Tuesday, August 29, 2006
My 2 cents on the recent events asking BJ Lifton, adoptee and author not to present at a conference in New York she had been invited to, because of her refusal not to use the word birtmother she was accustomed to using...
Relating respectfully is a two-way street. Respect is important to be given as well as expected.
Respect needs to be extended to our historical roots, especially in a movement opposed to changing the names of individuals. Both the terms Black and African American are accepted and the NAACP remains the National Association for Colored People. The United Negro College Fund has not changed its name. There is also a National Council of Negro Women and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum was founded in 1990, long after the word negro fell out of popular use. Nor is it impolite to refer to negro gospel and spiritual music as such.
Groups of people can maintain their pride in self-determination and also respect for the heritage.
"Groups of people can maintain their pride in self-determination and also respect for the heritage."
Yes I so agree with you that 'groups of people can maintain their pride in self-determination', that is any person's right, individually or in groups.
But how does 'respect for the heritage' equate with the premise of your post.. that of the term 'birthmother', BJ Lifton and the NYC Conference?? Just wondering.
No matter how radical a civl rights activists might be - even if he were a member of the Black Panthers - he would RESPECT his grandfather calling himself a Negro!
BJ Lifton deserves such RESPECT.
And there needs to be recognition that one does not go back and re-write books and articles!
Some of our biggest supporters have used - and still use - the LEGALLY accepted terminology.
Our Founding Focus: 1989-90
The idea for the Public Conversations Project occurred to Laura Chasin, the project’s founder, while watching a televised debate on abortion. The moderator’s efforts to facilitate an orderly conversation among two pro-choice and two pro-life advocates had been totally ineffective. Speakers on each side had attacked and counter-attacked, and they had interrupted each other repeatedly to disparage their adversaries. When the moderator lamented, "There's nothing going on here but a lot of noise," Laura agreed, and she mused that she and many of her family therapy colleagues knew how to facilitate constructive exchanges on "hot" conflicts, at least among related individuals. She wondered whether their approaches could be used to help small groups of unrelated citizens engage in productive conversations on this and other divisive public issues. Laura invited a small group of colleagues at the Family Institute of Cambridge to join her in exploring this possibility. Out of this small brainstorming group the Public Conversations Project was born.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Feminists who prefer to use these words feel that the terms "woman/women" relate to the historical and ongoing social subordination of women, since the word "man" is seen as the default for human, implying that women are a subset of men, or a deviation from the norm. Those who argue in favour of the terms "womon/womyn" contend that they have the right to choose how a term referring to them is spelled, rather than be compelled to use words that evolved in a patriarchal society. Others further argue that "womyn" is based on a medieval spelling of the word, and that returning to the old model of waeman and wyfman meaning man and woman, respectively, would be more egalitarian. Under this taxonomy "man" would revert to meaning "human".
Some see the adjustments as an example of excessive political correctness. Others feel it to be anti-male gender bias.
*Still others who consider themselves feminists see the issue as a distraction from what they consider more important feminist goals.*
Feminists in favor of the reform argue that language is a powerful tool that shapes the way people perceive their surroundings, and even how they understand gender and gender roles. They also feel that the current form of the words do not value women. Therefore, some feminists see these changes as part of a movement to correct what they consider inherent biases in language.
The old term frequently used by plantation owners in early America for an African-American, but thought of to be just as offensive and racist as uttering the scoundrel, naughty, and terrible word, Nigger; Used as a disparaging term for any member of any socially, economically, or politically deprived groups of people; It is often used by black men as a form of greeting.
"Yo, what's crackin', negro? I just popped a cap in a cracka's ass!"
"Pick my cotton, you negro."
"Gun owners are the new negroes of society"
tags person of color socially economically or politically deprived person.
by John Allison Pittsburgh Nov 30, 2005 email it
9. negro 19 up, 43 down
A slant term referring to african-americans traditionally used by slave masters. The term is considered very offensive today and is not used a lot, except amongst african-americans.
Look at those negros playing basketball over there.
by Glenn Miller New York, NY Dec 14, 2005 email it
10. Negro 43 up, 101 down
disrespectful term to decribe a person of african american background, used by ignorant whites in present time, but used more often by slave owners in the 1700s and 1800s
old ignorant person: I think the negro did it.
by Eli N Michigan Aug 2, 2005 email it
It is unclear to me why you as a Caucasion woman would take it upon yourself to tell us what terms are and are not acceptable to African Americans. I looked up a few definitions on the net of the word "Negro" that you think is just fine. I also asked a black woman close friend. She explained that although the NAACP has not changed it's name, the word Negro is considered provincial and insulting to most aware African Americans. They especially hate white people calling them these names.
And therein is the point. Why it would be so difficult for BJ to refrain from using a term that a large number of women who lost their children to adoption find degrading, is narcisstic and just plain rude. I could maybe understand why she might say "this is stupid of them, but when in Rome...." or "I'll at least have the grace to do my best to not utter a term that these women who lived the experience find hurtful".
Instead, it seems she is behaving like a little bully on the playground - she'll use any damn word she pleases!?
Your ongoing diatribe about how other reform movements took it's time to change the names they use to describe themselves, is moot. This is a conference formatted to educate the public about new research and thinking. What's sad is that the only people who find this threatening are the ones who keep insisting they've been around along time and they can use any term they want. That's just poor form, IMO.
