Sunday, May 9, 2010

Getting on my Last Nerve: Mothers Day Mournings

* Edited 5/10/10

A couple of days ago I asked if people here were planning to celebrate, demonstrate, or hide under the covers on Mothers Day? The responses here and on Facebook were, of course, mixed, though none absent sadness and a recognition of the loss so many mothers feel hardest today.

Both adoptees and their mothers have shared the effect this day has on them. How, even if they have joy in their lives it highlights all the others who don't. There are none of us in the adoption community who do not think - for the briefest moment today - of those who:
  • have to accept that they will never know...
  • remain unable to reunite, whether lack of options, money, fear or denial blocks their path
  • have completed a search only to be rejected
  • were found and then tossed aside and rejected
  • found a grave at the end of their search
  • have no other children and have never been called Mother
On this mournful day of pain, I stumbles across a blog - which on any other day might not have upset me at all. But hearing about the Paradox of Adoption was just more than i could bear today.
In a way, the adoptive mother me doesn't feel like she has a right to be happy in adoption anymore. The pain and ugliness is too real and present, and worse still, often dismissed, leaving those who experience it isolated and alone. But the fact is that I am happy, and by and large, my kids are, too.
* I replied - not realizing at the time that the post I was replying to was written by my friend "ThirdMom" Margie Perscheid, whom I have known for several years and respect. She is not someone I ever have "hated" nor did I feel any "hate" toward anyone who might have shared with honesty what was written. None of the following was thus ever meant personally toward Margie or any other adoptive parent, but toward the practice and industry of adoption and mothers who lose children to adoption. It is a reflection of my feelings hearing - especially on Mothers' Day and not a denial of anyone else's feelings or happiness:

I feel and appreciate your honesty. I also feel an ironic paradox, if you will, in your choosing to writing this on of all days, Mothers Day.

Of all days of the year that it is hard for me as a mother who lost a child to adoption to accept that for you and many, adoption brings a mixture of joy with a RECOGNITION of the hardship it has caused too painful to hear....and far too little to late. It is apology that might ease your guilt, but does nothing to assuage my loss.

On this day as all I am consumed with is nothing but loss and pain with no flip side of joy through adoption for me or for thousands and thousands of others for whom adoption has not brought a mixture of good and bad, advantages to counter is difficult to share in your rejoicing, no matter how solicitously it is presented.

There is no paradox, no contradiction and certainly no upside in having been on the loosing end of the adoption exchange.

Even the most humble, most sincere adopters --
after the fact -- such as yourself still don't seem to "get" or recognize that while you and your children have some joy, there is none for their mothers (collectively and representatively, not necessarily as individuals).

You (collectively) don't get it because part of you wants to believe that your children's' mothers are GRATEFUL that their children were given such good lives by you.

Adoption is a demand driven multi-billion industry that tears families apart. There is as little to rejoice in the trafficking of children for adoption than there is for the trafficking of children for sex slaves or to be soldiers. The only difference is that one is legally accepted.

However...this may be the harshest thing you have ever heard (but you caught me on a very bad day) your sharing any joy is like hearing a pedophile report the pleasure he obtained as the recipient of a nine-year-old prostitute in Thailand. Obviously such a trade exists because there are people who derive pleasure so great they are willing to pay for it. Yet somehow morality stops us from seeing such as a mixed bag - something that brings joy and pain.

The word "ethical" has become very popular. But making adoption ethical is like making prostitution legal and ethical...or "nice."

We as a people need to evolve beyond the ridiculous notion that we can tear families apart and ever have it be right.

Yes, we need to provide care for children who truly have no family capable of doing so. But only after seeking out all of their extended kin and providing resources to help any willing to care for the child. Having exhausted those options, then someone within the child's community, culture and speaking his language certainly can help raise him.

We need to comply with the edict of the UN and make international adoption a last resort. But this will never happen as long as children are viewed as commodities to fill orders of affluent Westerners. And there is nothing ethical about that.

It takes looking hard and cold at these realities in order to stop the flow of children - both into and out of the U.S. for profit....despite whatever joy you and your children may have experienced as a result of this monetary exchange of their lives and loss to their families.

I would hope that as an aware adoptive parent you have read Jane Jeong Trenka's "Language of Blood" and "Fugitive visions." I would hope if you have not yet seen you will find a way to view "Adopted: the film" and the film "Resilience," all of which explore in particular views from young adult Korean adoptees.

In Resilience, Myung-Ja Noh says:
“If given the choice, I would never give up my child…losing my child is something I will not get over for as long as I live.”

Perhaps you would join the movement of Korean adoptees and mothers who are working to end the decades of exploitation and help bring family preservation practices to that for Dr Richard Boas' Unwed Korean Mothers Support Network.

These are ways you can TRULY show your remorse and gratitude.

Wishing YOU a happy mothers' day...the one I cannot enjoy...

Those who take our children take our happiness and joy forever...

For me, personally, Mothers day is about as mixed a blessing as Thanksgiving is for the turkey, since my daughter has passed.


Third Mom said...

Sorry I hurt you so much, Mirah. And I never realized you hated me this much.

A few corrections, however: If you read my other blog, Third Mom, you will know that I share links to every one of the items you note here, support the work of the authors and artists, and have worked with Rick Boas as he founded KUMSN.

I apologize if voicing my feelings on a personal blog has hurt you.

Stephanie said...

"Those who take our children take our happiness and joy forever..."

I have tried hard not to cry today and this did it. Not your fault. It was coming...

I got no greeting or Mother's Day wishes from the son I found a last year, as I did not last year, on the first Mother's Day after I found him. His love and loyalty is reserved for the woman who conned me out of him with lies and false promises, a reality that makes this day even more gut wrenching for me.

Happy Mother's Day Mirah, and to all of you who are not acknowledged by your children or anyone today. You are and will always be MOTHERS.

Miarh said...


I do NOT hate you. I hate no one who adopted out of ignorance, not even those who took my daughter from me. I save that level of intensity for the agency and the industry.

I did not realize the past history of this blog or that it was yours, as it has a new name. I replied to just what was on the one post... No personal affront was intended, Margie.

Your apology is accepted. It hit me on a very bad day in a very bad year... It felt rather insensitive while trying to be. It just hurt to hear that adoption is giving anyone joy on this day, this year. I am seldom this self-indulgent, Margie.

