Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WE BELIEVE YOU, Dylan Farrow!

I believe you first and foremost because, as Mackenzie Philips said: Why would you lie?  What you did in speaking your truth to power took incredible courage and strength of character. I wholeheartedly believe you and applaud you, support you and defend you.

Woody Allen became officially labeled a pedophile in my book the day his affair with Soon Yi was exposed.  I personally have not seen a Woody Allen movie since. Their continued affair and subsequent marriage removed any and all doubt in that case!

My refusal on principal to see his films has led, over the years, to many passionate discussions of his creative genius to which I reiterate my firm conviction that I personally will not ever spend one red cent out of my pocket to support this incestuous pedophile.

The argument that it was not "technically" incest, or that she MAY have been - or he may have THOUGHT she was older than she was...are all irrelevant. Their age difference alone, and his money and power, made it INAPPROPRIATE!

Those who defend Allen's actions with Soon Yi as not incestuous - are they saying that it is OK for all adoptive fathers to seduce their adoptive daughters/ What about step-fathers?  That's OK too? It wasn't so OK in the movie Precious - nor is it ever in real life OK for a mother's boyfriend to rape or even carry on a consensual relationship with his girlfriend's child.

His relationship with Soon Yi's MOTHER, Mia Farrow, made him Soon Yi's psychological step-father at the very least, and their relationship - no matter how log lasting -  inappropriate in its origins and indicative of his lack of healthy boundaries.

Woody Allen's Women

At 19 Allen married a 16-year old named Harlene Rosen. He then married Louise Lasser and never married again until Soon Yi.  Diane Keaton - whose given name is Annie Hall - was chosen to replace Mia Farrow in the co-starring role for Manhattan Murder MysteryAllen and Farrow were on the rocks professionally and personally and Keaton stepped in in both roles. Their romantic relationship over, they reportedly remain friends

He next had an affair with but did not marry, Stacey Nelson, who like the others was featured in his films. Woody has such power over young, impressionable and powerless GIRLS that his former young lover, Stacey Nelkin, recently went public -- not prove his pattern of sick behavior (which he displays in some of his mvie plot) - but to defend the man who at 41 was in a relationship with her when she was just 17.  Power is indeed corrupting, and this unattractive, nerdy creep mesmerizes young. impressionable women by putting them in his movies!

Woody's infamous relationship with Mia Farrow began approximately 1980 and ended in 1992 whens the proverbial shit hit the fan in the form of photos taken by Allen of her daughter Soon Yi.

I Am Not Alone

I am far from the only one who believes Dylan's accusations are factual and Woody Allen's actions less than stellar. Bravo to Perez Hilton for her piece, Woody Allen's Molestation Accusations From Dylan Farrow: 10 Facts You Need to Know!  A must read.

Many who live with and have studied the intricacies of adoption and the effects on those whose lives are touched by this circumstances KNOW that absence of kinship reduces the technical or legal taboo on incest and puts adoptees - including those in step-parent adoptions - at higher risk than non-adoptees for sexual abuse, not just by adoptive parents but also by siblings. We know and recognize this dynamic on foster care but somehow wish to turn a blind-eye to it in adoptive families.

The reasons lie in the entrenched belief of adoption as a "good" in our society with the lobbying power of a mega billion dollar industry to promote it as such. Adoption is romanticized as a win-win where in a homeless unwanted orphan is rescued by a childless couple desperately yearning for a child to love and complete their family and lives. It is also, as a publisher once told me, our 'fall-back' position for child care and we need cannot afford to see its flaws.

And, after all, part of believing in the myths that surround adoption are the one that assure us that those who adopt are carefully screened and vetted in addition to being highly motivated to begin with. After all, they didn't just have a child by chance or accident.

Those of us in the know, however, know all too well of the "forever" families that abandon their kids, re-home them or send them off to ranches or boarding school. We know of ALL kinds of unspeakable, incomprehensible abuses that adopted children have endured at the hands of their "saviors" - being caged, burned, starved, forced to drink hot sauces and take cold showers, left to live outdoors... We know of the sexual abuses and, yes, even the murders that have taken place at the hands 'noble' altruistic adopters.

