Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another Great Voice

I hope everyone will venture over and visit Surviving Adoption Loss.

The writer of this blog is not only amazing in the use of her words, her ability to draw a reader in and make them a part of the emotions that center her posts. She is also an amazingly caring woman, who offers the same insight and kindness to those who struggle with the grief and loss of adoption.

It has been almost six months now since I first learned of my son's abuse. Six months in which I would have not made it through the hardest times if it wasn't for her support, her understanding.

She never judged, never gave me the old lines of being "grateful" or "thankful" or "getting over" the pain eating away at my heart and soul. She has always known, in the way only a mother who has experienced loss through adoption, can know, the right words, the right support to get me through some of the hardest times I have faced in this newest avenue of my journey.

Through another forum, I was blessed with the opportunity to get to know this wonderful woman. Granted an amazing friendship with someone who reached out to me during my lowest times, offered a gentle hand to guide me when I needed it most. A comforting companion to lead me through the dark pain adoption brings about.

And on top of that, I've also found someone who has a great talent in her words. In her stories of what it is like to lose your child through adoption. Her contributions to other forums have helped so many and now, thankfully, she has taken the step to join the blogging world. So that more of us may find the wisdom in what she writes. The deep emotion in her stories of loss and grief.

My life received a great gift when I first made contact with her and now so many others will recieve this same gift as she shares her feelings and her story through her powerful words and deep portrayal of the emotions that come with those who live and lose through the world of adoption.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What Kind Of Woman

My mom used to tell me - "Worrying about being a good mother is a sign you already are."

I've clung to this simple piece of wisdom many times over the years. Especially since my first step into parenting came with being told I wouldn't be a good mother for my oldest son. When you start your journey already judged, it proves difficult sometimes to find a belief in yourself and your capabilities.

I've thought of this wisdom, too, in the world of adoption. As an answer for the question - "What kind of woman would give up her child?"

So many different stereotypes exist when it comes to that question. So many ugly answers that do not reflect the truth of so many women who have lost their children to adoption.

I know we all have our own stories, our own experiences, and some might be drastically different than others. But as I have traveled this painful road of adoption loss, I have met so many amazing wonderful women whose stories I relate to, can feel in my heart as my own.

And the common thread drawing us all together . . .

We worried about being a good mother. Even while pregnant, before ever holding our sons or daughters in our arms, our concern was for the welfare of our children.

We weren't looking for an easy way out. Weren't trying to avoid the responsibility of parenting.

Our thoughts were never on ourselves or our lives. They centered at all times on the precious baby we carried. The life that was a part of us. Loved and cherished long before we ever held them in our arms.

And it was expectant moms just like us that the adoption industry was looking for. Because they knew what we hadn't yet realized . . .

Our worry had already made us good mothers.

And how better to suck a woman in to the dark world of adoption than by playing on this very fear. Using her love for her child to ensure another baby for that desperate, paying couple.

It is those very feelings the adoption industry hopes for. Our worries are their hopes. If they can twist and turn them enough, they just might be able to convince another frightened woman that her only chance of being a good mother is to lose her child forever.

And for so many of us . . . and so many yet to come . . . we've faced this cruel trap. Had our worries, our love for our children used against us. Disected in the worst of ways for the benefit of another.

For "women" like us, already willing to sacrifice whatever it took to make the best life for our child, we were threatened, shoved aside, told what a failure we would be, instead of someone . . . anyone . . . pointing out what we could not see through our fear and worries . . . we had already shown the signs that we were good mothers who would have done whatever it took to give our children the best life we possibly could.

A life together with our child . . . not separated from them.

But that's not what they wanted. Not what the industry was after.

What they wanted was what they got from us - a belief we were failures before we ever tried. A terrible, gut-gnawing fear that raising our children would be the worst thing for them. We were told we were selfish and uncaring to think for even a minute we might be a good mother. Told strangers, who we had never met, knew nothing about, were the ones who would give our children everything we wanted them to have.

Our love for our children was used against us - and still is to this day.

A good mother doesn't have to be rich or married or successful.

A good mother is one who cares every day, all day, about giving her best to her child. It has nothing to do with fancy houses or vacations or the latest trendy clothes. It has to do with being willing to do what it takes to make sure your child is taken care of. Being there when they need your support. Holding them when they are hurt. Letting go in the times when they want to spread their wings.

But instead of being given the chance to be a good mother for our children, it was taken from us. Our very feelings that would have carried us through, pushed us, kept us going, even on the hard days, to always be there and provide for our children, were the ones used against us instead. Used to give our child to someone else who was deemed better because of material things. Size of a bank account. A marriage certificate.

And that is, to me, the most ironic side of the question, "What kind of woman?"

We were the "kind of women" who had already shown with our love and concern for our unborn children that we would be good mothers. And yet we were told that the "kind of woman" who would be the best mom was the one who showed it with the size of her bank account, length of her marriage or status of her career.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Desperation IS NOT Choice

The fairy tale that breeds and grows between hopeful adoptive couples and adoptive parents needs to end. And it needs to end now.

The myth that slithers through the disgusting world of adoption needs to be exposed for it's lies. For the dark truth that boils underneath the "happy, happy, joy, joy" version of adoption that is tossed around so carelessly in our society.

The plain, simple, bare-fact truth is - there is not now, nor has there ever been - any such thing as "choice" for a mom about to lose her child through adoption. It doesn't exist. Never has existed. And until there are major reforms in the adoption world - it NEVER will exist.

I have read so many statements from adoptive parents who swear up down and around that the first/natural mother of their child knew exactly what she was doing. Was not pressured or coerced in any way. That her loss was based fully on choice and nothing else.

To these parents, I have to say - it is now time to pull your head out of the sand and look at the obvious truth that sits in front of you. The truth that happens day after day, year after year to expectant mothers every where.

And for those of you eagerly awaiting the "new addition" to your family. Setting up your nursery, writing the disgusting "Dear Birthmother" letters, reassuring yourself that some woman will freely surrender her child to you to raise as your own, you are just one of many who have fallen into the trap of this naive thinking. One of many who are being guided, educated, to not only look past the coercion of adoption - but to be a participant of it.

Really, I find it so hard to understand how some can believe a woman truly "chooses" to lose her child. It's the most unnatural process there is, separating a mother and her baby. And for the majority of women out there, it's desperation NOT choice that drives them to this point. A desperation that blinds them to their own ability, their own worth and makes them easy prey for the billion dollar adoption industry just waiting on the sidelines for a chance to jump.

I know there are some who have just experienced that swift kick to deny this in every way possible. Go ahead . . . knock yourself out. Yell, scream and holler your denial, in the end it still will not change the obvious.

Choice involves being informed and educated on ALL sides. Choice consists of an equal balance of knowledge between your options.

Billions of dollars falls into marketing adoption to pregnant women. Thanks to the disgusting practices of the NCFA (National Council For Adoption) our government even pays for - with our tax dollars - a program created on the sole basis of teaching those who come into contact with women in crisis pregnancies how to best "sell" the goodness of adoption.

Where is this same effort given for a pregnant woman to keep her child. Where is the billions in marketing to let her know of the programs that exist so she can continue her education, get financial help while she builds a life for her and her child, find support to assure her she can be a good parent? Where is the government paid program teaching counselors the best ways to guide a pregnant woman to the services available so she can keep and raise her child?

Making an "adoption plan" IS NOT choice when there is a lack of the same importance given to making a "parenting plan" as well. Meeting and getting to know a hopeful adoptive couple and all they have to offer IS NOT choice when there is no meetings with the different programs and charities who will help a mother keep and parent her child. No chance to sit down with them and also learn, detail by detail, all they have to offer.

It goes beyond just telling a pregnant woman such help exists. To be a "choice" she MUST have the same interaction with those who can help her keep her baby as she does with those who encourage losing her baby.

In today's world, those who are supposively helping a pregnant woman make a "choice" are either trained by those who make a profit through adoption or are in a position where their paychecks are based on a woman losing her child.

Where is there any hint of choice in that?

Where can anyone ever be assured the first/natural mother of their child was in no way coerced or manipulated?

Desperation, especially when it comes to our children, is a terrible place to be. It's a frame of mind where it's difficult to think straight. To find the answers that might be right in front of us, yet are missed because of the turmoil we suffer inside.

Women in that state of mind MUST HAVE counseling from an unbiased party. A counselor paid for or trained by the adoption industry is far from the one to help her make a choice when they walk in with a mindset already of what "choice" they want to push on her. In their eyes, her desperation is the sign they need, the motivator to encourage adoption and discourage parenting.

Nobody should ever have a right to discourage parenting to a pregnant woman. Nobody should dare to encourage her to lose her child, to separate that bond between them. And yet, it happens day after day, and is, for the most part, considered acceptable by our society - thanks to the generous marketing budget of the adoption industry feeding the greatness of adoption into every aspect of our lives.

