Thursday, January 31, 2008

Holding a Soul

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Holding a Soul
Would you set this child's soul before me? Show me the hurt; Nudge me closer so that my breath blows across his shapeless pain? Would you help me to draw this soul closer? So that your life flows to fill the fissures and and binds his being? Would you help me to extend my arms? To hold this child's soul; to encircle his soul for the length of its dark night?

"Donations" of Babies to the Infertile

"Donations" of Babies to the Infertile

Adoption is a business venture that is currently popular - and growing. "Finding" healthy newborn babies for adoption customers is not as difficult as one might think. It just takes a little advertising - much of it paid for by the federal government - and voila! donations of healthy newborn "orphans" appear. Are these adorable babies really looking forward to having adoptive buyers take them home, thereby "saving" them from their own family?

According to health experts, babies are better off if kept close to their mothers - and hospitals are trying to ensure this happens. Meanwhile, adoption "professionals" do their best to separate moms and babies.

The most sought-after
babies are those "produced" by healthy, intelligent (if naive) mothers who are not yet through college. Expectant parents who are single are viewed as baby-manufacturing equipment by those who wish to obtain babies. In newspaper articles adoption "professionals" and adopters alike are often quoted saying what a tragedy it is that moms are keeping their babies.

It becomes even more obvious that the
babies are a mere commodity when a baby who is not perfectly healthy when born is rejected by the adoptive baby-buyers. After all, who wants to pay good money for a "junky" product?

"Compassionate" aid to the infertile is considered so important that a single woman who is
pregnant is referred to by the demeaning terms "unwed" mother, "birthmother" "birthparent", "birthmom" in hopes of getting her baby for adoption. The voices of adult adoptees and parents who have lost babies to adoption are silenced by various methods, by saying they are "just bitter" and "ungrateful" - or by outright deleting their posts off various internet forums.

Looking for a baby for adoption? Adoption is a business venture that is currently popular - and growing. "Finding" healthy newborn babies for adoption
customers is not as difficult as one might think.

The following websites provide some information on the effects of adoption:

Effects of adoption on mothers ('birthmothers', 'birthmoms', 'birthparents')

Effects of adoption on babies (adopted children, adopted child)

The adoption professionals may claim "We can't help it - moms want to get rid of their babies". If that were true, would they need infant adoption awareness training and all the advertising promoting infant adoption in order to get "donations" of babies for adoption?



New Organization to Probe Adoption Abuses

Plano, TX -- November 14, 2007 -- A new organization has been formed to investigate and shed light on what is known as the “Baby Scoop Era.” This was the period in American social history between 1945 – 1972. During this time, unprecedented numbers of white, middle-class mothers surrendered babies for adoption, often against their will.

The Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative, also known as BSERI, was founded in October 2007 by two mothers, Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh and Barbara Franks-Morra. Both lost newborns to adoption during this period.

Franks-Morra explained that maternity homes radically changed after 1945. As social workers took over management from altruistic religious organizations, homes that had once sheltered single mothers and prepared them to raise their children began instead to promote closed, stranger adoption.

Wilson-Buterbaugh stated, “The social work profession brought a psychological bias to their work with single mothers. They introduced the untested notion that single mothers were ‘neurotic’ and could be cured by taking their babies. This idea radically altered the outcomes for single mothers during this period. These practices persisted through 1972, when the number of domestic adoptions began to drop dramatically.”

“These homes, which were sometimes little more than reformatories, often used coercive practices such as shaming, blaming, and removing or withholding babies from new mothers to force adoptions. Mothers were then told to ‘go on with their lives’ as if nothing had happened. Obviously this was impossible for most of them.”

Franks-Morra said, “We demand acknowledgement of the historical truth surrounding past adoption practices in the United States. We demand recognition for the millions of women who were systematically denied their inalienable right to raise their infant sons and daughters.”

“The Baby Scoop Era has become a footnote in American social history, except to the mothers who survived these practices. These women have carried into their adult lives burdens of worry, grief, pain and a corrosive secret. The lifelong consequences of these forced adoptions are still operating in the lives of millions of American women.”

For more information, or email

Pregnant at the Wrong Time

The Baby Scoop Era - Pregnant at the Wrong Time

Instead of encouraging young women to take responsibility for their actions and parent their children, young women were sent away in secrecy.

The plan was for them to wait out their time, then give birth, often alone in a distant city. After the birth, they were sent home and told to keep quiet so that no one would ever know. Your reputation would be intact, and you would still be considered a “good girl”. Nothing was mentioned about how you might feel later other than, “you will get over it”.

In the baby scoop era, it did not matter if you were perfectly capable of parenting your baby, and desperately wanted to do so. It did not matter if you had finished college and had a good job. It did not matter if you were already engaged to the father of your baby. All that mattered was that you had broken the "rules", and you had to pay for your sins. The number one rule was that mothers had to be married. Nothing else mattered nearly as much.

