Aspie with Attitude

Sure, I'm just another Southern Recovering Alcoholic NPR- and Sweet-Tea Addicted Comic Mom with Asperger's in the SFV, but I can tell you now that I don't necessarily fit the stereotype.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Letter from an Adoptress (Finally Updated!)

Now, before I start this entry, I'd like to say that I've heard from lots of adopters since I've been writing about adoption. I've heard from adopters who wished ill on my children and on me; I've heard from adopters who urged me to adopt a child; I've even heard from adopters who somewhat agreed with me. So, so, so, maybe all that kind of thing is why this letter has me so perplexed. The writer wishes not to be identified, which I completely respect. I'll call her M:

I enjoy reading your blog and was hoping you wouldn't mind my asking you a question.
>
According to the laws of our and another country, I am an adoptress of two
little girls. Now, I do NOT call myself a parent. I am NOT their mother and
they are not allowed to call me "Mama" or "Mom" or "Mommy" or anything like
that; I am Miss XXX and I am an adoptress. Likewise, my husband is NOT their
father. Our parents are NOT allowed to call themselves grandparents and the
girls are not allowed to call them as such. Our siblings are not allowed to
call themselves Aunt or Uncle. We are NOT their "forever family".
>
Their mother is dead; she died giving birth to them. We have continued
contact with their father and family, including siblings and uncles, in the
country in which they were born; THEY are their forever family. We visit 4
times a year for 2 weeks at a time and are making preparations to move to
that country so that they can grow up surrounded by their own culture and so
that they can know their family. I am not naive enough to believe that this
will, in any way, make up for having been removed from their country
originally and it will in no way be the same as if they were growing up as
natives, with their parents. I realized too late my mistake in wanting to
raise a child (the adoption had been finalized, but we hadn't yet traveled)
and will spend the rest of my life attempting to make up for it for these
little girls. I wish I could undo the past, but I can't. Before we left the
country with the babies, we met secretly with their father with our own
interpreter and asked him to please take the babies back, that we would pay
for all of the medical care that they needed and support his entire family
for the rest of their lives if he would only take them back and raise them
(it would have taken so little from us to make this possible, and we are not
wealthy by any means). Sadly, he considered them expendable; five children
were enough. If they had been boys, I'm sure it would have been a different
story. And if their mother had survived, I'm sure she would have gladly
brought them back to her bosom.
>
The problem we are having now is that these little girls, who are now 3 and
have been with us since they were 5 months old (they are twins), are
starting to ask why they can't call us "Mommy" and "Daddy". They don't
understand why nephews and nieces can call their grandparents "Grandma" and
"Grandma", but we won't let them do so. They know they have a Daddy, they
know they have brothers and sisters and uncles. We send letters and pictures
and drawings and there are photographs up all over the house. They know that
they were "adopted". They know other "adopted" children via cultural events
and ask why they call their adopters "Mommy" and "Daddy" but we won't allow
them to do the same. They even know a foster child who calls his guardian
"Mama".
>
Needless to say, we are not very popular in the "adoption" community, which
is okay with me, but the girls are starting to wonder why they can never go
to so-and-so's for a play date. Why some of the children are starting to
tell them that their "Mommy and Daddy" don't want them playing with them
because their adopters are "crazy". Even though we are only the adopters, we
do love them and it hurts us to see them struggle with this. Sometimes, I
want to cave and just say "it's just a name", but then I read yours, and
others', blogs, and realize that it is NOT just a name and I want to honor
that. I want to honor their mother. I want to honor their father. I bought
the privilege of raising them (when I was doing it, I didn't think about it
this way, as I had bought the story the agency gave us about why fees had to
be charged, but I know now that I DID buy them). I bought the privilege of
reading bedtime stories, kissing boo-boos, making cookies, doing their hair,
teaching them to read. I don't need to be called by a name that I will never
know (I've been in menopause since I was 13; I have premature ovarian
failure and, instead of going through puberty, I got to have hot flashes).
Don't get me wrong, if I COULD be a parent, I would love to be a parent. It
just will never happen, and I was okay with that before I even graduated
from high school. I did, however, want to raise children and thought that
this would be an okay way to do it. I do know that I was wrong, dreadfully,
horribly wrong, but I can't fix it. All I can do is try to do better for
these girls and work to make sure that other children do not suffer from the
naivete of adopters like myself, or even from the adopters who do realize
what they are doing and try to pretty it up.
>
We are also not very popular in our family, who don't seem to understand why
they are not allowed to take on names that don't belong to them. But, they
are adults and they can deal with it. My only concern is for these girls.
How can I help them around this issue? Do you have any ideas for "names" to
call adopters that would respect the girls' family while at the same time be
palatable to those, like yourself, who were taken/bought/stolen from their
parents? They are starting to just want to be like everyone else, and I'm
sure this will only become more difficult as they get older. What would have
helped you understand this at their age? Am I contributing to the problem
without seeing it? (I am only human and while I am trying, I make mistakes
and will make plenty more before my time on this earth is through.) These
girls didn't ask for this. In fact, they deserve so much better than this. I
know I made the mistake, but is there anything I can be doing to help them?
>
I would be very thankful for any thoughts you may have and I support your
work wholeheartedly. I believe that this system IS broken. It doesn't serve
the children, and it doesn't serve the mothers. It only serves the adoption
industry and adopters like myself. And I tell my girls that it was wrong,
that my husband and I were wrong (in an age-appropriate way, of course; the
older they get, the more blunt I will become about what it was that I and my
husband did). I was just so naive. I remember learning from the social
worker that their birth certificates would have OUR names on them, and I
actually thought I could just ask them not to change the names of their
parents, to leave them on there. It made no sense to me! I made color copies
of their birth certificates and then changed the copies to put their
parents' names back on there. I know that they aren't "legal" birth
certificates, but they are the truth.
>
I am so sorry that anyone has to go through that which you and so many
others have been.
>
> Sincerely yours,
M.


