Friday, May 22, 2009

In God's Name

I love God. It might not always seem that way. But I do love him and believe in him. And I don’t question my faith in him.

But I do question, constantly, the acts of those who claim to follow him and do his work. I not only question them. I get angry at them, hurt by the actions they take, words they say. Most especially, in the world of adoption.

I haven’t been to church in over two years, since first reuniting with my oldest son. And just as I was thinking I might return this summer, I stumble across this little jewel printed at Sacred Selections. . .

- - It is a feeling whether spoken or unspoken throughout almost all birthmothers...."Why would anyone ever want to adopt my child when i don't even want it?!! - -

How dare they! In this disgusting post, oozing with God and Christianity, meant to raise money to encourage more adoptions, they dish out one of the worst lies I have ever heard. It made me sick to my stomach to read that, especially after traveling through the many other lies they threw out before ever getting to this one.

And why . . . WHY . . . do they say this . . .

- - I have had good, well meaning Christians tell me to my face that "No mother would EVER give her child willingly so we just don't want to be a part of that!" Just because you have not experienced something DOES NOT MAKE IT A FACT!! - -

They have to make us the “monster” in order to fight against the knowledge that mothers don’t willingly give up their children. They have to create lies, make us less than normal – those beasts who don’t want their own baby – so they can get more “good” Christians to adopt.

And so I say back to them – YOU are the one who hasn’t experienced this so YOU don’t know fact. And how dare you, under God’s name, pretend that you do and push off such disgusting lies, daring, in your “Christian” way, to say “almost all” first/natural moms don’t want their child.

I don’t know of a single first/natural mom who didn’t want their child. Never, EVER, in my life have I heard anyone say such a disgusting thing. Only here, under God’s name, does such ugliness exist. Doing His work brings these lies. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.

And what does this do to adoptees who read such things? How must it feel to think your mother didn’t want you and didn’t think anyone else would either? Can you kick them any harder? Hurt them anymore?

In another post, they refer to taking away a pregnant woman’s burden . . . . in other words . . . her child.

My child was never a burden and I don’t know of another mom who saw her child as one either.

So why do people believe this kind of stuff? Why do they think it’s okay to say and do such things while putting God as the cherry on top?

What does it mean, really, to be a Christian? I honestly and truly want to know. I want to understand why there are so many out there, saying such things, promoting such disgusting practices, under the belief they are doing what God wants them to do.

As a Christian, I can’t even bring myself to sit in a pew next to other Christians, because I just don’t know where their beliefs would be when it comes to the world of adoption. Are they the ones who nod in agreement when someone says “God meant for another woman’s baby to be mine.”

Would they believe it was their “Christian” duty to encourage pregnant women to surrender their unborn baby to adoption. That it is what God believes is best.

My own “God-Loving, Good Christian” brother-in-law (who fathered three children out of wedlock) once told me, after reuniting with my oldest son, that God had punished me by getting pregnant before marriage. I exploded on him, something I had never done before. I demanded he tell me where that was true for my son, the one who suffered more than I could ever imagine through adoption. Why would he be punished for my sins? Why would he go through the hell he did because I got pregnant before marriage?

I don’t believe God makes mistakes. I don’t believe he has any hand in the pain and loss of adoption. But so many, many people do. So many Christians speak in his name about the greatness of adoption. They will lie, like the authors of this post, push false images of the pregnant women, in order to satisify whatever desires reside inside of them.

My oldest son has recently decided he no longer believes in God. He used to. But he has lost the faith with all he has faced through his childhood. He has scars on his arm from where he was cutting himself. His adoptive mom, who mentally and physically abused him, struggled with an alcohol addiction, sent him to be counseled by the pastor at his Christian School. A pastor who told him he should be grateful that his mother had adopted him. That such acts, like cutting himself, were a disobedience to her and that he would go to hell if he didn’t straighten up and become a better child for her.

A man of God told my son this! Placed him on the path to losing his faith in God. Can anyone blame him? Can anyone question why now he doesn’t believe?

This just has to stop. God is not up there blessing the acts of adoption. He is not glorifying those who adopt while condemning those women who face unplanned pregnancies. He isn’t expecting adoptees to be grateful and obedient to their adoptive parents.

That is not the God I know and believe in.

But that is the God so many Christians believe in. That is the God they use to justify their adoption. And I just can’t be a part of them. I can’t sit next to them. Worship with them. Pretend like my beliefs are the same as theirs.

A good friend of mine has a saying . . . “I don’t have a problem with God. It’s his followers I don’t like.”