I am sorry I cannot share your joy - today - and feel that once in a very long while I am ENTITLED to just explode and vomit out my pain. Do I owe you an apology if my pain hurts you...or thanks for all you do?

None of that replaces my loss, Margie and that's a fact that we all need to face. Nothing can make it better. But no, I do not hate you, and do appreciate all you do...

BTW - I sent a link to me post here to Richard Boas, as well. I felt my comments need to be heard by even those doing the most they can do to ensure they keep on keeping on!
None of us can rest on our laurels until no more families suffer unnecessary, exploited losses.

Third Mom said...

I think you need to re-read the post, Mirah. First, it wasn't written today, on Mother's Day, as you suggest. It isn't a celebration of Mother's Day, nor a celebration of joy, and it certainly didn't ignore the loss any mother has experienced. It was simply a post sharing some of the conflict I am seeing in adoption. Your comments there honestly don't have much to do with the post at all.

It disturbs me that you believe I'm ignorant of your loss, or would dismiss it today or any other day. If you read that into my words, I would just ask you to re-read them.

Additionally, I haven't asked you for an apology, nor would I.

Mei Ling said...

As an adult adoptee I have read Language of Blood and Fugitive Visions. I have not seen Adopted - far too expensive, and I believe it is intended as more of a guilt-trip on adoptive parents than anything else. I've read some relayed scripts from ULB and whoa. It's also too intense.

I will note that while I am still heavily grieving the loss of my mother, that I remember my adoptive mom is merely a human being as well.

While I dearly wish my mother had been able to raise me, there is no crime in my adoptive mom's happiness. She's just human like my mother. Obviously, it's a lot more complicated than that in reunion...

Mirah said...


The post is dated May 8th - yesterday...the day before Mothers' Day! Whenever it was written, that's when it was posted.

And, I did not "choose" to read it today. It came to me via my google alert. Like other actions labeled as choices that are not, this was simply the end result of chance, not choice.

Margie - I obviously hit a nerve here for you, as you did for me. I apologized to you as you did to me because your expressions of your truth hurt me however unintentionally and mine were in turn obviously hurtful to you, albeit not intended as a personal attack, since I did not know it was you.

Can we both agree to simply recognize that adoption leaves these open festering easily opened, tender and too easily re-hurt wounds in its wake? I didn't ask for any apology from you either, Marge, but simply accepted it as I hope you could likewise do.

We both have a right to express our truths.

No, MEI LING - no crime in happiness, but when one's happiness is at the expense of another, recognizing that is also not criminal and should be equally allowed.

Pain is by far harder to speak of an recognize than joy and happiness but both are realities, especially in adoption. And unless we allow free expression of the downside of adoption we stand no chance of reducing the hardships it causes - often unnecessarily.

It is the lack of necessity in far too many adoptions that is the most painful and also the hardest to accept. It is far more comforting to believe that mothers are "relieved" of a burden, or that children languish in orphanages waiting to be rescued, or that if you in particular didn't adopt this child someone else would, so why not you?

I not only have a right to my truth - i feel an OBLIGATION to speak out on behalf all the years of silence and for al the mothers still suffering in silence all over the world today.

Some of us MieLing, have the luxury to turn away from the pain as expressed in"Adopted" - the pain of our children, our sisters and our mothers - others of us live with the pain and cannot turn away from it and are begging others to listen and hear us and understand and STOP THE INSANITY.

Third Mom said...

Mirah, you say here "Even the most humble, most sincere adopters -- after the fact -- such as yourself still don't seem to "get" or recognize that while you and your children have some joy, there is none for their mothers (collectively and representatively, not necessarily as individuals)."

I certainly get that, and that post spoke to it, although all you see in it is an expression of a-parent joy. It is far from that, as my point of view is.

I understand that you are in pain, and that the arrival of that post, far from a joyous adoption romp though it may be, arrived in your google reader today. But I must still stress that the post itself is not what you accuse it to be. I do not share great adoption happiness; I point out that my life is a happy one, as are the lives of my children. But nowhere, NOWHERE, do I suggest that my children's mothers are sharing that happiness. On the contrary, I say "I came to write to my kid's mothers in Korea, but quickly realized that there was an entire adoption world out here, much of it mired in pain."

Quibble with the wording or the timing, but the point is that the reason I write at all is because of the losses and the injustices of adoption. Gig me for something that I am, not something I'm not, and I'm no joyful adoption celebrator.

Mitah said...

Marge - Yes, you can intellectually "understand" my and other mothers' pain. You do not LIVE it. That is not a put-down, it is simply reality. I do not know the pain of an amputee or the loss experienced by someone who loses their sight, nor do I know what it is to never experience pregnancy or childbirth or to live childless without that being a voluntary choice.

I really regret, and at this point am getting a bit tired of hearing, that I ACCUSED you of anything! I stated my feelings, Marge. You stated yours and I stated mine. End of subject.

My major point was taking exception to the "paradox" perspective. That is YOUR perspective. Paradox is the a new word being floated about to "give recognition" (placate?) the pain adoption lip service to a continuing practice.

While it may be a paradox for SOME, it is clearly NOT in any way paradoxical for those for whom it is a lOSS and nothing but a LOSS, grief and pain! So while you can call it paradoxical for YOU, adoption itself is not a paradox at all and I object to that meaning getting lost.

The word, the day - it all was triggering for me.

My intention ws never was and still is not to argue or quibble or to blame you for having chosen when you read my comments while refusing take responsibility for the date of your posting. You shared your feelings in your post and I RESPONDED with mine. No argument intended.

I do not quibble with your personal right to feel paradoxically happy, as I recognize that my daughter's parents had many years of joy rising my daughter.

Neither, however, do I choose to be unhappy today, Marge, mourning the loss of my precious daughter, Alicia. No mother should have to deal with loses today or any day, but such is life, eh?

All any of us can do is allow those who grieve to do so with some amount of dignity and validate their right to express their grief, their anger or whatever.

Anonymous said...

I so hear what Mirah is saying, I so understand her words in a deeper place than my heart, I so want to have this pain of 40 years forgotten, but with Mirah's words I am reminded that this pain will live with me until I leave this earth.

I feel no happiness on this day as the only child I birthed was legally stolen from me. How can I ever feel happiness for anything that remotely resembles a child leaving the mother's arms to be handed to strangers?

