Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Adoption Creates Many People/Many Needs

For a long time - back in the dark pre-historic, pre-internet days - adoptees, (birth) mothers and adoptive parents - aware of the pain of adoption - joined forces and were called a triad. While we maintained separate groups such as CUB focusing on birthparents, Adoption Forum and ALMA, focusing on adoptees, and groups like APFOR (Adoptive Parents for Open Records) being obviously made up on adoptive parents...we all networked and got along

The good old days? Images of John Walton's family all saying goodnight? Hallmark cards and flowers? To some extent, yes. It was a simpler time. We got along easier - working jointly on events like a marches to Washington - because we all share done common goal: Open Records and all worked on search and support.

My first book (shedding light on...The Dark Side of Adoption) published in 1988 reflects this comraderie and the idealistic hope that we could all continue to learn from one another's perspective to increase compassion, honesty and openness.

Today, not only are the three sides of the old "triad" far more separated but even within each of those groups there are many subdivisions.

There are adoptive parents who support open adoption, those who do "theoretically" but "cannot" because they adopted internationally, and those who are simply opposed to it and chose closed adoptions. Some who buy into every myth and believe their child is "the same as if" born to them, and others who wear their adoption status proudly and loudly as a symbol of their altruism. Some who never mention it and others who blog and attend every conference on a option they can and make their life revolve around it (true of mothers and adoptees as well.).

There are adoptees who still believe that everything is honkey dory in adoptionland as long as as adults they are "allowed" the "privilege" of peeking at their own birth certificate as if it were a hornets nest. And there are a growing number of adoptees who want total equality, while still others seemingly want only to rant in total ANGER at having been adopted and want to speak out against the entire institution and in particular international adoption. And, of course, there are the: "My REAL mother is the one who raised me and I have no need for any other" variety, some who are quite boisterous about that!

And mothers...ahh...now there's a diverse group. There is not even a unilateral agreement on what they call themselves! Some now use:
Original mothers
Senior Mothers
BSE Mothers
Mother who lost children to adoption

And what they seek in terms of healing varies just as widely. Some want simply a sisterhood - like a sorority - which has an annual reunion called retreat. Just hang out, laugh...party.

Some are still coming to terms with their loss - having just awakened from their years of denial by being found, or being faced with a major change in reunion status...or because the loss was very recent, maybe even being contested. These mothers need a great deal of SUPPORT, hand-holding etc.

Other mothers are more interested in activism, and find it very healing because of its empowerment, others are focused on apologies for the past, and still others just seem to wallow in anger or self-pity. And, finally there are those still in denial or consciously against any involvement in or discussion of the subject.

Why decipher some of the major groups into which mothers (and others) fall within the adoption "movement"? First to point out that all are legitimate positions - there are no right or wrong ways to deal with something so personal. AND...many people have a foot in more than one grouping and/or will float back and forth over time. There are LOTS of us who are members of multiple groups, organizations and email discussion lists because each serves a different need and broadens our horizon and understanding. AND...many people grow and change over time, and their needs change.

More importantly, IMHO, is to recognize and allow for these different needs of mothers and be pleased that there are a multitude of groups to fill their many needs.

I have often drawn the analogy between my adoption loss and a chronic illness, such as my RA. Neither will ever be cured; both have ups and downs (remissions and flare ups); and both require a combination of treatments to just survive with a minimum of pain to be able to function. The rheumatologist who treats my disease often needs to refer me to orthopedic surgeons and others. Like any caring, non-threatened doctor who wants the best for his patients, he doesn’t deny me that referral for fear that he will lose me as a patient. He knows that the disease effects me in many ways and I need complementary resources to deal with it all.

It would be best for the health and welfare of all of us to follow this model and openly refer to one another. A far cry from putting down other groups simply because they face the issues with a different strategy, philosophy or mode of support.

Origins-USA, for instance lists meetings, conferences and events from other groups; participates in RegDay and in general networks with many, many groups and organizations from Ethica to aPEAR. We have no fear that our contact with them will "contaminate" or water-down our mission, because we are strong and committed to our goals!

While Origins-USA has recently established H.U.G.S. (Helping "U" Get Support) for one-on-one telephone and email support, and we also have a discussion forum...we currently have no in-person support groups and do not plan either a retreat or conference in the near future.. So why not refer people out for these services?

To withhold such options as are available is to replicate the cruelty of what was done to us to obtain our children.

We need to be the change we want to see. Thus, we need to be open and honest and offer all mothers all their OPTIONS!


Not Afraid Of the Emotional Bully said...