Do you really think that if you walked into a NAACP Conference and told them that you were glad to be at a Negro event, that you would be welcomed or respected? Of course not.
The logic here is simple. A group of people who have determined that they are not comfortable with the use of a particular descriptive term are having a conference. BJ knew very well what the agenda
was/is of these authors and organizations that are sponsoring the conference. She shouldn't have accepted if she couldn't control herself.
Mirah.. of course Betty J. Lifton deserves respect as a human being, no one denies that to another human being..
But I still fail to see the correlation with the word 'Heritage'. What am I missing here?
I am not related to BJ Lifton per the example that you gave of the "a member of the Black Panthers - he would RESPECT his grandfather calling himself a Negro!"
And I would ask, who is doing this??.."recognition that one does not go back and re-write books and articles!"
I guess there is a message in all of what you wrote in your one comment after my comment, but I really don't know what the 'message' is. Sorry..
Call for proposals says: “It would be a kindness to use the term "Mother" or "First Mother" in presentations,as opposed to using the "birth" prefix. (An increasing number of mothers of adoption loss experience these prefixes as oppressive). Thank you!”
It was not stated as a RULE that MUST be followed or you cannot speak.
Yes, BJ or anyone else COULD have chosen not to use it out of respect for the conference planners and some of those attending. And, likewise, IMHO, the conference organizaers COULD have chosen to respect her wishes not to.
Thus my post: Respect is a two-way street. Some people are USED to it and it's hard to change. Many of us, BJ (and I) have used the term all of our adult lives!
If you ask for respect, you need to give it too.
Eliminating and possibly insulting people who are trying support your cause is shooting yourselves in the foot IMO.
Try the feminist anology if the racial one doesn't work for you. After all, I may be white, but I AM a woman...and a feminist.
These self-identification disputes are common. In the end no one cares outside of the little warring factions.
With all due respect Mirah, the legal documents I was forced to sign in 1968 classified me as being the "Natural Mother" of my child. My son's OBC describes me as my child's "Mother." The word 'birthmother' does not exist on any legal documents I signed.
I therefore insist that both my legal and natural identity (as well as my son's natural heritage) be respected by being referred to as the LAW determined, and not as proscribed by CUB.
CUB does not speak for me.
Adoption stole my child. I am not that oppressed that I will accept a group of oppressed women, who see themselves as merely 'birth mothers', stealing my identity as well. Some of us didn't fall for that kind of codswallop.
Perhaps BJ Lifton's refusal to drop the "birthmother" terminology is due to her not realising that she will be speaking to an evolved audience that has long since risen above their designated station and who refuse to continue to tow the party line.
I was referring to the current legal termonology. However, you raise some very good points:
1. You are luckier than many of us, myself included, if you have a copy of what you siged.
2. Just goes to show that calling you "natural mother" and "mother" did nothing to stop the system from taking your child!
Why anyone thinks going back to those terms will make a difference in stopping our exploitation, when it didn't then, is beyond me...
I have refrained to create peace. I do not think it will make any difference.
As I have said, BJ and all speakers, were told:
“It would be a kindness to use the term "Mother" or "First Mother" in presentations,as opposed to using the "birth" prefix."
They were not told they could not!
I wonder if the venerable Edward Albee will be boosed or thrown out if she slips us and uses a word that is disfavored.
You are welcome to come to a CUB Retreat and call yourself Mother. Many of their members do. CUB also supports fathers, adoptees and adoptive PARENTS as well!
Why? You're not much older than me. I have so much more wisdom now than I did when I was younger and one of the greatest reasons that is so, is that I have been open to change. You keep acting like you (plural) are just too old to worry about giving respect.
Even my old dogs learn new tricks.
You say: If you ask for respect, you need to give it too.
???? BJ was shown upmost respect by being invited to speak at the conference. If I may be so bold, what respect has she shown the sponsors of the conference? I think it's not only disrespect but flagrant scorn for an opinion that differs from her own about a descriptive term. Furthermore, she has no right telling any group of mothers what to call themselves. BJ is an adoptee and I would never presume to tell an adopted person what they should be able to call themselves. When BN came along - they wanted to be called bastards, so I respected that.
Her self centered refusal is insensitive to the mother's loss and has lessened my respect for her dramatically.
You say: These self-identification disputes are common. In the end no one cares outside of the little warring factions
Who's at war Mirah? This comment of yours feels a tad bit dismissive. Can't you see it's only a handful of you who think because you have been around for awhile, you know best about how to further our cause???
Without meaning to sound disrespectful, that sounds like the thinking of a bunch of old codgers to me.
I can only speak for myself. I am trying to be repsectful to everyone...If anyone has bothered to notice...I don't use the word that is offensive.
How has ANYONE told "any group of mothers what to call themselves."???
I'm not. BJ hasn't. No one has. EXCEPT OUSA and Exiled Mothers!
This is what I don't get! It is those two grouos and Joe Soll and the NYC Conference who are telling everyone else what words we can use or not! No one else is telling anyone else what to do!
And BTW, BN aside, adoptees are still adoptees! They are just not "adopted children" once they are adults.
Oh, and "waring" factions was reference to feminsism, civil rights, etc...
Howeber, drawing lines in the sand and not letting people across who use different words also sounds to me pretty militant behavior. But that's just my personal opinion...
as ususal...this is going nowhere...goodnight....