Unmarried women were counseled to relinquish their children, and did so in astonishing numbers. The sheer volume of young women who relinquished babies to adoption was also convincing evidence at the time that it must be “the best solution”. Otherwise, why would so many women “willingly” give their babies away? In today’s society, the numbers of women who relinquish babies to adoption are much less commong. We now know adoption is not always the favored solution that we used to believe that it was in the past. Some of us do. Others may still need some convincing.

Although many still feel a two-parent family is still the prefered ideal family situation, many single mothers now parent, and do it well. Some single woman adopt now. Explain that to a mother from the baby scoop era who was told being a single mother was totally unacceptable. It is difficult at best.

Jan Baker in Birth-First Parent

The Baby Scoop Era - Pregnant at the Wrong Time?

If you happened to become pregnant before you were married during the 50's, 60's or 70's, there was sure one way to redeem yourself. That way was to relinquish your baby to adoption. Here is part of what you might have had to deal with:

1. Being ostracized from your family, church and community;
2. Worrying that if by some near miracle you found a way to keep your child, it would be called cruel names;
3. Unable to find housing as unwed mothers were social pariahs;
4. Being dismissed from a school or job when you began to “show”;
5. Unable to find employment as you were considered a social outcast;
6. The designation of a “fast” or “easy” woman who was unfit for marriage.
7. Admonitions that you were “damaged goods” and no man would ever want to marry you.
8. Being insulted, humiliated and treated cruelly when you were in the hospital giving birth;
9. Not receiving any information before giving birth about what to expect;
10. Being told that you did not deserve to parent your baby.

It was the wrong time to be unmarried and pregnant-such a condition was a horrendous social taboo. The proper and widely accepted solution was to relinquish your baby for adoption. The idea was, that if you no longer had the baby, no one would ever know that you had sex before you were married.

Another part of the plan was that you would be redeeming yourself somewhat if you “did the right thing”. The “right thing” was to give the baby to a waiting family who “deserved” to raise a child and were prepared to do so. There were plenty of waiting families eager for newborns, so it all worked out well. At least in some people's eyes it did. However, if you ask many of the women whose babies grew up being raised by someone else, and in some cases their children, you might get a very different opinion.

Jan Baker in Birth-First Parent

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Life on a Roller Coaster Ride

Life on a Roller Coaster Ride

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I think that there are certain things that happen in most reunions and some things that I would guess happen in all reunions,
The one I think happens in most is a thawing out as I like to call it, where the denial and repression starts to wear off, almost like the numbing from the dentist office, after awhile I think something happens, I don't know if its the 40th birthday, the death of a loved one, the birth of a loved one or what , but something starts to happen, where the reality of what has been lost to adoption starts to become real.
Then I think what must happen to just about everyone, but maybe not, is a grieving process, where all the feelings come up, little by little.
For me, I had to be willing to go through all of the feelings, there were some very dark moments in which I wish I didn't have to wake up to any more pain. Looking back it was a lot like if someone had died and I had to go through the same process anyone else would, only I sometimes wonder if it is compounded and made worse by the years of suppression. When my mom died, I didn't have nearly the emotional pain, I loved her dearly, don't get me wrong but it wasn't the same Some of the hardest parts were the pullbacks from my son because it always felt like it brought up a whole new set of emotions, (and I completely understand that he needed that time for himself) and going around another painful corner when I felt like there couldn't possibly be anything new to have to look at and feel.
I first thought that finding him would be the answer and it was for that time and what I was looking to have answered, but then there was what to do with the news that he wasn't ready, then when he was ready, a different onslaught of grief came up, then the pullbacks to deal with, then getting close which had always been my dream and really getting it how much I had missed. Then coming to this feeling that I will never have my baby and having to accept it. I have recently described it as a rollercoaster ride in which every corner feels like it will finally be the one where the ride is pulling in to home stretch only to see another hill when rounding the corner, I started to finally feel like I had pulled into the exit lane, never knows what lies behind the next turn.

I think one of my most profound moments was when I was walking next to him and I was the happiest woman on earth and at the same time feeling like I missed him, I told him I miss you even though you are here. I think it was that I was missing all the years he was gone and I was seeing it by walking next to him.
I wish I could say that it has been easy or that there is a set way to do it, but its not like that. I remember reading in the early years every adoption book I could get my hands on and then joining an in person group, after years of that I joined the online groups and read as much as I could, there is something really powerful about having all your feelings validated and having people talk about all that you have felt and thought you must be the only one. I think it was the in person group that saved me in those early years, when I was so angry at times I could barely get words out without feeling like I was going to lose it. Then it went to utter sadness where I would go to my therapist and just sob, then I went through the regret and helplessness and frustration. I think it's a long process, that there is really no way around but through, I think we have to feel all the things we numbed ourselves to. The outrage and sadness that we have. After 7 years I finally thought I had found some peace for the first time this past year, I finally felt like I could write or call him anytime I wanted or needed to, it felt pretty normal. ( as normal as it can in the face of the fact that I lost him to adoption in the first place) I still held hope to become closer to him and share even more of my life with him and felt that it would happen in due time. But instead I still feel freaked out with his latest pullback. One moment all was well, then poof, he is gone again.
I have heard that we can get to a place where it doesn't consume us, but I don't feel like I am there. Maybe I just need to take a break.