If you really truly believe the first/natural mom of your child made a choice, ask yourself a few simple questions . . .

Was she given counseling outside the adoption industry?

Did that counseling involve addressing her desperation and the reasons behind it?

Was she offered guidance and help in locating the different programs available for helping her keep her child?

Did anyone, at any time, actually support her in finding these programs, help her understand exactly what they offered and how she could be sure she was eligible?

Was she at any time told she was brave and selfless for surrendering her child?

Was she informed that there was a high percentage of mothers who have lost their children to adoption who have never gotten over that loss and have found the pain becomes even more severe over the years?

Was she told that adoptees may feel abandoned and that some may spend their life struggling with issues brought about by adoption?

Was she told her child's right to his or her own records will be restricted?

Was she offered the same tax credits and financial incentives to keep her child as you were offered by adopting her child?

Did she believe she wouldn't be a good mom because of financial, career, educational, or relationship reasons
. . .

Can you truly answer these questions and still believe the first/natural mom lost her child by choice rather than desperation? Can you really believe if she had been offered the help she and her child deserved she would have surrendered her child?

And isn't it far past time to answer these questions and see the truth of adoption today? We need to move past the belief that it is okay to separate a mother and child when there is no real reason and move toward a belief that the most important thing we can do is support keeping mother and child together. Encourage the building of a family rather than using adoption to tear it apart.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another Angry Day

Adoption sucks!

Yes, today is one of those days. A day when I am in that mindset of just being angry.

A day when I just really can't rein myself or my feelings in. When the ability to try and appeal with the "facts" instead of the "emotions" has disappeared from reach. Left me with the frame of mind of just being mad at everything and anything that has to do with this disgusting industry working to separate mothers and children everywhere.

I hate adoption. I hate it in every form and every way.

I hate the hopeful couples waiting for the next desperate, confused, heartbroken woman who feels she has no choice but to lose her child to them. I hate the adoptive moms who hear the pain-filled voices of the mom's who have lost and shove them aside to nothing so they can continue to believe adoption is a wonderful thing. I hate the church loyals, trying so desperately to convince themselves and the rest of the world of their "Godly" mission to rip a child from his or her mother's arms.

I hate it all today.

And this almost over-powering emotion is like a burning canon ready to explode over everyone and anyone who takes it upon themselves to preach the "greatness" of adoption. To blindly view it as such a great, remarkable act in which a poor, needy child is miracuously rescued by some perfectly wonderful couple so deserving to be parents.

The blinders that are worn tear like fierce claws through my skin. The absolute disregard for the suffering brought on by adoption is a constant fist squeezing around my heart, draining me of any and all ability to approach the topic in a fair and informative way.

I know it's a wrong approach, but on days like today, I don't know how to push myself past these feelings. When again I learn more of the truth my son faced, of the ugliness his childhood was BECAUSE of adoption, I struggle unsuccessfully to find a way to bring my voice to a use of good when I want only to use it for the anger raging inside.

How does anyone make sense or find a way to get past the ugly visions of your son being tasered by a son-of-a-*itch uncle who thought his position as a volunteer police officer gave him the right to abuse whoever in the hell he wanted.

How do you work past knowing he spent his teenage years being told over and over again that he wasn't wanted in the family. That he didn't belong, didn't deserve to be recognized as one of them.

I hate it! I hate every bit of it! And I just want to reach out and make them all pay. Hurt every last one of them in the same way they hurt my son.

I want the world of adoption to end completely so that no other child, no other soul, has to suffer in the way my son did. I couldn't protect him. Couldn't save him from the monsters who were supposed to love and support him in every way.

And I can't change it for him now. Can't do a damn thing to turn back the hands of time and take him away from that hell.

A hell he lived through without ever knowing I was on the other end thinking of him, loving him, never, ever forgetting about him.

And they made sure he didn't know. Made sure any ties to myself or the rest of his family didn't exist. Wasn't there to atleast give him some comfort that we loved him and cherished him and missed him every day of our lives.

I had one last area in his adoption I foolishly trusted. I had believed, up until today, that for the first five years of his life he recieved the Christmas and Birthday gifts we sent, the letters and pictures that kept him a part of our family.

I have spent the past year blaming his adoptive father for no longer passing on his gifts after his fifth birthday, when he and his adoptive mom divorced. Believed, in some naive part of my mind, that his adoptive mom would have of course still passed on these gifts and letters if she had just received them.

But like all else in adoption, lies became the truth of my beliefs.

Never once did the letters and pics I sent ever reach his hands. He had nothing. No words, no images from us to know of our love, of our always existent thoughts of him. And his gifts, the ones I had foolishly believed were held back from him through his adoptive dad - I've learned now he did recieve them but were told they were from his adoptive mom or adoptive aunt and uncle.

These monsters took his gifts from us and used them as their own!

How could they? How could anyone do that to a child?

I just don't understand. I want to reach into him and grab all his pain and take it away. Remove it permanently from his life. But I can't. I can't do anything because adoption still rules our lives. Still shapes us into who we are today.

And it has never been a good thing. Never been that "great miracle" so many want to portray it as.

It's hell.

And it's a hell my son lives with while so many others want to believe his experience is nothing more than a rare, bad occurence that wouldn't happen to them, to their children.

But who knows. Who has a clue which child is next. Who can say one person from the next won't be the adoptive parent to treat their child in the same way my son was treated.

My son couldn't be saved. Many other adoptees before and with him couldn't be saved. When are we finally going to stand up and stop this disgusting practice so the next child around the corner won't face this hell.

When will we finally say one child abused is too many and end the practices that take children away from their mothers and place them in a hell they never asked for?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

No You Can't - You're Adopted

I used to have a close friendship with an adoptive mom I met through the school where both of our sons attended. "Used to" is they key word as our friendship is consistently losing the bond it once had.

Our different views of adoption is at the core of it.

When our friendship first formed I wasn't brave enough or confident enough in my own feelings to put a voice to my opinions when she would talk about how she was handling adoption with her son. I would paste on the phony smile, nod my head and try my hardest to ignore the choking sensation as I swallowed back what I wanted to say.

But my voice hasn't been so silent lately and that change isn't a step my friend has welcomed with open arms.

We do more debating than talking these days.

It's a battle I don't see a good end for, especially not with our latest disagreement.

We were discussing the process of adopting back my son - something she disagrees with even knowing the abuse he suffered with his adoptive mom. And the discussion turned to adoptees and their original birth certificates.

I shared with her how ridiculous I thought it was that even after my husband and I were again recognized as his legal parents, he still wouldn't be able to have free access to his original birth certificate. How, for my oldest son - almost twenty one years old - to have his original birth certificate, he had to sign a form which I also had to sign and then it had to be notarized, sent to the right department within our state who then, weeks later, send it out. This compared to my second son who is eighteen and can walk into our human services offices here in town, fill out a form and walk out within half an hour with his original birth certificate.

Her response . . . she didn't agree with the fact that my oldest son had any access to his original birth certificate. She didn't understand why he would need or want it. Didn't see how it was in any way denying him the same rights others in this country take for granted.

Her view - there is no reason for adoptees to have access to their original birth certificates because the altered ones are the ones that tell them all they need to know about who their parents really are. For her, it had absolutely nothing to do with rights being denied. Instead it was about the adoptee accepting who his or her parents are and leaving it at that.

And she is so wrong. So very, horribly, terribly wrong!

This isn't even an area where I will claim it's just my opinion. Because it's not. It's more than that. It's wrong outside of anyone's opinion. Wrong no matter where you sit in the adoption debate.

Wrong because it's a denial of the basic human rights that everyone deserves.

I don't understand how we sit in the year 2008 and there is still those who must fight for equal treatment. Battle to have access to the same records as so many others have. Argue with those who sit in our legislation for information that is theirs and should be as easily available to them as it is to every other citizen.

It just makes no sense to me. None at all.

And it angers me that one of the strongest supporters of denying adoptees their original birth certificates and their other records is the giant monsters of the adoption industry. The agencies fight to deny this right from the very people they claim to care the most about - the innocent children whose lives they played with so long ago and continue to play with even into their adult years.

And who do they hold up to make themselves appear the great "saviors" in all of this - the first/natural moms they never gave a crap about. Claiming they are protecting our privacy. That, even though they kicked us to the curb and didn't give a damn about us once they had our children, they are SO worried and concerned about us they couldn't possibly support adoptees rights to their records because of some false claim that we were promised anonymity.

If the story of Pinnochio were a true occurence, these people would have noses the size of Texas!

