I can see clearly now …

My “come to Jesus” moment regarding why adoption is a part of my life came to light about 3 weeks ago in a funeral home of all places. Ironic…or fate? Ironic maybe because many mothers of adoption loss liken their experience with adoption to a living death..a sentiment I agree with.  Was it fate? I like to think so because in short amount of time the reasons, the whys and the hows came flooding back as if the Hoover Dam burst right then and there and drowned me alive.

Let me back up this up a little and explain so maybe it makes sense to you and quite possibly to me as well.  A death occurred in my extended family, I happened to find out about it via a post on social media ..I guess that is the new etiquette rule ..it is not official unless someone posts something on Facebook. Going against my better judgement I attended the wake knowing full well that being around my family is akin to walking into a forest of hungry bears and wolves wearing nothing more that a raw meat dress. However I am always a believer that family is family no matter what and a small act of kindness at your lowest point is always appreciated..I would hope that some day the gesture if and when required is reciprocated but I honestly doubt that would happen. The moral of the story is that I went to show support and I walked away asking myself….WHY?   I have been in therapy for 15 years ..my therapist has told me I owe my family absolutely nothing and yet I feel that tether and the obligation to pay respects no matter what (again WHY WHY WHY)

You might be thinking what does attending a wake have to do with my journey into adoption..allow me to set the scene. I walked into the funeral home along with my daughter, whom I bribed to go with me by promising dinner out afterwards at her favorite burger joint . I found myself armed with a false security that my family tends to behave when she is with me and hence the reason I stopped so low to beg her to come along. Up until now I was able to shield my children from the reality of what my family is like by keeping them far far away and only exposing them during happier times or in short spurts. This tactic seemed to work and also allowed me to remain kind when I spoke about my aunts and cousins…however the time arrived and my poor girl was sucked down the rabbit hole while trying to pay her respects for one lost.

Sitting front and center and holding court was my 87 year old Aunt. Most 87 year olds have mellowed out and can be cute and funny..not my aunt, she is just as miserable at 87 as she was at 57..although when she was 57 I did not see it quite that way. i walked over to where my aunt was perched on her chair, said hello and attempted to make enough small talk to keep the conversation light and drama free. We talked about how good she looks..she really really does, 87 with barely a wrinkle on her face..a phenomenon I swear  I attribute to the fact that my aunt feasts on the souls of the children born into our family that she sucks out and keeps in a jar somewhere in her house. She told me she may be 87, but she feels like she is 20..the bitch is going to outlive me I swear.

In our brief conversation, we talked about how both her son who is my maternal first cousin and I have done the Ancestry.com DNA tests. A very safe topic I was thrilled to talk about..however… my aunt explained that DNA was not correct..that her mother/my grandmother was actually almost full blooded native American,born in Arizona and moved to Canada (ah no..I found the grandmother’s birth certificate and she was english and Irish with some French and M’KqMaq born in New Brunswick and raised in Nova Scotia) told me some false information about my father that I was like well ok I actually found the real information out..and then says to me..what happened to you? I saw you 2 years ago at M’s funeral and you looked great, you lost a ton of weight..it looks like you gained it all back because you got fat again. If looks could have killed when I explained that a) 2 years ago I was very very sick (pericarditis and pleurisy as a result of Lupus) and b) why yes I have gained back some weight, however I am only up 2 sizes and I have been on prednisone for quite some time..she says maybe you should get sick again it was better for your waist line. Now if that does not tip the scales of insanity what happened next might just explain it all..

My aunt turns to my absolutely beautiful daughter and says “Your mother posts all kinds of pictures on facebook of you from your dancing..I print the pictures out and have them on my wall”. My daughter is looking at me like OKAAAY… Aunt then says to my daugher..”You look just like my sister Madeline (my mother) do you know who that is?” My daughter explains of course she knows who Madeline is (my mother died when I was 17 and of course they never knew her so I understand that she is simply a theoretical person to them that is natural)..my aunt goes on to say “I hated my sister Madeline. God was she ugly when she was younger and she never really got any better looking”. So my aunt is sitting there telling my child she looks just like her grandmother whom my aunt hated and thought was ugly..bitch. At this point I walk away before I explode thinking my aunt will calm down..go say hello to a cousin and my poor daughter texts..SAVE ME.

My aunt is telling my daughter that I hated my mother (who died by the way when I was 17 years old from lung cancer..I am now 48) because my mother was poor. She told my daughter that I was ashamed of the fact that I lived in the projects and I only wanted to be with my Aunt H who had money. Supposedly I am a nothing more than a gold digger who has nothing to do with them because they do not have money.  AND THAT WAS MY MOMENT..I felt small and demoralized ..I felt unsupported and hated and the worst part was my daughter..my beautiful daughter was sucked down the rabbit hole the one thing I worked so hard to avoid for almost 29 years since I had my first child.

Here is the thing..I realized at 19 years old when my first born child came into this world and I was for all intents and purposes alone that I wanted nothing more than to shield him and protect him from THAT negativity and THOSE toxic people. I already felt like an absolute failure by getting pregnant in the first place and if I stayed ..if I had to raise my boy in that environment it would have destroyed the 2 of us slowly but surely.

That is how Darth Jarol entered my life..that is how I mistook what seemed like a gesture of kindness (and I think there was some kindness there on some level) how I saw stability and sanity and everything my family lacked and confused it with doing the right thing. I was protecting my baby with every fiber of my being..I was protecting him from a woman who knew I was on public assistance (something I am not proud of) trying to survive and who would wait for the mailman and cash my check and take every penny I had for my baby ..including the ability to buy diapers and say oh well i needed the cash. How was I supposed to survive in an environment like that? Actually I am not sure if I even considered myself..how was my baby supposed to survive? The dysfunction, the negativity and the toxic interactions bubbled over like witch’s brew waiting to poison anyone caught up in that horrible web. I left because I needed to get healthy and clean from them..and my baby was my biggest casualty. When Darth Jarol invited us to stay it was with the intention that I would see just how incapable I was at being a mother..and she was right at the moment …however the point is every mother whether she is 15 or 45 the first time she delivers a baby is inexperienced and incapable..motherhood is a learning curve.

