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Anne Silke: Fostered to a Fianna Fáil TD, beaten and abused 

https://www.irishexaminer.com/opinion/commentanalysis/arid-40344998.html?type=amp&__twitter_impression=true

Anne Silke: Fostered to a Fianna Fáil TD, beaten and abused

Caelainn Hogan, the author of Republic of Shame, examines the story of Anne Silke and her experience in Tuam mother and baby institution following a new documentary, Untold Secrets

AS A CHILD, Anne Silke ate moss off the walls of the Tuam mother and baby institution.  It was delicious, she would laugh, because she was starving. Before she died earlier this year, she would say with a wry smile that she would never eat batch bread, because of how the nuns threw it at her and the other “home” children, as if they were animals.  That ability to crack jokes at the cruelty she experienced when young and the life she carved out for herself as a mother of eight children drew people to her, finding hope in her resilience and warmth in her company.  But there was a silence Silke never managed to break before she died, about the influential political family who fostered her.  Teresa Lavina, a Galway-based documentary maker, first met Silke in 2019 through another Tuam survivor, PJ Haverty, who was close friends with Silke and had always voted for the family who fostered her.  The feature-length documentary, Untold Secrets, that Lavina directed and produced was shown for the first time yesterday at the Galway Film Fleadh, shedding light on Silke’s unspoken experiences and the disturbing allegations that are part of her testimony.  Silke gave testimony to the commission of investigation and saw it released just before she died last February, with a few lines referencing her own testimony about eating moss. But she was deeply hurt by the result and felt she still had not been heard.  “I feel angry to a certain extent that we’re not getting justice or anything,” Silke said to camera, not long before she died. “Everything is left just hanging on until we pass away.”

In the documentary, Silke described deprivation and cruelty within the Tuam institution but also speaks of her experience of being fostered out to a man who she says was a TD in the Dáil and his wife, who had six of their own children who were already reared.  She alleges she was treated like a “slave” in their home.  Documentation provided by the state agency Tusla shows that Silke was fostered in 1958 by a “Mr and Mrs Killealea [sic]” and the documentary draws together testimony that the man who fostered Silke was Mark Killilea Sr, a founding member of Fianna Fáil who represented Galway constituencies within the Dáil for nearly three decades, from the 1930s to 1961.  In 2014, after the story about the deaths of hundreds of children in Tuam broke around the world, Silke came to Catherine Corless hoping to find more answers and speak out. Corless remembers her as a woman who had “the heartiest laugh” and got on with everyone.  “Anne was one of those people who wanted to tell her story because she was born in the Home in Tuam and she had a very tough childhood,” Corless said.

“She was fostered out to a woman in the early stages but that didn’t work out and Anne was sent back to the home again, so Anne is one of the few people that remembers life in the Tuam home.”

At the burial site on the former grounds of the Bon Secours institution, grass grown over the area above the sewage system where the remains of infants and children were found during a test excavation years before, Silke stood in a black and white check coat, a black scarf around her neck, speaking of how she remembered children being brought outside, kept in pens and bottles of milk made by Bina Rabitte, a woman working for the nuns at the institution whose name is a witness on many birth certs, being thrown into them.

Silke described a child being kicked by one of the nuns and never seeing that child again. “We all tried to survive, we used to be starving,” she said.

Her mother, who she was separated from in the institution but managed to make some contact with later in life, told her they were kept separate even while inside the walls.  “She wasn’t allowed to hold me, cuddle me or feed me or do nothing for me, it was other mothers,” Silke said.

Catherine Corless saw the pile of records that Anne had been able to get from the State, detailing her time in the institution and her fostering.  Since she died, family members have not been able to access the cache of documents she left behind and while Tusla recently released a document to Silke’s relatives detailing a timeline of her experiences within the institutions and confirming the time she spent fostered, Silke’s family could now wait months for copies of the documents to be provided.  Before she died, Anne Silke stated to Lavina and others that she was abused and exploited as a child while fostered within the Belclare household of Mark Killilea Sr, a founding member of Fianna Fáil and an influential local politician in Tuam.  Silke describes in the documentary how she was exploited for labour, made to milk cows morning and evening, brought home from school early to clean and polish the house, and never allowed to eat at the same table with the family.  Silke said she was beaten if she did not complete her work or if she defended herself.  Silke described being physically assaulted by one of the older adult sons in the house, who she said took over after the foster father died, and that she was sexually abused by another adult son.  She was a child at the time of this sexual assault.  According to statements made by family members and details from Silke’s testimony, as well as multiple sources who knew Silke and saw her file, the documentary points to Mark Killilea Jr as responsible for physically assaulting Silke. The ‘Golfgate’ event last year in Galway was a dinner in honour of the late TD and MEP. The documentary points to Jarlath Killilea as having sexually abused her. He was a former head of the Department of Tourism and Catering at Cork Institute of Technology. Both men are deceased.  Silke describes how Killilea Jr “gave me awful beatings with the horses whip and that, the mother was hitting me and I was protecting myself so I went to hit her and he said you’ll never do that to my mother again, that’s what it was, and he stripped me from the waist down put me across the chair and belted me, and the blood pouring out of me, [I] couldn’t sit”.

Silke says she was told to tell anyone who asked that she fell.

“And the other brother sexually abused me, the first time he did it was in the mother and father’s own bed,” she states.

A mother of eight, in a family photo Silke stands with all of her adult children, four daughters and four sons, all of them head and shoulders above her.  Silke told her own children about her experiences and they speak out in the documentary, confirming that their mother had told them of these accounts of abuse and exploitation within the foster household.  One of her daughters, Alice Kelly, speaks about how many families like her own are still affected by the ongoing legacy of the mother and baby home institutions, making it an intergenerational trauma.  The children, like Silke, were robbed of any real affection or love within the Tuam institution and Kelly speaks about how her mother’s way of showing love was making sure they were sent to school, fed, and had clothes on their back.  “I heard the stories growing up and it just became normal, it’s just something I accepted that these things happened to mum,” Kelly says, remembering how she asked her mother when she was a teenager about her experience and whether she had been sexually abused.  I was,” her mother had told her. It was something Kelly then almost normalised, warning “that’s the generational impact it is having on this country”.

Another of Silke’s children, her son Seán Kelly, spoke over Zoom from New York to the director, Teresa Lavina, and named Jarlath Killilea as the man who sexually abused his mother and Mark Killilea Jr as the man who had beaten her.  “[Jarlath] would have assaulted her sexually, physically, he was the one mum was very angry at too, obviously because she was young and didn’t know, she wasn’t even in her teens like.”

There were other witnesses to her exploitation at the hands of the foster family, according to Silke.  “This neighbour, my friend will tell you, she used to collect me after the roll was being called and I’d have to polish the house, they had seven bedrooms,” said Silke.

“I hadn’t the work done and the son came along and he battered my face against the wall and pulled my head and battered me against the wall, and all my teeth destroyed. So [as a] 12-year-old I had four dentures, 12 years old.”

A source familiar with Silke’s file says there are hospital records included.  “I’d say he denied it to the guards too,” she said.

“He battered me against the wall cause I didn’t have the work done.”

As well as domestic work, she was made to milk the cows morning and evening, spending her nights sleeping on a bed that she said was rotten through with urine.  “Their bedroom wasn’t the same as mine,” she said.

