Saturday, July 19, 2008


Just a quick distraction from the COA, a blogger wrote a post on this issue. Rather than hijack her blog, I am hoping to bring the detractors over to me. She was discussing privacy in the context of foster care and other forms of adoption. I spoke in certain terminology that I am accustomed to. One individual, John, got extremely hostile to my response. Singling out terminology.

After she wrote her post, I responded in this manner:

I just joined to email Angela but I wanted to comment on this one. I have three blogs and they stretch me out way too much. This site has commented on two of them. I own the Adoption and Its Triad, Coleman Moms and Babes, and Indiana Open.

When an adoptee is out of foster care, I agree that the records and circumstances should be sealed until the age of majority for the child. There are situations that are just too horrific for the child to continue to bear.

I think there does need to be a sense of transparency in adoption for all living adoption. That information however doesn't need to be public information. If you enter an open adoption, all parties including the first parents should honor it. If a closed adoption is chosen, please make sure that you get your child's information. Get that OBC for your child's sake. Whether or not they choose to act on it is another story. That is totally not connected to how an adoptive parent raises that child.

I am an adoptee rights activist. I believe the child should be told the truth no matter what. It should be age appropriate. The first parents should be spoken with kindness and respect. No matter how you personally feel about them.

The right to privacy is about the right to be free from governmental interference. Read Roe vs. Wade on the specifics. First parents most definitely have the right to say no to contact just as an adoptee does. That OBC is something that we will need to prove our American citizenship.

Sometimes very honestly people need to mind their own business. I have friends on both sides of the spectrum. One friend, V, is raising a child that by all legal means should be the legal mother of her son. This is where adoption really ticks me off. I realize the disparity of it. The "birth" mother (she is really a horrid woman) gave her son an adult dose of meth. How the boy survived is beyond me. She still has her parental rights. Because V. and her husband requested that the court venue be changed, they are just the guardians of this child. The judge in her case got mad at them for suggesting it. So every few months they have to go to Amarillo. This woman said that my friend's husband was the father. DNA tests have proven otherwise but they have been raising this boy for years now. This woman still has supervised visits. In this situation, the adoption should have been finalized. The case completely and utterly closed until her son is an adult.

I do understand the privacy issue but not at the child's expense.

He responded with pure hostile vitriol:

Interesting comment Amy. What an interesting treatment of adoptive parents. We are no more significant that baby sitters? First Parent is used by birthparents and adoptees who have an axe to grind about adoption. No, Amy, it is not appropriate. Put it any way you want to, but the child came to live with his adoptive parents because the birth parents couldn't, or for cause, weren't allowed to raise the child. One set of parents did do the job, and the other did not. The birth parents may be wonderful people, they still were not there for their child.

If the birth parents are first, then obviously the adoptive parents are second (in the case of one of my sons, counting foster families, I would be number 21). No Amy, we are not second best, we did what the child needed and we do not come after the birth parents in importance to the child. Yes, there are unaccepting adoptees who will argue this, but the bottom line is that it was the adoptive parents and not the birth parents who cared for them.

Using first parent sets up the thinking. All rights to the first family and the adoptee. The adoptive parents should have no rights to decide any thing, or be the sole decsion maker on anything.

Adoptive parents need to treat the birth parents with kindness and respect. No, wrong. The adoptive parents need to be kind to the child and respect that these are his birthparents. It is very wrong to do the 'Yes, they may have done some things wrong (like severe abuse), but they are your parents, and we need to get over this so we can make nice and think nice thoughts.' The child's emotions need to be validated, not minimized. Adoptive parents need to tell it honestly about the birth parents, being considerate of who these people are to the child.

Yes the adoptive parents are the collectors and guardians of the childs information. Yes, it needs to be disclosed at an age appropriate time. No, the adoptive parents are not inconsequential bit players. John

This John individual has no respect for natural parents. The topic wasn't even about terminology. It was about privacy. I most certainly understand the issues that she is having. Her child's story should have to be told over and over again to another who doesn't have a vested interest. It is no one's business. It is up to the child to discuss this story.

She brought up open adoption agreements and agencies forcing them into them to include foster care adoptions. I do think that open adoptions in domestic adoption are the best for the child. Adoption should be about the child. If the parents, both adoptive and natural, choose a closed adoption, I still believe that there should be a full disclosure of information for the sake of the child. Again adoption is about the child.

However, foster care is a whole nother ball game. That is dependent on the circumstances of the adoption. Foster care adoption is supposed to be about the best interest of the child. The information in the court case should not be public information but it should be available to the adoptive parents and the adoptee. It should not be sealed from those living adoption. We have got to keep these agencies accountable to us living adoption. The adoption industry defines confidentiality to suit its own purpose.

