Tuesday, January 09, 2007

JUST SOME THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

Allison Quets will finally hopefully gets the answers she deserves. I worry about the backlash against her. I am going to try and help dispel some of the myths surrounding her and other first mothers out there.

Many of you can't even begin to fathom what it is like to put a child up for adoption. Many of you have nothing but contempt for someone who does. For some adoptive parents (Lord knows I do not mean all - because I too have a mom that gets it) it is a God given right to adopt a child. Its not. Parenting is a right I agree. I think the only time that God truly blesses adoption is when there is abuse in the child's first family. Many of you view first mothers as being sluts, crackwhores and so forth. As time is moving forward that just isn't the case. First mothers do indeed care for their children even those who have been raped. I know because I have met a couple of them. Both of them are praying and hoping the access laws will soon be moving across this country. Believe me when I say, adoption isn't always the best policy. Adoption should be used in the cases of foster care, abuse, and true abandonment. Adoption in its present and past forms has shown itself to be coercive, cruel and painful. If Allison Quets isn't a perfect example of that, then there is Rashad Head, Stephanie Bennett and many many more. A friend of mine tonight told me of a story similiar to Rashad's. If you can't imagine what its like to give up a child, how can you even judge the situation? What many don't realize is that these women are beginning to think ~ Yes I could have done it. Why did I do it? Heck my parents were against me, my boyfriend did not care, and society looked down on women who got pregnant. How many of you remember your parents making you do something that you just hated? I hated doing dishes. I still do in fact. Used to get my butt whooped over it. I remember a time when I had a cat that turned on me, my mother made me give him up. It broke my heart. If I felt like that over cat, what would have been like for a child? I know that I would have been devastated. When I argue about adoption, its just about adoption. Abortion doesn't even begin to come into the equation. When women have an abortion, I think realize that they couldn't walk through the rest of their lives not knowing their children. I can understand that. It is better in their eyes to have a child returned to God where they KNOW that their child is protected. Whatever a choice a woman makes, it will be difficult. Could you walk through your life not knowing how your child is? I couldn't so I do understand where these mothers are coming from. I am one of those that protected my sexual health, used contraception, and did everything right. Because I have been on the poor side of things, I have compassion for them. Do you see what I am talking about? Over 90% of these women want to know that their children are alive and kicking it. Is it wrong to deny them that basic knowledge?

Many years ago, when I was maybe 13, a family friend's daughter got pregnant. We were all shocked by it. OOh that is when I got the two major talks. First the sex talk. Its funny I am approaching it the same way with my daughters. Straight and factual information, not the crap about abstinence. My daughters need to know what their bodies do, why their bodies do it that way, and when to expect it to start happening. The other was the adoption talk. My mother and I recently discussed this daughter. We both wondered if her child has made a reappearance back into her life. Since my mother was privy to many conversations about that, I think it really bothered her. I mean I got the "talk." Its not that we never talked about it. It just wasn't concentrated on it. I admittedly wonder if during that time frame which was emotionally troublesome for me, not because of that but for other reasons, if she didn't think about connecting the two of us. Knowing my mother as I do, she looked at that child as her grandchild and wondered how could they do something like that. Having run into a couple of situations similiar to that one. It is odd that when the daughters get pregnant, all her parents think is that it will destroy their daughter. They don't think about the baby as their grandchild. My mother would have thought of a baby as her grandchild if we had ever gotten pregnant. Years later she and I had the conversation about abortion and rape. She said that there is no way we would have gotten rid of the baby. I was initially furious with her. As I have begun to understand this adoption and its darkside, I see her point. This was way before the search even began. I have learned throughout the years in this country, that women and children are not valued. We very often seem to turn against ourselves. We have to remember that it could very well happen to any one of us.

In adoption no matter how you look at it ~ the three sides of this have suffered loss. I feel the loss of my heritage, my first parents, and who am I truly. For me who I am truly has been the biggest hurdle. No matter what they say, an adoptee does face that issue whether it be subtlely or overtly. Many adoptees find it hard to articulate the feelings that they feel. Many also have those feelings dismissed. Sometimes its intentional and other times unintentional. I always felt this huge guilt. I also had reoccurring dreams of having blinders on. I kept trying to see what was chasing me. I could never seem to open my eyes to see it. The last serious one I had was when we moved to San Marcos, Texas. If I had them since then, I don't remember them.

