Monday, September 11, 2006
A Response to Sweeping Change…
Someone who commented here brought to my attention an article by Carole Anderson which appeared in the September 1990 Communicator entitled “A Response to ‘A Time for Sweeping Change’.” I was on “vacation” from all adoption-related work during the 90s as I was in the midst of a protracted divorce and custody battle. I was fascinated by the fact that Carole had talked about guardianship in 1990 and eager to read the entire article written in response to one by Annette Baran and Reuben Pannor about open adoption, which Carole clearly felt did not go far enough toward family preservation.
The article was brought to my attention because in it Carole supports guardianship, stating: “Permanent guardianship would retain and acknowledge the child’s true kinship relationships while providing for permanent care. There would be no pretending that the guardians who care for and love the child are the ‘real parent.’ They are not parents. It would be understood that the child has parents but the guardians are responsible for raising the child.”
Apparently Carole did not receive support for her radical ideas and CUB decided to continue to provide support for mothers and to support open records, about which Carole states: “Whether adoptions are open from the beginning or are opened later by search,” said carole, “they still involve the separation of children from their families, with all the damaging effects that brings. In all adoptions, open or closed, the children grow up pretending to be related to unrelated people; the children’s [birth] parents pretend they’re not their children’s ‘real’ parents and they lose their parenting roles to people outside their families…”
We all know that open adoptions that give a mother pictures and letters - even visits - is not the same as preserving the family withour seperation. The same is true no matter that the other is called.
I wish cancer had not taken Carole from us. She was far ahead of her time. Carole was not a whiner – she was a doer - an action oriented person. She faults Baran and Pannor for not going far enough. Their article she says “identifies problems, but doesn’t propose concrete solutions. In the real world people are extremely unlikely to stop doing things the way they always have unless they have a very clear idea of what to replace then with.”
I am disappointed that CUB lacked the courage to follow up on Carole’s insights. I am disappointed too that those who came along and proposed an end to adoption, wiped their web pages clean of all anti-adoption references and instead are focusing on fighting over one word and an inquiry into the harm done to them in the past. Reading her article in full, it is clear that while Carole was too radical for most CUBers at the time, I do not think she would be in total agreement with the “new breed” of mothers today, either…the Exiled and OUSA mothers. She abhors the pain suffered by mothers who are separated from their children by adoption like only one who has experienced such a ripping apart of her soul can know. However, she puts the needs of the children above those of any adults.
“Every child needs both heritage and nurturing. When those who cannot come from the same place, it emphatically does nor follow that we must pretend the source of nurturing provides a heritage as well. Being forced to live a fantasy should not be the price of the nurturing every child is entitled to receive.”
We do not need to choose between helping our adopted children and ourselves. We can do both by fighting against falsified birth certificates.
My child's needs were best served by knowing the truth about how he was separated from me. It was a huge relief to him to know that he was taken from me at birth and not as 'willing given away' as he had been led to believe.
While fighting against falsified birth certificates is terrific for future adoptees, it does nothing to resolve the harm already done by past adoptions.
Quite right! NOTHING can ever repair the past, so why waste time and effort on it?
"My child's needs were best served by knowing the truth about how he was separated from me."
Would his needs not have been better served never to have bene seperated? If he HAD to be seperated, would his needs not have been better served to have known the truth all along??
I am suggesting that we stop being a MASH unit patching up wounded and burying the dead and start TRYING at least to end the war that causing all the casualities. Can't we at the very least do BOTH? If not, we will patching up the wounded and burying the dead into the next milinium and beyond...
In New Orleans they are not just rebuilidng homes for those who lost them...they are also fixing the levee so it won't happen again! Otherwise what's the sense of it all!
Funny,...I see no humour in this.
HUH??? WHAT THE H#$* ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?
dead bury dead? no idea what that means...follow me? where? rebuild lives that were lost? no, didn't say that either...
Unless one goes back and addresses the past wrongs and the harm created by adoption separation, the future is bound to be repeated...or contiinued. As is the case these days in the US.
Mirah: "Would his needs not have been better served never to have bene seperated?
That goes without saying. However, not altering Birth Certificates won't stop future adoption separations. Only stopping the promotion of it by addressing the past and exposing the harm it created, will. At least it did in Au.
It wasn't altering my child's birth certificate that created the harm. It was the actual separation that did it.
Mirah: If he HAD to be seperated, would his needs not have been better served to have known the truth all along??
But we didn't have to be separated. The vast majority of adoptions were unnecessary. And while I agree that it's a legal fraud and should not be changed, the bald facts are that not changing the OBC is neither here nor there 'these days' as most adoptees are in open adoptions and already know who their mother is. it wold have no mpact on reducing adoptio numbers.
