Saturday, September 09, 2006

On the b-word again: the argument for "reaching out to adoptive moms too..."

This comment was posted, by a mother whom i highly respect, "If we ever expect to change adoption, we need to find ways to reach adoptive moms too ...." Unfortunately, I must respectfully disagree with her. I especially do not believe that must denigrate ourselves by calling ourselves "birthmothers" in order to reach out to adoptive parents, or even that reaching out to them will succeed in changing adoption in the first place.

First, gentle reader, a few analogies: My guess is that enslaved African-Americans never said to their brothers and sisters, "If we expect to change slavery, we need to find way to reach slave owners too. Like it or not, they have a lot of power." Or followed it up with "So we can't go around calling ourselves 'people.'"

Because being a mother is like being a person. It recognizes you a human being. Right now, adopters only are happy when we choose to define ourselves as organs of reproduction, a.k.a. "birthmothers."

Another analogy: What if victims of rape were labelled "vagina-women" by the courts, the rapists, and society? What if they decided they needed to get the support of rapists in order to effect change? if once you got raped, you were no longer a woman but were a "vagina woman"? Yes this analogy is gruesome, but it is the same type of analogy as between "mother" and "birthmother." With the term "birthmother" you are reduced to being a body part. In this case, a uterus and birth canal. in the case of rape, a vagina.

I do not wish the support of my rapist. She has none of my best interests at heart. She wanted my baby and that is why I lost my baby, because I was powerless to stop the system she had hired.

NOT ALL adoptive parents fit this analogy, but it is a very rare few that see us as being human beings and not just the means to producing a baby. Those that acknowledge that I am still a mother and not a "birth mother" (with or without a space it makes no difference), i respect them also. Because the term "birth[ ]mother" reduces a human being to being a bodily function, to not have a role in the life of her child other than gestation and delivery.

Read any article on "Positive Adoption Language" and you'll see how they differentiate between "birth mothers" and mothers.

As well, adoptive parents have a very large and powerful and wellfunded lobby group that they are involved in: it is called the NCFA and is comprised of baby brokers and adopters. They have come together to form other groups as well to reform adoption. These legislative reforms (below) are what they lobby for and have lobbied for in the past as a socio-demographic group:
  • Lower adoption agency fees to make adoption more affordable
  • More private adoptions so that there is a larger chance of them obtaining a baby than being stuck on an agency waiting list.
  • Shortening and eliminating "revokation periods" that the mother is allowed to "change her mind" after signing surrender papers.
  • "Pre-birth consents" that eliminate a mother's right to make a decision about adoption after her child is a reality, in her arms.
  • Shortening and eliminating "waiting periods" that give a mother a chance to (theoretically) recover after her child is born before she has papers shoved into her face to sign.
  • Using "Positive Adoption Language" in legislation to further dehumanize us.
Will people who are involved in this ever listen to us? Will we ever be able to "convince them" to see our point of view? I highly doubt it. No, because we are at odds. We want our children. They want our children. They want adoption to "build" them a family as similar as possible to a natural family, ignoring all the differences.

Like the slave owners above, they have all the power and everything going for them and no reason to change. There is nothing though that prevents those with a heart from becoming "former adoptive parents" in the same way that slave owners often voluntarily released their slaves. Often people do things without realizing that another group has been seriously violated and traumatized and abused in the process. Adoption is one of these instances. It is possible for people to recognize their role, however indirect, in this abuse. Wipe the slate clean. help the natural family reunite, repair, and rebuild. And sue the pants off of the adoption agency that lied through its teeth about "forever families," "As If Born To," and the "lifetime guarantee" that the adoptee will never search or reunite or want 4 parents in their lives. Because that is where the information was ultimately held, and withheld, while babies were sold for a profit even by supposedly "nonprofit" agencies.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Amputated at the waist ...

I got slapped on the wrist today for trying to express a gentle comment to an adopted person. She posted a comment on Musings of the Lame saying that she used term "birthmother" as a term of respect.

I meant her no disrespect when i told her that it was not respectful to call her mother this word, and it also disrespected her as well as a person, dehumanized her, when she used this term, as it reduced her to not being a daughter but to being a "product of conception." I thought i was expressing compassion and trying to let this adopted person know that she deserves more, and that she is not just a "product of conception."

But then again, the way that the adoption industry portrays and treats us, my critic is just mirroring what the industry wants: Walking uteri aren't supposed to be vocal or have mouths, hearts or brains!

We're supposed to put up and shut up. Analogous to the way the sheet was draped over our knees when we gave birth, not permitting us to see our babies, and the professionals not caring about anything "beyond the blanket" -- all they cared about was happening between the legs that were up in stirrups -- that image frames how we're portrayed and treated for the rest of our lives. "Birthmother" -- the uterus and birth canal. The rest of our bodies and our humanity amputated with our motherhood.

This was my full comment:
dear adoptee, there is nothing respectful about reducing a mother to being a walking uterus, to saying that she is (was) only your mother for the purposes of gestation and being strapped down to the delivery table to have you exit the birth canal, but never afterwards.

calling her your "birthmother" also means that you consider yourself to NOT be her daughter any longer. this would mean that you are reduced to being a "product of conception." which is just as dehumanizing for you as for her.

i know that this might be new to you, but this is what social workers promote the term to mean. they don't want to displease their paying customers (adopters) by any word that suggests an ongoing bond or relationship between the natural mom and her lost child.
Dear "Daughter of Two Women," I meant no disrespect for you, or for either of your mothers.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Motherhood Deleted.

I found a new blog today, called Motherhood Deleted. Written by Robin Westbrook, whose writings I first encountered on the BEBA website.

Robin is right -- we are still mothers to the children that the adoption industry took from us. We discover this truth in reunion, especially. That the bond between mother and child did not disapate.

The adoption industry is a 20th century phenomena. It is driven by big business profits and big government grants. It IS a big business -- selling infants to needy sterile people who have lost their fertility (usually due to age or STDs and those are facts). The adoption industry stands to gain financially if it can convince people that it will sell them parenthood without strings attached. Parenthood with no other parents to "share with." This is a lie, completely and utterly. It invented "Positive Adoption Language" including the term "birthmother" in order to sell the product. No other reason.

But we know the truth: We are still mothers to our lost children. The bond is still there, even if they feel too guilt-ridden and beholden to their adoptive parents to call us "Mother." Like Robin's article, "View from the Back of the Bus" where she talks about our children sneaking behind the adopters' backs in order to visit us. I know THAT scenario all too well!

The term "birthmother" means "former mother, a mother for breeding purposes only." It is a vile insult. Too bad that CUB decided to use it without realizing its true meaning, what Marietta Spencer and Annette Barran and the other "Positive Adoption Language"-promoting baby-brokers knew it meant. Because they and adopters such as Pearl S. Buck knew EXACTLY what it meant, and they were probably overjoyed that natural moms were telling the world that they were content with being "no longer mothers."

Robin, you are a mother, not a birthmother, because you are STILL a mother. You cannot be a mother AND a birthmother because one excludes the other. Like being alive or dead. If you are alive, you cannot be dead. Dead means "previously alive."

And yes, my child now calls me Mom. And wants to shed all legal ties with her captors, her "care-givers." She says that I am her mother. The bond between us is nothing unusual, nothing special, yet everything sacred and special. I am her Mother.