““Of all cursed places under
the sun, where the hungriest soul can hardly pick up a few grains of
knowledge, a girls boarding-school is the worst. They are called
finishing schools, and the name tells accurately what they are. They
finish everything but imbecility and weakness, and that they cultivate.
They are nicely adapted machines for experimenting on the question,
”Into how little space a human being can be crushed?” I have seen
some souls so compressed that they would have fitted into a small
thimble, and found room to move there — wide room. A woman who has been for many years at one of those places carries the mark of the beast on her till she dies.” – Olive Schreiner
Of the many things that disturb me about adoption, particularly with the agency that sold my daughter and the families created by them, is the high number of adoptees that were adopted and then within rather short order sent away to boarding school. Of course, now I know that the agency catered to the very wealthy families that had been “aged out” of the standard agencies but had a great deal of money to spend in acquiring a child for adoption. (I did not know this in 1986). Many families that adopted through this agency were able to apply, be home studied and have someone else’s child in their arms within three months. That service came with a price (and a great deal of coercion and intimidation of the mothers). The same money used to pay for that service also went to pay for boarding schools for the children.
I am fortunate that my daughter was not one of the children that was purchased and then shelved in a school. I am lucky that she was not one of them that was pulled out of storage for holidays and family pictures. I am lucky that she was not treated as an accessory to be dusted off when it was convenient to have a child but later sent back to school storage when it was not.
Of course, I realize this lovely approach to child rearing is not limited to adoptive parents. Plenty of “real kidS” get sent away too.
With adoption, I find myself more disturbed by it because again, first mothers, don’t expect this. We are never told our children may be accessories and may be sent away. We are told they are going to good homes, with lots of money and toys and ponies and unicorns. Since we suffer from the lack of those things ourselves we are easily wooed by the money. We have the love to give our children but not the money, isn’t that what mattered? Isn’t that what our capitalistic society values – the almighty dollar and not the mother child bond?
Money not love. Money for food, college, housing.
Money. Our mothers love meant nothing. Our financial status (or lack thereof) meant everything.
The adoptive families had money and we foolishly believed they would love our children as we did. We erroneously assumed that since we loved our children so deeply that others naturally would to. While signing those TPRs mothers like myself assume that with money comes love.
It is simply not so.
What is the point of adopting a child if you are going to send them away, for most of their life, to live in a boarding school? What is the point of adopting a child if you are going to have them raised by nannies and house staff?
Three, no, four, Easter House adoptees that I know come immediately to mind.
Three of the four are in reunion. They dont speak highly of being sent away to boarding school. In fact, for them, it was yet another slice made into their primal wound. Their natural parents “sent them away” and then their adoptive parents did as well.
So very much we mothers are clueless about.
So much we are not told.
Fortunately, my friends were able to search and reunite with their families. They are all hard at work at mending the familial fences broken by adoption. In all cases, it was the child who searched for the mother.
The one thing their wealthy adoptive parents could not purchase for them was the love of their first mother. Some things are indeed priceless and cannot be bought.