Thinking Mama responds:
Gosh, if you're reeling from that letter, you're not alone. If M. could spread 1/100th of her understanding about the adoption industry to the rest of the adopters in her community, well, that would certainly be a start in stopping stranger adoption, wouldn't it?

M. seems to understand and believe what those of us who have been separated from our natural families by adoption have slowly and steadily been realizing. I admire the strength that M. seems to show; surviving menopause as a teenager and being able to rise from that extremely difficult situation shows great fortitude. Like many women, however, M. believed the lies of the adoption industry. It is hard not to believe those lies, just as it is hard to believe that the government might not have our best interest in mind when bailing us out and turning our banks into Fascist institutions. Anyone who reads through mainstream media's propaganda, whether it be about adoption or about the Federal Reserve, shows a certain amount of true open-mindedness that most people in our brainwashed society, unfortunately, never achieve.

It is important to remember, however, that neither M. nor I nor any of those of us who've woken up about adoption can force change on those who are still asleep. I can partially understand M.'s plight of having to be around adopters when her beliefs are so different; I can understand it from an adoptee's point of view but not from an adopter's. Her courage in this situation seems especially admirable.

Regarding nomenclature, which, after all, is the question that she asked, I can totally relate to the confusion that adoption causes. I experience this very confusion each time that I go to North Carolina, when I visit the very dear and wonderful friends that I grew up with and they are calling Beauford and Ann, the wonderful people who, like my natural mother and father, were fooled by the adoption agency into believing that I could be "as if" born to them. Needless to say, avoiding the very issues of which M. speaks, I grew up calling Beauford and Ann "dad" and "mom," even though we all knew that they are not my real parents. Having grown up with this particular nomenclature, and having not grown up with my natural mother and father, it often seems strange to call my real father "dad," even though that's exactly what he is. Perhaps there is something about language that is formed before the conscious mind is very developed that makes us cling to the people whom we call mom and dad, whether that nomenclature is indeed correct or not. M., very admirably, is trying to keep things honest with the children that she is obviously very much helping. Remember that she tried to give those children back to their real dad but that he, swooned either consciously or unconsciously, by the adoption industry, refused to take them. Raising those children seems indeed the right thing for M. to do at this point. They are very lucky to have someone so honest in their lives.

Having said that, I can understand that M.'s parents and parents-in-law fully desire to believe the lies of adoption, as most people do. If there is one thing I've learned since I found my real parents it is that the truth is often more difficult to live with than lies. One reason that I think I lost many of my adopted friends when I found my natural parents is that those friends find it much easier to live with lies: They are right. It is often unsettling to speak the truth, as Ron Paul has discovered throughout his campaign for President and his tenure as a Representative. People want the lies; perhaps this is the way that things have always been: Those who crucified Jesus wanted to believe lies over the truth. Perhaps we have a natural tendency to want to believe lies, a tendency that is difficult to overcome. But what about when those lies about your family, the people that you grow up with, the people whom you trust with your very life?

