Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Adoption

Occupy Wall Street is growing and spreading across the country. People are taking to the streets to take back their power and now it's moved on to the virtual streets of Facebook. Wouldn't it be amazing if there was such a thing as Occupy Adoption? The main idea of OWS is getting the money out of politics. Doesn't the same thing need to be done to adoption? The money has to be taken out of the adoption system in order for children's interests to be considered first. REAL family values have to be considered important. Mothers have to be considered important to their children, not interchangeable depending on who has the deeper pockets. Babies are bought and sold in this country just as our politicians are bought and  mothers are left bleeding at the side of the road.

a roar
“hearing her pain,
she stood up and spoke out loud.
another heard.
another spoke.
forming a circle around the wounded,
they bared their scars to one another.
gently they whispered.
we are one.
we are not in this alone.
we are one.
the chant grew stronger.
and stronger.
and stronger.
until a roar shook the earth.
and the world listened.”
~terri st. cloud

Thanks to FB (where I found Terri's words) and blogging we're getting the word out about the power hungry and the family starved. Just as people who speak out against corruption in government are sometimes  painted as anti-American, those of us who talk about power imbalance and corruption in adoption are labeled as anti-adoption. Am I anti-adoption? Yes and no.

My 'anti' list.....
mothers and babies being separated unnecessarily.
agencies and brokers making tens of thousands of dollars on the sale of babies
price lists for babies - oh, pardon me.... "situations"
pro-adoption language like the word "situations"
college scholarships for mothers who surrender their children for adoption
organizations like NCFA who lobby for the brokers
the lies of open adoption
the unenforceable open adoption
the time frames in which a mother can sign surrender papers
the ridiculously short revocation period for the mother
agencies advertising for and recruiting pregnant women
PAP's advertising for babies 
pre-birth matching
PAP's in the hospital with a mother when she's giving birth
the connection between abortion and adoption
adoption used as solution by pro-lifers
adoption used as solution to poverty
the lack of resources for mothers and children
the sense of entitlement that many PAP's have
adoption being viewed as a solution to infertility
adoptees not having access to their own personal history
sealed original birth certificates

My 'pro' list.
true orphans or children in need being taken care of by a family

As you can see the 'anti' list is far longer than the 'pro' list so I guess that makes me about 99% "anti-adoption" but it's not un-American to speak out against unethical practices. (I'm sure there are things I've left off the 'anti' list, I'll add them as they come to me.) The mothers and adoptees who are affected by the corrupt adoption system make up the bulk of the people involved in the industry but have the smallest voice. I think that's changing. Like OWS, the number of voices is growing. It needs to keep growing for the sake of families.

I love this list How To Really Love a Child by Sark. I would add to it.....

Keep children with their mothers and natural families whenever possible.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Upside down

There's an interesting discussion going on over at First Mother Forum. Jane was honest in her feeling of being uncomfortable around adoptive parents and the comments that follow are equally as interesting. While I was reading I kept thinking about the "triad" term. It was brought up in the discussion and the image that kept coming to mind was an upside down triangle divided into 4 parts. Those of us who have been torched by adoption know that there's no such thing as the equally portioned triad between the adoptive family, the natural family and the adoptee. What I keep seeing in my head is the sketch at left and that's not accurate either. Actually, the adoptee's portion should be even smaller or truthfully it should be non-existent and the natural mother's portion should be smaller also.

I understand what Jane is saying about her feelings around adoptive parents. I find myself shutting down when I hear someone say that they adopted an infant. It happened recently with a student. Since I don't know the circumstances surrounding that person's adoption experience I just keep my mouth shut and don't say anything but it does make me want to change the subject so adoption doesn't become the focal point of the conversation. For me, there are days when I can talk about it and some days when I can't. Sometimes the emotion of it is just too close to the surface and it's too painful to even take advantage of the situation and use that time to educate someone about the other side of adoption.

Being PC was also mentioned in the discussion in regards to the honest feelings about adoptive parents. One adoptive parent even commented that they were tired of other adoptive parents whining about what they go through to adopt a child.
Margie said.... 

"APs whine way too much about what they go through. I can tell you for a fact that the day my first child arrived, that "paperwork" was a distant memory, forgotten. I know it was a different story for his mother."

