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When there was no choice, can you still choose?
Author: Raine    Date: 03/13/2013 13:59:50

Kathleen Hoy Foley was 16, alone and pregnant from a rape in 1964 when she decided to put the baby up for adoption, intending to forever close that chapter of her life.

“The day I walked out of that hospital, it was the day it ended for me,” Foley, now 65, told the Daily News. “I was emancipated. I truly believed I was free.”

She wasn’t.

More than 30 years later, the child defied the odds and found her, shattering the life Foley had created and forcing her to reveal a dark piece of her past that she had wanted to keep hidden from her grown daughters and husband.
Abortion was illegal back then, and rape was something no one discussed. Years later the child now grown wanted to meet her biological mother. She was rejected.
Penn, now age 48, became interested in meeting her birth parents after having her own child in 1996. First she found out that her biological father was dead and then she was rejected by Foley. She admitted to the New York Daily News that her mom’s reaction was like “a knife to my heart.”

“It’s really sad,” Penn added. “It is very hard for somebody in this time to put their brain back in 1964 in that society. I’ve never experienced it. But I would hope that whatever happens in that situation that at this point, I would get myself help and I wouldn’t take it out on the person I gave birth to.”


So here we have a victim of rape who decided to get going with living her life in the best possible way she could considering the times, and an adopted child - now a woman - who wanted to meet her biological mother.
Foley was contacted by the unwanted child she put up for adoption 15 years ago. How Elaine Penn found her birth mom is questionable. Foley claims Penn hired a private investigator and that Catholic Charities unlawfully passed over important information. With a closed adoption the birth certificate is supposed to remain sealed and the birth mom’s name never revealed.

Elaine denies hiring an investigator and says she found leads in public documents. She first made contact with Foley’s lawyer who ended up being her biological mom’s son-in-law.

Even though Penn has reached out to her mom several times over the past 15 years, the two haven’t met in person. Foley, now age 65, doesn’t want to ever meet her daughter and she has become an advocate for women who have given up a child and prefer to remain anonymous.
Where does one's right to privacy end? Ms. Foley was given little or no choice after she was raped. Birth control was not available to women, abortion was not available. She was pregnant and had to decide whether to keep the child or give it up for adoption. Her privacy had been invaded and she was yet again forced to make a decision. This time she chose to not meet her biological daughter.

Almost 50 years later, we can see the progress from women who fought for and got the right to choose when and how they would give birth. We have access to birth control. We speak out in cases of rape and incest. We are less apprehensive to do so as the stigma isn't as severe as it was forty years ago. In 1964, Kathleen Hoy Foley had none of these options. This entire situation is a perfect illustration of how important it is for women to have a choice.

I cannot identify with what it may be like to be an adopted child, but I take issue with Ms.Penn. In her quest to find her 'biological mother', she violated the little choice her mother once had. Meeting and finding the adoptee should have been Kathleen Hoy Foley's choice to make -- choice being something she was denied many years ago. She was raped at the age of 16 and now at the age of 65 she is trying to protect the rights she now has. She is protecting her right -- and the rights of others who were forced to give birth so many years ago: the right to choose privacy. Ms. Foley writes:
Today, these aging women, including frail elderly women, are enduring egregious abuse from State governments that are opening court sealed adoption records and intimidating these women into forfeiting private medical and personal histories to stranger-adoptees.

Adoption agencies are placing aging and elder women at extreme physical and emotional risk by releasing deeply intimate and identifying details to strangers claiming rights as adoptees. (Betrayal by Catholic Charities permanently ended my life--and the lives of my family--as I knew it.)

Adoptees seeking to satisfy their own curiosity, some looking for revenge, are hunting down and ambushing elder women and their families, dismissing as unimportant the damage and destruction they create. (Among many cruelties, the stranger-adoptee in my situation posted my 80 year old mother's name on the internet, along with accusatory sexual insinuations.)