You are so full of it. I assume that you and one other are not using the H2H retreat to try to solicit new members? Do you want to build the dwindling numbers of members back up to where you can really have some clout? If we were to believe that you don't have an agenda, then we could easily be sold building sites in the Okefenokee swamp.

Leave H2H alone! It is for support and to meet, in person, the people we have known on the Internet. There is no "party" agenda but it is for socialization and not a happy hunting ground for O-USA or a podium for the self-aggrandizing and self-published. I think what is so pathetic is that you actually believe your own line of bull. You do not inspire much in the way of respect....just annoyance.

Oh, and if you find out who I am, I will send you 35 cents so that you can call someone who cares. I sure won't be shaking in my boots because all you are is hot air. What did they tell you back then..."Surrender or have your rights terminated?" Did somebody want their "candy" more than their child?

Pompous, snide, patronizing, condescending, arrogant, posts deserve just this kind of comment. I just wonder if you will ever have the cojones to get honest with yourself before you die.

AdoptAuthor said...

To allegedly unafraid, yet preferring ANONYMITY to spread your anger and hateful PROJECTIONS, obvious pathetic jealousies, and venomous need for divisiveness...

First, you have made a ASSUMPTION that I was speaking or even thinking about heart 2 heart. They are not the only mothers group to hold an annual retreat! Others will probably slam me, assuming I was referring CUB. :-)

However, since you are obviously interested in H2H, you need to know that even your own sisters in H2H do not agree with you! So, speak for yourself, hate monger. We were INVITED by the planners, and greeted warmly and welcomed by others - some of whom are cross-over members or newly joined us! We do not "need" or "use" any groups and certainly do not need this one!

Wishing you peace, before YOU die! I am fully confident that I can lie my head down right now and know that I have worked diligently and SINCERELY to make changes in this lousy world.

What have you done besides BITCH!?!?

If your comment about surrender or having rights terminated was intended as a personal slam directed at me it is totally untrue as I was never threatened with termination of my parental rights...and it is also yet another example of your mean spirited, hateful, prejudiced, judgmental divisivenesses. Unlike you, Origins-USA is welcoming of all mothers who LOST children to adoption and those who had their rights terminated....even CRACK WHORES, who prefer "candy" to their kids...

Yes, I sleep well every night and look myself in the mirror knowing that I have and will continue to help ALL mothers without judging them as you do, and without any need to play superiority games.

PS Neither I nor anyone else gives rats arse who you are...but I do wish you peace.

AdoptAuthor said...

The comment above is so very sad.

It is reminiscent of gays who hate other "more flamboyant" gays; African Americans who hate others are "too Black" in skin pigmentation or attitude; Jews who are anti-semitic.

All are expressions of self-loathing.

So too is the inability to distinguish between healthy self confidence - such as exemplified by the doctor in my analogy - and arrogance.

Also sad is the commenter's total inability to READ that I spoke of making OUTGOING referrals for services not provided by Origins-USA!! Too warped by anger and embroiled in bitterness to even read and understand the written English word.

All hate and prejudice are sad and a product of ignorance, but self hate is the saddest of all.

The need to play one-upmanship and act superior to another...so pitiful.

Anonymous said...

Today, not only are the three sides of the old "triad" far more separated but even within each of those groups there are many subdivisions.

Thank you, "Not Afraid." Just proves Mirah's point about how divisive we have become. Just like the world in general: my group, your group. Very sad indeed.

Adoption is not about the children anymore. It's about who gets them. Adoptive parents in need of "building a family" versus single mothers who are coerced into believing they cannot or should not try to parent. What about the adoptees who have to live with our decisions? Who had no say?

That's the issue, not the groups who serve us after the fact. I've never even heard of H2H. But I am quite sure that none of us are not partying. We're just trying to get by with a little help from our friends.

AdoptAuthor said...


Indeed my point has been proven! Divided we fail...and some see that as a goal instead of working to end the pain of adoption loss.

H2H is HeartTwoHeart, which like many groups of/for mothers seems to be a group of a majority of warm-hearted, welcoming women offering support to any and all mothers who lost our chidlren to adoption ...with one or two trouble-making malcontents.

It's pretty much the same small group of troubled trouble-makers that has invaded other groups, email lists, forums. They travel in a pack and think alike as if sharing one brain between them, and stir up trouble until they quit cause no one agrees with their agenda or get thrown out for flaming.

They seem to have no purpose in life but to GRIPE and try to cause dissent. They enjoy trying to push buttons (as seen here) and nothing is too VICIOUS or CRUEL as to be off limits.

Fortunately, they are outnumbered wherever they go (including H2H).

You Know Exactly Who I Am said...

My My, Mirah. I could see your head spinning and am waiting for the spewing of pea soup. Denise and others, if you want to be incorporated into the mass, that's up to you, but those of us who see the need, do the deeds.

