Sunday

You're raising your child's child and you wish you weren't? Bullshit!

 An anonymous comment by an alleged grandmother is making the rounds lately. The reaction to what she said shouldn't, but does, surprise me. The following is my comment to the first post I read regarding this.

I actually think it's kind of funny that you posted this. It screams of what's wrong in pressuring women to keep babies because they "ought to". This grandmother is raising this child. You speak of enabling, seriously, talk about having no "real" choice. What should she do if the child's mother doesn't step up to the plate? Tough love? Ignore the child? As if. Grandma has every right to resent having to raise a baby she didn't have or make the choice to raise. The baby has the right to be raised by people who don't resent raising it. Sounds like the mother HAS completely abdicated her responsibility and the child is being made to "suffer such rejection simply for convenience", right in front of it's face. Thank goodness for this grandma who obviously thinks about the situation plenty, likely every day.

Boy, I sure wish I'd have gotten to watch my mom leave it up to my grandma to raise me. That'd be so cool! Maybe I'd even be able to tell that grandma was pooped and wishes I wasn't her responsibility, even though she loved me so much that she enabled mom to keep me....sorta, kinda. I mean, it's obviously better than being loved so much I was given way, right?

The big issue with anti-adoption activists is that the alleged grandma said, "I’ve basically been the parent, and while I adore my grandchild, had adoption been the choice, I know it would have been the best one for this child". They protest, how could she know?!?! It's obvious she can't know for certain, but maybe the grandma happens to know people who have adoption situations that are better than the situation her grandchild is in, people who are just fine with having been adopted, like me. Or maybe like my sister. Or like countless other adopted people who are fine with having been adopted. Or just maybe she knows her own reality better than all those speculating on what she thinks and feels!

On another blog, (big surprise) anti-adoption people are calling "fake!!" on a person who has a different life experience and as a result has a different outlook. Perhaps she should have instead just found the highest building around to jump off of. It never ceases to amaze me how some people who feel so dismissed can't wait do it to others.

Are you all saying you do not believe a grandparent might wish the grandchild they are being forced to raise would have been adopted into a good family? Even if this particular woman isn't real, do you really imagine there aren't people who feel this way? Here's a comment I found elsewhere,

I raised my granddaughter till she was 5 because my adopted daughter had mental disabilites.I had enough energy to raise her and did not crawl into bed exhausted. The problem was that my friends did not have any children and there were no children on the street. I was my granddaughter's playmate.I was able to afford daycare so she had socialization with children her own age.I did not receive any financial help.I worried about my mortality and did not want her to find herself parentless in her teens or early twenties. I loved my granddaughter more than life itself and I wanted her to have parents and siblings that could be there when she graduated, got married,had children etc so I placed her for adoption.I see her 4 times a year for 2 hours.There is no law that protects this visitation.The government needs to start providing financial support and caregiver relief to grandparents.Ontario needs to legalize open adoption to protect visitation of the child.

Oh wait, that was from an evil adopter, not a blood relative. So she won't count. Let's consult this website on Kinship care found here

Wtf is the compassion for people who find themselves in this predicament? The empathy? And what about the contradictions? How it's always twisted to suit the anti-adoption agenda. One minute old people shouldn't be raising kids and love isn't enough. Only the natural mother will do!! The next minute, if it's convenient to the argument, old people are just fine, if they're blood related that is.

But...but..the grandma didn't give birth to the child! How can she possibly be enough?!

With the premise of the primal wound theory, it would apply in kinship situations too. Problem here is, not only will the child suffer a primal wound, it is also being neglected by it's natural mother and being raised by an old person!


Seems ridiculous, I know, but these are just a few of the contradictions in this discussion.


Personally I think grandparents who are ready, willing and able to raise, AND ARE CAPABLE of raising, their kid's kids and do so deserve medals. I do not however believe grandparents who can't, do not want to, or are and resent it and wish their grand kids had more then they can offer, deserve our scorn. Grandparents deserve to be grandparents, to enjoy their grandchildren as well as their senior years. When they don't get to because of things their kids have intentionally done or are doing, at least let them comment about it anonymously without vilifying, presuming, and judging.

On a parting note...I shudder at the thought of having been raised by my maternal grandmother. Gawd.



34 comments:

  1. The so-called antis are entitled to their opinions and you are entitled to yours.
    I often wonder when I read this blog, why an opinion that differs from your provokes such anger in you.
    Who cares what they think.

