Friday, December 15, 2017

Mothers as "Relinquishers"

Revised 12/21/17

Open Letter to MADDeline Hauter aka Julie,

Julie, you and I have gotten off to a bad start and I would like to remedy that.  I have been accused of trying to silence you. It is true that I posted on Facebook suggesting people block you. This was the result of my encounters with on Facebook and your use of the VILE, dehumanizing term “relinquishers.” When I tied to engage you in discussion, I felt you were snippy, not open to dialoging. I was thus concerned that others mothers would be triggered as I was by your choice of vocabulary. It was not an effort to silence you, since you have your own bog.

As you are likely aware my post led to lengthy discussions. I learned that you are newly “out of the fog” – about a year. And I learned that your writings have garnered you friends, supporters, and admirers.

I share their admiration of your courage and your outspokenness on issues of adoption. I am a huge supporter of adoptee's speaking their truth to power. I admire your ability to honestly express your anger. Adoption sucks and permanently wounds and scars those torn apart.

Adoptees have – as a group – been late “coming out” of the shadows of the secrecy that adoption is cloaked with and appear to be ungrateful. The societal expectation of gratitude is monumental and has kept many trapped. Over the past 3-1/2 decades, I watched many adoptees wait until their adoptive died or search surreptitiously.

But rather than attempt to speak about what I have witnessed and read about adoptees, I much prefer to help by using whatever means I have to allow them to speak for themselves.

Who am I? - Check out my Bio Here

I am a mother, and activist, and author.  I am a MOTHER! Nothing anyone can say can change that. In an effort to let you know a bit more about who I am and my claim that I honor, respect, and give voice to adoptees, the following are books and films by adoptees I have reviewed on HuffPost (in addition to the ones I reviewed on Amazon):

I have written about adoptees in imminent danger of being deported:

Adam Crapser: Adopted, Abused and Facing Deportation (4/8/15), Stop this Injustice: Save Adam Crapser (Internationally adopted, facing deportation) (2/14/16).

I have also written about adoptee’s right to access the original, authentic birth certificate:

But, most importantly, I – more than any other person in the adoption community - have given adoptees a platform to tell their truth, as no one else can!


I don’t tell you these things to “brag” but to have you understand how strongly I feel about allowing adoptees to speak their truth. No one else that I know of has done more to support that goal!

When I say that I honor and support your right to your truth, it is heartfelt and sincere.

BSE Versus More Recent and Current Mothers Who Lose Children to Adoption

"Relinquishers: Birth mothers. They like to call themselves by all different titles, trying to garner sympathy, but they all boil down to one simple word: relinquishers. I daresay most of them will claim they were trucked, coerced, deceived, or had their children stolen. Fact is, very few of them had no choice. They almost all had a choice about laying down and spreading their legs. They all had forty weeks to figure their shit out. For some reason they chose to allow themselves to be convinced to go along with this.

"Don't say this to them, though, if you value your head, because they will attempt to remove it. They are absolutely ruthless in defense of their powerless victimhood. They claim to stand for adoptee rights, but very few of them actually care about us. They stand on our backs like they always have to further their own legislation and agendas. They torpedo adoptee-centric legislation and organizations that aren't 'sympathetic enough' to relinquisher desires.

"They expect us to be sympathetic and understanding of the reasons why they didn't raise us. They expect us to bear the emotional burden, to forgive their bullshit and fix their pain. Cribmates, that's not our job."
First, I absolutely, totally agree with you that no child (or adult child) adopted or not – should be made to feel responsible for any of their parent’s issues or problems. NEVER!

As for the use of different names, it is not for sympathy. Just as I honor adoptees’ right to their truth and their voice, I believe that races, ethnicities and LGBT and all of us have a right to self-identify! Being called a “bio or biological mother” I personally – and many other mothers -  find very cold and offensive. Relinquisher, worse still.

Julie, adoption effects at the very least two people: a mother and her child. No child – adopted or not – comes into the world without at least one mother. For nine months, they are a single unit. Mother and child. Adoption disrupts the prenatal bond and tears the single unit apart causing BOTH parties trauma.

To acknowledge that both mothers and babies traumatized is not for sympathy. It is simply a fact. (With the exception of some sociopathic, drug-addicted, or otherwise impaired, mothers – even those who “chose” and/or planned an open adoption – do not know how they will feel once their baby is a reality!)  Nor does recognizing this invite a competition as to who is hurts more, who is traumatized, or who is victimized more.

Then and Now

I have been told that though you do not make the distinction in the above quote, you exclude mothers of the BSE in your assessment of, and anger, toward mothers....even exclude them from the dehumanizing term "Relinquishers"?