That’s where I sit now. That is my head and my heart when it comes to God. I love him. I believe in him. But I can’t pretend to be a “Good” Christian when part of that must include believing in the many lies that exist in the world of adoption.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Protecting Woman and Child

Trying to clear through all my Google alert emails the other day, I came across a very good, thought provoking post, A Heartwrenching Issue On My Mind by Rambling Mother .

It was one of those posts where the responses began clicking, one after another, in my head before I ever reached the end. And I knew, just leaving a comment wasn’t going to work as something close to a novel was taking shape in my mind.

And so, Rambling Mother has agreed to let me link to her post and respond here on my blog.

The topics in her post and in my response here can sometimes work up a lot of discussion, agreement and disagreement. I think that is fine and encourage as much input, thoughts and answers as possible. BUT, with that said, I ask very strongly that anyone who travels to her blog from mine, will remain respectful if they leave a comment and understand that she didn’t have to agree to allow me to link to her post and I would hate for it to become an agreement she regrets.

And, in that same process, for this post, I will be watching very closely the comments left here on my blog as well. I do try very hard to practice a “no delete” policy but because of some of the triggers that can come up when discussing certain topics, I do not want this to turn into a “beat up and attack” fest and I will, for this single post, delete any responses that do just that.

I hope everyone who posts here and/or on Rambling Mother’s blog with follow the rule of being able to disagree without being disagreeable.

So with that said . . . on to my response to A Heartwrenching Issue On My Mind . . .

When I first read this post, I expected to be able to respond by that night or the very next morning. But I realized I wanted more thought put into it. More time to properly address the points and questions that were made and maybe, just maybe, create a dialogue between not just first/natural moms, adoptive moms and adoptees. But between everyone who wants to see changes in what happens to women facing unexpected pregnancies. Everyone who has questions or concerns, wonders what more or less should/could be done.

And so I want to start with one point that struck me right away – the myth of adoption preventing abortion . . .

---“The workers may feel that if there isn't an adoption plan the woman in crisis pregnancy will abort”---

I fully understand why some believe that if you offer adoption it might keep a woman from having an abortion. This has been a BIG arguing point in so many discussions. But the problem is, the facts that are out there continue to prove this isn’t true.

Even the FRC (Family Research Council) and the NCFA (National Center For Adoption) with all their research had to admit that a woman DOES NOT make a choice between abortion or adoption . . .

**Researchers found that the first decision these women make is whether or not to carry their pregnancies to term. Later in the pregnancy, they vacillate between raising their children and placing them for adoption.**

When a women faces an unplanned pregnancy, the first choice is whether to even be “pregnant” in the terms of showing and carrying a child for nine months. This choice alone carries fears and desperation for a woman.

Carrying a baby to term and giving birth is a completely different decision. In all my time, with all the many different first/natural moms I know, I have never come across ONE who didn’t have an abortion because she knew adoption was an available choice. Not once, has any women ever said to me, “I wanted an abortion but then somebody encouraged me to think about adoption and that is why I changed my mind.

For women facing unplanned pregnancy, there is more often than not, no connection between continuing a pregnancy and actually giving birth. It’s either a “I do or I don’t” process . . . Either I remain pregnant, or I don’t.

Her fears and desperation leading her to abortion are not addressed in encouraging adoption. By that choice she has to continue the very pregnancy she feels she must end. And in many ways it implies that she hasn’t already struggled with her decision. That those long, agonizing nights of being up and terrified of what you are going to do never came for her. That she is supposively taking the “easy way out,” and should have nothing stopping her from carrying her pregnancy to term.

And for all the decades that it has been believed that encouraging adoption will stop abortions, it has never affected the number of abortions that happen each year. After over thirty years, I think it is clear that adoption does not solve the rise of abortions among pregnant women.

I do whole-heartedly agree though that it is just as disgusting that anyone makes a profit off of abortions as well. Just like in adoption, when any kind of profit is involved, you are setting the scene for corruption. It sickens me to know just how many billions of dollars come from taking advantage of women facing unplanned pregnancies.

And I think what so many of us are missing in the debate is that manipulation or pressure for either is wrong. There can’t be an excuse of why one is better than the other. I know both sides of the argument have very strong feelings as to why one should at least be better than the other but aren’t we wasting a lot of time fighting for that when we should be fighting for more support for pregnant women. More help so they can keep and raise their babies.

I don’t think the argument should be abortion or adoption. I think it should be why should a pregnant woman ever feel like either one is her only choice? Why are we not as a society doing more to allow a woman to keep and raise her baby so that she doesn’t walk into either scenario?

And most of all, a pregnant woman has EVERY right to know the risks that come with both abortion AND adoption.