“I’m sorry to say I used to wet the bed and I used to sleep in that bed every night.”

Silke remembered a social worker would come every month but she was told not to tell her that was the bedroom she slept in.  Many survivors who were boarded out from Tuam and other institutions as children have spoken about being used for free labour by foster families.  “They were making money on us, they made money on us,” said Silke.

“Even though we were not in the home they still got money for feeding us.”

There were many attempts at escape. Silke said she ran away a lot but guards brought her back, telling her to be good.  “You were put into that situation that you couldn’t get out of,” she said.

“No matter where you went and told your story, you didn’t know who you were talking to then, it was all going back to them.”

Eventually, she told one of the “sisters”, one of the women in charge at her school, that she’d harm herself before going back.  The timeline of Silke’s institutionalisation and fostering provided by Tusla shows that after being “discharged” from the foster family in 1967 Silke was sent to St Teresa’s on Temple Hill, a residential institution run by the Daughters of Charity in Dublin, and a place where there are accounts of another child sent from Tuam who was made to work unpaid in a local shop.  The document from Tusla states that after being fostered, Silke also worked for a time in 1968 for another member of the Killilea family.4 states in Untold Secrets that she was “put working down in Kilkenny” before being put into a Magdalene Laundry and running away after six months there.” After that, she started working in a hospital.  Donagh Killilea, son of the late Mark Killilea Jr, does speak within the documentary about the exploitation of children from the institutions: “We also have to keep in mind the awful conditions in which some survivors worked, they were forced labour on farms a lot of the time, they were forced labour in industry which was big at the time there was a lot of bad but I think there was even more good but it’s just not being looked at.”

Mr Killilea was shown testimony of Anne Silke by Lavina while the documentary was still in production. In response to questions from the Irish Examiner ahead of the broadcast, he described the allegations made by Anne Silke as both “unverified” and “inaccurate” but said “we have nothing to hide”, adding that “everyone involved in this has passed away and I’m very sorry for Anne’s family”.

According to records held by Galway County Council, the minutes of a council meeting show that Mark Killilea Sr opposed the closure of the Tuam institution on the basis that as long as the institution remained in Tuam “the county has the benefit of the money spent there”.

When she was in her mid-20s, Silke says, she went to a social worker in Galway to report “the abuse I got when I was a child with them people” but she was told she was no longer in the social worker’s jurisdiction.

In recent years, people close to Silke say that gardaí from Tuam visited her at her home in Leitrim to take her statement before she passed away.  Close family members of Silke say she had been preparing to take Mark Killilea Jr, the alleged perpetrator of her physical assault, to the High Court, but he died before it was possible and she was also dissuaded by fear of losing her house due to legal costs.  “Mum always wanted her story out,” her son Seán said.

What did you give us? Fears over drug given to young Scots mothers forced into adoption

https://www.sundaypost.com/fp/forced-adoption-drug/

What did you give us? Fears over drug given to young Scots mothers forced into adoption

By Marion Scott
July 25, 2021, 2:05 pm

Unmarried mothers who were forced to give up their babies were given a controversial drug now linked to cancers and life-changing conditions passed on to future generations.  A synthetic hormone, developed to mimic oestrogen, was given to young mothers to dry up their breast milk after their babies were taken for adoption, leaving them at increased risk of developing rare cancers of the reproductive system.  Even now, few know the powerful drug Diethylstilbestrol (DES) has been linked to a number of breast and vaginal cancers. And it has been shown to cause gynaecological abnormalities and infertility in the children and grandchildren of women given the pills.  A major US study found that the daughters of women who took the drug were 40 times more at risk of the rare vaginal cancer adenocarcinoma, eight times more likely to suffer neonatal death, and almost five times more likely to have a premature baby. The study also highlighted increased risks with early menopause, infertility and ectopic pregnancies.  The sons of mothers who had taken the drug, which was marketed under the names Stilbestrol, Stilboestrol and Desplex, were also at increased risk of infertility and testicular cancer.  The drug, often referred to as just DES, was widely used and marketed throughout the world for a variety of uses, including preventing miscarriage, until 1971 when a Boston scientist first confirmed the deadly links after finding a cluster of young women developing rare vaginal cancers.  The drug was sold by a number of manufacturers who have since settled US litigation cases for billions of dollars but little or nothing has been done to highlight concerns across the UK.

Calls for inquiry

Forced adoption campaigners are now demanding a public inquiry and investigation into the health of women given the drug as well as their children exposed to its wide-ranging effects while still in the womb.  Marion McMillan, 73, from Paisley, who was forced to give up her baby boy in 1966 simply because she was unmarried, said she was ordered to take 16 tablets a day for almost a week after she gave birth in a mother and baby home.  Now dying with cancer, she said: “I’ve met many forced adoption victims over the years who were all given the same drug to dry up their breast milk as quickly as possible after they’d given birth.  It was seen as an inconvenience once we’d given birth so we were told to take the tablets, which were handed out like sweets.  I was given four, four times a day until my breast milk dried up and I was sent home. Looking back, I fear I was given an overdose of very powerful hormones. Nobody ever explained what they were or whether there were any side effects.  I was just ordered to take them, and as a very vulnerable, frightened teenager on my own and disowned by my horrified parents, I had nobody to ask and nobody to protect my best interests.  Like the thousands of other forced adoption victims, I simply did what I was told.”

McMillan claims like many other victims she was denied painkillers, there was no stitching after the traumatic birth of her son, and she says she has been plagued by gynaecological problems ever since. More than two years ago she was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, which has spread from her lungs to her liver.   She has so far defied the terminal diagnosis she was given following aggressive chemotherapy.  It took 40 years before she was eventually reunited with the son taken from her, unaware that as she searched for him, he was looking for her. She met husband George after returning from the mother and baby home, and the couple went on to have a family together.  The campaigner, whose heartbreaking story brought tears to politicians in the Scottish Parliament last month, has spent decades terrified that the drugs given to her had affected any of her three children.  She said: “I was horrified to learn those drugs can cause increased risks of cancer and a number of other serious health issues in the children I had after my firstborn, and I’ve agonised over that and warned them to be vigilant.  But it terrifies me that so little has been made public about this medical scandal, and I fear most of the women given this drug will have no inkling of the consequences.  I was diagnosed with terminal cancer just over two years ago and I’d like to know whether the drugs I was given played any part in what’s happened to me, and the very least all those other mums and their children deserve is to know the truth about the risks they were exposed to and a check done to see how their health is.”

McMillan, who is due to meet Children’s Minister Clare Haughey along with other campaigners, is calling for a public inquiry so all the health risks and human rights abuses they suffered can no longer be “swept under the carpet”.  She said: “For almost 60 years the 60,000 women who were forced adoption victims have been treated as if we are Scotland’s dirty little secret when our only ‘crime’ was that we were not married when we became pregnant.  But this is no longer just about challenging the morality of society at that time. There are extremely serious health implications that must be addressed for the women who were given this drug and the generations of their children who may be suffering the lasting effects.  The health time bomb is ticking and the government cannot continue ignoring what was a truly dreadful part of Scotland’s history.  Very few women given those drugs will even know the danger we were exposed to, or the effect on our children and grandchildren.”

