Thursday, October 23, 2008

No Promises

I can't promise I'm back for good. But I'm trying. NaBloPoMo is next month. Over A Candle (my main blog) should be hopping next month. I would like to do NaBloPoMo here, too. But I don't know if I can crank out an adoption post every day. And trying to run two blogs every day for a month seems a bit overwhelming giving how much work has picked up. So no promises. If I can do it, I will do it. But I'm also going to make a concerted effort here, even if it's not every day next month.

But if you're still checking this site (as I am, to see how Shelly's search is going), you're probably sick of my mea culpas, and just want to see some real posts.

So here goes...

Tonight I spoke at a workshop for couples considering adoption. The evening was a panel discussion with a first mom, two sets of adoptive parents, and me, the adoptee. I did this last year. Indeed, almost exactly to the day. I even posted about it: Coming Out.

But a lot has happened in a year. I've gone from feeling really ambivalent about adoption to feeling pretty negative about adoption. I almost didn't agree to speak this time, as I didn't want to endorse adoption, and I also didn't feel right about going to this meeting and lambasting adoption, as much as I may have wanted to.

But with some encouragement from my adoptee friends, I went ahead. It was both a good idea and a difficult experience.

The first mom spoke first. She was probably only about 22 or so. She had relinquished 10 months ago. As she spoke, for nearly 45 minutes, she repeatedly claimed that she had no regrets, that she knew it was the right thing to do.

Feeling very uncomfortable, I just sat there. When one of the attendees asked her how her daughter referred to her, the mother said that she just wanted to be known by her first name. She never wanted the recognition of "mother." I knew that was probably true. My own mom told me that a lot during our first few months of reunion. But at some point, for me, it was so clear that she was my mother. But I said nothing. It wasn't my turn.

But it was so hard to listen to the repeated refrain of adoption was just meant to be. I don't buy it. And it serves to diminish the (common, if not universal) adoptee experience of alienation. But I've talked about that before.

When my turn finally came, I tried to lay out, somewhat simply, my story. I emphasized the importance of having information and connections to my origins. I used the term "first mom" as much as I could to counteract the "birth mother" repetition. I tried to acknowledge the "out-of-place" feeling of adoptees while pointing out that it wasn't a question of not having enough love.

I wanted to communicate the real dangers of adoption for the adoptee without completely trashing adoption. I'm not sure I struck the right tone, though I hope so. In the end, as much as I don't like adoption, I still want to do what I can to improve how it's handled, and to try to provide a balanced perspective for educating couples.

I'm glad I did it. But I don't really feel any better about adoption after the experience.


maybe said...

I feel sorry for the mother you mentioned. I just can't believe a woman can give birth and then immediatley stop thinking of herself as a mother.

phil said...

I felt badly for her, too. She said things like that so often, it smacked of trying to convince herself that she believed it. She said over and over again how she had no regrets. When you say it that often, it really sends up alarm bells.

I just felt badly for her. But I also wanted to shake some sense into her. Instead, I just sat there, feeling helpless.

maybe said...

I admire your ability to participate in that type of workshop. I wouldn't be able to get myself past the door.

Lori A said...

I too admire you for your efforts.

I agree that the first mother was convincing herself by saying it over and over. I know i still stand behind my decision, but that's only because Rachael says she had a good life. I don't think I would feel that way if she had not.

I do remember teling myself the same thing over and over. That I had no regrets as i was dying inside.

You don't have to help her, one day reality will smack her right in the face. It just hasn't been long enough yet. They need someone who has been at it longer, or come back and talk to her in 17 years.