This is the conundrum with which the current adoption industry, a $1.5 billion business, has saddled us. My attempts to tell people the truth have been met with all sorts of dismay, as I have partly described previously. People would rather believe all kinds of things than see the truth. I think it's a part of human nature to want to take the easy way out. It is much easier to believe the pablum of mainstream media than to think for ourselves and do our own research. Perhaps those who do think for themselves have always been ostracized.

Nonetheless, let's get back to the question and to my answer. I have had to come up with my own solution to this problem and it is one that works for me. It is interesting that after I found my parents, I moved across the country, to a place where I'd only visited a couple of times. Here, I can be anyone I want to be. Where I grew up, I'm often known as "Beauford's daughter" by well-meaning and wonderful people. If I lived there all the time, I would have to come to terms with this all the time, as I did as a child. I am convinced that many adoptees accept the lies of adoption simply because they do not want to face the pain of the truth.

New Part:
Here's the tactic that I am taking. I am mentioning this not to suggest that it be M.'s path, but only to suggest that this is one option. Granted, I moved 3,000 miles away, to a place where I could totally reinvent myself with the truth this time. In other words, I don't have relatives out here and when I talk about my mom and dad, it's my real mom and dad. I don't have to pretend and I don't have to worry about people who might still believe the lies. This option of moving 3,000 miles away is not for everyone. :) When people talk about the adoption industry's version of my life, I will say that it's bothersome. Some people whom I really like do this and I'm not going to stop hanging around them just because they're used to calling Beauford my "dad." On the other hand, it really bothers me and I may hang out with these people less because of it. What will happen if I correct them? If they're older, and many of them are, I figure that it's hard for them and I don't press the issue. But I may, with my children, say something like, "X calls Beauford my dad; a lot of people do, and even though he did a wonderful job of raising me, he's not my real father," or something similar. Sometimes I let it go, but my children and husband know what the truth is. I feel comfortable with this and it may be something that M. may want to try: Letting it go and letting the people who are around those children call the children what they want. As long as the children know the truth, that's all that really matters.

That said, I proudly call people who aren't really my aunts "Aunt." There is one person who grew up with me and is like a sister to me; so my children call her Aunt, even though she is not. Aunt and Uncle are indeed used to indicate relationships with people who aren't blood relatives and as long as we know that's the case, everything is fine. I feel the same way about Grandma and Grandpa. My children know that there are two grandpas and two grandmas for every child; they know who there grandparents are. However, they call a few lucky women "Grandma," even though we all know that's not their real grandma. As terms of endearment, these things work fine. I call my husband, "Daddy," for instance, even though he is not my real dad, of course. :) For sanity's sake, M. might want to take this attitude with people, giving them what they understand but also knowing in her heart and knowing in the hearts of those children that she seems to be doing such a fine job of raising, what the truth really is. As long as she and the children follow this truth, I think that all will be well. What hurt me the most as a child was the pretending. M. is not pretending, although other people around her are, and the children will know and appreciate the truth because of M.'s devotion to it. M. might want to say something like, "X and Y know that you're not their real grandmother, but you are and will always be a special person to them and they want to call you something special." Perhaps you can both decide on a name that works, such as "nana." Another option is, of course, is for M. to distance herself from her family, which may or may not be an easy thing for her.

I hope that I've answered the questions sufficiently; if not, please let me know. I feel slightly awkward answering such questions being that I haven't fully worked out all the name stuff myself. I am still pondering changing my last name to my birth name, but part of me fears changing my identity, whom I've become. This adoption stuff is never easy and the birth certificate thing is horrendous (I try never to use my falsified birth certificate.) and families are often hurt for generations by it. M. seems like a wonderful woman and those children are lucky to have her in their life. I wish M. the best of luck with this dilemma and much good fortune in working out the details. As far as I'm concerned, M. is doing a wonderful thing for those of us separated by adoption, merely by listening to us. If anybody deserves a restful and happy sleep tonight, it's M.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Where are the Christians?

