Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Intent as a basis for discrimination

It's quickly becoming my #1 pet peeve. Does it have a name? Or can I dub it "intentism"? The prejudice according to which those persons who intended to parent a child (and sometimes couldn't) are by default in every way better than those who didn't (but sometimes contributed "raw materials" up to and including the entire child, as is the case in adoption).

It is presumed that the sperm donor, the "birth" mother, and that even more faceless entity who knocked her up are by definition inferior. The discrimination is presumably based on the fact that intending parents usually invest money in obtaining other people's children. This money proves that they really want the child, they deserve it, and, since they have money to spare, they're instantly worthier human beings.

The offspring of these inferior parents should be grateful they were accepted by these superior social parents as their own.

But just what is so great about intent? About the burning desire to have a child, first your own, and then, if that fails, anyone's child?

Has there ever been any serious longitudinal research into the emotional effects on children (into their adolescence, at least) of being raised as very very wanted children by parents very very desperate to have them?

Is there even any proof that planned children fare better in life than 'oops' kids?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Instead of a biological attachment...

Couldn't help it. Had to share a link to a thread on a forum where an adoptive mother complains about how her "daughter" won't attach to her but has instead dared to call her grandma, who babysat only up to 2 days a week, "mama." This was apparently because the evil woman dared to hold the toddler, overstepping "boundaries." The evil grandma was then banned from seeing the child who loved her too much.

This is what my "father" did. Instead of a secure, biological link, one that can't be threatened by other nice, nurturing people in a child's life, all he had was my "attachment" to him. So it had to be forced. And my mother, my only biological parent, pushed aside, all bonding between us, starting with breastfeeding, sabotaged by him from day one.

I love it when my kids relate to others. Hug them, kiss them, talk to them. I love it that my daughters love their grandparents and their uncle and even my friends. No attachment of theirs ever takes away from me - I'm their mother and always will be. It's a scientific fact.

Inspiring: Erik Erikson. As close to being DC as they got in 1902!

I wondered why I loved Erikson so much and why he seemed to be the only one to truly understand identity issues. I also admit to thinking the name "Erik Erikson" was a bit funny and thought badly of his parents.

Now I understand. I believe we should all (symbolically) do the same: if we have no hope of ever knowing our fathers, we can "refather" ourselves by ourselves!

This wonderful, sane, compassionate man never knew his father's name. He had elaborate fantasies about his real father. Anna Freud, his analyst, told him to stop it and let it go, but he refused.

And he was still wonderful. In fact, it was his black hole in the place where his father should be that probably prompted him to be the wonderful man that he was.

There's hope for us yet!

Here's a full biography I love. It's in Word form. It paints a full, not always flattering picture of him, which includes the negative consequences of his identity confusion stemming from never knowing his father.

This is from a site I don't exactly love. But it's informative:

"Erik Erikson was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 15, 1902. There is a little mystery about his heritage: His biological father was an unnamed Danish man who abandoned Erik's mother before he was born. His mother, Karla Abrahamsen, was a young Jewish woman who raised him alone for the first three years of his life. She then married Dr. Theodor Homberger, who was Erik's pediatrician, and moved to Karlsruhe in southern Germany.

We cannot pass over this little piece of biography without some comment: The development of identity seems to have been one of his greatest concerns, in Erikson's own life as well as in his theory. During his childhood, and his early adulthood, he was Erik Homberger, and his parents kept the details of his birth a secret. So here he was, a tall, blond, blue-eyed boy who was also Jewish. At temple school, the kids teased him for being Nordic; at grammar school, they teased him for being Jewish.
When he became an American citizen, he officially changed his name to Erik Erikson.
Erik, son of Erik."

Here is the source. Italics mine. While the text is informative, I find the repeated word "little" patronizing, dismissive, and insulting.

And this makes so much sense:

"Erik's new stepfather was his pediatrician, Theodor Homburger. Homburger, who insisted on being referred to as Erik's father, conferred his surname on the boy in 1908 and finally adopted him in 1911. Despite this it became apparent, with the arrival of three half sisters, that Erik held a very different place in the family as the adopted stepson. Throughout adolescence he increasingly identified as an outsider, both within and in the local community. He was teased at school for being Jewish, and at synagogue for being tall and blond. His stepfather refused to accept his intense artistic inclinations. "