"Maslow was convinced that humans had needs that existed on different levels, and if they were not met, the needs on higher levels were increasingly difficult to fill. " – Wikipedia
I had a visit from a troll that claimed to be an adoptee. In keeping with my comment policy, I deleted the offensive comment that was potentially hurtful to all mothers, let alone me, but did want to expand on one statement the troll made.
Troll stated that I should never expect my daughter to acknowledge me as her mother in writing, person, verbally, or otherwise. Troll had some creative explanations for this. There is no need to recap the reasons. They were nothing but the usual adoptee troll venom. (Which should not be confused with adoptive parent venom or first mother venom)
However, troll made me think.
At this time, I don't expect to be called Mother or really even be acknowledged by her or her adoptive family as such (even though I am and know I am, and yes, I realize that is contradictory but bear with me).
As noted previously, I am her mother. Duh. If you dispute that, I would be happy to tell you how babies are conceived, show you appropriate documentation and even pictures of her and I that show a strong resemblance. I would have to laugh at anyone who suggests I am not her mother. (I might recommend a 72 hour psych hold as well).
But there is more to it than that. There is how I define myself and how others define me.
I don't expect/want to be called or recognized as mother (by others) because that feeling is higher up on the hierarchy of needs at this time.
Allow me to refer to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It might illustrate my point.
Maslow's hierarchy suggests that before our higher level needs can be met (Safety, Social, Esteem etc.) our most basic physiological needs must be met. We must be fed. We must have water. As those basic needs are met, we can (and hopefully do) move higher up the scale and we are able to accomplish more. Consider it this way, a child that goes to school without breakfast will not perform as well in the classroom as one who goes to school with a full belly.
Once our physiological needs are met, we move up to meeting our security, protection and other safety needs.
This is very true for me in my relationship with my daughter. For me, before I can even fathom being called mother by her (in any context whatsoever), I need to be humanized.
My belief is that my daughter doesn't see me as a human, as a feeling, thinking, person. I also believe this comes from primal wound and the societal and adoptive parents cues my daughter may have picked up on. As such, there is no way she could ever make the connection to me being her mother (again, even at the most primitive biological level, what I call mother and others might call breeder, incubator, provider of the fabulous "gift" to an infertile couple, or other).
Right now, today, now, I don't need her to see me as mother. I need her to see me as human first and then maybe we can work ourselves up the hierarchy.
I need to be humanized.
In my experience, the closed adoption system (and perhaps even to some degree the open one) relies heavily on dehumanizing the mother.
Dehumanization is the process by which members of a group of people assert the "inferiority" of another group through subtle or overt acts or statements. Dehumanization may be directed by an organization (such as an adoption agency or church) or may be the composite of individual sentiments and actions. Groups that have been dehumanized include certain ethnic groups, homosexuals, disabled people, the homeless and many other groups, including mothers like me.
In times of war, ethnic groups are dehumanized via ethnic slurs. These slurs are used to dehumanize them in such a way to make the act of killing them morally acceptable. In the war against single mothers, in the war to obtain baby product for sale, the mother is dehumanized via a variety of subtle and overt methods.
Subtle examples of this? (Be sure to recite these phrases with an emphasis on "too" and with a note of disgust when stating the word that follows it.)
"Too stupid to raise a child since she had unprotected sex"
"She gave her baby away. Surely she is a monster."
Overt examples include removal of mothers name from birth certificate and closed records. (Why seal the records unless there is something really ugly and nasty – and non human – that you must hide?)
I don't feel human to my daughter. As such I don't feel any need/desire to be recognized as her mother by her or anyone known to her at this time.
I do feel a need to be acknowledged as a person who hurts, feels, and thinks. I feel a need to start there and move my way up the hierarchy.
I feel a need to be viewed as human before I can be viewed as anything else.