As we've been traveling around Los Angeles and its surrounding areas this week, I can't help but wonder how many people even understand that we no longer live in a free country. America has become a dictatorship and yet, life goes on. We did see, on the way back from the Santa Ana Zoo last week, protestors peacefully chanting, with a drum playing in the background, at South Coast Plaza in Orange County. They were for Ron Paul! We blew the horn. My children noticed them first, as I was driving. But for the rest of Southern California? I haven't seen much change. In Trader Joe's last night, I noticed people buying regular stuff; we were buying a little extra, for an emergency stockpile. Some people are predicting food riots in a couple of weeks or so. I want us to be prepared. No one seems too concerned that CONgress no longer exists as representatives of the people (I know that the proper senatorial role was deleted long ago, when the people started electing senators, not the state legislators, the latter of which the Founding Fathers set up.)

I heard a lot about World Government and the Mark of the Beast when I was growing up in the Southern Baptist Church. Although we don't attend church as much as I did growing up, mainly because our church is in North Carolina and we are not, I do wonder what preachers are preaching these days. Our pastor, Preacher Kenny, preaches the Bible. Still, so very many people in the place where I grew up believe in the Middle Eastern Bogeyman and Bush's efforts to control said bogeyman. So, so, so, I wonder if anyone is dissin' Bush in North Carolina these days, although he has ushered us into a police state and is this very weekend giving us over to a World Government, as he meets in an Emergency Summit. This economic crisis is just as contrived as the 9/11 crisis, although no one has, technically, lost a life in this particular crisis. Nonetheless, the results will be the same: Less freedom, more people-approved socialism, and more dependence on other nations.

Where are the Christians and why is no one speaking up from the Southern Baptist Conference? Could it be that Bush has bought and sold all the big players? After all, the Southern Baptists couldn't even agree to pull all their children out of the government schools. What a shame. What a real shame.

Take a look at this video and perhaps you will see that the New World Order is upon us. It's too bad that many of the people from my church and community don't have Internet access and rely on mainstream media propaganda to form their opinions. And for those who are behind Messiah Obama and think that his change is good, well, you will get what you deserve.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

While Rome Burns . . .

Oh, sure, it's easy to see how we can be distracted from all this bailout bill stuff, which is so very hard to understand, especially the part where King Jorge has encouraged CONgress folks, regular people all, to make Henry Paulson the Economic Dictator of the United States. Regular folks seem fine with it.

So we go on this week: two of my sons have Cub Scout popcorn to sell, we are still reeling and thankful to be doing so, after an accident on the 101 last week, en route to the Canoga Park Bowl Comedy show, left us with a punctured gas tank and a torn muffler and three healthy children and their happy-to-be-alive mama. Nothing much happened after I ran over the object on the freeway. Sparks flew from the car in front of me, which I saw run over the object. I had about two seconds to react. I could have, of course, swerved to miss it. But what cars would I hit? And my friend Lenard's daughter died after swerving and trying to get back on the highway, her car losing control and hitting a tree, killing her instantly. Would the boys and I have survived a swerve? Likewise, the thought later occurred to me that I could have instantly put on my brakes, to try and avoid the object. That option, however, may have caused the car(s) behind me to slam right into me, possibly injuring all of us. In those two or so seconds, I am thankful that I did not have time to think: I ran over the object. I could tell that something was wrong with the HO's (Honda Odyssey) muffler and as I was calling Mr. Comic Mom/Thinking Mama, I started smelling gas. The smell seemed to increase in intensity. As I took the nearest exit, Woodman Avenue, I had no idea whether or not the car was going to blow up. I tried hard not to think about it. I stopped and got the boys out. Lots of things could have happened but nothing terrible did. Gas leaked at a rapid rate out of my tank. The fire department (thanks, station 102!) was happy to come and contain the gas so that it would not burn. And AAA came and towed the car away. $1200 later, I am more thankful than ever to be writing these words so easily. When I picked up the HO from Paul's, a wonderful automobile shop near the Gingerbread House, he said he'd seen evidence of lots of cars that ran over something on the 101, with devastating results.

So we have a fascist government?

I like to think that fascism can easily be resolved, but death, not so much. On the other hand, fascism is certainly a problem. And whether we're dead or alive, conscious of the fact or not, willing to do something about the situation or not, we now live under a fascist government. I'm thankful to be alive and living under it, of course, as opposed to being dead and living under it.