It would be a kindness to use the term "MotherThat's the point!!! BJ REFUSED to be kind to Mothers with her telling the conference organizers that she would not comply because she didn't feel like it!!! She's had plenty of kindness extended to her - why in the world wouldn't she give it back?It appears that her real agenda is [comments dleted]. Again, you're getting this all mixed up and confused again. OUSA doesn't tell other mothers what to call themselves as you state. It merely states that the women who choose to participate in their kind of activisim do not care to have their experience marginalized.
Isn't wanting to be anonymous one of the things we are fighting aganinst??
I had submitted a proposal on building bridges and working together and was clearly and plainly told that my subject matter was not acceptable.
This all took place back in APRIL. At that time I asked Joe, if BJ Lifton and Carole Schaefer and others knew that they were "not allowed" to use the "B" word.... because it was part of both of their common language.
In APRIL, I personally raised that issue to Joe Soll, if he was not already aware of it.
BJ was still on the shedule when Edward Albee was added, as per emails sent out by Joe Soll on 8/2/06.
I just wonder why it took as long as it did. Seems to me to remove a speaker from a program that close to the date of the conference is odd and might cause some disgruntled attendees who paid when she was an announced speaker, and are not aware of the change.
As I said, I think they shoot themselves in the foot by turning away supporters. I think that's divisive behavior.
There is a WAR on, and we should all be on the same side, not fighting amongst ourselves like this...
And that's my opinion.
Madelyn Freundlich said:
"To what extent do prospective adoptive parents’ expenditures to cover a birth mothers’ medical costs or other living expenses create a sense of indebtedness that may affect her decision-making? Does a birth mother ultimately ‘owe’ it to the prospective adoptive parents to follow-through on an adoption because a good deal of money has been expended on her behalf?"
Does her statement hurt or help our cuase? Does one word negate its value? Should we ignore all who try to help but use this word to do so?
YES...educate them. But use a bit of patience as well...and dontl throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The word inflicts no huge emotional reaction to me at all. No triggers, no vile response..BUT..it is not that hard to understand that it is not just about me. And in learning what the term means to my other sisters of loss does mean that I respect their feelings. Why would I attempt to reach others, to connect, with a word that dehumanizes them? Why would anyone want to keep hurting those that we wish to be one voice with? And truthfully, I cannot find anyway to think that one educated about adoption and it's truth, and wanting to fight for that truth to be heard, can rationalize use of that word.
If it hurts one of us, it hurts us all. Enough tears have been spent. And the industry STILL uses the word to make us different, lesser, and take our babies. There are still no "dear expectant mother" letters.
It greatly saddens me that Lifton would not refrain. I don't know her reasons, but to me, if you know something hurts people and you don't want to hurt them, then you stop that action. Yes, it would have been a kindness..a kindness that would have been greatly appreciated.
If we cannot be kind to each other than how can we fight together? Sometimes for the greater good, we put aside our personal issues and just deal. Just becasue I am Ok (as in not having a violent flashback) with the term does not mean that others will be. My respect for those who are hurt by the term is my benchmark for non-use. And pointng fingers at others helps none either.
No anon here.........
I agree with you toyally....100%...
And yet you use the phrase "my other sisters of loss" and others use "mothers of loss"... phrases which are very hurtful and trigger a lot of hurt, terrible flashbacks, anxiety attacks and pain for me whose child is permanently LOST and can never be found...
"Mommy to Jessie, Jamie, and Ashley"
To me it seems that by diminishing the natural mother to a prefix implies that there is no "person" behind the name chosen to identify that entity. No feelings to be responsible to, no life worth living, no heritage to consider.
If BJ Lifton's voice cannot be heard at the conference in NYC perhaps she might realize that she took her own voice away from herself in her efforts to "shed light" on her own self-importance.
I'd have thought it would have been anticipated that she'd want to use her accustomed terminology before she was even asked.
So can't really see how or why it's become an issue.
BJ Lifton is not a mom. She's an adoptee. So, I'm not sure why she has the right to come to a conference in which she was asked politely not to use the term, and she vehemently refused. So, in that sense, respecting older persons, I think that Mother is a respectful person, and since BJ Lifton is not a mom, it isn't really up to her what we want to be called.
If a white person was invited to an anti-racism conference, and they were asked politely to refrain from using the word nig***, I think it would be ok to uninvite them. You don't want to preach the things that your trying to overcome, because then you just alienated all the attendes at the conference.
So another good analogy....
What if a group of adoptees were putting on a conference, and they asked the people speaking at the conference not to speak of adoptees as adopted children, but one speaker always thought of them in this way, and refused to speak of them as adopted adults (for whatever reason). And, we'll say the person is a Mother, and she will always consider the adopted person as her child. Would it not be wise to uninvite this person? Especially considering that many of the participants will be adoptees, moms and community members and will thereby speak of the integrity of those who put the conference on, and may in the end retract from the message that is being made?
Just my 2 cents.
""Mommy to Jessie, Jamie, and Ashley" "
Please tell me that the above post is just sarcasm??!!
Surely this cannot be an adopter mother speaking? Or is it?
If so, I personally have never heard (in my 'real' world) a mother who gave birth to her own children to say and surely not myself who is mother to 3 raised children born of me..
"It gives me hope to know I can raise my children to know their place as well."
What is that 'place'??