I've grown so accustomed to the pain that I'm not sure I would know me if it left my life. Wake up and go to sleep with it for 40 years while some stranger woke up and slept soundly at night with my child calling her mom.

May all the baby brokers rot in H*ll with their money.

Third Mom said...

Mirah, once again: My post was not an expression of joy. It spoke to the conflict that exists in adoption, which I have experienced. And again, it does not suggest that mothers who lost their children to adoption share that joy, nor does it in any way shape or form dismiss that pain.

Mei Ling said...

"No, MEI LING - no crime in happiness, but when one's happiness is at the expense of another, recognizing that is also not criminal and should be equally allowed."

And if it is recognized? Is it still considered a point-blank crime, because a mother does not have her child? What if the mother felt she was obligated to give up her child? That happens, too, sometimes.

No one said it was right, either ethically or lawfully. But it is what happened. Some mothers would have rejected their own children out of moral obligation.

"Some of us MieLing, have the luxury to turn away from the pain as expressed in"Adopted" "

Mirah, you have read my reunion blog, yes?

I think you know which perspective I am coming from. I do not dismiss the aspects of Adopted. And I can heavily identify with the grief and loss that is portrayed in Language of Blood and Fugitive Visions.

Frankly, I'm wondering if I might end up going back and forth just like Kyong did in Fugitive Visions. I'm wondering if this emptiness and grief due to my reunion (and now post-reunion) will ever be healed.

I am angry my mother did not raise me. I am angry that she had no help to turn to.

But I also recognize the bittersweet truth, that if my adoptive parents had given me back, ethically and lawfully, she wouldn't have raised me anyway.


You wrote this out in response to the general mindset of adoptive parents: "if you in particular didn't adopt this child someone else would, so why not you?"

There is a truth in it. Those who are placed for adoption - regardless if their parents are physically alive and well - would not have been legally able to return to their parents. The court and agencies are already on the adoptive side. So if Adoptive Couple #1 feels that returning the infant/toddler to their biological parents is most ethical, they might be right - but then the adoption agencies and court would NOT allow that child to remain with the biological family. They would simply see that Adoptive Couple #2 could take on the role of being parents to the child.

The child goes to the next set of prospective parents in line - not to their biological family.

So yes, there is some truth when an adoptive parent says: "If I hadn't adopted this child, she would have ended up with someone else."

A sad truth that children cannot be helped and sent back to live with parents who want them. But no one will allow for this...

Mei Ling said...

"Paradox is the a new word being floated about to "give recognition" "

As an adult adoptee, I am one of those who would call it a paradox. And yes, I am one of those who deeply grieves the loss of her first parents.

Mirah said...

The "crime" is a moral, social one. Societies are guilty of the crime of judging who is "fit" and "deserving" to be a mother and who is not based on on financial, marital, age and other criteria that are time limited and have solutions other than removal of a child. Nations are guilty of not providing help for mothers in crisis and not offering sufficient assistance to allow them to keep and nurture their children.

The crime is in a climate that creates and perpetuates feelings of "obligation" to suffer the loss of mother and child connectivity and ethnocentric cultural rupture ....not to mention crimes of kidnapping and baby brokering, profiteering and child trafficking in adoption -- all ignored by nations while floating terms like "ethical."

Yes, if not this adoptive mother, then another - which makes ironic those who want to believe their child was destine by God to be theirs. But that "logic" does not make it morally justifiable to profit from another's loss. Each of us has a choice to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

If one knows the baby is being sold illegally by a baby broker, and was stolen, does the same logic still apply? If one 'senses' it on some level - perhaps by the handfuls of cash they are asked to bring to Russia, for instance, bot do not know for 'sure' - does that justify it?

Does the desire, the longing...the glazed over LUST for child they are in after years of infertility, the indignancy and expense of invasive procedures - physically and emotionally - make it all acceptable?

It is utterly naive at this point in time to ignore the role of demand at the crux and onset of every adoption and the driver of the entire industry.

I am not familiar with you blog, MeiLing - will read it and apologize if I misinterpreted your hesitation to see Adopted.

Mirah said...

If a man does not accept a pimp or prostitute's offering, another man will. Does that make it right or Ok and not immoral?

Going deeper still into such an analogy...a man might well believe that the prostitute (maybe a child) may be be beaten by her pimp of he says no or if she brings home too little "take" for the day...does that justify his partaking in sex with her for payment?

Maybe she needs that money to feed kids who have nothing to eat? Does that make it an act of charity, altruism nobility a adopting one's cild is seen as?

Mei Ling said...

Mirah, you've been to The Original Heping months ago. You left a comment at one time, although I don't know how much of it you actually read.

If the natural parents feel they "owe" their child to the adoptive parents, and if the adoptive parents were to hypothetically hand the child back - if the natural parents were to "reject" this notion, then whose fault is it? The adoptive parents? The agency? The social workers?

If it has been made very clear to the natural parents what adoption really means, and the adoptive parents have attempted to give the child back to her rightful parents but the parents do not take their child back, then what?

The child would either end up with the adoptive parents anyway or be given to the next set of parents in line.

If they do not accept their own child back, that is not OK. But then, the point stands that they *will not* take the child back. So then what?

It's not child kidnapping or trafficking if it's a legal process and the parents are legally known and understand what adoption entails.

Sure, in some cases there IS child kidnapping. But let's say Baby Girl A was sold on the market for overseas adoption. Let's also say Baby Girl A's parents are anonymous. No way to find them, no clues to track them down. Then what? Are the adoptive parents still guilty when the baby won't be taken back by her anonymous parents, or if the child will just end up in a group home in China?

And so on.

Child trafficking is immoral, no doubt. And I don't believe that what makes an adoption legal is necessarily making it ETHICAL.

But it happens. And even as a group, those of us who can separate the two factions are simply not strong enough.

The world wants to believe adoption is a good thing. It's too difficult to fight against all that.

Mei Ling said...

I do have to ask you, however... why use the analogy of a sexual crime? A sexual crime is a crime and it's easy for people to see as bad, immoral and wrong. There is no paradox in a sexual crime.

Likewise in adoption, people will always fight to point out the good in the paradox, even if there is bad. The bad either isn't obvious enough or is too obvious, so people hasten to point out the good.

