“The Girls Who Went Away”

girls who went away and lost their babies to adoption

…will never leave me, I fear. I just closed the back cover. It was a tremdous read. I was obsessed. I took it to work. I read it on the playground. I read it in Freindlies while the kids ate dinner.

And though it all, in public, it would rock me

so hard emotionally so that I became so choked up inside and tears streamed down my cheeks.

It is getting a

lot of play which is a great thing. Salon has it now on its cover.. I gladly paid full price for it and if I had extra money I would buy tons more and give them to every Library and person I know. Ann Flesser deserves every Kudo, every bit of royalty she can get. For anyone who does not understand my views and what I believe…Ann will tell you. Oh Lord, does she get it! She ties it neatly up with facts and social climate..but in there is the key to understanding why so many of us are not all warm and fuzzy about adoption. You know, it not so much being anti ADOPTION..it is being anti PAIN and undue suffering. I just don’t think that anyone with a heart and soul can read this book and still say it was all for the best.

I have always mentally separated myself from those “girls”. I wasn’t one of them. They were forced, they had no choice. I realized that early on, the anger that I was first shocked to encounter in the internet adoption world was most often from women who had vastly different experiences. I, after all, dumb or not, had chosen this path even if I had no clue what I asked for and received. That great divide separated us in my mind…forced vs. willing..and while I could totally sympathize and try to understand, they were still “not like me”

I was wrong. Thank you Ann, I was wrong.

The feelings of a mother who has lost her child are universal. Grief is universal. Sadness is universal. The shame, the desire to “correct” and atone for this horrific act of getting pregnant is also universal. One woman tells of obeying whatever they were told to do in the maternity home. She says how they were so trying to make up for causing so much trouble and if they had been told to fling themselves off the roof, then she would have done it to meet her parents approval again.

The shame and loss touched me the most. And tears of joy as they spoke of reunions and I felt all that joy for my son again, too. But it is the shame that really shocks me. I think I had buried a lot of the old shameful feelings. I could talk about them cold and logical and pick them apart, but I stopped feeling them. And what amazed me was how deeply I remember having them.

So 17 years after the last story is told, I find myself in the same shoes as “the Girls”. Legal abortion, access to birth control, knowledge of sex and procreation..doesn’t matter a wit. I still hide the pregnancy, but without the helpful girdle, just stomach muscles and a few cardigan sweaters..in NYC, in the summer. Those sweaters kept me safe. The blindness of denial of the pregnancy..just pretending that nothing was wrong..yet inwardly knowing, thinking “what am I to do??”

And blindly following the lead once I was found out. I understand their lack of will, their loss of any ability to move of their own violation because it was my own. Yeah, I announced myself that I would place my son for adoption, but if Marina had told me to do so, or my shrink, or my mother..I think I would have anyway. Anything to make it better, make me OK in their eyes again. I needed it to be OK again. I needed to make it right.

One of the things that I have often tried to express came out so clearly on page 244:”I think that most people are surviving and that’s what they are so ashamed of. They’re so ashamed that they are thinking of their own survival. The rock bottom reality is that you were thinking of your own survival more than your child’s” The woman was talking more of the role of being a victim and having things done to you, but it still resonated with me so greatly. It always felt to me that I had to sacrifice my son to save myself..that the act of adoption was what made me worthy for some goodness and happiness in life, but yet, I think I always knew that it was a cold bad thing that I had done. So conflicted, it never makes any sense.

It is almost frightening when reading. I get engrossed. It feels like a story, Fiction. Make believe, but I know it’s not..and then I read a passage..and I am not reading about them anymore. I am stuck with how I am reading about me. Yes, I lived this too. I went away, I hid in the house, I felt that way. Oh lord, this was my life too. And I shatter into a million tears all over again.

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About the Author

Musings of the Lame was started in 2005 primarily as a simple blog recording the feelings of a birthmother as she struggled to understand how the act of relinquishing her first newborn so to adoption in 1987 continued to be a major force in her life. Built from the knowledge gained in the adoption community, it records the search for her son and the adoption reunion as it happened. Since then, it has grown as an adoption forum encompassing the complexity of the adoption industry, the fight to free her sons adoption records and the need for Adoptee Rights, and a growing community of other birthmothers, adoptive parents and adopted persons who are able to see that so much what we want to believe about adoption is wrong.

6 Comments on "“The Girls Who Went Away”"

  1. That makes me afraid to read that book. I’m afraid, that if I keep reading these terrible stories, especially without knowing about what is happening to my daughter. I think it would drive me crazy….

  2. I am eternally looking to understand so I will read the book. I would like to have a deeper compassion for my natural mother. I feel myself moving away from compassion simply because of her actions and I don’t like that one bit. I would rather remain understanding and compassionate. Thanks for the information on the book.I will read it.

  3. oh boy. guess i have to get it. my friend JM recommended it to me. you know me, i tend to avoid certain books. lately finding my own diaries is hard enough! great post. i completely and utterly relate on all counts.

  4. Oh My, did you see some of the angry letters that followed the Salon article? I have noticed there is often 1. some anti abortion person making a comment that has nothing to do with adoption.
    2. an adoptee who announces that the woman who gave birth to her is not her real mother and
    3.Someone who says coercion isn’t that common
    and then all the other reasonable and heartfelt letters.

  5. I’ve had this ready to order since I first heard about it. You’ve made me even more interested in reading it.

  6. and what bugs me are all the adopters who say that “But things aren’t like that now. OUR birther made a CHOICE” Yeah, right. That’s what adopters told themselves in the 1960’s too. But these days, instead of maternity ward nurses taking the baby away a birth, it’s the adopters standing there in the delivery room with their vid-cam and the a-dad cutting the cord. Choice? NO WAY! There is NO choice at all. Same as the “Baby Scoop Era” (which did not end with Roe vs. Wade, continued far longer in many places — into the 1980’s even — where unwed mothers felt adoption WAS their ONLY choice — vast stigma about getting an abortion and there still is!).

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