In all the time - since April - that I have off and on attempted to intelligently discuss/debate these ISSUES, I have received one intelligent comment.
One again, I AGREE with many of the points against the use of the "b" word -- but I disagree with the DEMAND not to use it and a lack of any desire to discuss it intelligently and thus educate.
That, was as a matter of fact, is how ALL of this got started: My objections to the "Birthmother as Breeder" article being very poorly written and not proving any connection or point.
"To me it seems that by diminishing the natural mother to a prefix implies that there is no "person" behind the name chosen to identify that entity. No feelings to be responsible to, no life worth living, no heritage to consider."
This is yet another senseless RANT. It's meaningless. Natural mother is a preferred term! How does a prefix imply non-personhood? Are step-pranets non persons? Are grandparents? Do they have no life worth living? Are mother-in-laws?
Being a grandmother and being called a grandmother is one of the biggest sources of pride and joy to me and to most any grandmother. And some kids call their grandmas Nanna, nanny, gamma, grams or whatever and it doesn't change a thing!
Love and respect are earned on other ways other than in words.
The other big feminsit argument is for the use of terms like mailperson instead of mailman. Does it really make any difference to anyone except a few radical feminists? Do I try to use PC langauge and not offend, yes I do. But does anyone treat the person who delivers their mail any differently based on what they are called? Has it changed the pay differential for men and women by gender-nutralizing their job titles?
The term 'birth' mother does not cause me to swoon and faint, nor will I die hearing that word, nor will I be visited with panic/anxiety attacks, a heart attack or whatever. When I first came on the internet (1995), I had no idea what I was to my daughter lost to adoption. I had born and raised 3 more children and knew I was without question, their mother.. BUT! that surrender doc I signed is what would, for me (for many a decade), tell me I could no longer claim to be her mother, as by signing that doc I had terminated my parental rights. In my mind at the time, 'parental and mother' were interchangeable and one and the same> My experience raising my other children would lead me to believe that. So when I saw 'birthmother' on the net, I figured OK, guess that will work, at least now I am acknowledged somehow that I am related to the baby I lost so long ago. And yes she was LOST! I had no idea where she was, who she was with or if she was dead or alive.. A child is Lost when a mother has no idea where her child is! And I had no guarantee if I would ever find her, if I would find a grave, let alone reunite..for me all those years was like a 'living death' in the loss of my child to adoption. Back to the 'birthmother' bit. But a funny thing happens when you come out the 'closet', someone like me does a lot of reading and no not just on groups, but historical reading in the form of thesis and dissertations, from old books written by the Old Social Workers, some of their speeches from the old SW conferences and yes even the eugenicists, because in fact what the agencies, SWs, etc., were practicing, was Social Eugenics. Then I would receive a copy of my surrender doc a few years back, after all these years and battling with the agency for a scrap of paper.. Clearly on my surrender doc from 1964, states 'Mother of'... not natural, not first, not bio, surely not birth..Plain and simply... Mother! So how did I change to a 'birth', when right there on this supposed legal document it quite clearly identified me and acknowledged me as the Mother to my own child? It changed because other women, whether Pearl Buck or CUB women, adoption industry, or whomever, determined I should be called 'birthmother'. I didn't elect anyone to represent me, no one asked for my vote, no one asked me what I thought about it. Some people in a group came to the conclusion this term was the best thing going for all mothers who surrendered a child to adoption. Fine for those who like it, that's a choice we all get to make for ourselves, whether individually or collectively within an organization.My problem is that there is an organization that is accusing another group of doing exactly what they have done in the past and continue to do to this day, telling mothers what to think and how they should identify themselves. I Choose NOT to be called 'birthmother', not by society (I can't stop it, but I don't have to personally accept it), not by family members, not even by my own adult child I am now reunited with. And I surely would NEVER refer to her as my 'birthdaughter', no way, not for any reason.. She is my daughter, born of me, my flesh and blood, and all those that came before me, to include her father.As for BJ Lifton.. tough.. Will be the day that I as a mother will have an adopted person 'choose' what I should or should not be called as a mother to ALL of my children. My own daughter does not even get that priviledge/supposed right. If she likes calling her own mother (for which I don't believe she was all that kindly towards either) 'birthmother', so be it, is her choice, her right. But is not her right to call other mothers who lost a child to adoption, who clearly have no need for the word and choose not to be called 'birthmother'. I think it is rather simple, at least in my book. Personally from this recent happening I see BJ Lifton as a woman who was adopted as a baby, who has been involved I would presume with CUB for many a year, who has written some books and whatever else she has been involved with in the World of Adoption, as a woman who is [comments deleted]. And in closing.. in regards to 'Heritage' and 'BJ Lifton'... I only gave birth to one child that I surrendered to LCFS who would choose her adopters. I did not give birth to the entire population of adopted people and surrender them all. In that regard there is no 'Heritage' between myself and BJ Lifton.. She stands to inherit nothing from me when I die nor does she 'inherit' my genealogy, my fair skin or my blue eyes or my addiction to chocolate.. I do not speak for the rest of the world... just me and myself!
