' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Not ignoring you, I'm just overwhelmed right now!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Not ignoring you, I'm just overwhelmed right now!

East Hampton Main Beach yesterday morning. 
Yo!  I'm in a time-crunch right now and have had to be occupied with projects other than First Mother Forum. My husband and I had a busy time last week getting ready for a 35th wedding anniversary luncheon
that we hosted at our house--with no help other than the friends who brought deviled eggs and cornbread to go with the white chili I made. (Weirdly enough, I had more than enough bowls for everyone--I am a dish collector, and bowls appear to be a speciality.) Then after a long dry spell, I had had two theater reviews to write for the local paper. One of the plays was David Mamet's "November," a satire/farce about a conniving president who is trying to stay in office as his poll numbers slip "lower than Ghandi's cholesterol." It was hilarious.)
I had just read a funny poem about
our years together. 

I'm in prep mode for the conference of the Alliance for Adoption and Culture for which I will be giving the opening night keynote speech. Before I leave I've got a short piece to write on what Adoption Awareness Month (November) means to me for an Indiana Adoption Network newsletter. (Not a cause for MORE awareness, for starters.)

I'll be heading to the Minneapolis where the conference is on Wednesday as flying out of Islip, the closest airport to me (50  miles) to Minneapolis is quite a trek. The flight takes me first to Philadelphia where I have a delightful nearly three-hour layover. Yikes.

That accounts for one meal, several walkarounds the airport (exercise) while trying not to be enticed buying a bauble at one of the ubiquitous Erwin Pearl shops I am sure to come across. But three hours! ye gods. I love where I live--the eastern tip of Long Island, close to the ocean. It's busy in the summer but calm in the fall and winter, and the beach right now is stunning and gorgeous, but getting in and out of here presents a time challenge, which is why I'm going a day early.

The conference organizers have kindly agreed to open my talk up to the public for free, so all are invited. It's at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27 at the Northstar Crowne Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. The topic is Reunion--Before and After. Not surprisingly, about that there is a lot to say, and I've been asked to include what I was doing in those years years like the Seventies and Eighties. I'll be trimming my talk down today and tomorrow. Incidentally, the conference runs from Thursday afternoon to Saturday evening.

Do join me if you are nearby. First mothers I suspect will be in short supply. Supporters needed! A book sale with the work of all the presenters beforehand will be from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.n but I don't know if I will be around for that--last minute prep time--but I'm sure you will be welcome there. I will hang out after my talk.

One last thing--anybody out there interested in having their search done by the producers of Long Lost Family, and be willing to have it televised? They do the search and pay all the expenses. I will have more details later, so do not contact me now but watch this space. --lorraine 

A BIG Thanks to all of you who order from Amazon,  or the ads in the sidebar, through FMF. Adoption from our point of view is not a paying gig, I write as I smile. The money is made is getting the babies for adoption, not talking about the wreckage left after.

My letter was published in the Oct. 24 issue of The Nation. I'm including it here because it references one of the first pieces I wrote about adoption after I read about Florence Fisher. We bring up the issue whenever we can: (The headline is a good pun, don't ya think?)
Not So Gurley After All

While I do not take issue with Madeleine Schwartz’s image of Helen Gurley Brown in her review of two recent biographies of Cosmopolitan’s most famous editor [“Notes From Many Years,” Sept. 26/Oct. 3], her characterizations of the magazine ignore something: Among the articles about attracting men and sex, one could find pieces that dealt with other issues affecting women’s lives. I know because, in the 1970s, I wrote them: the story of an adoptee’s long, arduous search to find her birth mother and the fallout from her adoptive parents; a long piece (in blank verse, no less) about the breakup of my first marriage, with no happy ending in sight; and a serious discussion of the effect of premenstrual hormones. Woman’s Day had rejected the latter with a brisk “Too retro.” Certainly I was not the only one writing such pieces.

The reason Cosmopolitan was successful was that, in between the articles on relationships and the joy of sex, we could find articles that other women’s magazines wouldn’t touch—articles that were either “too retro” or ahead of their time, depending on your perspective.

Lorraine Dusky
sag harbor, n.y.



  1. Dear Lorraine,
    From another Eastern Long Islander - safe travels. Can't wait to hear about your presentation!
    Happy 35th! The East Hampton Main Beach will be waiting for your return. Bonnie

    1. Thanks for the good wishes. Now I better rehearse the speech. I feel like Hillary for I know I need to prep. I am not an off the cuff speaker before an audience.

      Until I'm answering questions.

  2. Lorraine, Do you ever feel that heart tug across the ocean. Like an old homeland is calling? What a beautiful place to live. Hope your journey and presentation go well.

    Reunion before and after, wish I could be there. Either side of it is extremely painful. I'm struggling to keep at it. Why is it so darn hard? Other than for decades being expected, commanded, demanded to NOT be a mother. Being told by society and family, church and agencies, and media, that I'm not a mother. Not ever being allowed, except in my own mind in stolen daydreams, to claim mother hood of any kind. Then here comes my heart's desire - reunion with my long missing child with grandchildren to boot. How incredible and wonderful is that! It's been over a year and a half and it's getting harder. How in the heck do I do this without coming unglued? I see how reunion can fade into mere acquaintance, and I hate it. Thankfully my flesh and blood isn't a quitter:) and yet for me, sometimes I would like to go back to that place I know, the barren land of childlessness that I was cast into. I know how to walk in it.

