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dear birthmother letters


Rebuttal to "Respectful Adoption Language"
By Diane Turski

The following is the rebuttal that I wrote to the article by Patricia Johnston about "Respectful Adoption Language" printed in Adoptive Families magazine. I wonder if they will print my rebuttal - somehow I doubt it! - Diane

Ms. Johnston,

Marietta Spencer's "Respectful Adoption Language" is merely another game she devised to play within the adoption business. I am familiar with Ms. Spencer's views because she was a social worker at Children's Home Society of Minnesota. This was the adoption agency that facilitated my son's adoption as an infant in 1968.

I have been happily reunited with my son for two years. My son's adoptive mother told me that when my son was having adoption related identity difficulties and was desperate to know me, my son's adoptive parents took him to meet with her. Instead of acknowledging these serious difficulties for what they were, Marietta Spencer proceeded to discount them by setting up a blackboard in a game show format to write down my non-identifying information for him, even though his adoptive parents had already given him that same information about me. Serious adoption related identity problems in children should not be treated as a game!

Regarding her game of RAL: I am not my son's "birthmother." I am his natural mother. The term "birthmother" was coined by game players like Marietta Spencer in order to devalue the true relationship between a natural mother and her child.

I did not choose an "adoption plan." I was forced to relinquish my son by my parents and societal mores encouraged our unnatural separation. The term "adoption plan" was coined as an attempt to convince pregnant girls and women that they are making a choice, when in fact the choice is just as often being made for them today as it was made for me in 1968. Regarding the last line of your poem: the adopted child is a natural child who has natural parents, but he is not all the adopter's own!

Finally, the term "Reunion" is an appropriate objective descriptor when the adopted child reunites with his natural parents. Adoptees who were adopted as infants do have common stores of memories and experiences with their natural mother. Those common stores of memories and experiences are pre verbal and formed in utero during the bonding process between the baby and his natural mother. In conclusion, the only thing serious about RAL is the intent to mislead adoptive families, adoptees and natural parents by attempting to devalue the true relationship between the adoptee and his natural parents.

If you are interested in learning about the truth regarding the relationship between adoptees and their natural mothers, there are two books that have been written by authors who are much more highly qualified than Marietta Spencer. These books are Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier and Adoption Healing by Joe Soll. If you are interested in first hand experiences I refer you to the following website: www.exiledmothers.com

Sincerely, Diane Turski


Note regarding "respectful" adoption language:

The terms "unwed" mother, "birthmother", "birthmom", "birthmoms", "dear birthparent", "birthparent", "birthparents", "birthfather" "biological" make a parent appear to be less than the mother or father they are. These terms dehumanize and limit the parent's role to that of an incubator. Using the honest terms "mother", "single mother" or "natural mother" help the public to understand why real family members must not be separated to obtain babies for adoption.

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