If my family had been supportive and loving ..if my family was not prone to stealing and lying maybe my son would never have been lost to adoption..but FEAR …the fear of being just like them..just like my family rattled me to my bones ..being destitute and homeless scared me and there was no way I wanted to raise my son in the projects. There was no way my son was going to have to shake his backpack every day to get the roaches out and there was no way my son needed to live in an environment where the upstairs neighbor was a dangerous schizophrenic who had outbursts at 4 AM and kept the building awake and threatened him in the hallways…there was no way I wanted my son raised in a place where there were dead mice in couch cushions and maggots in the trash outside or people setting cars on fire in the alley outside your bedroom door. My son deserved better..sadly I thought Darth Jarol was the answer not me.

So 3 weeks ago all those feeling came flooding back..the positive is I know why they hate me..it boils down to the fact they hated my mother ..the negative is I am feeling the angst and the guilt and yeah the anger of why I had to lose my beautiful baby boy..why another woman who is not his mother got to parent him and was able to cast me aside like a piece of trash once she got what she wanted. I blame myself mostly for all that happened .but in that funeral home ..at that wake I came face to face with the grim reaper of my soul….oh and my daughter? She NEVER wants to interact with my aunt again ..she could not wait to get out of the parking lot ..her first words to me? “That woman is a **** (yes she used the dirty C word ..no I do not approve and no I did not correct her) she said Mom that woman called me ugly and she called you a fat, ugly, gold digger we so don’t need that in our lives” ..truer words have never been spoken.

A Thin line between Pray and Prey Part 1

Wake me up when November ends! November is National Adoption month. You know, that time of the year when the feel good stories about people heartbroken by the cruel fate of infertility or those who need alternative ways to start a family are shoved down our throats like castor oil.   We get to hear how  at last they have the family they hoped and dreamed for, was achieved through the process of adoption, how the journey for them was long and painful and now at last they have their family due to (one of the favored words adopters use is) a “miracle”. As an added bonus,  we also hear the stories of those in the thick of their infertility /family planning journey hoping to find that woman in crisis and her unwanted child (baby) to start or complete their family. There are  the heartbreaking tales of wonderful people to whom fate has dealt a cruel blow or have no other option than to seek out alternative methods to achieve the family they desire. How can we not be rooting for these people?  Often times we see their sweet love story and fall in love with them thinking they would be the perfect parents, all they need is a baby in the nursery to start their happily ever after journey. However what we fail to ask ourselves is at what price does that happy ending cost?

What gets lost in all of the feel good coverage of national Adoption Month are the voices who do not get to direct the narrative..most importantly the voices of adopted individuals and the voices of their mothers. Yes while it is true that  we hear the stories of mothers who lost their children to adoption, it is also true the media likes to portray the rainbows and unicorns images of adoption so we see the ones who are willing to say they are happy and things are as they should be, you know this adopted person was always meant to be a part of the family who adopted them she was only the vessel who made this miracle (see I used that word again) happen. These are the mothers who post hashtags like shout your adoption and call themselves “birth mom strong”..a lot of them have less than 10 years experience as a mother of loss. Rarely, if ever, do we see the mothers who have found a way to put words to their inner feelings  and talk about what it is really like to live with an adoption loss. Those “bad” stories are the stories which do not fit the narrative we are being fed about adoption and don’t celebrate National Adoption Month. This group of mothers are labeled hateful, bitter, disgruntled,anti adoption . Worse yet,  their experiences are diminished by people whose only connection to adoption is their father’s bosses’ best friend’s third cousin adopted a little girl from China 22 years ago and this makes them an expert on adoption. A Ph.D was earned in all things adoption  because they heard little Brittany who is now 24 had no issues with being adopted and is grateful she was saved from living in an orphanage so bitter birth mommy put that in your pipe and smoke it, you know nothing of adoption! These mothers are told you made your choice, you gave away your child and now they are not yours any longer so go back under your rock and deal with the choice you made. Oh and my favorite line they are told? Well you should have thought about all of this when you chose to spread your legs! Ah slut shaming at its finest! Let’s just pretend that slutty mom spread her legs and magically sperm entered her body and she conceived…no mention of the partner from whom the sperm was obtained, you know look the other way kids nothing to see here.

Occasionally we hear the stories of families who take in the children who are truly in need of a home, namely one of the 415,000+ children in the US foster care system (2014 statistics) waiting for a family to help them through their own journey despite their being too old, too challenging or simply not baby/toddler cute. These are the stories I prefer to hear.

This is the month we also hear a lot about God (well the adopters/hopeful adopters version of God)  and all about prayers that have finally been answered. Yup it’s that time of the year when we see the moronic hashtag of shout your adoption, about being pro-life and it is when adopters come out of the woodwork with their prized possessions on display. SO many spewing the old BS that a brave woman chose life and as a result God answered their prayers for a child hence bringing the abortion debate into the adoption puzzle. As a side note, we might get to this later, but in the meantime let me set the record straight on a few things..

Mainly this..abortion and adoption have little to do with one another. Abortion is a medical decision a woman can make that determines if she will continue her pregnancy. If a woman elects to have an abortion her pregnancy is terminated and there is no more need to discuss could have, would have or should have. I am not going to get into the debate of abortion ends a life and so on..I know abortion ends a life, however it is a decision available to every pregnant woman here in the US..if you do not believe in abortion, don’t have one, however do not tell a woman in crisis what she can or cannot do..that is not for you or me  to decide. On the flip side, adoption is a parenting decision. A woman in a crisis pregnancy considering adoption is making a decision if she will parent HER baby or transfer parenting rights to others.