I have yet to come across a single first/natural mother who was promised this. And even if I did, even if there are those out there who believe somehow these restrictions protect their privacy - it shouldn't matter. It shouldn't mean a damn thing to the legislators who are given the responsibility of ensuring equal rights for all.

Whatever excuse they hear, whatever reason they are told, how in the world can they even think to consider that in making their decision. The simple, obvious fact of the matter is - NOBODY on this earth is so special that their feelings or arguments override the equal rights of another human being. NOBODY!!!

And yet it continues to happen over and over again. Adoptees constantly facing the denial of their rights because someone, somewhere, says it's "the right thing." And the fact myself and other first/natural moms contact these legislators, let them know that the adoption giants do not speak for us and that we want them to have the same equal rights, it never seems to make a dent in their decisions.

So then where do we go . . .

We go outside the world of adoption!

Yesterday while sitting on my front porch with a dear friend of mine, I was approached by a supporter for Dianne Primavera - currently running for re-election as a State Representative. When I didn't ask the usual questions of today's election and instead asked about her support on adoptee rights and views of infant adoption, I stumped the supporter to the point she called Dianne who in return agreed to come to my house and speak to me personally about my concerns.

I know her position in the political powerfield isn't one where she has any true say in adoptee rights. I know on the political ladder, she's barely made it past the bottom rung. But she came and she listened and she learned for over an hour. Will it make an immediate difference . . . of course not. But it was a step. One of many we need to take to make these changes.

We need to reach outside our circle, to family, friends, coworkers - anyone we come into contact with. We need to educate those who take for granted their access to their records and have no clue to those who are denied the very same rights. It is up to us, who know the truth, to become the voices for change to the many, many who don't have a glimpse into what is being denied of so many adoptees.

We need to continue to contact our legislators with every chance we get but we also need to make a committment to go even further. We need to take the vow to talk to anyone and everyone we can. Never stopping, never giving in until the voices of those who support restricting adoptee rights are barely heard underneath the uproar of the many who understand how wrong it is to deny anyone their basic human rights no matter what the circumstance.

It is where we can do a great thing and stand together from all sides of the adoption debate to make one great, amazing change. It is an area where it doesn't matter which tag is put in front of who or what you are. Because it doesn't matter, It doesn't make a difference in the fight to give back the rights adoptees deserve and are fighting so hard to get.

Talk and then talk some more. Find every opportunity you can to share the truth of adoptee rights to everyone who will listen. Don't quit. Don't give in. Because this is a fight that is all of ours and can not be set aside until every adoptee in every way has the same rights as everyone else.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monsters In Disguise

Halloween is just around the corner - one of my favorite times of year.

Pumpkins crooked grins shining from porches. Small feet crunching dry leaves as they scamper to the doors. Ghosts and goblins eagerly calling out "Trick Or Treat" while holding out their bags for the great prize - glorious, sweet candy.

It's a great way to spend the night - standing at the door, trying to decide which neighbor child hides behind which mask. Who is that Frankenstein who remembered to say, "Thank You?" The tiny witch smiling brightly at the favorite chocolate bar she's just been given?

It's a wonderful guessing game. One that should be reserved for Halloween. But is all too often found in the world of adoption as well. Changing the wonder of it to a darker, more evil truth . . .

Behind the masks worn in the adoption world, you don't find sweet children on a night seeking treats. There aren't sweet, innocent smiles. True gratitude for candy dropped in a bag.

Instead there is deception in the worst kind of way.

Masks in adoption aren't worn to portray an evil. They are worn to hide the true evil that exists in those who work in the industry and many of the hopeful adoptive couples that lurk just behind them.

It's an ugly fact I wish every expectant women understood.

Those kind and caring people inside the adoption agency. The attorney who puts his or her arm around you and offers comfort. They are as fake as the werewolves and gremlins who show up at your door year after year.

You can't trust them. Can't believe in them or the understanding they offer because it exists for one reason and one reason only . . . in the hopes you will surrender your child for adoption.

Just as children portray a different imagine in the hopes to gain on Halloween night. Those in adoption do the same. They show you a person different than who they truly are so that they too might gain. So, just like the masked children, they will walk away with a "sweet" treat.

EVERY TIME a pregnant woman walks into an adoption agency, she finds a so-called counselor - kind and sweet. Offering comfort, a supposive deep understanding of what she is going through. They smile just right. Say the words they know will create trust. Become the person the desperate, pregnant woman is seeking in the hardest time of her life. Someone she believes who is there only for her, for her child and for what is best for the both of them.

But the fact of the matter is, the script they dish out from behind their masks is no different than what they have given to so many, many women before and so many, many to follow. The same words. The same understanding, encouragement. It's there over and over again. Rarely changing. Always pushing for what they hope will be the ultimate outcome - that piece of candy falling into their bag.

If you believe for an instant that they are truly understanding you, are responding to you in a personal way based on your concerns, your worries, you are so very wrong. Just as "Trick Or Treat" is a phrase used over and over again - so is the words they dish out to pregnant woman inside their offices, day after day, year after year.

I promise you there is no difference. No change to the rhetoric created to ensure you will see yourself as a terrible mother and see in someone else the "perfect" parents for your unborn child who deserves so much more than you can offer.

Those who profit in the adoption industry know best how to hide behind their kind and concerned masks. They know how to pretend as if they are somebody they're not. How to make you feel welcome and loved in their presence. Someone who is worthy of their attention as long as you provide them with their treat at the end.

We believe them. So many of us have. Never looking beyond the outside disguises they wear. Never doubting them because they work so hard to ensure us that they can be trusted. We walk along believing the lies they tell us, trusting the decisions they have ultimately pushed us to. Never realizing we are nothing more than another door to knock on, another person to repeat the same old words over and over again just as they did with the frightened and confused women before us and those yet to come.

And unfortunately, many hopeful adoptive couples are the same. They put on their masks, become who they believe we want them to be, in the hopes of receiving their own version of candy. We don't get to see the real them behind their masks. We see only the "perfect" couple they want us to see. The ideal husband and wife disguises who have so much love to give a child . . . our child.

The trustworthy, unbelievably caring souls who are so kind to us. So eager to wrap us in their arms, hug us tight, and tell us what wonderful, selfless souls we are while promising they will never forget us. Will always keep the promises they make. Always make sure our children know how much we loved them and how desperately we struggled to try and give them the best life possible.

But all of it. No matter where it comes from - is just empty words, created to get their prize in the end. Just as we teach our young children to say "Trick Or Treat" when they reach a door, these adoption professionals and hopeful couples, are also taught the right words to say when we reach their door.

They know the history of what works. Know the power in their words. Know exactly which mask to wear to achieve their ultimate gain.

And it's about time we finally realize that not everyone who appears before us in disguise is like the innocent children who come to our door year after year.

It's time we let those frightened and confused pregnant women of today know the truth about those who would like to trick them into believing they are somebody they're not. Show them the truth of the actions behind their words. The light of the prize they are seeking.

Until we can be sure every pregnant women understands the monsters who lurk behind the disguises, we will never change the disgusting practice of infant adoption. Until every member of society realizes they must look past the masks in adoption, it will continue on, year after year.

Always taking without change.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Family Saved

So I've battled this one.

You know, those tiny voices in your head, arguing over what you should or shouldn't do? What's right and what's wrong?

That has been my morning. A back and forth, carrying me through the morning while trying to make my decision.

My dilemna - a recent post on a hopeful adoptive mom's blog. Do I link to it? Do I not?

Usually, I don't face this problem. But this post is a mix. One of a message I want to relay. And yet, one that is obviously an emotional time for another woman. And how far do I want to go to get my point across?

I've done the "tit for tat" argument. My anger taking the lead, screaming that hopeful adoptive parents don't show too damn much concern for the mother and children who are separated at birth so why should I, a mother who lost, care about their feelings.

I've rationalized the, you sent it out into the vast openess of cyberworld so you knew the risks. The words part of a public domain just as mine are here on this blog.

So why should I care about linking to this site? Why should I even give it a second thought, especially since the feelings shared were powerful enough to spur me into writing this post?

It was, for the most part, a one-sided argument until one little fact insisted on popping up, changing my outlook, reminding me to practice what I preach . . .

Simple human kindness.

I firmly believe - and have stated on more than one occasion - that society is losing this one important trait. We've lost it somewhere in the grind of doing better for ourselves. In the pressure to be more, do more, prove our worth to those around us.

But I cannot be one to desire this if I am not willing to offer it in return.

So, my decision has been made. I will still use what I can from this woman's post. I will still make my points, show where I am in disagreement. But I will respect that whether or not I agree with the reasons, this woman is hurting now. And I will not step far enough over that boundary to lead others to her while she is in a difficult, emotional state.