There are laws in some states, and a push to create even more, that require a woman to be informed of the risks of abortion. I agree with this. I think a pregnant woman SHOULD be told of any and all risks. She needs honest counseling about what she might experience after having an abortion. She should know everything that is out there so that she is fully informed beforehand. I also believe the same should be required for adoptions.

---“If there is a woman already adoption minded, then the conversation continues along the way of the already adoption minded woman.”---

Which sounds acceptable, right? And it is something I, and others, hear many times . . . “She knew she wanted an adoption. She made the choice and contacted the adoption agency herself.”

Except the minute she walks in the doors of the adoption agency, she is sold the same “happy” story of adoption that is encouraged in the “how-to” manuals of how to get a woman to choose adoption.

It’s all about the “great” act she is doing. About her being a hero, a wonderful, selfless person for giving her child a better life. It’s more encouragement of how she would be unable to parent. More of the same, your child will be so grateful for what you have done for them.

They don’t tell her about the risks. They don’t mention what so many other first/natural mothers suffer with – depression, damaged self-esteem, persistent guilt, shame and a self-hatred for giving up your child. They don’t mention anything about the emptiness, the loss, that no other child can ever take away. The difficulty with intimacy and trust. The chance of experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder and for some, even suicide.

They tell her that her child will always love her and know what a great thing she did for him or her. But they don’t tell her about the adoptees who are angry with their first/natural parents for giving them up. They don’t say a word about adoptees who face abandonment issues, fears of if they aren’t good enough, others will leave them too. They don’t mention that the baby experiences a loss being separated from his mother at birth. That some adoptees become depressed and angry around their birthdays because it is a reminder of the loss. Nothing is said about adoptees who have their own fears of intimacy, inability to trust.

And they sure as heck don’t tell them that when their babies grow into adults they will be denied basic human rights simply because they were adopted.

And something else, very important to remember in this is that just because a pregnant woman walks into an adoption agency, that does not always mean she has her mind set on adoption. Many women, like myself, are given “marketing” materials the adoption agencies send out to high schools, colleges, hospitals, etc. They offer help in making a decision. A comforting hand, a knowledgeable counselor who will go over all the options a pregnant woman has.

Pregnant women walk into these agencies believing they are there for them. That they care about them and only want what is best for them and their child. And yet, the minute they are in the door, the counselors repeat the same script, the same words to each and every one, fulfilling their goal of convincing her that adoption is her only option. The disgusting act of marketing for pregnant women brings them in the door, leads them to believe they can trust these people without ever being aware of their true intentions.

Whether a women enters an abortion clinic or an adoption agency, for any reason, she should be told EVERY truth, EVERY risk, EVERTYHING there is to know about what is about to happen. Not just the good so she will continue on, but the bad as well so she has the information she deserves before going any further.

But this doesn’t happen and so it circles back around to the same question – where are we really and truly helping pregnant women in any area? What are we leaving them – abortion or adoption, both full of pain and grief.

This post touched me because I heard the same confusion, the same desire to try to find answers. To make sense of where we are now and what can be done in the future.

I understand the thoughts expressed through the post. I really do. Just because I don’t agree with all of them, doesn’t mean I don’t feel that same desperate wish to make changes somewhere and to keep the child as always the most important one.

I want that too. I just don’t want it with the horrible affects that come with it at the moment. More does need to be done and we have to start standing up and taking action, not to fight one against the other, but to protect pregnant women and their unborn child. That is where we are failing in everything. We are failing them by not encouraging parenting above all else. By not getting the support out there these women need to continue their pregnancy and raise their children.

It isn’t right to believe abortion or adoption is the right answer. I don’t believe either one are. The right answer is to address the fears and desperation a pregnant woman goes through. To be willing to give or do more to help her and her child stay together. To demand our government take notice of what is happening to pregnant women from all sides and work to change it.

We need to be pro-parenting in every way that is possible. Until then, nothing will change in the world of abortion or adoption. Both will go on. Both will continue to cause damage. And both will place all women, who should be standing up together to fight, against one another instead of using our amazing strength and power to fight for a change all the way around.

Until we stop picking sides and seeing one as better than the other, I fear we will never get anywhere. But if we can come together and listen to each other, find solutions and realize it isn’t about us but about the pregnant woman and her child who is being terribly cheated in today’s world, I firmly believe we will make a huge difference for everything both sides are fighting for.

