Eight facts about adoption from Lorraine Posner Zapin

Eight facts about adoption from Lorraine Posner Zapin.
1: Infants are not “gifts” to bestow on people who cannot have them.
2: Waiting 10 yrs or 20 or 50 does not entitle one to a baby born to another or make someone more worthy to have that baby.
3: Most natural mothers have been subjected to some form of coercion.
4: When a child is lost to adoption it has NOTHING to do with God.
5: The only reason a baby is lost to adoption is that there is insufficient support of a mother in crisis.
6: The percentage of women who happily surrender an infant, experience no regret and peacefully zip along in life is less than 5 per cent.
7: The concept of an adopted child being “the same as” a natural born child is a myth.
8: Adoption is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

My Response to Jeremy and Jenny Advertising to Adopt in Yard Sales and Trades

Dear Jeremy and Jenny,

I saw your ad on April 24, 2017 posted in Tri-Cities, TN, Yard Sales, Trades & Wanted, with the title “Loving Couple Hoping to Adopt.” So good of you to include your telephone number, your email address, your website and your Facebook page. This is advertising to take another woman’s baby from her. Other words used to describe advertising to adopt are: trolling for children, child trafficking, kidnapping. You are instructed to use coercive language to convince a pregnant teen or young woman that she is not able to parent her own child.

Even though you say you know adoptees and see how they have bonded with their adoptive families, I thought you might want to hear from an adoptee to tell you the other side of adoption, the side you do not want to see.

The both of you may or may not be aware that there is such a thing as the adoption reform movement. We consist of mothers-of-adoption-loss and adoptees, lawyers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, clergy and many of us are authors who have been rising up against the established adoption practices of modern America since our movement began in 1953.

But you don’t care, you just want a baby. Any baby will do. And while you are coveting someone else’s baby, these are the words of a friend of mine who posted a link to the following article just last night on Facebook: “So you think this is far-fetched? Does this not describe the adoption and surrogacy industry? To a ‘T’.” She is referring to this article: We Live in the Reproductive Dystopia of “The Handmaid’s Tale”  http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/we-live-in-the-reproductive-dystopia-of-the-handmaids-tale

I suggest you read this article as the both of you have a lot to learn. But I doubt if you will take the time necessary to attempt to comprehend the magnitude of what you want to do to destroy a family so that you could have that baby of your dreams.

Me, I am a 61 year old adopted woman. I was raised as an only child by a father and a mother who did not want me to ever know the truth. They willfully kept me away from my full blood siblings. Yes, they knew the whole truth, but they wanted a child all to themselves. They got what they wanted. I was the innocent child who knew nothing. I loved my parents with every fiber of my being.

Until I was 18 in 1974. That’s when I was found by my full blood siblings: three sisters and a brother. We also had two step brothers, two step sisters, and a baby half-brother. (The add-ons were from our father’s subsequent marriages.) My siblings told me that I was the youngest of five children born to our mother. Our father told me that his wife, my mother, was dying while pregnant with me. Her body tried to survive so I was born early at 32 weeks gestation. My mother died three months later.

A Catholic priest told my father to give the baby (me) to two parents. He did. He kept the other four children, and got married to a woman he knew in high school. I will believe what my father told me the day we met. He said that the priest told him “the baby needs two parents”. My father made the choice to give me to a married couple he chose because he was a very religious man and followed the advice of his parish priest.

I was in the middle of two families. Everyone had their own versions of what happened. To my extended adopted family, most aunts and uncles thought I was disloyal to my adoptive parents. A few of my adoptive relatives were kind and compassionate, comforting me as they could see how traumatized I was at learning the truth in the way it was presented to me. My natural blood family also did not know how to proceed with a reunion as there were no guide books back then. I was the one in the middle, caught in the crossfire. Both sides expected me to be what I was not. I have had absolutely no contact for nearly 40 years with the sisters who found me. I want it that way.  Not because I am against reunion, but because they are cruel, insanely vicious people. Today, there are only a few cousins from both families who truly love me, and I them.

