Pie Crust Promises

I have a question to pose..how many of us actually form opinions based on facts vs feelings? Many years ago there was an adoption case that took place in Michigan known in the media as  the “Baby Jessica” case. For those of you not familiar with the case the synopsis is a young woman got pregnant and made the choice to place her daughter for adoption with a  couple in Michigan. After the mother signed a Termination of Parental Rights agreement (TPR) and falsely named another man as the father of her baby she had a change of mind, informed the true birth father of his paternity and from there things got heated. The father of “baby Jessica” informed the courts he never terminated  his parental and sued to regain custody of his daughter. The couple who at the time were in the process of adopting “Jessica” fought long and hard to keep the little girl they grew to love in their custody but ultimately lost. During the days when the story was a highlight in the national media I followed the case since it was very close to home for me. Three short years before this case was thrust into the spotlight I was “Jessica’s” birth mother in many ways and agreed to allow another family to adopt and raise my son even though I doubted my decision every step of the way.  By the time the “jessica” case was national news, I developed a sanctimonious attitude towards adoption, believing that I had done the selfless thing and gave my son a better life than I was able to offer him at the moment. I hated this birth mother and father for ripping that little girl out of the only home she knew. I believe I used the words selfish and despicable when I spoke of the birth family. Looking back, I think I needed to feel that way otherwise what I did was all wrong and the reality of my situation would haunt me.

I recently read interviews and facts that were published on this case and see it with a different set of older and wiser eyes. I can understand the perspective of the couple who invested much time and money into adopting a child they brought home and bonded with. I also now more than ever understand where the biological family came from as well. So many people looking at that case or anything else to do with adoption think once a woman places her child that her ties to the child are severed..she should simply move on, she did the right thing (in their opinion) so now it is time to step aside and allow the “real’ parents to live happily ever after.

Just imagine if you will, how you would feel if someone came in and took away a child you just gave birth to? You are still hurting from the pain of physically giving birth, your hormones as dropping fast and furious and have just met this little person who until this moment was really an abstract concept? Then imagine there is a woman on the other side of you telling you “you are an angel”,  “you will always be a part of our family”..trying to hold the baby, taking pictures and all you can think is please hand him to me. IF you go through with passing the baby into this woman’s care, you are still hurting because by now your milk has come in and it is painful and you are feeling not quite yourself emotionally and it is time to say goodbye. Another woman walks out of the hospital with your baby, she will give him a name she has chosen out for him, his birth certificate will say that she and her husband/partner are his parents and all traces of you are erased.  Can you imagine what it feels like to give birth and walk away empty handed?

Imagine still, after you walk away agreeing that even though the other couple will be known to your child as mom and dad that you are promised to be a part of his life. In those days before the baby is really  real you are an angel, you are giving an infertile couple the thing they want most..a baby. The truth is to quote Mary Poppins..those are “Pie crust promises..easily made…easily broken”. So many women walk away thinking the people who adopt their children have everyone’s best interests at heart and truth is most adoptive parents do what is best for themselves, for their circumstances and their lives. Many Birth mothers find themselves cut out f their children’s lives, the adoptive parents find ways to demonize the natural mother and contact is lost.

In my adoption story, Kevin’s mother promised me that I would always be a part of his life. She agreed to raising Kevin in the Catholic faith, she agreed to a lot of things that she never followed through on. I have come to find out that she told Kevin that I loved him enough to give him up, she turned me into just that “poor girl” who had no other choice than to allow them to raise him as their own. I am left what did I do to be cut out of his life? Am I that horrible that she felt the need to protect my son from his mother? I never challenged her parenthood of him ever and I can think is Carol like most adoptive mothers become fearful and threatened by the presence of the child’s natural mother. Carol had nothing to fear then, I adored her..today is a different story.

I ask that those of you who truly have not experienced adoption to save your opinions for one side of the others since there are 3 sides to every adoption story, the parents, the adopters and the child..no child is selfish for wanting to know where they come from, mothers are not wrong when they ache for their lost children and wonder if they are warm , healthy and happy…infertile couples are not wrong for wanting to raise a child ..they just need to realize that simply giving a child a name, a home and raising said child in their image is not enough to erase the mother/child bond, it does not diminish the need we all have to know “Who am I “?  They need to realize that a child is not a possession rather they are human beings with feelings, curiosities and genetic ties that do not change when their mother signs a TPR. Promises made in the early days of their adoption process need to be kept  and honored ..adoption and parenting are hard work and all sides need to consider that the only person who matters most is the child.