One of these days, everyone is going to see the wolf among the sheep. I prefer not to be one of those sheep. I'd rather be a maverick.

There is only one thing I would like to see you do, Mirah, and that is LEAVE OTHER MOTHERS, WHO ARE NOT IN LOCK-STEP WITH YOU, ALONE!

God, you are like a gnat, irritating and ubiquitous.

Wisewoman said...

" same small group of troubled trouble-makers that has invaded other groups, email lists, forums".

What a ridiculous comment! You're saying that because women either disagree with you or stand up to your bullying on numerous boards & groups over the years (CUB, Adoption Crossroads, OUSA, AAC. etc) they are trouble-makers?! You are continuing to be delusional. Mirah, you are the troublemaker - constantly behaving in a passive aggressive manner and making snide, thinly veiled insulting comments about either other groups or individuals who have left groups because of YOU! You continue to attempt to be the voice of all mothers of adoption loss - summarizing our experience. Your situation was dramatically different than mine or most other mothers I know - let us all describe or explain our experience or methods we use to heal ourselves.

And, are you incapable of writing without quoting Ghandi and others and implying that these are your thoughts? Without talking to others as if you are the teacher, the wise one? You have quarreled with organizers and members of every group you've been a part of over the years. Members seem to always leave in droves once you intrench yourself in an organization. Is it possible you haven't noticed?

Your comments about the "old days" when we marched to Washington and all got along are laughable, as well. YOU weren't the organizer of those events where we all treated each other with respect - others were and once you became threatened by their influence, you later turned on them.

You really need to work on your people skills, Mirah. I'm not filled with hate - I just refuse to back down when I observe arrogance and bullying behavior. Just learn to express your opinions without little childish sly digs at others and perhaps you would be taken more seriously. The various groups you refer to will not work for common goals because of a couple of obnoxious personalities who feel the need to run the show. You my dear, are one of them.

Senior Mom and Proud said...

Oh, point for "not afraid." We just don't want people to know we have actually read your blog, Mirah. I would be so embarrassed if anyone knew I wasted my time on you. LOL

You are NOT the great uniter you think you are. If anything, you have caused more divisions in the ranks than anyone else I can think of.

AdoptAuthor said...


Thanks for your comments.

"let us all describe or explain our experience or methods we use to heal ourselves...."

Please re-read my post. You will see that I have expressly stated that each group should remain SPECIALISTS in what they do best!

First I delineate that different mothers have different NEEDS because of where they are on their path.

I then state:

More importantly,IMHO, is to recognize and allow for these different needs of mothers and be pleased that there are a multitude of groups to fill their many needs.

Note that I also use IMHO - IN MY HUMBLE OPINION! If you are unfamiliar with the word humility, look it up, It might be an eye opener, Wisewoman. Making SUGGESTIONS, with humility, does not quite fit the definition of bullying.

"The various groups you refer to
will not work for common goals"

Sorry, my dear..but it is only the few discontents who want this. As I also already stated in plain English: Origins-USA lists events of other groups, and many other groups reciprocate and do the same.

Look at RegDay! How many DIFFERENT groups and orgs participate?

And now for a history lesson. As a matter of fact it was "I" who I DID organize the first march to Washington and the speak out. I was Director of AAC at the time and we did that in conjunction with Adoption Crossraods. This is irreviocable, proveable FACT. LOTS of witnesses and photos! http://tinyurl.com/6sbbxe

Were we one big happy family back then? NO! ALMA practiced total isolationist policies and some people who subsequently started charging fees for support groups did not always refer people out to other groups that better fit their needs.

But for the most part, we were like (somewhat dysfunctional) individual family units yet all connected as long distance relatives, if you will.

Today - as I also mentioned - there are MANY MANY cross-over members...people who belong to several groups to meet different needs or to support their work. This is a good and healthy thing for individuals, th groups, and the movement as a whole. It is selfish, egotistical, and unfair, IMO, to the people we claim to want to help and support NOT to make referrals!

I have already responded to the inane accusation that people leave groups because of me - the overwhelming growth in OUSA'S membership since I've been involved clearly speak to that falsehood... It is in part due the leaving of some malcontent trouble-makers who BULLEYED our old forum and were very judgmental of each person's "story" and even their word usage.