If we don’t, I fear, more and more women and children will continue to be hurt. The different sides will battle, both fighting on the pain both options cause without stepping back to realize no woman, no child, should ever be expected to go through such pain for ANY reason, no matter what side of the fence you might sit on.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Birthmother, Good Mother

I believe the NCFA (National Council For Adoption) is the devil in disguise. This organization as well as their buddies over at the FRC (Family Research Center) have their hands in so many lives struggling through their own personal adoption hell. And they do it all under the guise of caring and understanding. Of love and respect. Holding a hand out to a desperate, confused pregnant woman while using the other one to yank her baby away from her.

A while back, I wrote the post The Adoption Manual . This disgusting bit of material – a how-to on the best ways to convince a pregnant woman to give up her baby for adoption – is the handiwork of the FRC. Published in 2000, The Missing Piece, Adoption Counseling in Pregnancy Resource Centers , was created to help counselors who work with pregnant women push adoption as a “loving option” in the hopes of producing more available infants to feed the needs of the billion-dollar adoption industry.

For the NCFA, though, this must not have been enough. Teaming up with the FRC and wanting more, they hired Charles T. Kenny, Ph.D. from Right Brain People to use first/natural mothers - in the worst of ways - to research and study how best to convince a pregnant woman to give her baby up for adoption.

One hundred dollars is what the first/natural moms received for their “stories.” One hundred dollars and no information on why the study was being conducted or who was doing it. One hundred dollars to be blindfolded and led back to relive the trauma of losing their child to adoption. Using them to find the best ways to put more mothers through the same grief, the same loss. The same hell of adoption.

And through this, came another disgusting how-to manual - Birthmother, Good Mother . More proof that the halo they proclaim to carry is held up by the horns they truly wear.

Though I HATE giving a single penny to the NCFA, I ordered the book. It took over a year to even be able to do that. To find that place where I was prepared to sift through yet another publication created to cause more loss and grief to women who faced the same experience I did so many years ago.

And yet, I still thought I would be able to read through it with some separation between what I read and what I went through. I believed after I pushed myself through the pages, I’d be able to again, as I did with “The Missing Piece” be able to write about it in the form of “educating.”

But "Birthmother, Good Mother," hit me differently. The title alone, should have given me the first clue that it wasn’t going to be so easy to read what was inside. But I really wasn’t prepared for how it would feel to find their ways of manipulation in black and white and remember where that manipulation entered my life and changed it forever.

In so many areas, I was back there again, inside the adoption agency, sitting across from my counselor, being told the exact same things that are encouraged in this book. It was as if I was literally reading the script of what my counselor had in front of her. All the right things to say. The reasons why I would be such a terrible parent and someone else was better to raise my child.

I was there again, even though it was two decades before “Birthmother, Good Mother” ever came out. Was it through my experiences and those in my generation that they realized how good their tricks worked? Or is it because their tricks have been working for all these years and they continue to put them to their best use? I don’t know. All I know is over twenty years ago I was that pregnant woman who sat with somebody I thought I could trust, believe in. I was the one who was frightened and confused, looking for help and in return what I was offered was exactly what they promote in their “how-to” manual. I got somebody who already knew what to say to be sure I gave my son up. Somebody already trained, already set in the goal to discourage me from parenting and working hard on letting me “know” that the only way I would be a “GOOD” mother would be to lose my child.

The very first page of this disgusting manual reads . . .

Her Story of Heroic Redemption

Cause that is it, isn’t it. Women like me, like the many other first/natural moms out there, needed to find redemption for our terrible sins. We fell to such low, scums of the earth by getting pregnant that the only thing to save us was to take that step into adoption and be “heroes” for knowing how wrong we were and absolving our sins with the worst of all sacrifices – losing our children. Then we can be good again. Worthy of others liking us . . . loving us . . . respecting us.

As they say in their own words . . .

- - Choosing adoption enables birthmothers to see themselves in compassionate,noble and heroic terms, righting the WRONG and correcting the MISTAKE of their unplanned pregnancies. - -

- - In doing what is BEST for her child, she fulfills her NEED to see herself as a GOOD MOTHER and can ACCEPT the PAIN of relinquishment. In this way, she transforms the AGONY of the entire story into a REDEMPTIVE experience where she becomes a HEROINE in her own eyes and the eyes of others. - -

Because that is us. So shamed by the terrible act of pregnancy and giving birth that we can only be “GOOD” by clawing our way up onto the adoption pedestal. By knowing that, even though we screwed up, we can still save our souls by knowing that we will be acceptable once again through giving up our children for others to take care of. Others who are better than us. More successful. Richer. Married. Educated. Whatever it is that they have that we don’t. They are the better ones and more worthy of raising our children . . .

