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Monday, August 14, 2006


Lisa V

The dogged comment is so great Kateri- what a great illustration.

I constantly try to find a phrase that is not "happy" to describe one of my children's first moms. I sometimes think content. Maybe made peace. But I know even in the adoptions that are working well, like mine, that are seemingly uncomplicated, there is sorrow and loss. That contentment does not come easily and without a price, mostly paid by the first mom.


Thank you..for your honesty, and for putting yourself out there. There is not a day that goes by that I don't ache and think of my daughter's first mom....and one of the hardest things for me about our adoption is that we (most likely) will never get to know her or Sofie's first dad. I hope that they have found some sort of peace (does that sound trite? If it does, please know that I truly do not mean it to be so..).

Anway, before I make a muck of this...thank you.

Take care.


I'm so glad you wrote this, Kateri. That thread left me feeling sick, and I found myself unable to respond with anything more coherent than "You have got to be fucking kidding me."

Not the least annoying bit was that so many people assumed that the original anonymous poster was a birthmom. Yeah, because obviously no one gives a shit about birthmoms other than other birthmoms, right? Everyone else should just not worry about it because what good would it do to actually sit down and examine our own privilege? We should all just take the attitude that if we can't feed every starving child in Africa, we shouldn't think about birthmothers. If you can't do everything, you might as well do nothing, right?

I am such a crank today. SERENITY NOW!


Well--this might sound trite or cliche, but I have really learned a lot from all of these exchanges. I'm sorry it had to be at the expense of so many feelings, though. I certainly didn't intend for that to happen. I have the utmost respect for first moms. I generally don't comment on blogs of first moms, because I don't know that my voice needs to be heard. But here goes.

In my initial post, I didn't jump to the conclusion that the anon commenter was a first mom, and I didn't intend for the comments to go the way that they did--although in retrospect I should have shut them down once I saw what was happening. I think--well, I hope--(and this is not an excuse, just an explanation) that my head would have been screwed on tighter had this whole incident not happened in the middle of the craziest time of my life.

I'm not blindly navigating my way through this adoption (well...that blindly), but I know that many people do. I think because China adoptmoms don't have to interact with their children's firstmom directly--and may never know who she is--there is a danger that I am acutely aware of of (gah, hate the double "of") not thinking, not hashing through those issues. I know that many people adopt from China because they don't want to "deal" with first families, and what worries me is not that this is their impetus for choosing China so much, but that some of them never have a change of heart and move past that, and I wonder how they will deal with the topic of their children's Chinese families when those topics come up. I don't ever want to be someone who doesn't think about something, or doesn't talk about something, just because it might be painful or hard.

Finally (and then I'll shut up, sorry, yes I am hijacking your blog) I guess my question to first moms and adoptees would be this: how do we ensure that more, and better, conversations happen between all three sets of individuals? Because--sometimes exactly what amoms need to tackle, and hear, is articulated in terms we can't emotionally handle. (I'm thinking of the idea that Dawn brought up, that Primal Wound needs to reach more people, it needs a "softer" sell.) Kateri, you talk about the myth of the happy firstmom. I agree that many aparents that I know, if given the chance, will prefer to believe that. But how do we ensure that those aparents hear the voices of other first moms, the ones who might be harder to hear? Because I think it's essential that all aparents hear those voices, and recognize them as valid.

Okay, I'll shut up now.


Kateri, I completely agree with you, but I think there is some good that has come out of this discussion.

I think a lot of people have this view of adoption: Baby needs family, family needs baby, baby and family are matched, everything is perfect. You know yourself that first mothers are marginalized and ignored a lot of the time.

A lot of those comments were mean and nasty and not even worth reading, but I bet you some people read the comments that were rational, and some people had their first encounters with real, outspoken first mothers, and maybe some minds will start to change. Maybe some people will start to see what is wrong about adoption in America. Maybe people will start to support and respect first mothers.

Remember when I posted something terribly embarssing on your blog? People change, and you have the power to change them. You changed me, and certainly you are changing other people too. And although we all witnessed a lot of ignorance and a lot of hatred, I bet you there are a few people out there who just might listen.


Whoa! I hope MomSquared is right, that this whole thing may have made other people see things. Anyway, I couldn't even read the whole post (by Karen), I felt so put off by it, and I didn't even look at the comments (I'd be too mad)...

It's good that she apologized - but it's always unsettling (to say the least, maybe outrageous would be a better word) to see those harsh feelings "against"/about first moms out in the open. Sigh.


Kateri, thanks for this post, laying it all out with links. I had no idea what was flying around. So much ignorance and emotion comes out when one person goes off.... but I agree the discussion can have some good if it opens a few minds and hearts. If we can find a way to listen more and judge less...

As a single mother by birth and adoption I have a mishmash of thoughts on it myself I can't put into words. I appreciate you and the others that work to put yourselves out there and make sense.


Eeg, am I being too optimistic?


Hey, you changed me. And I'm an unrepentant asshole! Except when I'm deeply repentant!

You're just so friggin'...smart. Scary smart. Dangerous smart, but a good dangerous.

Write a book, would you? (And let's make sure it gets on the required reading list at You Know That Agency.)


I'm one of those adoptive moms whose son's natural mom is happy and very relieved with her decision. It is not just me she is telling it to and it is just not her words that prove it, her actions speak volumes. I swear I wish you could speak with her so that I didn't look like such an @sshat when I blog about this. Her mom (natural grandma) however is having a harder time with this adoption than she expected. Really, I'm not standing up for what some of these adoptive mom's said over at that other blog, but I can speak for our situation and tell you...yes, it does happen, sometimes natural moms are more relieved than grieving. Some times they are happy with and content with their adoption plan, no remorse, no sadness. I'm sure this is not the norm at ALL! But it can happen and I'm not living in "la la land"... it really is our situation.
I think a lot of us adoptive moms want to have this type of situation (relieve the guilt of being happy when someone else has such a loss) so we spin everything so it seems like "his birth mom is doing great". I also think that most natural moms have such a hard time, despite thinking it was a good decision that they try to make it seem better than it is while still feeling terrible inside. I also think both sides, adoptive and natural push their feelings on to others and try to make others feel their side of things. Some natural moms who are struggling with their situation assume that every natural mom MUST feel the way they do.

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