Here’s the thing people…National Adoption Week was NEVER and let me repeat this NEVER about newborn adoption. Let me fill you in on the history of this week which was expanded into a month

1976:

Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced an Adoption Week in his State to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in foster care.

1984:

President Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week.

1995:

President Clinton expanded Adoption Awareness Week to the entire month of November.

1998:

President Clinton directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a plan to expand the use of the Internet as a tool to find homes for children waiting to be adopted from foster care.

https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/nam/about/history/

National Adoption Month is about finding homes for children who need homes, not about finding babies for people who want to be parents. National Adoption Month needs to get back to its origins..FOSTER CARE..there are almost a half million children in the foster care system who need families both temporarily and long term to help them grow up and be safe and not age out at 18 like so many do. The difference one family , one person can make in the lives of these children is insurmountable. When are people going to realize that to be a parent you do not need an infant?

We need to stop praying that God will create a child who will come into your lives. What you are praying for is a crisis to occur ..something awful to happen, say like well I have always wanted a rolls royce and I really hope and pray God will let a major disaster happen in Beverly Hills so I can go out there find someone who as a result of not having any insurance on their house and possessions finds themselves backed into a corner and unable to see that this situation is probably temporary and feels the need to sell everything at a fraction of its worth…..So I  get my car and I am happy  to finally have the Rolls of my dreams(never mind the person to whom the car belonged to, they are amazing for having to sell it so they can eat and pay the electricity or maybe even their rent) Sound absurd?  If this really happened you would tell me I was a horrible person for taking advantage of someone at their lowest point for my personal gain. Well what pray tell is it that happens in adoption? By PRAYING for a woman in a crisis pregnancy to choose you to parent her child You are in fact PREYING upon vulnerable women and wishing upon them a lifetime of pain of the type you can never imagine. It’s a thin line my friends between PRAY AND PREY

Lost Again

It has been 8 days since the last time I communicated with my son K.  I don’t know how to describe the heaviness I feel from the grief of losing him once again. I know I should be grateful that we had 8 months and 26 days of reunion where things were pretty good. Instinctively I knew once he came home for the holiday season that things had the potential to go awry.  I never imagined just how awful things would get for him simply because we connected once again. What breaks my heart is there is absolutely nothing I can do and nothing I can say at this moment to turn the tides once again and go back to where we were even 2 weeks ago. The reality is even if we connect again there is always going to be a dark cloud hanging over us from some forces out of our control.  I have decided I am willing to spare this young man any more grief that my presence in his life has caused him with the parents who raised him and will bear the grief I feel alone . I never want K to feel that he has to be sneaky about our relationship or that he is betraying the family that raised him..however much I disagree with their reasoning..I never want for K to hurt like he did during this trip home and it kills me to know that I was a part of that hurt.

Adoption is a complicated and enormously difficult way of life for all the parties involved. I can understand that K’s adoptive parents feel that by reaching out to me K is abandoning them or rejecting all they did for him until now but I know that is not the case. K loves his adopters and would never abandon them in a million years no matter how frustrating he finds the relationship. I would be upset if he abandoned them because they are his family as well and for as much as I regret the decision to entrust them with him I know they did a wonderful job raising him and in their warped way want what is best for him.  Truth is K’s adoption circumstances are very atypical from most in that he was still an infant when he was adopted but he was not a newborn. He was not removed from my custody for abuse or neglect by social services (social services were never involved)  I willingly chose to place him with the people who adopted him for a multitude of reasons including feeling unworthy to parent him. K’s adopters promised an extremely open adoption and held to their word for a while and then slammed the adoption shut when he was about 8 years old. I regret not fighting harder to maintain a relationship with K but his adoptress felt we were better off taking a break. I had a newborn at the time and I agreed with her since I was a new mom and raising 2 other children as well.

I truly loved K and I still do with every breath I take, the hole in my soul without him for all these years has never healed..it may never heal but this has never been about me and for the last couple of weeks I think I lost sight of that. I was so excited that he was only 3 hours away from us and stateside for about 15 days that I got caught up in the possibility of seeing K and introducing him to his sisters. I understood that he did not come back to see us specifically and his time here was to see his family for the holidays but I held out hope that we could connect even for just an afternoon. K being home was a bright light in what was a very difficult holiday season for me and I think I held on to that light a little tighter than i should have. The holiday season is never an easy time for me..I look around and see family and happiness and am reminded of loss..I have lost my mother (18 months before K was born when I was still in high school) I lost my favorite aunt 18 months after K was born, I have lost babies very late in my pregnancy, we lost my mother in law when my oldest daughter was 4 weeks old, we lost my husband’s aunt Mary who loved him like a son after his mother died a yer ago this past September, we lost a community we were attached to for 18 years after my youngest daughter was bullied by a group of “friends” and unexpectedly this past July we lost our dear UJ.  I found UJ one morning when I went to go visit him gone..he was all alone and my heart aches thinking that there was more I could have done to help him. UJ died on the 27th anniversary of the day my mother died so to say it was rough is an understatement. To add to the stress, my daughter has a friend named E who last January was diagnosed and treated for brain cancer, I found out the last day I really talked to K that E is not doing well at all. It looks like E will leave us sooner vs later and my heart aches for this beautiful 15 year old girl and her family, friends and schoolmates. So in all the loss for the first time I saw hope and in doing so I lost sight that this was not about me ..it never has been.