Okay terminology. In real life, I call birth/first/natural/biological parents mothers and fathers. I call adoptive parents exactly that adoptive parents. If I am in a particular pissy mood, I call them adopters or abductors. Lord knows I have seen enough of those. I am involved in two organizations. OriginsUSA and Concerned United Birthparents. I am also a member of several adoptee organizations too. Some natural parents don't mind being called birthparents. Others do. I do my best to be respectful to all. I personally don't like my natural mother being defined by my birth.

Its a shame that John wants to make a good discussion about confidentiality and privacy into an argument about terminology. FaithA I didn't want your blog hijacked from a good conversation.


Eve said...

Amy, another interesting article, as usual. I have some comments that come up after reading this post. I didn't read the original discussion; only your comments here.

First, I do not like the term "natural" parents because it suggests that adoptive parents are unnatural. We're natural too; we are also biological creatures. Therefore I like the "birth parent" and "adoptive parent" terminology; one is a parent by virtue of birth; the other by virtue of adoption. Simple. It is the best we can do.

John picked on the issue of "first parent." I find that a little silly. The parents who birthed the child are, in fact, the first parents. Nothing can ever change that if we are numerically ranking people. I was the third or fifth or seventh parent for some of my children; I would find it ridiculous to be called the "fifth mother," on the one hand; but on the other hand if we're counting, it would be accurate. What about my child who had more than one adoptive mother? If we have to define people for a certain historical purpose, we are going to assign place. John has a problem with that, in my opinion, possibly because he does not want to be "second" or "fifth" in any sense. He has a problem with his kids' original parents.

This brings me to my next point: having a problem with the kid's original parents. If the original parents are only monsters in anyone's minds, then my child is the child of monsters; monsterism is hereditary, we know that; therefore, inside my child lurks a hidden monster. If nobody teaches my child that EVERYONE HAS AN INNER MONSTER, then my kid concludes that only he and his original parents are monsters. This is such a terrible injustice to the child and his parents, and myself, that I am in danger of over-identifying with the Hero archetype. I am here to save my child from the evils of Monsterism, Glory To My Name.

Ugh. John is an over-developed heroic type, saving orphans and wanting to pretend his children are only victims who needed to be saved. I have children who are ABUSE SURVIVORS. Their parents might have been horrible in many ways, but, given other lives themselves, and other opportunities, would they not have also been wonderful?

This whole issue is one about basic human nature, judgment, blame, saving, God, Satan, hell, heaven, and everything human. It incenses people because people habitually refuse what they consider to be "not me." They are so wrong about that, but nobody can convince them until they see their own shadow side. As long as they only see the shadow out there in others--and in the parents of their adopted abused kids, they cannot possibly be whole human beings. They're caricatures.

Amyadoptee said...

Here is his response on FaithA's blog. I am bringing it here.

John's response:

Nowhere in your comment Amy, do you specify that you are only talking about infant adoption. In fact, an example you give near the end of your comment is about a child abused by his birthmother. Yes, my viewpoint is foster care adtoption. That is very much adoption too.

In infant adoption, it can be argued that the birthparent surely would have cared for the infant if circumstances allowed it. I would think that is true in most situations. It is still the adoptive parents who cared for and raised the child, they are not second, and yes if you are going to reserve first for the birth family, then the adoptive parents by mathmatics are no higher than second. Who did the job and who didn't, without excuses?

The opposite of natural is unnatural, not adoptive. I have two eyes, two ears, one nose and one mouth, I am not unnatural.

Entitled adoptors, get a grip Amy. Would that include the adoptive parents who get to make frequent trips to the emergency room for injuries to them from their physically aggresive adopted child who is filled with rage over the abuse he has lived through? What about the adopted child who is in constant trouble with the school and the law, again due to unresolved rage? I have done both, I am not a saint, just a parent. My sons are my sons, yes Amy, they belong to me and I belong to them. That means we own each other, we are a real family. We are adopted. John

My response will be posted here. You don't own a child. They are on loan from God. I am including my own in that description. You still sound like an entitled adopter no matter how you want to argue yourself out of this.

Amyadoptee said...

Another comment from John on Faith's blog.

Amy there doesn't seem to be any comments or response on your blog. As I thought you do not see adoptive parents as full parents, only birth parents, that is from the stuff you did post (When I am pissy...).

Dude obviously you didn't hit my blog. Eve up there is an adoptive parent. I consider my own adoptive mother a mother just as much as my natural mother.