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  2. It's because I'm adopted Terri. We all sorts of things as a result.

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  3. "But...but..the grandma didn't give birth to the child! How can she possibly be enough?!"

    Didn't the child stay in the family of origin?

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  4. The loss arguments are two-fold. The Primal Wound is about separation from the mother in infancy or toddler years. The social context of loss is experiencing what makes an adopted person different, which is evolving in adoption. No information about roots, no access to natural family members, forming a healthy identity in perhaps a different way than those with access to nature and nurture might, and losing heritage and original culture (so on and so forth). The social context of loss is avoided in kinship adoptions which is why, when grandparents/aunts/uncles/etc can and want to, are very important to children whose mothers cannot care for them.

    I did read the referenced article. I did not stay for all of the comments. I was dissappointed that the grandmother would have rather not had her granddaughter in her life and not kept her in the family (open adoptions, had she had one, can and do become closed) and had her adopted out instead. Every one knows a million people who are adopted and fine with it. I do too; but some of them still wonder why their grandparents didn't help to keep them in the family. For me, it hits home because I often wonder if my grandmother even cared when she sent my extremely young mother halfway across the country to give birth and experience pregnancy without her.

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  5. I can't help but wonder what a kid might feel like though, watching their parent, in this case a mother, not do what they should be doing. And then, to top it off, being raised by a grandparent who resents raising them.

    If your grandma didn't care when she sent your mom across country to give birth all alone, what kind replacement mother would she have been if you'd been kept and then due to whatever circumstance gotten stuck with her in the role of your mother?

    All what ifs but situations that do exist. A woman who is stuck with a child she resents can't be declared better than an adoptive parent just because she's blood related.

    It just seems to me that a woman who would write such piece, a real one, is just being honest and voicing the unthinkable that real people really think.

    You're disappointed in the grandma for thinking that way Amanda and that's fine.

    I'm impressed she's stepping up to the plate in spite of thinking that way.

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  6. "I can't help but wonder what a kid might feel like though, watching their parent, in this case a mother, not do what they should be doing."

    I've seen it happen first-hand. It sucks. Even if the child gets a replacement mother/foster mother, adequate substitute, whatever.

    (For the record, in a situation where the mother just absolutely refuses to BE a mother and parent, I totally support the child being raised by a substitute caregiver/foster mother/replacement mother figure, and I would actually be more in favour of that than trying to argue that the blood-bond trumps all.

    However, I still say it SUCKS for the child to know his/her own mother doesn't give a shit, no matter how good of a job the substitute caregiver does.)

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  7. I agree with Mei Ling. It sucks when your mother doesn't give a shit. That is the main idea I saw in the anon letter.

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  8. And although it sucks for everyone involved, it truly does suck most for the child.

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  9. It absolutely sucks for the child!

    I have seen many things that shouldn’t have worked that did and the other way around. I have definitely seen grand parents raising grand children and resenting every second of it, that can’t be a good way to grow up. I have also seen grand parents who love raising their grand kids. That is why I personally can not be totally against adoption, against foster care, think that kin-ship care is the only acceptable solution, and so fourth, because there so many variables involved in each situation.

    I was personally better off in the care of people who did not resent having to take care of me…unfortunately they were paid to do so…but still it was better for me than being neglected and resented at home.

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  10. I know personally of a grandmother who fought to have her son and his girlfriend give their toddler up for adoption. They were turning into lousy parents and she was not willing or able to take on the responsibility of being a parent again. She had raised her 5 children to adulthood and then adopted a baby that she was raising. She knew the difference between a good parental figure and a tired/resentful one and wanted the best parental figure for her grandchild. It was her choice.

    And for the record, grandparents that become sole or primary caregivers have a shorter life expectancy than those who don't have that tremendous responsibility. Parenting wears you out and parenting older wears you out faster.

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  11. My father was passed around from relative to relative after his mother re-married and had another son. She didn't want him and niether did anyone else in the family. He is seriously messed-up. So much hurtful history-- I don't know the half of it I am sure, because my dad never talks about it.

    It does suck in situations where a mother does not want her child-- when this is the case I think it is better for the child to be placed for adoption. My father grew up watching his younger brother get lots of love, attention, things etc. He got crticism--and a clear view of watching his mom shower love on his brother while he got next to nothing.