I also confess that I unlike most people I know do not understand what it means and/or feels like to have family obligations. Other than my marriage and children I do not have any family (well other than UJ) where I have to be home, or I have to put up or I can’t wait to be with. I have not had to answer to anyone in my adult life and I think this has put me at a serious disadvantage in trying to understand or wrap my head around family issues. Spending time with UJ was always a blessing, it was the highlight of the holidays, cooking visiting and even trying to find the perfect present for the man who had everything and needed nothing. It felt strange this year to cook for the holidays in my own kitchen..oh and did I mention I had a total freak accident the week before Christmas? Yeah a heavy and sharp chef’s knife fell off the counter , cut my foot (thanks be to God I had my shoes on) and broke a bone..not my wisest move since I was not paying attention to what I was doing and the accident is my fault. I think my inability to relate to the family issues thing is a bridge K and I never anticipated crossing. While my belief system is you are your own person and the problems that your family is experiencing are not your burdens to bear and neither are any problems we might have..I fail to connect that people have other thoughts..a total ignorance on my part.

The last communication with K I have is he explained that I was pressuring him and he is in the middle of 2 sides he assumed were angry or pissed off at him and he felt caught between 2 families that hate one another. My heart is aching because I made him feel like that..I did this to him and I made him hurt and angry and that is unforgivable on my part. I am at a loss here, I knew his trip home was going to be stressful at times and I knew that C his adoptress was not happy that he connected with me, but I thought that her love for him would allow her to give him the freedom to make some choices for himself.  I do not care to communicate with her for the time being but I still hold a love and a respect for all she has done for K. I wish that C could let go of whatever demons she attached to me and see that our lives are enhanced by more people loving us not less.  K is the only boy she parented and he is the youngest of her 4 children, the oldest 3 being her biological children, but she has got to do the right thing for K and stop controlling him or trying to make him feel guilty for choices he has made.

As for me..I am not sure if I am going to recover from this any time soon. I am not prone to tears or letting my emotions go and I have not stopped crying since the first day of what I will call the beginning of the end (Monday December 30) a few of those days the grief was so crippling I could not get out of bed ..But I am out of bed and I am resisting the urge to message him or email him because the last thing I messaged him was I am leaving future communication up to him ..he does not need me to bother him. K needs to recover and find his happy place again with his GF in his adopted homeland. I hate admitting that I miss him terribly but I do..this is the third time I have lost him, and every time I do a little piece of me dies

Dear Adoptive Mother

The only times I seem to post lately is when I am running on pure emotions..usually not the happiest of emotions but emotions none the less. Lately I am taking the time to read the blogs and the words of other women who share my adoption journey as a mother of loss. The raw emotions in the words of these women often leave me feeling bruised and cleansed at the same time. There are others who feel my pain, there are others who walk this path and while our experiences are unique the majority of us a united in one bond of sisterhood.

What often strikes me as alarming is the same stories continue to repeat themselves over and over ..so many women and girls were forced to relinquish due to lack of support from family and friends, so many women and their babies abandoned and made to feel less than by the people who are supposed to love them best. The deeper tragedy is in how the adoptions are handled..women in the pre Roe Vs Wade era shuttled off to maternity prisons and treated like second class citizens ..told to forget what happened and move on with their lives their children better of without them. No names, no information, often times not even knowing if the baby they just birthed was a boy or a girl. The women in the post Roe V Wade era, some victims of the old closed adoption system others promised “open” adoption where they choose the parents of their child. Hopeful adopters who more likely than not have yet to resolve or grieve their infertility and willing to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to achieve their goal of parenthood.

Open adoptions filled with “Dear Birthmother” letters, booklets (and now online profiles)  and meetings filled with promises of joined families, blessings and love for a yet born infant. SO many promises are made in those days before the baby arrives. The potential adopters more often than not look so happy in their wonderful home surrounded by family..their lives perfect. The only thing missing from these pictures is your infant. This is all presented in such a neat package I swear I want these people adopting me. Most women who get caught up in this are reminded by their agency or well meaning family members they simply cannot change their minds seeing that the adopters will be hurt. So trying to do the “right” thing and not wanting to hurt these lovely people many mothers sign the consent to adopt shortly after birthing their babies heavily medicated and in physical and emotional pain. In those moments mother is an angel,a selfless being but who knows when the tide changes but she suddenly morphs from an angel to a person adopters would rather not deal with. Pictures and texts become infrequent and often disappear .promises made are quickly and easily forgotten. I read a quote where an adoptress talked about “no more adoption phone” and settling into family life. That adoption phone was probably the only number or way to contact the adopters the mother had . so tonight I am thinking about my own letter addressed to adopters..the ones who adopted my child and all the others who break their promises, turn their backs and close adoptions …

Dear Adoptive Mother,

I want to know how it is you decided that I and my fellow sisters are no longer a part of your family? While we were pregnant you actively pursued us, said things to make us like you and made promises to us in hopes we would hand our hearts and souls over to you a/k/a our babies. You told us we are angels, you told us all about your dreams of parenting and showed us how a baby would complete the pictures in your profiles. Your hurt became our hurt, we fell in love with you and chose you based on your words and actions. We believed you.

Then baby was born and we allowed you into one of the most intimate moments of our lives and often times allowed you to share in the cutting of the cord and holding baby soon after it was born. You hugged us, kissed us, took photos with us and held your breath until we signed the papers and filled with physical and emotional pain we said goodbye to our babies filled with hope because you made so many promises. We left the hospital with broken hearts, empty arms and lives that will never be the same again..you walked away with our children and from that moment you were different as well.

While we were pregnant you called or texted every day..now it is maybe once a month if at all. All those photos you promised have yet to arrive. We are hurting and those photos that you choose to send to your family and your friends mean more to us than you can fathom. Suddenly you are an expert on our babies and we are nothing..do you forget that we loved and nurtured that baby for 40 weeks? Do you forget that our babies are mourning as well?  Who are you to decide that we are no longer welcome in our children’s lives? Do you forget that without us you would not have that baby you longed to have?