The real problem is, however, that not many people care about the fascist government or even know about it. People who were ready to burn Wall Street two weeks ago have settled back into their cushy computer chairs. They may even forget about this nasty bailout stuff in a couple of weeks, when the election comes and goes. Not many traitors will be voted out and none will be executed, no doubt. Washington takes care of its own. I greatly admire Brad Sherman, my own Representative, for telling Congress that he and others were threatened, some with Martial Law, if this bill was not passed. Whoever thought that C-Span would be so very ignored?

Things are much better now, of course, now that the government has agreed to take care of everybody and solve all the problems of the economy. That's happening, right? And not many regular folks know that there is no possible government oversight of Paulson, according to this new law. We have all the information in the world at our fingertips, but it seems not to have made us one iota smarter.

Friday, October 3, 2008

More Adoption Lies

It shouldn't surprise me that the News and Disturber has run a story that's so very pro-adoption and pro-adopters, calling the adopters, of course, "parents" and not mentioning the inherent damage that adoption itself and separation from his natural family may have caused this young man who died such a tragic death. Instead of reporting truth, the story itself was filled with instances of how his "parents" were trying to provide "nurturing." Only a few paragraphs into the story did I learn that the "parents" to which the author was referring were not parents of Josh, the young man who was killed; rather, they were adopters. Would it have been too honest to report "Adopters tried to provide nurturing"? What about mentioning Josh's natural parents? Was any attempt made to contact them concerning his death? As usual, in adoption-related stories, the lies and harms of adoption were merely swept under the proverbial rug, as if everything was hunky dory and Josh was lucky to have been severed from his natural family and placed with people who pretended to be his parents. Now, for those who are wondering, I do not say that Josh would have been better off with his natural family; perhaps his adopters were much better for him. It is indeed impossible in such adoption scenes to figure out what would have happened and although I have met and corresponded with many mothers who lost a child to adoption and later found that the child was abused in his or her adoptive home, each case is different. But why lie? Did it do me any good to grow up calling my own adopters "parents" and pretending that they were indeed related to me? If adoption is such a wonderful thing, why lie about it? There's nothing wrong with taking in a child who is truly needy, especially if all attempts to keep that child in his or her natural or extended family have been exhausted. But why lie and pretend that the people who adopt can be made parents by legal documents?

The truth is that adoption separates and tears apart thousands of families each year. The harm inherent in the process itself is rarely discussed in mainstream media these days. In addition, the natural parents are usually forgotten or described as abusive and neglectful. We rarely, if ever, hear from a child's natural family when adoption has occurred. One wonders in this case if Josh's natural family even knew about his death.

What a shame that this young and troubled man died, but what else can we expect from a system that rips children from parents and pretends those parents never existed?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Is Congress This Dumb?

I hate to say it, but it seems as though Congress indeed is this dumb. I'm proud to say that Brad Sherman, our California Rep., with whom I often disagree, seems to be committed to a "no" vote on the now-increased bailout. However, as this story shows, adding even more money to this bailout seemed to entice some Congress Critters to a "yes" vote:

GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, said she was switching her "no" vote to a "yes" after the Senate added some $110 million in tax breaks and other sweeteners before approving the measure Wednesday night.

"Monday what we had was a bailout for Wall Street firms and not much relief for taxpayers and hard-hit families. Now we have an economic rescue package," Ros-Lehtinen told The Associated Press.


This lawmaker's stupidity is absolutely amazing! Make the plan more socialist, make the burden more on our descendants, and suddenly, it's an "economic rescue package."

Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri was switching, too, said spokesman Danny Rotert, declaring, "America feels differently today than it did on Friday about this bill."

At least this guy, spokesman Danny Rotert, shows his ignorance in grammar (psssst, buddy, it's "feels different" unless people are actually feeling of the bill itself or literally touching something in a different way), as well as in economics.

But Danny, despite his half-witted attempt at grammar, is right about one thing: I'm not receiving nearly as many e-mails as I did earlier in the week. Why aren't people just as incensed? Has the mainstream media's campaign to make an economic dictator out of Henry Paulson, as Will Gregg so eloquently pointed out that this bill will do, succeeded? I've yet to read Ron Paul's name in an L.A. Times or other mainstream article; so, I'm assuming that people are believing the idiotic pablum that mainstream media are feeding us regarding this measure. Or maybe it was the Senate's vote of approval, which included both presidential frontrunners, Traitor Obama and Traitor McCain.

Am I the only one worried about this country? Does anyone else realize that giving our economic reigns, no matter how much security we're promised, to the government places us under the government's control? Does anyone even understand this concept anymore?