by Margaret McDonald Lawrence
(From a speech to The First National American Adoption Congress, Washington D.C. May 4, 1979)
No-one has encapsulated the need of the adoption industry to manufacture the demonization of the natural mother as the most pivotal and necessary requirement in the promotion of, and social acceptance of adoption, as Lawrence does when she states how:
” In order to bring the issues surrounding the intermediary system into clear focus, it is necessary to examine the myths and motives that surround the adoption experience. Outsiders need to realize that social agencies not only control adoption procedures, but also control the information about the institution which is provided to the courts, the legislature and the public.
” It is the child welfare establishment that has provided the picture of birth mothers as indifferent – as mothers who abandon their unwanted children with a wish to remain forever hidden from them. They know that this is seldom true, but it helps to facilitate their work for the public to believe this. Society does not dismiss the importance of the natural family as readily as the social planners, and so it is useful to portray relinquishing parents as different from caring parents.
” The birth mother must be different, an aberration; for if it were true that she had the same degree of love for her child as all other mothers, the good of adoption would be overwhelmed by the tragedy of it. Adoptive parents are somewhat relieved of guilt if they can be assured that the birth parents truly did not want their child; for, under those circumstances, it is possible to feel entitled to claim the child of others. Neither society nor the mother who holds the child in her arms wants to confront the agony of the mother from whose arms that same child was taken. But that agony is real, as we have come to learn through our experience with reunions. “