Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Name Game

As long as adoption exists so will the quandry of what to call the people involved. Today I read another complaint about the term birth mother. When I was new to adoption I used this term. To me it meant a mother who had placed her child for adoption, no insult intended. It was a frame of reference only, a way to distinguish between mothers in adoptive situations. I've since come to understand that many of those mothers were offended by the term, often citing that they felt it limited the importance of their role in their child(ren)'s life. Given what I know now about coercion and marketing in adoption I can respect their feelings on the matter. I've used the term in the past but as I said before as a frame of reference only. I've never used the term in reference to my sons' mothers in front of them. If I am speaking to them regarding their mom I SAY "your mom." They know who I mean and they know that I'm their mom too.

I've spoken about a little about this before but I felt the need to bring it up again. The reason is that while I can understand this mother's (whose blog I read today) reasons for NOT wanting to be called birth mother, it hurt that in the same blog post she called adoptive parents adopters. Then she wondered why we object to the term. I'd like to answer that here, although I am unconvinced she doesn't really already understand since it's basically the same reason they object to the term birthmother. I feel the term adopter does, and is meant to by at least some of the mothers who insist on using it, denigrate OUR roles in the lives of our children. I'm NOT an adopter. I adopted and now I'm a mother. It's as simple as that. And while I'm on the topic (a little bit at least)..."as born to" DOES exist. I've heard it said that no paper (meaning tpr) can change that and I AGREE totally with that. Time, good parenting, and love however CAN. It does this without severing the bond that the child will always have with his/her parents and their families. But it DOES exist. I would die for my boys, sacrifice anything that was mine to give. It's a mother's love for her sons. Plain and simple. Do they miss or cry for their mothers too? Yes. And I let them. I talk to them, look at pictures with them. I do what I can to acknowledge their loss and help them work through it. That's what a mother does no matter what her child is hurting about. So don't tell me (or my boys btw because they'd be the first to disagree with you) that I can't love them like they were born to me or that I'm not their mother.

It basically comes down to no one group's agenda is ever going to be heard, no change ever instituted in adoption as long as all we do is fling insults at each other and refuse to hear one another. It weakens every argument, every otherwise valid point of view. I'm tired of the insults and the pettiness. On all, yes ALL, sides. If you want to get justice for the violation of your rights in separating you from your baby, if you want your original records unsealed, or if you want reform in adoption it's time to grow up and focus on THAT. Stop taking your issues out on each other and either work together or at least learn to live and let live.


unsignedmasterpiece said...

I think adopter is used as a pejorative term and I don't use it. But you also need to remember that for many, many years we mothers have been subjected to some pretty nasty stereotypes and language too.

For many years people who adopted have had the microphone and now we are wrestling it back and asking to be heard. For years, only one side of the adoption story has been told.

You say you love your kids and I do not doubt that for a second but I think many of us would say that if we had known that the truth about adoption, that it does cause children pain, and that all adoptive parents are not the perfect people they were presented to us to be, and if we had received some support to be single moms, like I believe you said you are, we would have made a very different choice and our children would have been raised in their own families.

Where we would have loved them and been willing to die for them too.

Some of us have met our children and know that the families in which they ended up were far from perfect and our children have paid the price. I am not saying this is you but there needs to be some acknowledgement that adoption is not this fairytale that some people want to paint it to be.

Kathy's Korner said...

While I agree that often times the children placed in adoption situations definately end up in far from perfect families...heck honestly I believe all of them do cause NO family is perfect, I have to say that grabbing the microphone to treat other people as bad as they were treated will do little good for adoption reform.

I venture to guess what you were maybe tring to say, without saying it is that is was/is assumed the children placed in adoptive homes were going someplace better.

Sometimes this is true, sometimes it is not.

I also would like to ask just whose side of the story HAS been told?? It sure the heck isn't that of adoptive parents. Only that of a bunch of idealistic Social Workers. IMO.

AP's are often misguided I admit. I've read things my counterparts have written that make me cringe. BUT they are often times victims of these SW's and the info they have recieved from our society. They are as misguided as those preparing to possibly place. Misguided because during times of intense emotional stress it makes sense to rely on so called "experts". It makes sense to start there in your information gathering.

Sorry to hijack B,

The name game is tricky. I often refer to my kids "Bparents" as their other mother or other father. BUT honestly, birth parent probably IS the correct term because other then giving birth, they really haven't contributed or are unable to contribute at this time in their lives. Is that so wrong?

soblessed said...

Bravo, Becky. I hear in your post a genuine compassion and level-headedness. Good for you.

Kath, I totally agree. "Wrestling" the "microphone" back in order to should about who has been treated worse is unproductive. Instead, why can't we share the microphone and send a message loud and clear that adoption reform needs to happen...not so much for me, not so much for the birthparents.....for the CHILD. Right now in adoption there are three factions, all yelling and trying to beat each other over the head. It is totally ineffective and the painfully slow pace of change in adoption is indicative of that. What kind of voice would we have if we could simply speak together instead of holding onto the bitterness?????