We'll see, if you see me next week or next month ranting then you will know I'm back on the ride.

Friday, January 25, 2008


By Nancy Verrier, M.A., MFT

• An adoptive family is different from a biological family.
• An infant knows its own mother at birth: smell, voice, heartbeat, energy, skin, etc.
• Knows adoptive mother is “wrong mother” (not bad mother).
• The child comes into the family traumatized by the separation from the mother.
• Loss of bonding results in an elevation in pulse rate, blood pressure, adrenaline and cortisol levels, lower serotonin levels.
• No matter what we call it (relinquishment, surrender) the child feels abandoned.
• Neurological connections influenced by severing of bond with mother.
• The natural order of things is interrupted: later difficulty with cause and effect.
• Infant cannot make sense or integrate what has happened to him: world unsafe, chaos, confusion, existential difficulties.
• Child is grieving. Mother needs to notice signs.
• Signs of depression: unresolved grief, anxiety, fear of another abandonment, daydreaming, dissociation.
• Somatic responses to anxiety: irritability, gastro-intestinal problems, projectile vomiting, asthma, rashes, sleep disturbances, etc.
• Affect: rage, sadness, fear, numbness, dissociation, constriction, depersonalization.
• Adoptive family cannot mirror child as biological family could have. Child must adapt.
• Bonding with adoptive mother will be difficult: fear of another abandonment: Anxious attachment (clinging) not the same as bonding. Mother might misread this.
• Mother needs to be vigilant as to emotional state of infant and soothe his fears and grief.
• Lack of mirroring makes child feel as if doesn’t fit in adoptive family.
• Child has no genetic markers for knowing how to be in the family. Hypervigilant.
• Child begins to adapt: in process begins to lose self. Becomes “chameleon.”
• Family dynamics will be affected. (Families with biological children need to take note.)
• Child copes with pain of loss in one of two ways: compliance, acquiescence, and withdrawal, or aggression, provocation, and acting out. In two-child families: usually one of each.
• Behavioral methods of coping have nothing to do with basic
• Behavior is not abnormal. Is normal way of responding to an abnormal event: separation trauma.
• Although child with each coping style needs help, usually parents of acting-out child only ones who seek help.
• Most of the child’s difficulty will be with the adoptive mother: potential abandoner.
• Many parents, not understanding the issues, blame themselves. Feel isolated.
• Children will have difficulties around birthdays (separation day): fussy, sad, angry, ill.
• Symptoms will fit criteria for PTSD, but more complex.
• Because of trauma, many adoptees have difficulty in school due to problems with attention, distractibility, and stimulus discrimination.
• Adoptees have low self-esteem because often blame selves for abandonment: bad baby.
• When trauma occurs early, child, in trying to make sense of it, creates a set of beliefs, which become permanently imprinted in the neurological system.
• Children are not a “blank slate” at birth. Most of personality traits are genetic (but personality must be distinguished from behavioral coping style.)
• Adoptive parents cannot expect the child to be like them.
• Core issues for adoptees: abandonment, loss, trust, rejection, intimacy, guilt and shame, control, and identity.

Important books: The Developing Mind and Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel Siegel, A General Theory of Love by Lewis, Amini, and Lannon, The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child and Coming Home to Self by Nancy Verrier, Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman, Building the Bonds of Attachment by Daniel Hughes, and The Epidemic by Robert Shaw.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Plastic Doll

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I am a Plastic Doll

by adoptee peach

I struggle with muscle/joint pain a lot, and think that it may be related to the emotional journey I have taken. Sometimes I wonder if I had never searched/reunited if I would have "awakened" this part of myself which works so hard at "organizing" or "reorganizing" my reality ~ identity ~ family ~ life.

I would have missed out on a lot. But it may have been easier for me ~ maybe not.

Anyway, I was laying in bed this morning wishing I didn't feel like an old arthritic woman, and the thought came to me that it almost feels like the pains of transformation ~ it does hurt physically, and badly at times.

As if I was a plastic doll, frozen in place, no emotions or physical expressions ~ except a painted on smile. Suddenly infused with "realness", with life. The old, hard plastic I am made of (resiliant, strong, inflexible, controlled) must all of a sudden adjust to "real" existance, real "being", emotion, pain, joy, blood coursing through my veins, muscles stretching and moving and living ~ for the first time.

