Adoption = Crisis Pregnancy
By Kathleen Hoy Foley
Shaming an elder woman with birthing fantasies violates her humanity, exploits her sexual organs, and imposes on her willing consent, eager compliance, enthusiasm, and gratefulness for an unwanted conception while dismissing the reality of long-term reproductive trauma to her body and spirit. It is perversion to degrade a woman as an object and provider of prurient sex. It is perversion to degrade an elder woman as an object and servant expected to oblige maternal fantasies.
Hunting down old women is barbaric. That hunt always begins at the site of the sexual trauma she endured—her vagina. Tailing the statement, “I’m adopted,” is the inevitable question, the challenge, “Are you going to find your real mother?” As in pornography, the hunted woman—the question mark—is dehumanized. Reduced to an object. Portrayed as a source of passion. Summoned to provide a climax. When in reality the hunted woman suffered the grossest sexual exploitation possible: impregnation against her will. Intensifying that catastrophic injury, the hunted woman is depicted as a lost thing to be found, forced into the self-abuse of blame and the self-abuse of obedience as her participation in a sadistic “reunion” of her body and its manifest trauma is imposed on her by society. She is reduced to an imaginary and biological commodity while consigned to a shadowed existence in a hostile, mother-forever-at-all-cost cultural environment from which she cannot escape.
The persistent myth of a young girl gripped in the throes of a desperately wanted pregnancy but helpless in the face of hardship that forcibly ripped love from her arms and thrust it into the cold world of the adoption process is comparable to the mythological woman consumed with lust, passion, and gratification when being tortured by rape portrayed up there on the pornographer’s screen. It is time to recognize that the notion of the loving, lost mother is a myth that lives only in fantasy. Unwanted pregnancies are a reality, not deliberate. Abortion is deliberate. Placement in the confidential adoption system is deliberate. It signifies trauma. It represents rescue. Emancipation. The details of a catastrophic sexual and biological ordeal are private. Rescue from a reproductive nightmare are individually specific and intensely personal.
But for the hunted woman—whether she is hunted by the State, an agency, detectives, or an individual—the assumption of entitlement predominates. Those who hunt her assume entitlement to her person, her physical location, to her private, familial, and medical history, to all extensions of her life. This presumed entitlement is an obscene dismissal of human rights, a grotesque violation of an elder woman’s intimate boundaries, and grants emotional and bodily privileges to the hunters—predators that inflict fresh wounds on the old woman by the perpetuation of the sexual trauma she endured.
There will come a time when the obscenity of this practice of routing out aging and elder women from the dark, sexual, birthing injuries of their pasts and punishing them until they submit their bodies and spirits to appease individual and societal demands will become obvious. As it did for animals, the truths of cruelty eventually filter into social consciousness and people of decency and compassion take action. But today those who would hunt down a woman once victimized by an unwanted pregnancy are supported by social and religious indoctrination and revelry that insist on a woman’s maternal obedience and obligation to a biological catastrophe that once befell her.
Who speaks for a hunted woman except those that hunt her? Who, except her pursuers, decides the fate of a hunted woman, the fate of her family, the fate of her status in her home and community? The assumption of sexual trauma, the assumption of juvenile sexual assault must prevail in all discussions of a confidential adoption. Whether that discussion is with the person placed in the adoption system, in the larger social arena, in political forums, or tossed about by gossip mongers, it must begin and end with sexual trauma and the knowledge that the hunt for a woman in hiding is obscene, pornographic, and sadistic and inflicts further sexual abuse upon that old woman.