With a sexual crime, it's *already* widely believed and accepted to be immoral.

Third Mom said...

"Does the desire, the longing...the glazed over LUST for child they are in after years of infertility, the indignancy and expense of invasive procedures - physically and emotionally - make it all acceptable? "

No, it does not. So yes, we work to end adoption by ending the evils and problems that make it real today.

But we cannot presume that every child needing a family has been taken from an unwilling mother. Some have lost mothers and fathers and extended family that might have cared for them to any number of tragedies. And some have lost mothers who actually did abandon them with no backward glance, or only a cursory one.

But when adoption is indeed the best opportunity for a child, do it right - with honesty, respect for family history and name, and connections to extended family wherever they are possible. Do it only after whatever family remains has been given a chance to succeed.

Mirah said...

Forgive me for not recalling a blog I visited months ago. I read several a day.

I cannot follow your "giving back" analogy.

But the "IF" in this sentence is a very big "if": "If it has been made very clear to the natural parents what adoption really means..."

In many parts of the world mothers are deceived into beleiving thi rhcidlren ar being taken to the US and esewher eot eb educate dnd will be rtunred. othe rmother ssign paprs thye cannot read. Tight her ewithin the US mothers are ledto belief unrealitisc things about open adoption.

What adopters have ever tried giving a child back? I am totally confused about this hypothetical situation you are describing. I am simply suggesting not adopting any child that one is not assured is an orphan or cannot be reunited with is family, such as adopting a child from foster care...and even then why adopt and not simply be a guardian? Why disallow the child having knowledge of and contact with original family? To do otherwise is not paradoxical its diabolical, IMO - taking a child who has family who want to know them - as Madonna did.

Contrary to your hypothetical give-back attempts, there are at least three documented cases of children who have been identified as likely having been kidnapped from Guatemala and the adoptive parents have refused to even have the allegation either confirmed or found incorrect by DNA testing.

You may find fighting the myths and assumption too difficult. I find it difficult nut will continue till my last dying breath. We each do what we do.

Mirah said...

"Likewise in adoption, people will always fight to point out the good in the paradox, even if there is bad. The bad either isn't obvious enough or is too obvious, so people hasten to point out the good."

EXACTLY why I do what I do!

Even adoptions that start out with kidnappings at gunpoint are honored! And even when judges admit adoptions were coerced, they are ordered to be maintained "in the best interest of the child."

On the other hand, it is not correct that everyone is opposed to prostitution. Many have argued that it is an earning option women should have, as long as it it controlled, healthy and surrogacy. Prostitution is in fact legal in some countries and even in parts of the U.S.

Comparing adoption, surrogacy and prostitution seems very logical to me as all exploit women and all are driven by demand and profit.

Von said...

So much pain, so much anger.We all hurt, yesterday was a hard day, let's at least try to show a little compassion.Those of us who suffer through the adoption industry's profiteering and immorality may never agree with those who have benefitted.As always adoptees are the bottom of the heap, continuing to suffer adoptism all their lives.

Anonymous said...

The adoption industry exploits women to get the "goods".

It disgusts me how the U.S. government funds adoption and even gives tax breaks for it but does little if nothing to aid women in keeping their children. 6 weeks of disability in California is the most PROGRESSIVE in this country for new mothers? 6 weeks? When Canada and other more socially progressed countries help women financially for a year!

I think Uncle Sam does not help women, especially pregnant single mothers, so the adoption machine can keep running and stimulating the economy.

Mirah said...

Von, do you not recognize that for some adoptees adoption is a benefit, at least in part?

Stephanie said...

What the hell is it with all the back and forth and arguing?? Where is the compassion for the fact that some of live in immense pain at the loss of our children to adoption? The woman who made off with my son after she promised me an open adoption, then cut me out of the picture when I was too much of a threat has my son and all of his loyalty to her. I get nothing.

So many of us have NOTHING but the pain we are left with. Let us at least have that and grieve, without being preached to about how we are trying to guilt trip the adoptive parents, can you? Thanks.

Mirah said...

In keeping with truth, honesty and full disclosure I wish to inform all here that I took the liberty of stopping the "back-and-froth" arguing and keeping the focus on the author of the blog that triggered this post, rather than on the issues.

Thus, in view of apologies and acceptance, I invoked a right I barely ever use and rejected some comments to spare all here the defending and arguing and have ceased to reply to personal emails sent to me on the subject.

Von said...

'for some adoptees adoption is a benefit, at least in part?'
From where I stand and from what I hear and feel adoption is only of benefit to adopters, the money-making industry and governments who trade in children.Living with the trauma of being taken from your mother, your families, maybe your country, culture, language, religion and home has no compensations in the long run.It is adoptist speak to gloss over this and pretend otherwise.
Mirah just to comment on the above it's usually better to comment on the issues, otherwise it looks as if you're taking things very personally and very hurtful slanging matches can ensue.

Mirah said...


I absolutely, totally agree about sticking to issues and not taking things personally.

I also recognize that adoption is at once political and personal and a very emotionally charged issue.

For myself, there is no joy in adoption. No paradox. No upside and downside. Only pain and loss.

But I am cognizant and recognize that not everyone feels as I do, and I am also cognizant of the reality that many adoptees "benefit" at least materially from being moved - as adoption does - from lower to higher socio economic status.

Adoptees often benefit in getting better educations etc than they might have attained had they remained in their family of origins. That is not to day they have not also lost a lot in the trade - a trade they had no choice in. But many do benefit.

These are facts, and have also been reflected personally by many adoptees in for instance the writing of Jane Trenka. For them adoption can be very paradoxical.

Not so mothers who lose a child. There is no benefit to that no matter how you slice it. No happiness. No paradox. Only loss and pain. My pain is very personal and that is the only way it can be taken. it is MY pain. Others may express their happiness or mixed or conflicted emotions and that is their truth and their prerogative.

And that is what I sought to convey. How my expression of pain and loss was taken personally as a personal affront to another is beyond me...

Drama and feeling personally "hated" or denied happiness is beyond my control. I have edited the post in a final effort to assuage having purely unintionlly inflcited any hurt on someone I respect in an effort to express my own pain. Beyond that and multiple apologies all I can say is that each of us has the responsibility to chose to take things personally or not and it is most often best not to.

Anonymous said...