Despite whatever irreversible consequences may occur, society, via the media, insists on romanticizing this trend of pursuing women and forcing public exposure of past traumas.

Socially and politically this sanctioned abuse and punishment of aging and elderly women is disguised as a human rights issue for those who were placed into adoption.

Left without social support and legal options, it is, sadly, up to the woman in hiding to protect herself the best way she can.


“It’s really sad,” Penn added. “It is very hard for somebody in this time to put their brain back in 1964 in that society. I’ve never experienced it. But I would hope that whatever happens in that situation that at this point, I would get myself help and I wouldn’t take it out on the person I gave birth to.”
After all of this, Ms. Penn appears to be rather callous, in my opinion. She has become an adoption rights activist, and her supporters are ostracizing Ms.Foley, saying she's too 'wacky, crazy and hateful'. Ms. Penn is trying to pass laws in NJ forcing adoption records to be opened -- even closed adoptions. Let's take a look at the other side of this again. Ms. Foley has an entry in her blog from 2009:
I never knew I had a choice. Never knew that I did not have to accept being violated by that despicable stigma affixed to me as a teenager. Birth mother—a slur that branded me a slut; a whore. The label that blamed me for getting pregnant from rape. The label that ignored the rapes; turned my torment into a hot and heavy teenage romance with me unable to keep my legs closed.

Getting pregnant was what I deserved for wanton sexual escapades. Just punishment for my sexual lust. I was to confess my sin—I did. Do my penance—I did extra just to make sure. And my sins and my secret shame would be washed away by a confidential adoption. That is what they promised—Catholic Charities; my mother. Do my penance and I would be free. I believed them.

Over thirty years later my confidential records were breached and a stranger—the adoptee—was wreaking havoc in our lives. Which is why Phil was on the phone with our attorney and I was listening to him say what I had never in my entire life heard before. There in our kitchen, that tiny moment in time, me fifty years old, I slowly began to see that I was not required to stigmatize myself any longer; that I did not have to join society and continue to condemn myself with the label Birth Mother; a label so vile, it made me retch.

I looked up at Phil when he sat down at the table across from me.

“Rape is not making love,” I finally managed, giving voice to what I had never been able to speak aloud. “Being forced to breed did not make me a mother. They don’t call girls who had abortions, mothers.”
When there was no choice, Ms. Foley was forced to take the lessor of two evils. When faced with an unwanted confrontation years later, she chooses not to meet the person she gave up for adoption. We have seen a generational shift when it comes to women's rights, but I believe we need to be more sensitive to the generations that came before us. They have a right to their history as well. As we go forward, fighting for equality, we would be wise to pay attention to our history and be sensitive to it -- it involves people who are living and breathing it every day. Some may never have gotten over it -- and they should not be forced to, especially based on other people's expectations. It should be a choice as to how and when - or if ever - we deal with our life events, both the wonderful and the horrible.

and
Raiine

86 comments (Latest Comment: 03/14/2013 04:20:46 by livingonli)
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Comment by wickedpam on 03/13/2013 13:12:27
Morning


Caption: "You'll catch me, right?"

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/13/2013 13:35:40
Ninja kittehs!

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/13/2013 13:51:29
Kittehs have seen too many kung fu movies.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/13/2013 14:09:09
I got really annoyed at a RWT last night. he was commenting on a friend's FB post with crap about Dan Rather and Tang (I dunno) and I replied with, 'You seem pretty obsessed with Dan Rather. Do you want him to suck your dick?" I feel guilty. Should I be guilty?

Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 14:18:24
Morning, comrades.

Adoptions these days come in two flavors, "Open" or "Closed".

An Open adoption is the newfangled one. Often, the birth mother will meet with prospective adoptive parents, give final approval, and may or may not be involved in the child's care. (usually just visitation rights.)

A Closed adoption is just that, the birth mother plays no role in the decision, and rescinds all rights to the child, and usually has the paperwork sealed so she can't be tracked back to at a later date.