Who are you to break your promises and to lie to us? While you may not think much of us..we love and respect you for nothing more than you are the parent of our children. You have no right to treat us with the indignity that you often do. Instead of making us walk on proverbial eggshells around you attempting to preserve what bits of a relationship we can in order to see our children..treat us with respect and dignity since we are the mothers of your children. Honor your words and honor your promises. You have no right to close any adoption unless we are abusing our children. Of course we want to know what is going on in their lives more than once or twice a year and no we are not going to come back and kidnap our children from you. Give us a little more credit than that old stereotype ..because for every little stereotype you have of us there are just as many for you. The only thing we fear with you is you packing up and running with our children leaving us to ache and wonder where they are and if they are alright. Remember this …we chose you..honor our relationship for no other reason than it is in the best interest of our children.

So Adoptive Mother I leave you with this ..we have held up our end of the bargain for the most part and now it is time for you to do in kind…let go of your fear and insecurity ..grieve your infertility. ..the little person you hold in your arms and in your heart is flesh of our flesh and blood of our blood. Those children are us..Our children deserve so much more than this..they deserve to know the truth

Connections

I am drawing a blank here today, I have been sitting here for almost 2 hours attempting to string a few sentences together for a post and nothing is happening. The other day posts were streaming in my brain left and right when I was busy and had no time to sit down and write them out. So when I actually have the time to sit and write ..I got nothing.

Last night, we went to a family wedding and for the first time I stopped and watched some of the people related to me and it dawned on me..we are connected..like really connected. We have similar mannerisms, we have similar hair color (real not the bottle stuff some of us older folks have needed to resort to in our old age) but most importantly we have history together ..good, bad and everything in between. A song played and I was 7 years old in the back seat of my cousin’s car singing along again and getting yelled at to keep quiet and stop singing (yeah my voice was bad then and worse now). I looked at said cousin and realize that we look-alike in a lot of ways..that her mother was the calming and loving influence in my life..that our lives intertwine. We took pictures of our kids together, they look-alike. They have the same dark hair, the hazel eyes , the same nose ..they all have the same smile..they are all gorgeous..they are family.

My cousins and I have not always connected with one another in the years since my aunt/their mother/grandmother passed away. We all had lives to live , careers to start, relationships to foster and children to raise and got lost in our own little worlds but we have always been connected. Time cannot erase those memories that are the foundations of who we are. Time cannot take away the lessons and the love bestowed upon us by my aunt Helen who was the thread that wove us together as a family. Time cannot erase the experiences and the bonds and I realize after all this time that being together we are stronger not weaker.

My son  K who I allowed to become a part of another family has missed out on those connections..he should have been there with us last night celebrating a wonderful occasion. K should know his family and his history, he  should see the people he looks like (even though he is blonde and not brunette like the rest of us..ok I am bottle blonde) and he should have been here all along. These people good, bad and indifferent are the fabric of his life. When his adoptress closed the adoption she severed his connections not only to me but also his entire history shutting off all the wonderful things that make K who he is.

The act of his adoption did not erase who K is ..it only changed where he lived and who he knew.The thing about his adoption is it has not only changed him..but it has changed me. I still feel like I have to walk on egg shells with the whole situation ..I still feel beholden to his adoptress..I still fear losing my child all over again to this woman. What I long for now is help K became connected once again to his family and to hold to and foster our relationship so our connection is never broken or damaged again.

It’s November and It is National Adoption Awareness Month

November is National Adoption Month. I am reminded of this tidbit almost every day when I turn on the television or read something on the internet regarding adoption. The Today Show has jumped on the bandwagon and highlighted Dr Nancy Snyderman who, according to the story, never thought she would parent and then a sixteen year old girl came on her radar and was willing to relinquish her child. A European couple met the baby girl they adopted from the US on the show and then there were the adoptions finalized as part of the series.

How did this morph from finding homes for children truly in need of parents ..ie.. true orphans and foster children available for adoption..to this becoming about newborn adoption? Newborn and infant adoption feed the multi billion dollar adoption industry that preys upon people who are suffering. Women who are unsure of their ability to parent who are often times made to feel less than..who are told once they contact an adoption agency, you would never want to hurt this couple. Women who are told they are selfless angels doing the right thing by their child because this couple has so much more to offer than she does. Then there is the other side who is just as vulnerable…People desperate enough to pay upwards of $50,000 to adopt  a child that they believe is the answer to their infertility nightmare. Desperate people willing to buy /pay fees for a child they believe is a blank slate and the answer to their prayers. People who have convinced themselves of the notion … don’t they deserve the chance to be parents like that 17 year old who is pregnant? I actually saw this little gem posted in a group on Facebook recently (written by a desperate hopeful adopter) and needless to say the reaction/comments reflected what side of the equation one is on (adopter vs real mother)..

” We are waiting to be a matched. I have a question for Birth moms. Every time I see a teen mom I get this overwhelming feeling that I need to let them know we are wanting to adopt. Is this a turnoff to Birth mom’s or is it “OK” to mention it to you? I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings but want to let you know we want to adopt if you choose to place.”

All I think of is who the hell are you to assume that is OK to tell someone who is pregnant that you are hoping to adopt? Is a pregnant woman that you assume is in crisis expected to look at you and say oh you are looking to adopt..well I have been waiting my whole life for you to come along and rescue me. Seriously the above sentences put into black and white what is wrong with newborn and infant adoption..the entitlement. I want a baby, you look young and you are having a baby so why don’t you just hand that little one to me so I can fulfill my need to be a mom. Sorry but it just does not work that way.