Seeing my mother as I do, I know that she has. She wasn't the one who had fertility issues. It was my first adoptive dad. She wanted a child badly. Once I told her the story of what happened with me, a part of her feels guilty because she brought me home. A part of her feels grateful that the situation turned like it did. She thinks it was selfish of her to bring me home. Yet she didn't have a clue what was going on at that time. No one knew. The people that did know didn't do anything about it. Everything about her feelings make sense to me. Its logical. If she could write a blog, it would be something very similiar to Third Mom's blog.

As far as my first father, he felt loss in a major way. He had lost three children in childbirth. His wife was told not to have anymore. So loss was there. He had one daughter. I could not tell you the reason why he fought so hard. I wasn't there or should I say that I don't have a memory. I don't even know if he even got to see me. That information wasn't given to me. He loses a child to adoption. He risked it all to get me. He still lost. If there is anyone I seriously feel compassion for is him. He lost four kids. As the system stands now, he will die without ever knowing that I have fought for him, that I have tried looking everywhere for him.

My first mother is whole another ball game. No matter how I try to figure her out. I will always be at a loss. Yes she wondered about me all of her life. Yes she wondered if she would ever get the call. Its hard to swallow that she feels that I represent every mistake she ever made. I often wonder when she will forgive herself. I also wonder if she will ever forgive my first father, her mother, her father, and me. I have long ago learned that forgiveness isn't about the other individual but about ourselves and healing ourselves.Out of love and respect for all my first mom friends, I try to keep the anger of her refusal in check. I am her only daughter. I have two daughters. I personally could not ever reject my daughters or their children. Just as my own adoptive mother would never have rejected any of hers. Yet she must also feel loss. A baby that came from her was taken from her. I am half her genetics. She can't allow herself to feel what happened back then. I think she feels that she would fall apart. I worry when the time comes if she would try to do something to herself. I worry about her completely freaking out going bananas on me. I can't go as far as her feelings because I am perceiving the feelings in the transcripts as a blatant attack on me. I am sure that there is loss. I just wish that she would articulate it to me personally. I began this road trip being naive. I am no longer that person. I can say that I really want to know her feelings including the time around my conception to the years after.

With so much loss in adoption, with so much coercion, lying, coverup, and pain, don't you think maybe we ought to change it? I do. I think the first thing that has to happen is opening the records. Without any limitations, open them up and allow access to all in the triad. Make it a true triad. No restrictions, just open.

With requiring medical history, we are infringing on the HIPPA laws and privacy laws of our first parents. It needs to be about the facts. It needs to be about the statistics. The right to a reunion and the right to medical history should play no part in the arguments. That is when we begin to settle for less. With non adopted folk, there is communication between family members. With adopted folks there isn't. It should come from our first parents just like the non adopted folk are. I do feel that the amended birth certificate is a falsified document. It should record all information. It should have both the first parents' names, what they named the baby, the name that the adoptive parents gave the baby, and the names of the adoptive parents. It should have the exact same information as the non-adopted have on their birth certificates. The records should be access to all in the "triad." Not the other two legs, the adoption agencies and the adoption attorneys. Those agencies, attorneys, and their groups that support them should not make the laws that govern adoption. We are in it living and breathing it. The laws should reflect how we feel. The laws should represent all of us equally. It is no longer the triad. It is currently about the adoption agencies and the adoption attorneys ability to make a buck off us. This is after all a 1.6 BILLION DOLLAR business annually.

I also believe that all adoptions should be open with communication going back and forth between both sets of parents. The open adoption agreements should be upheld because it is the child that suffers from the discourse between both sets of parents. The only time that records should be closed is with clear, proven cases of abuse of any kind on any side of adoption. If an adoption dissolves or the child is returned, the first parents should be notified. Remember this is not merchandise but human lives. As far as safe haven laws, if we are not going to prosecute, get the parents information. That person will change their minds twenty years down the line. They won't be able to find their child. The child won't be able to find their parents and heritage. You can still protect, keep quiet about it, and give a child his identity.