"As for BJ Lifton she has never and never would refer to herself as a “birthchild” "Well why wouldn't she?? The logical sequence of events is.. if BJ Lifton's mother is a 'birthmother', then she would have to be a 'birthchild' or 'birthdaughter'. How does a person justify one and not the other? I find this most curious. Mirah.. I would like to ask you a question.. If you are in such disagreement with Joe Soll and most of what he stands for to include this conference, why are you so deeply involved within yourself (I am sensing negative)about what this conference stands for or not, what it includes or not includes? Seems this conference will be made up of people ( I can only assume from the bit I know, I will be attending)who are pretty much like-minded or have some interest in what will be talked about.I don't understand all your anxiety you seem to be displaying over this conference. I am not a member of CUB and because of that will not be attending their retreat. I have no negative comments on it, because I have no interest. And simply because I do not agree with all of CUB's premise, does not mean that I have a right to comment negatively on CUB events, simply has no impact on me. I think it is the courteous and respectful thing for me to do. But that's just me.
BJ speaks for and of herself and no one else. It is obviouls from what you have said that you have never read any of her books. She is a highly respected author and has done a great deal to help reform adoption.
You also make a great deal of assumptions.
I too have known Joe Soll for 30 years. I have agreat deal of fondness and respect for Joe. Joe prayed with me at my daughter's memorial service and we marched side-by-dside in many a dmeinstration and shared the stage on many a TV show.
My concern is adoption...my concern is mothers who are having their babies taken from them while we sit here and debate this innane issue! (WEll, I TRY to debate - the vast majority just rant and use sarcasm.)
My concern is that instead of working together to end the exploiatation of women - we kick people out of coferneces who have helped us. Insult our supporters. My concern is seperatism instead of education.
None of this has anything whatsoever to do with Joe Soll personally or with me personally.
If you choose to narrow your concerns, that is your right. I choose to be knowledgable of all that is taking place in adoption.
I hold a firm belief that we are all one...not just all of us in adoption...or adoption reform...not just all mothers...ALL of us on this planet. What effects anyone one of us effects all of us.
I am of the firm belief that if something is right, and will help others, let's talk about it and share what is right about it in a positive and thoughtful way, and TRY our best to educate those who are ingnorant of that "right" point of view.
"The more you alienate, the less support you have for your goals".....so why be so very critical of people who are stiving for the same goals???You said you "100% agreed" with me..but then you agreed that it was wrong to use the B term..yet that was the defense of your thread to begin with. AS for "of loss" are their other mothers like yourself that find this hurtful? Just asking since I do use it all the time..and I would assume, like many involved in specific issues. that we all try to educate and see what others are saying..so I would think that some would find their way over to my blog via a google search and share that aspect of education. And that has never happened. So I wonder..just making a point for points sake?As for why this happened when it did? Perhaps becasue it was hoped that the conference and Lifton ould come to an agreement? I would say the straw that broke the camels back was when she flat out stated that [unconfirmed quote deleted] regarding what women feel appropiate to be called.That's not too much kindness displayed.
I have been excluded from all lists of other mothers: first because my child is deceased; then the second list I was referred to of mothers who found a grave excluded me because I had met my daughter before she died.
So, I have not had the opportunity to share with and receive any support from other mothers in my exact situation. I can only speak for myself in that regard.
What I CAN tell you is that there are mothers like Kipper Herring whose children are alive who dislike the expression "mothers of loss."
I am not saying to not use the word LOSS. I have said - we lost our right to parent. Many of us experienced the LIMBO LOSS of not knowing if your child was dead or alive. These are psychological losses and are painful and real. But we are NOT mothers of loss…we are mothers of our children. It is s stupid phrase.
I am asking that some sensitivity be used and TRY to say “lost to adoption” not just lost.
It is keeping seperate lists for people in sperate situations and each person having their own blog that keeps us from educting one another and learning. (Yes, I have a blog - you do not need to point that out to me, thank you very much.)
It is a great disappoinment to me that the adoption reform movement - prior to the Internet - was far more cohesvie and less isolated into individual corners isolated from one another.
And...now I have had all I can take of this...
Nevertheless I would like to comment on the following.....
"prior to the Internet - was far more cohesvie and less isolated into individual corners isolated from one another."
Really?? I don't see it that way at all, I am quite thankful for the Internet, is how I found my daughter, is how I found other mothers, is how I have educated myself 'historically' on the subject of 'child adoption', let alone a host of political subjects. The Internet has opened a whole world to me. Prior to the Internet I had no idea that CUB even existed, it would be the Internet that would tell me of CUB's existence.
JMO..here... prior to the Internet CUB would have had more power, more cohesiveness, the last word, because of the lack of information being distributed widely to thousands of mothers not just a several hundred. I know that CUB did do some good things in their history and that is a very good thing. But the Internet is here, more women are becoming connected, educating themselves and determining which way they want to go, based on a whole lot more information that is readily available now, a whole lot more than prior to the Internet. If any one thing in this world that has impacted me positively in my life and the information I have and am still able to glean, is the Internet, especially Google!
Thank you again Mirah for your most generous comments on the subject of my intelligence. Suffice it to say... says more about you, than about me.. I don't expect to see this comment posted.. Is OK, I understand..
And then you wonder Mirah, why people who try to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are trying to understand, stop posting here. What kind of a comment is that for a moderator to make??? I happen to think that illegit has made many thoughtful and intelligent observations. I happen to know just how accomplished she really is and you are out of line to say such a thing. I am sure that you will censor this too, but it is appearing to be you whose intelligence and ability to grasp another's point of view is in question. Intelligent people can agree to disagree. You cannot. You cop an attitude and tell us you're going to bed last night because your the discussion you started is going nowhere??