Yes, my childhood was filled with joy, because I was a child. There were times, though, that I felt different. I was alone. Deep down, I knew I was not alone. But I was not allowed to know.

My innocent childhood was over the day I was contacted by my eldest sister who knew where I was for ten years before making that first phone call. I felt violated. I had no privacy. Everyone knew about me but I was the one who was not allowed to know the secret. No one cared how I felt.  They were all too busy telling me how to feel and what I should do.

As a direct result of my reunion and the shock of all the lies my adoptive parents told me, and of all the hate heaped upon me, I became an activist and have been one since 1974. I have fought ever since against the laws that stole my birth certificate. I speak out against social and legal prejudice that marks adoptees as ungrateful and allows people like yourselves to troll for babies to adopt by advertising to lure a pregnant teen or young adult into your clutches.

Jenny and Jeremy, you desire a baby. So what? You have each other. You are both alive. My mother DIED at age 30! My mother DIED so that I could make my adopters HAPPY. I would rather have had my dead mother back to life and my siblings and my father as a family than the life full of lies and deceit, scapegoating, and loneliness I was forced to live because of adoption.

My mother’s name was Genevieve. They called her Gene. (I also see Genetics in her name. How appropriate.) They also called her Genny.

Jenny, how does the similarity in names feel? Kinda gets ya, or at least it should, Jenny. If she had lived, my mother (not my birthmother, my MOTHER, Genny) would be 90 years old now.

And, for the record, with all the fighting my adoptive mother caused between us, she always spoke of my mother as “your mother” as a sign of respect. Never once did my adoptive mother utter the words “birthmother” or “birthfather”. She always addressed my father as “your father”. To me, my adoptive father was also “my father”, just as my adoptive mother was always “my mother”.

How old are you, Jenny? Can you comprehend the losses I had to live through in the first three months of my life to make it possible for me to make my adoptive parents happy? Isn’t that an incredible burden to place upon one tiny premature infant? And to carry that burden throughout my life? Just to fulfill the desires of a childless couple?

No, I didn’t need a new home. I already had one. I needed my family, not a new, fabricated, one. I didn’t need a new name, or a new birth certificate, I already had a name and a birth certificate.

How much reading have you done on adoption psychology, Jenny and Jeremy? Do you know who Jean Paton was? She was my friend. Do you know who Annette Baron and Ruben Pannor were? They were my friends and colleagues. Look them up. Do you know who Betty Jean Lifton was? She was also my friend and colleague.

Do you know who Joe Soll is? Do you know who Carol Schaefer is? Do you know who Lorraine Dusky is? Do you know who Lori Carangelo is? Why not? Do you know what Americans For Open Records is? Why Not? Do you know who Sandy Musser is? Why not? Do you know who Lee Campbell is? Have you seen her historical videos on YouTube when she appeared on Teh Phil Donahue Show talking about Concerned Untied Birthparents? You don’t? Why Not? Do you know who Mirah Riben is?  Why not? Look up her articles on Huffington Post. You will get a valuable education.

In fact, look up all of these names and you will see that they are authors. Some are adoptees, some are mothers of adoption loss. All of them are pioneers in adoption reform. And there are many, many others who have had the courage to speak out against the discriminatory system of adoption.

If you don’t know who these pioneers in adoption reform were, and are, then you know nothing about adoption. NOTHING.

Have you even been to an International adoption reform conference held by the American Adoption Conference? NO? How about Bastard Nation? NO?

I’ve been attending local and regional adoption support meetings for adoptees since 1975. How about you? I’ve been attending adoption reform conferences since 1976. How about you?

I know thousands of adoptees, mothers-of-adoption-loss from around the world. How about you?

Do you what the Baby Scoop was? Why not?

Do you know what the Stolen Generation was? Why not?

Do you know about the Magdalene Laundries? Why not? I know women who gave birth there, and women and men who were born there, survived, and are looking for their mothers. Do you?

