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, May 29, 2010

Gary Coleman, Adoptee. Surprised?

As with so many other Gen-Xers, I grew up watching "Different Strokes." I felt close to Kimberly, and figured that both she, and the actress who played her, Dana Plato, whose birthdate is very close to mine, had lives that I would only ever envy. Then came the 90s, and Plato became a real person with real problems. She died around Mother's Day, supposedly of suicide, leaving a son who, 11 years later, would kill himself around Mother's Day. As is the case with far too many stories like this one, adoption may well have been the seed for the destruction that followed. Turns out, Dana Michelle Plato's real mom was a 16-year-old with an 18-month-old at Dana's time of birth. Dana lucked out in adoptionspeak by getting herself hooked up with a couple who had no children of their own. Dana's adopters may well have been nice folks, but even nice folks cannot wipe away the pain of adoption.

The actress who won the hearts of so many with her portrayal of Kimberly lost custody of her own son to his father, but she seemed to influence her son enough that he desired to die as she did. Dana Plato also flirted with lesbianism, another trait I've noticed among adoptees. There is something about losing family members that really seems to screw people over sexually. I may write more about the sexuality stuff later. In this case, however, the pain of adoption spanned generations.

As I was reading about Gary Coleman's untimely death today, I read that he was also an adoptee, taken in by two people who were genetic strangers to him. Some of us adoptees handle the rejection by our natural families better than others, at least on the outside, but we all have a pain that will never go away: the rejection by our mothers. I'm not sure why I am here and Dana Plato is not, but it may have something to do with the fact that I wasn't on a sitcom as a child. Not for lack of wanting to be on one, mind you, did I miss out on child sitcomhood. There's an enormous amount of pressure on child stars and I'm now quite thankful that the opportunity wasn't presented to me when I was ten or so. Molly Ringwald's done okay for herself, but Dana Plato and Gary Coleman had the extra albatross of adoption on their backs, of being separated from their natural parents and given to genetic strangers. The adoption brainwashed will tell you this kind of thing doesn't matter. We adoptees, deep in our broken hearts, know better.

It's not a fabulous thing for most children to be thrust into the spotlight at such a young age, as both Plato and Coleman were, but it's even worse if that spotlight is preceded by separation from a child's natural parents. What really gets me about both Plato and Coleman is that the adopters were both called "parents" by the media. Fortunately, Plato's real mom is mentioned in Wikipedia, but nothing about Coleman's mom or dad seems to be in any obituary that I've read. I can't help but wonder if his mom is out there somewhere, watching all that is going on. Perhaps she feels ashamed and afraid to speak up.

Like many male adoptees, Coleman seemed to take out his angst on women. He hit a woman in 1999 and he and his wife seemed to have many violent arguments, according to what I've read. He also sued his adopters at one point, claiming they had defrauded him. It's so very sad that this kind of thing happens and that child sitcom stars so very often end up with crappy adulthoods. However, when you add the pain and lies of adoption to a childhood sitcom career, the results are so very often disastrous.

An interesting note is that Coleman had some kind of autoimmune disease that affected his kidneys; my own mother has an autoimmune disease and I remember a female adoptee that I grew up with who died of leukemia at 7. Many moms who've lost a child to adoption died of cancer. What I'd like to find out is if the pain and trauma of losing a parent or child to adoption so affects our bodies that we are more susceptible to certain diseases. I've never heard of this kind of thing being studied, but I'd sure like to know what truly unbiased researchers would find out about the effects of adoption trauma on those of us who are separated.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why Most Adoptees Really Dislike Me

Hate might be a more appropriate word. I used to seem to attract adoptees to me. Then, my dream came true. I found my mom. Adoptees, even one I'd been friends with for more than a decade, dropped me. Suddenly, I was pissing them off or they were pissing me off or something. Now, when I learn that somebody's an adoptee, I know to be careful. I have learned that most adoptees really dislike me. And so, it shouldn't surprise me that when I posted a comment to this blog regarding Sandra Bullock's new adoptee, I received this comment:

Tricia, your comments are completely uncalled for. She did not take a child from his mother. She chose to open her loving heart and home to a child who was either not wanted or unable to be cared for by his mother. You don’t know the situation. Most likely, her money would not have helped that child’s biological mother. Some women do not have the emotional maturity to be able to take care of a child and choose to give that child up for adoption for that child’s well-being. I myself am adopted, and have NEVER wanted to meet my [parents]. To me, my parents (sic) are the ones to were there for me, cared for me, loved me, etc. Not some woman who gave me up. Sandra Bullock is giving this beautiful baby a chance at life! Would you rather this baby be raised by the foster care system? Clearly, you do not understand much of anything about adoption, even though you claim you were adopted.