As for differences in our stories - no two are alike. Each is unique. I strongly suggest you go to Origins-USA.org and read some of th eposts on the Mothers' Stories Project. They represent a variety mothers who lost children over nearly a FIFTY YEAR period for a variety of reasons. From 1956-2004! We are diverse and cannot be defined by "eras" or stereotypical perceptions. God Bless she amongst us who was a sweet sixteen cheerleader who got pregnant with her steady bau who she believed she'd married - and it was the very first time she had sex! And God bless all the crack whores, and mothers of multiple loss, married couples with other kids who lost children because of poverty, and the divorces who got pregnant, those who tried unsuccessfully to abort, and those accused of neglect...etc., etc...Whatever our "story" is - we all deserve the same support. You and your buddies' attempts to somehow embarrass me is really SICK and vicious. It doesn't hurt me because I know who and what I am, and I've been called worse!

But I feel for others who might read judgmental statements like:

"Your situation was dramatically different than mine or most other mothers I know" and feel that we as a larger groups of mothers shun some because they fall into "unpopular" "categories" or don't fit YOUR perception of IDEAL!

WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE? Who cares of my story is common or unique to me? What difference does that make???

Wisewoman - while I appreciate a civil conversation and respond in kind...and I do not wish to resort to childish name calling...I do, however, find it necessary to point out the humorous irony of using the name "wisewoman" and accusing ME of:

"And, are you incapable of writing without quoting Ghandi and others and implying that these are your thoughts? Without talking to others as if you are the teacher, the wise one?"

Can you see the sheer IRONY in that Wisewoman...the PROJECTION?!

I am me. Mirah Riben. No need to hide behind anonymous masks and pseudonyms...nor do I have dillusions of grandeur of WISDOM, Wisewoman. I yam what I yam. No more and no less. A totally imperfect human being.

As my son (not Gandhi) used to say: Mean people suck.

Others say: "Stop the hatin' sistah!

AdoptAuthor said...

Yes, of course it’s blatantly obvious who ya’ll are! Not that I really care. But then why go to the trouble of making up new identities all over the place? Who knows; who cares.

It is obvious because there are so very few of you – thankfully – who think this way and who have focused so much anger on me, as if I were the one responsible for taking your kids and not an equal victim of loss – 9not to mention the double loss, but whatever…wouldn’t want get you on your accusations of my pity seeking…again…)

You are like one monster with many faces and heads all spewing the same vile lies and hate. “anger is a many-headed monster, like Hydra, the monster slain by Hercules. Anger has many heads: discrimination, revenge, armed conflict, terrorism, violence.” http://myreuteralmanac.wordpress.com/2007/01/08/anger-is-hydra/

Wisewoman, SeniorMom, Not Afriad….your name is HYDRA, who lived in the swamps, and you will be killed by Hercules! Hercules cut off each head and his nephew, Lolaus burned the open stump leaving the Hydra dead. In other tellings of the myth, after cutting off one head, Hercules dipped his sword in it and used its venom to burn each head so it couldn't grow back.

Spare yourselves. Go away and talk amongst yourselves in your new group that you formed and leave the rest of the sane, peaceful society alone. Spare us your fire breath and monstrous lies and judgments.

Don't you see the writing on the wall - no one is coming to your defense or agreeing with you but YOU!

It is you who want to BULLY all the members H2H as you tired and FAILED in other groups! We were simply INVITED to have some R&R in CO! It's a lovely city!

AdoptAuthor said...

I was asked why I allow such venom to be posted and do not simply delete it as the anonymous spam junk mail it is.

I believe in free speech and allowing others - even evil others - to show their TRUE COLORS! I think those who have commented here have done a great done of that. I thank you all for showing the world what single-minded bigots and judgmental Be-acthes you are (for the few who may not have already known!)

"We just don't want people to know we have actually read your blog, Mirah. I would be so embarrassed if anyone knew I wasted my time on you."

AH...but you DO obviosuly lurk on my blog...and as the theme song goes "everyone knows your name" and if not, I am more than glad to supply it.

So.. please go and spread your venom elsewhere...I have more important - and far more enjoyable - things to do.

Keep it up and I WILL name you here just to piss you off, because it is not possible to embarrass you any more than you have already done yourselves! You are not nearly as "SLY" (or as wise) as you any of you may think!!

PS Not quite sure what an emotional bully is, but "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." (E. Roosevelt, not Gandhi -- and while you're at learn to spell the man's name!)

You guys not only consent - you BEG for it! Games over. Takes two to tangle and I am pulling the rug out from under you. My blog. My rules.

I've given you more than enough time and space. Find someone who cares.

AdoptAuthor said...

To those who continue to attempt to post comments to this post..and all others...

PLEASE READ my Emotional Bullying post 8/14


I have decided to maintain this blog as a SAFE ZONE! There is no need to counter with "who started what" - it is immensely OBVIOUS from the very first comment here that is a slam dunk of assumptions and accusations from start to finish.

I regret having wasted my time replying.

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