No one says anything to you about all your typos and incomplete sentences. What a cheap and tacky shot - just because several people do not agree with you, you accuse them of not being intelligent.
I've heard other frustrated mothers talk about your manipulative tactics in discussion - if you don't like a point someone makes, you censor their comment or accuse them of not being sensitive to the fact that your daughter has passed away. And sadly, you did it again here. You changed the original subject of this topic which was about BJ at the conference.
While I have sympathy for your loss, I also experienced a loss when I was not able to parent my child. You do not have to agree but that is what I believe to be true. Loss is not only about death. And quite frankly, if this is an adoption blog why are you turning it into a debate about the true meaning of the word "loss" and accusing now of being insensitive to you?
Additionally o arrogant one, I have attended several conferences over the years with BJ, spoken to her numerous times and read almost all of her books. (til they all began to sing the same song) BJ is not particularly kind to mothers of adoption loss either in person or in her books; unless of course they're paying homage to her and her issues. She's always been known to fly off the handle if she doesn't get her own way. You can deny it all you want but this is my experience. It's not AS IF it's my experience, it IS my experience and I don't respect her need to decide what I should be called. Nor did I particularly really care that she was going to be at the conference in the first place. This is not about her. Perhaps she could ask her psychiatrist husband to explain to her why the conference sponsors polite request was reasonable. And then he could explain why her total refusal to kindly be sensitive about terminology seems AS IF she is being petty and argumentative.
Lastly, why are you defending BJ so vehemently when you weren't behind the scenes and you don't even know all the facts? If BJ wishes to share her feelings about this experience, invite her here to your blog. Surely as old friendS, she will accomodate you? Or does she only care to share with CUB members who continue to enable her inappropriate behavior toward the conference sponsors? This rage a few of you have for a couple of organizations is totally irrational.
So now what? Will you print this? Or are you going to accuse me of also not having the advanced intelligence that you do? Your blog is becoming more of a grandstand for Mirah and her opinions than any kind of intelligent debate, IMO.
Mirah, do yourself a favor and take a break for awhile. You're isolating yourself from everyone. You have become so critical and disappointed in everything that you perceive to be a new idea. You don't have to publish this but it is seriously hurting your credibility. I say this as someone who once really admired you and your work. You keep insisting that you want us all to work together but then you slam people for not being intelligent if they have a different opinion or way of communicating.
I'll pray that you find your center again.
If you could READ you would have known that I have said I have experienced BOTH a loss of a child to adoption AND her death. I have said that a loss to adoption is a real lossm and I have no objection to the statement "lost to adoption" or "suffered an adoption loss"
I object to the term "mother of loss."
"Mother of Loss" is the stupidest phrase for people who are fighting to be recognzied as the one and only true mother of their CHILD! How can you be mother of your child AND a mother of loss...pick one, ladies! So is being anonymous in contradiction to wanting to be respected as a non-person. Why don't any of you have the courage to sign your comments??
You use the phrase "mother of Loss"
because it is very awkward and time consuming to keep saying: "a mother who has surrendered her child to adoption." I know. I just finished a 300 page book and had to type that in more times than I can count! It's a pain...and just "mother" does NOT always work - or no one would have come up with a stupid phrase like "mothers of loss" which diminishes you - the exact oppositie of what you are trying to do!
I gave BIRTH to my daughter - to ALL of my chidlren and that is what makes me their mother and that is what connects me to them. My blood. My genetics. I am not ASHAMED in any way to say that I gave birth to my children. Nor do I feel in any way diminished by being called a "b-mother." The mother who gave my children birth and life! I do not however use the word anymore where it will be offensive to anyone.
Why can't others do the same? Why can't YOU be eduated about what is hurtful?
Why would anyone be so full of themsevles to think that if no one came to THEIR blog and personally told them that it was hurtful to them, that then it doesn't matter!
As for the Interent, it is great tool. It helps me every day. It also helps promote pornography, kiddie porn and predatory pedophiles... and it also has helped increase babies being bought and sold in the name of adoption.
It has been my personal experience that it has divided adoption reformers more than united them. period. my opinion.
And BTW - typos are not a sign of intelligence or lack thereof. They are usually an indication of lack of typing skill, or in my case a consequnece of arthitically crippled hands.
Sigh. I happen to read extremely well, however I am not a mindreader. What bothers me more is your need to continue to insult people's intelligence if they don't agree with or understand your points!
You said: BTW - typos are not a sign of intelligence or lack thereof. They are usually an indication of lack of typing skill, or in my case a consequnece of arthitically crippled hands.
I never said they were - you are the person who still doesn't feel the need to apologize to illigit or some of the rest of us that you've denigrated intellectually. Yet you tell us we are the ones who can't get along with the rest of the reformers. That's pretty poor people skills for the moderator of a blog.
As I understand it, some people are becoming less and less comfortable with signing their names because if they've disagreed with you in the past, they are accused by people who haven't even educated themselves to the whole issue being discussed of being argumentative or attacking you. These same people apparantly see nothing wrong with you the moderator, accusing people you have invited into a debate on your blog, turn around and tell these same people they are not intelligent.
This is not intelligent debate. You are back to ranting about the word "loss" since apparantly the rest of the topic didn't go your way. You are no longer even addressing the questions posed to you about BJ's actions and the conference that you brought up in the first place.