Civil law expert George Clark of Quantum Claims said the government had a duty to investigate: “The government must find a way to fully assess just how widely these drugs were administered, and health authorities must be able to follow-up with health checks.  Everyone affected must be given the full information available on all the known side effects so they can be vigilant and seek treatment if necessary.”

MSP Monica Lennon, who has led Holyrood’s Cross Party Committee on Women’s Health said: “It’s bad enough that SNP ministers have tried to sweep the mental health impact of forced adoption under the carpet.  The physical impacts must be brought into the light too, including the potential link between cancer and drugs women were made to take to stop their breast milk.  A formal apology from the Scottish Government would finally acknowledge all of the damage inflicted on the mothers and their babies, and unlock a full investigation into these cruel and sinister practices.”

The drug

DES was developed by British biochemist Edward Charles Dodds in 1938.  Dodds never intended it to be used as a drug and didn’t patent it, allowing more than 200 drug companies around the world to manufacture DES.  Increasingly concerned over the many uses DES was being prescribed for, Dodds spoke out fiercely about the use of synthetic hormones due to the unknown effect they can have on the body and future generations.  Diethylstilbestrol, known as Stilbestrol in the UK, was initially thought to prevent miscarriage and help with period pain. It was also used for a number of other issues, including preventing women growing too tall.  It was even used as chemical castration, administered to Enigma hero Alan Turing to “treat” his homosexuality as an alternative to prison. The side effects were awful and Turing would later take his own life.  In 1970, a Boston doctor identified links between the drug and rare vaginal cancers in young women and after a Food & Drug Administration alert, it was gradually withdrawn except for small doses used to treat prostate cancer in men.  Despite huge settlements in the US to victims, very little is publicly available in the UK. Australia’s forced adoption victims asked their government to act during the country’s official apology in 2013, but are still waiting.

The film

Hollywood writer Caitlin McCarthy is about to cast her film Wonder Drug which will tell the story of how DES was given to millions of unsuspecting women with devastating consequences for generations of children.

McCarthy, 50, said: “I only discovered when I was 35 that I was a victim of this drug. It was given to my mother before I was born and of course she, like so many other women around the world, had no idea she’d been given it or what the consequences would be.  I’m what is known as a DES Daughter, although the effect of the drug continues down through generations, too. I have structural differences in my cervix, and need regular check-ups as I’m at increased risk of breast and vaginal cancers.  I was extremely lucky to be diagnosed when I was, during a routine operation, simply because the doctor I had was experienced in recognising the effects of the drug. It was devastating, not just for me but also for my poor mother Ann who immediately felt terribly guilty even though she had no idea she had even been given DES in a prenatal vitamin treatment.  After the shock of what I’d been exposed to subsided, I began researching how this happened and discovered DES was given to millions around the world. My film exposes the fortunes made by the drug companies, and those who turned a blind eye and did little to warn victims even when the cancer links became clear in 1971.  For over 40 years this scandal has been shrouded in silence even though so many people and at least three generations are affected. Everybody has heard about Thalidomide. But hardly anyone has heard about DES. I aim to change that.”

McCarthy is calling on governments around the world to alert women who were given the drug and for health checks for them and any children they have since had.

She said: “It’s desperately sad DES was given to victims of forced adoption who not only suffered by losing their babies, but their health and the health of their other children has been put at dreadful risk because of this drug.  It’s a tragedy that this happened at all. But the resounding silence that surrounds it is one of the biggest medical scandals of all time.  The silence cannot be allowed to continue. People deserve the truth. They need help and support. Governments cannot continue ignoring this issue.  It saddens me and angers me that in all these years there has been no proper apology from either the drug companies or the watchdogs who were supposed to prevent any of this happening.  When the first links with cancer were first identified in 1971, the Food & Drug Administration could have issued a ban and taken action so the rest of the world would sit up and react.  Instead all it did was issue an alert and little notice was taken. That was shameful. In 2011, the FDA finally admitted DES was a ‘tragedy’. But they still did not apologise.”

Oscar-nominated director Matia Karrell aims to premiere Wonder Drug next year.  McCarthy said: “I hope the film will get people talking. The silence has already damaged millions of lives. It has to end.”

Ministers urged to apologise to victims

Clare Haughey

Marion McMillan will urge the Scottish Government to give a formal apology to the victims of Scotland’s forced adoption scandal when she meets a minister this week.  She will see Clare Haughey on Thursday when she will ask the minister for children and young people to encourage the Scottish Government to apologise.  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she felt “deep sadness” over the issue and would consider an apology after Labour MSP Neil Bibby raised the cases of Marion and 60,000 other Scottish mothers.  Meanwhile, MP Lisa Cameron, who sits on Westminster’s all-party Health Committee, said the revelations about the drugs given to victims were deeply concerning: “This is yet another disturbing, hidden aspect to the forced adoption scandal. I’m raising questions in the House of Commons and have written to the Scottish health secretary.”

The Scottish Government said: “We have enormous sympathy for the women and families who have been harmed by Stilbestrol.”

It will “highlight this issue” with UK drug watchdog the Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which said in 1973 the Committee on Safety of Medicines wrote to doctors to advise against using the drug to treat pregnant women.  In 2002, the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reported 14 cases of cancer linked to the drug. It said: “Women who believe they may have been exposed to DES in utero and are concerned about the risks of vaginal and cervical cancer should be offered careful monitoring by annual colposcopic examinations.”

Surrogacy

*Please note; my views on surrogacy are exactly that my views.*

Firstly I do actually understand why people choose surrogacy over adopton and/or fostering but for me it’s something I couldn’t do.  I’m probably very influenced of being a survivor of forced adoption and not having more children. and,  while it wasn’t impossible to have more children, it was very unlikely my husband and I would.

What people don’t think about is that another woman carries a baby for a couple or single person so automatically the baby(ies) suffer trauma of being taken from the only mother they’ve known.  They carry DNA from the mother as well.  Babies aren’t born as blank slates so have a right to know, like adoptees, who carried them for 9 months.  Not telling them is living a lie the same as sperm donor conceived children deserve the truth although now sperm domors can’t be anonymous now in the UK.

https://www.hfea.gov.uk/donation/donors/rules-around-releasing-donor-information/

Why are donors no longer automatically anonymous?

Before the law was changed in 2005, we consulted widely with donor-conceived people and donors about how donor anonymity should work. We found there was a strong desire on both sides to leave the door open to potential contact if both parties wanted that.

We recognise that the prospect of being contacted by someone conceived from your donation can give rise to a lot of complex emotions.

