|Some of the 909 people who died at Jonestown 11/18/78|
Since my reunion I have learned that my fears were common. Mothers scan news reports anxiously when they read of a disaster, a mass shooting, any catastrophe, to learn whether any of the children were adopted. A good friend who gave up her son in the early 50's stressed over whether he might have gone into the military and been killed in Vietnam. In 2013, Carol King-Eckersley learned that her son perished 25 years earlier when the plane he was traveling in was bombed by Libyan terrorists. First mother Rhonda Schwindt waited for months for news of her son, Peter Kassig, until she learned from news reports that he had been beheaded by ISIS. Because she was not legal next-of-kin, the U.S. government refused to keep her in the information loop.
Though the big tragedies bring out big fear, many mothers constantly fret over smaller news. Whenever Lorraine read a story about adopted children being sent off to boarding schools or mental hospitals, she always worried that that might be happening to her daughter. When she found her, it was with good parents--but she did have epilepsy--and the parents and their doctor were already looking for Lorraine. And the adoptive mother was stunned to find out that no one in Lorraine's family was in a mental institution! So she was picking up on the institution theme surrounding her daughter.
Changes in adoption practices in the past half century allow some first mothers to know their child's whereabouts. For other mothers, those in foreign countries and those in closed or semi-open, every new tragedy brings renewed fear. And of course, open adoption does not prevent adoptive parents from placing a child in harm's way.--jane
Mother discovers the son he gave away died on Pan Am Flight 103 In 2013, Carol King-Eckersley searched for the son she had lost to adoption and learned he had died 25 years earlier in a plane bombed by Libyan terrorists.
The sisterhood of first mother loss at the holiday
Waiting on the sidelines: Peter Kassig's first mother
FILM TO WATCH
This film from 1950 is about a five year old boy who survives a plane crash which killed his adoptive parents. As crews try to rescue the boy, three women who gave up a son wait anxiously to find out if the boy is their son. Susan (Eleanor Parker) is a sweet young woman abandoned by the boy's father, a soldier. Phyllis (Patricia Neal) is a career journalist who puts her career before motherhood. Ann (Ruth Roman) is a woman who has had a tough life. When pregnant, she kills her son's father when he abuses her and serves several years in prison.
The boy is rescued. Through contacts, Phyllis figures out the boy is Ann's son. She and Ann agree that Susan would be the best mother for the boy and tell her she is the boy's mother. Unaware of the deception, Susan happily takes the boy. The film's view of adoption is contradictory. The mothers' grief of losing their son at birth, and then fearing that he is dead, is real. Yet with this resolution, the idea put forth is that children are fungible and can easily go with the "best" mother regardless of biology, and that noble mothers step aside, putting their child's best before their wishes, is pure adoption propaganda. The movie was remade for a television drama in 1999. In this version, Tyne Daly plays the social worker who arranged the adoption and when the boy is rescued decides which mother to place him with.