We know, as Nicole Soojung Callahan writes, that in the case of Dylan Farrow her adoptive status matters, and matters very much both in the horror she lived through and in the public's ability to believe her or not.
“Because adoption involves children moving from a family of lesser privilege, that move is often seen as an unequivocal good,” Gretchen Sisson told me. “These children are avoiding whatever circumstances of their birth — poverty, a teen mother, a life in a developing country, etc. — have been deemed unsuitable. This makes adoptive parents into rescuers; they are providing their child with a ‘better life.’ Abuse is incompatible with this idea, as is the idea that adopted people should speak out about their abuse. After all, might they not still be better off if they hadn’t been adopted?”
We believe you! Allen is a pedophile and adoption is a breeding ground for non-technical incest.

We know what a farce home studies that are paid for by prospective adopters are and that salaries of those who work for adoption agencies are paid for only by completed adoptions.  We know of all the other pedophiles such as Mancuso and William Peckenpaugh, and we know the sordid history of the agency though which you were adopted, almost as notorious as the Baby Seller, Georgia Tann who also served the rich and famous.

We know that money talks in adoption and buys adorable, curly blonde-haired, blue eyes prizes liek you were -- looking just like A Shirley Temple version of Little Orophan Annie!

Dylan you are not alone. The adoption reform community stands with you as you expose just one of many ugly truths of the scared cow that is adoption. Too many of us have walked a mile in your shoes, abused by those entrusted to care for us... raped by those who committed to our care and protection... You are not alone!

Monday, December 30, 2013

More on Adopter Self-Centered SELFISHNESS

A few days ago I posted on the subject of hubris and narcissism in adopters.  This is a follow-up, and i suspect there may be more to come...

Today's example of comes from an article out of India describing American and British couples complaining about having to wait "several MONTHS" to adopt!~ Yes, you read right...months, not years, and they are complaining.

the average wait is just TWO MONTHS! Now last I calculated that's a helluva lot shorter wait than it takes to have a baby the natural way!

Also.. there are people who have waited YEARS to adopt internationally.

We used to joke about Baby's Are Us - before the chain of stores actually opened. but now I am thinking what is "needed" (read wanted) by these folks is McBabies!  With a DRIVE THROUGH window.

You pull up to the microphone and put in your order:  One Female, please. Hold the illnesses and no need to supersize.  One bottle of formula and extra diapers please.

Then at the first window you hand over your CASH ONLY payment. And voila!

At the next window, your baby is handed to you!

SERIOUSLY - What is wrong with these people and this whole picture? Is there no understanding for the fact that it takes time to ENSURE that the child has not been kidnapped, or her parents deceived in any way? Or is the rush to get it all done before any background checks can all come back?  Just GRAB N' GO!

But to be fair, all the blame is NOT on the part of the consumers. From the article cited above;
State adoption agencies claim that Sara officials ask for unnecessary documents which leads to delays. “They want to know how many Indian parents a child has been shown to before putting him/her up for international adoption and rejection slips ascertain that,” said the head of a Pune-based adoption agency. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Why Adoption is Mired in Secrecy


TAO, The Adopted One, asks: Why is adoption still mired in secrecy? 

Why does secrecy still prevail when it was based on the shame and stigma of being illegitimate which is as outdated as Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best.  It’s a pre WWII value still imposed in the 21st century, so why, TAO wants to know, and proposes  these "what if" scenarios:

If there is nothing shameful in being adopted, then there is no reason to keep our original birth certificate sealed under lock and key, a lock and key that for many adoptees – was applied retroactively.
If some adoption practitioners have misled their clients that they can remain anonymous forever, and ever – then have the guts to stand up and say you were wrong.  That the adoptees are what matters most in adoption, and right now they are being treated as second-class citizens in many states – whether in open or closed adoptions.
If the adoption industry is afraid of the scandal of how mothers were treated  – stand up, come clean and apologize, it’s good for the soul.
If the adoption industry is really about what is best the child – then for Pete’s sake – act like it, children grow up to be adults and being denied the right to their original birth certificate doesn’t meet the standard – it makes them less-than the non-adopted.
If the adoption industry wanted to correct the wrongs of the past that are still in effect today – they would ask the Adoptee Rights Groups in each state how they can help, no conditions, just support for full equality, whatever it takes to make it right.   They would stand behind the adoptees as they lead the way to restoring the right taken away – simply because they were adopted.
If the adoption industry wanted to ensure the mistakes of the past stop being repeated and never happen again – they would require every adoption practitioner to educate their clients that the adoptee is the most important member in adoption, and how their rights should never be compromised to make others feel comfortable.  Your job is to do right by the adoptee first and foremost, whatever it takes.