I do however diss the entitled adopters. I do it quite often. I think Faith A and Angela can attest to that fact. They have read some of the horror stories on my blog. In fact, Angela is helping get additional information on the Russian accreditation system. I know many adoptive parents who will read what you wrote and be appalled. I will continue to leave Faith's blog alone. Are you too afraid to confront me on my turf? I don't want you hijacking Faith's blog because of your pure hatred of your child's "birthparents."

Anonymous said...

What I find fascinating in these discussions of diction is the idea that a term used for one kind of parent is somehow misconstrued as negative for another. Natural parent is the legal term for biological and genetic is birth mother. Adoptive parents don't like the first and think it implies that they are unnatural, and biological mothers don't like the second because to them the phrase is synonomous with breeder.

Where is there a term that actually works for all? Would love to see one.

And yes, Faith, if you want to count, then someone could be the 21st mother of a child. (What a lot of change for that poor child.) How does that make the mother 21st best, or "second best" in any way. It's, as far as I understand, simply a chronological assessment. Plain and simple, you ARE the mother now and it's up to you to take care of the child and make up for all the change and the fact that 21 women have held this role in a short life.

Wonder what Third Mom thinks of this discussion. Has she been by? I totally respect her and her statements on such things.

Amyadoptee said...

Actually Faith is not the person making these comments. It is a gentleman by the name of John. He is determined to take over Faith's blog with this conversation. I don't want her original post to be taken over by terminology. So when I get notice of his conversation. I post it here.

Lori A said...

Oh yawn! Title entitlement again. I am a relinquishing mother and truth be told, no matter how you slice it I AM the first mother, I AM the biological mother, I AM the natural mother. Those other people, they're her parents. They deserve the title, but it still doesn't change the fact that their daughter came through my womb. Who cares. I make no claims to my daughter that do not include her parents. It took all of us, including her first, bio, natural father to create and raise her. They couldn't create. We couldn't take care of. She has 4 parents who love her. It really is that simple if you would only let it be.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Amy. Sorry to take so long to respond. I was out of town for a long weekend and am just now catching up on my blogs. (I wrote ahead and auto-published while I was away.)

Thank you for moving the off-topic discussion over to your blog. I am looking forward to continue the "Secrecy Versus Privacy" discussion with you over on my blog. :0)

Re: terminology -- I try to be respectful of my audience. Because people on your blog seem to prefer the term "first parent," I will use that term as well whenever I post a comment to your blog. As there is not agreement in the adoption world about what is the most respectful term to use when referring to a woman who has placed a child for adoption, I think following the lead of whomever you are speaking with is the best call.

As for John's hostility toward the term "first parent," he is coming at adoption from a very different place because he adopted several severely abused children out of the foster care system. That is a very different dynamic from the situation in which a woman makes a loving choice to place a child for adoption.

Most people assume that all mothers always have the child's best interest at heart. (I am not speaking of first mothers here -- This comment is about ALL mothers.) This is, unfortunately, not always the case.

I, myself, started being sexually abused by my mother when I was a toddler. My mother also provided numerous other people (family "friends") access to my body throughout most of my childhood. And yet, I cannot tell you how many times people try to get me to "excuse" her behavior because "she is still your mother." That makes her actions WORSE, not better. (I have written about this topic extensively on my personal blog:

One of the biggest challenges in healing from mother-daughter sexual abuse is that people do not want to believe that mothers can do this kind of thing. I always say that I guess my mother didn't get the memo. :0) I should have been removed from my severely abusive home, but I wasn't until I walked away myself in adulthood.

If I had been adopted into a new home, I would imagine that an adoptive parent would have felt the same hostility toward my mother as John feels toward his children's first mothers. Women who torture their children lose the right to be esteemed in any way, and I suspect that John views the term "first," which puts him "second," as esteeming the people who tortured and "broke" his children.

I am not trying to "defend" John -- he is perfectly capable of doing that himself :0) -- but to help explain where he is coming from. I have no issues with the term "first parent," but my son's first parents did not torture him. I wish I could find another term for my mother (I generally refer to her as my mother-abuser) because she does not deserve the title "mother" at all. The fact that I survived DESPITE her hardly earns her a Mother's Day card.

Take care,

- Faith

Amyadoptee said...

I tried Faith. I do understand how he feels. Like the birthmother in my friend's story, I don't know what to call her. My friend has had to jump through hoops. I don't get it at all. She has to record what he eats, when he eats, what he does and how he does it. If he comes out here to visit, all of that is recorded. I don't understand situations like that. I don't even know if they get an additional money for it. How can any woman give her child an adult dose of meth is beyond me.She still does the same thing that she did that got her in this position.

I agree that foster care is a whole nother ball game. I usually write from an domestic infant adoption mindset. I wish John would realize that there are other types of adoption. I full recognize my adoptive mother as my mother but I also recognize my first monther as mother. Without either, I would not be here.