Love is Banishment

What goes by the name of love is banishment,
with now and then a postcard from the homeland.
– Samuel Beckett, First Love

I came across this Beckett quote in my reading earlier this week. I immediately thought of all my friends who are adult adoptees, the ones who have taught me what is feels like to live a life different than the one they were born into, a life manufactured by social workers, bishops, adoption brokers, grandparents, and most painful of all, their own mothers – regardless of how well intentioned she was or how much her choice was motivated by love. These adult adoptees are the ones who, with patience and honesty, have taught me the deep pain of growing up banished to a strange and foreign land, even if they came to love their adopted homeland and its inhabitants with a profound love.

Beckett’s words sting this mother’s heart. They re-open wounds I have come to accept will never fully heal.

It is true, I banished my daughter from her homeland in the name of love. I fell prey to the LDS church’s carefully crafted and well-planned “Adoption: It’s About Love” campaign. You know, the one created by Steve Sunday (currently on the Board of Directors for the National Council For Adoption) in partnership with Bonneville International and their copyrighted “HeartSell”® advertising techniques.

Trusting, believing, and naive, I was led like a lamb to the slaughter with my daughter in my arms. And then, in the name of love, I sacrificed my own mother-heart when I placed my firstborn child on the altar of adoption, LDS-style.  Twenty-two years later, I am still asking where was our ram in the thicket? Where was our delivering angel? Why weren’t we worth saving?

To some, it doesn’t matter my motivation or what extreme social and psychological pressures I was under at the time to “do the right thing.”  To some, all that matters is I had “free agency” to make my own choices, to which I ask, “Did I *really* have “free agency,” considering what I had been taught growing up and the social and religious coercion that was in play at that moment in time? Did I really have “free agency” when HeartSell techniques were being used to influence my thoughts and actions? Can “free agency” even exist in such a religiously manipulative and coercive environment? Can “free agency” *really* even exist within the patriarchal power differential that exists between a LDS bishop (who happens to also be a social worker well-versed in the NCFA “good mother/birth mother” rhetoric) and a young unwed 20-year old mother?”

But none of that seems to matter to some. The fact (the truth) remains: Regardless of my motivation or the reasons, I banished my daughter to the land of the adopted ones. Consequently, I am a persona non gratis into the eternities, at least according to LDS church doctrine.  My heart tells me differently, common sense tells me differently, but the religion of my youth tells me she is lost to my family for the eternities, because of a “loving” God and the sealing ordinance.

Love is banishment, with now and then a postcard from the homeland.

 

 

 

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National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 1

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Today marks the beginning of National Adoption Awareness Month when we as Americans are urged to “celebrate” adoption and advocate for adoption awareness.  November 20 is of particular importance because it is National Adoption Day and will be “celebrated” by thousands of adoptions being finalized in courtrooms across the nation.

Yipee.

Frankly, I don’t see how celebrating the dissolution of a family is ever a good thing. And do they really want me to advocate for adoption awareness? I can’t imagine the LDS Family Services, the LDS church, or the National Council for Adoption (NCFA) want me advocating for adoption awareness because my message is not one they will appreciate: Infant adoption as currently practiced in the U.S. is wrong. Period. It needs to be changed.

Laws need to be enacted to preserve and protect natural families when at all possible. I realize that it is not always possible to preserve a natural family as I know there will always be rare and special circumstances that necessitate infant adoption, but they are exactly that: RARE and SPECIAL. Laws need to be enacted to preserve an adoptee’s original identity. Falsified birth records need to be done away with entirely (thank you Georgia Tann for that little nugget, you evil monster of a person). Laws need to be enacted to preserve an adoptee’s access to their birth records – it is shocking and wrong that in this day and age, innocent victims of adoption are treated worse than convicted murderers (thank you again Georgia Tann for that little nugget, you evil monster of a person).

So this month, I am going to write you a letter every day, “celebrating” adoption in my own way and advocating for my version of adoption awareness. I think my first official act of National Adoption Month 2010 will be to write a letter to Microsoft, urging them to fix the stupid auto-spell feature that keeps telling me “adoptee” isn’t a word. Don’t you think adoptees have enough of an identity crisis without being marginalized by Microsoft every time they type anything about their life experience?

Much love and belief –

M.