TAO is RIGHT!  *IF ONLY** But... “IF” the queen had balls she be king!  “IF” The Pope wasn't Catholic he wouldn't be Pope!

The adoption industry doesn’t care about anything other than making MONEY, and that’s why! 

Why? Because adoption is an INDUSTRY, not a charity!  A multi-billion dollar a year INDUSTRY.

- Because the industry lobbyists and spokespersons represent attorneys, practitioners and adoption agency BUSINESSES who prefer to operate under a cloak of SECRECY rather than with transparency. In fact, that is the reason the records were sealed to begin with. And they will continue as long as they can.

- Because like any import/expert buying and selling INDUSTRY they serve their paid clientele who want it this way. Adopters want to be able to BUY KIDS WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED! It's why they prefer IA to domestic!  Some chill and develop some self-confidence later on after adopting, but at the time they are a mess of FEAR, anxiety and inferiority of loosing the kid they want to the "real" mommy!! The industry knows that and CATERS to it!! You want kids with no strings, we give you kids with no strings. End of story.

- Because the same attorneys, practitioners and adoption agency businesses who protect ADOPTERS FROM evil birth moms -- then also CHARGE adoptees and moms for post adoption services! A little side cottage industry for the baby brokers!

- Because many of the legislatures working on adoption voting on adoption bills are ADOPTERS, know adopters, side with them and buy the bullshit the industry lobbyists put forth while we are kept out of the discussions, because who cares what perennial CHILDREN and SLUTS have to say?

- Because these largely WHITE MALE FOLK are protecting all their peers who might have kids 'out there' who could find them and burst their career bubbles and/or marriages, or seek a piece of their inheritance.

So, stop being BITTER (wink, wink) and get with the program, like the rest, who ALLOW these atrocities to continue to be perpetuated:

- Because too few adoptees have any BALLS to stand up and DEMAND their rights as the gays do!

- Because this movement has not had its MILK moment...

- Because we lack a cohesive national organization that coordinates state efforts and works on educating the public, and adoptees, many of whom don't know and don't care...

- Because we don't have paid lobbyists (except in Ohio).

- Because adoptees are far too mired in gratitude, FEAR of REJECTION, or fear of hurting the hand that has fed and educated them, so they perpetuate secrecy by searching in secret or waiting till their aps die. NO BALLS TO STAND UP FOR THEIR OWN RIGHTS! Adoption has given them a clear message that they are second-class and deserve whatever CRUMBS they get...

“IF” the industry cared about social justice they would fail to exist, that’s why!  They would help mothers in crisis not exploit their temporary problems in order to grab up the product of their “mistakes.” 

If they didn't lie to mothers, and dupe fathers, even kidnap babies, who would provide them with provide them their bread and butter?

Von, commenting on TAO's blog says:

Why? Why not?  I say: Because they CAN!

Is there a Santa Claus, Virginia.... NO! Not in adoption! Just GREED and filling orders, meeting a demand!  The only ones getting presents from the AdoptionClaus are those paying for his suit and sleigh and all the stuff he brings!


So SHUT UP because you are just a COMMODITY...and are supposed to be GRATEFUL!! 

Mothers like me are just the wrapping the product comes in and are also supposed to shut up and be grateful we were helped out of our "situation" and gave our kids a "better" life!

Records were sealed - allegedly - to protect adoptees from the stigma of illegitimacy. That no longer exists. the truth of the matter is that they were sealed to being with to protect ADOPTERS from "intrusion" and possible extortion by birth mothers. it's all about protecting the paid customer!! And that is WHY secrecy  REMAINS in adoption.  To protect baby brokers and adopters. PERIOD! Read the history of adoption and The Baby Thief. You will discover the tremendous influence of baby brokers like Bessie Bernard in the sealing of adoption records.

"Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful" - The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBE 

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Self-Centered Hubris of Adopters

Disclaimer: The following comments do not relate to ALL who adopt, so please save yourself the trouble of pointing that out to me or telling me how NOT like this you, or your adoptive parents, are.

REVISED: 12/20 6:56 pm

Adoption Can be Selfish [Duh!] admits a guest blogging adoptive parent, identified as "Kathy" at Rage Against the Minivan.

"Adoption is not an unselfish act," she says. OK, no argument there. Kathy continues:
We didn't choose adoption because we wanted to help a child or save him/her from a terrible life. We chose it because it was the only way to grow our family.  
Also, OK...  Kathy even adds: "Adopting our son was one of the most SELFISH things I’ve ever chosen to do." 

And she's not alone. The comments applaud her!
  • "So much yes."
  • "Yes and Amen. I could have written this post."
  • "Yes!!!! Thank you!!" 
BUT, Kathy's admission of selfishness is not the end of her very brief post.  She adds:
It cost huge amounts of money, and five years later we are still dealing with the financial aftermath. We did it because it is what we wanted - not to be noble or selfless or save a child - but because the thing we wanted most was to be parents, and this was how it had to be done.  
If you offered me the chance to do anything else – travel the world, buy a brand new car– and told me it would cost as much as we spent on an adoption, I would tell you no because it would be too expensive, no amount of money was too much to bring our son home and into our family. 
Such unabashed WHINING or, is it bragging?!

Who had a gun to her head?  Kathy - like every adopter - had the option to adopt from foster care and save herself all of this expense. But she CHOSE not to, and CHOSE to pay the fees she paid.

With all her talk about selfishness, Kathy - and the vast majority of adopters - see it only in terms of themselves and miss the most selfish aspects of adoption:
  • that every person who pays the outrageous fees increases the demand and thus increases baby brokering and child trafficking to meet the demand
  • that a good portion of the dollars they pay go to bribes and unscrupulous baby brokers and child traffickers
  • that the same amount of money could be far better spent supporting charities that help FAMILIES in crisis and impoverished villages throughout the world by building schools, digging wells and helping to provide medical care and supplies....
But instead, adopters like this choose to bring home a prize to commemorate their liberalism, or their Christianity; their altruism and their humanitarianism. Kathy could have chosen - heaven forbid - to foster a family... or, to "adopt" a child on paper only and send money to help his entire family, not leave them behind ad she selfishly chose one to "rescue" as a prize....like a hunter who mounts his trophy.

Worse still, she writes with total lack of thought, posts all of this in public where her child(ren), when they are old enough, can read it. Kathy displays utter, selfish disregard for how any adoptee reading it might be made to feel? The GRATITUDE! The indebtedness for the huge investment...the expectations they must live up to to warrant such an expense!

Most of all...what about her adopted child? If she writes this because this is how she feels, I don't doubt for one minute Kathy is not projecting it, AND saying it within earshot of her adopted child(ren)! 

And here's the kicker!  The blog which posted this guest blog post - without comment is Kristen, mom of four children "within four years via birth and adoption."  But, hold onto your hats. Kristen
is not JUST a mom and a blogger (whose credits include Huffington post)...she also describes herself as.... get this: A Marriage and Family Therapist!

And yet despite her education, her training and a certificate hanging on her wall... she posted Kathy's "all about me, me, me" essay without any without a one word of her own as a preface, a footnote or any commentary whatsoever.

Does family therapist, Kristen care how this blogpost - posted on HER blog - sounds to adoptees? Is she unaware of all the jokes about Jewish and Catholic guilt from mothers who complain: "Oy, you should only know the pain I suffered to deliver you!  Twelve hours in labor!"

In this case money is the guilt-inducer. We could have had a new car or a vacation but instead we CHOSE YOU...because we love you so much!  (Now be grateful!)

No adopted child chooses to be taken form his family, his roots, his heritage. Kathy chose to do that TO him because SHE - selfishly - wanted to and has now let him know that loud and clear.

Shameful.

Kathy is far from alone, as the responses to her post indicate... and, as one can read every day on adoptive parent blogs.

