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.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The "Risks of Open Adoption," for Whom?!?

I should be going to bed about now, around 5:00 a.m., but I was trying to read the newspaper and came across this review of "The Mothers" by adoptress Jennifer Gilmore. I'd be disappointed in the adoption industry if she, with the L.A. Times blessing, didn't use the word "birth mother," as all of us  true mothers are called these days. I say that without really knowing what those who use egg donation, giving birth without passing along genetic information, are called. Not that their sort-of children are going to be less effed up than most adoptees. Natural mothers give birth and pass along genetic information to their children. But the adoption industry, now combined with the egg donation industry, is trying hard to make motherhood into something that relates more to a legal document than to nature.

It shouldn't really surprise me, then, that yet another adoptress has written a book about an adopter's struggle to obtain a child. Or maybe I should say adopters, being that the main character's husband seems to be in on the heist. Yes, in this fictional novel, there is great emphasis on how important it is for the potential adoptress to get that child. At all costs. As someone raised in North Carolina (although born in Virginia, being that my own natural mother was sentenced to a maternity home there), I had to admire the reviewer's note that "Jesse," the main character, talks her husband into a "drive to North Carolina to register with a Southern agency," being that they were rejected, evidently, by a Yankee agency because the potential adoptress had cancer at one point.

I need to tell you here that I didn't read this book. Lord, no. I long ago gave up reading most stuff from the adopter's point of view. It's simply so very out of touch with the realities of adoption that reading this kind of thing really makes me want to barf. It's not as though I'm going to write an actual review of the book. That's not what I'm here for. Another review I found when I looked up Adoptress Gilmore on the Internet says that after her book was finished, Gilmore did indeed eventually find a mother to take a baby away from, a baby boy.

This is not to say that Gilmore does not have insight into the whole baby process. Teaching at Princeton, which Gilmore does, should require that your writing have some insight, and evidently, Gilmore does with her writing. And so, I'm really complaining, as I so often do, about the mainstream media (MSM)'s love affair with adopters and adoption, a love affair most likely brought about by the $1.5 billion U.S. adoption industry. I really don't see people from other countries coming over here searching for children to take back home, the way that Western women do in Asian and African countries.

I'll also include a disclaimer here and say that the sadness of Gilmore's inability to conceive, perhaps due to cancer treatments, is indeed a sad thing. It's more than sad--it's tragic not to be able to have a child if you really want one. Usually, it is the female adopter who drives the adoption vehicle, bringing her husband along for the ride. I have a friend in North Carolina, for instance, whose barren wife kept insisting "I want a baby." How sad and tragic is this. However, nothing is ever solved by taking someone else's child. The husband in North Carolina, as most husbands do, felt awful about the whole thing and tried to make his wife happy by wrestling a baby away from his mom. I'm guessing Gilmore's husband, as with her main character's husband, just goes along with the ride, as most men do. As in most adoption cases, nothing is resolved. Infertility is not reversed. But a baby and mother's life will be altered for generations because a baby was coveted. It would have sure been nice if Gilmore, and her main character, were able to resolve things without taking someone else's child.

Oh, and as a side note, the review states that Gilmore had a "emotional and morally terrifying experience of choosing not to adopt a baby born with Down syndrome." Ah, poor baby. And by that, I mean poor Gilmore. While natural moms have to take whatever we get, adoptresses can pick and choose. Bless her greedy, covetous heart. I'm guessing that the boy she eventually obtained is a bit closer to Gilmore's idea of perfection than a baby with Down's syndrome.

The victors tend to be the ones who write history and so many adoptresses are out there writing and blogging and getting published that it's easy to see why their reviews are the ones we read in the newspaper. It becomes really easy to see how most people think that adoption is wonderful. In the case of my N.C. acquaintance, at one point, the natural mom wanted her child back. My acquaintance told me how heartbreaking this was for him and Wifey, without giving a single thought, evidently, to how the mother must have felt to lose her child. Only a society brainwashed in adoption myths could produce such a biased creature as my acquaintance.

