Marilyn Monroe

From Norma Jeane to Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe’s mother went into a mental hospital and left her to orphanages and foster care. In My Story, Monroe wrote that she recalled seeing her mother “screaming and laughing” as she was forcibly taken to a State Hospital.

At age 11, Norma Jeane was declared a ward of the state. She lived in a total of 11 foster homes throughout her youth; when there was no foster home available, she sometimes ended up at the Hollygrove Orphanage in Los Angeles. As if moving from one foster home to another wasn’t difficult enough, Norma Jeane recalled being treated harshly in several of them. Even worse, she was abused including sexually in at least three of her foster care placements.

Norma Jeane in Red Sweater

Here is one story from the Daily Mail, “The magic red sweater that turned ‘Norma Jeane, string bean’ into Marilyn Monroe” –

She told of being whipped by one foster mother for having touched ‘the bad part’ of her body. Another more serious incident occurred when she was eight. One evening a lodger she called Mr. Kimmel (Marilyn said later that this was not his real name) asked her to come into his room and locked the door behind her. He put his arms around her. She kicked and struggled. He did what he wanted, telling her to be a good girl. (In a later interview Marilyn stated that the abuse involved fondling). When he let her out, he handed her a coin and told her to buy herself an ice cream. She threw the coin in his face and ran to tell her foster mother what happened, but the woman wouldn’t listen.

“Shame on you,” her foster mother said. “Mr. Kimmel’s my star boarder.” Norma Jeane went to her room and cried all night. Marilyn said she felt dirty and took baths for days after it happened to feel clean. Such repeated attempts to feel clean through showers or baths are typical behavior for victims of assault. Marilyn also said she began to stutter after the incident and reverted to it at times of stress. When she told one interviewer about the abuse, she began stuttering. The evidence points to the fact that she was an abused child whose early sexualization led to her inappropriate behavior as an adult.

One of the reasons she chose to marry at 16 was simply to escape her foster care takers. She never knew who her father was. After getting married at 16, she later divorced and became a new persona. She went from Norma Jeane Baker to Marilyn Monroe in order to fit in, be accepted, and wanted…what she never wanted was to become a sex object.

Not many seem to have recognized that she was dealing with abandonment trauma her entire life. She overdosed at the age of 36. According to an article at a site called Vigilant Citizen, behind Monroe’s photogenic smile was a fragile individual who was exploited and subjected to mind control by powerful handlers. Through trauma and psychological programming, Monroe a became high-level puppet of society’s elite, even becoming JFK’s paramour.

One “conspiracy theory” asserts – “Some children live in foster homes, or with adopted parents, or in orphanages, or with caretakers and guardians. Because these children are at the mercy of the non-related adults, these types of children frequently are sold to become mind-controlled slaves of the intelligence agencies.” ~ Fritz Springmeier, The Illuminati Formula to Create a Mind Control Slave. Not saying that I believe conspiracy theories but often there are some facts that are foundational to them.

Industry insiders convinced Norma Jeane to undergo aesthetic surgery, to change her name to Marilyn Monroe and to change her hair color to platinum blonde. Monroe’s sensual, “dumb blond” persona allowed her to land roles in several movies, which began a clear culture shift in Hollywood.

August Rush

Did I ever write about this movie here ? It is one of my favorites.

While not the story of an adoption, it is the story of mother child separations. It is about a baby taken by deception shortly after birth and placed in an orphanage. It is about genetics. About deep bonds. Both of his parents are musicians – one classical and one modern. It is Robin Williams as a villain.

The music is wondrous and the music brings his natural parents together at a moment of improbable but tear jerking reunion.

I highly recommend it.

Chosen ? Special ? Really ?

In my adoption group, one woman wrote –

How are adoptees “chosen” and “special” and “soooo wanted” when hopeful adoptive parents would literally pick ANY baby under the sun?

Partially prompted by A Million Little Things when their adoption agency offers a replacement baby the *same day* they learn the natural mom they had bought decided to parent.

I only watched one episode. The natural mom decides to keep her baby, hopeful adoptive parents are upset, next thing the adoption agency calls saying another woman is in labor and they got “bumped to the front of the line” which sounds like a McDonald’s drive-through lane that dispenses babies. Thankfully, the woman says no… for that episode…

This same woman goes on to explain –

I’m French and was relinquished at birth. I went to an orphanage, for 2 months the birth mom has the right to come back for her baby, and nothing can happen, then legal initiates. I was legally free around 6 months by then they put me in a family that had paid $0 (adoption is always free) and vetted by social services for months.

Now they provide even more help for birth moms to parent, so the number of babies like me is only 700 per year, which discourages adoption as a way around fertility. That would be around 3,500 babies for the whole US, 50 per state.

And instead of foster homes we have a paid social worker taking kids in his home with a stipend on top of salary going to the kid’s needs. It doesn’t prevent hopeful adoptive parents from shopping for a kid abroad and is far from perfect but there is no commercialization of domestic babies, and even surrogacy is illegal.

An adoptive parent shared her perspective –

I am an adoptive parent that is still constantly learning and working through my own insecurities, I believe it all stems from the “meant to be” or “God’s plan” narrative that many/most adoptive parents feed into.

Like any disrupted match (in the eyes of the adoptive parent) is just not the child God has waiting for you. The one that worked out was the one all along. When one really thinks about it, it’s like the adoptee stated – any baby will do and becomes “chosen”. This group has helped me see the issues and concerns with this way of thinking. I am still always reading and learning though.

Another adoptee added –

As an adoptee I never felt chosen or special I felt sadness and confusion. When we were forced to adopt our foster baby we didn’t do any celebration and we didn’t announce it on Facebook etc. we didn’t start a Go Fund Me or beg for money on TikTok or share his journey. Only immediate family know.

Thank god it’s an open adoption and for the first year it was much like a divorced couple but the last year since his mom got married and has a new baby, visits and time with her have been less and less – at her request. My hope is once she settles into a new normal, she will spend more time with him. But I’ve never used those words with him.

And this came from South Africa –

I totally agree an adopted child should never be burdened with the “chosen”, “special” etc narrative. I had a domestic infant adoption with a private social worker. At the time I adopted, I tried to make sure I did NOT “choose” a specific child. The first child I was matched with luckily went home with his aunt. I was so happy for that child.

I was then matched with a different child, and again I tried to keep my heart from attaching to this specific child, in case his parents were able to parent. I was trying to keep in mind that what is best for the child is their family. I felt I was trying to offer a home for a child who needed it, and not attach and try to hold on to a child that could go to their family.

So many hopeful adoptive parents mourn the parents changing their mind – but surely that is the ideal situation.

Finally, this question – what birth mother actually doesn’t “want” her baby?

And this response – they exist but they are FEW and FAR between. The narrative of the droves and droves of unwanted babies in the US that are languishing away for help really burns me. (And I was one of those few, actual unwanted babies).

So what do adoptees actually feel ? We are not chosen. Quite the opposite. We’re discarded.

Orphanage And Tourism

Two words – Orphanage Tourism – that should NEVER be linked together but sadly are.

I had no idea that this was a thing or problem.  Lumos, a children’s charity founded by Harry Potter author, J K Rowling, is shining a light on a practice that is seen as contributing good but is actually causing the problem of family separation and child trafficking.

“Despite the best of intentions, the sad truth is that visiting and volunteering in orphanages drives an industry that separates children from their families and puts them at risk of neglect and abuse,” Rowling said.

“Institutionalism is one of the worst things you can do to children in the world. It has huge effects on their normal development, it renders children vulnerable to abuse and trafficking, and it massively impacts their life chances. And these dire statistics apply even to what we would see as well-run orphanages … The effect on children is universally poor.”

Huge numbers of volunteers, tourists and backpackers visit residential children’s institutions every year, creating a multimillion-dollar tourism industry that leaves children at risk for many forms of abuse, according to Lumos.

Children in institutions are 500 times more likely to take their own lives, 40 times more likely to have a criminal record and 10 times more likely to be involved in prostitution.

Most people are unaware that 80% of the 8 million children currently living in orphanages worldwide have at least one living parent.  The children are placed due to reasons of poverty, disability, or to receive an education, and many have a family who could care for them, given the right support.  Parents are told that their child will be fed and educated, yet schooling is rare and the children often go hungry – even as thousands of tourists visited the orphanage each year.

These children are not tourist attractions. They are not zoo animals to be viewed on an outing. They have lives and destinies.  Children worldwide are increasingly being trafficked into institutions to attract donations and volunteers.  Families, and their children, are being targeted by ‘child-finders’ who are sometimes paying them or otherwise encouraging them to give their child up to the orphanage for a ‘better life’, with education being one of the main reasons, usually because of poverty.

 

Sometimes It Helps To Know

Street Urchins

The Industrial Revolution in the 1880s and the influx of 35 million European immigrants to the US swelled the ranks of the poor.  Some families were unable to care for their children.  Desperate mothers gave their babies to workers at foundling asylums. Lacking resources, these children were sometimes boarded with uneducated women who killed them with neglect.

Any abandoned children found by the police were usually already dead.

Poorhouses were filthy institutions to which abandoned children were sent if they lived to the age of 4. In these places, the children were mixed in with criminally insane adults.

In times like that, orphanages must have seemed like progress.  However, early orphanages had mortality rates as high as 50%.

Another option was a “baby farm”. These were homes or apartments where, for a fee, uneducated women housed babies whose parents were unable to raise them. Some baby farmers received periodic payments, others were paid in lump sums. Some of these farmers starved, suffocated or drowned “paid for” babies.

If the owner of a “baby farm” took out insurance on the lives of the babies in their care, the death toll rose higher. An 1895 editorial in the New York Times suggested that “life insurance for children should be declared invalid because it was a temptation to inhuman crimes.”

Understandably, children growing up in poorhouses or baby farms, who survived into adolescence, often fled as soon as they were able. Therefore, by 1872, the number of street urchins was high. These children were left to beg, steal, sell newspapers and at times even prostituted themselves for food.

They were the “apple boys” and “flower girls” who sold their goods on street corners, the “singing girls” who boarded docked ships at night to entertain the men with music (and were sometimes raped).

These children slept on steps, in filthy cellars, on the iron tubes of bridges or burned-out safes on Wall Street. Ten would pile together on cold winter nights for warmth or fight for spots near grates through which hot air blew, generated by underground presses.

Homeless children had been so poorly valued that one orphanage in Nashville was called – The Home for Friendless Children. These children were often referred to as “ragamuffins”, “little wanderers”, “street Arabs” or “guttersnipes”.

Massachusetts passed the country’s first adoption law in 1851. Looked at it historically, it would seem an improvement.  Poverty has always been – and continues to be – the reason that children are separated from their natural parents.  Sadly.