Why is it, I ponder, that SO MANY who adopt need to seek public attention and play victim?  

Why do they seek sympathy for their infertility, sympathy for their infertility treatments (and the cost), sympathy for the "imposition" of a home study and the "scrutiny" that they alone must endure and natural parents do not have to go through, sympathy if a planned abuction adoption falls through....and now this?  Are we supposed to feel sorry for Kathy's choices as to how she spends her money, too?

Why does the blogosphere just explode with so much adoptive arrogance, pomposity, entitlement and need to play victim all at the same time??  Even when they CHOOSE to terminate an adoption and DUMP their kid, they write about what a difficult choice that was FOR THEM, and expect - and get - SYMPATHY and understanding for doing the unthinkable to a vulnerable child they committed to caring for !  Outrageous!

Is it a deep-seated RESENTMENT in paying these fees to adopt that gives them the haughtiness, the air of superiority that leads some to sue for wrongful adoption or return "goods" they find "unsatisfactory"?  Or to just whine, bitch, moan and complain about the cost.

As a mother who lost a child to adoption I find it all quite disgusting, in very poor taste and THOUGHTLESS for the feelings of anyone but herself. Thoughtless to how her words might hurt the very child she selfishly took from his family and culture.

Adopters like this need to look in the mirror and see and hear what they sound like.

We were the ones victimized by adoption. We LOST in the alleged win-win process. Adopters use their money to grab our kids. They won and yet it is THEY who play victim and call us bitter. How ironic is that?

You may seek my sympathy but you get my revulsion. My pity is for your adopted child or children, subjected to being raised by a  total narcissist.

And shame on Family Therapist, Kristen, for posting it without any comment whatsoever!  In doing so her total agreement is implied.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Journeys to Healing Adoption Loss and Devastation


Laura Dennis writes an interesting blog post about “Coming Out of the [Adoption] Fog.” She uses an airline safety message metaphor to tell us to put on our own oxygen masks first before helping others.

Circumstances, however, do not always allow for us to do things in a neat and orderly way. 

I lost my firstborn to adoption in 1968. My first jolt out of the stupor of "I did the right thing" brainwashing I had received came just three years later when I met, by chance, an adoptee who had completed his search and was taking his birth moms name. I was shocked. The words that blurted out of my mouth that day were: "You don't hate your mother?"  I didn’t realize this is what I thought until I said it. I was apparently living with so much self-incrimination about having lost my child in this manner, that I naturally assumed SHE would hate me for having let her go – not fighting harder to keep her (with no support and in defiance of being told it was the “best” and “loving” thing to do and to not do so would be selfish and hurtful to my child.)

That encounter led me to ALMA and a meeting with one other birth mother, Mary Anne Cohen. I was thrust into the world of adoption reunions and now had POSSIBILITIES.

I had absorbed well my brainwashed messages including that I had “no right” to ever THINK of her again, much less seek her out and interrupt her wonderful new life.  My world was turned upside down as I contemplated HER wanting or even needing to know ME!  

I was among the first members of CUB and in 1980 Mary Anne and I along with three other NJ birth moms formed the original Origins and I was helping others AS I helped myself.  We held in-person meetings in those days and were able to give real live hugs – not cyber ones – and help dry one another’s eyes. One by one women came through the doors of our homes – or libraries – where we met and expressed the ultimate relief in learning each of us was not ‘”he only one” this had happened to, as we had lived with feeling.

My healing came as I helped others heal.

It was another decade after that – and after having published my first book, shedding light on…The Dark Side of Adoption (1988), that I had yet another major aha wake up moment. It came, appropriately enough, from a book entitled Wake Up Little Susie. Ricki Solinger awakened me to a new level of self-healing. Not only was I not “the only one” but what happened to us, and our families, did not happen in a void. Not only was not our “fault” – or our families’ fault – what happened was a sociological phenomenon that occurred within in a far broader context of morality and social engineering to reduce single households by punishing mothers for their sins and removing the children we were judged as “unfit’ to raise.

My education into all of the forces that work to promote adoption continues to this day. Awareness of the exploitation, corruption, deception and commodification that underlies what is presented to – and believed by – the public a noble, altruistic, saving grace simultaneously heals and enrages me.