We also give donor-conceived people the option of having a support worker on hand to act as an intermediary if they’d like to make contact with you.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-9717991/The-British-couples-pay-40-000-child-Ukraines-hellish-baby-factory.html

The British couples who paid £40,000 for a child from Ukraine’s hellish baby factory: Exposed, the heartbreaking reality of slick promises sold to desperate surrogacy tourists

Bianca, 45, and Vinny Smith, 40, said surrogacy dream turned into a ‘nightmare’
The couple from Cheltenham paid £40k to a surrogacy company in the Ukraine
When they arrived for birth of their sons, Max and Alex, four, they were shocked
They saw women kept on a sweltering maternity ward with no air-con ‘like cattle’

By Tom Kelly and Susie Coen For Daily Mail

Published: 23:29, 23 June 2021 | Updated: 08:55, 24 June 2021

Bianca and Vinny Smith went through their packing checklist one last time. There was the paperwork, of course, all carefully ordered, double-checked and labelled. Foreign currency, phrasebooks and medical kits.  Then, neatly stacked side by side, tiny Babygros and vests, packs of newborn nappies, bottles, teats and tins of powdered baby milk. For tomorrow, they would fly out to the Ukraine as a childless married couple and return a few weeks later as parents, to twin boys, born via a surrogate.  After eight failed rounds of IVF and years of heartbreak plus thousands of pounds spent they’d almost given up on their dream of becoming parents. Now they were buzzing with excitement and nerves that finally their dream was about to be realised.  Bianca heard about the biggest surrogacy company in the Ukraine on a Facebook group. ‘They were offering a take-home baby guarantee,’ she says. ‘You pay around £40,000 and you keep going until you get a baby. They’ll swap out egg donors or surrogates until they get it right. And we thought, well, perfect.’

But author Bianca, 45, claims their surrogacy dream turned into a ‘nightmare’ after they flew into the Ukraine for the birth of their sons, Max and Alex, now nearly four.  There she saw, first hand, the true scale of the country’s shocking surrogate baby trade: women kept on a sweltering maternity ward with no air conditioning ‘like cattle’.  Surrogates forced to wash with bottles of water in filthy toilets, as there were no showers and they were too terrified to complain through fear of reprisals against their families.  The Smiths have since discovered that their surrogate, an unmarried mother-of-two from rural Ukraine, was rushed into emergency surgery for several blood transfusions after giving birth to their twins. They still feel guilty about what the surrogate went through on their behalf.  ‘It’s very difficult for us to find out exactly how the surrogates were treated because of the language barrier,’ says Bianca. ‘But everyone I know who has been through the same firm as us has not been happy.’

The unavoidable fact is the couple, who are originally from Cheltenham, unwittingly fuelled a scandalous billion-pound international surrogacy trade in the Ukraine.  ‘We adore our boys, but we are always thinking about our surrogate,’ Bianca says. ‘If only we had known about how she was treated, we would have done everything we could to make her experience better.’

While surrogacy is legal in the UK, the only payments allowed are expenses, i.e. those incurred as a result of the pregnancy, such as medical bills and compensation for time off work. Consequently, the number of UK women volunteering as surrogates is small which drives many couples abroad.  The Ukraine is one of the few places in the world where commercial surrogacy is allowed, since Cambodia, India, Nepal and Thailand all banned it in recent years owing to the abusive treatment of women.  Some countries, such as Spain, refuse to register children born from surrogates in the Ukraine because of similar concerns.  With no such restrictions here, dozens of highly organised Ukrainian companies are free to target the UK market. Through slick, promotional events, they use marketing videos featuring happy British couples with their babies. Their surrogates,they assure customers, are treated ‘like diamonds’.  But the brutal reality is that women are frequently kept under ‘surveillance’ during the final weeks of their pregnancies, banned from having contact with partners or other loved ones and forced to live under curfew, facing hefty fines if they break rules.  Some were abandoned while in terrible pain, left with huge medical bills and are unable to have children of their own following complications in pregnancy.  One who had been through open-heart surgery was allowed to bear a child despite the risk and was forcibly separated from her own son. Another woman revealed the clinic had missed her now incurable cervical cancer in pre-pregnancy checks.  While the women are paid around £10,000 to carry babies for foreign couples more than twice the average annual salary the mental and physical cost is painfully high.  Meanwhile, there seems to be no age restriction to couples who want a surrogate child. One agency told of a UK couple who wanted an heir for their property empire so had a child in their late 60s using the father’s sperm and a donor egg. When our undercover reporters posed as an elderly couple, they were told by several agencies it would be ‘no problem’.  Bianca, who lives in Cozumel, Mexico, where Vinny is stationed as a military consultant, says the couple had tried to accept being childless. Then Bianca found out about the Ukrainian ‘guaranteed baby’ VIP programme for £43,000. They flew out in July 2016 for a consultation, and Bianca says: ‘Everything seemed perfect we were excited.’

Three months later, they returned to Kiev for Vinny’s sperm deposit and to choose their egg donor from a database that included pictures and videos of the Ukrainian women, and details such as eye colour, height and weight, education and occupation.  Their surrogate, a 29-year-old baker, was found within a week. ‘I knew she was doing it for the money but that didn’t alarm me. I have a friend in the U.S. who has been a surrogate four times and does it for the money. I didn’t see it as exploitation,’ Bianca says.

They then met the surrogate, signed the paperwork and paid the deposit. The next month, the donor had her egg retrieval and by December the surrogate was pregnant with twins. For the next few months, their only contact with her was via Skype with a translator employed by the clinic.  ‘We found out only her boyfriend and two kids knew about the surrogacy a lot of them do it in secret because it’s frowned upon by the locals,’ Bianca says.

As the babies’ due date approached, in July 2017, ‘everything started unravelling’.  ‘It began with the service we were given when we arrived for the birth,’ says Bianca. ‘We were told we would have a “luxury” apartment but it was filthy absolutely disgusting. It was definitely not an environment for a newborn baby.’

The couple complained to the agency and asked for a cleaner but they did such a ‘terrible’ job they were forced to buy cleaning products and scrub down the apartment themselves.  Bianca and Vinny, 40, had also paid for a private hospital for their surrogate, but were told she was going to the public hospital.  ‘It was filthy and reeked of cigarette smoke,’ Bianca says. ‘The private hospital is used to surrogates, but in the public hospital, we were screamed and shouted at. They didn’t want us there.’

They’d also been told their surrogate would live in an apartment in Kiev for the last few weeks of the pregnancy ‘so they could keep an eye on her’ and ensure her pregnancy was going well.

SURROGACY IN THE UKRAINE: THE RULES

~  Only married heterosexual couples are allowed to use surrogates in the Ukraine and they must have a medical reason why they cannot carry their own children.
~  There has to be some genetic link between the prospective parents and the child, either through the sperm or the egg. The surrogate cannot use her own eggs.
~  For the surrogates in the Ukraine, the rules are much more strict. Women must sign contracts waiving their right to even hold the baby after the birth and are hit with hefty penalties for infringements, as seen by our undercover reporters.
~  The contract states if the surrogate is left infertile due to the pregnancy or childbirth, she is only entitled to £5,700 in compensation from the prospective parents.
~  If the child is born ‘with abnormalities through the fault of the surrogate’ she must pay the parents £11,500 in compensation.
~  She will also have to pay a £17,000 fine for the ‘refusal to issue documents’ confirming the parental rights of the intended parents.
~  She is not permitted to ‘pick up the child(ren) at the hospital and cannot object to the potential parents picking up their child(ren) immediately after birth’.
~  The largest possible fines which can be issued to a surrogate include for a ‘breach of confidentiality’ speaking to the Press, human rights or public organisations which would see a surrogate fined £22,000.
~  The surrogate must reimburse the parents ‘for all medical expenses’ if she refuses to have an abortion ‘if the child(ren) is found to have abnormalities and the potential parents opt to terminate the pregnancy’.
~  The contract also states she must: ‘Strictly follow the diet, lifestyle and regime of work, rest, physical and emotional stress’ that is recommended to her.
~  She cannot even ‘swim or sunbathe’ without the consent of the parents, agency and a physician.