I will though, use her words (I never claimed I was a Saint) and use mine to bring my point to this post, and hopefully, bring some light to the ways some hopeful adoptive parents view the separation of a child from it's mother . . .

*Well, the adoption failed today*

Sorry but I don't see it this way. Like a wonderful woman in one of my online groups pointed out - it's not a failed adoption, it's a family preserved.

*The birthmother had me come in to watch while he was born*

First and foremost, she wasn't then (and thankfully isn't now) a birthmother. She IS the mother of HER CHILD. That's it. No need or reason to add anything else to it. Calling her a birthmother at that point is wrong and manipulative.

And, though it's wrong and coercive, woman are encouraged to invite hopeful adoptive couples into the delivery room. It's a tactic used by the adoption industry in the hopes of preventing the mom from changing her mind by getting her to bond with the hopeful adoptive couple so she will take their feelings into account. They are told that it's what is best for their baby. And it's nothing more than a plain out lie. What's best is for hopeful adoptive parents to have absolutely no contact with the mom until AFTER she has given birth, recovered and had a chance to try and raise her child on her own. Being there in the delivery room was an unfair situation to put that mom in, whether she invited you to be there or not.

*Then we had him all to ourselves all day Sunday*


Why would you do this to her and to her child? That baby needed, and deserved, to be with his mother. To be in the comfort of the one who's scent he knew, voice he recognized. Why would you think it was okay to come in and break this bonding time between mother and child, no matter what the circumstances were.

You cheated not only the mother but the baby as well.

*On Monday, the birthfather's dad offered them a large chunk of money to keep the baby and today they decided to get married and raise the baby themselves. We are sad and feeling a little betrayed*

Again, he wasn't - and isn't now - the birthfather.

The way you worded this made it sound like somehow there was a terrible scheme going on. I wonder just how big the "chunk of money" was that you were willing to pay to adopt this baby. Somehow, I'm sure though, in your mind, this was different.

A grandfather stepped in, offered the financial support this couple probably desperately needed so that the baby could stay with it's family. Be raised by his mom and dad and never have to wonder where he came from or why he was lost to adoption.

Damn! Where do you think of the child in this? Does it really have to be all about you and your feelings? This baby has parents who are getting the help they need from extended family. They have decided to get married, to become a family for their child. And yet, you are critizing them for this?

I guess, for you, it was more important you got the baby then the baby getting the life he deserved.

*I just wish that if she felt this uncertain about everything that she wouldn't have acted so sure and had us be such a big part of her life*

You are the one who willingly walked into the coercive tactics of pre-birth matching. YOU formed this relationship with the mom for one reason and one reason only - YOU WANTED HER BABY! To in anyway blame her now for this relationship is ridiculous! Don't blame this mom because you were desperate enough to do whatever it takes to get a baby to call your own.

As for her acting so sure - no mother can ever be "sure" about adoption until AFTER her baby is born. She wasn't uncertain. She, plain and simply, didn't know. Holding your baby for the first time in your arms can change everything you are feeling. To finally have a reality to the tiny life you have been caring for and loving for nine months is a huge moment for mothers, no matter what their situation is. This mom acted like billions of other moms have after giving birth. Looking into the eyes of your child for the first time can have a powerful effect on a mom and the love that swells is more powerful than any other emotion experienced.

*So, keep us in mind and tell people that we're "back in the market" for a baby who needs an awesome family*

Excuse me! I had to read this line over again just to make sure I didn't miss something.

You're "back in the market" for a baby?!?!?!

I've been in the market for a car, a house, a new pair of shoes. But I have NEVER been in the market for a living, breathing human being. Is it really your view that babies are to be bought like material items?

I just can't believe this is even something you would think to say, much less put to words on your blog!!!

What I see here is a family that was saved. A family that will grow and learn from one another. Mom and dad doing what we do, sacrificing, giving, loving their son.

I see a little boy who will never have to wonder why. He will never feel as if something is missing. Never wonder about where he came from, what his roots are.

I see a miracle here. One I wish would bless this world more than on a rare occasion.

They may not have the money or the success this hopeful adoptive mom has but they have each other. They have their son. And their son has them.

Life, here, has moved forward exactly as it is meant to be!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Leave God Out Of It

Enough is enough.

I am so tired of how many hopeful, adoptive couples out there are throwing God's name around to justify themselves and their actions.

It's about time for that kind of bulls**t to stop.

Do these people really, truly believe the crap they are spouting in their blogs, their online groups? Are they really so blinded that they think God's goal is to separate a mother and child so they can have a baby to call their own?


How can anyone think God is up there pointing his mighty finger at us . . . this woman must suffer a lifetime of grief and loss so this other woman can be happy . . . this innocent child will forever have identity and abandonment issues so that this "great" Christian can have the son or daughter she has prayed for.

I don't believe it for a minute. God isn't up there smiling proudly down on those who proclaim his name with such great pride while hoping desperately for an expectant mom to find herself without the support she deserves so maybe - just maybe - she will decide to surrender her baby into their willing arms.

Do you really think he sees great glory in the fact that hopeful adoptive couples will hold fund-raisers to collect money for their adoption and yet NEVER even think to do a bake sale or hot dog roast or silent auction so a mother and child can stay together?

Where does that represent God's work? Where have Christians ever learned that it is better to collect for ourselves and our own selfish needs instead of reaching out and helping those in need. In what part of Sunday School or Bible Class was it taught to collect the assets needed to separate a family over keeping them together.

I must have missed that day. Becaue my recollection of the lessons I have been taught over the years differs so greatly from the "self-entitiled" views of the "God-Loving" hopeful adoptive couples who preach daily the greatness of their actions for wanting to take a baby from it's mother.

And right about now is when these wonderful "God-Loving" couples will start dishing out their half-qouted verses from the bible. You know the ones - carefully absent of the remaining verses that do not support their argument. Placed just right to further their own beliefs of how great they are for ignoring the needs of another to fulfill their own desires.

I don't buy it anymore nor will I continue to stay silent to those who hide behind God and his great name in order to carry on with their selfish natures.

If you cared at all about God's will, you would be reaching out to help more women who face crisis pregnancies. You would hold back your judgement and help them however you could because that is what God wants from all of us.

You would be eager and willing to offer the helping hand they need. Take in those that are homeless. Hold your little fund-raisers for those who are poor. Support those who need an extra shoulder to lean on.

Instead of praying to God for a mother to be desperate and frightened enough to lose her child, you would be praying day and night for him to offer her the strength to find her way and you the ability to help however you can to keep a family together.

God isn't, and never has been, about selfish needs. He is about kindness and caring. About helping those less fortunate than you and giving of yourself without judgement or hope for some reward in return.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Silent No More

Silence is golden.

Such a simple - well known - statement. And yet, so very untrue in so many situations.

My silence here has been anything but golden. It has been a reaction to the turmoil shifting inside of me. The pain and anger I have struggled to get a hold on, make sense of.

It's been an avoidance of what my life faces. A plain and simple refusal to stand up, take my anger, and use it in the way I swore I always would . . . . for the benefit of all that was good and right.

I've been angry. So very, very angry.

And that heated, powerful emotion has ruled so much in my voice being heard lately.

I had figured out a way to use my own pain to strenthen my voice, to give me a resource to grasp on to to make my story known, heard by all. But what I never counted on, what I never thought I would face, was how different that determination would be when it came to the pain and suffering of my oldest son who I lost to adoption.

Seeing, and now experiencing, what he has gone through during the short twenty years of his life has set me on a spiral of confusion, rage and denial I never imagined I was capable of feeling. His hurt is my own. Felt deep in my heart just as every mother would would feel the pain of what her child has gone through. The situations from the past that are so wrong and yet can never be changed.

My son was abused. Mentally and physically. That is the open, bared soul, gashing wound, fact of what he faced - and still faces to this day under the hand of his adoptive mother. What he has faced, an innocent child deserving the best of all his adoptive mother had to offer, is a terror I can never make up to him. Never make right or somehow erase from the childhood he faced.

How could I ever make it right. Ever change the fate he was set on the moment I placed him in the arms of his adoptive mother and walked out of the nursery.

Yes, I have learned so much more about what was done to me. Yes, I understand I was an easy target. A frightened, naive girl who they played every trick on. Made sure, to the best of their abilities, that I would not dare change my mind. I can acknowledge the vulnerabilites they used against me. The lies they threw around like confetti, never caring about the consequences of them.

But that still will never change that my son had no choice and in return was placed in a life of hell.

And why?

That's what I want to know. That's what I struggle to understand. They told me that I would be the one to abuse him, neglect this wonderful baby boy. They claimed I could never give him the life he deserved and if I loved him I had no choice but to lose him.

So I did. I lost him and he lost me. And what came in return . . .