My healing comes to me through my activism.

In the introduction to The Dark Side I relate my passion to reform adoption to the work of people like Cindy Lightner who founder Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the mom who got amber laws in every state to help find abducted children. These mothers never had a spare second to metaphorically put on their own oxygen masks before going to work to prevent other losses. Their healing – like mine - IS in working to prevent other atrocities through education.

Each of us has our own path through – and perhaps – out of the fog of denial. Some never make it out. Some find the fog a warm blanket that keeps them safe from the pain they might face if they lifted it.  

Like Laura Dennis, I too sometimes find myself wanting to shake some free of their kool-aid (yes, kool-aid, not ade!) daze. (Sometimes it infuriates me.) 

I have fought for equal access for adoptees from the very beginning back in the late 70s and early 80s.  I signed the full page as in Oregon to help that state break free of discriminatory laws…I testified at NJ hearings, met with congress people, and have written more letters than I could count in our state’s thirty year long battle to restore adoptee rights, wrongly denied them.  I thus want to scream at adoptees to break free of their fog of indebtedness and gratitude and stand up for their rights!  I watch the gay equality movement gain marriage rights in sixteen states while we have varying levels of “open records” on eight – and we’ve been at it since the 1940s when they became sealed and Jean Paton began the fight.  I want to scream and cry and many days I want to throw in the towel and give up.

But I cannot.

In The Dark Side introduction I write about Bonnie Lee Black, author of Somewhere Child, about the abduction of her daughter by her estranged husband. When asked why she wrote the book, she said:
". . . I want to live a normal life, but find I can't. Someone shot me in the back of the soul and made me a cripple from here down. The dead legs dangle from the wheelchair, lifeless— see? I can no longer dance or make love. Only the hands of my heart can move. They move along the smooth paper, dragging a pencil, leaving a trail of jagged marks that spell: I AM STILL HERE.”
If “healing” means we get to live a normal life, the answer for me is what is normal. I am forever impaired by what happened to me in 1968 just as if I were run over by a truck and lost my legs. Rather than oxygen, I found what I needed: crutches, wheelchairs and orthotic legs – even some pretty nifty blade runners that let me run marathons and speed races!  I am a fighter! I get it done! But at night I take off all the equipment that helps me through the say and in my bed I am an amputee who lost her daughter and can never, ever change that or what it meant for her life. And the next day, I get up and do it all over again.
  
That is my journey. All are different. 

Some run toward the fire in an effort to put it out and save whomever we can; some run from it to safety.  Some find the loss to overwhelming to ever get out of bed, out from under the warm blankets and the peace of sleep. Some mothers - mostly older women - obediently go to their grave never telling anyone. Even some of my contemporaries never told their husbands until decades later - or until they were found!  I cannot imagine living with the fear of having such a secret "found out" but such is the nature of denial. If I do not speak of it, it doesn't exist.

I have known some of the many mothers who suffered secondary infertility - never able to bear another child after the loss of a child or children to adoption. Some tried and were crushed. Others have told me that they consciously refused to "replace" their lost child. They felt it disrespectful; like it would render their loss meaningless. I have also met double-surrender mothers who shared an after-the-fact hindsight awareness that they got pregnant almost immediately after their first loss in some subconscious effort to replace the lost child, only to lose another.

I heard one adoptee say their medical history was their adoptive family's medical history! That's beyond denial and into delusion - dangerous, life threatening delusion.  I have also known of both adoptees and birth parents who go beyond denial and into justification. These are the adoptee/birth parent adopters and social workers who arrange adoptions.  

Whether our choices are conscious or not, the underlying devastation is the same. Whether it happens to us with or without or knowledge that it is happening.

Beyond the sheer physical pain of loss there is the day-to-day reality of how much was lost to us when adoption severed us from our loved ones. The effect it has on our choices; the poor choices we make. We didn’t loose limbs; we lost huge chunks of our self-esteem! Adoptees are constantly reminded by societal messages that they are lucky not to have been aborted; mothers that we were shameful and unfit. Mothers can never heal as long as we worry about the well-being of our child(ren). For both us of us the loss is devastating to our souls. We all feel like damaged goods and effects all of our choices or creates an inability to make any decisions lest it be as wrong as that monumental “choice.” The ripples affect our families and all we come in contact with.  We are forever wounded, even if we form layer upon layer of layer of scar tissue.... and with or without our conscious awareness.