Margie, I do not think you understand Mirah's blog at all or you would not have responded the way you did. You took this personally and that was the furthest thing from her mind. She was experessing a a reflection of her pain and suffering which she and all mothers like us will continue to experience for the rest of our lives. There is no joy for us. Can't you just accept that and support her instead of challenging her, parsing her words and playing semantics with her? All you could get out of this is "I didn't realize you hate me so much" ?Please...grow up.

The Improper Adoptee said...

In reference to Mirah's comment:
Well...some Adoptive Parents ARE pedophiles....and so was that horrible lesbian Georgia Tann who STARTED Closed Adoption...

Mirah said...


As you can plainly see here, Margie apologized and it was accepted. I apologized.

She then decided to defend her poor choice of date of posting, claiming it wasn't ON Mothers Day. She said she never asked for an apolgy instead of accepting it, and re-opened issues and argued more here and via email to the point I had to put a stop to it.

At some point Marge carried the issue over to her ThirdMom blog with a victim claiming heading: "I didn't know I was so hated" (omitting of course some of the things she said to me such as denials and not asking for an apology, which are right here.)

I replied to her post and some comments by taking responsibility for my knee-jerk over-reacting focus on the word "happiness" when Margie was trying to express how rare it was for allow herself to feel that.

Then the commenters turned the argument into my bad "over the line" taste in the use of the pedophile analogy.

reading their comments that it was hurtful, I apologized for that, too, explaining that I in no way was comparing adoption to pedophilia or adoptive parents to pedophiles (except on rare occasions).

I explained that I had intentionally chosen the most repugnant comparison to say that EVEN something as disgusting as that brings happiness to some...though that end result doesn't justify how the happiness was gained.

Marge has remained silent after presenting me as the big bad meanie...and instead allowed her her supporters to tear me apart, joined of course my number one (and two) nemesis from here who thought it appropriate and helpful to the discussion to drag in false and negative assumptions about my relationship with my children... In other words it's open season on attacking Mirah.

I am the devil incarnate, the bitch that has set adoption progress back a decade (no kidding!)...etc.

My apologies have thus far fallen on deaf ears. My explanations are twisted and turned into the opposite of what I am saying...

Needless to say I am saddened by all of this. While I recognize that I have obviously struck a nerve I know that this too will pass and in the end change absolutely nothing about adoption because the real issues have been totally obscured by all the drama.

"I never gave them hell! I just told the truth and they thought it was hell."

Mei Ling said...

"I explained that I had intentionally chosen the most repugnant comparison to say that EVEN something as disgusting as that brings happiness to some.."

Sorry for spamming up your blog like this. >.>

The problem with your comparison is that it is already widely accepted is BEING immoral.

Adoption is not viewed in the same way.

Stephanie said...

Geez... have got to be kidding me. I will say what another voiced, grow up... people can be so cruel.

Don't let it get you down Mirah... no way in hell have you set anything back in the adoption progress. Keep your chin up. You help some of us more than you know.

Mirah said...

Yes, Mei Ling...that's what makes it preposterous that anyone would make an issue or think my using this absurd example to make a point was comparing adoption to pedophilia. Obviously, there are MAJOR differences. I compared DISSIMILAR things to say that even an appalling, immoral, illegal act can bring happiness to some but the end doesn't justify the act or the harm done.

I have a long history of writing about adoption issues - goes back to 1988...
I never have and never would call adopters pedophiles - except for the ones who are, for goodness sake!

It's a smoke screen to blame me and take the heat off Marge. Like OJ's lawyers calling the investigators racist. And yup...there I go again, using an alleged murderer as an example...does that mean I equate Marge or any ap with being a murderer? OF COURSE NOT. Equally absurd!!

The question at this point is: is the discussion productive or a she-said/she-said cat fight that could be the new millennium version of the infamous b-word wars that led to BJ being asked not to speak?

Marge offended me and other birth moms - albeit unintentionally - and I likewise upset aps also unintentionally. Can we not all accept that and be done with it? What has to happen to reach that point??

Want to keep nit-picking and reading possible motives into my every word? Disbelieving me and my explanations? Go for it!

I've been accused of single handedly (because of course I started this whole mess all by myself by CHOOSING to upset on Mothers day)...and so I've been accused of single-handedly setting adoption reform a decade! What's setting us back is people who do not accept apologies and drop things but rather prefer to continue divisive in-fighting in some attempt to be proven "right" or the more wounded victim...

But I ask again: is this DRAMA productive?

Stephanie said...

"Those who take our children take our happiness and joy forever..."

I am posting that again for everyone who had a problem with it the first time. Sorry, but I am not HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY I needlessly lost my child to people who decieved me. Whomever has a problem with that can take it up with me.

I trust less and less people on these blogs... they seem to turn on you with change in the wind. That is a very sad fact, that we can't even trust or confide in the women who have been though the same thing you have. In our situations, it was losing our children to adoption. Instead, they berate and demean you for saying something very personal and profound, to you anyway. So childish...

No, I do not walk around in a state of dispair 24/7. There is, however, a hole in my heart and soul for my child, that I will not deny. I challenge anyone who has lost a child to adoption to say they don't, as well.

Anonymous said...

Mei-Ling wrote: "With a sexual crime, it's *already* widely believed and accepted to be immoral. "

In the last 30 years, yes, it has been increasingly recognized as this, but not always. Rape was once considered more of a "property crime" and treated as such, with mild punishments. A violation of a man's property. I still remember when, in order for a woman to try to charge a man with rape, she had to be "of chaste character" to begin with. Rules of evidence in Canadian courts allowed the questioning of a woman's past sexual history. Not only that, but there was no such things as "marital rape" as men had "rights" to sex with their wives at any time, whether she wanted it or not. (Laws changed in Canada only in 1983).

The same attitude, as in adoption, was "She must've wanted it," or "she deserved it." Sexual exploitation - reproductive exploitation. Sexual assault - reproductive assault. Both are equally traumatizing to a mother. And as we are coming as a society to *slowly* recognize sexual assault as being a crime, immoral, etc., maybe with reproductive assault we may eventually do the same. It is no less a violation, no less an assault.

So, I think that the analogy of sexual assault is appropriate and that there are parallels between the two forms of assault/trauma.

Mirah said...