But I adopted my child at birth. What do you mean trauma?

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-adopted-my-child-birth-what-do-you-mean-trauma-alex-stavros/

But I adopted my child at birth. What do you mean trauma?

Published on June 10, 2015

Alex Stavros
CEO, Embark Behavioral Health // Creating Joy // Business As a Force for Good

BY: ALEX STAVROS, President and CEO, Calo Family of Programs

It is not uncommon for adoptive parents to come to us feeling out of options for their difficult child and overwhelmed about what could have created all of these DSM diagnoses and intense feelings and behaviors.  Especially if the child was adopted at or near birth.  “We adopted our son at birth. We brought him home from the hospital ourselves and have done nothing but love him.”

Does this sound too familiar?

If so, then why are you now being told that all of that had something to do with the issues today?

First and foremost, it is important not to be too hard on ourselves or even our child’s birth parents. At this time, it is most important to find our child the help that they need. Understanding the diagnosis and its origins may help one decide on the most appropriate course of treatment.  Quality and traditional parenting techniques may no longer be a solution our child’s condition will likely require trauma sensitive interventions to heal.

Fetal Trauma

First we need to understand there are many developmental milestones for your child that occur prior to birth.  Your child began feeling and learning in the womb. According to Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D., your baby learned to be comforted by the voice and heartbeat of his mother well before birth[1] a voice that was not yours. In the case of adoption this connective disruption has an impact on the brain and body.

Paula Thomson writes for Birth Psychology, “Early pre- and post-natal experiences, including early trauma, are encoded in the implicit memory of the fetus, located in the subcortical and deep limbic regions of the maturing brain. These memories will travel with us into our early days of infancy and beyond and more importantly, these early experiences set our ongoing physiological and psychological regulatory baselines.”[2]

Clearly, chaos outside of the womb, for example, may affect children in utero. This includes arguments, a chaotic home environment or an abusive spouse, and other rambunctious noise that may seem harmless to the fetus.  If the mother drinks or smokes, or is generally unhealthy, this also impacts in-utero development, including the sense of safety and self-worth for the child.  Critical brain development is also stunted.   Mothers that end up placing their child with adoptive parents are also likely to feel increased stress during their pregnancies.  Many are very young, have many other children or are emotionally or financially unable to support a child.  Each of these stressors could expose unborn babies to cortisol, making them also stressed.  The baby is then born anxious.  Surprisingly, babies are also able to sense a disconnection or lack of acceptance from their mother while in the womb leading to attachment issues and developmental trauma down the road.

Genetic Memory

Beyond these connection concerns, trauma can also be an inherited condition.  Recent studies indicate that trauma resides in the DNA, allowing mental disease and behavioral disorders to be passed down for generations.  In the end, adoption itself is a form of trauma.  Without the biological connection to their mother, even newborns can feel that something is wrong and be difficult to sooth as a result. This effect has the potential to grow over time even in the most loving and supportive adoptive homes.

Summary: Humans, and the brain, develop through experience.  Adverse experiences stunt this development.  And development starts way before birth even before conception.

[1] http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/06/29/emotional-trauma-in-the-womb/

[2] https://birthpsychology.com/journals/volume-19-issue-1/impact-trauma-embryo-and-fetus-application-diathesis-stress-model-and-neu

BY: ALEX STAVROS, President and CEO, Calo Family of Programs

About Calo

Calo (“kay-low”) is a behavioral and mental health provider that specializes in healing the effects of complex developmental trauma. Calo is comprised of Calo Teens (www.caloteens.com), Calo Preteens (www.calopreteens.com) both residential programs predominately serving adoptive families – and New Vision Wilderness (www.newvisionwilderness.com “NVW”).

NVW is a wilderness therapy program based in the North Woods of Wisconsin and the Mountain Desert of Oregon. NVW offers one of the most clinically intensive models in the country specializing in a Trauma Informed model.

The Calo programs implement a unique and truly relational treatment model based on evidence-based attachment treatment research. Calo’s proprietary treatment model is pervasive throughout the programs. The unique model facilitates establishing, deepening and maintaining healthy and safe relationships that ultimately lead to co-regulation and Joy.

The clinical modalities across the programs include, but are not limited to, Brainspotting, HeartMath, EMDR, Neurofeedback, Trauma Sensitive Yoga, Transferable Attachment Canine Therapy, Adventure Therapy, Play and Sand Therapy, and Sensory/Occupational Therapies.
Published on June 10, 2015

Alex Stavros
CEO, Embark Behavioral Health // Creating Joy // Business As a Force for Good

BY: ALEX STAVROS, President and CEO, Calo Family of Programs

IBY: ALEX STAVROS, President and CEO, Calo Family of Programs

It is not uncommon for adoptive parents to come to us feeling out of options for their difficult child and overwhelmed about what could have created all of these DSM diagnoses and intense feelings and behaviors.  Especially if the child was adopted at or near birth.  “We adopted our son at birth. We brought him home from the hospital ourselves and have done nothing but love him.”

Does this sound too familiar?

If so, then why are you now being told that all of that had something to do with the issues today?

First and foremost, it is important not to be too hard on ourselves or even our child’s birth parents. At this time, it is most important to find our child the help that they need. Understanding the diagnosis and its origins may help one decide on the most appropriate course of treatment.  Quality and traditional parenting techniques may no longer be a solution our child’s condition will likely require trauma sensitive interventions to heal.

Fetal Trauma

First we need to understand there are many developmental milestones for your child that occur prior to birth.  Your child began feeling and learning in the womb. According to Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D., your baby learned to be comforted by the voice and heartbeat of his mother well before birth[1] a voice that was not yours. In the case of adoption this connective disruption has an impact on the brain and body.

Paula Thomson writes for Birth Psychology, “Early pre- and post-natal experiences, including early trauma, are encoded in the implicit memory of the fetus, located in the subcortical and deep limbic regions of the maturing brain. These memories will travel with us into our early days of infancy and beyond and more importantly, these early experiences set our ongoing physiological and psychological regulatory baselines.”[2]

Clearly, chaos outside of the womb, for example, may affect children in utero. This includes arguments, a chaotic home environment or an abusive spouse, and other rambunctious noise that may seem harmless to the fetus.  If the mother drinks or smokes, or is generally unhealthy, this also impacts in-utero development, including the sense of safety and self-worth for the child.  Critical brain development is also stunted.   Mothers that end up placing their child with adoptive parents are also likely to feel increased stress during their pregnancies.  Many are very young, have many other children or are emotionally or financially unable to support a child.  Each of these stressors could expose unborn babies to cortisol, making them also stressed.  The baby is then born anxious.  Surprisingly, babies are also able to sense a disconnection or lack of acceptance from their mother while in the womb leading to attachment issues and developmental trauma down the road.

Genetic Memory

Beyond these connection concerns, trauma can also be an inherited condition.  Recent studies indicate that trauma resides in the DNA, allowing mental disease and behavioral disorders to be passed down for generations.  In the end, adoption itself is a form of trauma.  Without the biological connection to their mother, even newborns can feel that something is wrong and be difficult to sooth as a result. This effect has the potential to grow over time even in the most loving and supportive adoptive homes.