Many of us wait for reunification to heal us only to find the sad reality that what is lost is lost and cannot be replaced.  For too many reunion results in secondary losses or loosing again and again as the reunion open and closes; starts and stops for endless, painful periods of time lest we close ourselves up once again - protectively revert to lie under our safe warm covers in the dark. What else can one do? 

For me, the answer is to fight back with activism. I am here now, 46 years later, still running back into fire-engulfed building. I am not "healed" and never will be, or can be, but I must keep on fighting because I didn't fight enough in 1968... and because if I ever stopped I don't know what would be left of me.

Much as I would love to see more soldier sin the fight against adoption discrimination and corruption, I understand that in terms of healing - as with religion - there is no ONE WAY.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Philomena Penomenon: So Much More Than a Movie

I am Philomea. 

We all (birth parents) are Philomena, the mother portrayed in the film that bears her name.

In the film Judi Dench portrays Philomena Lee, an Irish woman who, never forgot the child she birthed as a teenager and she was forced to watch walk away from her while she was captive in a convent in Sean Ross Abbey for 4 years,  in the 1950s.  

It is loosely based on her true story and falls short of depicting the fact that 10,000 women and girls as young as nine were punished for the "sin" sex outside of marriage - even those who had raped or incested.  Mannix Flynn, Dublin City Councillor, calls it "sentimentalised through a naive catholic spiritualism" and writes:
...Mr Coogan, producer, co-writer and star of the movie, didn’t really understand the politics of the issue of the banished babies and the criminal trafficking of children for profit out of Ireland and other countries that was perpetrated by the Catholic Church and religious congregations.
...Nobody so far has been held to account for this practice; there have been no Garda investigations or Interpol investigations; nobody from the national Airlines (Aer Lingus) or Pan Am airlines that actually trafficked the children out of Ireland have been confronted. Indeed, this whole issue has been slightly saccarined and turned into a warm human interest story rather than a story of organised, joint-venture criminality. 
 ...Despite the warmth of the film and the good reception that it received at all the film festivals so far (Toronto, London, Venice) somewhere, the real issues that are at the centre of this story, the hard cruel facts, that unheard story, that brutality, uncomfortable as it is, has to be heard, has to be owned has to be accounted for.  It is not just the story of Philomena and Anthony Lee, it is the story of a society and as such the secret history of Ireland and the Irish State and religious institutions cannot be so simply packaged in a feel-good, heartfelt portrayal of real events that have not been dealt with so far.
Read Mr. Flynn's full critique here.

Every woman who lost a child to adoption can relate to this mother's tragic loss and irresolvable grief. Fathers too who struggle against a system designed to take their parental rights without their consent share her painful loss. Loss is loss. Grief is grief. Both are universal emotions suffered equally by mothers in Los Angeles and fathers in Sierra Leone. The loss to adoption has been called a limbo loss and the pain irresolvable. It is socially unacceptable to lose a child to adoption and thus has no ritual or comforting support as does the loss of a child to death or miscarriage. Mothers like Philomena have traditionally been told to keep adoption loss a secret and act as if nothing at all happened which adds to the shame. Rather than heal, studies (quoted here) indicate a mother's pain may exacerbate over her lifetime.

Other than intentional - and usually paid - surrogates (a practice which represents a who other level of exploitation), no woman becomes pregnant with the intent of "gifting" her child. Women do not chose to carry a child for nine months, risk their lives in delivery, with the fear of never being able to conceive or carry another pregnancy again…only to loose the current child. Expectant mothers are subject to social, cultural and religious pressures to do so. Some are coerced, exploited, and deceived; alone, without any support, their lack of resources exploited.

In many parts of the world natural disasters or wars leave families vulnerable, as we saw in Haiti. In industrialized nations, poverty, youth and marital status are factors in judging who is and who is not deemed “worthy” of motherhood. Those on the losing side of that equation are persuaded that others are more "deserving" of a child than they themselves, they are told their baby deserves more than the love and continuity of heredity that they alone can offer.