Enough of my rant. Your comment truly angered me.

Yeah, I often really wish that claim weren't true for me. But it is. The pain of adoption is something I've had to live with since before birth. And physical separation from my mother is something I experienced at two months old. Still, I don't find myself steeped in adoption brainwashing, as, apparently, TB is. I'm not sure why what I said angered her so much. TB's opinion is certainly that of mainstream media and her words could easily be printed in the ever-declining New York Times. Mine? Those of moms who've lost a child or more to adoption? Those of adoptees who've gotten past the brainwashing? Oh, not so much. In fact, I've witnessed an incredible suppression of our point of view. If it weren't for the Internet, views against adoption would be hard to find.

Perhaps my view threatens most adoptees because it is indeed very difficult to change what you've been told as long as you can consciously remember, i.e., when I go back home to the place where I grew up, I'm transported back to being "Beauford's girl," which I may have been, but I certainly was never his natural daughter. And yes, he and his wife loved me very much and I still miss them and they did very many parental-type things for me. But does it make them my natural parents? And did it take away the desire for me to find my natural family? And as much of a ruckus that my reunion with my natural parents caused in my life, do I regret being able to tell my own flesh and blood who their flesh and blood maternal grandparents and other family members are?

Adoption itself, the falsifying of birth certificates, and the taking away of one's parents and natural family to be replaced by genetic strangers are to blame for the often-permanent separation of families by adoption agencies. Every time a celebrity adopts, I think of all the public relations money that the adoption industry, a $1.6 billion business, has saved. The very white Sandra Bullock has taken the money that we've paid to see her and used it to buy herself a baby from some black mama who's probably been coached to be thankful that her baby can be raised by Sandra Bullock's nanny (don't fool yourself into thinking that Bullock is really doing this as most single moms do, without help). The mama who lost her baby to Bullock will never ever get over the loss of her baby; the child will never feel quite right at Bullock's house (although the child will sing the prai$e$ of Bullock as a "mom," no doubt); and the child's natural family will feel the loss for generations. Still, it makes a fabulous People cover story. As you can see from the comments, People's coverage of Bullock as "America's sweetheart" these last few months is certainly making a hero's journey out of her four-year attempt to take away a mother's child (remember that there is currently one adoptable baby for each 40 adopter hopefuls, i.e., the demand for adoptable babies far exceeds the supply). Note also that the natural mom was as completely absent from this story as the adoptress was present. And that, my friends, is what mainstream magazine adoption stories are all about. I dislike those biased stories greatly, almost as much as most adoptees dislike me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Questions Re: "Taliban in Burbank"

I didn't think my article was yet published and I came to write a comic friend about a show that I may do tonight and I discovered these e-mails, both of which raise important points. I don't write to answer all the questions, but to raise other questions and to help myself understand better. I was so angry about the government's slap on the wallet that I plain old didn't think about something I should have. I was pretty darn rebellious, as I often am. When the government extracts money from many people, we are busy focusing on the punishment and not on the gravity of the situation: Is it safe to talk on the cell phone? If the officer in my escapade had treated me to these couple of paragraphs and let me go, sans padding the coffers of Burbank, I would have been much more likely to listen and to do the safe thing:

With all due respect and a hatred for citations which have more to do with raising revenue than anything else, may I suggest you hang up and drive? You can chit chat with your friends when you're watching the T-ball games. With three kids in the car and the LA traffic you already have a tough job, multi-tasker or not.

When I was a working cop (who gave out tickets only to people who compromised others' safety and financial standing-like red light runners, lane weavers and people with no insurance) I scraped up a lot of people parts and car parts that were put there by people texting and talking while driving.

Sage advice indeed from a retired police officer. I plan to take it. After all, I make sure that my children wear seat belts even though I think that law is just as ridiculous. I received this e-mail that questioned quite a bit:

[W\here were you when they passes the stupid seat belt laws? [W}here were you when they increased the d.u.i. laws to the point of hardship? [W]here were you when they passed the stupid non-smoking laws?? and on and on--and----"they finally came for you"---you have to protect other peoples rights,even though you may not agree with them, to protect your own.