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  12. Reena that's just brutal for your dad. That's the exact kind of situation I picture, have seen with my own eyes. If your dad or other people who have experienced a childhood filled with resentment had been adopted into a non perfect but loving and welcoming circumstance they'd still have feelings about the experience of being adopted but they'd also have a base of family, acceptance, encouragement, support.

    It's not impossible to say it would be better to be adopted in some situations.

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  13. Sunday, do you really feel like they're being paid? I'm honestly curious. Isn't it just money to supplement extra mouths to feed and bodies to buy clothes for? Like, isn't it a necessity as opposed to a wage? I know people say some fosterers are in it for the money and I guess that must be true in some cases, but, if it's all done properly, the money goes to the kids, no?

    "That is why I personally can not be totally against adoption, against foster care, think that kin-ship care is the only acceptable solution, and so fourth, because there so many variables involved in each situation"

    I could not agree with this more. It's exactly how I feel.

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  14. mrkmommy...that must have been horrible for that grandma. I hope her grandchild is ok.

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  15. Sunday said"....That is why I personally can not be totally against adoption, against foster care, think that kin-ship care is the only acceptable solution, and so fourth, because there so many variables involved in each situation."

    I totally agree. There is no one answer for all children in need of care. The solution has to fit the problem and real individuals involved, not theoretical formulas of the "right" answer for all.

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  16. Maryanne said "The solution has to fit the problem and real individuals involved, not theoretical formulas of the "right" answer for all."

    I like this a lot. I find it interesting, and a bit frightening, how often a given set of solutions is assumed to require disdain for the children involved. It is equally possible that in any child's life there are people who "don't give a shit" as it is that there are, no matter who is raising the child. Biological, kinship, and adoptive families can all be equally detestable or admirable. As far as I can tell we're all just humans. That makes us capable of amazing things, both great and terrible.

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  17. I agree with "I am". "Biological, kinship, and adoptive families can all be equally detestable or admirable." Yes indeed.

    There is no "perfect" kind of family, and no intrinsically inferior kind. It all depends on the individuals in each family. Adoption is not the perfect solution for all, nor is family preservation, foster care, or kinship care. Just as bad as the "happy happy adoption is always wonderful" adoptive parents are the anti-adoption folks who give way too much credit to biological connection resulting in better child care. It does not, in and of itself, and some relative placements and intact biological families are horrendous, just as are some adoptive and foster families.

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  18. "a given set of solutions is assumed to require disdain for the children involved"

    Iam...when you say this do you mean, in the example of our unknown granny, that it's frightening that her wishing her grandchild had been adopted has to be taken in the way that granny has disdain for the child instead of care and love?

    That it's frightening that adoption cannot be a loving act on behalf of the bio people?

    Sorry if I'm taking you wrong, I just actually care about this point.

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  19. "That it's frightening that adoption cannot be a loving act on behalf of the bio people?"

    Saying adoption happens out of love creates the idea that adoption happens because of a social construct and has nothing to do with anything physically, literally.

    I'm all for explaining to little kids that their mother loved them but couldn't take care of them due to, I don't know, issues that have nothing to do with the kids, things beyond her control - but then what happens when the kids grow up?

    Let's say a mother lives in poverty. Best (well, only, if you count physical death) option is to give her child up. People will say this is out of love.

    No, it's because she has no support or resources and she's literally helpless. Love has nothing to do with it.

    Obviously a child just might not grasp that so easily (talking semantics here, not politics), because yes, some kids do understand poverty.

    But this creates the idea that mothers give up their children *because* of love. It creates a false idea because love has nothing to do with it.

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  20. If a mother who is impoverished gives a child up Mei Ling it can be because she cares that her child will have enough.

    Adoption can be an act of love, I think.

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  21. "Biological, kinship, and adoptive families can all be equally detestable or admirable."

    Agreeing with *I am* and Maryanne. Relatedness does not by necessity equate to more love or understanding. Not to say that kids don't receive something important by living with kin: they do. But that gift is easily obliterated when adults act irresponsibly and make poor choices.

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  22. Campbell - when you say this do you mean, in the example of our unknown granny, that it's frightening that her wishing her grandchild had been adopted has to be taken in the way that granny has disdain for the child instead of care and love?


    No. I actually wasn't addressing that notion at all. The idea that certain types of solutions can only come from people "not giving a shit" is what I find frightening. It disallows the possibility for varieties of experience unknown to the person who believes the parents/caregivers in question "don't give a shit." For example;

    Child A is placed for adoption. Therefore birthmother A can't give a shit about the child. There is no other option.