In 1980 I co-founded of Origins, a NJ-based national organization for women who lost children to adoption. I was also involved with the AAC (as Director) and CUB. Through those organizations, as well as later online support groups and social media that connect adoptees and birthparents and blogs where they share their concerns...I have had my finger on the pulse of this marginalized population who were called the invisible side of the adoption triangle.

What happened to Philomena is not at all unique. It happened - and still happens - to women of all faiths throughout western Europe and here in the US as documented in Ann Fessler's book, "The Girls Who Went Away." In homes for unwed mothers in every state in the union during the 50s and 60s American woman tell of being spoken to exactly as the nun in the movie spoke to Ms. Lee during labor....with utter disdain, blame ans shame.  Nuns, priests, ministers and Rabbis told us to lie to the men we might marry lest they wouldn't have us. We were stained and damaged.   Today in America, the Religious Right that preaches love for fetuses shows similar contempt for the single mothers who bear them and deems them unfit to raise their own children.

Back then it was sin and shame. The stigma of "unwed" pregnancy has dissipated in the US since the post WWII years known as the "Baby Scoop Era" because of the large number of forced adoptions. Yet today, women who are deemed to young or too poor are still pressured, coerced, their temporary crisis and lack of wherewithal exploited. Fathers have their rights abrogated daily. The headline grabbing story of Baby Veronica is unfortunately not uncommon.

Currently, Allesandra Pacchieri, an Italian woman living in the UK is currently fighting for the return of her child and suing for having had a forced cesarean birth in order to take her child from for adoption.  This flashback to the days of lobotomies occurred in the industrialized world in 2013 and warranted this observation:

The scale of public outrage has once again thrown the spotlight on family courts, which authorise the adoption of thousands of children, many forcibly removed from their mothers at birth, under strict secrecy.

Many forcibly removed....and many of those for questionable "cause" in the UK and the U.S.

Adoption is admired as a win-win that rescues orphans and "unwanted" babies. The truth is that it is a billion dollar demand-driven industry that is far too loosely regulated, lacking in ethical guidelines and rampant with corruption and child trafficking. Adoption is racist and classist. In what has been called "Reverse Robinhoodism" it takes the babies of the poor and provides them to those willing to pay an average of $40k per child. Children are a highly sought commodity and there are not enough being placed truly voluntarily to meet the demand so the pressure is still on with adoption agencies spending millions on "marketing" to young women, inducing them with promises of openness. Some even offer college tuition. Expectant mothers are matched with prospective adopters who befriend, enmesh, and woo them with gifts, then hover over them at the moment of delivery denying new moms any time to bond...all orchestrated to create obligation and indebtedness, diminishing the mothers' ability to refuse to hand their child over despite strong natural inclinations not to.

I am Philomena and every day Philomena's are created to meet the demand of the adoption industry.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holiday Giving: Preserve Families and Prevent Unnecessary Adoption Loss

Every year at this time we are inundated with donation requests. I know I am.  I have in the past used this forum to recommend some good charities like SOS for Children, Feed the Children, UNICEF who help provide for families in crisis and thus avoid them being snatched by baby brokers or "well-meaning" missionaries.

This year I am very pleased to share a very special and unique giving opportunity that will help support 5 mothers and 16 children who have been saved from the adoption industry....and hopefully provide 
enough funds for Lynne Johansenn to continue this most valuable work.




Every year (as applicable) I also award a Family Preservation Hero of the Year Award. And this year it goes to Lynn Johansenn:

I commend Lynn for putting her beliefs into action!  I personally housed two moms keeping them and their chidren from becoming victims of adoption rhetoric. Their stories are told in The Stork Market, chapter 9: Preserving Parenthood, pages 163-170. Also on those pages is my most proud "save" - the rescue of the toddler found in the squalid Steinberg NYC "house of horrors" where illegally adopted Lisa was murdered after years of abuse. In addition to reuniting hundreds of families, these are my proudest moments!

Not all of us are blessed with the opportunity to be able to physically rescue families in needs, but we 
can give $5, $10 or $100 to help these families and others like them.

Please donate as you are able. It will make YOUR holidays brighter as well as theirs.



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