A Few Must Reads

 Passing along a few good reads in the world of adoption blogging and such.

From Yahoo News: Adopted or Abducted? Veil of secrecy lifts slowly on decades of forced adoptions for unwed mothers around the globe.

Most women describe giving birth to a child as a life changing experience – in a word – “challenging”, “joyous”, “miraculous.”  But generations of young, unwed women describe their experience of giving birth to a child as a nightmare – and decades later their suffering has yet to end.
From Australia to Spain, Ireland to America, and as recent as 1987, young mothers say they were “coerced”, “manipulated”, and “duped” into handing over their babies for adoption. These women say sometimes their parents forged consent documents, but more often they say these forced adoptions were coordinated by the people their families trusted most…priests, nuns, social workers, nurses or doctors.

Read more here.

The second paragraph made me burst into tears. To see 1987 included there was tremendously validating to me. Over the years I have been told (often by other mothers who surrendered) that I had it easier, my time was better, my grief was less because I was not BSE and BSE ended in 1970. I have always responded with a big old BULLSHIT to that as it is so not true.  It did not stop. Change? Yes. Get more decievious, creative? Yes. Stop. Not at all. I thank Dan Rather and all who worked on this article for including me, my era, my time, my loss in that article whether you intended to or not.

From [Birth Mother], First Mother Forum: No Matter How Adoption is Done, Grief Remains for Mothers

Putting an end to secrecy in adoption does not erase the grief or loss embedded in the adoption experience” according to the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute March, 2012 report, Openness in Adoption: From Secrecy and Stigma to Knowledge and Connections. With that caveat, the institute strongly endorses openness in adoption because “ending secrecy empower(s) participants by providing them with information and access so they can face and deal with facts instead of fantasies.”

Read the entire post here.

Photo credit: Joanna Fisher

8 Thoughts.

  1. Thanks for posting the Dan Rather article, Suz. Nice to see things written about this. But I never should’ve read the comments. Argh – so many people are tactless idiots, it seems.

    • I too was dismayed by many of the comments, but also suprised those who instinctively understood that separating a mother and baby is sickening. Warms my heart to know there are many people out there who do not have hearts of stone.

      Most of the negative comments were from folks who don’t believe in any type of public assistance and they also think it is wrong for grandparents to provide assistance. Oddly, they wax poetic about family values but then think family should walk away when one of their own is in need. I guess we should start telling granny to get her sh!t together and get a job instead of asking us younger peeps for help. Works both ways, right?

  2. Hi Suz, Thanks for posting this. I found it to be a good read and was pleased to note that your time frame was included too! Even though I’m a mom from the BSE and placed my complete trust in the social worker, I can relate to how you feel when some folks continue to maintain that somehow coercive tactics disappeared following Roe vs. Wade.

  3. I have never agreed with the term BSE. It suggests that something happened and now it’s over. Who is drawing the dividing line at Roe v. Wade? I would like to suggest it is the consumers who saw the number of babies available for adoption reduced. I think babies are still being scooped. There is proof of that everywhere. I know that from working with young parents more recently who are having the same kind of pressure put on them as was exerted longer ago.

    I think there is a plus for the adoption industry to suggest that things are different now or open adoption has changed things. What’s the plus? It negates our voices.

    The other reason I don’t like the term BSE is that it was first used in relation to native children and residential schools. As bad as our experiences were they are nothing compared to that shameful period, the impact of which is still felt today in the descendants of those children who were scooped.

  4. Suz, I agree. On all counts: pleased that someone as revered as Dan Rather is working on this, and that we’ve stopped pretending that the BSE was the end of scooped babies. It continues today, hopefully with less success, but possibly not. I’m thinking we were easy marks and that coercive tactics may be even more necessary today.

  5. Suz why did BSE stop in 1970?
    I lost my baby then but I agree years later the coercion still thrives. R. v. Wade wasn’t until 1973,and if one was brought up in a religious home as I was, no way no matter the year was that an option. Suck it up and then give it up. Kathryn Joyce’s article in the Nation magazine, a couple of years ago, titled “Shotgun Adoption” tells it like it still is. It’s still bad, and exceptionally painful even today. There’s never a good year to give away your baby. Ever.

    • Katrina – As you probably know, the constant focus on BSE is a sore point for me. Technically (in my own words) the reason for the focus is that it was during that time period massive amounts of children were given up for adoption. It is the high #s that cause the focus there. My personal beef with the constant focus (and the suggestion is that it is over) is that it leads people to think we are better now, we learned and we no longer do that. It also makes people believe that since Roe v. Wade mothers have choices (which may be true but that doesn’t mean mothers get to exercise those choices).

      I have found there are groups who work for apology for BSE (and that is all good) and then there are others that work for adoption reform for all. Then there are groups who believe that the unnecessary separation of any mother and child is a problem. All are good and worthy causes.

      I am like you. I surrendered in 1986, from strong catholic values, sent one thousand miles away to a maternity home, blah blah. Nearly identical to BSE era yet I have people tell me it was better for me. As if the loss of my child was lesser than the loss of theirs (I actually get told this from BSE moms) merely because of legal access to abortion. I dont get it. The unncessary loss of any child during any era is traumatic. I count them all problematic – no matter what era you lost in. Furthermore, if even ONE mother TODAY is being forced, coerced, lied to, needlessly separated from her child then we still have a problem. Thousands of mothers or one. They all matter.

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