We heard you about how the word loss affects you. Move on, already.
I for one will not be sucked in again to your blog. You challenge people to debate and then have a temper tantrum if you don't like what is said. Haven't you noticed, none of us are raging or angry or insulting anyone's intelligence...it's only you behaving so rudely to your guests.
If your way is working - go get 'em - fine. But stop being so critical of other groups that are making inroads where the old time reformers couldn't.
By the way - signing anonymous is no different than people taking a fake name here to post. And successful blogs allow freedom of speech.
I never demeaned anyone's intelligence. I do not know who is writing what. I can only comment on what is written here. If I feel a comment lacks an intellegnt argument that is my perogative.
In all the time I have been writing about these issues - one person - and I'd have to go back and look it up - had intelligent comments about ISSUES, and when I replied point by point, that was the end of that. The rest has been, for the most part, name-calling.
Asking my why I care is not an inteligent comment....it's an avoidance technique.
Telling me it's none of my business what any group does is in the same categry.
I bring up ISSUES like:
1) calling yourself "natural mother" and "mother" did nothing to stop the system from taking your child
2) calling yourself "mothers of loss" and being anynymous is contrary to the goal of gaining respect as your child mother
NO ONE RESPONDS TO THESE ISSUES!
Several of you have repeated over and over that no one is going to tell you what to call yourself - when you are the only ones doing that! It just gets boring...
No one has anything INTELLIGENT to add to a discussion of FACTS and issues. It's sad, pathetic and a waste of time...
You said: Just goes to show that calling you "natural mother" and "mother" did nothing to stop the system from taking your child!
That's certainly true. However that's hardly the point. In my day being pregnant and unmarried labelled us as 'social deviants' who should be relieved of our chldren at birth. All to do with Eugenics and bad blood theory. Todays labelling is 'birth mother.' To be referred to as a birthmother has the effect of dehumanising any mother and perceiving her as little more than a brood mare devoid of human emotions to be used for the purpose of providing a service to paying childless couples. When you dehumanise someone you make it easier to justify your exploitation of them, to relieve them of their baby without any pang of conscious or giving any thought to their maternal instincts or the despair they would feel in losing their own newly born children. Being a 'birthmother' is convenient as it renders a mother not quite a mother in the true sense of the word, not quite human in the eyes of the system and the rest of society. Their grief becomes irrelevent.
Terminology is important. It keeps us in our place.
The Nazis did it to the Jews in WW2 by labelling them as Vermin which in turn made it easier to eradicate them and deem them to be "lives unworthy of living" in order to justify their actions during the Holocaust. If they had been seen as human beings with human emotions the Holocaust would not have been so successful. The collective conscience of Mankind could not have done what it did to the Jews. Do we hear Jews diminishing themselves by referring to themselves as Vermin just because the Nazis labelled them as such? I think not.
So why do we do it to ourselves? And why do we allow others to diminish us by cheating human nature and labelling us with a title that considers us to be not quite as human as other women who are mothers by virtue of birth?
As for BJ Lifton, I thought she was a therapist. If that is true then one would think that as a professional she would go out of her way to consider the effects of using terminology that is known to traumatise a room full of mothers. It would only by for an hour or so. Nobody has asked her to rewrite her books for heavens sake.
TRY very hard to follow this. Back in the 50's and 60's there was no social support for single mothers. Our babies were taken to save us the "shame" of being "unwed mothers" and save our kids being "illgetitmate bastards." This was done BEFORE anyone used the "b" word (you used it, not me!) This is all docmented by Solinger and Fessler.
The "b" word came into being in the late 70's... it helped us find one another for support and began to search and find our kids and we supported open records.
Around the same time, social acceptance of single parenthood, birth control access and abortion all hapapened. That led to less babies being born the "needed" to be placed for adoption.
Women are being exploited today for totally different reasons than in the 60's. Today it's all anout money and open adoption is being used to 'sell' it...because today, unlike when you and I surrndered, there is no shame in single parenthood (if you can afford it). Single mothers even adopt!
Jews, Nazi and eugenics have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with any of this! Not even if you come from OZ! (The Nazis KILLED 6 million Jews. You're not comparing that to adoption, are you???)
Neither does whether we are called natural mothers, mothers or the "B" word have anything to do with it. They find excuses and tricks to get babies to fill a demand for babies and to make MONEY.
No one has ever connected the dots and proven in any way the CLAIM that calling us the "B" word is related to any increase in babies being placed for adoption. In fact as the "b" word came into use the numbers of infant adoptions in this country have DROPPED drmaatically! That is why some people use the expression "The baby Scoop Era" - meaning that more babies were surrendered for adoption during the 60's than any other time! BEFORE the "B" word!
CAN YOU, OR ANYONE READING THIS, UNDERSTAND THESE F-A-C-T-S!!!
Now, if you tell me it offends you - fine, I don't use it....but don't tell me not using will do a damn thing to stop baby brokers from doing everything and anything to exploit women for their babies...for MONEY!
You could call yourself Mother Theresa and they'lll try to get your baby! Adoption is BIG BUSINESS. Adoption is no longer run by social workers who might care what you are called. Social workers made mistakes, and some have apologized, but they tried their best. They and many of our parents (and many of us!) really beleived they were saving our "reputations." Today the people in adoption care nothing but how to make a buck!
