Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Strange, Sad, Question I Hope No One Has Asked

Do Adoptive Families Respect Birth Mothers? is an author-not-listed page on a not-at-all-coercive baby-trolling site called “Adoption For My Baby” (sorry, “ADOPTION FOR MY BABY”). This essay is horrible. It’s really, truly awful. Content warning: “Birth mother,” “birth mother” used to signify a woman who has not relinquished for adoption, coercion, falsehood, mountains of smarm, and disregard for any and all forms of human decency.

This bizarre question, essay aside, makes the spiky urchin very sad. It makes me sad because I can’t imagine asking it unless I were already half-coerced into doing an adoption I didn’t want to do. I can only imagine a woman thinking: OK, I’ve accepted that my baby will be better off without me because I’m single and/or poor, like society says. I’ve accepted that the solution for this is to pick a pretty couple out of a book, let them lovebomb me for a few months and then give them my child and let them name it and raise it, possibly with some input/contact from me.

I’ve accepted all that. I very possibly feel dead inside. But…but will they at least…respect me in the morning? Is there just one tiny emotional crumb I can get out of them in exchange for my flesh and blood?

Any woman who has ever asked herself this question can judge how respected she’ll be by noting that this article about how respected she’ll be starts out by talking about someone else’s feelings:

All girls are born with the same dream.* By playing “house” and with baby dolls, this dream is acted out at a very young age that follows them into adulthood. Then one day the girl awakes from her dream as a woman and finds herself as what she has always wanted to become: a mother. But […]

You may be wondering about now whether I was wrong and this really is about the “birth mother.” Wonder no more:

But what happens if the dream of being a mom is crushed because of problems with infertility? Where does the woman turn next?

Yanno, just the other day I was talking to a friend about a thing I did that I’m not proud of. I asked, “Do you still respect me?” and she said, “Do you have any idea how wonderful and deserving this other person is?” and let me tell you, it perked me right up.

And we all know where the woman turns next: Anywhere, in sheer desperation. If she has money, maybe she’ll pursue IVF or a rent-a-womb in India or the adoption of a real true orphan from an exotic, foreign land.

But if she isn’t willing to settle for anything less than a white, healthy, newborn, and if she must…if she MUST…she’ll turn to you, or any other pregnant woman/girl who isn’t sure how she’ll get along after she has her baby. You, or her, or that lady over there, or someone else. Whoever picks them out of a book of Superbest Wannabe Adopters. You feel respected already, don’t you?

She turns to you, the birth mother of her future adopted child – the one who can once again make her dreams come true.

That is, after all, your purpose in life: The production of a baby for people more worthy than you are. Have you ever felt more respected?

For all of us, the more we struggle to get something, the more we value it and the less we take it for granted. This is undeniably true with infertile couples who see their baby slipping further and further away after every unsuccessful course of fertility treatments. Many infertile couples spend years and tens of thousands of dollars seeking help from a fertility specialist […].

And this is why, in the history of Everything, there have never been any adoptive parents who went to all that trouble for bad reasons (Hi Masha Allen!), or went to all that trouble and then ditched the kids with strangers (Hi excellent series of Reuters articles!), or put them on a plane back to Russia, or killed them outright (Hi 15-20 Russians and scores of assorted other dead adoptees!). No, USAians love our mone–um, er, our children more than that!

And yes, this essay did just compare your child to any other purchased item or monetary investment. Your child is like a house or car. And not just any car: a car people promise not to mess up because, while they totally didn’t buy that car, they did have to wait in line at the DMV and pay taxes and they will have to spend a lot on insurance and maintenance the way people who did buy cars have to do.

However, once they decide to pursue adoption and when they finally receive a child, the fertility treatments, years waiting and money spent was all worth it, because of you.

Don’t you feel sorry for them, very possibly-poor and single and desperate “birth mother”? Those tens of thousands of dollars they spent–and no baby, which they are obviously owed because it is obviously theirs. You can feel the waves of respect washing over you, can’t  you? Do you suppose they would have felt the same kind of “respect” for their fertility doctor had the IVF worked? I mean, like you, and like the test tubes and laboratory equipment, the doctor would have served his or her complete purpose by producing a baby for them, right?

Naah. Doctors are actually, already, nigh universally respected. A medical professional who did his best to get a couple a baby and failed to deliver while taking tens of thousands of their dollars expects respect, even takes it for granted. Maybe women considering relinquishing a child should, too.

Every adoptive family is exactly the same in one very important way: Their adopted child is the light of their lives.

Yes, every single one, as we discovered above.

They love the child as much or even more than they would a biological child because of the painful journey it took to finally become parents.

Every. Single. One. Every adoptive parent is not only as good as, but probably superior to, a natural parent. And yet most people, while claiming to want what’s best for their children, refuse to give them away. Funny that.

