From Damon A. Getsman@1:282/1057 to All on Fri Aug 1 14:04:28 2014
I saw this awhile back, and I've just got to repost it, at least in places where my bio-mom won't see it. I don't want to bring up anything bad for her again, but this is something that, I think, has value in it for a lot of ppl.
Here's the post that started it; I've got a bit of personal passion and
stake in the matter, as you'll soon see:
An African-American welfare-dependent mother of three told me this story about the birth of her son with Down syndrome. She had been planning to put the newborn up for adoption, a decision she had reached shortly before his birth, due to the domestic stress and violence with which she was living. When the baby was born and diagnosed, a white social worker came to see her about placing the child. The mother asked what would become of her baby and was told, ΓÇÿWeΓÇÖll probably find a rural farm family to take him.ΓÇÖ ΓÇÿThen what?ΓÇÖ she queried. ΓÇÿHeΓÇÖll grow up outside, knowing about crops and animals,ΓÇÖ was the reply. ΓÇÿThen what,ΓÇÖ the mother repeated. ΓÇÿMaybe heΓÇÖll even grow up to work on that farm,ΓÇÖ the social worker replied. ΓÇÿSounds like slavery to me,ΓÇÖ answered the mother, who decided to take her baby home. This imagery and its legacy contrast strongly with the stories many white mothers tell, in which they fantasize a peaceful, rural life ΓÇÿin natureΓÇÖ as the perfect placement for their children with Down syndrome.
A reply from someone else:
in┬áTesting Women, Testing the Fetus: The Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America┬áby Rayna Rapp, p. 271.┬á
This paragraph like, knocked the wind out of me.┬á
I am so glad that this woman had the necessary cultural slant to see right through the BS that is pseudo-utopian farm community institutions. ┬áBecause most white mothers canΓÇÖt see through it at all, and they put their developmentally disabled children there, whether as children or as adults, and they donΓÇÖt see the awfulness at all. ┬áAnd even those of us with developmental disabilitiesΓÇª we feel the awfulness, we feel its effects in our soul, but we donΓÇÖt necessarily register that something is going horribly wrong, and we canΓÇÖt necessarily say anything about it, we may even fight to stay in such places. ┬áSo anyone who can see through it, for any reason at all, that is a really important thing. ┬áAnd itΓÇÖs also really important that the white people who usually make these communities have overlooked how such an institution looks to someone with a family history of slavery.
Finally, what I had to say about the subject, from personal experience being adopted:
Yay, I've got something new to write about.
I'm the white child of a white biological family. ┬áLet me be a little bit more specific; a very intelligent white biological family. ┬áMy bio-mom is now a published author (guess that explains why I like to write so much). ┬áShe's wicked intelligent, but a year before I was born (a little more, actually, but I don't know the exact amount), she was in a car accident which crushed over 1/3 of her spine and caused her total amnesia for everything before that point.
┬áShe's still got mobility, amazingly enough, but she has a horrific amount of chronic pain. ┬áShe's totally off of the painkillers, though. ┬áI admire her more than I can say.
When I was born, she ended up offering me for adoption. ┬áShe was going to keep me, but as I grew closer to birth, she started wondering what kind of life she would have to offer me. ┬áIt's a good question, too. ┬áShe was totally and completely alone. ┬áIn a way that you and I can't truly comprehend. ┬áHer mother and father came in after she came out of her coma, and she had no idea who they were. ┬áNineteen years wiped. ┬áShe told me about the time when she was supposed to disrobe for her doctor, while her parents were present, and she wouldn't do it, because they were complete strangers to her.
To get on with my point, she gave me up for adoption believing that I would have a better life. ┬áMaybe I did, maybe I didn't. ┬áI don't know for sure. ┬áWhat I do know is that I was adopted into a family that was sterile for some goddamned higher-purposed reason. ┬áMy adoptive mother cannot do more than remedial addition and subtraction. ┬áMy adoptive father was a school teacher, at first, but he was drawn to that for the same reason that police are often drawn to the force. ┬áControl and dominion.