Terminology may keep you in your place. It never kept me or any other mother I've known in our place...it kept us fighting, marching, changing legislation, going on TV, writing books...etc., etc., etc....
If you make it into something demenaing, than for you it's soemthing demeaning. Giving birth has never demeaned me, and it never will. Nor does being a mother demean me and never will. I am a mother and I gave birth. Hardly analogous to being a vermon ??? Nothing demeaning about either word, seperate or together...except that some mothers have made it so!
Now, go follow the yellow brick road, or click your heels or whatever you have to need to do...but please try to get back to reality.
Seriously... do you really assume or believe that any of the women commenting here know nothing about adoption, yesterday or today? You don't even know who your audience/commenters are ( am assuming again), yet you speak to any one of us, 'as if' we just came out of grammar school, never read a book or even worse assume we don't even have the intelligence to allow us to know how to read. Why Mirah do you have such a need to speak so dismissively to other women, who have walked in your shoes? I simply don't understand.
Mirah.. you really went over the top when you give credit to the drop in adoptions because the word birthmother came into existence..
""In fact as the "b" word came into use the numbers of infant adoptions in this country have DROPPED dramatically! ""
Come on.. Mirah please don't tell me you actually believe this. Now you are really reaching. Do you actually personally believe that the word birthmother packs that much positive power, that it has the power to decrease the number of children lost to adoption? Please say it isn't so.. and if you do, can you please give me a reference or link to a credible source of fact that I can read for myself. And yes, Mirah honest to god, I wouldn't lie to you, I know how to read..
You say there wasn't any support for umarried mothers back in the 1960's and 60's. WRONG Mirah.
As it turns out there most certainy was. In Oz and every other Commonwealth country the unmarried mother was legally entitled to financial assistance to enable her to rear her own child. it was one dollar less than the Widows benefit. The trouble with that benefit is that unmarrie dothers were not being made aware of that provision. If memory serves me right it was Marley Griener who first told me that the same applied in the US.
I suggest you inform yourself of the support provisions the Edan Gladney homes were offering mothers in the 40 and 50's to enable them to keep ther children. Karen Buterbaugh has researched the history of adoption in the US and has collected copious documents on the subject of what was avaiable at the time.
Irrespective of the ""shame" of being "unwed mothers" and save our kids being "illgetitmate bastards"" there was alternative support services that would have allowed us all to at least make a free and informed decision.
How did the "B" word help you find support for one another?
Social acceptance of single parenthood occurred when the Sole Parents Benefit was finally made public knowledge in the early 1970's giving mothers, who previously had no alternative but adoption, an option to keep.
I am fully aware of the reason behind the US push for infant adoption nowdays.
You said: Jews, Nazi and eugenics have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with any of this!
WRONG again. Eugenics is precisely why infant adoption was so heavily encouraged if not enforced during the post WW2 period.
You said:The Nazis KILLED 6 million Jews. You're not comparing that to adoption, are you???)
Ar eyou kidding? I did not compare infant aodption to the Houcaust. I was comparing the use of terminology to dehumanise human beings. Please try to stay on the same page.
You said: No one has ever connected the dots and proven in any way the CLAIM that calling us the "B" word is related to any increase in babies being placed for adoption.
I haven't heard any mention of the B term being used for that purpose. My objection to it is that it labels me as a brood mare just as the word virmin labelled the Jews for other political reasons.
You said: In fact as the "b" word came into use the numbers of infant adoptions in this country have DROPPED drmaatically!
I hope you're not trying to suggest that the introduction of the B term has caused a drop in infant aodptions?????
You said: CAN YOU, OR ANYONE READING THIS, UNDERSTAND THESE F-A-C-T-S!!!
Na! I'm feebleminded.
You said: Adoption is no longer run by social workers who might care what you are called. Social workers made mistakes, and some have apologized, but they tried their best.
Oh did they just? Not in my world they didn't.
You said: They and many of our parents (and many of us!) really beleived they were saving our "reputations."
I stoppped beleiving that codswallop when I began researching what was 'supposed' to be offered unmarried and unsupported women...and never was.
You said: ...it kept us fighting, marching, changing legislation, going on TV, writing books...etc., etc., etc....
I've done the same without ever having to accept being referred to as a "B" mother. BTW what legislation did you change?
I live in a reality the likes of which you are not ready to comprehend.
Mirah, it is so sad to read your monotanous diatribe about why YOU believe many mothers prefer to not be called "birthmother" While you accuse them of not understanding, it seems to be you who has become intolerant. If you were really a leader, you would recognize that no one is jumping on your bandwagon? Why is that? No matter how much you try to insult the intelligence of women who kindly try to make a point to you, no one is converting to your point of view regarding this one issue which is simply that many women now find the word "birthmother" offensive. Although you refuse to grasp this idea - it doesn't matter whether using the word did or did not change anything. It's simple. Some women find it disrespectful and they shouldn't have to be held up to your heightened scruntity or answer your questions as to why they feel that way. Why does anyone feel anyway about anything? I thought you were an enlightened person. Why not allow people their own beliefs and choice of titles FOR THEMSELVES.
While you berate and insult these intelligent and rationale women, you appear to be losing it. Aware and enlightened beings do not treat others with differing ideas with such disrespect. Don't forget that you opened your blog and invited this discussion. Now you are urging everyone who doesn't agree with you to move it on down the road. What is wrong with this picture?
You've got to get a grip.