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.
I am not one to normally point others to blogs that I find hurtful or offensive because, well, Cricket does such a good job of it already! My thought is, why mess with perfection? At any rate, I don’t know why I do this to myself but there are a couple of the more odious adoptive parent blogs out there that I read on occasion. One of them in particular, “Heart Cries” riles me on a regular basis. Why do I keep going back to read more? Why oh why oh why?
Maybe because I am honestly seeking to understand all the sides of this equation – truly, I am. In my journey I have met some wonderful adoptive parents who understand, as much as they can, my side and your side of the adoption equation. But then….then there are some that just never seem to get it.
For example, there’s this lovely quote from Rebekah:
But, you know what? Charging $20,000-40,000 to add to our family is robbery….We are only so willing to pay X amount of money for future children. It’s such an unfair moral dilemma that adoptive families are thrown into.” (Adoptive mother, Rebekah at http://rebekahpinchback.blogspot.com/)
Robbery? Robbery???? Does she really want to walk down that path? An unfair moral dilemma for adoptive families? Does she really want to walk down that path too?
Robbery, Rebekah? Let me speak truth to you about robbery.
Let me tell you of millions of women who have been robbed of their children by a society who lusts and covets after a thing which is not theirs (remember that commandment, the one found in Deuteronomy 5:21 – that one about not coveting anything that is thy neighbor’s? That includes their babies.)
Let me tell you of millions of adults who have been systematically robbed of their identity, robbed of their true heritage, robbed of the connection with their people because their original birth records are sealed. (Remember that commandment, Rebekah? The one in Deuteronomy 5:20 that states “neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbor.” That includes lying on a birth certificate. God does not prevaricate, He is unchangeable from season to season. A lie is a lie is a lie.) If you are in possession of a falsified birth record, then you are not keeping this commandment. How do you repent of this? By doing every thing in your position of power (because as an adoptive mother, you have ALL the power in this equation) to pass legislation allowing every adopted person unfettered access to their original, unaltered birth records. Better yet, why don’t you use your position of power to start advocating for the end of lying on birth certificates entirely? Or why don’t you use your position of power to speak up for the preservation of original families?
An unfair moral dilemma, Rebekah? Let me speak truth to you about unfair moral dilemmas.
Let me tell you of millions of mothers who were forced, coerced, pressured, compelled, lied to, lectured, belittled, harangued, harassed, intimidated, browbeat, and bullied into surrendering their child to a “more deserving” woman. And don’t think for a moment that this doesn’t occur today, in this day and age. As the brave warrior-mothers of the BSE regained their voices, the adoption industry’s socially-sanctioned bullying just became “high touch.” Trust me. Ask me how I know. Let me speak truth to you, Rebekah, of the moral dilemma of being told that if you really, truly love your child, then you will give it away to complete strangers but once you do, you are then met with the hushed horror of comments like, “I could NEVER do that to my child!”
Let me speak truth to you about unfair moral dilemmas. Let me tell you of millions of adoptees who struggle to find their own identity, who battle the dilemma of loyalty to their adoptive family and their need to be connected in very real and tangible ways to their first family. Walk a day in their shoes, Rebekah, and then get back with me about “moral dilemmas.”
P.S. Dear Rebekah – Whining about how much your baby “costs” or holding fund raisers to adopt a baby: so not cool. Just sayin’.
P.P.S. Dear Rebekah – One more thing. Can you explain to me why it is OK for you to work and go to graduate school AND parent some other woman’s child but it wasn’t OK for her to work and parent her son? Just a little confused about that…
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!