- - As they work through their conflicts, birthmothers eventually come to see that adoption is best for their children, They begin to see that adoption can provide the joy and security of family life for their children that they cannot. - -

Because we weren’t good enough for our own children? Because our supposive “mistakes” made us the bad people, the ones unworthy of raising our own children. Yes, let’s make sure they know that there is no way they can be a good mother to their children. Let’s show them how others are the better ones than them. What harm can that do? What possible damage can it cause to let a pregnant woman believe she will fail as a mother before her child is even born?

Except, just this week, my husband admitted to me how hurt he is when I still believe I am a bad parent after he does everything he can to tell me and show me that I am a good mother. It upsets him that after twenty-two years together, and him being the one who knows me better than anyone, I still can’t find a way to let his words give me confidence and will instead let the others who told me, over twenty years ago, that I wouldn’t be a good mother to my son, affect how I see myself to this day.

All those years ago, they wanted me to believe my only solution to being a “Good” mother was to lose my child to a “better” mother. But what the underlying truth was in their words was that I wasn’t good enough. I failed where others had succeeded. And those who carried the success, and not my failure, were the ones deserving of raising my child.

They like to stress in this manual the shame and embarrassment first/natural moms cause when they end up pregnant. Like to stress how adoption is our way of making up for that . . .

- - When a birthmother first discovered she was pregnant, she lost self-esteem and self-respect, feeling like a “bad girl” – stupid and immoral. - -

- - Adoption allows them (birthmothers) to MAKE AMENDS with their families and communities. Placing their children for adoption gives birthmothers a SECOND CHANCE and allows them to show that they are mature enough to take responsibility for their actions . . . she (the birthmother) believes that they will accept her and forgive her for her mistake. In addition, she (the birthmother) feels that adoption ALLOWS her to protect herself as well as HER FAMILY from the SHAME of single parenting.- -

NONE of my children were ever a mistake and NOBODY in my family ever led me to believe they were ashamed or embarrassed of me. The only person who made me feel “shame” for my “mistake” was my adoption counselor. She was the one who made sure I understood just how embarrassing it was to my parents for me to be pregnant at sixteen. She made sure I understood how my own close friends found it hard to be seen with someone who was so young and “pregnant.” She, over everyone else, made sure I understood clearly how terrible my act was. How shameful and wrong it was that I became pregnant while still so young, unmarried and unsuccessful.

And even if somebody is still stuck back in the dark ages of condemning a woman for unplanned pregnancies, so what?! It isn’t what others think of them. It’s how best to make sure they believe in themselves so they can recognize others thoughts do not dictate the person they are. Why would it ever be encouraged for a woman to lose her child forever because she has to somehow “make-up” for how others feel about her? They don’t matter. She matters. Her unborn child matters. But the thoughts of how “others” feel should NEVER matter!

But this whole great, loving act of adoption encourages pregnant women to have such feelings about themselves. They need us to doubt who we are . . . what we are. Need us to believe we will be failures before we ever try. Only then can they assure another baby for the waiting family writing the check. Only then can they guarantee the billions running into the adoption industry.

Which of course this manual also has an answer for as well . . .

- - The birthmother . . . often refers to adoption as an “industry,” rather than considering it a social service in the best interests of the child. - -

Yes, because those of us who actually hurt, suffer unending grief and live everyday with the truth of what adoption has brought to our lives just can’t see that adoption is really all about what is best for the child. That’s it. Money doesn’t matter. The kind of counseling they encourage doesn’t matter. What matters is that domestic infant adoption only has the best interests of the child involved and those of us who say otherwise are just bitter because we feel as if we weren’t treated “right." And of course, that is wrong, but it just doesn’t happen anymore . . .

- - Women should never feel forced into adoption, and when they are, the system has failed them. Thankfully, such occurrences have become quite rare. The younger birthmothers felt they had made their decisions voluntarily, and as a result, they “owned” their decision. - -

And how exactly do they encourage the “young birthmothers” to make this “free choice?” By making sure the pregnant mothers understand how parenting would be just a terrible, awful thing they are not prepared for and that adoption is a “GOOD and LOVING” choice . . .

- - Encourage them to act out those lives in their minds, including the LONG HOURS spent staying up with the colicky children only to be followed by even longer hours at work and school. - -

But, of course, don’t’ tell them what it is like to walk in the room and have your child hold out their arms to you, wanting only to be held and hugged by their mother. Don’t tell them about the excitement of your child’s first step, of that sweet, unforgettable sound of their padded diaper hitting the floor when they wobble and fall on their small rear sides.