Like everything else, there is often a grey zone between the two.

Javier has a double - it's an International Adoption (the rules are slightly different) and was completely closed. We know the birth mother's name, but nothing else.



Comment by Scoopster on 03/13/2013 14:19:14
Mornin' all..

Jeez the Bruins really blew that game last night.

Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 14:28:17
Quote by Scoopster:
Mornin' all..

Jeez the Bruins really blew that game last night.



Heh. The Celtics were also channeling the Red Sox, I noticed. Charlotte? by 25 points?



Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 14:29:32
Oh, and Scoop...let's connect on that medicine. I seem to have taken a turn for the worse this past weekend, PT/OT is having limited benefits. (and in some areas, it's actually worse than when I started.)

Apensuwi at Gmail, for a direct-connect.



Comment by Raine on 03/13/2013 14:30:26
Blog is up!

Comment by Raine on 03/13/2013 14:36:42
Quote by TriSec:
Morning, comrades.

Adoptions these days come in two flavors, "Open" or "Closed".

An Open adoption is the newfangled one. Often, the birth mother will meet with prospective adoptive parents, give final approval, and may or may not be involved in the child's care. (usually just visitation rights.)

A Closed adoption is just that, the birth mother plays no role in the decision, and rescinds all rights to the child, and usually has the paperwork sealed so she can't be tracked back to at a later date.

Like everything else, there is often a grey zone between the two.

Javier has a double - it's an International Adoption (the rules are slightly different) and was completely closed. We know the birth mother's name, but nothing else.

This woman had a closed adoption, that is why I find this all so messy. My uncles both had closed adoptions.

I think this is the crux of things, women 40-50-60 years ago should be the ones to choose if they want to open up the adoption records. It's something I think that my generation isn;t willing to understand -- those women never really had a choice like we do now. We should respect this.

Comment by Will in Chicago on 03/13/2013 14:38:53
Good morning, bloggers!!

Raine, this is a very powerful blog. I think that Ms. Foley's privacy rights were violated.

No right in a society should be absolute. I do not think that an adopted child, in general, has a right to find out who is a parent. (I suppose an argument can be made against this position in case of a severe medical emergency, but this is most likely a theoretical objection. I suspect that there would be very few cases like this.)

We need to stop stigmatizing people who have to make difficult choices. As a man, I am annoyed that some other men believe that they can make medical decisions for mentally competent adult women.

Comment by trojanrabbit on 03/13/2013 14:40:01
Quote by TriSec:
Quote by Scoopster:
Mornin' all..

Jeez the Bruins really blew that game last night.



Heh. The Celtics were also channeling the Red Sox, I noticed. Charlotte? by 25 points?



That'll teach 'em to sit Paul Pierce.

Comment by Raine on 03/13/2013 14:50:04
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Good morning, bloggers!!

Raine, this is a very powerful blog. I think that Ms. Foley's privacy rights were violated.

No right in a society should be absolute. I do not think that an adopted child, in general, has a right to find out who is a parent. (I suppose an argument can be made against this position in case of a severe medical emergency, but this is most likely a theoretical objection. I suspect that there would be very few cases like this.)

We need to stop stigmatizing people who have to make difficult choices. As a man, I am annoyed that some other men believe that they can make medical decisions for mentally competent adult women.
This story really amazes me. That is why I put this link into the blog.

I find this just breataking that women would say such things about Ms. Foley. It callous to be quite honest.


I can appreciate that adopted children may want to find who gave birth to them, but I believe it should remain the choice of the person that gave the child up for adoption.

Women's rights are for all women, not just those born after 1967.


Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 14:51:49
*non-sequtir*

I seem to recall posting some time ago that I was unable to find in the Qu'ran where it states "Thou shalt have a silly little beard" (referring to the Saudis, in that instance.)

However, as I continue down this path, I seem to learn more things every day. There is another subset of rules and regulations called the "Hadith". These are either the direct teachings of Mohammed, or things that he did.

