Adoption

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.”

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 “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.

Depression and adoption

For many years I have suffered from depression – too many years – which became severe when my son was born and I emotionally broke down.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize I suffered from depression until many years later and I was suicidal but knew I didn’t really want to die.  I believed what I was told, that I was moody, there were people far worse off than me and I didn’t have anything to be depressed about.

Even in my teens, I was prone to suicidal thoughts which I couldn’t understand and I felt guilty for my thoughts.  I didn’t have anybody I felt I could trust enough not to say anything about how I felt.  Suffering in silence isn’t worth it.

When my son was adopted life really wasn’t worth living for but wanting to kill myself was scarier to deal with.  I couldn’t trust anybody as my parents had betrayed my trust.  Instead, I put on an act so even now very few people know me 100%.  I find it hard to explain how I feel on a daily basis to anybody which is generally feeling extremely low mst of the time.

Wearing my mask

Not talking about a baby being lost to adoption is a bad idea but it was my way of coping for too many years.  When a mother loses her baby to miscarriage, stillborn, or genetic condition people can be supportive even though they don’t understand the (personal) loss.  Of course today there are different charities that offer support which is priceless.  One of our nieces and nephew-in-law lost their second child to Trisomy 18 (Edward’s Syndrome) when she was a day old.  They were well looked after by their midwife and ARC but it doesn’t make the loss any easier.  They were given a card with their daughter’s hands and feet imprints on it.   They also received a teddy bear with the name of another baby’s name on it and one day parents will receive a teddy bear with their daughter’s name on it.

When it comes to adoption people think it’s wonderful, farting unicorns and in the child’s best interests.   In reality, it isn’t and unless the child is at real risk of any type of abuse it’s better to keep the child with his or her mother/father.  If the parents die then special guardianship with the child’s family member is the next best thing otherwise with another guardian. I am not completely anti-adoption as there are other ways a child can be raised in safety and retain their name.

What people don’t understand is that when a mother is forced to let her baby be adopted it is loss and the mother suffers for the rest of her life.  Her baby is still alive but she will never raise her child.  It is a different type of loss to mothers whose babies have died but the result is the same both types of mothers never get over it and just learn to live with the loss.

I lived too many years hiding my pain as I was never offered any counselling so I put on an act.  Eventually, I did find my son without actively searching for him when he had just turned 23 years old on Genes Reunited.  The rage and pain I actively controlled came out finally but I still mourn the loss of my baby, I will never get him back.   My son was shocked I found him without actively searching and had been searching for 5 years.  He found my family but at that time my family didn’t know where I was due to a massive argument I’d had with my sister and by this time we had moved.  My son was hurt that my parents hadn’t told me they had contact with him for two years when I got back in touch with them.  There was absolutely no good reason why they didn’t tell me and the poor excuse was they didn’t know if my husband knew about him.  My sister told me they didn’t know where I was so I don’t know what they were telling her – I didn’t have contact with her for 12 years.  I didn’t want to fall out with her again as we have got on better since our dad died.

My son and I don’t talk now.  We both made mistakes but he won’t accept he was just as much to blame as me when we had disagreements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Women urged to speak out in Victorian historical forced adoptions inquiry

https://www.thesenior.com.au/story/6779595/ill-never-forget-living-with-the-scars-of-forced-adoption/?cs=6776

Women urged to speak out in Victorian historical forced adoptions inquiry

Geraldine Cardozo

Geraldine Cardozo

Barbara Pendrey with her dog Ella. She hopes sharing her story of forced adoption will encourage other women to speak out.

Barbara Pendrey with her dog Ella. She hopes sharing her story of forced adoption will encourage other women to speak out.

Drugged, with her arms and legs restrained, Tasmanian Barbara Pendrey will never forget the day her newborn son was taken from her.  It was January 1966. Alone and frightened, the 16-year-old lay on the bed in labour for hours in Melbourne’s Jessie McPherson Hospital before giving birth to a child she would not get to raise.  “I was drugged to the point I did not deliver my baby in a natural way,” Mrs. Pendrey told The Senior. “He was taken from my body.”

Mrs Pendrey was just 15 when she found out she was six months’ pregnant. In December 1965 her family sent her away to the Presbyterian Babies Home for unmarried mothers in east Melbourne more than 400kms from her home in Lower Barrington for the last weeks of her pregnancy.  She is one of the thousands of women across Australia who were young or unmarried whose babies were taken for adoption by force or through coercion – a practice common throughout the 1950s and 60s and up until to 1980s.

Barbara Pendrey, photographed here as a bridesmaid in July 1966, was 15 years old and unknowingly three months pregnant. Photo: Supplied

Barbara Pendrey, photographed here as a bridesmaid in July 1966, was 15 years old and unknowingly three months pregnant. Photo: Supplied

Now Mrs. Pendrey is one of several women sharing her experience as part of a Victorian inquiry into responses to historically forced adoptions in the state.  The inquiry is a chance to give people affected by forced adoption the opportunity to tell their stories and consider the best way to respond to harm caused by forced adoption.  In her submission to the inquiry, Mrs. Pendrey details how she was bound during the birth. “We were treated like animals, there for them to take our babies and give them to someone else,” she said.