    That's the thinking I find troubling and frightening. It doesn't allow for experiences like that of one of my professors in college. She's a nun from Japan who was sent to a convent in the USA during World War II. Her parents were killed shortly thereafter. The previous statement would assume that Sister Magdalena's parents "didn't give a shit" about her. I find that extremely offensive.

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  23. Ah ok thanks Iam.

    I agree, it is offensive when people just assume that a parent who isn't raising their child doesn't give a shit. It certainly isn't always that way.

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  24. It isn't always the way that Parent A who places doesn't love their placed child. But sometimes it is. We get back to our statement that all cases are different. My nmom really didn't give a shit about me, or think about me as a human. So yes, I was "better off" with my aparents who love me unconditionally in a way that my nmom couldn't.

    But that doesn't mean that I feel happy not to be loved by nmom, or that her placing me was a "loving" choice. It was the path of least resistance.

    I am definitely not anti-adoption, and there was a very sad case at work the other night where a young woman of uncertain age, suffering from Dissociative Personality Disorder (she had three alters) was brought in to L&D. She had been 5150'd for trying to jump onto a train, possibly to kill herself, possibly not. She was, as far as we could tell, 36 weeks along. She was an unreliable historian, had no idea what her name or birthday was, and clearly cannot take care of her child after it is born. Nor is it likely that we can find her family, although I am sure that the staff in the inpatient psych unit will try to figure it out.

    I definitely think that adoption--if they cannot find her family, and if they choose not to be guardians if they do--is a good option for this child. But I can imagine that all the love in the world from aparents won't be able to answer future questions this child has.

    There are other cases I see at work in which grandparents eagerly agree to raise children, such as when a patient died in the OR after giving birth to twins. The grandparents were very, very sad about the loss of their daughter, but were happy to step up and parent. I support their choice.

    There are also cases in which grandparents are overwhelmed, and that's okay. One particular frequent-flyer patient is a homeless sex worker, with brain damage, who just had her eighth child. This time she consented to a tubal ligation (thank God for that, in my opinion ). Her parents had taken the first five, and the last three were put up for adoption. I have no problem with that, either.

    But I don't think in any of these cases, adoption is a glorious gift. There is so much loss and sadness.

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  25. Man, you sure see it all in the medical profession.

    I think mental health is such a huge issue in so many situations of neglect, crime and other sad circumstances. It should be taken so much more seriously in the early stages and if it was, I believe there would be far less people in prison or homeless. It's difficult though to maneuver human rights of the afflicted and of the people who sometimes become victims of the those that are mentally ill. I hope that makes sense as it's not meant to be offensive. I have great compassion for those affected by mental illness and can't help but feel frustrated at the amount of people who end up falling through the cracks and seriously injure (or kill) themselves and/or others.

    The homeless sex worker for example, consenting to a tubal ligation. I am thankful for that too and can't help but wonder how it could have been done sooner without infringing on the woman's human rights.

    It's so difficult.

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  26. The sex worker had signed consents for the tubal after pregnancies sixth and seven. She left the hospital AMA (against medical advice) after the sixth, and after the seventh, an RN in postpartum made the mistake of feeding the patient breakfast on the day of the procedure. It had to be delayed, and once again she flew the coop. Everyone was organized this time to make sure that the system worked properly. Alleluia.

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  27. I find it odd that in some adoption discussions, a mother who finds herself lacking sufficient emotional resources, financial resources, or good health to keep her baby is viewed very sympathetically and there are calls to give her "support," whereas a grandmother who finds herself lacking sufficient emotional resources, financial resources, or good health to raise her grandchild is vilified and called selfish or apathetic.

    It's not just a double standard, it's a very weird double standard, because it places the primary expectation to fix things on the person who has the least control of the situation in the first place.

    Shouldn't the person who actually conceived and chose to bear that child have MORE responsibility for the outcome than someone who was not part of the conception and how no choice about the birth? Yet over and over, it's said that a mom just needed support, while a grandmom is criticized-- without knowing anything about the specific circumstances.

    I'd rather not see anyone vilified and everyone given support, but if that's not happening, then I'd at least like to see the expectation of primary responsibility being placed where it belongs... on the actual parents of the child, not that adult's own parents (the child's grandparents.)