I appreciate Margie saying that. It's what I've felt all along. I know I've talked about pain wars and how pointless they are but let's get real for a second. All of us have pain and deserve to be validated. That is truth. Yes, it's painful to be infertile. It's painful to go through the tests, treatments and sorrow when the treatment doesn't work. It's painful to lose the dream of a family. I do understand that. I also know that all the paperwork and home study stuff is a pain to deal with and it takes time - I'm sure much longer than anticipated. BUT...... where does that stand in comparison with a mother who gave birth to a child, loves that child and wanted to raise her baby but couldn't for whatever reason whether real or imagined coerced. An infertile couple is grieving a loss. They are grieving the loss of a child that could have been, a child that doesn't actually exist, it's an imaginary child. What they're really grieving is the loss of being a parent, their own need to be a parent. When a mother of adoption loss is grieving, she is grieving the loss of an ACTUAL CHILD - a living, breathing infant who she is biologically connected to, an infant she shares DNA with, an infant she carried for 9 months. I'm sorry, but there is a difference. At this point I don't care if it's not PC to say it. The pain of not being able to conceive and having to do paperwork instead in order to become a parent doesn't even begin to compare to the pain of losing a child. There, I said it. Yes, I know I said the pain wars are pointless but like Margie, I'm sick of the whining about what APs go through. While an AP is experiencing the joy of parenthood a natural mother is grieving for the rest of her life. While an AP is rejoicing about their well adjusted, happy toddler they really have no idea how the adoption is going to affect that toddler in the years to come. While an AP is enjoying being a parent an adoptee is dealing with the loss of his original family.

In the comments after Jane's post Robin said.....

"Pertman goes on to say about infertile people, “We’re supposed to swallow our loss, internalize our pain and move on.” Well, yes, actually you are. Just because someone cannot conceive their own child doesn't entitle them to someone else's child. I've had some downtime lately and spent a part of it reading trashy celebrity magazines. It seemed adoption was mentioned on every other page. No matter how old the celebrity, no matter what his/her sexual orientation was or their relationship status, they all felt entitled to have a child (that is to adopt a child). They just seemed to assume that their fame and money entitled them to a family. Of course, not one word was mentioned about the pain to the first parents or how the child will feel about being adopted. These things don't seem to even cross the celebrities' minds. It's as if their are endless numbers of children who would be so much better off being raised by a wealthy celebrity. Unfortuneately, we still have a long way to go in some corners to get our message across.

The adoption industry is a system that's screwed up. I was going to say broken but it's not really broken as much as it's unbalanced and corrupt. There's a lot that needs to be fixed. Where do you begin to fix such a problem? Take a look at an emergency room situation. ER staff deal with triage. They have to determine who needs help first. In a triage situation they look at the most life threatening situations first and take care of the patients with the most need first. From there it's a sliding scale of need. Who in adoption should be considered first? The adoptee of course. It's supposed to be about children after all.

Jane said.... 

"The purpose of adoption is to provide a family for a child who needs one, not a child for a family. If the reason a child lacks a family is because his natural family lacks money, then people interested in that child's welfare would help the child's family care for him. Obviously when people are willing to spend lots of money to obtain a child but not to help his family care for him, it is not the child's welfare they are interested in but meeting their need to have a child regardless of what's best for the child."

The adoption industry is seriously ill so maybe it's time for triage. Where is the most need? Who needs help first? The children of course yet look at where they are in the upside down "triad" of power. They are the powerless yet they have the most need. The welfare of children should be everyone's focus, not dollars and the personal needs and wants of adults. Take care of the children! If you want to adopt look to the children who are truly in need. Don't take a baby from his mother because YOU want a baby. It's about the children. It's about the children. It's about the children. It has to be said over and over and over and over...... take care of children's needs first!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nothing to do with adoption

 So this is what I've been up to for the last few months. I haven't been here on the blog very often or reading very many blogs because my life has been consumed with turning this life-size fiberglass horse into an abstract painting called Sunny.......

 helping my husband work on his life-size horse sculpture called Clockwork Fury........

and babysitting this charming little girl named Maxine.

Working on public art projects like Horse Fever has been a highlight of my art career. This is the third time I've gotten to paint one of these horses and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. They're a ton of work but so much fun to do. I simply painted mine. My husband's horse on the other hand - now that one was some work. He actually took one of the fiberglass forms and cut it into many, many pieces. He then welded a steel frame upon which he reassembled the thing with piles of other parts like gears, rusted chain, clock innards and various other bits and pieces - working on that horse was pure madness. We spent many sleepless nights working out in the back yard with all manner of power tools and driving our poor neighbors insane I'm sure.

When I wasn't working on horses I was snuggling a grandbaby so other things had to rest on the back burner for a while. Eventually I'll get caught up on reading my friends blogs and hopefully catch up on the sleep too.

Credit for final Sunny photo: Tammy Griffin
Photo credit for Clockwork Fury: Brian Hershberger