  3. Broken Pieces--Thank you for that concise paragraph of what it is like because that basically is the gist of what I'm going to say. Too often I feel that the heartache that mothers feel is ignored at many academic conferences, but Marianne Novy, after reading H♥le suggested the topic herself, and so I am going with it.

    As for your relationship with your son, hang in there, and remember that all children, as they grow up, move away emotionally from their parents, while the parents continue to stay glued, in general. So while the initial reunion may have been very intense, that naturally will wan as time goes on.

    Why is it so darn hard? Because the separation was unnatural and we have to come back together as changed individuals,trying to understand and heal each other. If your son pulls back, try not to fret too much; having met each other is HUGE and think what a hole you would have if you hadn't come that far. The worst is never knowing what happened. And you know that.

    1. A huge problem with reunion is the simple fact that only the mother actually remembers the facts and events around the separation, but the adoptee/child was not old enough at the time to remember. So, how to explain the events?

      Usually, adoptees have been told "stories of their adoption" which attempt to explain what happened. Years later, at reunion, the mothers try to tell the story and it is a confusing situation...trying to undo years of what the adoptee has been believing or been told by others.

      I am not being critical of anyone for what they have believed or told an adoptee. It is the problem of the secrecy and the separation itself.

    2. So right Lorraine. The not knowing was absolute cruel torment that left one looking at every possible face and place, and the world is a huge place to try to keep track of. It's a lot less work now.

      It's actually myself that keeps pulling back, and for that I feel horrible. I don't know how to keep moving forward against that, 'you made a plan', when I didn't. The, 'it was for the best', when it wasn't. To fight against these uneducated assumptions and stereotypes and lifelong learned impressions. I didn't have the strength to keep fighting the initiators of the pablum (agency win-win-win propaganda). It tears at the heart and soul. The human heart and spirit can only endure so much of such a seemingly insurmountable assault before it must withdraw and, if possible, mend the wounds. Ripped open again, unintentionally and unknowingly by the adoptee. How can an adoptee listen to or comprehend a complete rewrite of the life story they have lived? I surely don't blame any adoptee.

      Kitta you said it. The stories that are told is not a criticism of anyone in what they have believed or told an adoptee. It IS the secrecy and the separation. The separation that doesn't make sense because mother is still living, mother just needed some financial, medical, housing help. That right there says the world doesn't care to help human beings or families in need. The world just comes up with some silly ass solution of let's put the infant/child in a more moneyed home where we don't have to help anyone. True? The stories are then told to the adoptee to attempt to make sense of something that doesn't. In a just and compassionate world it wouldn't make any sense. Life lesson learned- the world is not a just and compassionate place.

      Dearest Lorraine, please don't thank me. Direct your thanks to those that made that 'conciseness' possible. Those that promoted and effectively worked the unnatural separation of mother and child.

    3. Broken Pieces, I think that no matter what, it's a good thing that you and your son are in reunion. And no matter what, you are a good person for your son, a reasonable person who he could feel comfortable talking to.

      Like you, I am in reunion with my younger son for less than two years. I have experienced some of the feelings you describe, and I think the first 2 years are perhaps the toughest, as it takes awhile for (some of the things that Lorraine described above) to sink in. The years are gone the shared experiences are not there. And although it seems we have much wit, wisdom and love to share, there doesn't appear to be a great deal of interest. At least that's how it's going with me. It will take a long time for us to know each other (years).

      I hope that things will continue to go forward for you and your son. Although there isn't much communication, things are going OK, not badly, and I have to remember that.

      If it helps to know, I sadly complained to my husband that my son doesn't seem to want to talk on the phone, and doesn't have time to answer my e-mails. Husband started laughing, and said, "NOW, that's a normal mother-son relationship!" That made me laugh, as it's so true :), and I have to admit it. I hope this will help a little bit.

      Don't be worried about pulling back sometimes, perhaps your son needs some space anyway. That was the case with my son, and I'm just trying not to be a bother. My husband has said that no matter if he grew up with me, or what the situation was, no grown man wants to see an email from "Mom" every day! This is good common sense, and I've abided by it, I hope. Best wishes to you, and remember - no matter the circumstances - your baby was taken from you! By society, church, uncaring family. That is a fact, No matter what.

  4. Happy 35th anniversary to you and Anthony! Love to you from a fellow bowl-collector... I read somewhere that those of us who acquire them believe we'll always have enough good things with which to fill them, and to share with the people we care about. Your party proved that point.

    xx MrsTBB

    1. Didn't know that about bowls! I could have served 45, it appears. There were bowls I didn't even bring up out of storage. I have bowls from the 40s and 50s that are among my favorites...but then I move into celandine, the blue and white bowls from China, some hand-painted ones from China I bought from the sale rack at the old B. Altman in Manhattan, others from Portugal that I bought from my friend and yoga instructor at her yard sale....I could go on. Thanks for the note, Mrs. TB.

  5. Congrats on your anniversary that's a long time to be married. In February Mike and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary.
    Best of luck on your upcoming speech. If I lived close by I would be there to support you for sure! Can't wait to read your report on how it all goes at the conference.

  6. How funny, bowls of all things!! I have cups - coffee cups. I don't actually collect them, they collect me. At least that is what I suspect. I even got one from my secret santa last year....hmmmm... the cup and bowl conspiracy!



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