Don’t tell a pregnant woman how many other mothers have said and continue to say every sacrifice they have made for their children is worth it. Don’t let them know that, yes, it won’t be easy and they will have tough times, but it is worth it for your child and the love you have for them.

Nope. Don’t tell them that. Instead make sure they understand how truly hard and awful it will be if they try to raise their child on their own. Stress how unprepared and wrong they are for being the ones to raise their OWN CHILDREN . . .

- - Birthmothers know that they would be stressed from maintaining a job and handling the challenges of single parenting. They fear their child would suffer from her emotional instability. - -

And if that doesn’t work, go for the extreme . . .

- - The stress from single parenting would be so great that they could become abusive and physically harmful to their children. - -

I could go on and on but I’m afraid this post will get to that length that it becomes too much to read and loses those who have followed along so far.

So I will try my best to wrap up my point and hope others will see, and hear, and feel what kind of tricks the adoption industry not only uses, but has no reservations about encouraging such uses, to ensure more available infants for hopeful adoptive couples.

There is much more to their “suggestions.” Like, in so many areas of adoption, they, of course, have to bring God and his “plan” into it . . .

- - (Quoted from a first/natural mother) – “I believe it is divine intervention. We believe there is a reason for everything.” (Which the manual then points out) This birthmother sees her child as a gift from God to a childless couple. Birthmothers’ faith also allows them to feel reassured about their adoption decisions. - -

And if all of that doesn’t work, if in the end, all their tricks fall on deaf ears the minute the pregnant woman holds her child in her arms, they have their final ammunition. The very thing that sent my son home with another set of parents when all I wanted was to keep him. The trick they know will, more often than not, work in the end and battle against the love and desire to parent a mother feels the minute her child is first placed in her arms . . .

- - As the process moves along, birthmothers begin to see their babies as belonging to the adoptive parents and not to them. - -

This insight doesn’t come as a problem to be addressed. Something that shouldn’t happen and is so wrong to put any women through. The above statement comes under their section titled, “Birthmothers’ Resolved Feelings and Beliefs about Adoption that ENABLE Them to Choose Adoption.”

This is part of what they see as a “GOOD” thing. A feeling they encourage and see as the right reasons for a woman to lose her child. They use this quote from a first/natural mother to prove just how “right” this practice is . . .

- - “I tell myself the baby is not mine. This baby is not for me . . . I thought more about the couple and what they would think about when I gave them the baby.” - -

I was her. I was that woman who put the adoptive parents feelings before my own. In the hospital, I wanted my son. I wanted to take him home with me. I wanted to be his mother. But I didn’t. I walked into that nursery and placed him in his adoptive mother’s arms because I knew how she felt and felt like a monster for taking away the child SHE wanted. Her feelings were what ultimately made my decision.

I hated myself. Still do at times. I didn’t lose my son because in the end I believed I wouldn’t be a good mother but because I felt terrible for hurting the couple who wanted to raise him as their own. I put their feelings before all else and have had to struggle with that knowledge, that failure of my own strength and ability to fight for my son, my entire life.

And yet, the devils that are the NCFA encourage this very thing. See it as a way to ENABLE a pregnant woman to give up her child for life. They like it. Want it. And don’t give a damn of how wrong it is.

Throughout this entire manual they stress time and time again that adoption is “freely chosen” by a pregnant woman. That it is her “voluntary” decision. And yet they started off by paying to have research done to figure out how best to convince a woman to choose adoption. They encourage over and over again the “greatness” of adoption without ever listing a single risk that comes with it.

Over and over again they stress how a bad mother is one who chooses to raise her OWN child and the only way to be “GOOD” is to give your child up. To admit you are a failure, unable to be any other kind of mother to your own child and that only someone else “better” than you will also be a “better” mother for your child . . .

- - Help potential birthmothers see that choosing adoption can be what it means to be the best mother possible. Encourage them to consider their babies’ needs and their own desire to do what is best for their babies. -

And this encouragement, in their mind comes with having the pregnant woman write down what her concerns are . . . school, money, etc . . . but instead of presenting both options to her fairly by informing her of the different means that exist to help a pregnant mom with finances and schooling, it is only suggested to point out how she isn’t good enough because of these concerns. NOTHING is mentioned in this manual about how to help them look into their options of parenting as well. NOTHING is mentioned of how parenting can also be a good option. Only adoption. That is the ONLY option that will make a pregnant woman a GOOD mother.

And as they encourage negative talk about parenting, they also encourage only positive stories of adoption . . .