The funny thing regarding that posting was the comments were all based on who responded…here is what one adopter said “..HUGS….you are in a frustrating place right now. Just know that the wait is worth it…God will place the right child in your path at the right time. He rarely lets us in on His plan though….” They always go to God. Adopters post things like God put the child in the wrong womb or just pray and God will bring the child to you. I do not know about any of you, but I do not believe God places children in a woman’s womb for the sole purpose to give another woman who is infertile the chance to be a parent..I also do not believe God would want a woman to lose her child and suffer the traumatic loss both she and her child feel after an adoption.

Other comments to this post from women who have lost their children are more like this one..”You should never tell a pregnant woman of any age that you are wanting to adopt. Sure tell your friends, tell your family, start a blog, do what you have to do get the information out there. But you can not solicit a child just because you think a woman “might” be a good candidate for adoption.” AMEN AMEN AMEN

AT the end of the day what we have is people who are victimized by the lawyers and agencies who profit off the pain and suffering of people. The way adopters/hopeful adopters tend to deal with their pain is to turn to God and pray for a miracle. They make dear birth mother packets and market themselves as the greatest people a woman could want for her her child. Mothers expecting and unsure of what they are going to do or where they are going to turn often get caught up in the hype of look at us, we care so much about you ..you are angel sent from heaven..you are so selfless..you are a hero..you can not be selfish and think about your needs, you need to think about and put that baby’s needs first. This is the rhetoric that lately sends me over the edge.

How is it that a woman who lacks resources and support temporarily is selfish for wanting to parent HER child..yet it is completely unselfish for people willing to pay thousands upon thousands of dollars to take that child from her and raise as their own to satisfy their need to parent? How is it that adopters are the heroes in all of this? How is that the adopters are the good people, the ones who deserve this child and the pregnant woman if she places is temporarily a selfless angel and if she parents a selfish whore? Answer me these questions, someone..anyone.

We never will know all the circumstances how every child is conceived..some girls have their one moment of being “bad” finally and pay the ultimate price..some are raped…some the birth control failed and some it just happens. If 2 people are married and have an OOPS pregnancy, families rally around them often times and say baby was meant to be and what a blessing this new little person is..if the woman is not married there is more often than not radio silence, some get the well do not expect to bring that baby into my home, some get the guilt trip of you are bringing shame upon the family and what will the neighbors or members of our church think? Here is what I say..no matter what the circumstances of conception, your family is blessed with a new person and instead of expecting your daughter/sister/cousin to hang her head in shame lift her up. Support her, help her to be all she can to parent her child. Show the woman love and compassion and welcome her child, your kin into your hearts..babies do not need the best of material things..what they need is a few basics along with food and diapers and a lot of love and support. There are some women who are not capable of parenting and for them adoption is more ideal than hurting and/or abandoning their children but for the most part, infant adoption should be discouraged and families supported to remain intact.

So in November let’s remember that adoption is not about finding babies for people longing to parent, but finding homes for children who need parents. Foster kids may have a story and may have some scars but they are children who are just as vulnerable as babies..they are people who deserve love and a home where they are welcome and supported.  Stop preying upon vulnerable women and lining the pockets of lawyers and adoption agencies and start helping children truly in need.

 

The stick turned blue

I need to clean this up in a bit but I will write down my thoughts before they slip away. He was just a boy and I was just girl …when all was said and done the stick turned blue.   I thought about getting an abortion. I went so far as to call a clinic and to make an appointment, but the call was half-hearted. I really did not want to have an abortion and I really did not want to have a baby so I slipped into a weird state of denial.  I was looking right at the stick and it was blue as blue can be. As much as I tried, there was no denying that according to the package the test was positive. Instead of accepting this fact, I decided I needed to go to the local teen clinic at the maternity hospital where I was born and have them confirm what I already knew. No shocker, the blood and urine tests the clinic performed also came back positive Evidence in hand and I still had a tough time believing I was actually pregnant. Instead of doing the right thing and letting someone, anyone other than a few close friends my age know I hushed it up and kept trying to live life-like any other 18-year-old girl. With some of the crazy stuff I did it is a surprise that the baby turned out as well as he did.

In case you are wondering the answers are no I did not drink, smoke or do drugs…but I did do some crazy stuff like go on some insane rides with my friends at local amusement parks (turkish twist anyone?) and I ate the worst foods on the planet (hotdogs , tacos, tuna fish,McDonald’s every day). In the back of my mind if I did not take care of myself  maybe things would just go away on their own..yeah that kid was teflon.

Not only was that kid teflon, but he was also quite content and quite happy in his home, so much so that by time I delivered him he weighed around the 9 lb mark. There was not a thing I did that disrupted his time with me. I do not have any pictures of myself from that time, I kind of hid the fact that I was pregnant from almost everyone who knew me. I lived in the dorm, slept on the top bunk (meaning I climbed up and down to get into and out of bed on a daily basis) wore fairly regular sized clothing and did not have much in sense of a belly if memory serves me right.  I hoped no one would figure out my secret..but eventually someone did and when they did, the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. Secrets always have a way of finding their way to the light either by choice or by accident..my secret was sort of a combo of the options.

It is easy living in denial especially when you are 18. Like many 18 year olds I was large and in charge of my life( in my mind). I thought about my options and with abortion off the table I was left with parenting and adoption. I admit feeling terrified about my ability to parent. My mown mother was a terrible example and was sadly passed on 18 months before the baby was due. I did not want a child to suffer the same fate as I ..living in public housing amongst some desperate people or a life of wondering who is my father (my bf wanted to marry me and I refused knowing we both needed to finish college) and parenting a child who had the potential to grow up resenting me. The thing is a s each day passed by and I eventually managed to look like a pregnant woman I still had no concept of the fact that an actual baby was about to be born. Everything just remained abstract, even when I met with an adoption counsellor whose name and phone number I got form the social worker at the hospital.

I wish someone had sat down with me and explained that adoption is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. If only someone looked me in the eye and said you are not your mother..you are your own person and this baby needs you. No one but one person stood up for me and that person turned being a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

I knew nothing of what the future held the day the stick turned blue and my life changed forever.

