Saturday, August 24, 2013

Myths, Opinions and Facts

Settling back into the day to day routine after the Atlanta trip meant getting back to work, visiting the kids and grandkids and spending time with hubby. It was a very short trip but it was long emotionally. It was all good until about 2 days after getting home and it hit me. A lot of us deal with this kind of thing. You get really immersed in the adoption topic for a while - whether reading about it, writing about it or talking about it and then you hit a wall and have to take a break. It was kind of like that for me because the trip was not only about our right to our birth records but about meeting people I had come to love and admire but only met online AND it was about meeting with someone I hadn't seen in 34 years. He happens to live near Atlanta where the demonstration was held. Having a reunion with the one person who was there for me during the pregnancy with the child I lost was intense, to say the least. I wrote about him here.  It was a wonderful experience. I loved being there and meeting everyone. I loved being able to participate in such an important event and I'm so awed by the strong women and men who make it happen. I loved seeing my dear friend and having a little time with him. It was all great but I was also reliving some hard times. Dealing with the emotional aftermath is just something that gets done. What do I do when it's meltdown time? I throw paint. This is my therapy canvas.

Nope, not much to look at but sure feels good to slap the brush on the canvas and drip paint and then sand back the layers while releasing layers of tension and grief. This is actually just a small portion of the painting. The canvas is 4 feet square so it felt good to work big and get physical. It's very therapeutic. I'll probably set it aside now and bring it back out when I need another release. Who knows where it'll end up or what it'll look like. 

Another thing that came up while I was in Atlanta was the feeling that I was finally hanging out with people who understood. That doesn't happen often. It's rare to be in the physical company of other mothers who lost children to adoption. I've probably been around many of them over the years but didn't know it. Being with those other moms was healing and needed.

Do you ever feel - even within your own family - that no one gets it?

I guess what I don't understand is why so many can't even come close to feeling empathy or compassion. When we see someone we care about lose a child to disease or an accident, as a parent, we can feel for them. We may not have been through the same thing but we can imagine how horrible and painful that would be. Why are people so surprised then that mothers who lose a child to adoption also feel tremendous pain and grief? Because they've been conditioned by the adoption industry to believe that we all made this "loving" choice. They've bought into the idea that it's a wonderful thing to surrender your child. They've bought into the consumer culture that says money is everything.

Money trumps a mother's love.

They're conditioned to think - 

Birthmothers are so brave and selfless.
She'll go on with her life, get married and have more children.
It will hurt for a while but she'll find joy in knowing that her child is cared for in a forever family.
Adoption is a win/win.
All those babies are going to end up in foster care anyway.

Wait a minute.... if she's so brave and selfless and it's a loving thing to do to relinquish her baby then why is it that her baby would have ended up in foster care anyway? Some people hold both of these ideas in their heads. How can that be? She loves her baby enough to give him away but she doesn't love him enough to take care of him? She gave him away because she loves him but if she kept him she would have neglected or abused him?

When it comes to adoption, the list of myths and lies is long. Myths, opinions and facts. It's funny how those get confused. Myths are heard or read. They are shared by people online. They're told to the very women who are in need of help and need to know the facts about adoption. Myths become absorbed into our psyche to eventually turn into opinions and then the facts end up lost somewhere, left behind and forgotten, replaced by the lies. Just yesterday someone said to me that everything turned out fine after all since I'm now in reunion with my daughter. It was said in a way that meant - you're fine now, nothing to complain about. Another myth. Of course it's great that we're together and have a good relationship and yes, that certainly helps with healing a lot of the wounds but no way does it minimize what happened. It doesn't bring back 22 lost years. It doesn't give me her childhood. It doesn't give her a history of life experiences shared with her mother, brother and sister. Not having that history means it's not the same as if she were raised with us. It's a different kind of relationship. It will never be "as if". Just like her relationship with her adoptive family will  never be "as if" she were born to them.

Not so long ago I was told that I shouldn't let "petty" differences of opinion come between me and other people in my life. When an adoptive parent says that to a mother who lost a child to adoption and the difference of opinion is actually about adoption, the word "petty" isn't so petty. When you share facts about adoption and what you get back are myths and lies, it's not just a difference of opinion, it's a huge disconnect. Petty is defined as something of little importance. It's trivial. It's something that should be of little concern. The fact that these myths and lies continue is a monstrous concern to me. Nothing petty about it. When an adoptive parent says to me that these differences are petty it says that her concerns are above all others. It says that my concerns are insignificant, trifling in relation to hers. Is this a matter of opinion? Yes. She looks at things through a certain filter just as I look through my own filter. The difference is.... what she knows about adoption is skewed through the lens that the adoption agency put in front of her. What she thinks are facts are actually lies. What I know about adoption comes from personal experience and researching the facts.

To her it's all a win/win/win/win
 agency makes money/infertile gets baby/mother moves on with her life/baby rescued.

To me it's win/win/lose/lose
 agency makes money/infertile gets baby/mother loses child/child loses entire family and identity is legally erased.

Don't dare tell me it's "petty".

After the fact, the agency is gone. They don't care about anything but the bottom line. The other winning party doesn't want to hear from the 2 parties that lose. They don't want to hear about the lifelong grief of the mother or the identity/medical history/birth record/genetic info/family loss of the child. If they really did hear it and absorb what it all meant, it would no longer be petty. They could no longer ignore the issues because the pain would be too great. Acknowledging the trauma involved in the creation of the adoptive family would put quite the damper on the joy that adoption brought to them. It's much easier to dismiss us as just having a petty difference of opinion. When sharing factual information with people who don't want to know the truth it gets twisted into a difference of opinion. When that's all it is, it's set aside as unimportant. Just as people who have differing political or religious views - it's easier to not talk about it. Maybe for politics and religion it works but for adoption it ends up allowing the myths and lies to continue and the list to get longer. 

This is not a matter of opinion - 

Coercion still happens. Read about it here and here

Infant adoption is a multi-billion dollar industry. Read about it here

Original birth certificates are court sealed resulting in discrimination against adoptees. Read more here

Children are sold every day. Read about it here

There are price lists for babies (AKA adoption situations) on adoption agency websites. Read about it here

Baby brokers have their own lobbying group in Washington - the National Council for Adoption. They have a training program to teach agencies how to counsel pregnant women out of their babies.

so don't dismiss what the two losing parties in adoption have to say because we're getting louder.
I  hope more people open their minds and hearts and realize that we're trying to make things better. I'm so grateful for the other moms and adoptees who share their stories. We need each other.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Carlynne for talking about this subject. I find so many people condescending attitude towards me because I was 18 and in high school when I found out I was pregnant. Today the schools have accomodations for pregnant mothers where they didn't back then, the law protects workers with the FMLA, and welfare isn't such the trap and stigma that it had back then either. There is so much to debate about this that I'm surprised whenever I talk to people about it that so many are willing to continue to look down on us even those that bucked the trend and actually tried to keep our children only to lose them with an unsupported family that it is truly disturbing. It makes a person lose faith in humanity to think that anyone would want this to happen to any woman. Even though I am personally pro-life, I see so many in the pro-life cause to be against a woman needing support until she finds her feel a drain on the taxpayer when subsidies in the millions go out to adoption non-profits. This is a scandalous thing to promote the separation of mother and child as a "good." Here is a site that I found that explains from research the mental damage done to mother and child.