So, because Mohammed had a beard, it is considered "Hadith", and most Islamic males sport some kind of facial growth. (It's not universal; Asian muslims generally do not.)

So there. I do now have a feathery chin addition, but that's my "hospital beard". I didn't shave for a week while I was in, and I wound up keeping it.





Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 15:33:08
Islam kilt the blog? Guess that makes me a terrorist, then. Damn.



Comment by Will in Chicago on 03/13/2013 15:41:51
Quote by TriSec:
*non-sequtir*

I seem to recall posting some time ago that I was unable to find in the Qu'ran where it states "Thou shalt have a silly little beard" (referring to the Saudis, in that instance.)

However, as I continue down this path, I seem to learn more things every day. There is another subset of rules and regulations called the "Hadith". These are either the direct teachings of Mohammed, or things that he did.

So, because Mohammed had a beard, it is considered "Hadith", and most Islamic males sport some kind of facial growth. (It's not universal; Asian muslims generally do not.)

So there. I do now have a feathery chin addition, but that's my "hospital beard". I didn't shave for a week while I was in, and I wound up keeping it.






I have heard a few things about the Hadith, which I understand has a role in Islam much like the Talmud has in Judaism. Both can be thought of as commentary and expansion on the original texts.

Now for a few articles for discussion. This one will counter some right wing talking points: The Promising Future for Solar and Wind Energy.

HuffPo reports some good news as well. It seems that the President is listening to those of us asking for no cuts in the social safety net -- Obama: Budget Deal May Be Impossible If Republicans Continue To Insist We 'Gut' Entitlements .

Comment by trojanrabbit on 03/13/2013 15:49:38
Ooo another shooting spree in NY. 4 dead.

Comment by trojanrabbit on 03/13/2013 15:51:01
Comment by Will in Chicago on 03/13/2013 15:56:12
Quote by trojanrabbit:
CBS report



I love my country, but I hate the violence here.

Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 16:02:49
Interesting story on a refinery in TX and gas prices...

The last paragraph seems to suggest that the reason prices are so high in the East isn't a capacity issue, but a transportation issue. Instead of friggin' Keystone, how about a domestic pipeline to help us here?



Comment by livingonli on 03/13/2013 16:03:24
Good morning, folks. I guess I could be on the other end of this since I was a foster child and I was raised by my foster parents. I only know my biological mother as a name on my birth certificate, although I have been curious as to the circumstances considering I have my own issues with fear of rejection and abandonment which may have effected my own emotional development. I was an emotional wreck after my foster mother died and I guess I wondered what issues effected me to make me the way I am.

Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 16:09:24
So, I just bought a "Baby Ruth" bar. There's a bright banner on the label proclaiming "4 grams of Protein!!!"

Really? It's a freakin' candy bar!



Comment by wickedpam on 03/13/2013 16:11:27
Quote by livingonli:
Good morning, folks. I guess I could be on the other end of this since I was a foster child and I was raised by my foster parents. I only know my biological mother as a name on my birth certificate, although I have been curious as to the circumstances considering I have my own issues with fear of rejection and abandonment which may have effected my own emotional development. I was an emotional wreck after my foster mother died and I guess I wondered what issues effected me to make me the way I am.





Comment by Raine on 03/13/2013 16:18:12
Quote by livingonli:
Good morning, folks. I guess I could be on the other end of this since I was a foster child and I was raised by my foster parents. I only know my biological mother as a name on my birth certificate, although I have been curious as to the circumstances considering I have my own issues with fear of rejection and abandonment which may have effected my own emotional development. I was an emotional wreck after my foster mother died and I guess I wondered what issues effected me to make me the way I am.
I Was thinking about you and Tri as I wrote this today.

This situation isn't an easy one -- I hope I wasn't overly presumptuous. When you see what people are saying about this woman it's amazing. She was a rape victim -- in 1964.







