Because There Were "Better Parents"

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Adopted people did not spontaneously generate in the filing cabinets at adoption agencies or attorney's offices. They were born, just like everyone else. They were not picked out special, chosen, or selected. Adopted people were conceived, gestated, and born. But, there were "better parents" waiting for the child.

Society measured a woman's ability to parent by a clearly delineated yardstick. The increments were her age, marital status, and financial independence. If she didn't measure up, a wellgreased machine was on line and calibrated to extract the burden from her. The machine was operated by experienced social workers, lawyers, and doctors who kept the machine humming along at peak performance. Because, there were "better parents" waiting for the child.

The woman was told she was selfish for wanting to keep her baby, she was shameful for having gotten herself into such an embarrassing situation, and she should give her baby away. Adoption was the only option presented. There was no balance. There was no mention of support services. There was only relinquishment. Because, there were "better parents" waiting for this child.

Often the woman never saw the baby she gave birth to; yet a document, which would permanently sever her from her child, was placed before her to sign. The contents of the document were never disclosed to her prior to that moment. The woman had no advocate to interpret the legalese or explain her rights. If the woman hesitated, she was coerced with veiled threats of judges, courts, and expense reimbursement. The woman signed under duress, and was often denied a copy of the very document she was forced to sign. Because, there were "better parents" waiting for this child.

Confidentiality was exacted from the woman. It was part of the price, not one of the benefits. The woman lapsed into amnesia because no one recognized her need to grieve. Strangers had been selected by strangers to raise her child. The woman trusted that these strangers were as perfect as they were touted to be. The pedestal that she placed these strangers upon was a lofty edifice. Because, these were the "better parents."

The strangers earn the title of Mom and Dad. They change diapers, walk the floors at night, feed, clothe, and educate the child. Over time, the strangers minimize that these are the chores parents do. Strangely, they confer the status of martyr on themselves for having performed these duties. Forgotten is the memory that they freely walked into adoption agencies and BEGGED to be parents; that they wanted to do these chores. The woman would have given her right arm for the PRIVILEGE of doing any one of those tasks. But, these were the "better parents."

The woman waits patiently and silently until her child is no longer legally a child. With much trepidation she approaches the strangers to whom her beloved child was entrusted. She desires to know if her child is alive, is loved, is happy. She is blind-sided by the strangers who attack viciously, vehemently, and vindictively.

*Birthmother,* I am writing this letter to you to shed some light on the pressure your very selfish actions have placed on my son.

*Birthmother,* I am not at all concerned with your feelings.

*Birthmother,* how could you drop this emotional bomb into a young man's life who is just about to start adulthood, and all the trials of life as it is?

*Birthmother,* I feel that you have done all of this for the satisfaction of your own feelings, without considering how all of this will affect my child and the rest of us.

*Birthmother,* perhaps you have been watching too much TV. This is real life and not some romantic thing you have done.

*Birthmother,* I read the unbelievable story about you, and your attempts to meet the children you parted with. This article was truly incredible and pathetic, because you tried to convince us that it was you who was horribly taken advantage of - how nave.

*Birthmother,* You are a fool for refusing to take responsibility for your own actions. You may think that blaming social service for your actions exonerates you from that responsibility. You're the only fool who can come to that conclusion.

*Birthmother,* You have the audacity to deride the adoptive parents of the child you gave up (because of your own pathetic mistakes): parents who provided nurture and love to a child you brought into this world, but had neither the courage nor conviction to be a responsible parent. They are the enemy? You are too ignorant to know who you are.

*Birthmother,* You screw up, blame it on others, then call those who pick up the pieces, by providing love and care to innocent children, the enemy. You give new meaning to the word jerk.

*Birthmother,* When I received your letter today, it was as though my worst nightmare (for the past 19 years) had come true. The shock was replaced with a deep sadness. It is now past midnight and one of the many sleepless nights that lies ahead for me. You have shattered my security.

*Birthmother,* We have decided not to tell our son about your letter but will put it, and the mediator's address, in the safety deposit box. If at some future time he is inclined to locate you, we will give it to him.

*Birthmother,* I wish I could say that I feel sorry for you, but I don't.

*Birthmother,* We will sue you for invading our privacy. Your husband's job will be jeopardized.

*Birthmother,* We are asking you at this time to discontinue writing for his own good.

*Birthmother,* Our son finds this contact from his purported birthmother to be distracting and discomforting.

*Birthmother,* Whether or not it was the intention of yourself that these overtures be viewed as an intrusion or subtle terrorization; we believe that we are being unfairly imposed upon.

*Birthmother,* If you had kept your pants on in the first place, none of this would have happened.

... But, these were the "better parents."
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