Mirah: I am suggesting that we stop being a MASH unit patching up wounded and burying the dead and start TRYING at least to end the war that causing all the casualities.
Then I take it you are opposed to adoption? Besides, why don't we matter and why are you so scathing of others attempts to try to find some healing from this mess?
Mirah: Can't we at the very least do BOTH?
Of course we can. We can multi-task on quite a number of aspects. Not the least of which is seeking accountability for past abuses.
And that is bull. It's a band-aid job.
""Then New Orleans residents were told Saturday that the partially repaired levee system may not hold up in a strong storm.""
""Lt. Gen. Carl Strock said the agency was carefully tracking Tropical Storm Ernesto, which was in the Caribbean and projected to reach hurricane strength Tuesday. It was on track to enter the Gulf of Mexico, but it too early to tell whether it would strike the southern United States.
Strock was confident the Corps had done all it could to repair and reinforce 220 miles of levee walls, but he said many variables would determine whether the levees could withstand a major hurricane striking near New Orleans, as Katrina did Aug. 29, 2005.
"To pinpoint it to one thing and say 'yes' or 'no' is very difficult," said Strock.
Much would depend on where the hurricane made landfall, wind speed, rainfall and other factors, he said. The biggest concern would be water levels so high that they could cascade over the levee walls, weakening them to the point of breaching.
There's also concern in New Orleans that a new system of pumps installed in the city could make things worse, instead of better, reports CBS News correspondent Joie Chen.
Just days after Katrina hit, engineers launched an all-out effort to protect the city — an impressive flood-gate and pump- system built in a matter of months.
But it could actually make things worse for some homeowners, said Army Corps of Engineers' Col. Jeff Bedey.
The floodgates, set up at the mouths of three canals, are designed to keep Lake Pontchartrain from surging into the city. While the lake will be contained, new rainwater won't have anywhere to go.
A Corps of Engineers study said if the floodgates are used, up to five feet of water could overwhelm some neighborhoods.
Even worse, tests this week showed the pumps may not be working properly. ""
""Blanco said that although she is not happy with the current strength of the levee system, she believes as much work as possible has been done in the year since Katrina.""
And repairing levees will not 'fix' the other problems that have been given no attention, pre--katrina. Homes and Levees are only part of the problem in NOLA, much like adoption, there are many more facets to these problems, ALL worthy of much-needed attention.
""The Army Corps of Engineers has repaired and restored more than 220 miles of floodwalls and levees since September 2005, and floodgates have been added to guard against storm surge, White House officials said.
That will help the levees survive a Category 2 hurricane, but Katrina was a Category 3, and the worst storms are Category 5. The administration has secured nearly $6 billion for the corps to further strengthen the system by 2010, to make the odds of the city flooding again only once in 100 years.
The Army Corps says it doesn't measure the levees' strength or survivability in terms of hurricane categories, but Ivor L. van Heerden, deputy director of Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center, said the enhancements would enable the levees to withstand up to a Category 4 hurricane.
Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, commander and chief engineer of the Army of Engineers, will present to Congress by December 2007 a proposal on what it would take to provide Category 5 hurricane protection to the Louisiana coast.
Beyond fixing New Orleans' levees, Bush said he would work to repair the racism and inequality in America that were exposed in Katrina's aftermath.
For days, TV images flashed worldwide showed poor, mostly black victims clinging to rooftops and crowding into the stench-filled Superdome and Convention Center waiting for federal help that was slow to come.
The scenes that made the wealthy United States look like a third-world nation weren't lost on Bush. In his Jackson Square talk, he acknowledged "deep, persistent poverty in this region" with "roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America."""
Back on the subject matter of this blog, however...
"the future is bound to be repeated...or contiinued."
Ahhhh...no. In the past we lost our kids because of the SHAME of preganancy OUT OF WEDLOCK. That is not likely to be repetaed today.
It was NOT the inquiry that reduced adoptions in Au. Read post enttiled: Where to Put our Focus and Energies.
"If he HAD to be seperated, would his needs not have been better served to have known the truth all along??But we didn't have to be separated."
That is why I emphasised the word HAD. I am all too aware that most adoption losses are UNNECCESSARY LOSSES.
"I, too, am a survivor of tragedy. I am one of thousands who survived the loss of our children to adoption and, while far less tragic than mass murder, they were, in many cases not "necessary losses." I have chosen to write about birth-parents' collective experiences, and to acknowledge all for whom adoption has been painful."
