTIC!" There are babies for the taking, folks - seek the opportunity and ye shall receive.

    As Debbie Goldberg says, success in life is all about opportunity, and for those of us who have adopted, we know that when you look for opportunities to take someone else's baby, you get to have a baby. It is sickening.

  4. I'd gather from the ad that Goldberg adopted recently. Someone should send her a copy of "The Primal Wound." She needs to be told that adopted children need their adoptive mothers around 24-7 when they are young. Running for state-wide office and using the baby as a prop is not the way to get off to a good start on the motherhood road.

  5. Jane, I think that she is an agency person herself, not simply an amom, and I don't know if she is.

  6. Deb (Goldberg) is the President of Adoptions With Love and an Advisory Board member of the Greater Boston Food Bank. She was one of the founders and the treasurer of a school for kids with severe cognitive disabilities.

  7. It never ends, does it? I got one response to my recent article that said the writer was "heart broken" that what I wrote might give people the idea that adoption is not a good thing. Well, duh. People get very defensive, either when they're a birth mother who is trying to live with her decision or when they're an adoptee who doesn't want to confront the dark questions of history and identity: Who am I? Why am I here and not with my natural mother? I'm disgusted by this ad and sickened by an industry that traffics in babies, which is what all adoption agencies do. How about giving the birth mother the "opportunity" to raise her own child?

  8. I'm not able to watch that right now.

    'what adoption means-- the actual mother who gives birth, to the child who is handed over to genetic strangers, the family who lost a child.'

    So right Lorraine.

    Human nature is being rewritten to suit others' agendas.
    While the whole of society lauds the sacred depth of the mother/child bond, it is snapped and vaporised in the minds of those who want adoption to be the new norm.

    Pregnancy becomes something men can do ("We are pregnant" say magazine couples), and is something that 'birth' mothers apparently have never done. They just coughed and there is was, a little baby. No long nights sensing the growing baby, month after month.

    It's so inhumane, the lot of it.

  9. This whole "adoption is so wonderful" message thrives because of the underlying assumption that adoptees were all unwanted by both of their parents and are so lucky to have been placed with people who did want them. That fallacy only stands a chance of being laid to rest if more first mothers (and fathers) speak out about how much they did, in fact, want their child and more adoptees say they are not so overjoyed to have been given away and raised by genetic strangers. I am astounded that people who know me and know my whole story (i.e. that my mother desperately wanted to keep me, etc.) still operate under the assumption that adopted kids were always unwanted and are lucky to have found a home. It boggles my mind.

    1. Absolutely right. Thank you for summarising this so clearly.

  10. Lorraine, I've known Deb a little for years. These ads are loathsome and stupid. She has a vibrant challenger in Barry Finegold. If, god forbid, she prevails tomorrow will want to fight this stuff tooth and nail. The rest of her ads are just as bad. Pandering is never pretty.

  11. it has that she is president of adoptions right in the ad as the reason for why she should be treasurer.
    i took from it that shes going to lead on wage equality so that everyone can have the opportunity to adopt and provide greater opportunities to their children like having a college savings plan and such at a young age (kindergarten) cause she has seen & knows money provides 'opportunity,' so she would be a great fit for treasurer! obviously she is wonderful and wholesome since she saves poor children and helps create families that can provide better lives & bring them such joy and all the opportunities money can buy including their own children. "when you choose to adopt, you learn DEEP inside EVERYTHING in life depends on opportunity" "everyone deserves equal wages for work done... teach ppl how to save money and avoid debt and fraud" and maybe avoid loosing their children to adoption?

    so tactless...

  12. The non-adoption, ignorant general public eats this stuff up. My adoptive mother eats this stuff up. As long as there are ads like this one and the famous Kay jewelers ad, people will continue to believe adoption is a win-win wonderful thing. As long as there are women's magazines that print articles about celebrities and their adorable little adopted toddlers, and Disney movies about motherless children, and TV shows like Dr. Phil, people will continue to believe it.