Have you ever read any books on adoption social work and psychology? Adoption law? Have you read any books written by mothers-of-adoption-loss? By adoptees? By fathers? By therapists? NO? Why not?

Oh, yes, this is an important edit I am adding 24 hours after this post was published. Jenny and Jeremy, add this book to your reading list: The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce. You will really like that one!

Jenny and Jeremy, have you ever really talked with women who have lost their infants at birth through forced adoption? They describe the event of birth and the immediate taking of their womb-fresh newborns as being “de-babbied” and “raped of baby at birth.”

Have you ever thought about what it feels like to an adoptee to celebrate the day they were born by feeling a tremendous sense of loss? Do you know how it feels to know that the day you were born was the day you were removed from the only mother you ever knew as you grew inside her? This thing called adoption prevents the natural order of life itself.

Will the adoption you choose be opened or closed? Open adoptions close all the time because once the adopters get the baby, they run. All the legal papers say the baby is theirs now, by birth, no less, so they close the adoption and leave no forwarding address.

And the child’s birth certificate is changed.

Do you want to start your relationship with someone else’s child you will call your own based on dishonesty, deception, and lies?

Jeremy, you will have nothing to do with siring the child. Jenny, you will not participate in the conception, or pregnancy, or the birth. Therefore, neither one of your names belongs on a birth certificate. But, adoption will provide you that privilege of having your names on a birth certificate for a baby you did not create, but hope to adopt.

Why do you want to participate in government-sanctioned lies?

Does your church promote lies? Is lying a sin?

If you are both honest people, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves for contemplating placing false facts on a birth certificate of a child you did not create.

Jeremy and Jenny, please, turn your desire for someone else’s baby into kindness and sympathy as to what young parents are going though when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Do they need help to keep their family together? Do you really need to pry them apart? Can you help out by being there as friends, as care givers? As legal guardians for a child while the parents figure out what they need to do to pull their lives back together? You can love a child without legally changing the child’s name and birth certificate, or without forcing a child to give up their entire family so that you can have the experience of parenting.

You are pleading for a mother to give up her baby to you. And for a father to be unknown to his child. That is selfish and cruel of you.

Stop. Are you Christian? Would Jesus want you to ask a mother to give up her baby? What kind of people are you? Are you people of faith or are you predators?

Adoptees and mothers-of-adoption-loss have no choice but to accept what was done to us. We work tirelessly, without pay, to make sure not one more mother or father loses their child to predators like you. We work tirelessly, without pay, to change the laws so that we may access the truth of our births that was taken from us.

For adoptees and mothers of loss, we must Radically Accept that adoption has negatively affected us.

Now I am asking YOU to take on what we are told by our therapists: you must meditate and go into full Radical Acceptance of your situation. You must Radically Accept that you cannot have children because of a medical condition. Grabbing up someone else’s child will not cure your medical condition.

Radical Acceptance might cure you of your emotional need to take someone else’s child and pretend that child is yours. You are infertile. Adoption does not cure infertility. Neither does a false birth certificate that declares you sired and gave birth to a child you know you didn’t.

Jeremy and Jenny, the two of you are married. You have each other. You love each other. Be grateful for what you have. Radically Accept your lot in life and face reality. Hold on to each other for the true joy that you have, and then you would not cause others multitudes of lifelong emotional pain. To covet another woman’s child and another man’s child is a sin. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife….

Think about it.

Change your ways.

Repent your sins.

There is No Rational Explanation for Coercion to Give up a Baby for Adoption

This blog entry is a response to reading Cedar’s blog post: Adoption Practice: “What is coercion?”

Many years ago I was the only adoptee rooming with a half dozen mothers-of-adoption-loss in a hotel room. They were surprised at my support for them, saying that adoptees were hostile to them because of being given away, but I wasn’t hostile to them.

Maybe it was because I before I entered into adoption awareness in 1974 I was introduced to feminist thought in 1971. I was 15 at the time. Womanhood came first and with that came the understanding of what it means to be able to carry life within and the struggle to gain independence from men. So, I understood womanhood long before I was thrown into shock at being found by siblings I was never supposed to know.

