There aren’t enough words.
Dear Ms. Feverfew –
I agreed to do more “adoption” reading earlier this year. As part of this, I have been trying to read more about adoption from an adoptive mother’s point of view in an effort to understand all the different parts of the…whatever this relationship is between me, you, and your adoptive mother. Triangle? Constellation? Train wreck?
I found a book that looked interesting, Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolff. It has a four star rating over on amazon.com. Betty Jean Lifton said, “Jana Wolff takes the myth and denial out of adoption and uncovers its real secrets.” I guess I wasn’t prepared for this secret. On page 17 & 18, the author shares what she wanted to write for her “notorious ‘Dear Birth Mother’ letter.”
The blood drained from my face as I read it. Granted, I haven’t read the rest of the book yet but did she really just say that is what she wanted to write????? Here it is in its entirety.
Dear Birth Mother:
Screw you. Do you think I want to beg a complete stranger for a kid whose own mother doesn’t want him? You messed up and now you get to sit in judgment of the perfect parents for your baby….What do you know about parenting? About perfection? How will you choose, anyway? Will it be the prettiest couple? The richest? The hippest? The most devout? We wouldn’t win on any of those counts.
If, by some fluke, you do us the great honor of pronouncing us fit to be adoptive parents, what will we owe you? Will we have to support you for the rest of your life? Name the kid after you? And what will happen once you realize what you’ve done? Will you come back and reclaim your child, rip her away and change her name? How could we ever trust you? How could we ever believe you?
Who are you, anyhow? What kind of person would get herself knocked up by a scummy guy who runs away when he hears the news? Haven’t you heard of birth control? Of AIDS? Of abortion? Of OB/GYNs? Of monogamy? Of love?
I don’t want my kid to be your mistake.
[Wolff, J. (1997). Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother. Kansas City, MO: Andrews & McMeel, a Universal Press Syndicate Company. Original emphasis.]
In her defense she does go on to include the actual birth mother letter they submitted to the agency and concluded the chapter with, “Thankfully, the first letter never made it past my head.”
Uh….it didn’t? Then why am I reading it? And if I am reading it now, then did the mother of that “mistake” you call your child read it too? I haven’t finished the rest of the book…maybe she redeems herself at some point and I will allow room for that to occur. I know that people do have a change of heart and maybe she does but…how many other adoptive mothers harbor these same kinds of secret thoughts but simply are not brave enough to voice them?
Before I finish the book though, I need to go gargle with bleach to get this nasty taste out of my mouth. I hope it gets better.
Dear Ms. Feverfew,
Over on Facebook (oh you evilness of evilness, you waster of precious time, you Facebook!!!) there’s a group just for “birthmom buds.” Some potential adoptive mother posted this question on the wall:
I have a question for birthmoms out there. I want to get a “birth day” gift for our bm when she delivers. We thought of putting together a gift basket of some things but wanted something sentimental too. Any ideas? ~ Gabrielle
Ooo! I have an idea. How about not calling her a “bm” for starters? Nothing makes a mother feel like a big fat pile of poop more than being called one!!! And what does a “bm” deliver, after all? Now I know an expectant mother delivers a baby but I am still confus-ed as to what a “bm” delivers. A smaller pile of poop?
Another thing – you might want to possibly give your “bm” the gift of not claiming ownership, as in calling her “our bm.” How about “the mother of the child we are hoping to adopt” or something like that. Something more humanizing and more humane than “our bm.”
Even better, how about a basket full of parenting books and resources, some new fluffy receiving blankets, a check for oh, say, half the funds you have just shelled out to adopt her baby, and a huge hug as you whisper in her ear, you can do this – you are and can continue to be a good mother. Now that would be the greatest gift of all for “your bm” on her “birth day.”
Just a few thoughts on this lovely gray Friday in February.
Dr. Ms. Feverfew –
So us mothers put up with a lot of crap from people who are either to dumb to know better or to mean to care how various labels may effect a woman who has lost a child to adoption. I have been referred to as everything from a mildly noxious “birth mother” to a patently offensive and derogatory “breeder.” Today though…today I was called something that is so sickening I want to vomit.
She called me a brood sow.
Yes, a potential adoptive mother referred to me as a brood sow.
Now I have heard it all.
P.S. Just had to add that one of the brilliant ladies on the forum that came to my defense had the best response: “So you are content being just a plain old sow then?” Still laughing over that one!