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
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 others...is 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 losses...it 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 nation...search 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.