I can imagine the painted on smile moving slowly into a look of shock and awe ~ what is this? I am "real"? How can that be? I have always just existed in this one state ~ my adopted self. Certificate of authenticity and all. How does a "living" doll break out of this shell I have been in my whole life?
I don't know, but I am "real" now, and can't go back. It is so painful to stretch the joints and flesh that have stayed in one position, frozen in the mold that was used to define me, afraid to even imagine what I could be, impossible.

I am a plastic doll. The life was sucked out like a vacuum as I lay in the bassinet crying, crying for my Mother, who never appeared again. The cries carried with them the life I had shared with her ~ flying into the universe in search, to never return. So I slowly morphed into the doll I became. The one who laughed and talked and danced her little heart out for the girl who owned me. I was her doll and I was happy.

Until, ever so slowly, the cries that had relinquished my "realness" came back for me. They stayed away during childhood, like they knew. But as the doll began to crack and fray, and got bruised and torn through childhood antics; filled with history and stories, and dutifully fulfilling the dreams of the girl who owned her...... Well ~ I guess her batteries just plum wore out.

As if they had been watching from a distance, the cries came rushing back, the tears the worn plastic doll had once shed, the screams that had made her real at one time, but she had forgotten ~ found their way back, and she "knew". It had been so long that she was taken for surprise. Almost like it had been another life, not hers. But she remembered and she searched. She found ~ but she was now plastic. How could she fit in? She couldn't.

An unbearable pain ~ anger, saddness, grief ~ welled up in her and broke through the hardness, the frozen fakeness, the facade. It was as if the pain would snap those brittle, fragile arms and legs, feet and hands, head and heart ~ but she is alive. And she can feel. She must learn to be "real" in spite of the pain. She can, for the first time, feel the joy of realness, which makes some of the pain bearable. She walks stiffly, feeling like half-doll, half-person in the land of the living. Discovering humanity. Realizing that everyone paints on a smile at some point, and that maybe, just maybe, she is not as different as she seemed.

lighten up

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Don't take life so seriously - it's not PERMANENT!

Here's a thing that I didn't really pay attention to for quite a while. I guess it became a kind of blind spot. Finding this obstacle and being able to remove it on a consistent basis has made things a lot easier and more enjoyable. I think it will be helpful to me this year and that's why it's the first thing I would like to share with you in 2008.

One problem with being involved in personal development is that you can get a bit too serious. There are a lot of big, perhaps life-changing worlds, choices and paths. So there is naturally often a pretty serious tone overall.

This is good because it can help people to take their life and time seriously and make them less prone to waste such valuable things.

But having a too serious mindset isn't that great all the time. It can lead to taking things way too seriously and create big problems and negative feelings and events from pretty much nothing. Lightening up can help you to drop unimportant stuff and leave you with more time and energy for the really important things in your life.

Now. This may sound all well and good but how do you actually lighten up consistently or at all?

I think it is when you realize that you are not your thoughts or emotions.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

oh the places you'll go

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Reunion, too, causes both pain and dynamic regression. "This is a good thing", says Soll, "not a bad one. Reunion brings the adoptee back to the initial trauma, and revisiting the trauma is the only way to heal". Soll strongly makes the point, that however unpleasant or difficult realaity turns out to be, it is much preferred than an aching void of unknowingness. It is, he claims, easier to live at peace with reality eventually, than with conflicting and confusing fantasies that only fragment and torment one in their grip. Yes, knowing two mothers can be confusing, "but not half as much as knowing one and fantasizing about the other". Soll emphasizes that searching for birth parents is unlikely to be any reflection on what was offered by adopters, but a necessary part of the adoptee completing the whole and working towards the formation of the "authentic self and identity".

the treasures of life

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It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.
...... Joseph Campbell

Are Problems our messages?

I have always believed that the intensity of the whack up side the head that life has to give us in order to get a lesson through to us is
in direct proportion to the height and breadth of our sutbborness and illusion of control.
I think problems give us the opportunity to learn something. If we don't get the learning the first time around, we get another chance, and another, and another. If we miss the learning completely the first time, the next whack will be a little harder, and then the next time even harder. I am beginning to think we get many opportunities to learn the lessons we need to learn in this life.
I think these obstacles are gifts for learning. We never really know what we have learned until we have learned it. Then we are ready for the next learning.

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure..... Joseph Campbell

From The Center

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We can enter into the dance of the opposites, or we can remain aloof and non attached.
From the center, we see that we don't really have to hook into everything thats going on around us.
We can remain the "Onlooker", and become more selective about when to play ourselves into life or when to remain uninvolved.
Whatever we focus on and give our passion to can become our reality.