Do you know where and when the above was written? In 1988 in the introduction to "Dark Side of Adoption."
"And while I agree that it's a legal fraud and should not be changed," Did you really mean that falsified BCs should NOT be changed?
"'these days' as most adoptees are in open adoptions"
Unfortunately NOT. A very small percentage are REALLY fully open. Many are absolute lies, others are Internationsl with no chance of the mother knowing anything, others are semi open with a letter and photograph IF YOU'RE LUCKY! Actresses and people with enough money can buy a closed adoption of an infant. Very, very few are really open.
"Then I take it you are opposed to adoption?"
I am TOTALLY opposed to adoption as it is practiced in the U.S. today.
"Besides, why don't we matter and why are you so scathing of others attempts to try to find some healing from this mess?"
HUH??!?? Who said who doesn't matter. I am WE! Scathing? What?!?
Heal, please heal. Yes, that is exactly why I said we can do BOTH. I have been healing for 30 years and am still healing. But I am ALSO working to try to help others besides myself and have done so since day one. For me, it has been the best way to help myself and very empowering.
I see lost of others all over the adoption reform movement hung up in trying to impress others in the same movement that their pain is worse, or that their group is better...or just being angry and mean to one another...or wallowing in pity and "poor me"...
ALL, instead of focusing all that energy and anger at the SYSTEM and the baby brokers who are stealing babies...
Monday, April 24, 2006, Adoption Langauge and DisUnity which in part says:
Clearly each of us needs to heal our personal pain and loss, first and foremost. (This is why CUB remains today, as it always has been first and foremost a support group.) The steps in healing a trauma and loss are many, including denial and anger and perhaps some final resolution. For myself, a great part of my healing process occurred when I was able to refocus my anger. I see many analogies for this process among mothers who have experienced loss: MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers is perhaps the most widely known example. These mothers determined to not just sit and cry over their lost kids. They organized and got legislation changed in order to prevent other mothers suffering similar unnecessary losses. Channeling our anger constructively is by far the most healing thing any of us can do!
My second, even harder-hitting, book will be released, hopefully, within a year and expresses my vehement opposition to the exploitation of poor single women and the coercive techniques to get them to relinquish their babies, and the issuance of falsified birth certificates. I am vehemently opposed to the entrepreneurial aspect of adoption as a $2-3 billion a year industry that sells babies with virtually no regulations whatsoever.
You take it I am opposed to adoption? Damn right I am!
No I was saying that the OBC should not be changed.
SLYOUNG: It is impossible to fight a war with wounded soldiers. The wounds of the troops must be healed before they can enter battle, against the enemy in Iraq or in the fight for family preservation. You seem to think that women can pick up the banner, strap on their Valkyrie gear and take off. That is just not realistic, Mirah. The women who have lost their children are just beginning to discuss with each other their losses. They are just opening up on the internet, for Heaven Sake! How can you expect them to take on the enemy with big, huge, gaping holes where their hearts should be. Unlike you, most women were silent for decades, doing what they were told to do. When your foot goes to sleep, you don't wake it up by running a marathon. Give them a break!
MIRAH: In New Orleans they are not just rebuilidng homes for those who lost them...they are also fixing the levee so it won't happen again! Otherwise what's the sense of it all!
SLYOUNG: I am not sure I understand your point here, but, I just returned from spending 4 months living in a tent working to help rebuild New Orleans. The analogy that you make seems to support my statement above,that you need to shore up your foundation, the women who have lost their babies, in order to make any changes. I would suggest a better analogy than NOLA, tho, as they are accomplishing things there, due to corruption, power struggles, and bickering amongst themselves, about as fast as we are in the adoption reform community.
I have one further point that I would like to make. I have seen the people from CUB bang their own drum and dismiss over and over the work that OUSA, ALL, Exiled Mothers and Joe Soll have done over and over again. How the heck do you or CUB for that matter have any idea what we are doing? I think it is pretty presumptions of you to assume that we are doing nothing, and just posting away on these boards. Just because you don't know about it, and we are not tooting our own horns doesn't mean that we are doing nothing. It only means that you don't know about it. Not the same thing at all. Don't make assumptions, Mirah. You know what happens when you assume...
1. My so-called "assumptions" are made based what I read on organizations' websites. OUSA states that their major goal (their words, not mine) is an in inquiry into past practices. This, then is not an assumption, it is a statement of fact.
2. "The women who have lost their children are just beginning to discuss with each other their losses. They are just opening up on the internet, for Heaven Sake! How can you expect them to take on the enemy with big, huge, gaping holes where their hearts should be. Unlike you, most women were silent for decades, doing what they were told to do."