Summary: Humans, and the brain, develop through experience.  Adverse experiences stunt this development.  And development starts way before birth even before conception.

[1] http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/06/29/emotional-trauma-in-the-womb/

[2] https://birthpsychology.com/journals/volume-19-issue-1/impact-trauma-embryo-and-fetus-application-diathesis-stress-model-and-neu

BY: ALEX STAVROS, President and CEO, Calo Family of Programs

About Calo

Calo (“kay-low”) is a behavioral and mental health provider that specializes in healing the effects of complex developmental trauma. Calo is comprised of Calo Teens (www.caloteens.com), Calo Preteens (www.calopreteens.com) both residential programs predominately serving adoptive families – and New Vision Wilderness (www.newvisionwilderness.com “NVW”).

NVW is a wilderness therapy program based in the North Woods of Wisconsin and the Mountain Desert of Oregon. NVW offers one of the most clinically intensive models in the country specializing in a Trauma Informed model.

The Calo programs implement a unique and truly relational treatment model based on evidence-based attachment treatment research. Calo’s proprietary treatment model is pervasive throughout the programs. The unique model facilitates establishing, deepening and maintaining healthy and safe relationships that ultimately lead to co-regulation and Joy.

The clinical modalities across the programs include, but are not limited to, Brainspotting, HeartMath, EMDR, Neurofeedback, Trauma Sensitive Yoga, Transferable Attachment Canine Therapy, Adventure Therapy, Play and Sand Therapy, and Sensory/Occupational Therapies.

Nanny still looking after couple’s surrogate baby 10 months after birth

https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/family/nanny-still-looking-after-couples-24341494?utm_source=mirror_newsletter&utm_campaign=daily_evening_newsletter2&utm_medium=email

Nanny still looking after couple’s surrogate baby 10 months after birth

Kristie Baysinger, a nanny from Texas, took to TikTok to share the heartbreaking story of 10-month-old surrogate baby Alexander in a video that has been viewed almost one million times

By Paige Holland Showbiz Audience Writer

17:14, 17 JUN 2021Updated17:18, 17 JUN 2021

A nanny who was hired to look after a couple’s baby has revealed how she ended up raising him for the first 10 months of his life.  Kristie Baysinger, a nanny from Texas, collected baby Alexander from his surrogate in Oklahoma after his parents were unable to fly from the UK to pick him up due to coronavirus restrictions.  But little did she know she’d still be caring for him almost a year down the line.  She shared the heartbreaking story of how rewarding, yet challenging it has been in a TikTok video that has racked up almost one million views.  In the clip, she explained: “My agency called me and said: ‘Hey, can you come pick up this new surrogate baby from this surrogate who does not want to take him home?’  So, we went to Oklahoma to pick him up.”

However, the process of getting a social security number has been “a struggle,” she admitted.  We’ve been getting no feedback. We’ve called social security administration and they say we’re in the loop just like everybody else is.  We’re just doing our best over here and just raising this little boy and just being as sweet as we can until he can return home to his parents.”

She went on to say how they’re waiting to see whether his parents can get their passports sorted so they can come and pick him up, if not she’ll be travelling to Scotland with Alexander and her family to “help with the transition.”  “They miss him terribly and want to see him, and they talk to him daily,” she said.

“Hopefully his social security gets here soon so that I can apply for his passport and we can get him back home.”

In another video, the nanny, who is a mum of three children, said that she treats Alexander like one of her own kids.  She explained: “We give him all the hugs and love and attention and everything that he needs so that he can grow.  We don’t hold back, he’s spoiled, he’s loved, and played with, and sang to. Just like he was my own kid.”

Since being posted, the original video has racked up more than 113,000 likes and hundreds of comments from people who were heartbroken by the situation.  One person said: “This is the saddest situation ever. Poor baby when he has to go to strangers who are his actual family by no fault of their own.”

Another added: “Poor baby. The trauma he is going to go through once he’s away from you. Breaks my heart just thinking about it.”

While another wrote: “So sad his parents are missing his first year of life.”

So tired ……

I don’t make a point of blogging like I used to ask I feel ‘all talked out’ over how adoption affects me on a daily basis.  My son will be 40 in August and I will be 60 in November yet I’ve only had 5 years of contact in my life with him.  That includes him living with us for almost 2 1/5 years which wasn’t enough time to truly heal and my heart was ripped to shreds a second time.

I cannot explain to family how hard it’s been over the past forty years as none of them have had a child adopted out let alone against their will.  The closest I could get to explaining was back in 2019 when one of my niece’s and husband lost their second child toEdward’s Syndrome.  They, their son and close family members had a day with her before she passed on.  It will never take the pain away and I am just thankful they could have that time together with their beautiful angel.  I would have loved to met my great niece but we didn’t know if we would get to the hospital in time as we live about 250 miles away.  She is still with the family in spirit and has been included in the family tree with a picture as she will always be part of our family.

When my sister and I talked before and after about her beautiful granddaughter I had no problems saying I couldn’t begin to understand what my niece / her daughter was going through.  My son didn’t die.  Yet a piece of me died after he was born as I knew I was losing the battle to keep him even though I was quite capable of raising him.

I became severely depressed but thought it was post natal depression.  I emotionally shut down as it was the only way I could cope and to the world I moved on.  That couldn’t be further from the truth but I couldn’t cope with my emotions so it was a battle to stay alive.  I’ve lost count of the times I have overdosed but only went to hospitalised once which was because I was unconscious.  The following day I refused to talk about it and wanted to go home and the doctor couldn’t force me to stay or talk.  Instead I continued with my daily battle to carry on pretending nothing was wrong.

Even with me finding my son within days after his 23 rd birthday didn’t help kickstart real heaing.  Don’t get me wrong I will be eternally thankful that we reconnected so I know he is alive and well but …. I didn’t get my baby back, I found an adult.  I never stopped loving him and never will but I can’t make him like me.  In the time we had contact he learned the reality I had wanted to raise him, that I had wanted contact if he was willing.  Instead he believed I hadn’t wanted him, that he had to accept I ‘didn’t want to be found’ – I have seen the proof in the form of a letter from a family member.  My finding him crumbled his world around him as he learned the truth I had always wanted him and as I had been denied that right so reconnecting was the next best thing.

I couldn’t even have that as I should have done as the same family member couldn’t understand why my son wanted to know.  His only family was his adoptive family and I was nothing to him according to the family member.  That attitude is cold hearted and yet that person would never have said that had they gone through the same experience of an invisible amputation.

Why is abortion illegal???

“Why is abortion illegal??? In my opinion all birth mothers who gave up children WILLINGLY belong in jail. I would rather have been aborted. This existence of not being apart of two families and being unable to have children of my own is unbearable.”

This is a post on one of the adoption related groups I belong too on Facebook which really got my back up.  I have been a member of various adoption groups and forums since late 2004 and am saddened that education is still as bad now as it was 16 years ago.  The problem is this person knows exactly what they are getting at but from the point of view of a mother, I’m not the only one, that ‘willingly’ gave up my son as that’s how the adoption industry portrays.  I do know there are mothers who really didn’t want their children and haven’t wanted reunion but they are a minority.  My point is that I’m still willing to speak out that willing surrendering of a child isn’t that common and people should educate themselves.  From my son’s point of view he knows what it’s like to be rejected by his father and to a certain extent by a family member.