A childhood of physical abuse from his adoptive mother and his first of two stepfathers. Years of mental abuse in the most horrid of ways from his adoptive mother and extended adoptive family. He faced sitting in a court room hearing his adoptive father proclaim he never wanted him and only agreed to the adoption to keep his adoptive mother happy.

He's been told that his adoptive family does not see him as worthy of carrying on their name. Shown, in more ways than one that he didn't "behave" well enough for them to treat him with the love and understanding he deserved. If he upset his adoptive mom he was denied the inhaler he desperately needed as a chronic asthmatic (a trait inherited from his father.)

If he did wrong, angered his adoptive mother, she left the house, leaving him alone while proclaiming she was never coming back to him because he didn't deserve her as a mother.

My son never deserved that! He is an amazing, special man who is worthy of all the love and care every child should find in their life. Why would his adoptive family treat him like this. Why couldn't they just love him for who and what he was instead of insisting he be and act like somebody he wasn't.

And why . . . of all things in this hell . . . did they tell me I would be the one to abuse and neglect him when that was never true. And they did it only to place him in a family that did just that. But they didn't give a damn because his adoptive family were the ones to sign the check, pay the next salary. Keep the money rolling in.

My son was given hell so others could profit off of his pain.

And it's wrong. So very, absolutely, completely wrong.

And nothing will ever be able to change what he went through. Nothing will ever make up for it or make it better. He was treated terribly. That is the simple fact. And nobody gives a damn. Because . . . hell . . . it was adoption and nobody gives a damn what happens to a child as long as adoption is tagged on to the end of it.

And I hate that. I hate that so many "happy, rosy, adoption is great" believers out there want nothing more than to push my son's story under the rug where it won't be heard, acknowledged. They want me to shut up because adoption has been so great for them and they aren't about to take my son's terror and give it any justice.

What does he matter, right? It's adoption. His experience doesn't count. Not when it's associated with such a disgustingly favored action that supposively saves children from bad childhoods.

But where did it save my son?

My son who now lives with me, his father and his siblings. My son who still suffers through the cruelty of his adoptive mother. Who can still be brought to tears by the ugliness she slings his way.

It was supposed to be about him. About giving him the best life he could ever have. And yet, it never was, and still isn't to this day. What matters is the gain some receive through the adoption industry. The dollar signs on the checks that are deposited. The fullfillment of the families who desperately want a child to call their own.

That is all that matters in this ugly twisted reality of adoption. It's there for those outside the children who have no voice. Outside the realities they might face by being taken from their families who love and cherish them for everything they are.

I put him there over twenty years ago. I placed my poor, amazing son in the life he faced and there is nothing I can do now to protect him from that. And so many out there want me to simply shut up and ignore what he went through.

But how can I? How can I ever ignore his hell? His pain?

And who the hell would ever ask me too except for those who have and will continue to profit from the loss of children seperated from their mothers?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Babies For Sale

I wonder sometimes if the majority of society truly realizes the truth of what happens in infant adoption. Those who proclaim what a wonderful act it is – are they aware of the ugliness that hides behind the prettiness? Are they aware of the severe grief and loss caused to both mother and child for the benefit of another?

I can’t believe, or rather I do not want to believe, that we have become so cold and uncaring that as a whole we feel nothing for what happens to young, pregnant women in their most desperate time of need. Are we really in the mindset to support beliefs in which we take an infant away from his or her mother when she has done NOTHING WRONG? To give that baby to another woman deemed more “worthy” simply because of the size of her bank account or marital status?

The ugly, heart-wrenching truth of infant adoption lies not in the pretty picture of a child desperately in need of a home and a couple stepping in to save him or her. It lies in a multi-billion dollar industry, recognizing the desperation of those who want a baby of their own and using that desperation to line their pockets with more and more money. It lies in some who claim they are “helping” young, pregnant woman by taking their babies rather than supporting and helping them raise their children. In those who believe they have a right to another’s baby because they can’t or choose not to have a baby of their own.

Infants are not merchandise. They are human beings. Nobody should ever be disregarded in the way innocent babies are in “price lists” such as those below (taken from an adoption listing of “available situations”) . . .

**Birth Mother with a 1/2 Caucasian 1/2 African American baby Girl. $20,000.00**

**Birth Mother due with a full Caucasian baby gender unknown. $33,000.00**

**Birth Mother due with Full Caucasian Baby gender unknown. $28,000.00.**

**Birth Mother due with a Full African American baby gender unknown. $ 22,000.00**

Notice how Caucasian babies “cost” more. And this is considered okay? Understandable by some. Encouraged by others.

Placing a price tag on unborn babies, the dollars varying according to race, is wrong. So very, very wrong! And yet it’s accepted and practiced within our society – a fact I do not and never will understand.

Moms and their unborn children are being reduced to nothing more than items to be bought and sold. And we stand behind this! Call it great thing! WHY?

How can anyone support an act that encourages marketing and advertising in high schools and colleges, pregnancy centers and teen parenting programs? All in the hopes of attaining more babies to sell to hopeful couples.

There is nothing great in that. Nothing loving or caring. Only a deep, dark ugliness so many refuse to see or admit to. But it exists, lingering heavy in the real world of infant adoption, harming so many moms and babies. Creating emotional scars that last a lifetime.

It starts with the mom, bringing her in, offering her comfort and understanding while at the same time telling her the many ways she will fail in her hopes of being a good mother. Her “counseling” includes encouragement for how brave and selfless she will be if she creates an adoption plan, reminds her of the failures she faces if she chooses to parent her own son or daughter.

She is portrayed as a hero in those months of her pregnancy and yet often finds criticism after she has lost her child. Judged by the very same society that holds adoption so high on a pedestal. A society blindly supporting the manipulation of young, pregnant woman, the selling of infants, while turning a blind eye to the sufferings both mother and child experience after such a terrible separation.

It’s time to learn the truth of infant adoption. Time to chip away at old beliefs shrouded in the unknown. First/Natural moms and adoptees are speaking out, sharing stories of confusion and loss. Of feelings of abandonment and a grief that never goes away.

Society needs to listen to them, hear what their words echo. It’s time to turn a deaf ear to the multi-billion dollar adoption industry. Time to see through their “fairy-tales” of a win-win situation. Of infants being rescued from their mothers at birth. There is nothing for them to be rescued from!

We can’t go on assuming anyone who speaks up about adoption is only carrying on because they had a bad experience. Many are speaking out from many different situations. Some bad, some good. Their voices need, and deserve, to be heard.

As a society, we have fought against many “wrongs.” Now is the time to fight against the “wrongs” brought against a mother and child in infant adoption.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The BSE, My Mom & Me

Motherhood Deleted has a great entry about learning from our past. Those dark spots in our history some would rather sweep under the rug to be forgotten.

For me, for my life – I not only see it, I feel it. Deep in my heart right there along with the pain of losing my first son to adoption.

We have a very sad, disgusting patch in our history called the Baby Scoop Era. I myself cannot do justice to the crimes brought against the women from this era. Instead I highly suggest you read these personal stories and hear the gut-wrenching heartache they suffered by being victimized in the way they were . . .

Motherhood Deleted
Musing Mother
The Scoop

I also suggest reading the book, “The Girls Who Went Away,” by Ann Fessler.

What happened to these women needs to be known by every human being. Every person who now and will walk this earth. Not only for the justice they deserve for the crimes brought against them and their children, but so that we can take the lessons learned from their era and stop the hideous practice of adoption today.

You know the old saying, “If I had only known?”

For me it rings with an eerie echo when I look back at not only my past and my son’s past but at my mom’s past as well.

I never knew when I was pregnant with my first son, at the mercy of the adoption agencies, such a thing as the Baby Scoop Era existed. I didn’t know their stories, understand the terrible crimes committed against so many women who sat in the same situation I sat in.

It wasn’t until I began my search for my own answers in what happened to my son and I that I learned of those dark decades. And as I learned, as I heard their stories, heard the pain they suffered, I realized how the darkness of what they suffered came very close to shadowing my own life long before I ever lost my own child to adoption.

In 1970, in what was then a small town here, my mom – a teenager with a strong catholic upbringing – became pregnant out of wedlock. (I was the “Senior Prom” gift that kept on giving.)

I never knew, or understood, growing up what she must have faced at that moment. I had nothing to relate to. No stories, no history of what it would have been like for her – single, pregnant, young . . . in a small town with the narrow vision of society in those days and the lack of options women today now have.

Now, I realize the horrors she must have faced. The shame thrown in her face for no other reason than being pregnant with me.

I will never know why my dad stepped up to take his share of the responsibility rather than turning away as so many “fathers” did during that time. It was that one step, I know, that saved me from joining the large ranks of children lost during the Baby Scoop Era.