Let's take these questions one at a time:

[W\here were you when they passes the stupid seat belt laws? I was taking a public speaking class as an undergraduate at North Carolina State University. It was one of the first libertarian moments of my life; I remember thinking that seat belts are a fabulous idea. My mind hasn't changed on that one. And I remember thinking how horrid it was that a law had to be passed. After all, nobody had to tell me to wear a seat belt and I didn't grow up wearing one. I had become educated on how wonderful seat belts can be. And I'd even had a good experience with them. But like motorcycle helmet laws and other things that are supposedly for our own good, I couldn't see the point of making a law of it. I wrote a speech about why seat belt laws should not be passed and shared it with my class. It seemed like common sense to me that seat belts and other things inside a private vehicle are the business of that vehicle's owners, but now, only a couple of decades later, everybody accepts the law without question. It's quite sad indeed how much freedom we have lost and nobody seems to care.

[W}here were you when they increased the d.u.i. laws to the point of hardship?

Oh, I wasn't happy about that change either. I was not Internet savvy, being that the Internet had not yet been passed out of government hands and into the hands of so very many. I must admit that at this time I was under the brainwashing of the media, believing that there was really some kind of huge difference between Democrats and Republicans. I was probably not alone in this, but politics became more like a football game to me. Then again, other than writing letters to the editor, which I did from time to time, what was I to do?

[W]here were you when they passed the stupid non-smoking laws??
Yikes! I'm still incensed (sorry!) about this one. I heard on National Propaganda Radio the other day that Arkansas has banned smoking in private cars. I really hope that I was hallucinating. As with seat belts, I'm not much for smoking. In fact, I rather hate it, having grown up in a house filled with secondhand smoke. People, especially women for some strange reason, welcome these laws as if they were warm apple strudel. I can't explain why.

I'm open to ideas on how to protect the rights of myself and others.

Friday, May 7, 2010

You Don't Have To Go To Arizona To Be Treated Like A Terrorist

Be careful in Burbank, California: the city needs revenue.

Driving from the baseball field, where I'd dropped off Nine, to the place where Five and I were supposed to go to Nursery Rhyme Dance, I saw the police officer's motorcycle in my rear view mirror. I didn't think about it at the time, of course, but now I remember how Claire Wolfe, one of my favorite freedom writers, talked about not having a car and how wonderful it was to have freedom from the blue light in the rear view mirror. Ah, but our government taxfeeders do love to make us late for things and to miss things all together, just for the privilege of driving on their roads, of course. Here I was, a law-abiding mom just trying to get my children to where they needed to go, and totally and completely following the rules of the road. Except, of course, for the cell phone use rule. I've written about this ridiculous law when it was first passed in California, but now, things have really gotten out of hand. On a day when the stock market took a strange plunge, I began to see what our country is coming to: a totalitarian mess in which little old ladies, moms, and other innocent folks can be stopped, detained, asked for identification, and treated like a criminal. I did, of course, sign the document that said I was guilty of the crime, with no jury trial; not doing so may have gotten me arrested and harassed even longer by the people whose salary my tax dollars pay.

What really got me about this particular stop, my first in California (although I have gotten a camera ticket), is that the officer was so very polite in his zero tolerance mess. I was very polite back to him, of course. The officer seemed void of intuition, as if his common sense had been politely brainwashed out of him and he even had to give a ticket to someone who probably is a lot like his own wife. If you're not familiar with zero tolerance, it's this crazy thing that's all the rage in government schools these days. In fact, I read the other day that a kindergartner or first grader (I forget exactly which) was expelled for hugging another student. I help to manage and coach a t-ball team and yes, the children can get a bit huggy sometimes; and sometimes, they can hit each other too much. However, I always let them know, very gently, that hugging and hitting and all those touchy feely things aren't allowed on the t-ball field. We're there to play t-ball and that's it. I don't expel them, but I do warn them that if they continue behavior that has nothing to do with t-ball, they'll have to sit out the rest of practice. This kind of thing has worked (so far!) every time and the t-ball players generally stop whatever annoying distracting behavior they're doing and get down to business, at least for a couple of minutes. In the zero tolerance atmosphere of the government schools, however, there is indeed no room for common sense. Thus, the student who brings a knife to school, or who hugs another student, or who hits another student is now being shown the open door back to his or her parents house for a few days, where students belong in the first place.