Out of My Adoption Coma

Ever have one of those moments when you know exactly what you want to say, but when you try to speak the words which echoed so eloquently in your head get jumbled up and barely come out? One of the most frustrating experiences you can go through right? Writing this blog is often like that for me.  Often times, I find myself mulling over topics in my head, thinking about my adoption journey and how my life was profoundly affected by a chain of events that often roll into one continuous memory. Sadly, the words in my head often times fail to translate into the computer screen and I leave many posts unfinished. Today is one of those days the words are flowing and making their way into something coherent.

The more I think about how my pregnancy unfolded,  I realize that Open Adoption was still in its infancy and secrecy still prevailed in the waning years of the 1980s …despite all the so-called progress in society. I am not a victim of the Baby Scoop Era in so much that I was not forced into a maternity home, nor was my son taken from me  against my will the moment he was born. My son was born and taken from me almost immediately because my health was in a bit of a crisis  due to  the fact I was bleeding out and needed immediate care. I was also in crisis thanks to the midwife wanting me to suffer and not handing me off to the physician for a much-needed cesarean section. However, what I realize now is that I am a victim of the Baby Scoop Era mentality when it comes to adoption and unplanned pregnancy.  There was a raging attitude of the boy scores and the girl is a whore when it came to being pregnant. At some point  someone actually said to me “well if you had not opened your legs this never would have happened”.  Touche..very true, however the difference between me and many of my friends and peers..I got caught and they didn’t. So in reality I was no better and no worse that any of them..I simply carried the evidence of my “sin”for all the world to see and judge. At 44 years old I also realize that those who judge the harshest are the ones with the most to hide. People judge others for the same things they do or have done and just not gotten caught. ..(many who are “saved” feel they are entitled to this right.) all I can say is…Stop judging people and think of all the times you got  away with speeding, you passed the test after not studying, or the pregnancy test was negative and be grateful because the difference between you and THAT person is an ounce of dumb luck.

As life unfolded and the baby went from being mine to theirs, people older and supposedly wiser than me told me that the adoption was a good idea.  The best of both worlds was the initial agreement/thought… how blessed was I?  I could walk away and get on with my life knowing my son was in a loving family that included a mother, father, 3 sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and dogs all things I could not give to him. I could go back to school, be 19…and unlike those poor girls before me I could visit my son, get pictures of him, know that he was alive and well.  People told me what a lucky girl I was to have such generous people who cleaned up my mistake.  The question I mull over now is was I really lucky? Or can I say I was just another girl who caved to societal pressure? Yeah I did what I believed to be the loving thing, I put aside my own needs and feelings and gave my child all those things I desired in childhood..stability, safety, family… Those sentiments are what got me through 17 years of separation..or so I thought. Problem was yes I was 19 but I no longer related to most of my peers. I lived a thousand years from the moment the pregnancy test was positive to the day I signed the final adoption papers.Time did not necessarily heal my wound as much as I prayed it would. I tried to get on  with my life and I did things like any 19-year-old. I  went to a few parties, went to college, acted stupid,went to the beach, wore a bikini. However, although I looked 19, unlike my friends my belly showcased where my baby once lived, I had stretch marks..my hips were rounder, my breasts were fuller  there were scars not visible to the naked eye physically and emotionally. I longed to have a family..I longed to replace my empty arms , mend my broken heart and sooth my hurting soul. I was definitely not the same..different and changed forever. I fell into what I like to think of as a 25 year coma ..the world happened all around me but I was suspended, going through the motions. Not much changed until…

The day my son wrote me a message on facebook this past April I awoke from my 25 year adoption coma. I felt feelings once buried away in a grave filled with shame and fear resurfacing . At last I  understood how delicately the pieces of me were patched together over the past 24 years. I FINALLY understood that the life I built..and it is a wonderful life for the most part that includes a loving family that my husband and I share with our children etc…teetered upon this secret remaining buried in its grave.  The beast was out of its cage at last, and for a time threatened to undo everything that was done..but it didn’t. What surfaced along with all the other feelings and emotions was an opportunity to look back at how I came to lose my son. The woman (his adoptress) I once believed as my savior was resurfacing as less than savory and yet still I love and respect her for the love and care she bestowed upon my child. Not so sure how she feels about me but that is another post all to itself.

Once I woke from the coma..I saw things with a new set of eyes and a mature and wiser outlook of a woman who is no longer the terrified girl with a baby. I am no longer the girl who feared she would damage her child by her very presence …No I began to see as a woman who has won, lost, failed, made mistakes, done some good and is learning to forgive and accept herself for the imperfections that shaped her life.  With just one message I connected with a part of my heart and soul shut off for the past 25 years. It feels good to be alive once again I must say.

The day I saw my son walk through the doors of the City West Hotel in Dublin, Ireland this past June  was filled with intense anxiety. We had been talking daily for almost 3 months and yet I was terrified of losing myself in emotion, terrified that I would not live up to any expectations he had of me. He walked through the door and all I saw was the wonderful answer to my prayers.

I knew he is all kinds of wonderful in large part thanks to me…not because I allowed another woman to parent him and be called Mom..No the reason he is so many kinds of wonderful is due to all the wonderful traits he inherited from me. Standing before me in that moment was the missing piece of my soul reconnecting at last…I knew in that moment we were where we are meant to be..together at last at the start of a new journey ..I was lost and now I am found..once I was still and now I am wide awake ..