The reality is we didn’t willingly give our children up, they were taken away / stolen because of the greed of adoption agencies and our mothers didn’t want us to be single mothers / it was shameful to have a baby out of wedlock.

Of course these days there is a big difference between the UK and the US these days as private adoption stopped in the UK.  With mothers having access to benefits saw the decline of infant adoption in the UK although forced adoption still continues – forced adoptions are illegal but extremely difficult for parents to stop.

I shouldn’t have responded to the post as I still get attacked for telling the truth because people accuse me of not reading properly, in denial that I ‘chose’ adoption, I regret the ‘decision’ and so on,  My response was because of the amount of people who haven’t believed the truth over the years and they will never understand the pain they cause.

“….. …. I am one of those mothers who you reduce to the act of giving birth. I, like many other mothers, chose life for my son, I wanted to raise him but he was stolen from me because my mother didn’t want a daughter to be a single mother. It was harder to adopt babies by the time my son was born as mothers knew their rights. I lost my son because my mother and the adoption agency lied to me and it was 23 years later I found out the truth. I don’t even know who signed the Consent to Surrender when he was 6 weeks old as it was very conveniently lost yet I was able to have all the other relevant paperwork post reunion which should have been given to me 23 years previously. None of the information was given by me and the only truth was a description of me and his father. It was that bad that there was two completely different jobs down for his father but he had never done either of them. Instead of spewing out your ignorance try educating yourself.”

Maybe I should have made myself crystal clear that to the world I ‘willingly’ gave my son up and been more polite at the end but I’m tired of being polite.  I’m tired of people coming across as ignorant, not educating or show that they have educated themselves.  I’m tired of mothers are made out to willingly getting rid of their children.  On the other hand he could have been more specific – how do I know if he knows that not all adoptions will done willingly.

The response I got back was from a female:

” …..   I re-read the original post. No where does it say that all mothers gave their babies up willingly, only those that did should go to jail. Adoptees have the right to their feelings on this.”

That just got my back up as I never said adoptees don’t have a right to their feelings on anything let alone this one thing.  She didn’t get my point that people assume mothers choose adoption then think it’s okay to attack a mother for telling her truth for the reasons already given.  So my response back I thought she would accept even if she didn’t agree with me:
“…. I completely agree you and I have had many conversations with my son which have been painful. However, mothers also have a right to our opinions and I found the op hurtful as it comes across as all mothers. I have also got to know many adoptees over the years which includes ones that have been rejected by mothers and/ or fathers. They have been left devastated and I haven’t had the words to explain why a mother will do this because I don’t understand why a mother will reject her child. I may have misunderstood the post but at the same time you have no right to put me down.”
Second mistake and got back this response which left me even more frustrated:
I didn’t put you down, just pointed out you misread the post. Telling an adoptee to “educate themselves” on adoption is the height of arrogance. We lived it every day of our lives.
I didn’t actually say that and she made an assumption – what I meant was educate themselves on why mothers ‘surrender’ and it’s not always what adoptees or anyone else believes.  No social worker will write in the paperwork that the mother wants to raise her child because that means they can’t force the adoption through unless it’s in the best interests of the child.   Obviously, if a parent not just the mother is a real threat to their child they shouldn’t be allowed to parent.  Must have touched a nerve for her to accuse me of arrogance.  I have opinions and if someone doesn’t like it that just makes them human and they can agree to disagree with me.  I have spent too many years of being a people pleaser, allowed myself to be put down, walked over and made to feel worthless.  I have a right to my opinion and I will give it so again if people don’t like it they can ignore me.
My final response was this:
“…. you don’t know me so you have no right to call me arrogant, you don’t know how evil my mother – she told my son I didn’t want to be found amongst other things, and, one day a couple of months before he moved in with us she didn’t understand why he wanted to know me as I was nothing to him and his only family was his adoptive family – she was extremely cruel. I don’t know your situation so how would you like to be told that you are nothing to a natural family member? Would you be happy with that? There are some adoptees that I have known over the years who have continually come out with hurtful comments towards mothers but I took the time to get to know them and why they said the things they did and yes they have the right to do so based on their experiences. Guess what? I learned to respect them and have explained to other non adoptees why I haven’t said anything, can you think why? They got to know me as well and have said their comments aren’t aimed at me personally. Yes adoptees live adoption every day, I haven’t said they don’t. What I’m saying is adoptees should accept that mothers have a right to say how they feel. I spent 23 years living in shame, then, being constantly being put down by adoptees and adopters who didn’t have a clue what I or others have been through.  We, mothers, have as much right to tell our truths as adoptees. If you don’t want to know ignore every mother who wants to tell the truth. Oh and you’re the one who is being arrogant but if you want a civilised conversation with me stop putting me down. One good lesson I learned is if you want respect give it. Unless you want to be civilised I will listen like I have with every adoptee I’ve known which includes two adoptees who are legally 2nd cousins of mine. If you think your life has been tough think about adoptees (international adoption) who are very unlikely to find their natural families.” …. “…  I forgot to add that my son believed I chose adoption so technically I had every right to post my response.”

Why “Birthmother” Means “Breeder”

http://babyscoopera.com/why-birthmother-means-breeder/

Why “Birthmother” Means “Breeder”

by Diane Turski

I had never heard the term “birthmother” until I reunited with my son. When the social worker who located me referred to me as his “birthmother,” my first reaction was to instinctively recoil in distaste. What is a “birthmother?”

It occurred to me that perhaps she had merely applied this ridiculous-sounding term in an attempt at political correctness, so I ignored it. However, when my son’s adoptive mother initiated her first contact with me she referred to him as my “birthson.” What is “birthson?”

And what would a “birthfather” be I didn’t know that fathers gave birth! In a “birth family” are there also “birth sisters,” “birth brothers,” “birth grandparents,” “birth aunts,” “birth uncles,” “birth cousins,” “birth pets,” etc?

It was then that I began to suspect that these ridiculous “birth” terms were not merely being applied in a benign attempt at political correctness. Was it possible that the adoption industry intended to insult us by applying these ridiculous labels to us?

Is it possible that we mothers have been so naive that we haven’t yet realized their true intent?

Could it be that we are insulting ourselves every time that we apply or allow others to apply these ridiculous terms to us?

Investigating, I learned that U.S. social workers had collaborated about 30 years ago to invent their own list of contrived terms to appease their adopting clients. Adopters no longer wanted anyone to use the original term “natural mothers.” Why?

Three reasons:

1) it indicated respect for the mother’s true relationship to her child she could not be written off as a “convenient slut” whose only value was reproduction,
2) it recognized that the sacred mother/child relationship extended past birth and even past surrender, and
3) it implied that the adoptive mother’s relationship to the child was unnatural.

