Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Birthmother Amnesia

Adoptive father, Rob Schwarzwalder, shares on the blog of the Family Research Council  his reaction to the NY Times Twiblings article, I blogged about earlier this week. Note that the FRC is a lobby for good old fashioned "Christian" "family values" -i.e. heterosexual families and orphanages.

Rob focuses on a particularly disturbing quote (one which I omitted among other disturbing aspects of the whole "twibling" affair):
“You won’t have anything in common with the carriers,” a director of a Los Angeles agency (which we decided not to work with) insisted dismissively. The gestational carriers at their agency were mainly white, working-class women, often evangelical Christians — “the kind of girls you went to high school with,” he said, managing to give “high school” an ominous intonation. He waved his hand. “You may think you want to stay in touch now, but trust me, once you have your baby, you’re barely going to remember her name. I call it surrogacy amnesia.”

Yes, indeed, that's a mouthful. And while it is spoken about surrogates, we know that mothers who have lost children to adoption are equally maligned.

The following is my response to Mr. Schwarzwalder:

Having researched adoption issues for more than thirty years I disagree with your assumption that very few adoptive parents disregard their child's mother as simply the wrapper their gift came in.

It is changing slowly for a VERY SMALL number of adopters who participate in domestic infant OPEN adoption.  The majority however, who adopt transnationally (as you may have) offer among their reasons for doing so a separation from the birth family to avoid '"intrusion" in their lives. This is not amnesia. This is intentional "bigotry, social snobbery, and elitist pomposity" mixed with a huge amount of ENTITLEMENT and ownership! 

It is with far too much regularity that i hear form mothers who signed away their rights ONLY because they were promised openness only to find out it was a pack of lies!  Doors were slammed and barred and even phone calls unanswered, leaving them  betrayed and USED!  many of those fortunate enough to have the promises of openness kept, report feeling treated like an outsider always subservient and having to walk the line to maintain access to their child or just to receive crumbs of photographs.

I have walked in the shoes of a mother who lost a child to adoption for 43 years and can tell you of the "bigotry, social snobbery, and elitist pomposity" I have experienced first hand!  I can tell you that every time I share that I am an author and am asked what I write about, i say "adoption" I am then asked if I am adopted. "No." Are you an adoptive parent? "No, again."  Then what, people wonder in amazement, is my connection to and interest in adoption? Even in the enlightened 21st century the public still cannot wrap their minds around the fact that "birth mothers" do not remain eternal teenagers or crack whores!

I have heard every insult a human can withstand - after having been pressured into beleiving that relinquishing my child was a loving and unselfish act!  Only recently I was presented - once again - with the words: any dog can give birth!

Bravo to you that you actually remember your children's mothers.

Amnesia is not the problem. The issue is one of disrespect, disdain, being humiliated, degraded and disregarded. This is the legacy of a mother who makes the ultimate sacrifice. Sometimes we are thanked, but in the most sanctimonious and SOLICITOUS manner imaginative as if we intentionally got pregnant to offer up our child as a gift!  Some tell us it was god's will that they, not us, got to watch our children grow up - as if God puts babies "in the worn tummies" as Rosie O'Donnell once said, and ordains such lifelong loss and grief on some of us.

Bravo! You remember these women. But do you treat them as extended family as the mothers of your children?  Do you share photo, invite them to soccer games or graduations?

Divorced mothers and fathers who share children are expected to do more than remember one another. Family court judges and therapists knows it is in every child's best interest to know and have a relationship with both of their parents.

By simply "remembering" your children's mothers as figures from the past - those whose role was to carry and deliver the golden egg to you and then to disappear - you have removed them from your children's present and future. They have no place in their lives as a relative, an extended family member. This is not just cruel to those mothers, it is contrary to the best interest of your children. Shame on you. And you come hear and brag that you did not forget them as if that, like adopting domestic infants, as opposed to one of tens of thousands of special needs kids, is somehow noble. As if it makes you superior to Melanie Thernstrom or any others who create designer babies. It does not.

You want applause for not forgetting them? You get none from me. Embrace them. if you love your children, embrace THEIR roots and heritage as well. And that means far more than eating Chinese food or attending heritage camp!  They need to know their kin for their self-esteem, self-identity, and they may need it in case of medical emergency. It is their mother's and father's blood runs through your children's veins, not yours! You can take the child from it's mother, but you can never take a child from his genetics...they go with them, eternally and spiritually. 

I would like to add that the term "birth mother amnesia" is particularly disturbing as it sounds not like the birth mother is forgotten and tossed aside as she is after she has given what was wanted, but that SHE forgets!!  I can assure that no woman - except one with REAL amnesia - forgets a child she bears.

Please add your cmments as well to his blog post, here.

1 comment:

Von said...

Here, here!My mother, like you never forgot, never got over the pain and never satopped suffering.

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