A quick wedding and a nine-month “premature” baby saved me in every way. And yet I never knew or understood that until I learned the dark history so many want to ignore and refuse to acknowledge.

See, for me, learning the truths and gaining an understanding about what those women went through gives me a brand new thankfulness for the life I had. For every picture I could look at of my mom, my great grandmother, and see myself in. For every Christmas Eve when we had large Italian meals just like my family has done for decades.

I realize how close I came to never knowing the amazing, wonderful woman my mother is. To never have shared the strong bond between us. The very one that to this day keeps us close not only in our hearts, but in where we live, what we do.

In knowing the disgusting facts that was the Baby Scoop Era, I was able to realize more than ever the ugly hand the adoption industry has used on so many for so long. I wish I had carried that knowledge when I was pregnant with my own son. Wish the anger I feel now would have existed then. I would have seen and known their coercion and manipulation for what it was.

I wouldn’t have been easy prey because I would have carried the knowledge, the understanding, of how amazing my childhood was because I WAS NOT adopted.

And yet, the saddest part is, as my mom and I discuss more about our lives and what we have lost, she herself never fully understood what happened to the girls who were victimized by the adoption industry. She recognized the fear inside when she first became pregnant, terrified she would be another one of those that just disappeared from school without explanation. But she never knew their stories either. Never understood the truth society wants so hard for us to keep hidden.

Had she known herself, understood the dark terrors, her “silent” support would have found a loud, demanding voice against those surrounding her daughter like vultures in their quest to take her grandchild away. But our ignorance and the fact our government, our society, refuses to acknowledge the crimes that occurred during the Baby Scoop Era, left us vulnerable to the billion dollar industry that takes and takes and has ruined so many lives along the way.

What happened in our past needs to be known today. The longer these heartbreaking facts are denied, the longer our society lives in denial of the truth of adoption. We can’t continue to try and silence the voices of the women who lost so much. We need to hear them, know their stories.

Until then, nothing will change and the dark hand of adoption will only continue to grow stronger and stronger.

How many more lives are we willing to lose for the sake of silence?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Smiling Through Tears

Though it has actually been less than two weeks, it feels like a wide stretch of time has passed since I’ve added any new thoughts or musings here.

Part, I know is time. Life has changed so much in the past couple weeks and I am still running a step behind myself, trying desperately to catch up, never quite getting there even with the best of efforts.

But another part, is this struggle between emotions. A constant contrast that lingers in the fact that I am, at the moment, in the best time of my life and yet still feel a pain and a hurt that at times, brings a tear (or two or three or more) to my eyes.

“The glass is half full.”

That’s how I like to believe I view most things in life. It does no good to dwell in the bad, to always wonder what evil lurks behind the next corner. What heartbreak might be waiting in the next week . . . month . . . year.

And yet, it seems, when it comes to the messy, confusing maze of adoption, I have a very hard time with that philosophy. It’s difficult to see the glass as half full when it has been dumped over, broken, and kicked to pieces for so many years. It’s a jumble of shattered pieces that takes time to glue back together to even resemble a container that can actually hold the liquid to be “half full.”

So, I sit here in the most amazing miracle – having my oldest son back in my life again. Being able to talk to him, hold him, love him in every way. To reach out and actually feel him, know him, be a part of everything he is and, hopefully, will become.

And yet, there is always a reminder too. An ugly knowledge of what he has faced through his childhood, become a part of without any decision of his own. A fate placed before him before he ever became a part of this world.

And I, no matter what I have learned and come to understand, still hold a part of the blame in not being old enough, strong enough, wise enough, to save my own child . . . my own flesh and blood . . . from a fate he never deserved and never should have been forced to face.

And that is where the battle of emotions come into play. It is there where I can smile greater than I ever have. My heart full of a joy . . . a completeness . . . I never imagined possible. And yet, still find the tears blurring my vision as I watch ALL my children together. The painful tug on my heart as my oldest son jokes and laughs with his brothers and sister, steps into that part of our lives that has always been empty without him.

He should have always known that. It was his right from the moment he was born. He is a part of us just as much as we are a part of him and he should have NEVER been denied being surrounded by his family, loved and accepted for who he is and what he is because he is one of us in every way, shape and form.

He is my son. Loved with all my heart. Cherished with everything I have inside me. And I look back and question why?

Why was he taken away from that . . . from us? Why did they tell me he would be better off without his family? Without the love and loyalty we share with every member, no matter who or what they are?

He deserved to know all of us from day one. Deserved to be a part of what he was robbed of for almost two decades. He didn’t do anything wrong. Didn’t ask for the separation, the denial of who and what he was. His only act was being born to a mom who was sixteen and . . . shock, gasp, dismay . . . had sex with his father before marriage.

He did nothing and yet was cheated from everything he deserved. Cheated from parents who love him for who and what he is. Cheated from siblings who are so much a part of him, share so many traits and talents he never had the chance to see in another.

Cheated from grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, who love him and treasure every moment they have with him in their life.


Where do I ever find those answers? How do I ever explain to anyone that over twenty years ago my oldest son was robbed from all of that the minute I placed him in the arms of another woman?

I have to stand up and take on my shoulders the heavy reality of what my son missed out on . . . was denied for no other reason than being born.

And yet, the giant billion-dollar adoption industry – growing stronger and stronger by the day – will never stand up and admit their hand in my son’s fate. They will never look him in the eye and tell him that they truly didn’t give a crap about his well being but cared only about the dollar signs and the childless couple willing to pay whatever it took to have a child of their own.

They won’t, because they never cared from the start about the innocent baby I carried inside of me. They didn’t care if it took lies and manipulation and coercion to be sure he lost everything that was his right so that he could fill the needs of another woman and take the place of a baby she could not have on her own.

He was used in every ugly, disgusting sense of the word. Used for money. For selfish needs. For justification in a world that sees nothing wrong with separating mother and child from the moment of birth.

And now it is he over all others who pays the steepest price. It is my sweet, dear son who will face realities even I myself cannot imagine. Not because he was saved from some awful fate. But because the adoption industry saw in him a great commodity – a white, healthy infant boy.

Above his head was not his heritage, blood and rights as a human being. Above his head was dollar signs. Blinking for their greedy hands. A parcel, a mere being, they were more than willing to force great sacrifices on for the good of their pocketbooks.

They never gave a damn about my son!! Never did they care about him then and they sure as hell don’t care about him now. He is nothing more than a product. Another lost soul in their continuing quest to make money off of selling babies to couples who are willing to pay for them.

Adoption did not give my son the “fairy-tale” life. It did not save him from a dark, undeserved childhood of unmentionable terrors.

It robbed him of his family. Took away the acceptance of those who love him unconditionally. The understanding of what it is like to look at others who share your blood, your heritage, and understand everything you are and have become because of that.

In my world . . . my son’s world . . . adoption was not the answer. It was the crime.

One he has to pay the greatest consequences for.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pick A Side

It seems to be a never ending circle running around these days. I said, you said. They said, we said.

Everyone is supposed to pick a side in this adoption debate, see it as black and white. You agree or you don’t.

So if you dare and speak out about adoption, suddenly you are accused of wanting to leave TRULY needy children wallowing in foster care. You are a monster who dares to put light to the truths because those truths somehow mean you want the children to suffer.

And yet – the TRUE meaning of adoption should ALWAYS be what is in the best interest of the child. That’s it. Plain and simple. Nothing complicated there.

But if this is true, why do over 500,000 children remain in foster care to this day? Why are those who TRULY have no family and no home to call their own overlooked by so many and yet there are close to fifty couples waiting for one baby?

Where is the best interest of the children reflected in these numbers?

I don’t understand the reasoning behind - if a woman wants to adopt a baby she should be able to adopt a baby. That sounds more like the best interest of the adults than the child, when you think of the abundance of children who are overlooked or ignored because of this thought process.

I’m not blind to the fact that the foster system needs reform as well, that desperate changes need to be made all the way around when it concerns the best interest of the child. I know there are many difficulties and risks couples face to adopt a child from foster care. But, again, if it is in the best interest of the child, aren’t these difficulties and risks worth it? Doesn’t EVERY child out there deserve to have someone fighting for them, facing every opposition no matter what it may be? Why are infants worth this but not older children?

What I see in today’s world, what I come up against when I speak out about my own experience, is a large majority of hopeful couples who say they want to offer a home to a child who really needs one. They are following in God’s way. Doing what the scripture guides them to do. Except these words are only meant for infants.

And the sad reality is many of these infants are coming to them through coercion and manipulation, both here in the United States and abroad. Mothers are being lied to, taken advantage of for their age, married status, financial need, in order to feed more infants into the demand.

And what happens when first/natural mothers and adoptees speak out about these crimes . . . we get attacked by those who want us to remain silent, to not put any kind of negative light into the reality of infant adoption today.