The adoption industry didn’t want adoption to be considered unnatural – they could lose customers this way! After all, people were paying good money for “a child of their own.”  Adopters didn’t want a reminder that the child they were adopting still had a loving parent somewhere else. After all, social workers had promised them a child “as if born to.”  So social workers responded by creating a list of ridiculous “birth” terms meant to confine the mother’s relationship with her child to simply giving birth, ending at that point. In other words, “birthmother” is simply a euphemism for “incubator” or “breeder.”  Then, social workers deliberately disguised their disrespectful intent by calling it “Respectful Adoption Language.” “Respectful” to adoptive parents, who are now to be called “parents,” as if the two natural parents no longer exist.  Deliberately creating the term “birthmother” was a further attempt to break the bond between mother and child; in addition to altering birth records to indicate that adopters gave birth, sealing the original birth certificate, and changing the child’s identity with a false adopted name. Adoption is built on lies and denials of truth, so we mothers shouldn’t be surprised that “Respectful Adoption Language” is just another deceitful ploy.  However, one truth that cannot be denied is the truth that thousands of mothers and their lost children have found in reunion: that the deep spiritual/emotional mother-child bond between them has never been broken, despite the decades they were separated. That natural motherhood is forever, that the relationship extended *past* birth. Adopters feeling threatened by this sometimes try to pressure adoptees to end reunions: instead, they should hold their brokers accountable for lying to them with the “as if born to” sales-pitch.  Now that we mothers have learned the truth about the invention of these ridiculous “birth” terms, what should we do about it?

Do we really want to continue to disrespect ourselves and allow the adoption industry to continue to disrespect us by applying and allowing others to apply these terms to us?

Or should we insist on applying truly respectful language, such as the term “natural mother,” which is still used in other countries who have not been as propagandized by the United States adoption industry?

I believe it is time for us mothers to defend ourselves and our children from further insults and attacks.

The never ending slippery slope

I wish there was research ‘out there’ that was easily obtained to educate people on the negatives of adoption.  There are also better options to adoption which are often dismissed by the ‘adoption is a perfect’ brigade.  Maybe I don’t want to stop torturing myself by reading articles, reading blogs/websites by adopters painting the ‘win/win’ option of adoption of newborns.

One such couple ‘begging to buy a baby’ on Facebook and also have a website painting a picture that it’s wunnerful for a mother to make the strong choice of adoption.  The only problem with that is it’s coercive and misleading and even mothers who have made that choice have admitted that reality can be different post adoption.  I’m not ignoring that there are mothers who are comfortable with their choice and never regret it but that isn’t necessarily the norm.  I have ‘met’ mothers who are comfortable with their choices and have respected their choices as as I took the time to get to know them.

This one such couple https://www.facebook.com/timandsarahopetoadopt and their website is https://www.timandsarahopetoadopt1stbaby.com/home.html .

*Please note I am fully aware that there are parents who should never have had children in the first place, there are parents wh0 need help and support (but doesn’t make them bad parents), parents who choose adoption and don’t regret it.  The points I make are my opinion but that doesn’t make me a bad person, I am simply airing my views on what I don’t like about adoption particularly when money is concerned.  It is criminal the way adoption charges are justified in countries such as the U.S.A.

I believe there are better ways of raising a child such as kinship fostering where a child can be raised in a safe environment, and, maintaining regular contact with one or both parents unless the child is at risk from their parent(s).

On Facebook they are really plugging their website with repeated posts which is irritating and the website is sickly sweet. On their website they make themselves so wonderful and can give a child a wonderful, perfect life where he or she will want for nothing.

“We’re completely open and honored to adopt a baby of any race because we feel that skin color does not make a family.”

  • Uh, so if you adopt a baby from a different ethnic group they won’t notice they will look ‘diferent’?
  • Nobody else will notice or comment that the baby’s ethnicity is different?
  • Will it occur to you to embrace the baby’s ethnicity?
  • How will you deal with potential racism towards your child when he or she is older?
  • Do you seriously think we live in a racist free world?
  • Do you think your potential child will look into your eyes and think ‘yes I do know where I come from’?
  • Just think about it, no matter how much you may love your adopted child unconditionaly no matter what their colour is you cannot give them everything.

I do actually have second cousins who are obviously adopted due to the colour of their skins.  They are loved for who they are, have good friends, good lives but they have had to learn to deal with looking different to their family.  None of the family can truly understand how they feel as they are the only black family members.  I am just thankful that the family will always be there for them.

“Though we tried but were unable to have a biological child, we always thought adoption would be a wonderful way to become parents. …. never felt that biology makes a family. 

I know I am very cynical and lost my faith in human nature when it comes to adoption you are ‘saying’ all the right things yet I still have my reservations.  It’s got nothing to do with what happened to me as I live in the UK and adoption is different here to the U.S.A:

– no private adoption

– all adoptions here have to go through social services

– no amended birth certificate (adopters get an adoption certificate

– no such thing as closed records and it doesn’t cost much to adopt.

What I’ve learned has been from mothers, adoptees, adopters and foster carers when it comes to American adoptions.  It has horrified me what goes on nor does the system seem to be improving.

  • I do understand what it’s like not to conceive a baby with my husband so I can sympathise with you
  • I also know what it’s like not raising my only son and you will never, ever know what that’s  like
  • There is nothing wrong with believing that adoption is the way forward to make a family
  • Biology doesn’t always make a family – I have had friends over the years that have been family ro me
  • If you was adopting out of foster care I would respect your decision
  • Adopting from foster care is giving a child a family instead growing up in the care system
  • Adopting a newborn screams your desire to have a clean slate baby for your own as if born to you
  • Adoption should never be about buying a baby for your needs, it should be about the child’s best interests
  • What type of adoption do you want?
  • Will you promise to have an open adoption?
  • Or will you promise anything just to get some random baby from a mother who feels she doesn’t have a choice or thinks (niavely) that adotion is best for her child?
  • Will you honour an open adoption?
  • Will you play God with your potential baby?
  • Have you even thought about the long-term effect on your potential baby?
  • What are your views on legalised lies such as amended birth certificates which implies as if born to you?
  • What about closed records?
  • Will you always be honest with your potential child?

Honesty should come first which goes beyond potential adopters praising themselves up and stating how wonderful their potential adopted child’s life will be.

Dwelling on the past

with the I am going through one of my dwelling too much on the past periods.  Having lockdown for a few months and now easing of lockdown rules hasn’t helped either as my concentration levels aren’t good.  It doesn’t help not sleeping very well so I’m constantly exhausted but when I go to bed I feel wide awake.

We are going away for a break soon which is a positive and I’m looking forward to seeing family.  At least it will be a happier time than last year on our last visit as we were there for our great neice’s funeral.  The family knew that she wouldn’t live because of Edward’s Syndrome although she did live for a day but it didn’t make it any easier.  This time Bandit will be with us so I am hoping he behaves himself with the children.  He likes children with my main worry being him jumping up at the younger ones unless he decides to be shy.

The latest addition, Savanna, was born on the 29th April so I am really looking forward to seeing her.  Unfortunately having too much time on my hands it’s given me time to think of my own grief not just because I didn’t raise my son, we no longer talk I will never know my grandson.  Unless a mother has gone through illegal adoption it’s impossible to understand the feelings of loss, an invisible amputation and the grief that goes with it.  When a baby dies people understand why a mother grieves, can never forget, learns to move forward and learns how to deal with the grief.  Adoption is different as the baby lives but the mother is in limbo unless there an open or semi-open adoption in place.  I was in limbo for 23 years and my way of ‘copin’ was emotionally shutting down and not talk.  Subsequently when I found my son I had to deal with my emotions.  Of course the added problem was becoming more depressed than I already was to the point of not eating, sleeping then eventually seeking professional help.

September 2021
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