I imagine you make this distinction because you’ve been told and/or read that “times were different” and “unwed” mothers-to-be were treated as a disgrace to their families, hidden away and has only two options: relinquish or get married.

This is true.

However, the primary difference between then and now is that fewer women consider adoption now. That means the pool of expectant mothers for the money-makers is very small but the demand today is far bigger than it was in the BSE because more women delay childbearing today and also because same-sex couples are added to the demand.

Fewer babies + more demand = increased pressure! Increased, not less. If you think today's mother make free choices you have bought into the industry propaganda hook, line and sinker. 

The lies have also changed to meet the current situation. Today, shame of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy exists in only small pockets of very religious communities. For the most part, adoption practitioners who need a steady supply of babies to fill a constant demand (150 individuals and couples for each baby) now use “open adoption” as the bait, allowing naïve expectant moms to believe they will be Sunday parents! Some of these women, I agree, simply don’t want to be parents. Some selfishly do choose to put their education or careers first. But many others are simply brainwashed and pressured just as much – albeit with a different script – as BSE mothers! The demand is high and the only way to fill the demand it to pressure, coerce and exploit as many pregnant women as possible.

"As someone who was on the ground in the Measure 58 the full page ad of generations of birth mothers in the Oregonian was important. The full page ad was in the response to a Today show interview with Helen Hill. . . Within 48 hours we had 600 birth mothers, and some had been victims of rape. It was a blow to the campaign. . . We call on birth mothers, but birth mothers responded because "Cindy" insulted birth mothers by putting it out there she represented them and she needed to be in the shadows. The ad ran in the opinion section the Sunday before the election. It featured a picture a many generations of birth mothers. . . No one can say definitively how the ad effected the vote. No one can say it was decisive in the campaign for the same reason no one can say it didn't. . . . No one can take away from those 600 birth mothers who took part in the ad. I will always remember how it came together and how I felt reading it when it came out. It was important and appreciated. Like all struggles, adoptee rights benefit all in the triad and benefit our system overall. Sealed records punish birth mothers because the assumption is that they did something shameful that deserves protection.. ."

But here’s the thing. Whatever era, whatever methods used to coerce babies from mothers – there are basically three kinds of birth moms:

Three Mothers

1    There are those such as drug addicts and other mentally or emotionally impaired mothers who simply don’t care. Some have birthed and let go of multiple babies; some who don’t even remember where or when they gave birth. These are mothers we don’t see in the adoption community because they have no interest in adoption. They are however occasionally found by their adopted-out children and the reunions are often disastrous. There are also mothers who have their children taken on claims of abuse or neglect, some true and some not.  
However, when adoptees initiate search and reunion, they are welcomes approx. 90% of the time! 

2   There are mothers of the BSE who bought the brainwashing hook, line, and sinker and “put it behind” them and “went on with their lives” as if “it” never happened – which is what we were told to do. When you are told that what you did was shameful and needs to be kept a deep dark secret, it is very self-image destroying.  Many mothers bought what they were told to the point of not even telling their husbands and many more live in fear of their subsequent (or prior) children finding out and thinking badly of them. These mothers have a hard time when they are found and many cannot come to grips with their “secret” and thus deny their children reunion or even deny medical information or the father’s name. Again, part of that small percentage! That means that MOST come around. Thye put their own fears aside and welcome their long-lost adult children.

3     But there is a third group of mothers, Julie.  Those who are involved members of the adoption community. These are mothers who are longing to be found and have a reunion, or some who like me initiate a search. These mothers read all they can about adoption, blog, post on Facebook, attend conferences. They march, write letters, visit legislators and do whatever we can to help adoptees have equal access to their birth certificates.
It was the power of mothers that helped pass the Oregon ballot initiative, Measure 58, for unfettered access. Measure 58. Denise Fuller Castelucci recalls the events of 1998 (pre- Facebook and Twitter):

Mothers are your biggest allies!  These mothers are as outraged as are adoptees at the injustice! These are MOTHERS, Julie. Broken-hearted mothers who realize they were duped in the BSE or yesterday! These are mothers who love and care about their adopted children and want to see them get the rights they deserve. These are mothers who do not deserve to be called anything but mothers!

The voices of these mothers are crucial in dispelling the myth that keeps records sealed: the alleged mothers’ right to privacy!  They are VITAL to get access legislation passed. It behooves adoptees such as yourself to work to NOT alienate them by generalizing them and painting them with the same broad brush as mothers who dump and run.

Most importantly, Julie, there are NO mothers who seek any legislation for themselves, never have been! I don’t know where you got that misinformation from, but it is absolutely false, untrue, utter BULLSHIT!  Nor are there any mothers trying to "torpedo" or block access with the exception of 2 or 3 ALLEGED mothers who used to get dragged to legislators by the NCFA. The facts speak for themselves: In states that have granted mothers the option to veto or redact their names, less than 1% do! 