Comment by livingonli on 03/13/2013 16:22:08
Quote by Raine:
Quote by livingonli:
Good morning, folks. I guess I could be on the other end of this since I was a foster child and I was raised by my foster parents. I only know my biological mother as a name on my birth certificate, although I have been curious as to the circumstances considering I have my own issues with fear of rejection and abandonment which may have effected my own emotional development. I was an emotional wreck after my foster mother died and I guess I wondered what issues effected me to make me the way I am.
I Was thinking about you and Tri as I wrote this today.

This situation isn't an easy one -- I hope I wasn't overly presumptuous. When you see what people are saying about this woman it's amazing. She was a rape victim -- in 1964.






I definitely feel every child should be a wanted one and maybe that's why I have felt like I didn't want kids because of my own emotional issues, feeling like I would want to be a good parent, combined with the increasing expense of raising kids as I look at the cost of college spiral so high.

Comment by BobR on 03/13/2013 16:22:49
Quote by livingonli:
Good morning, folks. I guess I could be on the other end of this since I was a foster child and I was raised by my foster parents. I only know my biological mother as a name on my birth certificate, although I have been curious as to the circumstances considering I have my own issues with fear of rejection and abandonment which may have effected my own emotional development. I was an emotional wreck after my foster mother died and I guess I wondered what issues effected me to make me the way I am.

If you don't mind me asking - how old were you when that happened? And have you made any attempts to find your birth mother?

Comment by Raine on 03/13/2013 16:23:38
Quote by trojanrabbit:
CBS report
I have friends that live in Herkimer county. My friends daughter attends Dolgeville middle school

Here is the local report and it seems like a really bad situation, These are small towns we are talking here.

I have to see if my mom can get in touch with them to see if they are all ok.


Comment by livingonli on 03/13/2013 16:28:36
Quote by BobR:
Quote by livingonli:
Good morning, folks. I guess I could be on the other end of this since I was a foster child and I was raised by my foster parents. I only know my biological mother as a name on my birth certificate, although I have been curious as to the circumstances considering I have my own issues with fear of rejection and abandonment which may have effected my own emotional development. I was an emotional wreck after my foster mother died and I guess I wondered what issues effected me to make me the way I am.

If you don't mind me asking - how old were you when that happened? And have you made any attempts to find your birth mother?

I was given up at birth. I made some attempts in the late 90's but it was hard getting past my foster care agency and even searching for her on the web seemed to leave no trails as to who she is or where she might be.

Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 16:38:11
This is our only manned Recon aircraft left...

Since the SR-71 was grounded a few years back.

And unless you believe all that "Aurora" hoo-ha.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/13/2013 16:50:56
Quote by TriSec:
So, I just bought a "Baby Ruth" bar. There's a bright banner on the label proclaiming "4 grams of Protein!!!"

Really? It's a freakin' candy bar!




Idiocracy in action. Baby Ruth's got peanuts. Brawndo's got electrolytes. Same thing.

Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 17:25:06
It has recently occured to me that Bob is probably the only person on the planet that believes me when I state that I want to go to St. Martin to look at the airplanes....

<-- TriSec

Beach-->

Comment by Scoopster on 03/13/2013 17:28:19
Quote by TriSec:
Oh, and Scoop...let's connect on that medicine. I seem to have taken a turn for the worse this past weekend, PT/OT is having limited benefits. (and in some areas, it's actually worse than when I started.)

Apensuwi at Gmail, for a direct-connect.

Oooh.. eep I need to requisition some more cuz I'm suddenly a lil low. And to think just two weeks ago I had a half oz.!

(yes, I really do love the stuff that much, even at my advanced age)

Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 17:33:06
Oh, and after I'm elected Pope on the 432 ballot (shortly after Hell freezes over), I shall take the name "Hilarius II".



Comment by livingonli on 03/13/2013 17:38:44
Sounds like the caller on Ed's show has been drinking the Alex Jones Kool-Aid.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/13/2013 17:55:38
Question for my bloggie peeps. I've been reading Philip Dray's excellent There Is Power In A Union, I've gotten up the section on Cesar Chavez and the UFW. How many of you remember your moms not buying table grapes in the late 60s and early 70s? I know my mom did.

