Don't pay the Ferry Man. Don't even fix a price.

"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.

6 Thoughts.

  1. I ain’t that crafty; I trusted the professionals. I thought they knew what they were doing. I put WAY too much trust in them. And I have a lot of guilt about that. In our case, I think the professionals were swimming in kool-aid, too. I think they believed their own hype. I think it was blind leading the blind leading the blind.

  2. Oh my, I didn’t have any inkling of the trauma of the mothers and children. I honestly thought it was a win-win-win, as embarrassing as it is for me to admit that now.
    The first whisper of any pain on my son’s and his mom’s part that I had was just before his first birthday when I thought about who was missing from our upcoming celebration — the person who gave him birth. Then it was a long period of going back into denial until I got on LiveJournal and started reading Jenna’s blog.
    No, I really don’t think we deserve that much credit. I certainly don’t.

  3. To a great extent, I believe that aparents are equally duped by adoption agencies. As for the professionals being unaware of what they are doing – I think many of them know precisely what they are doing. Some may not realize till years later and then have tremendous guilt.
    Group Owner: Pregnant and Considering Options

  4. Oh, this is so very, very true. I believed in everyone but me, and I trusted, I believed for so long that I had done the best thing, wasn’t I awesome, pat myself on the back, I saved my child from me!
    And yes, I think agencies prey on vulnerable families who are hoping for a child more than anything. Look at the agency websites, chock full of feel-good propaganda. It is sickening, really, how they hold out this carrot of hope, dangling a diaper bag full of sweet-sounding BS. How can you really be objective when someone tells you everything you want to hear, and they’re so convincing, so concerned-sounding, and they bring in their latest round of brainwashed birth mothers to smile and say “Yes, I’m fine! Adoption was the best choice for my baby!” UGH.
    Anyway. Whew. Sorry for the rant. I’m having a week.

  5. I still have to go with the ” people have the best intentions”
    Call me foolish.
    Like I di know that some adoptive parents suck, but then again so do really some moms, so do some dads, and so do some adoptees. That’s just human nature..some people are just bad.
    But all… no way. I just can’t go for that.. which is why education about the TRUTH of relinquishment and adoption is key. And no, we cannot trust the agencies and professionals to do it right.. they gots bills to pay you know.

  6. I could relate to your feelings of dependency, wanting to be loved and accepted so much that you believed the crap you were being fed by the headcase worker. How could anyone believe we had a choice? We were emotional putty in their hands.
    As for blame (not that it matters, as you say; it changes nothing) I cannot honestly place it on the aparents. They had a need and the agencies were more than happy to fill it. They didn’t have to be “worked.” That was reserved for us, the providers of the children who could fulfill that need.

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