METAMORPHOSIS OF THE BIRTH MOTHER
Pull up a chair, fill your coffee cup or grab a beer, and sit awhile. Grannie Annie will tell you the story of how birth mothers have metamorphosed. (yep, it’s a real word – I looked it up in my dictionary.)
For at least 30 years now birthmothers could be found at the very bottom of the adoption food chain. No one gave two hoots for birth mothers. Why, that word wasn’t even in our vocabularies yet. Just sign on the dotted line and hand over the baby.
Revisionist history made it possible for birth mothers, unbeknownst to themselves, to be swept up to the very top. According to the revisionists today, birth mothers of yore have rights of confidentiality that the state must uphold forever. Birth mothers, according to the people who would re-write the past, were promised eternal privacy from the children they relinquished and put up for adoption.
I don’t recall any recent birth mother marches, or birth mother petitions, or birth mother articles or birth mother gatherings or birth mother conferences where birth mothers have demanded a right to privacy from their own children. They’ve always been a pretty quiet bunch of women, I thought. When they do speak out, it’s to tell us that what they want most is to be able to find out if their children are okay and many of them hope to be able to meet their children some day.
Changing birth mothers from caterpillars to butterflies was a magnificent choice. A fragile butterfly is vulnerable, fragile -it needs protection. And it became the perfect LIE to hide behind.
Adoption is BIG BUSINESS. I just meandered over to the website of one of the oldest not for profit adoption agencies in the United States, The Cradle of Evanston, IL. The fee for a domestic adoption is $25,500. For an international adoption, the fee ranges from $14,500 to $37,500. And The Cradle says it is a not for profit organization. I can only imagine what private attorneys charge.
Imagine this scene if you can. Adoptive parents are getting someone else’s baby, a practice that is almost unheard of in many other cultures around the world. An unwed mother is GIVING you her most precious possession in this universe - her baby - for keeps! Money will be changing hands but it won’t go through hers. You get to raise that baby as if he or she were your very own biological child. And it gets even better. The birth mother disappears. WOW.
How much easier it is for an adoption agency or an adoption attorney to broker an adoption if they can assure the prospective adoptive parents that this baby is all theirs, to have and to hold - FOREVER. So long as the states will keep adoption records sealed, the adoptive parents will feel comfortable and the adoption agencies will feel rich.
Sealed records = lots of adoptions = lots of money = emotional security for adoptive parents
Since World War II, original birth records were sealed all over the United States. Well meaning professionals believed that adopted children would benefit by being shielded from the shame of being born on the wrong side of the blanket. It didn’t always work that way. Lots of adopted kids were still looked at as being tainted with sin.
When I was in 7th grade, a teacher called me a guttersnipe. "You’re all alike" she hollered to me in front of the whole class.
But I digress.
Once you shield an industry from public scrutiny, you unfortunately invite all sorts of "irregularities" to occur. You don’t have to look any farther than Guantanamo Bay to see how it works.
Agencies and adoption facilitators, in their zeal to move all the illegitimate babies into financially sound adoptive homes as fast as they could, began doing business in the shade. You know, those gray areas of adoption practice. These baby sellers began to do whatever they needed to do and to charge as much as they possibly could to move babies. They were greedy. So what if they lied! Everyone involved knew that the adoption documents were never going to see the light of day!
With a wink, wink here and a wink wink there, judges were signing and sealing adoption decrees like crazy during the 30+ years following World War II. Laws were bent, laws were broken, and laws were ignored. No questions asked.
Then, in the 1970’s, along came the first adoptee rights movement headed by courageous people such as Jean Paton and Florence Fisher. These people actually dared to break the silence and the secrecy of the adoption industry. These people had the AUDACITY to ask for their original birth certificates.
"Oh no no no. This will never do", said the agencies. "We can’t afford to have our adoption practices scrutinized in any way. Give one adoptee his birth certificate and pretty soon they’ll all want them." So the adoption agencies and the attorneys and the facilitators got together and formed official sounding associations such as the National Council for Adoption (NCFA). who in turn hired lawyers and lobbyists to maintain the status quo – at any cost. .
And that’s how the birthmother privacy protection plan got started. The NCFA and their lobbyists told a lie. Tell the lie often enough and to the right persons and before you know it, that lie becomes the truth. Everyone knows that If you give original birth certificates to adopted men and women, they will ruthlessly track down their birth mothers and make those womens’ lives miserable. Birth mothers were promised privacy. Now they are going to suffer extreme pain and suffering, Their entire lives will go up in flames - even the suicide rate will rise.
Sealed adoption records = lots of adoptions = lots of money = emotional security for adoptive parents = cover ups
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization knows better. They do know the facts and they will tell. They will shout the facts to the rooftops until the antiquated sealed records laws are repealed. Please join us.