By August of 1864, the Women’s Loyal League had over 5000 members nationwide, and had collected 400,000 signatures on the petition for banning slavery. The petitions were delivered to Senator Sumner, who presented them to the U.S. Congress, in a huge stack of scrolls carried by two African-American men, with a long speech and much fanfare. Sumner read out the huge numbers of names the women had collected from New York, from Illinois, from Massachusetts, from across the land… “a mighty army, the advance guard of a yet larger army.” With this impressive expression of public support for the Amendment, it was passed by both houses, and became the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution, in December, 1865. Human slavery had finally ended in the United States.
It is ironic that Abraham Lincoln, who could have ended all slavery in America, but chose not to, has been recorded by history as “The Great Emancipator,” while the heroic contributions of Susan Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton, and the many women who worked with them from 1863 to 1864 to finally end slavery, have been largely lost from our collective memory. But the historical record shows that it was the ephemeral “National Woman’s Loyal League” – (a feminist front-group, if there ever was one) – that provided the leadership and the leg-work that passed the thirteenth Amendment, and ended slavery in the United States.
Perhaps one day someone will consider it a worthy project to write a true history of the world, in which the contribution of women is not written out or events airbrushed. I understand Chinese students today know nothing of what happened in Tiananmen Square when the above photo was taken, deemed to be one of the iconic photos of the 20th Century. I wonder how many American students know what truly happened at that University in Kent State when four students were killed and nine others injured, some made paraplegics, way back when ……… History is only what historians want it to be or what they are paid to make it be. When politicians write history it is even more suspect! There was a time when some journalists were reputable but Murdoch seems to have ended that, because profit became more important than truth or ethics. And so it is with adoption and the adoption industry …..
When people look back in one hundred years on the writings about adoption, if they do, they will find an enormous amount of ‘stuff’ about how to do adoption, the joys of adoption, the sanctity of adoption and some ‘stuff’ on how to bend adoptees into shape by the application of boot camps, religious beatings, holding therapies, all manner of other therapies and the application of god. There will be found to be a number of reunion stories, some giving blow by blow descriptions and accounts of adoptions gone wrong, ditto. Advice books will be plentiful – 20 things books and pop help books which may or may not be sound. Fortunately it seems, female writers seem to be abundant, both in their output and their numbers. Perhaps things began to change as voices got louder, perhaps we got better at listening to each other, promoting each other and encouraging each other to speak out with the truth of adoption.
That truth encompasses so many aspects and would ideally encompass all of adoption. It does not currently and never will if many have their way. Why would the current promoters and supporters of adoption want to make it about the truth? Lies have served them well, been profitable, protected those who wanted protection – legislators, agents, baby brokers, fathers, mothers, adopters. Lies have never served adoptees well and never will. It is the truth we want and the truth we seek and will continue to seek until we find it out. While others lie and are reckless with the truth there will always be a quest for us to pursue, some of us with dogged determination and courage, others more tentatively, because it is a slippery slope often accompanied by treachery.
The constant message of all this untruth is very hard to hear. Men use, avoid, disappear, hide or step up spectacularly. Women sacrifice their daughters, worship public opinion, bow down to male opinion in authority and appear unaware of the significance of their actions. For instance how can a woman relieve another woman of her child because she is poorer and not understand how she came to be that way or care that she is and has to sell her child in order to survive? How can a woman have no conscience about that and believe adoption is the solution?
Katie Leo writes – As an adult Korean adoptee, I knew first hand how it felt to grow up divorced from the language, culture and people of my birth country. The undeniable question for me involved whether I could reconcile my political beliefs with participation in international adoption. Could I call myself a feminist and social justice advocate and still adopt? I realized that for me, the answer was no.
I am part of a growing number of adult adoptees who view adoption as a feminist issue, part of a continuum of reproductive rights. This perspective extends to the right to raise one’s child the same importance as the right to choose whether or not to bear one.
In her book “Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States,” feminist historian Rickie Solinger examines adoption through this lens of reproductive rights. She states, “I believe it is crucial to consider the degree to which one woman’s possession of reproductive choice may actually depend on or deepen another woman’s reproductive vulnerability.” In other words, how might an individual woman’s right to choose adoption actually exploit another woman’s lack of rights?
Here’s a previous post I did on this fascinating area of adoption, one that needs much mor exploration – https://eagoodlife.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/adoption-is-a-feminist-issue