SOME women - NOT "THE WOMEN" - are "just beginning" to discuss their loses. THOUSANDS of us have been doing so since the late 70s. Over 500 signed a public newspaper advertisement to open records in Oregon in 1998.
Do not suggest that MOST were one way or the other because unless you have statisics to prove that. I do not know the percent who remain still in denial or who took longer to come out of denial and neither do you.
3. "It is impossible to fight a war with wounded soldiers."
What I am suggesting is re-directing energies and anger. I sense a great deal of anger from mothers who have "come out" of denial later in life. Perhaps it is just that time has helped us heal our wounds, but it seems to me a very different mind-set and approach than others of us had from the beginning.
Those who I have known over the past 30 years who were out of denial since the late 70s or 80s -- our first and most pressing issue was finding our kids. THEN we focused our anger on the SYSTEM which took our kids and kept our kids second class citizens by denying them the right to their own birthrecords. Yes, we neded to heal and supported one another. I STILL have effects of PTSD to this day, even after all these years. But never until recently have I felt so much anger directed toward one another. As mothers we all felt a sense of solidarity with one another and focused our anger on the problems of adoption. Not just on BLAMING or or seeking apologies for what was done to US. As MOTHERS, we put the needs of our kids before our own.
To me, personally, focusing on what was done to us in the past seems a waste of energy and to maintain a victim status rather than feeling like one is gaining control and empowerment over one's victimization. But that's just me. We each have to heal and do what's best for us. I dictate to no one.
As for all the energy spent arguing about the word we are called:
I gave birth to my child and UNFORTUNATKEY the fact is that my relationship with my first child was limited to my role of giving her life. Others parented her. That is a fact. A very sad fact, but a fact nonetheless. So calling myself her birthmother does not feel at all insulting to me. It describes my limited role in her life. Again, speaking for myself personally. I am proud to have given her life and to be related to her by birth.
NOW...having said that, I fully appreciate that others are not comfortable with that term and I respect it. BUT...again, I do not see the amount of effort that is going into that. What was done is done, it cannot be undone. Renaming changes nothing for US.
To have mothers remain mothers when they are unable or unwilling to parent their child is to change adoption into a form of permanant guardianship.
I would like to see us ALL join forces and fight toward THAT end!
This is not a we/they issue - this is ALL of us! CUB is not doing that either! As I have said here, I do not represent CUB.
As for the levees ... yes, there is corruption (that's why they didn't get fixed before the hurricane). I already admitted that may have been a bad analogy. But the fact is that the root CAUSE of the problem has been identifed and they know what needs to be done to prevent furure harm! Now, they can choose to either get it done or fight and argur over it.
My favorite anaology is not Katrina or war...it's a house on fire. Do you look into the cause of a fire and try to arrest or sue those who started it FIRST - while it's still burning? Or do you rescue the wounded and NEXT try as hard as you can to STOP THE FIRE from raging on and on and harming more and more people!!! No the wounded don't go back in, you call in other fire depts if you have to, and WORK TOGETHER - not fight over jurisdiction it is! You work on stopping what is causing ongoing harm...each as he is able.
I personally know the son of a fireman who crushed his ankle in the Twin Towers on 9/11. He got it taped up and INSISTED on going back in to resuce others! And NYC police and firefighters worked side by side - they didn't argue over whose "turf" it was or whose job duty it was!
YES, SOME of us can do both. Not all of us. Some are far too wounded, but as we heal, and those of us strong enough CAN... and MUST, or the past will just keep repeating and bringing in a never end supply of wounded.
You did more than merely give birth. You gave your daughter the very life she will possess until the day she dies. Without the role you played your daughter would not exist and the adopters would still be as childless as they were before you came along. So tell me what is more important in the scheme of thing, providing life by giving birth, or parenting a non existant child?
As you refuse to see yourself as your daughter's actual mother, and given that she survived the birth, perhaps the correct term would be life-mother.
If you prefer to be called life-mother, go for it!
it does nto seem to be one of the most popular of the choices, as perhaps it is confusing to anyone outside a small circle of people.
Most mothers, prefer to be just mothers. Period. No prefix at all. Prefixes belong to step-parenst and adoptive parents. But in order to make that areality we need to do more than change the word to make it so.
As for myself - giving my daughter (and my other kids) birth did give them life! I see no difference. I was not IN her life, however, for most of her life, although SHE was always in my heart, and thoughts, and prayers - very consciously so - ALL of her life.
I think the whole subject of what we call oursleves is personal and otherwise a waste of time.