So, when I hear of women’s voices telling of what actually took place for them, I believe them.

It is a great burden to have reunion thrust upon an 18 year old who was raised in a sheltered life. My upbringing lead me into believing that sex before marriage was a sin, and was bad, that pregnant teens were, well, you know. That was what I was forced-fed in home and at school and at church. The cognitive dissonance really hit me in 1971 when Canada Jane came into my life. She was a beautiful traveler who had a perspective that was so unlike what I had been taught. Her freedom of self lifted me out of the holds of suppression. And she did it through poetry and photography.

So I am female first and adoptee second. And, the experience of being a real bastard is not mine so when I hear (rather heard in the past) adoptees speak of rage at being abandoned or given away, I did not experience abandonment in the same way. I knew my mother was not a teenage mother. She was not a “tramp”. She was not a seductress nor was she seduced. She was a wife and mother of four other children at the time of my conception, gestation and birth. My mother was nothing less than my mother in the full sense of the word. My father was nothing less than my father in the full sense of the word.

I knew these points instinctively at the moment I was found and heard my sister’s voice on the other end of the phone. When I met my father for the first time and developed a relationship with him, he was my father, he was not some sperm donor or a cad or a womanizer or a creep. He was my father.

My father was talked into giving me up for adoption. His experience in relinquishment is different from that of a mother. Mothers and pregnancy and giving birth are a different experience. But from his perspective as the husband of a pregnant wife, and the father of four children expecting the fifth in the mid 1950s, well, he was the breadwinner, the paycheck, the head of the household. It was his responsibility to take care of us all, to pay for us to provide for us. We were all dependent upon him.

When my father was faced with a pregnant wife who was violently ill, he was frightened. He did not think that the baby has to go, he thought that this was his family and he had to figure out how to fix it all. Illness made his wife go into pre-term labor. She delivered her infant two months too soon on the hospital bed before the nurses could get there. A few weeks before that, she was X-rayed to determine why she was so sick. A massive tumor filled her abdomen along side of the “fetus” who was guessed to be five months at that time. The tumor was real but the age of the “fetus” was wrong. When I was born the doctor determined I was 32 weeks of gestational age; a real feat of birth and survival in those primitive days of 1956.

I survived my mother’s cancer. I survived a premature birth. I survived six weeks in an incubator. My mother died. My father was stressed. Instead of help all he got was talk. The baby needs two parents. The baby? The baby was part of the whole family. The five children needed two parents, but the reality was that the mother died and the whole family needed help to cope with that loss. But no help was given. Just convince the father that the baby, alone, needed two parents. Make him believe he was not worthy to be the real father of his own daughter… make him believe that the only solution was to give her up permanently to another couple so she could lead a better life without him or her siblings.

I say that my widowed father was coerced into giving up his youngest child to adoption. And for that, he was crucified and his given-up daughter was both smothered in love by her adoptive parents and isolated by them. Stockholm syndrome is the better name for what I feel for my adoptive parents for I have those 18 years of a bliss or happiness of childhood gooiness. Yeah right. How do I justify the sad feelings I have for the father who died in 1982 when I see his picture playing with me as a one year old on the floor with the reality that he knowingly and willfully kept me apart from my own siblings for his sake of raising a child of his own? How do I justify the sad feelings I have to recall those happy times when Mom sewed those matching mother-daughter-doll dresses when she wanted me to grow up as she dreamed I would to fulfill her visions of the daughter she called her own? Did I have any rights or feelings? How did these two people justify within themselves what they were doing to me and to my siblings and to my father? How did they justify taking a child away from her family so they could call me their own?

Coercion is just that. There is no rational explanation.  

~ ~ ~ Joan M Wheeler, BA, BSW, author of Forbidden Family: A Half Orphan’s Account of Her Adoption, Reunion and Social Activism, Trafford Publishing, Nov 2009.