- - Put together a book of meditations for pregnant women who have decided to place babies for adoption. These books could include a variety of birthmother stories that reassure women with unplanned pregnancies that adoption was right for many other women with similar circumstances and may be right for them. - -

Sounds a lot like the book I talked about in my Dear Birthmother post. Of course, there is no mention in letting them also know of the other truths I also listed in that post. Don’t dare tell them about the other side of adoption. Don’t let them know about the grief, the trauma so many first/natural moms go through.

Don’t dare to mention that adoption might cause ANY problems with adoptees. In fact it is much better to not even mention a single thing adoptees are saying about some of the problems they face by being adopted and instead just continue to assure the pregnant mom that her child will NEVER have any problems by being adopted. Will ALWAYS love her and never feel as if they were abandoned.

And all this while declaring over and over again how the pregnant woman, of course, has free choice.

This just needs to stop. The acceptance of such things isn’t right. Why does the majority of society continue to see such actions, such manipulation as acceptable? Why do they support pushing adoption on a pregnant woman without thought to the risks involved?

We are cheating so many mothers and their children. Leaving them helpless in the hands of those who believe they are better than them and use this belief to control their decisions in any way they can. And when they are done, they toss them carelessly to the corner since they are no longer of use.

We can’t keep doing this. Can’t keep letting it happen. I hate to think of first/natural moms twenty years from now suffering as I, and so many others have. I can’t stand the thought that it will still be allowed to happen. That money will still dictate how we treat human beings and that it really isn’t that hard, even in today’s world, for a powerful side to control and force a “common” outlook of those on the weaker side without question to what their motives are.

Nobody deserves to be treated in such a way. So why does it continue to, not only happen, but be so widely accepted in society today?

When will we stop fighting for the good of the adoption industry and start fighting for the good of keeping mother and children together?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

One Year Old

It’s been a year since I started this blog.

A year of change. Of ups and downs. Of worrying I may never see my oldest son again to adopting him back as my own.

When I try to think of a word to describe the past year. A simple, single saying to explain the last year. I come up with only one . . .


I’ve learned good. I’ve learned bad. I’ve learned more of who I am. Of who my oldest son is and what his life has been.

It’s a part of life, I know, seeking and learning, no matter what age you might be. But this past year, at times, feels like an overdose of it. An up and down of so much information to sort through, absorb and try to shift somehow into my life.

When I wrote my first post, Adoption Warfare I was still so unsure about my life and where it was headed.

Before ever putting words to that post, a year had passed since I had experienced any true contact with my oldest son, after months of the normal “honeymoon” reunion stage. A year since my need to deny my own grief had anything to do with adoption turned me instead into believing my marriage was what failed me and, for a space in time, believing a divorce was my answer to find that elusive happiness I spent the majority of my life trying to find.

In that year before my first post, I found a great therapist, was invited into an online support group that offered me miracles I can’t even describe. And slowly but surely, I came to grasp the very real knowledge of what was happening to me and the understanding of denial, PTSD and how the trauma of losing my child affected my life for so many long years.

When I sent that post for the first time into cyber world, I did it with the knowledge of how much I had grown, learned and come to accept in my adoption journey. What I didn’t know was how much still waited for me on the other side.

So now I come back to the life I have lived in this past year. Of seeing where, and who, I was in the month of May 2008, compared to where I am now. What has changed, what has not, and where do I fit it all into the future that still lies ahead of me.

I can see some areas where my life, and my own personal feelings, doubts, outlook . . . etc . . . have changed. And some areas where . . . not so much.

I still struggle with the fear of making someone “mad” at me. Still fight that feeling of being “less than” to those who I have upset or angered because I said or did something wrong . . . if only I had done or said the “right” thing, I would be accepted for who I am.

But I have been able to recognize that insecurity more than ever before when it settles in. Recognize it and remind myself that I don’t sit at the bottom of the totem pole just because I might have done or said something others don’t agree with. That someone not agreeing with me, my words, or my actions, does not automatically put them in authority or make me “less” of a person because I might have upset them.

I have realized I can never be, and no one ever is, perfect. We all make mistakes, decisions that aren’t the best at the time. It’s normal. Happens to everyone. And nobody, regardless of how they might seem or are represented, is without their own faults and mistakes. The exterior of those around us never fully represents the full truth of what happens behind closed doors, where peering eyes aren’t there to judge your every movement.

But, even with that knowledge, it hasn’t completely chased away the “better than” battle I have fought for over two decades. That terrible feeling in my gut I still get on occasion when I drive or walk down the streets of my typical middle age, middle class neighbor, see the moms in their baseball caps, pushing their strollers, watch them talking and gossiping with one another at the school, waiting to pick up their children.