“When I heard the baby cry, I twisted to look at a clock and couldn’t move”. It is this, she said, which damaged her wrist and has left her with permanent pains in her arms and legs. “I have been told the body doesn’t forget.  I remember feeling so out of control it was like people who didn’t know me or care, were making huge demands on me. Just being told what to do, like I wasn’t even human or didn’t have feelings. I so wanted to take my baby home with me.”

Instead, they took him off her. “Something so precious. They didn’t treat me as a person with emotions and feelings. This little baby grew inside me. He was my baby, my beautiful baby boy who I never saw.”

More than five decades on, the horrific ordeal has left Mrs. Pendrey with enduring physical and emotional scars including post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic fatigue syndrome and medical bills running into the thousands.  And for Mrs. Pendrey, like many other women, getting hold of hospital records from that time has been difficult.

Barbara Pendrey hopes in sharing her story, it will encourage other women to come forward and help bury the shame associated with forced adoption.

Barbara Pendrey hopes in sharing her story, it will encourage other women to come forward and help bury the shame associated with forced adoption. She is calling for hospital records to be made available so she can understand what happened, and what drugs she was given and for how long. Despite writing to many places, Mrs. Pendrey is yet to get hold of her files and said she can’t move forward until this happens. “If the Government knows where they are, they should be released.”

The Victorian inquiry comes after various state governments, including Tasmania and Victoria, issued formal apologies to the victims of forced adoption in 2012. This followed a recommendation from a 2012 Commonwealth Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs report on the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and PracticesThe resulting senate inquiry in 2012 documented forced adoption policies and practices across Australia drawing on the personal accounts and professional perspectives from 418 written submissions and community hearings in every capital city except Darwin.  Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard then delivered a national apology in 2013.  Mrs. Pendrey was one of the women who gave a submission to the senate inquiry. She hopes that in sharing her story again, it will encourage other women to come forward and help bury the shame associated with forced adoption.  “I’ll never forget when the church minister arrived to give me ‘counselling’. He said: ‘Now you’ve been a naughty girl – don’t do it again’.  The shame of this ‘counselling’ has left me with so many issues.  I want these women to know: you didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t allow the people who did this leave you with guilt and a lack of self-esteem. Write into the inquiry put the words in writing, cry a little or a lot, make a statement. Be brave, it will make you feel strong.”

‘The last opportunity’

In its submission to the inquiry, not-for-profit post-adoption search and support services organisation VANISH said as mothers and adopted people from the forced adoption era steadily age, the inquiry may be the “last real opportunity to provide meaningful redress for past adoption practices”.

VANISH manager Charlotte Smith said many of the 2012 senate inquiry recommendations have not been implemented, including a redress scheme and the provision of counselling services.  VANISH is calling for a “sensitive” redress scheme which includes the removal of the statute of limitations so the responsible institutions can be taken to court.  “The separation of a mother and her infant is a traumatic loss for both and can be for the father too. Yet this trauma often went untreated and the grief and loss unrecognised and unmourned,” said Ms. Smith.  She said in many cases, mothers whose babies were adopted without their informed consent have not spoken to anyone about their son or daughter who was adopted. “They might feel nobody would understand, or that they cannot bear to revisit the distress they experienced,” she said.

“This traumatic event and loss completely changed the trajectory of some mothers, and fathers’ lives. Their relationships were broken up, their education halted, their self-esteem crushed. Their plans to marry, have a career, have children were shattered, and some now have few social or family connections, struggle financially, and suffer from anxiety, depression, or other issues.”

She said adopted people also experience grief about the loss of their mother and father, their loss of identity, of belonging, and of being around people like them.   “This loss is often overlooked and they are expected to be happy and grateful about their adoption. It can be very distressing for adopted people to find out that their adoption was forced and that they were wanted.”

It is her hope that through the inquiry, mothers and fathers who were separated from their babies and adopted adults will find out that they are not alone and that there is specialist support available.  VANISH hopes that this inquiry will establish the truth of what happened and the devastating lifelong impacts on those who suffered such cruelty at the hands of people they should have been able to trust.  We hope that the victims and survivors of these unethical and sometimes criminal practices will be told ‘we believe you, it was wrong, it was not your fault, we are truly sorry’ and the institutions involved take full responsibility and focus on restoration.”

Final call for submissions

Individuals and organisations have until June 26 to make submissions to Victoria’s Legislative Assembly’s Legal and Social Issues Committee on responses to historically forced adoptions in Victoria.  Committee chair Natalie Suleyman said she wants to ensure anyone who has been affected by forced adoptions can have their say.  The inquiry is exploring support services and responses provided to the people in our community who endured the past policies and practices of forced adoption going back several decades.  With all that has happened over the past few months, we wanted to give community members a final opportunity to share their experiences and views with the Committee before we move to public hearings in the second half of this year,” Ms. Suleyman said.

“The terms of reference for this inquiry are broad, so the Committee will consider all issues raised by community members who make submissions and present at public hearings.”

The terms of reference for the inquiry and details on how to make a submission are available from the Committee’s website.

  • VANISH 1300-826-474 or visit vanish.org.au
  • Forced Adoption Support Services (Relationships Australia) 1800 210-313
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