Note that Marge has closed comments on ThirdMom.
She posted her final words - totally unapologetically, taking no responsibility for the insensitive timing, expressing no compassion for others' unhappy losses, and instead still defending ... and thus ended it.

Carolc said...

Mirah, I too have noticed how people who claim to be supportive suddenly turn - twisting things totally out of proportion and recognition. It's almost as if they sit in wait looking for some comment to "prove" to the world that we aren't who we say we are.

I have been so shocked and saddened to see the way women treat other women; especially women who claim understanding and empathy for our loss issues. It's why so many of us shut down emotionally and have difficulty shedding our trust issues.

Sadly, I've come to accept that that there is so much damage, pain, hurt and even envy (a mothers vs first mothers each not being able to do what the other did) that it's impossible to get past that with some people who sit it wait it seems, to make others appear wrong.

All we can do is just move on. You apologized - she chose to play victim, claim you "hated" her and wouldn't accept your mea culpa. Maybe Marge will go back, re-read and realize that happened and maybe not. But this too shall pass. Hang in there.

Mirah said...


You have so NAILED it -- all of it!

I was just asked on Facebook why I was surprised and I had to stop and think why.

The answer is that -- and my fervent trolling nemesis can confirm this as the Gospel truth, even as she chooses to bad mouth me every chance she gets - since the 1980s my networking has always included adoptive parents.

I have never been a broad brush or black and white person who believes that ALL of any group are bad, and certainly have known and been good friends with many adoptive parents over the course of my lifetime.

THAT is why it surprised me!

However, if you live long enough you come to realize that people change and even those you once considered your best friend can become your biggest antagonist. Life is funny that way.

Such is life. As someone I USED to know used to say "I yam what I yam" and I will keep on keepin' on....and always speak my truth!

Cedar said...

This whole issue reminds me once more of why I do not believe in the idea of the "adoption triad." No, i do not believe in commonality between the two parties who lose in adoption (mothers and children) and the two parties who gain (the industry and its customers). They do not have the same agenda, same motivation, or anything else in common other than hopefully "the best interest" of the child involved (e.g. adoptive parents working in open records campaigns).

When it all comes down to it, two parties have benefited from adoption as they had the social and financial power to do so, and two had no power to stay together and were damaged by adoption (whether the child 'benefits' or not must be viewed on a case-by-case basis, my son certainly did NOT benefit by being raised by abusers).

But, as long as natural mothers are seen as being "past history" (complete with pro-adoption "birth- terms" that embody this idea), people who adopt will assume "we get over it" and "move on" with no further attachment to our child. Our pain represents a continuing loss of our child, and a continuing love for our child, and this bond is not supposed to exist. And when you reduce a woman to being nothing more than a uterus ... well, uteri are not supposed to have voices.

So, thank you Mirah for speaking up and refusing to be silenced.

KimKim said...

I don't think Margie wrote anything that can be seen as offensive. She's always been and continues to be very supportive of first mothers. She was writing that she finds it difficult because she loves being a mother yet feels conflicted about adoption. She is so aware of our grief that she can't just be an adoptive mother without feeling conflicted.
We know nothing about the mothers of Margie's grown children but we know Margie for a long time now. She's always been on our side, she's one of the good ones.

Mirah, I'm so sorry you read this on Mother's Day and it triggered the loss. I can totally relate to feeling loss on Mother's Day. I don't think Margie meant any harm.

I don't want to take a stand against Margie and I do want you to know that I know what it's like to feel sad on Mother's Day. I sat on the ground and cried Sunday night. I was also exhausted from working too much and just sad about Mother's Day.

Margie is one of the good people.

Mirah said...


I totally agree that Margie is "one of the good people." However, you can only speak for yourself if you found nothing offensive in what she wrote originally or in her follow-up comments here on my blog - which you can read.

She did not offend me, per se. It was simply hurtful - to me and to other mothers whose shoes you do not walk in - to have her choose to out her happiness in adopting on Mothers day!

ONCE AGAIN: I did not know it was Marge P. when I posted my comment, and had she simply apologized for unintentiopnally hurting me - and other mothers - with the inoportune timing of her post, that would hve beenthe end of it. But she has chose - surprisingly and uncharacteristically - again and again to DEFEND what she did and take NO RESPONSIBILITY whatsover, and instead blame me for "choosing" to loook at a May 8th post on May 9th! And then denying she was splitting hairs - a claim she STILL pathetically, and unapologetically holds onto.

All of that added fuel to the fire and rubbed salt in a very open, oozing wound as did her "I didn't ask for an apology" instead of accepting mine!

On ThirdMom, where she took this discussion, you can see a clear progression in the comments. The first three try to calm Marge down and agree that her timing may not have been the best...then the tide turns when every word in my comment begins to be deciphered with a fine tooth comb and people look for things to find fault with and blame me if I started the whole mess to begin with!

While it speaks highly of Marge, that she has die-hard supporters, victim-blaming is never pretty and is almost always seen for what it is.
We are adults and as such need to take responsibility for our actions.

Marge is a wonderful person who has obviously been so hurt, she cannot forgive and forget, and that's a shame. I have taken responsibility and apologized repeatedly for my part in that misunderstanding and that is all I can do. That, and continue to speak the truth.

KimKim said...

Whose shoes I don't walk in?

Mirah Riben said...


Are you a mother who lost a child to adoption? If so, I apologize for assuming you were not. if not, then that's whose shoes you have not walked in.

KimKim said...

Yes, why do you think I was on the floor crying on Sunday? It all got too much for me when I was overtired from working 9 hours straight in a studio and then yeah well you know how it is...Monday was better because I got her card in the post. I am also estranged from my mother so I find Mother's Day a challenge.

No need to apologize. I totally get this. I also totally get that you tried to make amends with Margie and yeah I've been there on both sides with blog conflicts.

I don't think she meant to be offensive but I can see how it all got out of hand.

KimKim said...

Yeah the more I read all these comments the more I get your perspective Mirah.

First of all with Mei Ling's story if she hadn't been adopted she would have died because her parents couldn't afford to pay the hospital. I told a young Chinese girl who lives here that story and her mouth flew open and she said "but that's evil"... the people who adopted her knew the situation and paid the hospital fees and got to keep the baby. I am not saying it's evil and I'm not saying it's not evil but yeah I am not comfortable about this. It's not my story to live, and it's up to Mei Ling how she processes that but yeah...

