COUNTER POINTS

I refuse to call it your comeuppance. I am not that much of a jerk unless of course you work for an adoption agency. This is for you Eve. It is my counter points to your posts on real/authentic mothering. To me, real and authentic are the same. Its just semantics. To show you what I mean, lets look at the definitions according to Webster’s Dictionary.

authentic: 1. credible, reliable. 2. genuine; real
real: 1. existing as or in fact; actual; true 2. authentic; genuine 3. Law of or relating to permanent, immovable things.

As you can see, the words real and authentic are interchangeable. So its semantics. Adoptees define real/authentic mothering differently. For myself, I define it as one woman gave me life and another woman taught me to live it. I am not now nor ever been grateful for being alive. My blog is written from a sixties love child’s point of view. I was born in the baby scoop era.

I have looked over your blog. I don’t see your relationship to adoption at all. After reading a few comments, you are in open adoptions with your children’s natural families. I hope what I have read and seen is the truth. You are actively working at maintaining those relationships. I think it is wonderful that you consider it one big family instead of separate families. To give you an idea of my growing up, step was not in our terminology. Neither was real, adoptive, or birth families. We were all one family. I was born and then adopted by my first set of adoptive parents. My adoptive parents divorced. My first adoptive father went and remarried another woman ( who I do love as a friend) whose daughter was named “Amy.” He later adopted her. Yep there were two Amys with the same name. My mother took me and my two sisters years and later remarried. They then had a child of their own. All of us were loved the same. Debbie, my adoptive father’s second wife and her daughter are just as much family to me as my adoptive mother and sisters are. Years later my “step” father became my second adoptive father. It was an adoption that I chose. We were one family. No more or less. In fact, when I found out that I had an older sister and two younger brothers. I told my family that we have another sister and two brothers.

Your blog also mentions a PhD in Psychology. I have had some experiences with psychologists as have had many adoptee and natural parents. They tend to be dismissive of our experiences. They tend to believe the blank slate theory on adoption. I can tell you personally that I was not born with a clean slate. My adoptive mother had a hell of time trying to calm me down as an infant/child when I heard sirens of any kind. I was inconsolable and screaming until the siren was finally gone.

About a year ago, I found out why. I spoke with a natural mother who relinquished from the adoption agency that I was adopted. They carried the women to the hospital in ambulance. I can only guess that I was crowning or actually born in an ambulance. Personally, I can not live in a city. I can’t stand sirens to this day. My child’s mind remembered my natural mother and my separation from her.

I attempted to find a psychologist to see if I could resolve some adoption issues. I have spent more time explaining adoption laws, explaining how denying an adoptee their heritage is wrong, and many other things about adoption. I spent more time educating the psychologist about adoption than actually getting therapy. Since you are so well read, have you read The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler? Its a book about natural mothers and their experiences written by an adoptee. That would widen your expertise a great deal. Have you ever spoken with Joe Soll? He is a psychologist who is an adoptee and specializes in adoptee issues.

If I were to talk about anything first, its the terminology. “Birthmother” is something that I do find offensive. I will use it in a legal sense. Not all mothers are perfect. When it comes to my natural mother friends, I call them mothers. I refuse to let these women be defined by one experience. I don’t even like natural, birth, biological, first or original mother. It still defines these mothers for one single event in their lives. These women are so much more. In my situation, many of them have been a mother to me when my own natural mother can’t bring herself to be a mother to me. If you have to define the separate mothers, use a word that these mothers prefer. It is natural mother or first mother.

I also don’t like being called an orphan. Technically I am not. I may be illegitimate and a bastard. I was never without a parent. My natural parents are still living to my knowledge. Now my second adoptive dad is deceased but he died six years ago. My adoptive mother is still alive and kicking it as hard as I do. Orphan is not a word that I associate myself with. My natural mother didn’t have a choice. Between the 1940s and even as late as the 1980s, mothers were not given a choice. If they weren’t married, they were forced to relinquish by society and their families. I know of a couple of mothers who didn’t sign the relinquishment papers. They refused to. Did they stop being authentic mothers? I don’t think so. They had their authentic parenting taken from them.

I respect all adoptees’ feelings when it comes to search or not. Why did I start to search? My adoptive mother wanted it because she wanted both of us to be young enough to appreciate each other. My adoptive mother wasn’t one to let me walk in the “adoption fog.” Why do adoptees have to have a reason to research their heritage? Why does it even matter? That was part of why I got upset with your post. In the non adopted, researching and understanding one’s heritage helps one move forward. In the adopted sector, we are condemned and psycho analyzed over it. Your posts in your blog do it. Why is it important to understand why? If it is natural for the non adopted, should it be any less for the adopted?

Your tone comes of as condescending. I also don’t follow “The Primal Wound” mindset either. I don’t feel that I have been primal wounded for the rest of my life. It does however hurt sometimes to be adopted. I relate it more to societal mores than I do a wound. Society expects me to be grateful that I was taken in and that I was not aborted. Like I said in other posts, I am not good at being grateful.

It also irritates me that adoption is mixed with religion and spiritual values. Religion and spiritual values separated my natural mother from me. These same values have her steeped in shame and humiliation. These same values have denied, as you put it, her chance of being an authentic parent to me.

Some adoptive parents have compared infant/child adoption to God’s adoption of us mere human beings. I am sure you have seen it. We adoptees must adore our parents as we human beings should worship him. That is how I view it. My adoptive mother doesn’t want that kind of adoration. The adoptive parents who “get” it see it the same way as my adoptive mother.

Another point that I want to counter with you. Your words on this are:

“An authentic and trustworthy mother will never say, “abortion would be better.” My best childhood friend, Bettina, was adopted as an infant and later found her birth family. Her birth mother told her that abortion would have been better than the pain of adoption, too, which Bettina translated as meaning, “It’s still only about mom and her pain.””

As an adoptee, I don’t find that particularly hurtful. I understand it because adoption can cause a wound in a woman’s heart that goes beyond any kind of pain. She is told through out her life to forget about it. To pretend that it never happened. To deny her motherhood. To deny her the right to be an authentic parent (your words). I can not fully understand that kind of pain. I know that I could never go through it. So I do however fully empathize.

Let me turn the tables on you. What about the adoptee who would have rather been aborted? Yes I have felt that. I as an adoptee would have rather been born into a family where she has her truth, her heritage and her story. Am I an authentic child? Adoptees have often wondered if they are authentic/real children. I know that all of my mothers are all wanting to smack me for feeling that way. It is a feeling that has to be acknowledged by both sets of parents.

This is all from a closed era adoptee. I view adoption now as being in desperate need of massive reform. This includes all forms of adoption, infant, foster, and international adoption. My adoptive mother considers me a blessing. I look at it differently. I frigging lucked out with my adoptive mother. I see adoption being controlled by money, coercion, and corruption. I realize that you write from an adoptive parent’s point of view in open adoption. You might now see it this way. I know in your other posts that you are venturing into this type of research. I will warn you right now. What you will find will sicken you. Mr. Archuleta is the tip of the iceberg. I know of ten other fathers at the minimum just like him. They are still fighting. I know of five mothers still fighting right now. This is all public knowledge. I hear stories but have no names to go with the stories. My natural father tried to fight this battle himself. My natural father was married when he met my natural mother. He went back to his wife and told her the truth. They both decided to adopt but the adoption agency did not “do” that type of adoption. I don’t think any adoption agency did at that time.

I think you do have it right in one area. An adoptee’s journey is a Jung thing. It is the search to one’s self. However my journey to my adopted self has lead me to be an activist. It has been one of the healing aspects of my life.

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