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.

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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. 

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