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dear birthmother letters



'birthparents' views on adoption

  February 2004

Touched By Adoption, With a Blowtorch

There is a very coy and popular descriptive term being bandied around the baby breeding industry. It claims to encompass the parties involved in adoption, with the seductive promise that the experience is something to be welcomed. It implies a gentle stroke, a sensitive maneuver, a soft caress. The expression is 'touched by adoption'. Personally I don't think most people whose lives have been derailed by adoption would remember the experience as a mere 'touch'. Most find it a lot more threatening than a gentle pat or a friendly punch on the arm.

Mothers in particular are more likely to experience adoption as a nasty shove, a hostile hit, all the way along the spectrum of psychological violence to a hard bash with a heavy sledgehammer. A crack on the head with a baseball bat. A push into a large pit with very sharp sticks poking out. Or an unpleasant, one way journey to a torture chamber, all expenses paid of course. (Of course!) At the very least, any bereft mother will relate to the touch of adoption as a fearful and very authoritative tap on the shoulder that signifies her time is up, it is time to hand over her baby, time for her to go.


Given that the expression 'touched by adoption' does not reflect the actual adoption experience adequately, it should be renamed. I am delighted to announce a competition with a prize for the winner of the best alternative term that adequately describes the major damage adoption brokers sprinkle around so liberally. I am still musing on what the prize should be, and favor the suggestion made by a natural mother, that the winner should be presented with a small creature, as a suitable replacement for the traditional child often mistakenly adopted in place of a pet. She holds the view that a pet could have an educational value and encourages pre-adopters to enter the competition.

This mother wants to implement a non-human adoption policy whereby pre-adopters are offered alternatives to real live babies and children. When applying to adopt, they would be sent the 'pet' along with accompanying pamphlets describing the importance of allowing their latest acquisition access to social interplay with other members of their own species. Therefore adopters would be encouraged to understand that dogs must be allowed to play with other dogs, and cats allowed access to other members of their feline family and so on.

This process would allow pre-adopters to work slowly towards grasping an understanding of the very difficult concept of 'open adoption' as it pertains to humans and their natural relationships. The huge failure of adopters and their supporting industry to understand the term justifies the implementation of a brand new system designed to educate on it's meaning and practical application.

In the meantime, all human adoptions should be halted, to give pre-adopters time to grapple with these very difficult concepts and internalize them. Given their rate of progress to date, it may take a generation or two before these ideas actually sink in.

To assist in the renaming of the effect the phenomena of stranger adoption has on its victims; that is, the mothers and their children who are less than pleased by the transaction outcomes once they have regained their wits sufficiently to voice their outrage - a process that takes years - here are a few suggestions.

'Torched by adoption' may become an acceptable alternative. Or bashed by adoption, slayed by adoption, enslaved by adoption, disempowered by adoption or maybe just plain old 'kicked in the guts' by adoption. If the last one seems too vulgar, I would be willing to change it to something more delicate, such as 'repressed in the stomach region' by adoption. It does sound nicer, doesn't it? And of course the basic fundamental of adoption is that it is always supposed to be nice. Nice 'waiting families', nice 'unselfish mothers' and 'nice' social workers, doctors and lawyers. And I must not overlook family court judges who are also terribly nice.

Niceness is of course, an aspiration of the middle class, although not much valued by the working class. Just reading this you can very likely tell I was not raised in a nice home at all. You can tell this from my lack of niceness. In spite of this, I happen to know that class plays a major role in adoption.

It is no accident that to be 'touched' by adoption is a phrase coined by the cornerstone of the adoption industry itself - the social work fraternity. It is their transparent attempt to dehumanize their victims through the implementation of minimizing language. It's an old trick of the oppressor. One wonders, do social workers walk or do they run to take part in the separation of mother and baby, not to mention the separation of the baby from all her/his genealogy and natural relationships through the deliberate severing of both maternal and paternal extended family groups.

The middle class dominates the social work profession. It is also the class that most readily volunteers it's daughters as sacrificial offerings when the call goes out for more stock to meet the manufactured and very false demand for new infants. Middle class daughters themselves are raised to be obedient, willing and anxious to please their parents and other authority figures who always know best. Middle class girls are afraid to disappoint and anxious not to offend, all symptoms of the learned helplessness that dominate middle class child rearing techniques. They are raised to require approval, much like Pavlov's dogs. It is a major factor in the signing of consent.

The new adoption term that will replace the very 'feely' 'touched' by adoption could even have a sporty connotation, just for fun. For instance, a mother and her baby could be kicked into adoption, a bit like a rugby ball is kicked into touch. Everyone else on the team just stands around and watches, and cheers when the ball successfully clears the boundary. I do not know what the equivalent play would be in North American football, but the social interaction is the same. And adoption is almost a national sport although without the boundaries and the rules that define other sports. Anything goes in North American adoption. There are no fouls. There is no referee. Funny that the mothers always get sent off!

If you are a victim who has been devastated, brutalized, conned, punched, drugged or otherwise used and abused by the grim practices of North American adoption, then send in your suggestions for a new and vibrant term to replace the misnamed, inadequate 'touched'. The game rules determine that the name must reflect the true horror of adoption upon its victims, mothers and children who were torn away from each other by a money driven industry steeped in corruption and vice. 'Touched' doesn't really cover that, as you see.

North American governments promote the quaint practice of dislocating families and punishing women by continually refusing to provide adequate assistance that would enable them to mother their own children with a semblance of dignity and pride. Remember those politicians when you next go to the polls. It's the least you can do.

Were you marked by adoption? Did you get the tap on the shoulder, calling you to make your personal sacrifice on the bloody alter of patriotic loss? I am sorry to have to tell you, you were had, conned. Had By Adoption. Yes you were. And it isn't nice.

I am hoping that one of my entries including Selected, Tapped, Conned or Socked by Adoption, will take out first prize. I can't wait to claim my brand new frog and make the little darling mine forever. I already have a lovely name picked out to replace the one that his real mother gave him at birth. I even downloaded a birth registration form so I can replace his original correct family information with the made up stuff. I haven't picked his ethnicity yet but I think I favor green.

As you have probably guessed by now, I am one of those pre-adopter 'waiting mothers' who really have been 'touched' by adoption in the place where it always seems the have the most powerful effect - the brain. Now I need a little tadpole as a sister for my frog. I will remember to tell both my frog and my tadpole that their mothers' were very, very unselfish for giving them up of their own free will because they loved them and did not want them anymore. Confused and waylaid by adoption? I am. How about you?

Voices From Exile "Touched By Adoption, With a Blowtorch "
Copyright 2004 Joss Shawyer



Voices From Exile Copyright © 2003 Joss Shawyer

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