Thoughts on Adoption Fundraising

When I found myself pregnant at the age of 18 I knew I did not have the resources to raise a child properly. I lacked the emotional and financial resources necessary for a young woman in college (well I had yet to start college when the stick turned blue) needed to (in my opinion) properly raise a child. The fact that I was not married and the baby’s father was just as young and lacking the same resources as I did  somehow mattered very little to my family. Unwed/Unplanned pregnancies are part of my family culture starting even before my birth to an unwed mother in 1969. Unlike the rest of the family, I was actually riddled with shame and guilt that I was indeed pregnant. I did not have time to be pregnant because I had other plans..most importantly my plan included getting as far away from “those people” (a/k/a my family) as possible. As I stared at the blue stick i thought, I do not know how to do this and worst of all I have nothing to offer this baby. That one factor weighed heavily on my mind as my pregnancy progressed and influenced my plan to place my unborn child for adoption.

We all want what is best for our children. I used to believe that a two parent household where there was no danger of going hungry, no danger of being cold and no danger of always having second hand everything was what every child deserved..ugh if only I knew then what I know now. We all know that private adoption is very expensive. A healthy white infant can cost upwards of $40,000 to adopt and I am well aware those costs are daunting. Adopting through the state or public welfare system is virtually free or at the minimum low cost in comparison. I knew I was poor, doomed to life on public assistance, possibly life in the same public housing projects I was raised in and wanted out of if I decided to parent  and I did not want that for my child.  What never crossed my mind, was the people I held in such high esteem as pillars of their community and possessing so much more than I in that exact moment of my life including financial stability would need to fundraise to be able to afford their adoption.

I am not sure if I live my life in a vacuum or if I removed myself from all things adoption but I never once fathomed that people would expect others to contribute to the cost of their adoption. There are several Facebook pages dedicated to this very thing and what struck me as disturbing was how entitled some of the prospective adoptive parents feel to publicly solicit money from others to help them. One particular page that I became privy to featured the following comment by the prospective adoptive parent who was upset by the fact that several mothers who placed their children disagreed with her auction/fundraiser..she even went so far in previous comments to state that “Satan” sent these people in her path but Jesus prevailed. UGH but here is what she posted..I copied and pasted this before it was removed

“Hey guys, I just wanted to let you know that some of the hatred being spread on here will stop but it will take some work to keep it that way. I am reporting not just blocking people so that hopefully some of them will not hurt anyone else. This doesn’t bother me as they are only words but this is not the place for it so have patience and remember that God is leading us and he will get us thru these hating people. Thanks for sticking up for us it does mean a lot to me. Now back to the selling of necklaces.  Who is going to buy one. Let me know so I can get excited about each dollar closer to being a mommy.”

Each dollar closer to being a mommy? A young woman considering adoption for her child will never know this. The pregnant woman will think placing her child with this woman who longs to be a mother will be what is best for her child when by this person’s own words it is not about the child..it is about her. Those words make me nauseous to read.

These are the same types of people who will be offended if I or anyone else mention that for all intents and purposes they are asking people to help them buy their child. These people will be offended if it is mentioned to them that maybe if they do not have the money to buy their womb fresh baby and want to experience the joys of parenting that maybe they should look to foster and/or adopt out of the foster care system. These are the people who like to ignore that question and keep  talking about how they should not be denied the chance to have a baby. These are the same people who more likely than not will tell a pregnant mother whatever they need to tell her to gain her trust so she will give them her baby. These are the people who have the potential to close the adoption once everything is final and they have what they want. These are the people who will hide behind scriptures to justify their actions and behaviors.

Adoption is not the new pregnant and fundraising to defray the costs of adoption should not be socially acceptable in any way . The woman here should be ashamed of herself for those words but she will not be because anyone pointing out to her the harsh truths of adoption are satanic and out to hurt her. She is like so many hopeful adoptive mothers on social media so wrapped up in her own wants and desires that she can not possibly see any truths but the ones she fabricated to suit her own needs. If she truly wanted to adopt for the sake of a child she would not be trying to sell necklaces to buy what she wants but can not have and looking to help a child who is truly in need of a loving and stable home. 

Dear Adoptress

Dear Carol,

It is obvious that even though the boy is now a man, you refuse to open up his adoption. It baffles me that you are unwilling to share with him the details that he needs to know to even research on his own, like his adoption information including a letter I wrote to him are at the Bellows Falls Court House. I do not understand your reasoning behind this? Are you still afraid that he will chose me over you? If that is the case then I think that you need to realize that people can love many others in their lives and still hold their parents dear. You neglect to recognize with these behaviors that I am his mother, I always have been and I always will be. You are his parent, the one I entrusted to care for him and to keep true the promises you made when I entrusted you with my heart and soul all those years ago.

I wrote you an email a few months back after K’s 25th birthday and still no reply from you..the email was not threatening it was in fact very loving and guess what ? I know you never passed on any of the message to K. What you also do not know is thanks to social media that K and I have found one another and we talk several times per week. What I know is he has been searching for me, he has missed me and he wants for us to be in one another’s lives. Maybe you have figured out that K and I are friends on Facebook and maybe you have not..but we are and it has been a privilege to see through photos and posts the handsome young man he grown to be. I give you props for doing a great job raising him despite the bible thumping. I have love and respect for the fact that my son is happy and well-adjusted but I am still so hurt and angry that you failed to keep our relationship active so that he never had any questions about who he is and how he came to be.

SO in case you do not know..I am meeting K and M in Europe in a few short weeks..it scares the crap out of me but I am taking a leap of faith. I am grateful that K and I have a chance to start a new relationship as friends and it has nothing to do with you. I am grateful to get to know the young man who shares so many of my quirky personality traits and interests and looks like his younger siblings. I am looking forward to the rest of our lives and all the good, bad and everything in between.

It would be nice if you could open your heart and mind and merge our families as one ..but I am not counting on anything. Just know I did nothing to deserve what you did by cutting us out of his life..in fact if you think about it you would not have K if it were not for me. I hope you change your mind some day..in the meantime I will enjoy the time I with K and M