Also, this “painful journey” stuff…does it also mean that women who were in labor for the longest time love their kids the most? Does it mean that parents who fucked without birth control three times before she conceived love their kids three times as much? What if a woman were in a car wreck on the way to the hospital and she gave birth in the middle of the road with a broken arm, a ruptured spleen and a concussion: best love ever, right? If that were true, then PAPs who wanted to love their child lots and lots would selflessly decline at least the first child they were offered…so as to make their journey even longer and more painful…so they could love the next kid that much more.

That is why any family you choose will place your child on the highest pedestal

Stop that. No human being belongs on a pedestal. Also, shouldn’t the very respected “birth mother” be standing there if anyone? This article is about her, right?

and will provide him or her with as many opportunities as possible. Your child will have loving parents, a stable household, a good education and countless other opportunities that adoptive families literally can’t wait to share with your child.

Swimming pool, pony, blah blah blah. You can’t buy those things, can you, “birth mother”? You couldn’t even trap a man to help you raise your little bastard (sorry, but how else am I supposed to interpret “loving parents” and “stable household”?). You can’t even afford private school, you worm.  But we respect you so so so much. Nope: Tearing a woman down is not respecting her. This should be obvious to anyone.

There is one opportunity, however, that is bigger and requires more love than all of those combined: The opportunity you provided your child by deciding to place him or her for adoption.

Again, your inability to send your kid to **Stanford makes rich people respect you very, very, much. That’s how our patriarchal, capitalistic system works: It values the poor and the powerless above all others. (And gosh, we’re not asking you to do this to make US happy, no, no, no! do it for the baby! do it for YOURSELF! Help us help you.)

This selfless act will be remembered for the rest of your child’s and the adoptive parents’ lives. You will be thought of not just on holidays and birthdays, but every day, because every time the adoptive parents interact with the child, they will remember the blessing you provided them.

Maybe they’ll put up a little shrine on top of the toilet tank…. I know damned well my APs did not think of my first mother “every time they interact[ed]” with me. Were they grateful for the blessing the stranger provided them? Yes! Is that the same thing as actually thinking about the stranger every time you see your child, hear your child, speak to your child, change your child’s diaper, drive your child to school, etc? No. Is thinking about the stranger the same thing as respect? No. Does being “respected” by people who are nowhere near you help you? I mean, if an AP respects you in the woods and you never know about it, is that respect? No.

Because of their own emotionally draining journeys, adoptive families are empathetic of the pain and grief birth mothers endure throughout the adoption process.

It’s true. You can read all about that empathy here and here and here and here. That empathy is all over the internet if you know where to look for it. The fact is, “birth mother,” some P/APs who haven’t even met you yet already resent you to the point of hatred.

Also, this is a failure of logic. “I never had a baby, so I know how it feels to lose one” makes as much sense to me as “I’m a mugger, so I really empathize with people who have had their wallets stolen” or “I’m rich as hell, so I really empathize with people who struggle to pay their bills.” Sorry, but I don’t believe you do.

They know it is bittersweet that the most exciting day of their lives coincides with one of the most difficult days of yours. That is the reason adoptive families treasure birth mothers, and the love, courage and generosity they exhibit throughout the adoption process.

No, it isn’t. They “treasure” you, whatever the fuck that means, because you have something they want. And there’s no guarantee they’ll go on treasuring you once they get it. But they sure can talk pretty:

[…]

Their relationship and respect of the birth mother often result in the birth mother becoming an extended part of their family. Many adoptive families are excited to maintain a relationship with the birth mothers, depending on what is most comfortable for you.

Women considering adoption, do not believe for a second that this is ever going to be about what’s comfortable for you. Wouldn’t it be more comfortable for you to raise your own child and have the resources to do so? And yet no couple is offering you that, are they? If you’re considering “open adoption,” you should know that it is not legally enforceable in (last I checked) forty-nine states. APs can and have cut “birth mothers” out of their children’s lives for “interfering,” for wanting too much input or information, or because they planned to do so all along and played pregnant women for months–all the while professing their respect, even love. Oh yes they have. They say it’s best for the child. They say it’s a decision they made because it was right for their family–you know, the one you’re a member of. And there’s nothing you’ll be able to do about it.

Jerry and Lisa as well as the rest of their friends and family are one example of thousands of adoptive parents whose lives were made complete by the birth mother. Jerry and Lisa and their extended family will always view the birth mother Lona as a blessing.

“We hope (Lona) realizes that she filled a tremendous void in our lives and we will thank her for the rest of our lives,” Jerry writes. “Our entire family and all of our friends only with they could have had the chance to personally tell her ‘thank you.’ We want her to know that she is loved and respected by so many people. She is truly a remarkable lady and will forever be a member of our family.”

The author filled in “(Lona)” above because Jerry, in his his expression of love and respect for the mother of his child, didn’t use her name once in this paragraph. He wrote “she” instead, every time. And when Jerry says he “hope[s] she realizes” and wishes he “could have told her,” he raises two points. One: Sure sounds like this adoption is closed. Unless Lona insisted on that, which is stated nowhere, Jerry and Lisa want nothing to do with her. They don’t give a shit whether she realizes anything, this member of their family they apparently never met. Two: he implies that silly Lona maybe doesn’t know what a serious thing she did in relinquishing her own flesh and blood. Because geez, “birth mothers”…can they really love kids the way you and I do?