They tell us, the very ones who have lost so much, how we will be the ones responsible for leaving children in foster care. It is because of our actions, because of speaking the truth of what happened to us, that so many children are in such desperate need for a family.

We are the ones to blame, not those who overlooked those children in their quest to adopt the “perfect” baby.

And lately, this debate seems to be gaining strength, the back and forth of picking a side, saying yes or no to what you believe.

But maybe the debate should not be – “I’m wrong and you are right.” Maybe it should be what can we do to help those children who are TRULY without a family? What can we do to protect young woman in both our country and others from the manipulation and coercion that comes from infant adoption? And how can we find a way so that ALL sides are fighting for what is the most important argument of all –

What is best for the children.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sit Down and Shut Up

"Negativity is going to . . . deter possible adoptive parents from going forward.”

Ah, the comments that always come flying from others. Aren’t they fun? Sometimes I just let them pass. Sometimes I allow them to affect me more than I should. And this time . . . I have decided to pick it up and add it here on my blog.

Yesterday was . . . plain and simply . . . one of those “hell” days. A day when I so desperately wished I could just pretend that I knew nothing about adoption and it’s “other” side. A day when I simply wanted to be “normal” like all those other moms I see at the school, on my block, everywhere I seem to look.

I wanted to be one of them. Someone who could look into the faces of ALL her children and never have to know what it felt like deep down inside to know there was always one missing. Always a gash in the heart for the son that was yours but you couldn’t claim as your own. I didn’t want my arms to ache anymore to hold him. I didn’t want that “knowledge” in my heart of what it felt like to lose such a vital part of myself.

It was a pity party in every way. One I toasted with a couple glasses of wine (Okay, it was more like three or four but I have strong Italian blood running through these veins, so I’m going to hold that as my justification.) I forgot for a while the adoption debate existed. I gave myself permission to just “BE” without all the extra tags that come along with it.

And today dawned a new day. With renewed determination and a banishment of all self pity. And as the sun rose in the east, so did my realization of what I’m fighting for and why I can’t ever quit. Why I have to remain strong in the face of comments meant to push me back, shut me up.

Like the one above.

The tears have cleared now, giving me the clarity to approach such an accusation with rational thought and understanding.

It’s called fear. Not mine, but that of the one who posted the comment. What she calls negativity is actually truth – my truth. The one I lived. The experience that was mine.

And because I’m here. Because I actually exist to stand up and speak out about what happened to myself and my son all those years ago, she is terrified of what it might do to the “fairy-tale” image of adoption.

Deterring adoptive parents away from the current trend of adoption is exactly what I hope for. I want them to think, to rethink, and then to rethink again before they sign that check, write the disgusting, “Dear Birthmother” letter and hold their arms out to take a baby from his or her mother.

I want them to wonder with every step they take if their adoption is indeed ethical. I want them to question the affects it might have on the first/natural mother and on the tiny, innocent baby they so desperately want to call their own.

THAT’S why I’m here. THAT’S why I find myself spending so much time speaking out about adoption, learning the stories of others. Researching always every side, every angle I can find.

I don’t do it because I have nothing better to do. I don’t do it because it’s fun or easy or gains me any kind of compensation. I do it because I want my voice to be heard. I want to somehow make a difference and help another in ways I wish I would have been helped.

The accusations and arguments can come from all sides. It will never change what is the basic fact . . .

In adoption, I lost, my oldest son lost, my husband – his father – lost, and my three other children lost. We can never know a day that was not shadowed in some way or another by our truths of adoption. Everything we are, everything we’ve been, has been guided in some way or another by adoption. It has always been the heavy fact hanging over us. The dark cloud that never truly disappears.

At times . . . yes . . . there will be those who can push me hard enough to get me to sit down and shut up. But it’s a temporary setback. One I know will never be permanent because I have too much to fight for, speak up against.

Those who want me silenced because I put a glitch in their goal to gain more will simply have to live with the fact that I cannot be silenced forever.

Never again will I allow someone else’s ugly ways deter me from what I know to be true in my heart. They can fight me all they want. They can tell me what I’m doing is wrong, proclaim the worst of all dooms because I am daring to be heard. It WILL NOT affect me this time. I will never again doubt what I feel simply because another tells me I’m wrong.

So for those who believe like the comment above, you are wasting your time if you hope I will sit down and shut up for good. I did that once. I fell into the trap. And for it, I, my son, my husband, and my other children, have suffered a loss greater than you can ever imagine.

And see, where you might think your arguments and insults carry weight, you have no clue to the truth of what I face.

In my world what carries weight is the suffering of my son. A suffering that fills my heart and weighs on my thoughts every minute of every day. You can go on believing the “fairy-tale” of adoption but, for me, my truth lies in the eyes . . . the eyes of my oldest son. Eyes that are mine and reflect the same pain and loss caused by that one moment in time when I actually let the selfish, greedy voices around me control the lives they never had any right to.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Voices To Be Heard

During my internet “stroll” this morning I visited AdoptedJane to see what new and interesting things she had posted since my last visit. A couple posts down and I found myself reading and shaking my head in disgust.

NEVER will I understand this. I don’t believe there is ever justification for attacking an adoptee for expressing their feelings or sharing their experience. And the saddest part of this is, it comes at them from both sides, adoptive moms and first/natural moms alike. The very people who should understand above anyone else the unrestricted rights they have to stand up and speak out!

Why do us “moms” feel as if we have the right to do this? Is it because they say things we don’t want to hear? Well, that’s life, right? We are all grown up and mature enough to realize there will always be those who say things we don’t want to hear.

What’s that term . . . C’est La Vie.

Many of us “moms” are out there ourselves, blogging and posting things some don’t want to hear. It certainly shouldn’t surprise us when we come across an adoptee’s voice that is doing the same. EXCEPT, we ALL have a responsibility toward them to listen and actually hear what they have to say. Even if we don’t like it. Too bad! They are the ones caught between us, placed where they are by circumstances they had no control over. To be hurtful and cruel in any way to them is plain and simply wrong!

Is there any other person in this world who is told they are wrong or suppressing feelings if they say they had good parents and a happy upbringing and are content with their life? We don’t question them. We take their words on fact. But let an adoptee say those words and – sorry, but it’s true – there are some first/natural moms who will take it upon themselves to tell them they don’t know what they are talking about, are only fooling themselves and hiding from their true problems.

And on the opposite side of that, we hear about others who had an unhappy childhood or are perhaps confused or unsettled with decisions that were made for them when they were young, decisions they say made a huge impact on the rest of their life. We offer them comfort when we hear these tales. A kind word or supportive shoulder. So why, if an adoptee utters the same words, the same thoughts, some feel the need – and yes now it’s the adoptive moms turn – to tell them they are being ungrateful or causing trouble. Some will even go so far as to accuse them of lying.

It’s no wonder some of them feel trapped between a rock and hard place. They already have so many other liberties denied them. Do they deserve another to be added to the pile?

Of course, I can hear it now, those that want to accuse me of believing we should go backwards and not even discuss adoption with them. But that isn’t what I believe . . . far from it. I think sheltering them and treating them as a fragile china doll that might break into pieces is just as much of an insult.

But there is a line between sharing our experiences, our truths and attacking an adoptee when they don’t agree or have a different opinion. I fully believe we should be open and honest about what has happened and what our feelings are. There are already way too many lies weighing down adoption. But honesty also comes with respect.

It rips at my heart whenever I hear an adoptee refer to his or her first/natural mother with words of hate or resentment. But even more than that, it places a deep fear inside me. A fear that my own son may now or someday feel that way about me. That fear though, does not give me the right to allow it to dictate my responses to the adoptee who has expressed these feelings.

In this area I believe the “moms” from both sides can stand together and do what is right. We are all grown up enough to recognize the difference between sharing our opinions and experiences compared to responding in a hurtful or angry manner because we ourselves may be hurting or angry.

If nothing else this is the one thing we can do for any adoptee who is standing up and speaking out. We need to recognize them as the adults they are and give them the respect and understanding to hear their every word no matter how it may or may not make us feel deep inside.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Predators and Prey

If you've cruised the adoption blogs lately, you've more than likely come across this story . . .

Expectant Mom Upset By Offensive Offer

The very sad thing is there are many adoptive parents out there that don't see anything wrong with this type of soliciting towards a pregnant woman. They don't understand, or refuse to see, the disgusting, degrading attack this is on another human being. It's a violation of who they are. A dirty, ugly violation of a person who carries the same rights, deserves the same respect, as everyone else who walks on this earth.

But the very sad truth is that, in today's society, there are those who will not see anything wrong with this kind of action. They will justify it by their own desperate need to have a baby. It is very sad that the basic rights of a young, pregnant woman get tossed aside in pursuit of another's selfish needs.

