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.

 

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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.