Mama Still Loves You

So after reading Transracial Adoption and Motherhood, I started to think about the topic of motherhood and adoptive parenting in terms of feminism. I asked myself do white people who adopt children of color have an obligation to raise the child to be aware of their cultural identity. And if these adoptive mothers are helping a child/children in need, should they also care about the system that is making it so these mothers have to give up their children/or have their children taken away from them. The stereotypes about black women and motherhood are  problematic. Stereotypes label black mothers as angry, negligent, and selfish. Others are weary of queer mothers because the child will have two mommies and not a mother and a father. So I thought about all of this and wrote a monologue from the perspective that is rarely told, the mother who loses their child.

You think I like being on welfare. Being barely able to feed my family. Yeah you live off this shit and tell me how luxurious it is. Ridiculous. Yea here it my Gucci food stamps. My lois vatan government cheese. This seasons winter collection from yours truly community coat drive. That is a lie they tell themselves so they don’t feel like the ass holes. And God forbid they give to a charity that isn’t Africa. I ain’t got nothing against my brothas and sistas from the mother land, but you got brothas and sistas here who are starving just the same. It’s a damn shame. We not the kind poor people they want to help. We the wrong kinda poor for their generosity. Ridiculous.

They don’t know what it’s like not to be able to feed the child you brought into this world. Trying to make ends meet, put food on the table, and clothes on they back. They don’t know the times that I went without so I could give them the little bit I did have. All anyone wants to ask me is where is they daddy? Why I’m not married? Why I keep having these kids? Nobody is asking me if they can lend me a helping hand. And guess who got my babbies? This nice white family who don’t live no where near here. I was working two jobs, trying to show the court that I could provide for my babies. I did everything that social worker told me to do. But by then, they told me it was too late. They took them from my arms, and I sobbed into their shoulders and told them mommy still loves you. That was a year ago, and my babies were 2 and 3 years old. Do you think they gonna remember me? That they momma did everything she could to keep them, but it wasn’t enough. I can’t even look my family in the face. This shame is going to weigh on me for the rest of my life. And I’ll still wonder how they doing, are they good in school, do they look like me, and if they know they momma love them.

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2 thoughts on “Mama Still Loves You

  1. This post is powerful. I think it’s very true that when we talk about transracial adoption, the focus is usually on the children being adopted and the nice (usually white) family adopting them. This focus leaves the real mother out of the conversation entirely.
    What is even more heartbreaking to me is that the bond between adopted children and their real mothers in the case of transracial adoption is often so thoroughly cut off that the children probably have little interest in even meeting their real mother. So while their real mother thinks about them every day and wishes she could see how they’re doing, the thought of their real mother hardly ever crosses the minds of her children. I think this has a lot to do with the white-washing of a lot of transracially adopted children. Their new families either know nothing of black history and culture or they fail to understand why it would be relevant to their adopted children, and so their children grow even further apart from their real mother. And so the saddest thing to me is that if the children and their real mother ever did come together as we like to see them do in the movies, I’m not sure that the children would be at all what their mother expected, nor would their mother be at all what the children expected.

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  2. Hi Ashley, Thank you for sharing your creative work with us. I agree with you, the pain of the mother who gives up her child is so often erased from conversations about adoption. As Henry says, the stories of adoption are typically all about the nice (usually white) women who adopt children. The black mother is either demonized or erased entirely. It is a shame that, as you said, people would rather criticize poor black women for having children rather than think critically about how they can help black mothers with necessary resources such as food and child care.

    Before our readings for class, I had always conceptualized adoption as a natural part of life. I had accepted that some mothers want to have their baby but cannot take care of him or her. I liked how the articles we read for class problematize these notions and portray poor mothers giving up their babies to wealthier families as a form of inequality and injustice. Rather than strive for a world where every child has a home, we should strive for a world where every mother who wants to keep her child has the resources and support to keep him or her. Of course, a way to reach this goal is to demonize poverty, not black and/or poor mothers motherhood.

    I am glad the the readings on motherhood made me aware that adoption can be un-feminist and problematic. Thank you for your moving reflection on the pain an adoption-centered world can cause mothers.

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