Those who believe and practice this disgusting act are predators in every sense of the word. They are violating the pregnant woman much in the same way a person can violate a young woman sexually. The only difference is . . . one act is illegal, the other is not.

And the saddest part is the prey these predators seek. It's not the pregnant woman. She is nothing more to them than the "vessel" they must go through to reach their ultimate goal . . . the unborn child she carries.

That baby, who knows nothing of real life yet, is hunted in the same way a wild animal seeks warm blood. Secure and safe in his mother's womb, he isn't aware of the wrongs already being brought against him. Of the attacks his mother faces by those who do not regard her as a living, breathing human being. But instead see her as the means to give them the child they desperately seek.

She is an object, nothing more. Undeserving of the child she carries, protects, and loves. Lowering her own worth, making her feel dirty by the simple fact she is pregnant, does not matter to the predators. As long as they get the baby inside, they don't have to give a second thought to the terror and trauma they put the mother through.

It is a sick and disgusting reality, especially here in this great country that was created on equal rights for all. Self entitlement has become a curse. An ugly excuse for the most horrid of acts. Predators decide they deserve another woman's baby. They believe they are more deserving because of the size of the their pocketbook, the square footage of their home. And they will do whatever it takes, violate whoever they can, in their quest to attain that which they believe they have a right to.

And their prey - that innocent unborn child - has no clue to the sins they've taken on another person . . . on their very own mother. Sins they don't regret if it means they can hold that child in their arms, call him theirs.

It's what we had to do, is their excuse. It's the only way we can be sure we will get a baby. Violating a pregnant woman is necessary in order to reach the prey she carries inside. It's my right to do whatever I can, regardless of what is right or wrong, because I deserve my "prize." And nobody can tell me different.

And that poor innocent child is brought into this life and sometimes, sadly, lost to the predators. To a couple who will become his parents. Who will tell him how much they loved him and wanted him. But will they ever tell him the full truth? Will they ever admit to that child they hunted him down through his own mother.

Will they ever look in his eyes and admit they were the predators and he was their prey?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My Evil Secret

I live everyday with an evil secret. A dark monster that dwells inside with long, guilt-ridden tentacles winding through my thoughts. Always there. Never letting me forget the mistakes I made.

I spent so many years living and learning to hide the pain and self-hating that took root the day I placed my oldest son into the arms of someone else to raise. I became a master at shoving my true feelings deep into this hole where I didn’t have to face them. Didn’t have to deal with the deep, stabbing ache they created.

When asked about adoption, I’d smile, give the “sugar-coated” response programmed for so long inside me. It was better, after all, to follow along with the “rosy mary” belief of all was good and life was bright and sunny. To voice the true words buried so deep inside would only provide an opening for those frightful emotions to return.

Except, something happened that I never counted on. Those emotions gained strength, fought harder and harder with each year to be released. They were boiling over, slowly refusing to be denied any longer.

Eighteen years after losing my son and they were gaining a strength I could no longer battle. The questions and doubts started filtering through. The reminder of that self-hatred found a soft spot and took hold, shoving me toward a realization I was terrified of facing.

And then that day in December came when I sat at my computer and came across a myspace page with the frightening and exciting thought – “Is that my son?” I watched pictures flip through in a slide show, one after another, hope and fear building, until that one.

A close-up . . . his eyes so close, so clear. And I knew I had found him.

I was staring into my own eyes. Same shape. Same color. Same everything. My son. Grown up. Eighteen years old. So big. So different than in that Kindergarten picture – the very last picture I ever got of him.

He was so handsome. And other than the eyes, looked just like his father and his youngest brother. He was there. Real. Alive. With friends. At school. Hanging out. All the normal things teenage boys do.

As I yelled desperately for my husband, his father, the last of my control slipped and the force of those long denied emotions swelled like a tidal wave crashing over me. Guilt and regret. Pain and loss. And the strong, constantly pounding self-hatred.

But mixed in was a joy. An amazing excitement. That was my son. I could look at him. See him. I read through everything on his page, getting to know him from afar. Piecing together everything I could.

He was there. Closer than he’d been in a very long time. I knew where he went to school. Where he worked. What his friends looked like. So much information after so many years of not knowing. Of always wondering.

My husband, too, grabbed every bit of information he could, saving it, remembering it. But his intentions were so different than mine. I can remember the almost uncontrollable fear that surfaced the minute he mentioned going to our son’s work, seeing him, talking to him.

NO! I was terrified by the thought.

How in the world could I face him, see him after what I had done. I could no longer even explain it to myself what had happened eighteen years earlier, how could I explain it to him.

He would hate me. After all, I didn’t deserve anything else. Look at what I had done. An act I could never make up for. I let him go that day in the hospital when I so desperately wanted to keep him. I believed the professionals, believed their dire predictions and I surrendered him because my life was supposed to be so screwed up. I was supposed to be a terrible parent. Someone who never accomplished anything useful and would have stolen everything that was good from my child.

Except that’s not what had happened. He had two brothers, one two years younger and one four years younger. He had a sister, nine years younger. They hadn’t suffered. They weren’t abused, neglected or desperately craving what I couldn’t give them as their mother.

My husband and I had actually worked hard, struggled and sacrificed to be good parents. And yet, somehow, in my mind, that was my biggest deception against my first son. That sweet, adorable baby I’d held in my hands in the hospital. Loved and cuddled. Wanted so badly to keep. To be the one to tend to his scraped knees. Kiss away his tears. Walk him to school and help with his homework.

I wanted to give him the mom I gave my other children. And I didn’t.

After that, how could I ever have the right to walk back into his life. I didn’t deserve to see him again. The monsterous creature I believed I was didn’t deserve even the tiniest hope for that kind of happiness.

My husband, thankfully, followed his own heart and within a week went to where our son worked. He talked to him. Told him who he was and even went over to where he lived with his adoptive mom to visit with her.

And at that very moment, my life swirled out of control. Because my son was coming to see me. In a week. On a Saturday. He would be there. Flesh and blood. This baby I loved, held so tight in my heart, wanted to meet me.

And every emotion there was to feel came in a rumbling avalanche, burying me deep under it’s weight. And in response, I did what I knew best, I grabbed desperately for those feelings and I buried them all over again.

And that is where my evil secret resides.

Instead of finally dealing with what I was feeling, I took the easy way out AGAIN, and in doing so, ultimately kept a distance between my son and I when we were reunited.

I can remember the silent lectures in those days leading up to my son’s visit. I couldn’t cry. I wasn’t going to cry. I had to hold it together. Hold my emotions in check because to let one free would let them all free.

And so I didn’t cry that first moment I held him in my arms. But I didn’t want to let go either. I just wanted to stand there and hold him. Forever. But that was an emotional desire and I wasn’t allowing that kind of thing.

I would watch him as he talked with his brothers, his sister. Listen to his every word. And the surge would well up. To reach out. Touch him. Grab and hug him again. But I buried those needs with everything else.

In my head, it had to be done. To let my emotions show to my son would give him a hint to the monster I was and he’d know, like I did, that I didn’t deserve to have him back in my life for any reason. So I continued to bury, to hide every feeling that crept up.

Instead of giving my son everything I was, every emotion I had for him, I held back and failed him all over again.

Not that I didn’t experience the happiness and joy of having him back in my life. It was amazing to talk to him, to spend hours on the telephone after that first reunion, learning about his likes and dislikes, discovering how we were alike in our passions and talents.

My love for him, which I had never needed to hide, remained strong and constant, but guilt and regret continued to rule the fearful need to keep all the other emotions carefully bound and hidden. And in return cut off a part of myself my son deserved to know.

It’s been a year and a half now since that miracle in my life. The emotions, in time, returned with an even stronger roar, refusing to be quieted again. And because of that I have started on my own path to finding answers to what happened all those years ago and coming to terms with what I’ve learned.

With the help of a therapist and amazing support groups I now understand some of the truths of the coercion and manipulation I went through all those years ago. I’ve learned it was carefully planned to make sure I didn’t keep my son while in the hospital. And I’ve discovered so many moms who were told they would be no good and encouraged to give up their children as well.

I’m not alone in my feelings anymore and that has helped more than anything. But still I must live everyday with the evil secret of what I did when finally reunited with my son. And now, as he has backed away, I will forever second guess if the distance I kept played into that and if I again failed him as I never wanted to do.

Intellectually, I know I can never go backwards and change what has already happened. But on those dark days when the monster is stronger than normal, reminding me of my secret, I wish desperately for a chance to reverse time and right the wrongs I have made.

And I pray, everyday, for one more chance to hold my son. To finally have that one time to have him in my arms and allow every emotion to surface without fear.