"You always admire what you really don’t understand." – Blaise Pascal
When I was living alone in the maternity prison known as Gehring Hall, I was visited frequently by my headcase worker. She would take me out to lunch, buy me clothes, pretend she was my friend and that she cared about me. She regularly filled my kool-aid glass with praise for the wonderful, amazing, wealthy, perfect, highly educated uber-parents that would acquire my child. She told me how lucky I was that their agency had such wealthy qualified infertile couples. My daughter would have ponies and pools and birthday parties and pretty pink dresses and a college education. Could I guarantee her that?
Every time she pushed them higher up on a pedestal she pushed me farther down. The more she raved about how fabulous they were the more I became aware of what a loser I was and how they deserved my child and I did not.
Over time, I became dependent on my headcase worker and completely believed everything she said to me. I liked her and wanted her to like me and as such I complied with her requests and believed everything she said. I was truly enamored with her. I have my own diaries from that time period and they are chock full of loving goo for my headcase worker — the person who would be in the labor room with me and in a matter of days spirit my child away to the more deserving people. Oh, how I adored her for that. How lucky I was! Giving your baby away means you are a good mother and no longer a dirty little slut girl. What a great deal!
Looking back, now, I believe I was suffering from my own version of Stockholm Syndrome. She was my only link to the outside world. She was my passage out of the hell I was in provided I did what she told me and believed all she said. That included believing I was nothing and the prospective adopters of my child were the bomb diggity. If I wanted my child to have a good life (without me) I had to go along with all that she said. I could not make her angry. I could not risk losing her as well. She was going to save my child from me. Ooh, how wonderful she was.
Were those prospective adopters that much better than me? Would they or could they do better by my daughter than I could?
No. Not by a long shot.
But I did not believe that at the time and no one wanted me to think otherwise. My parents wanted the problem to be solved and for the “good girl with so much potential” to be returned to them in her original state. The agency wanted to make a profit and fulfill their commitment to the lovely couples lining up at their doors with their hands out ready to hold the child, any child (not specifically MY child), that they had previously only dreamed of. And me? I just wanted someone, anyone, to love me and to love my daughter. I saw separation of us as the only way for that to happen.
Who is to blame here? Is it really a matter of blame? Will blaming anyone change the facts? Will blame get my daughter back? Will it fix her fractured identity?
Thoughts of culpability came to me last night along with these memories. I was engaged in dialogue with an adoptive dad who believes that adoptive parents are often (if not always) taken advantage of by the agencies just like mothers are. I am inclined to agree.
Many of my mother/sisters disagree. They hold hard to the belief that adoptive parents are fully aware of the trauma that adoption causes to mother and child. They further believe that adoptive parents intentionally go out to rip children from their mother’s milk laden breasts and steal them. They believe that adoptive parents are selfish, evil creatures that care only about feeding their need for a child. (Side note: If that is to be presumed true then all mothers like me are indeed slut or nut crack whores, no?)
I believe once again, we are giving adoptive parents way too much credit here. They really aren’t that crafty.
No offense, but my experience has shown that adoptive parents can be as ignorant and as used as natural parents.
They are human after all.
Should adoptive parents be more probing, questioning and ethical in their adoption process? I don’t think anyone would doubt that.
But one could also argue that natural parents should be more informed of the damage of adoption to children.
How do you make that happen if both parties are relying on a middle man to tell them the alleged truth?
A middle man that is making mucho dinero by taking advantage of all parties involved?
A middle man that cares little about the welfare of the child and a lot about filling their own coffers.