Make the agencies provide information on all choices, parenting, adoption, and abortion. Make sure that the adoption agencies and attorneys do a full disclosure for both sides. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for each one. Do not put emphasis one or the other. If a mother has the facts, she will then make a much better decision. Give her adequate time after the birth to ensure that her choice is the correct one. Also give the father a real opportunity to raise the child. His rights and choices have long since been by the wayside. If he has the capacity, the financial responsibility, emotional capability, then he should have that right. It protects the adoptee, it protects the first parents, and it protects the adoptive parents. No one deserves the lifelong condemnation with adoption as it stands.

7 comments:

iris eyes said...

Amy,

wonderful post.We have a long way to go, but we can work for these goals.
thanks,
Iris Eyes

Anonymous said...

Amy, I'm sorry for the pain adoption has caused you. I'm sorry about Allison Quets's situation, which brought me to your blog, but I'm glad to be able to read your words and learn more about adoption experiences.

I do not have personal experience with adoption, as an adoptive parent or adoptee, but have friends and family who fit in both groups, so the issue is one that is important to me. I would like to see the things in your last paragraph implemented.

Suzanne

Anonymous said...

Hi amy,
I have been following Rashad Head's case as best I can through the internet. I feel so much for this upstanding young man and his family. While trying to look up information on this story, I came across the girlfriends old xanga webpage from when they were dating back in 2005 and a new xanga page started in 2006. It stopped being updated in februray, but it is clear in both websites how much in love she was with Rashad...She has tons of pictures of the two together and all she talks about is how much in love she is with him and how amazing he is and I think it's VERY telling about the kind of person he is, so I find it funny that her (or her parents) lawyers are trying to say he was uninvolved and didn't care abou her...also it's clear her family is well off enough to afford top quality lawyers...It's such a shame she is a beautiful girl and they seemed to be so much in love...it seems HER parents are the ones who have torn them apart. Check out the website for yourself. Please keep us updated on the case! Here's the website...
http://www.xanga.com/fiNEZTliLMAMi

Thank you!
A concerned supporter...

Lisa said...

Amy,

I'd like to ask your insights about some queries I've been getting about reactive attachment therapy.

I recently posted on my blog about the Gravelles, and how they mistreated the 11 special needs children whom they had adopted, even to the point of forcing some of them to sleep in cages.

I had written a letter to the Toledo Blade about it, stating:

I am concerned by the Gravelle’s defense attorney’s attempts to pathologize the children in order to shift blame away from the Gravelles. Whether or not children were harmed by prenatal experiences does not excuse placing those children in an unsafe environment.

The Gravelles were unequipped to keep the eleven children in their care from danger than caging them. They should never have been entrusted with that many children – particularly special needs children.

Social worker Elaine Thompson used poor judgment. When she contacted by the Gravelles in 2000, she did not recognize their cry for help.

As a former foster child and current child advocate, I state here and now that foster children are like any other children. We want to be in an environment that is safe and nurturing. To have caregivers who are attentive to our individual needs.

If you had a child with Down syndrome, would you push her head into a toilet or put a sock into her mouth? If you adopted a child who had trouble emotionally bonding to you, would you lock him into a cage?

How can a child learn trust from violence, or learn to bond through solitary confinement?

Moreover, foster children are not cattle, to be herded into any placement that is available. There is a disturbing trend to place children into any bed available, regardless of developmental needs or safety. Not only were the children unsafe with the Gravelles, by all accounts they were unsafe with one another.
-----Original Message-----

Well, one of my readers contacted me and mentioned that the therapists, Mershona Parshall and Elaine Thompson, knew about the cages but didn't say anything because they didn't want to risk the thousands of dollars they were receiving for 'therapy' for these children.

He believes that reactive attachment therapists have found a loophole in the funding.

He pointed out that therapists like Mershona Parshall receive $120 per hour, and 90% of her clients are from the county.

Amy, do you know anything about the type of therapy that adopted children receive and the funding that is provided for it?

Thank you so much for your time,
Lisa
http://sunshinegirlonarainyday.blogspot.com/

MaeDay said...

Thanks Amy for putting your heart/soul/mind into this post.

Mia said...

(((Amy)))

Mia said...

My comment vanished! Sigh.... Well, we'll talk soon.