One in 2,000 mothers want no contact. How can we label them "relinquishers?

Mothers are not the enemy, Julie! Quite the opposite. We are your staunchest supporters of your rights!

I am not trying to silence you, Julie or any other adoptee. On the contrary, I  encourage you to continue working through your anger. You are a valuable asset!  But I hope that you will focus your anger on the true enemy: The mega billion-dollar adoption industry to whom adoptees are mere commodities and mothers the disposable wrappings the gifts come in.  We are struggling through our PTSD and hoping for reunification and to help with adoptee rights.
The #MeToo movement is teaching society to BELIEVE and RESPECT women. Blaming women for "spreading their legs" is vile and counter-productive.  Why would you insult and alienate your allies?

I hope you meet some mothers. Perhaps, Julie, we could even work together to reduce the number of adoption separations by helping more mothers who want to find the support resources needed to keep their family intact.
I offer you a copy of my book to help you get a better understanding of the real demon – the industry. Simply drop me a note with your mailing address!

Most of all I hope you continue on your path to get beyond victimhood. It's an unhealthy place to dwell too long. 

UPDATE: 12.21.17

Subsequent to this, on 12/18 being posted, Julie posted "An Open Letter (and the laat tim eit will be pubically [sic] addressed." You can read it here.

I replied the following via comments on her blog (typos edited):

Adoption sucks. I hear your pain and wish it on no one.
  1. Julie, I do 't care if you post this or not. But I want you to know that I HEAR you and I feel your pain. and I am sorry. I am sorry for the hand you were dealt. I wish you peace, Julie.

    I overacted to your words. They are YOUR words and you have every right to say whatever you want to say.

    One of the reasons I was concerned is because I fear mothers who have relinquished will read your animosity and refuse reunion for fear that they will be the targets of such explosive anger. But, whatever. It’s your right to say whatever you wish to. I hope that it helps you. to vent.

    You said you don’t feel sorry for me/us. That’s cool. I never asked you to. I seek no pity. I Loathe pity. I also do not ever play victim. I am a survivor! Like you, I survived the death of a child and barely ever talk about it except to close friends. If you were to read my books or articles you would see that NONE are autobiographical. I do not talk about my own personal situation. I do NOT seek sympathy!!
  2. You said: "You changed some stuff. For yourselves. Mothers aren't treated the way they were in the sixties."

    We did not do this, Julie, society did. Feminists had a part in it. Birth control access had a lot to with it. Murphy Brown and Title IX. WE didn’t do any of that. Even if we had done it, Julie, it wouldn’t have changed anything for those of us, because as you yourself say…

    "Children are still relinquished and redistributed like cattle. " And this is mypointn about BSE and now not being much different!

    Julie - I never had any intent to silence you. I regret that my blocking you felt that way. But that was just on my FB page. You have this blog and I see your comments on many other FB pages. You have not been silenced and shouldn't be. You - like everyone else - is entitled to your truth!  
  3. You aksed what we've done in 30 years.

    I personally have testified in NY and NJ, and helped get adoptee rights legislation in NJ, CT, PA, OR and many other states by writing letters to newspapers and to legislators - as requested by various state coordinators. I have also written Huffington Posts about the right of adoptee to equality in general. I – and many other mothers – do whatever we can to counter the major opposition to access which is the false claim that we, mothers, want anonymity.

    I don’t know if any of that matters to you. Paige Moss posted on AN&E that you have no interest in legislation, so I don’t know…

    But whether you care about adoptee rights or not, many mothers do care and do whatever we can to help adoptees get what should be theirs – their OBC.

    We got nothing out of it, so it is very odd that you say: "You. Yours. Your rights. Your needs. Your desires. "

    But again, these are your feelings! Disagreeing and/or clarifying is not silencing, Julie.
  4. I don't want to hurt you or have any need to. I wish you WELL! I truly have no reason or desire to try to hurt you or shut you up. 

    Julie/MADDeline replied:

    Mirah, I suppose if you really want to talk, you can take down your slam post, write a public retraction, publicly apologize on FB, and unblock me. Then we can talk. In the mean time, I have nothing to say to you. I will not bog down my blog with this 'dialogue'.
    I reminded that I had already stated I didn't care if she published my comments or not. I told her that I  do not feel comfortable unblocking her. I said that she a right to her anger and whatever she wants to say and I have a right not to be a target of her vitriol. 
    I see no need to apologize more than I did in my comments to Julie above.  There is nothing in this post that requires an apology, nor is there any need to take it down.  I did take down my Facebook post.

    She has her truth and I have mine!  Disagreeing is not silencing one another, nor is it slander.

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget