I have been neglecting this blog, as I have been away and then once returned home, totally wiped out exhausted and behind on everything. There are so many blogs here that I wonder at times if I should continue to write them but something always appears that should be shared in this space. Today that something is by LINK>Tony Corsentino, an adoptee with his own Substack blog, from which I will borrow today as I try to get back into my normal routines (which are rarely normal anyway LOL). My blog title is his. His Substack is titled LINK>This Is Not A Legal Record.

He writes – “Mother’s Day is an occasion for breakfast in bed, a vase of flowers, brunch with mimosas. It is also an occasion to teach and reinforce a doctrine. It celebrates mothers who mother.” I remember when my sisters and I were children and we did the breakfast in bed for my own mother.

He shares many common expressions related to Mother’s Day but notes – “Cute, trite, sweet, banal, inoffensive—and no space for severed motherhood.” He goes on to note – “I asked my birth mother if she found my birthday a difficult date on the calendar. She replied that the date had become blurred in her memory. For her, the worst date on the calendar was Mother’s Day. It is an annual reminder to the severed mothers that they are the ones who were not there and therefore do not count.” Sadly, I can relate. I allowed my daughter to be raised by her father at the age of 3 because he was never going to pay me child support (and had told me so) but I could not financially, adequately, support us. So, he provided for her because he had to and no doubt he was happy to have her with him. However, when I would look for commercial birthday cards for my daughter, they never reflected what seemed to me the strange kind of relationship I had with her as an absentee mother.

Tony says – “Mother’s Day is a call for gratitude. Where gratitude is merited (not all mothers merit it), it is fitting to bestow it. But adopted people hear the call for gratitude differently. When I question why I am to call one woman ‘mother’ and not another, when I question why I was not even permitted to know the one I am not to call ‘mother’, I receive a question in return: Aren’t you grateful?”

“Thousands of women in this country have had their children disappeared, under a system that receives nearly universal praise—with a long waiting list of hopeful participants. Thousands of other women in this country have acquired the right, through this system, to the word ‘mother’ and, if they mothered well, to the expectation of cards, flowers, and morning cocktails this weekend.”

“Mother’s Day picks a side. To those severed from their children, it says ‘this is not your day.’ ”

In my case, learning about my adoptee parents (both were adopted children) genetic origins also made me aware of the minor miracle of my own childhood. Tony shares this funny greeting – “I’m so grateful you never put me up for adoption, though I’m sure there were times you were seriously tempted! Happy Mother’s Day!” I AM grateful that I was not put up for adoption because it is a wonder that my unwed, high school student, mother was not forced to do that to me. Thankfully, my dad left his university studies to marry her and support our family.

Refusing To Choose

Tony Corsentino

I get notifications from Tony’s substack – LINK> “This Is Not A Legal Record – Irregularly timed dispatches from my travels in the world of adoption.” Tony recently got married.

He writes – “I invited him (his adoptive father) and my biological aunt and uncle to my wedding not to force a reckoning—neither to heal a wound nor to inflict one. I did it because they were among the people I wanted present. And I did it as a protest against the expectation that I would have to choose who my “real” family was. I was conscious that no one in the world was asking for this convergence of souls. There are no cultural expectations or rules governing it, no script to follow. If anything, the co-presence of my adoptive and biological families signaled a breach in the covenant that we assume closed adoption to represent: that the family of origin shall disappear from the life of the adoptee, who shall be “as if born” to the adopting family.”

I say – good for him, pushing back on expectations !! He goes on to share –

On his last night in town, as I was driving him to his hotel, I told him that not only was I thankful for his kindness to my biological family, but it healed something in me to see him in a literal embrace. He replied with what I later learned he had also said to my aunt and uncle that day: that he was grateful to them for giving me to him. This remark, generously intended and deeply unsettling (I am no one’s gift; they had no role in it; my birth mother did not relinquish me for his sake), reminded me that my father will never grasp the nettle of adoption.

He concludes with this thought – “The legacy of the trauma and secrecy of adoption is that I remain isolated in my freedom.” I understand from my own sadness. Learning the truth about my parents origins, while answering lifelong questions, left me bereft. Not fitting in with either the adoptive or biological families – in truth. The ties that bind get cut and like Humpty Dumpty can’t be put back together again. Sadly, this is the truth about it. He notes that “Every move is risky.” regarding reconnecting and risking alienation from the people who raised you.

Of course, he is right about this – “There is no such thing as the successful resolution, or closure, of an adoption.” And closing with “There is still much that I cannot say, hurts that I dare not inflame. There is still no inclusive we. There is only me, standing in particular relationships to the particular people I care about. It’s a kind of paradox: the further I go along the path of reunion, the more fully I perceive this atomism into which adoption fractures the idea of ‘family’.”

Tony Corsentino

On Twitter @corsent

I only just became aware of this person and thought I’d share that awareness. It was said “His posts critical of the adoption industry are thoughtful and should be amplified.” So, my first awareness was this graphic.

Finding him on Twitter, I found this LINK> Substack post – titled “Why Is That Controversial?” with a subtitle “Adoptees have a stake in the fight to protect abortion rights” by him which I will give you below some excerpts from.

He writes – “adoption services in the United States and other industrialized countries commodify children, treating them as social wealth that is transferred from the less resourced to the more resourced.” That is certainly the truth of the matter. Exploitation of the poor.

He goes on to note – I am a product of a closed domestic adoption, for which the reigning justification remains, even now, the idea, developed during the “Baby Scoop Era” (1945-1973), that relinquishing an infant under circumstances of secrecy solves several problems at once: a child gets a loving home; hopeful parents get a child to raise; and a “mistake” is “erased,” allowing the birth parent another start at making a better life.

I totally agree with him on this point – “There is an enormous moral difference, however, between relinquishment and adoption as intervening in a crisis situation for which there is no better alternative, versus instituting a de facto social system in which people are coerced into producing children for transferal to other, unrelated families.” The first responds to the death of the child’s parents (growing up, I actually did think my parents were both orphans – had no idea there were people out there that we were genetically related to) or in serious parental circumstances like unrelenting drug addiction. The social system we could find ourselves in now looks like it could become a regime of forced birth and subsequent child trafficking.

Women who relinquish children carry a lifetime of emotional impact. I read about that time and again. Here’s one comparison of both having an abortion and relinquishing a child to adoption – “It’s hard to convince others about the depth of it. You know, a few years after I was married I became pregnant and had an abortion. It was not a wonderful experience, but every time I hear stories or articles or essays about the recurring trauma of abortion, I want to say, ‘You don’t have a clue.’ I’ve experienced both and I’d have an abortion any day of the week before I would ever have another adoption—or lose a kid in the woods, which is basically what it is. You know your child is out there somewhere, you just don’t know where. It’s bad enough as a mother to know he might need you, but to complicate that they make a law that says even if he does need you we’re not going to tell him where you are.” ~ Ann Fessler from an interview for The Girls Who Went Away.

As adoptees, we simply cannot accept Amy Coney Barrett’s proposition (who is herself an adoptive parent) that relinquishment reduces “the consequences of parenting and the obligations of motherhood that flow from pregnancy.” It shifts the consequences, transforms them. To invoke the desires of hopeful adoptive parents, to say that forced birth-plus-relinquishment meets an unmet demand for the opportunity to parent, is to say that pregnant people, and the offspring they create, are to be pressed into a social experiment of incubating and transferring the raw materials for making families. Clearly, hopeful, affluent adoptive parents are a powerful political constituency.

Relinquishment is catastrophic. It is a failure to preserve the bond between a parent and their child.