Finally ..speaking of children..I am going to reunite with my child in Ireland of all places in exactly 1 month from today..wish me luck and send me strength




Anyone BUT Them…

I have been all over the map emotionally when it comes to my adoption journey. At the onset, there was a sense of relief , a sense that my son was going to be safe and well cared for and with that relief there was a sense of sadness. Scratch that..there was an overwhelming sense of grief that I can not put words to and I bottled up because I was expected to move on. Everyone in my life told me I did the right thing, I gave my son life in more ways than one and he was better off without me. I suppose I was grateful, I still had contact with him, I still got to see him on a regular basis and know that he was cared for and loved this was a new concept of adoption to me since most adopted people I was exposed to knew nothing regarding their families of origin and never to my knowledge met their mothers. I considered myself lucky, blessed even by the people who adopted my son since they said they wanted me to always be a part of his life.

Things were alright for the first few years of his life,but there were subtle signs (well maybe not so subtle but I was still drinking the kool aid) such as things said to me about already agreed upon terms of the adoption or little remarks made in my presence. Then the adopters closed the adoption and that was it, no more pictures, no more visits, no more phone calls..nothing for seventeen years.

My son and I recently reconnected thanks to Facebook. He told me he is grateful  I made the incredibly difficult choice to place him for adoption. I know looking back at my 19 year old self that decision was the best thing for both of us but I wish I could rewrite our history just slightly. In a few short emails and Facebook messages seventeen years melted away but for me I am stuck in a new wave of guilt and regret.

We shared bits and pieces of our stories and where life has taken us in the years we have been apart. He is a magnificent young man, in love with life and a wonderful young lady. My son has his whole life ahead of him. He recently took up the greatest adventure of his young life and moved to a foreign country to start life in her native land. We discovered that despite our time apart and his time in his adoptive family we are more alike than different on so many fundamental levels. We have similar quirks and habits, we get annoyed by the same traits in people, and our sense of humor is oddly off kilter , this truly dispels the nurture vs nature argument in my opinion. This certainly is more than I ever expected. However there are moments like today when we talk and I hear things from him regarding his adoption journey and I feel the air being sucked out of my lungs slowly and painfully.

My son (and yes he is still MY son) was never told much about me except that I was young and his adoption was good for me and good for the adopters. The family told this young man that they always wanted a son but C did not want to give birth at her advanced age. The adoptive mother was 43 when my son joined their family and according to C things all worked out the way they were meant to. For reasons beyond my comprehension they refused to to tell him anything as basic as my first name. K told me a story about finding an old photo album during a recent visit home and saw a picture of himself with 4 girls in his driveway, three of the girls are his sisters and the fourth he questioned C if the girl was his birth mother. I am told C stumbled her words and said yeah maybe it might be, K had to ask her why she could not even give him a straight answer because that girl in the picture is his mother and she gave him a half assed answer. I am asking WHY is this necessary? C knows my name, she even knows where I live, I never challenged her motherhood of my son, I never questioned her love or devotion to him but I ask why is it that I am so awful and unworthy that even my first name can not be mentioned?

If I could rewrite our history knowing then what I know now, it is possible adoption might have still factored into our story..however I would choose ANYONE BUT THEM.  K’s adoptive family all but manipulated my decisions from the moment they got involved with me. K’s adoptive Family told him as I found out today that he often reached out to the more than he did me. They filled his head with their version of the truth and in turn diminished my role in his life to that poor (and I mean in the financial sense) who needed them to rescue him from a terrible life of poverty and despair had I not been brave (stupid) enough to give him to them.

Let me set the record straight..MY son more often than not reached out to me for comfort, I was often blocked by them or told oh honey let me take care of him, you rest, you go back to school..oh let me get that messy diaper, see how easy it is to do this. Yeah it was totally easy for a woman with nineteen plus years of parenting experience to do all of those things versus a young woman with no mother and very little parental guidance. After a while you lose your confidence and think maybe i am not good enough and believe that the only person who can do take care of the baby is the person manipulating you and eventually you just give up..