Comment by Raine on 03/13/2013 18:19:13
Quote by TriSec:
Oh, and after I'm elected Pope on the 432 ballot (shortly after Hell freezes over), I shall take the name "Hilarius II".

We'll know very shortly if they picked you. There is white smoke billowing in Rome.

WSe should know shortly who the next pope is.



Comment by wickedpam on 03/13/2013 18:29:50
Quote by Raine:
Quote by TriSec:
Oh, and after I'm elected Pope on the 432 ballot (shortly after Hell freezes over), I shall take the name "Hilarius II".

We'll know very shortly if they picked you. There is white smoke billowing in Rome.

WSe should know shortly who the next pope is.




that was quick - bet it's the guy from Milan.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/13/2013 18:44:18
Mala, has white smoke come out of the Vatican?

Comment by wickedpam on 03/13/2013 18:47:06
Quote by Mondobubba:
Mala, has white smoke come out of the Vatican?


according to Ed, TMZ and CNN is did.

Comment by Raine on 03/13/2013 18:49:08
Every TV Station is covering this. Pope von Pope should be coming out onto the balcony in a few minutes.

Comment by trojanrabbit on 03/13/2013 18:51:34
Rather obvious Fark headline - Cardinals hire new manager.

Comment by Raine on 03/13/2013 18:52:08
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by TriSec:
Oh, and after I'm elected Pope on the 432 ballot (shortly after Hell freezes over), I shall take the name "Hilarius II".

We'll know very shortly if they picked you. There is white smoke billowing in Rome.

WSe should know shortly who the next pope is.




that was quick - bet it's the guy from Milan.
I hope we have a black pope. Just to make the wingers heads esplode.

First a black President and now a black Pope!!! DAMN YOU OBUMMER!


Comment by Mondobubba on 03/13/2013 18:58:48
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Mondobubba:
Mala, has white smoke come out of the Vatican?


according to Ed, TMZ and CNN is did.



Add NYT to that list.

Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 18:59:17
"Voice of the Scout" questions revealed

I have already replied to the reporter listed in the story. Stay tuned!



Comment by livingonli on 03/13/2013 19:00:21
Al-Jazeera English is showing the crowds gathered at the Vatican watching the whole thing and they are confirming a new pope. That actually was quick.

Comment by wickedpam on 03/13/2013 19:02:26
Quote by Raine:
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by TriSec:
Oh, and after I'm elected Pope on the 432 ballot (shortly after Hell freezes over), I shall take the name "Hilarius II".

We'll know very shortly if they picked you. There is white smoke billowing in Rome.

WSe should know shortly who the next pope is.




that was quick - bet it's the guy from Milan.
I hope we have a black pope. Just to make the wingers heads esplode.

First a black President and now a black Pope!!! DAMN YOU OBUMMER!


now that would be worth seeing


Comment by Mondobubba on 03/13/2013 19:05:12
Quote by Raine:
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by TriSec:
Oh, and after I'm elected Pope on the 432 ballot (shortly after Hell freezes over), I shall take the name "Hilarius II".

We'll know very shortly if they picked you. There is white smoke billowing in Rome.

WSe should know shortly who the next pope is.




that was quick - bet it's the guy from Milan.
I hope we have a black pope. Just to make the wingers heads esplode.

First a black President and now a black Pope!!! DAMN YOU OBUMMER!


I'd love that too.


Comment by TriSec on 03/13/2013 19:07:26
I propose "Dalai Pope Moses Buddha Krishna al-Hajj"


Comment by Mondobubba on 03/13/2013 19:10:32
http://www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/a-grumpy-cat-as-pope.jpg



Yeah, this didn't happen.

Comment by Raine on 03/13/2013 19:13:55
the new Pope is from Aregentina