This Rumpled My Spines

What a novel way of being told to be grateful.

Who exactly is this supposed to make feel better, now?

Who exactly is this supposed to make feel better, now?

I don’t know what a “whiny, self-righteous, blame-shifting…First Mother” is. I’m sure that, as with any other group of people (like Senators or PAPs), some first mothers do fall into that category. But sue me if I suspect this phrase is synonymous with “first mothers who makes P/APs uncomfortable.”

This graphic bugs me for a lot of reasons. In the first place, it seems a bit…violent. Is it necessary to use the word “bullet,” a crime scene victim outline with tire treads on it, and a blood-dripping font for the “professional victim” concept? Doesn’t that work against the designer’s point by making such first mothers seem too much like actual victims? Doesn’t it suggest someone wishes they would just die and get the fuck out of the way if they can’t shut up? Maybe it’s just me, but if I wanted to picture a professional victim, I’d look for something like a funny/exaggerated picture of someone crying. In fact, if you image search “professional victim,” some funny and appropriate things come up, like this:


Why not that instead?

Secondly, it’s presented as being aimed at adoptees. “I hope you feel the way I want you to feel about these obviously horrible people,” it says. Why? Because Good Adoptees feel the way their APs want them to feel about being adopted, and that way is, of course, grateful. We are to read this and run right off to Mom and Dad saying “Gosh, Mom and Dad, I might have been raised by one of those ca RAY zay people on the internet! Thank you so much for adopting me away from that professional victim! You’re the best mom and dad ever!” I see no other message here for adoptees at all.

I’ve seen P/AP blogs that made my blood run cold, made me terrified for their children, made me want to call CPS. Should I be thankful I dodged those bullets? The graphic doesn’t say, so I guess not. I’m simply supposed to be glad I’m adopted, because some first mothers who blog are professional victims and adoptive parents are necessarily superior to them (which is easy, because it doesn’t take much virtue to be better than a professional victim, absolutely none of who ever adopt).

The third thing that bothers me is the implication that giving up a child for adoption should be no big deal, something only a “professional victim” would see as a negative event in her life. Can’t she just shut up and move on? Can’t she just be glad someone bailed her out of trouble? I mean, relinquishing a child  have a bad effect on a woman? Don’t be silly. She was Like That before and the miserable creature will be Like That until the day she dies. That secondary infertility they documented in some relinquishing mothers? Either imaginary or a product of the women’s being so self-righteous and whiny that their ovaries stopped working because even they knew such creatures shouldn’t be mothers.

Your first mother has to have been fucked up beyond repair no matter what, because some APs need this. She would have ruined you had she kept you because that’s what some APs need to believe. Her crimes? Why, no doubt they include thinking the same things about your APs they think about her: that they aren’t raising you as she would have. How dare she. And how dare she “shift blame” when everyone knows adoption is never coerced anymore? Economics? Social pressure? Gaping rents in a societal safety net? Pre-birth matching? Trickery at pregnancy crisis centers? All stuff I made up just now. Horrible women like your first mother dump babies all the time, which is why adoption is so easy and fast and cheap! …Right?

Of course if someone worthy of keeping a baby were to lose a baby, through its death or miscarriage or kidnapping, or were to want a baby and never get one at all, that would be different. That woman would merit sympathy and counseling. She would be understandably traumatized, probably for the rest of her life. First mothers aren’t supposed to be real women with real feelings. When they act like they are, some people get really angry, because some women must be better than other women in order for any adoption to happen.

Now, the graphic doesn’t say all first mothers are broken, wretched monsters who would have ruined any child they encountered, only certain ones. And how can we tell a first mother is this sort of creature? She blogs, and in a way P/APs don’t like. In other words, she refuses to keep her trap shut, which is the only decent thing she can do in the eyes of the world. Because if she is not “self-righteous, whiny, blame-shifting,” she is the opposite: the woman who follows orders to “act like nothing ever happened” and “get on with life.” And does that make her good? No! It makes her a heartless monster from whom a child should have been removed, of course. What makes her good is her shutting up and disappearing.

Here’s a fourth thing that bothers me: the notion that the “whiny, self-righteous” first mother isn’t anyone’s mother at all, and never was. Because we don’t talk about people’s mothers that way, at least not to their faces. When a couple divorces, if they have any human decency, they don’t trash-talk the other parent to their kids. They don’t do this because they know a child identifies with the other parent, is literally composed, fifty per cent, of the other parent. To insult someone’s mother is to insult them. Worse, it’s to insult them for what they essentially are, something they never had control over and cannot change.

And that’s mean. It hurts. It’s not what people who love each other do to each other on purpose, let alone on Twitter. I wouldn’t talk about your mother that way. Maybe APs need to learn a little gratitude, because without that horrible woman, they wouldn’t be parents at all. But no. Instead, some of them apparently they wait for the wonderful day when their adoptee will say “Gosh, I sure dodged a bullet!” because that’s when they will know they have Won, even though they obviously “won” when they adoption finalized and they became a family. So whence the insecurity? Could it be that we know adoption is not the ideal, win/win/win solution it’s made out to be?



Filed under Adopted And Happy!, AdoptoLand, Misognyny, The Adoption Process Moral Pedestal

21 responses to “This Rumpled My Spines

  1. I don’t know who created this graphic, but it may have been an adoptee. Some of us are angry at the mothers who maintain that it wasn’t their fault at all, in any way. Some mothers claim that they are victims, as much as the children they abandoned are. There is a large group of mothers who feel this way, and they have a mental health professional who agrees with them. Some of us adoptees have come across these mothers on facebook groups and they have been ganged up on by the moms.

    • Fair point: I assumed it was not made by an adoptee because it addresses “adoptees,” but I could certainly be wrong. I am, um, not unfamiliar with the phenomenon you mention.

      And again, I do accept that some people who fall into Group First Mother also fall into Group Horrible People.

      • You bet they do. I have suffered the worst ridicule, abuse and other crap from ‘first mothers’, Australian ‘first mothers’ who are origins members, as have many of my fellow adoptees. We turned up to challenge their dearly held ideas about the adopted life, but that’s another story…..

  2. Heather

    I am so glad to read your posts again. Thank you.

  3. I read it immediately as created by an AP. I do hope that adoptees allow for some compassion to the first-forced moms and “how they come off”. All of us would have become different people if we had stayed with each other.

  4. Mei-Ling

    How dare us adoptees for existing.

    Sometimes I still have those moments where I think remaining grateful would have been the better option. Sometimes I still have those moments where it’d be so much easier to just go along with all this.

  5. Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    Who wrote this?

  6. Lara/Trace

    If my adoptive mother were alive, she would have echoed that poster

    • )-: Mine wouldn’t. There are a zillion things I could claim she got wrong, but competing with my first mother was not one of them. The Baby Scoop Era was so tidy that way….

  7. Cherry

    I am just so glad that you blog. Please never stop!

    • Heather

      Thanks for the suggestions for new reading material.

      My favourite books have been “The Primal Wound” and “The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade”.

      • The primal wound really opened my eyes. I was so angry as a child, and never knew why. I loved to break glass bottles. I shoplifted from age 9. I set fires in apartment basements and stairwells. I drank smoked pot and took pills from age 16. I couldn’t wait to leave home.

        Thank goodness I met my husband when I was 16 and we moved In together. We made our own family. It saved me, though I still love to take opiates! Oxys make the pain go away, for awhile still least.

        Found out my parents were herion addicts. I guess blood tells, after all.

    • My favourite books
      Dear Wonderful You

      Adoption Therapy: Perspectives from Clients and Clinicians on Processing and Healing Post-Adoption Issues

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