My adoptive mother needed someone to be controlled by. ┬áShe held two jobs in her life. ┬áShe needed someone to financially get her by, and someone to make the decisions that she never had the confidence to make on her own. ┬áShe tried to sexually proposition me, before I was in the double digits. ┬áThey both were members of a doomsday cult based on Judaism. ┬áThey wouldn't let me have friends (and there were exactly two that I had in the cult-- not by choice); as I got older they wouldn't let me have a girlfriend. ┬áI got a job and they wouldn't let me buy anything worthwhile, tangible, or anything that had the potential to let me learn responsibility in the increments that most people take for granted. ┬áI quit, of course. ┬áI got kicked out of the cult, on purpose, at sixteen, and they still wouldn't let me have friends, and I had to follow by the cult rules though I wasn't still a member.
They put me into my first placement when I was 16 years old. ┬áThe reason?
┬áThey had taken us to a family counselor that made a pact for us; if I kept up my grades and responsibilities, they would let me use the phone at night. ┬áThat lasted precisely 3 days. ┬áMy adoptive father wasn't able to sleep.
┬áFinally he ripped the phone cord out of the wall. ┬áThat was my fuck you point.
I came back, after making friends with all sorts of juvenile delinquents that were ten times worse than me. ┬áAt least now I finally had friends! ┬áNot quite the right ones, though. ┬áI partied. ┬áHard.
My next placement was less than 2 months later, for totally just ignoring their ridiculous rules. ┬áIt lasted a half a year. ┬áMore, much worse, friends. Before I turned 18, after I'd finished there, they kicked me out on the streets, which isn't even fucking legal. ┬áI had no place to go but to live with a burglar friend who had forged all of his school records, thus not having to go to school, and having his own trailer. ┬áBam, opportunities destroyed for my entire life due to a criminal record. ┬áThis wasn't enough. ┬áThey stole my college fund, too, which had been waiting for me since I was 2.
My life, up to the point of 30 years old, at least, has been shit. ┬áI'm not going to point any fingers, but I didn't have any decent role models to learn from. ┬áMy biological mother beats herself up, to this day, regarding all of this. ┬áShe hates my adoptive mother (my adoptive father died awhile back).
┬áMy adoptive mother has now stolen well over $20,000 dollars from me; heirlooms and valuables left to me by my adoptive father, and has sold off the greater parts of what I owned prior to this last relocation.
What did it teach me? ┬áSometimes love can be worse than hate. ┬áThey thought they were doing the right thing, but there was no intelligence behind that.
┬áThey had no idea how to press me towards my potential. ┬áThey had to have order imposed upon them by a cult, in order to make life worth living. ┬áThey should have been given an aptitude test; intelligence, tolerance, and other issues should have been tested.
You want to know how well my adoptive dad was at 'teaching' his family? ┬áHe force fed my adoptive mother liver, because it was a 'blood builder', until she vomited at the dinner table. ┬áHe did the same with me with overcooked, canned asparagus; it was gel by the time I ate it. ┬áI was maybe 6, if I was lucky.
I'm considering suing the adoption agency, but I've got no resources. ┬áThe only time I had resources is when I got out of the Army, and all of them went to saving my son from an abusive mother. ┬áI only identify with broken people, most of the time, and I hang out for too long in relationships where I'm the one that gets taken advantage of and abused, because I'm so desperate for the acceptance and caring that I've so rarely felt in life.
When I saved my son, he saved me. ┬áI wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him. ┬áOnly through his unconditional love, and the responsibilities that suddenly seemed worthwhile (since I obviously wasn't worth the trouble or effort); he was lost without me.
My life is still buried in oversensitive pain, because of how I was raised.
┬áI'd take slavery on a farm over it, maybe, but I have never experienced that first hand. ┬áAt least I would've learned the value of work, and a work ethic, instead of being ignored in the corner, while my OCD mom with serious mental problems stood at the kitchen window over a sink of cooling dishwater, and cried for hours on end. ┬áShe was hallucinating Satan, but couldn't get out to see a doctor because of cult rules. ┬áMy father came home and spanked the everloving fuck out of me. ┬áShe tried it a few times, too. ┬áUsually with implements.
Don't trust adoption agencies. ┬áDon't do closed adoptions. ┬áScreen your candidates yourself. ┬áThey just need to place babies, and get bonuses for each one that they place above the institution's average.
Adoption is necessary, but certainly not always the dream life that a parent can't offer his or her children.
Good job, mother of the son with Down's Syndrome. ┬áMy heart goes out to you.
If this can help even one person avoid some pain, or even find a kindred spirit to banish the loneliness for a bit, I will certainly consider it time well spent.
"It is no measure of good health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." -- Jiddu Krishnamurti
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