    That is what I find so frustrating. We can talk all day long, but no one is listening. The stupid general public knows better. They know what first mothers want and were "promised", and they know what ALL adoptees want. And when we bring up the truth about what adoption really is, we ruin the happy little picture. And we may ruin the big-money adoption industry.

    This ad is disgusting. That is the nicest word I could use.

  13. I have been watching this ad for a while as I live in the Boston area. Turned my stomach the first time I saw it, then tried to ignore it. Then I would try to figure out what she was doing. I think she is trying to play on the majority who feels "Adoption is WONDERFUL" and will go ohhhhhh how WONDERFUL she is for adopting..she must be a saint." Sadly it might just work.

    Of course she might be plugging her agency....she has probably made a lot of money with this agency....

  14. As an adoptee from the Baby Scoop Era, this commercial makes me feel sick. The ignorance and insensitivity of the general public of the fact that for an adoption to take place, there is a tearing apart, which brings profound and irreversible loss to both the natural mother and the adoptee.

  15. Her parents founded Stop 'n Shop, did they? Evidently Debbie Goldberg know believes that if opportunity comes a-knocking at a prospective aparent's door--especially if her/his family struck it lucky in business--one can simply stop 'n shop at some cash-on-the-barrelhead adoption agency to start, or add to, one's family. Arghhhhh!

    Adoption ravaged one branch of my family tree the way that lightning can shear apart a mighty oak. Though most of the debris long since has been swept out of sight, the half-dozen relatives whom the adoption-gone-wrong-from-the-start most intimately affected think about it every single day, as they've told me. And that limping band of brothers and sisters doesn't count the nameless, faceless first mother and first father. I know the first mother's first name, and that is all.

    But that ad struck me hard in the solar plexus, and I'm neither an adoptee nor a mother who relinquished nor an amom! All I can do is stand on the cybersidelines waving my Pompoms of Solidarity in support of everyone here at FMF and elsewhere for whom adoption = dislocation, brings up dozens, hundreds of "what-ifs," and represents the polar opposite in every conceivable direction of sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.

    For the Stop 'n Shop heiress to begin a campaign ad bragging about her status as an amom is even more politically tone-deaf than Ann Romney's publicizing her
    costly involvement in Olympic-level competitive dressage: That activity, after all, requires purchasing horses, not people...

  16. BOSTON — Deb Goldberg has won a three-way Democratic primary for Massachusetts state treasurer.

  17. So now, it is a mad dash to educate her. Or try to. We cannot have a mindless Democrat spreading this dribble.

    Lorraine, since this is your blog, please use it: send this, and all comments, to her as a printed letter. Tell her that she needs to open her mind to those of us who have been harmed by adoption.

    Opportunity? As an adoptee, where was my opportunity to stay with the family I was born into? With a succession of adults making decisions over me, a newborn, I was powerless, as all newborns are. I lost the opportunity to grow up with my four older, full-blood siblings, and our father. I lost the opportunity to properly grieve my mother's death, to visit her grave, to hear stories about her, to see pictures of her, to read her obituary during my childhood so I could come to terms with her early death. My father lost the opportunity to raise his fifth child. My siblings lost the opportunity to know their baby sister at a time when it matters most: childhood. All five of us lost the opportunity to share a childhood together.

    The ONLY ones to gain opportunity were my adoptive parents. And the lawyer they paid legal fees to for completing the adoption paperwork. And the court staff who got paid to permanently separate a family.

    Deb Goldberg is one opportunistic, callous, insensitive woman. She won her opportunistic election.

  18. Joan: you speak for all adoptees of closed adoptions. Thank you. How can we get her to see these comments? It is a great idea.

  19. We will not be sending the comments to Ms. Goldberg, but it is possible that with enough people reading the blog, FMF and this particular blog will come up when you google her name. We suggest that everyone write to her themselves and explain why her ad is so offensive.

  20. I'm surprised stop and shop doesn't have a a la carte pick out a baby section......



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