Long Time No Post

My son was married this summer in dreamy ceremony in his adopted home country. The details of the wedding ..the intimacies that flow during such an exciting time in one’s life were not privy to me, nor was I invited to the service. The reasons why an invitation was not extended do and do not matter ..I am very good at reading between the lines..but I might keep those perceived justifications private for the moment’s time.

I missed out on so much of his life because with one stroke of a pen I naively thought I was wronging the rights that plagued my life. I was not going to allow my child to be the victim of the same life circumstances that plagued my childhood..I was going to do the right thing with a twist..I was told I was always welcome and would have the chance to remain an open part of his life. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it…almost too good to be true..and that is the clue..it was too good to be true. Somewhere around the time he turned eight and one of my children was born it all fell apart..almost like an orchestrated turn of events ..in speaking with my son since our reunion orchestrated seems to be what it all was. While I recovered from a difficult pregnancy and birth of my daughter the woman who promised me the openest of adoptions was sucked down the rabbit hole into the depths of evangelical religion that calls itself “Christian” and shutting out the world around her that did not align with her beliefs. This is something I would also not be privy too..but those were the days when I force fed myself sanctimonious lines of bullshit to force down the longing for my boy. I loved to tell myself I was not his mother but merely the vessel who gave birth ..she was his mother, she did all the things I freely gave away..now as I sit here 30 years later and digest what little information I am privy to I realize I was merely a pawn in a game of chess she devised.

Nineteen years old, motherless, fatherless, no family support, and penniless add to that a new baby and one can see where and how it was easy to be the target of an older and wiser person hell bent on getting what they want. The details are clear and fuzzy ..the details matter because the details especially those that were hard to read are the reason for all that happens now.

A few things stand out to me ..the first is she was a younger woman than I am now when she came into my life. Her daughter..someone who became my friend because of my pregnancy and the fact that my baby was a boy doing the bidding for her mother. I can not say that the original intention from J was to procure a baby boy for her mother or to truly help a person in need..in the end the two of them worked together to insure my son was legally no longer mine. This daughter was nineteen when I met her..I was still eighteen..her sisters were seventeen and fifteen and C would have an empty nest before her fiftieth birthday ..the wrinkle in this was her marriage although stable was not the most loving or happy at least from what I recall and from what my son has told me (he often wished they would just get a divorce already he says form his days growing up) C is a rather dominating and controlling individual ..how was she going to face the next 30-40 years empty nesting? That was where my circumstances fit perfectly into her plan..she extended kindness and help to a person in need..the true Christian thing to do..except this woman coveted my baby..the little boy she never had and always wants..the little boy who would keep her distracted and busy and not have to deal with her husband H alone for the remainder of their days.

I could not see her phasing me out of K”s life..taking over ..making me feel and be less than. J took part in this as well..they were better than I at everything baby ..no one told me that it does not matter if you are a mother at 15 or 45 for the first time..it is always a learning experience. I saw a loving mother who cared about her children..I had a mother who when she was alive cared about herself..what I did not see was a woman who is truly a master manipulator and who knew how to handle a poor kid.  I should have grabbed the baby and I should have run ..but I did not want him to have to live on food stamps, hand me down clothes and hand me down toys..in the end he did have hand me downs and a woman who forced her hopes and dreams upon a child who was not meant to be hers ..he is mine and ultimately he is his own person beholden to none ..C cannot see that and from what K has said she is insecure and not supportive of his relationship with his me or his siblings. That open adoption turned to the same old secrets and lies..she told him he was adopted but she lied about everything else..and he is torn between his loyalty to her and wanting to grow closer to us..or at least I think he is.because his actions and behaviors leave a lot to be desired and I wonder did I do this to him by wanting him to have a better life not realizing that I was all he needed? K is often surprised when we talk that I know him so well despite the gaps in our contact..I know him because I AM his mother..I am the only mother he has and will ever have..I parented him for a short time in his life..I nursed him, I nurtured him and I have always loved him.

Although I would never ask him to choose between us..I know C has ..I know he needs to form a better relationship with me..I am the answer to who he is ..I am the one who holds the key ..he can’t see this all the time ..I realize he is restless and unsure ..I get that ..I am the same way ..there are parts of me missing in this world..my father, my half sister..my mother..and my son..unlike my relatives who slammed the door shut on me..I hold my door open waiting for him to realize I am not his friend, I am not someone he can escape I am his mother and I matter. He will never know the depths of my love for him ..how can he? I am the person who abandoned him and gave him to a woman who raised him to always feel like he must bend to her rules to please her..to not upset her ..to always have to make peace and never rock the boat..the young man who feels like he needs to handle me ..the restless young  man drifting along who really needs to focus but still does what he thinks is the right thing.

I hate adoption …I hate the lies and insecurities and half truths..I hate that it becomes all about the adopters and their struggles and their pain..I hate that the people it is supposed to be about often get lost in the shuffle and are expected to be grateful for being chosen..in my case for being targeted. I hate everything about adoption especially for my fellow sisters who are broken by the loss of our children ..my son is my son..but not quite. My heart is broken again by adoption

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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

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.