I mention the zero tolerance atmosphere of the government schools because it is one that we are all slowly going to have to get used to. The last time I was pulled, for speeding as we were going through Arizona to North Carolina, the officer saw that I was an innocent mom, driving while my husband and sons slept. I told him that we were trying to get to our motel that night (it was after midnight). He very nicely gave me a warning ticket and I went on my way, extremely careful about not speeding. That was a couple of years ago, however. If you're expecting this kind of common sense behavior to continue from those whose loins are girded with tax money, you need to wake yourself out of your stupor.

I was woken up yesterday, as I was very nicely treated as a criminal in front of two of my children. The very polite officer, who was, of course, just doing his job, was more than likely fulfilling a quota. He had been sitting and waiting for someone like me, someone who believes the cell phone law is ridiculous and hasn't bothered paying to get a hands-free device or didn't want to put the phone on speaker, neither of which makes talking on the cell phone much safer. Make no mistake: if I'd told him that I was trying to get a sick child to St. Joseph's Hospital and I'd called the dad to tell him, this officer would not have budged. After all, he had a quota to fill. No doubt, Burbank revenue is now declining in this economy and the tax-feeding officer was up front about telling me that they are now ticketing heavily for cell phone use. In fact, when I finally made it to ballet and tap classes (unfortunately, we missed Nursery Rhyme Dance), I found that another mom had received a cell phone ticket just three weeks ago, with the same line from the officer about how Burbank is now ticketing heavily for cell phone usage. Translation: Burbank needs money and will extol it from those who drive within its confines, all the while making innocent people, in the supposed comfort of their own private property, into lightweight criminals.

I'd heard, as have others I talked with, that the cell phone use fee was $25 or so. But he told me that my ticket would be $130; the other mom I talked with told me that her ticket was $141. As our car registration is due this month, the officer reminded me that I must park my car after May 10th and not drive it until I receive the proper registration information. Yeah. Right. Mr. Thinking Mama, btw, said that we have until the end of the month. There is no doubt that the taxfeeding* officer saw what a target I really was and took it upon himself to remind me that I could become even more of a victim by the state of California. Having said all this, the taxfeeder did not pull me out of the car and frisk me or anything like that and in these days of Amerika as a police state, I should certainly be thankful for that. Still, it was a humiliating experience and the thing I've learned is that I now have to buy the more cumbersome "hands-free" device, which I was trying to avoid, and that I need to use the speaker and put my cell phone in my lap or in my console. A very well-meaning Facebook friend suggested that perhaps Burbank is trying to eliminate cell phone accidents, and I'm sure that any taxfeeder will tell you that's the case, but I don't believe that for a minute. In fact, I can tell you that if he'd been trying to do that, he would have done exactly what the officer in Arizona did: Give me a warning ticket. A good p.r. campaign could lower those accident rates, but the government would have to spend money to do it; by giving tickets, the government prospers.

On a related note, I happened to be going the wrong way on the very confusing Chandler Blvd. in Burbank the other day. A very sweet woman pulled up beside me and made me aware of what I was doing. I quickly got into the correct lane and continued, promising myself to be more careful in this neck of the proverbial woods. And yet, what would a police officer have done? Give me a ticket, no questions asked or answered. I'm thankful that zero tolerance has not yet creeped into the general population and the woman was helpful to me. When my father-in-law tells me, as he did just the other day, that the government is just trying to protect us, I almost have to laugh out loud. If the government were trying to protect us, they wouldn't be fining us at every opportunity. It's hard to believe that there was so little going on in Burbank at 5:30 p.m. that the officer had nothing better to do than give a mom a ticket. As more and more laws are created by those we elect to serve us, this situation is only going to get worse.

And so, if I'd been eating a hamburger or putting on make-up, I would have been okay. But talking on the cell phone with my husband cost me $130 and took away Five's and my Nursery Rhyme Dance class for the day.

I know that a lot has been said lately about Arizona and its new draconian law that allows anybody at anytime to be asked for papers please, but you don't have to go to Arizona to be treated like a terrorist. If your particular jurisdiction hasn't yet come around to the revenue-boosting zero tolerance attitude yet, it certainly will. Remember this: The government is not there to protect you; it's there because you pay it to be. I'm becoming more and more disgusted with the way it's treating its customers.