    It just seems very skewed to hold grandmothers to a higher standard and nail them to the wall when they can't manage, but make excuses for why Mom herself is struggling or failing to parent. It seems skewed to consider a mother a victim when she doesn't feel she can parent, but to consider a grandparent a villain when she doesn't feel she can substitute-parent either.

    While I believe it takes a village and that family should stand up when they can, I think parents bear MORE responsibility for their own children than extended family does. So often adoption debate seems to put that equation backward and expect more of grandmothers than of the mothers themselves.

    -Z

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  28. @ Z well stated! I have noticed a recurring theme in many foster care and adoption discussions - birth mothers are victims, nothing is their fault, they just need every one else to do their job for them and they want to maintain the title and acclaim. Honestly it is nauseating and tiresome!

    @ Campbell about my MUCH earlier comment, since I was mostly in RTCs and group homes and only a few actual foster homes I do feel like they were paid to take care of and care for me and yet they managed to do a MUCH better job at than my natural parents did. I for one am grateful!

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  29. Oh ok Sunday, thanks.

    I think I get it..

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  30. "I find it odd that in some adoption discussions, a mother who finds herself lacking sufficient emotional resources, financial resources, or good health to keep her baby is viewed very sympathetically and there are calls to give her "support"

    I totally agree with the end point you were making, but whether or not a mother is viewed sympathetically. I guess if you mean "by anti-adoption people" then I can see that, but I never recieved such sentiment when I was pregnant.

    It was all about how to get me to realize no matter what I do I could never be as good as the adoptive parents.

    In the references about "love having nothing to do with it" I want to make sure I'm understanding you, Meiling.

    What I hear you saying is that the love did not CAUSE the adoption. The poverty caused the adoption. All selfless loving mothers will do whatever they need to to give their children the best life they can in whatever way they believe will be best, no matter the sacrafice.

    The point I here you making is that the LOVE isn't why the adoption happened. The lack of resources and support, the lack of emotional support, the lack of mental well being support, the lack of support for parenting among peers and relatives....

    These are the things that caused the adoption.

    The mothers love would have wanted to be there with her child in every moment.
    The circumstances are what forced the adoption to happen. Not the love.

    I think Campbell is thinking in terms of, "well mom's could be selfish and keep even if it hurts the child, so therefore mothers who relinquishing are acting out of love"

    However Meiling is thinking in terms of, "A large portion of mothers love their children and that doesn't cause them to give up their children. The CIRCUMSTANCES cause them to give up their children. Love, in and of itself does NOT cause mothers to relinquish. Circumstances that put the child at risk are what cause relinquisment, not love"

    The point here being, that if we focused on working with mothers (or grandparents) to change the circumstances that are putting the child at risk.... and if we succeeded in changing those risks; the loving parents would be the ones to keep.

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  31. ""well mom's could be selfish and keep even if it hurts the child..."

    And assuming the mother isn't abusive/neglectful or the child isn't in actual physical harm from the family environment, this contradicts nature.

    Most biological parents want to keep their kids and they're not considered selfish.

    Even biological parents who have unplanned pregnancies are not considered selfish for keeping their kids.

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  32. I'm a grandmother. Step-grandmother to be exact. For the past 7 months my husband and I have been raising my step-son's son since his parents left him with us the day after Christmas. DHHS got involved, things got complicated. Now the dirtbag mother who has not bothered with her kid since December suddenly wants him back because she's homeless and needs a mealticket. We've become very attached to this little boy, he just turned 2. He's stable and settled, has a routine, and knows love. So of course DHHS takes him away from us and swifts him away to a reunification program with his mother to see if she can make it. She won't because she's a self-absorbed twit who has never bonded with him. She'll fail. And hopefully we'll get him back... but what damage will this cause him? It took so long for him to start talking (so much neglect occurred even before they abandoned him here), to trust, to bond... and now they've done this to him. My heart is just broken, and the little pieces left scream for justice for so many little ones being dragged through this uncaring, parent-focused, kid-screwed system. I"m sorry, this probably isn't relevant or timely but saw this thread and had to post somewhere. He was taken from us today.

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  33. Hi anonymous, your story as you relay it is heartbreaking on many levels. I'm so sorry. Good for to you to be there for your grandson. It's my hope you can separate your anger and heartbreak from your love and dedication and keep hanging in there for him, so no matter what happens that's out of your control, he'll always have a safe place to land with you.

    It matters, honestly.

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