As for Margie writing this:

And some have lost mothers who actually did abandon them with no backward glance, or only a cursory one.

I don't know how many mothers do that, abandon their babies with no backward glance. I don't think it's an appropriate thing to write on the blog of a mother who lost her child to adoption and has suffered grief from this. Not cool.

Not the Margie I know and love.

This whole thing shows there is really division between the different mothers.

We have to accept that they profit from our loss and they have joy gaining our children.

To be honest, I want my daughter's parents to have joy about having my baby. I want her to be happy about having them because I can't change that. If the parents were not happy I'd be very angry with them about being so ungrateful.

But yeah, this whole drama between you and her has unhinged me rather.

At first I was very upset on Margie's behalf but now I am unsettled by things she said to you and her not being forgiving towards you.

I really do think her post was not written in the way it was read. I really don't think it was and I do see how you could have read it that way. And because I see that, see both sides I don't say you are wrong.

I am not going to turn on Margie and not like her anymore either. I have said horrible things about adoptive parents too.

We are all human.

Please can we just forgive each other and try to see that we have flaws.

I am one who has been the perpetrator AND the victim of blog drama so I really can see both sides.

There will be no taking sides from me here.

Sending you a lot of love Mirah, Mother's Day was a toughie this year wasn't it? Glad we got through it.

maryanne said...

"Those who take our children take our happiness forever"

Those are YOUR words. They are clear and unambiguous and nobody "twisted" them. As someone else pointed out, by saying "our", not "my" you were clearly not just speaking for yourself but making a blanket statement about all surrendering mothers.

"take our happiness forever" is a pretty bleak and absolute statement. "Forever" is a long time, and leaves no opening for future happiness or even mixed feelings. So you have not had a happy moment since your surrender? That is indeed tragic.

It would be a lot easier if you would say what you really mean in the first place, or stand by clear statements like this as what you did in fact mean, rather than accusing others of twisting words that need no twisting as they speak for themselves.

Mirah Riben said...

Thanks, Kim.

"We have to accept that they profit from our loss and they have joy gaining our children."

That others profit from our loss is a fact. Not just those who adopt, but of course the middlemen. Accept it? No, I want to change that.

There should be no cash profit and as for happiness, it is a side effect - a result - but should not be the driving force. In other words not about meeting a demand.

What I have come to accept is that as painful as all of this has as a step forward from a day when stuff like this was never spoken about....certainly not in a public forum.

“Women can and must stop putting in orders for other women's children.” Joss Shawyer, 1989. Death by Adoption

KimKim said...

I think you miss my point and jump on one thing that I say.

I can't work with this, it's too rigid.

Mirah Riben said...

So sorry KimKim...I thought I was expounded on your comment, not jumping on it.


I have responded to all your points previously:

"I [and others] lost FOREVER any happiness attached to THAT child's life growing up. Those joys are gone FOREVER. Someone else shared them and reaped that happiness."

Plural does not mean all. It is in fact true that some mothers drop kids like puppies and ever look back. Mothers abuse and kill their own children. Some people are sociopaths or deeply disturbed and feel no remorse.

No, I do not speak for ALL mothers and have never claimed to. I speak for myself and for any others for whim it rings true and who feels a part of that "our" some of whom have responded saying so.

I do not speak for everyone and cannot please everyone, nor do I try to, especially in view of the fact that there are people who dislike me and will find every opportunity to disagree and argue....something you have a long history of. And here you are back yet again! True to form.

KimKim said...

This whole drama has been really awful. It has forced people to take sides. I no longer feel safe with someone that I used to really adore. I feel a huge loss over this.

I'm really tired of people bringing out the women who abandon their children card. I don't pull the adoptive parents who murder their children card because I don't think it's appropriate.

I also want to say that I don't blame the adoptive parents of my daughter for the adoption. If I am going to blame anyone then I blame myself and I blame my family for being able to support me.

Reading your posts has triggered a lot of pain that I thought I had managed to run from. I can't change what happened and to maintain sanity and have a good life I can't go focusing on this pain all the time.

I care for both of you don't ask me why I just do but I'm really sad that this drama happened.

You are both rigid and not flexible in this and it's forced people to take sides.

I can't take either side. I feel like I lost a dear friend in this, someone I always felt safe with so there you go. I don't know if this is a bad thing or not. I might never know.

I'm going to have to step away from this blog too and take distance. I think you are an extremely bright woman Mirah, you are one of the best writers here.

Mirah Riben said...


I am SOOO very sorry for the pain this has caused you.

I understood Marge's reaction from the first and I have never held any of this against her and never asked anyone to take sides. I pray that you don't.

For people like you and me and many others of us - our pain is always there, like an incurable chronic illness. It ebbs and flows, sometimes goes into remission...but it's there, on a back burner and any trigger can cause it to flare up.

I sooo understand. It was just such a triggering flare up that started all of this to begin with.

This Mothers' Day has been the worst one in 43 years for me...

I wish you better days. Please don't take it out on Marge. I don't. Many hurtful things were said all around, albeit unintentionally...

One wish: That our expressions of grief and pain could be respected without having every word scrutinized and analyzed to death...even by some of our "sisters." That multiplies the pain and anger to levels that become unbearable.

I do not often self-indulge. 99% of my blogging is about news event and the politics of adoption...the preservation. Some is quite positive, such as the recognizing those who work to help families in crisis. How I wish there were more good news to report!

On the RARE occasion I post from a place of personal pain....or even for the collective pain of those who feel as I would be so very nice to have that respected and left alone until the pain subsides.

KimKim said...

It just disgusted me that you feeling upset on Mother's Day was not acknowledged and it became more about winning an argument or proving a point.

I am not taking this out on Margie. I just don't see her as a safe person for me anymore. She's ok, i don't hate her or anything. She hasn't done anything wrong. It was my fault for creating this image around her like I used to do with Dawn as well.

I totally get it about Mother's Day it can be really painful. It's the one day of the year where it's so in your face.

It's the one day of the year where it's so easy to feel worthless and excluded. It's the one day of the year that I feel mothers who lost their children to adoption need a bit of extra love and empathy. You didn't get that and that's what makes me feel unsafe.

I'm sorry it took me a while to see this, I can be slow to read everything.

There were other things that turned me off, the whole story of how Mei Ling became adopted just horrifies me. It disturbs me how she justifies it, and that's ok for her to do that of course.

