Recently, the world recoiled in shock when a young woman named Jaycee Dugard, age 29, was rescued from a filthy back yard where she was held captive for 18 years, imprisoned by a convicted sex offender, and forced to bear two of his children.
When the story broke, all I could think (and feel) besides relief that Jaycee had been found, was: I know exactly how her mother feels. That crushing feeling of hopelessness, a soul-destroying grief that has no end and no resolution, a feeling of being entirely helpless when you cannot find your child — even to find out if they are alive or dead — and no-one can help you. Physically and emotionally, reading her story, I felt an a echo of the long years of living these emotions.
The world sympathized with her parents — even more when it was revealed that Jaycee had bonded with her abductors and had even worked for them. She was introduced by her abductor as “his daughter,” and he even stated that she was part of his family and that her story of abduction was even “heartwarming.”
“The abduction also destroyed Terry’s life. Carl said that every year after Jaycee was taken, she would stay away from work on the anniversary of the kidnapping and spend the day at home, in tears.”
Jaycee was kidnapped at age 11, before she could give any consent to leaving her family (much like an infant taken for adoption), and before she could speak out to anyone against it (ditto). No minor can make this type of decision.
Eighteen years … not much shorter than the 20 years I remained in limbo, not knowing where my son was, if he was alive or dead.
Not that I didn’t try finding him, as as Jaycee’s parents must have. I scoured major B.C. newspapers, searching for “birth” announcements that may have been placed by people adopting. I found an adoption reunion registry, which I applied to in hopes that the people who had adopted him would have a heart and conscience and also apply while he was still a minor — I could not imagine anyone would intentionally or even inadvertently be so heartless as to put me through that torture willingly. I placed “happy birthday” greetings in newspapers, hoping he or his adoptive family would see them and contact me. When he was about 9, I spent several hundred dollars on a retainer for a private investigator … who found nothing. I studied the faces of every male child I saw who would be of his age, throughout the years. He was never absent from my mind — not a day went past without him being in my thoughts. How could it be otherwise?
I am certain that Jaycee’s parents felt exactly the same way. Except they had police to help them … not that it helped much.
So, tell me … why is our loss considered any less — any less tragic, any less traumatic, any less involuntary — than the loss experienced by Jaycee’s parents? Why are we expected to shut up about it? Why are we written off as nothing more than an incubators? Why do people willingly and happily adopt the babies of women who have had just as much choice as Jaycee’s mother, Terry? I am certain that these same people would feel for Terry, and meanwhile tell me that I have no right to talk
Why is the pain considered to be any less?
“[Mr Garrido] told us up-front he works with his daughter.”
Jaycee Dugard was abducted, and then treated as both a sex slave and an adopted daughter by her abductors. Let’s call it what it is: A do-it-yourself adoption. And when there is no choice on the part of the mother, how is either situation anything less than abduction?
“(281) Abduction of Person Under Fourteen – Every one who, not being the parent … unlawfully takes, entices away, conceals, detains, receives or harbours that person with intent to deprive a parent … of the possession of that person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.” – Criminal Code of Canada
ETA: A person who had adopted made the comment on another blog, “Regardless, signing ‘sealed the deal’.” Well, in B.C., I have heard many stories first-hand of what was done to single mothers who refused to sign while “customers” waited. Their babies were put into foster homes, and government social workers then went to court to terminate the mother’s rights on grounds that her baby’s best interest was to be with a married, stable, 2-parent family. Also, 3 months of your baby in a foster home you cannot find, and your rights could be automatically terminated on grounds of “abandonment.” Signatures were moot, especially when given while one is medicated to the gills. If one level of coercion did not work, a stronger level was applied until it did.
Taking babies right at birth while the mother was medicated and tied down was abduction. This happened across Canada.