There are many who are amazed when I tell them that I surrendered my daughter to the adoption machine in 1980. They think that because it was 1980 I surely had a choice in the matter, that it was my decision. WRONG! Some people think - how can that be? The BSE (Baby Scoop Era) was over then. Was it? Really? It was over for a lot of the country but there were many pockets of our fine nation where it wasn't over, not yet. The attitudes of the BSE still prevailed.
Some are amazed because they just don't know what happened to young women during the time of the BSE. They know that girls went away but they didn't really think anything beyond that. What happened to those girls when they went away? They have no idea of the treatment that so many were subjected to. They know that they left. They were told that their friend or neighbor went to take care of an ailing Aunt or they got a job in a different city, that was the story. There were probably some who believed the story and some who whispered behind their hands ...I'll bet she's "in trouble". What they didn't know was that those girls and young women were abused, humiliated, had their rights violated, were isolated and imprisoned, were punished for basically being human. They were kept separated from their babies, not allowed to see or hold their own children, labeled with signs stating BFA - baby for adoption - that told the hospital staff how to treat them. This happened in the 50's, 60's, 70's and yes, the 80's.
Some folks don't want to believe that this happened in the 80's. That's their prerogative. I know what happened because I lived it. I know that this horrible treatment of women and children was still going on in the 80's because I was there, I experienced it. I've read stories from other mothers who surrendered after I did and they were treated the same way. All those things that I just described above happened to me. I don't say this to gain sympathy. I say this and talk about it because too many people just have no idea what happened. And many, if they do know what happened during the BSE, have no idea that this stuff was still going on into the next decade.
What I don't understand is there are some people out in adoptoland who say yes, there is coercion going on and they would like to see reform happen BUT if you surrendered in the 80's it was your choice, you could have run and taken off with your baby. I just read this on a blog recently. Wait a minute. If there's coercion going on now that means that there are girls being brainwashed and signing surrender papers under duress. If that's the case in 2010 then isn't it possible that that is what happened to girls like me in the 80's? We were coerced as well. So does that mean we had a choice? I didn't have a choice and I'm sure I wasn't the only girl in the whole of the United States who was in that position at that time. The difference is it was actually more abusive back then, and the industry was more open about it. They have new and different techniques now. They've studied us to see what works and what doesn't.
Just recently I had an email conversation with a woman who works in a pregnancy center. Every time she responded to one of my letters it was as if she never even read them. I got back the usual adoption lingo - you know the words.... adoption is a loving option etc..... She called me closed minded and unfair. She said I couldn't go back decades and try to second guess what happened and that I needed to take responsibility for what happened. It's amusing to me when the pot calls the kettle black. It's insulting to me when someone who has not walked the same path that I did presumes to tell me how I was treated and what I could have done.