I just feel like there is no community where I belong in the adoption world. I'm way too pliable for the hard core antis and am too blunt for the happy bappy ones who want to be friends with everyone. I can't hang out with the mothers who want to stay stuck in the blame and pain. It reminds me of being at school and not fitting in.

I love everyone here really I do, but I don't find peace, I don't find validation, I don't find healing. I have to do this alone.

Please don't stop speaking out and please don't think you did anything wrong because you didn't.

I think its not nice that your apology wasn't accepted and I think the whole thing just got out of hand.

Sorry I made this all about me, that's very indulgent of me.

Mirah Riben said...


No need to apologize and thank you for bringing this back to a reality check:

The fact that my original comment was about the upset caused by reading it on of all days, Mothers' Day has gotten lost from the start and gets further and further away from that simple fact.

Had it been any other day, I probably would not have commented at all - or certainly not with the length and vehemence I did!

Without (I assume) the help of high paid spin doctors, no politician or embarrassed sports figure could have possibly done a better job of deflecting the issues and turning things around!

Mei Ling said...

Hey Kimkim,

Since you referenced me, and I have no other way to contact you, I'll just hope Mirah publishes this comment. ^_^;

"There were other things that turned me off, the whole story of how Mei Ling became adopted just horrifies me."

I wrote a post about how my adoptive parents could raise me on the basis of paying my hospital bill and then I put out the enquiry for lurkers to read: "Even after hearing about an infant's health in the ICU, even knowing that the bio parents want their child - would you still pay the hospital bill to adopt rather than help the mother out? Can you read this blog, witness the heartache and the disconnect - and STILL adopt and pray it all works out?"

And some of the commenters said, "Well, many of us cannot afford to fork over $20,000 for someone else to keep their child. I realize this is selfish, but as human beings, we are selfish. If the money does not go towards adoption, it goes towards our other kids, or towards smaller donations for charities."

So I guess that's your answer as to why people think it's OK.

Mirah Riben said...

Mei Ling,

Thank you for sharing. If you'd like to provide a link to the post, I'd be glad share that.

KimKim said...

Mei Ling, people think wearing fur is ok too and I don't. The world is full of differing opinions. You are totally right to have your own view especially since it's your story. I just can't read it that's all because it freaks me out to think that people did that to you. Not just the people that paid the bill in order to get you but that the system deemed it so. That your mother had an accident and therefore you were born premature and therefore was asked to pay a huge hospital bill? Sorry but why wasn't the person who ran in to her asked to pay the bill? The whole story is horrific. I can't read you writing about it and saying it's ok. I don't know if that is correct of me it's just how it feels. It is horrific. But it's your story so you see it how you want and that's of course your right.

And yes Mirah, the whole thing was that you were feeling upset on Mother's Day. Nobody really gave a rats about that did they? That's also what made me feel unsafe.

Oh well.

Mei Ling said...

KimKim, I don't know. It's really difficult to ask about it (they don't speak English), and they didn't seem too inclined to talk about it. Most of what I learned from their POV was through my sister, the online translator, my translated document files, and asking online during post-reunion (asking about what my family told other people when they asked why I couldn't speak the language).

I have been dealing with it as of late, and no, I don't emotionally feel it is okay. But that's really why I have a password for those types of posts. ;)

The post in question:

There is no point in leaving a comment because this was written way back in Dec. The commenter I am referring to is "autumnesf."

There is also this: (the URL supplied ON the site is now PW-protected, but you can get the gist of it by clicking on my personal blog)

Anonymous said...

This story is so sad. And I question putting the boy unassisted on a plane back to Russia. But this situation of having Russian orphans with behavioral problems is out of control.

Please see this PBS movie that came out this year called "This Emotional Life: In Search of Ourselves...and Happiness" by Dr. Daniel Gilbert. Here's a webpage about Alex, the boy adopted from Russia:
It talks about how lack of physical comfort to babies and small children causes a lack of attachment.

Watch episode or part 1. It aired on PBS, is available to watch instantly if you have a Netflix account, or you can buy the disk on Amazon:
It explains how the orphanages in Russia are overcrowded and understaffed, with each nurse in charge of over a dozen children apiece. They barely have time to change and bottle the infants, and no crucial early bonding takes place.

This is with physically healthy children. Imagine the exaggeration and complications of the scores of orphan children in Russia who have been adopted by Americans where the babies are already born with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)!

Richard Gere, Katie Couric, Alanis Morissette, and other celebrities speak out in this movie. I can't say if what the adoptive mother and grandmother of Justin Hansen (birth name Artyom Saveliev) is right or wrong. But before jumping to conclusions and making a witchhunt out of it (which as a devoted mother was my knee-jerk reaction), please look at the bigger problem. How heartbreaking it must be to just want a child to love, be unable to have one, and then when you finally go though the process of adoption, they don't love you back. And on top of that are dangerously violent. It's definitely not the childrens fault, its the terrible hand of cards they were dealt with before they even had a chance to start life.

But stop to consider how you - as an adoptive mother - would react to receiving hate instead of love. It must be devastating. I have a greater appreciation for what the mother must have gone through. And even more so...I feel so sorry for the boy. And all the children in this situation.

Those children need parents. But obviously the prospective adoptive parents need to be educated in what they are undertaking. Not everyone may be cut out for such a hard path, and they should be prepared with real-life application of psychology and child development to reduce unrealistic expectations. There are so many childless couples in America looking for a child to take into their home and love. What a sad thing it would be if that option was taken away.

Mirah Riben said...

I suggest you read "Facing the real issues in international adoption" Russia Beyond the Headlines. May 21 at:

You will see that I addressed the fact that Russia needs to work to reduce alcoholism especially during pregnancy and needs to be more forthcoming with the truth about these children's abilities.

What I find most amusing is your belief that adoptive parents "deserve" to be loved back. Do you know that expectant mothers are often told that wanting a child for the purpose of it loving them is immature and reason to place their cild for adoption with others who are more mature?

There is no excuse for what Torry Hansen did. It is repressible abd irresponsible behavior. She should be charged criminally with child endangerment. She never should have been given child especially one with special needs. How could anyone expect a child of his age coming out of an institution to be able to LOVE HER! Was she adopting a child or the partner she lacked as a single woman?

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