Once in a while, mainstream media will produce a mother who has lost a child to adoption. In addition to reading the review of Gilmore's book this weekend, I also happened to hear a story, twice, on National Propaganda Radio's "This American Life" in which a mother tells about giving away her son. She blatently talked about how she had just gotten $15,000 in a settlement and used that money to buy a car while giving her son to strangers. If this isn't a sign of a sick society, I don't know what is. However, NPR wouldn't have run the story, no doubt, of a mother who was hoodwinked by adopters or of a mother who was almost talked into adoption but decided to keep her baby instead. No, the MSM doesn't run many of those stories.

As I told the boys when we were listening to part of the story a second time (it was way too triggering to listen to in its entirety), this mother thought a new car was more important than keeping her son. And, of course, MSM not only runs this type of story but rather, celebrates it. No doubt, if the mother of Gilmore's adoptee can help Gilmore to sell some books, she'll probably write the mother's story one day. I'll bet that either Gilmore's adoptee's mother will either be completely out of the picture or singing the praises of giving away her child.

The title of the L.A. Times' review is "A novel about the risks of open adoption," but of course, this means the risks for the adopters. Sure, Gilmore seems to attempt to get into the minds of the potential mothers who might give their child to her, but never does she see--I will bet money on this--how her greed for a child breaks up a natural family and leaves a mother and child separated, probably for life.

All that said, I did read the following quote that an adoptee wrote on her Facebook page this weekend. Just as I had never heard of Gilmore before this weekend, I had also never heard of the guy who wrote this quote, Daniel Ibn Zayd, but I totally dig his perception and desire to tell it like it really is.

 . . . [T]hose who are adopted, or those who are convinced to give up their children and who later feel angst about it (to put it quite mildly), and who also only wish to “fill the hole” that they see as missing in their lives, are then castigated in the harshest terms as ungrateful, and spiteful, and bitter. Why does no one say to infertile couples: “Get over it?” Why does no one say to those without children “THIS is God’s plan for you, not adoption”? Who, may I ask at long last, are truly the bitter individuals?” –Daniel Ibn Zayd

Why, indeed. Gilmore could learn a lot from Zayd's quote, but my guess is that she's far too brainwashed into believing that she's a mother to hear that there are those of us who know that she is not. As I'm guessing her character does, Gilmore has finally managed to wrestle a child from his mother. I'm not rejoicing one bit about that.

3 comments:

Linda Povey said...

Have you seen the movie, "Stuck," which just came out if Netflix? It's about the estimated 10 million orphans worldwide and the increasing difficulty of getting these kids into families. Just languishing like cattle in institutions.

How can you be against All adoption? I resent being called an Adoptress or that you would actually defriend someone on FB because they had adopted. I'm sorry you regret not growing up with your natural mother, or that you feel she was socially coerced into giving you up, but does that make ALL adoption bad?? In the real world of illness, war, natural calamity and other tragic circumstances, isn't it a wonderful alternative for kids who have no one? You seem very bright, but I think this topic deserves more nuance than your giving it.

Linda Povey said...

Have you seen the movie, "Stuck," which just came out if Netflix? It's about the estimated 10 million orphans worldwide and the increasing difficulty of getting these kids into families. Just languishing like cattle in institutions.

How can you be against All adoption? I resent being called an Adoptress or that you would actually defriend someone on FB because they had adopted. I'm sorry you regret not growing up with your natural mother, or that you feel she was socially coerced into giving you up, but does that make ALL adoption bad?? In the real world of illness, war, natural calamity and other tragic circumstances, isn't it a wonderful alternative for kids who have no one? You seem very bright, but I think this topic deserves more nuance than your giving it.

Linda Povey said...

Why don't you ever publish comments, not one? Or are you the only one doing any "thinking?"