Heads up, anyone who’s considering being a “birth mother:” this is what at least one adoptive couple thinks is sufficient “love” and “respect” for you as their “family member.” Words have meanings, but Jerry doesn’t give a shit. I suspect he said anything he had to say to get Lona’s child, and that now he’s saying anything he has to say to help himself look and feel good about that.

Birth mothers like Lona are the heroes of thousands of families who all share the same sentiment: The child’s birth mother is one of the most loving, unselfish and caring individuals on the planet, and she is the reason that their family is whole.

The slaughter of Native Americans is the reason the USA exists. Some of them greeted the white invaders with friendship and gifts. Some white people even have “Indian heroes.” Look how much we respect them! See, in this world, when individuals who don’t have much power are loving and caring and unselfish, they not only get the shaft, they get it extra hard. They get to be cartoons and costumes and sports team mascots.  And when they complain these things disrespect them, those with power insist that this mockery is respect. If you’re considering being a “birth mother,” is that the kind of respect you want?

Adoptive families cherish their children because they are a symbol of the love and selflessness that you and the couple share; they are a symbol of the miracle that helped them overcome the curse of infertility. The love they show to your child will be felt by you, wherever you may be, knowing that you did what was best for your child.

If my parents had ever told me they cherished me because I was a symbol of selflessness, I’d be a lot more fucked up than I am. Adoptive families, if they’re composed of decent people, cherish their children for the same reasons every other decent family does: They love them. And, through the miracle of Adoption Love Transference, that supposedly means they also love you. Even if they lie and cheat and slam the door in your face forever after, you’ll somehow feel their magical love radiating from them to your child to you, no matter how far away they might whisk your baby to get him or her away from you. Sure you will. And that will compensate for your loss quite nicely, kinda like that cheap teddy bear they may or may not have handed you after one of them cut the cord connecting you to “their” baby.

Bullshit aside, when we love someone, we don’t take something precious away from them, especially when we have the power to help them keep it. When we love someone, we want to keep them in our lives and have a close relationship with them and support them and help them and ensure they’re happy to the best of our ability. Pausing in the middle of one’s day to go all dewy-eyed and say “It sure was nice of ol’ What’s-Her-Name to make us a family” isn’t the same thing at all.

The sad fact is, it’s not easy to respect people like single mothers, because society tells us they are the root of the nation’s ills, the cause of poverty and crime (and cancer and acne and terrorism). Single mothers in a patriarchy can be respected, of course, but it doesn’t come easy to most of us. And the hard fact is this: The better-off we are, the less likely we are to care about single mothers AND the more likely we are to be able to adopt. You flat-out cannot respect someone when you know her back is to the wall and you stand to gain from your not helping her. You can’t love her, either.

If there really is any woman out there who’s worried about being respected as a “birth mother,” consider this essay. It was written by someone who is trying to convince you that you will be respected. It appears on a website made by people who profit from adoption. That means they are putting forth their best effort to look good for you, and that this transparent, unwashed tripe is the best they can come up with. Think about that, and then think about what they’ll do and say when they’ve got what they want and any power you had to command their respect is gone.

*No we fucking well are not
**Stanford in particular. I’ll probably get around to that page by and by.

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Filed under AdoptoLand, General Ignoramitude, Misognyny, Stop Saying That, WTF?!, You're going to Hell for this.

cut it out, cut it out, CUT IT OUT!

Or, kidlit for grown ups, part four. A couple of APs has decided that if they didn’t write and publish and sell a book, their adopted child–excuse me, their “supernatural” child, whom they hadn’t even adopted when they decided to write a book–could never know his mother loved him. (I will never understand why such couples think they can’t just say it, but that’s beside the point.) They call their book Twice As Tight. The spiky urchin calls it “Snooky Ookums.”

All night long they call each other Bestest Mommy, Bestest Daddy
All they do is talk like Aa-a-ay Peeeeees
(upper-middle class white USAian APs)
She’s his genius mommy-wom
(for realizing adopted children have another mother)
He’s her brilliant daddy-wad
(for deciding that writing yet another book *appropriating that mother’s voice and story for money is an enlightened act)
Here’s the way they primp and whore:
“Love us more, love us more, love us more!”
All night long they call each other brilliant writers, brilliant parents.
All night long adoptees yell “Go to Hell, go to Hell, go to Hell!
While Mom and Dad cry, “For goodness’ sake:
How can we ever make
Money from our honey bunny
AP talk?”

*No, really: “They…wanted to be a voice for women who place their children up for adoption.” Isn’t it tragic that so many women are born without mouths?

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Filed under AdoptoLand, Books, General Ignoramitude