The moms, my age, waiting for their oldest child who is in the same grade as my youngest. The ones who, so often in my mind, did it right. Did everything I failed at because they went through the sequence of love, marriage, career and THEN children. They became what I failed at all those years ago, while still so young myself. Became the “good” people because they did everything right in the areas where I did it all wrong.

On sensible terms, I know it isn’t true. Understand my feelings stem from my being labeled a shameful failure with my very first step into parenting. And in my year of learning, I am finding better ways to recognize these feelings, to work through them so they don’t control my life.

But on the weak days, when too many emotional punches have been thrown, I still struggle, still hate and doubt who I am as a person, wife and mother. On those days, I don’t feel as if I have grown at all and am nothing more than the failure I believed I was all those years ago when pregnant with my oldest son.

But the year has also brought changes and miracles I never dared to believe I would find.

I can, and often do, stand at the bedroom doors of ALL my children, watching them sleep, amazed at the very fact I am able to do so. I sit back, at times during our dinners, savoring the sight of my three boys and only daughter together, joking and teasing, loud and boisterous. Being everything I had always dreamed my family would be.

That is, over all else, my miracle for the year – for my life. It is a moment I will never forget or disregard. An amazing change that I will forever treasure and hold on to as I, and my children, grow older, change and reach different areas of our life.

It hasn’t changed my extreme fear of losing my children. Hasn’t taken away that terrible fear that there might be another mother out there that is better for them. But it has filled a part of that hole of emptiness that has lived in my heart for so long. Has given a thin buffer against the never replaceable loss my son and I suffered during the years we were separated.

And yet, it’s also brought with it another kind of learning. A sickening reality of what my oldest son has gone through. Of the years of abuse. Facing demons I was helpless to protect him from.

Of all the things I have learned in this past year, my son’s pain has been the hardest. There is a dark moment I can’t even put into words when you struggle with the knowledge of your child, who came from you, was literally a part of you for those nine months of pregnancy, facing an ugliness you can never change.

It is so hard to explain that feeling of knowing even though your child came from you, is so much a part of you, you weren’t there to save him in his worst time of need. Mother’s are designed to create and nurture life. To protect, from the day of conception, the life so closely weaved with our own.

To fail that in any way. To feel the guilt of knowing your child’s dark path started with an action you did, for whatever reason, becomes a pain embedded inside of you that will never fully go away. It’s a clash against everything you are supposed to be and do for your child. A shadow always looming with the ugly truth of not being able to take them into your arms, close to you again, to block the hurt and fight against anyone who would dare to cause it.

But that shadow, I have also learned, cannot be allowed to control me, and most importantly, it cannot be allowed to control my son. And of all things I have learned this past year, the hardest, but most important, is the realization that there has to be a balance between accepting and facing the past and living every day lost in the memory of what has happened in the days before that can never be changed.

It’s hard not to allow the anger over what happened to myself and, especially, my son, rule the steps of our life as we have them now. But it is equally as hard to fight off the temptation to bury myself back into that denial I carried with me for so many years and pretend, with my oldest son back, that none of it ever happened. That I never knew different than the loud, loving, always active house I enjoy now with ALL four of my children.

Anger and denial are two very tempting states to grasp on to. But neither are good for anyone. I can continue to speak out against adoption but I can’t be angry at everyone just because of who they might represent in my mind. I can allow my son his own anger at his adoptive mom for what he has gone through, but I can never fall into the line that encourages that anger from my side or takes away the fact that she is still his mother as well and the man he is today is a part of both myself and his adoptive mom, and good or bad, he is two families who made him one.

So, for my next year, I hope, with my learning, I will find the way to be the best mom possible to all my children. I will find that balance between accepting what has happened without giving it power in my life that it doesn’t deserve. And I will continue to build my confidence in what I say and not allow my own insecurities or old beliefs of others somehow being better than me, silence my own experience or push me back into that dark corner where I remained for so many years.

I don’t have to fight in the extreme area but I also don’t have to allow guilt or fear silence my voice for what I truly believe in. Even outside of mine and my son’s experience, I know the practice of adoption in today’s world is wrong. I know the child is too often forgotten in the process and that there has to be better answers out there to help children who truly need homes without taking away who and what they are while still supporting and encouraging parenting as the most important option of all.

And those beliefs are what I hope my next year brings. Every day changes and brings new challenges and this past year has been an up and down of those. But I know, also, that I can’t know or count on what the next year will bring. All I can know is that I need to find the strength to believe in myself and my beliefs while always putting my children’s needs first and offering ALL of them the steps into their future that they deserve.

I will fail and succeed, but perhaps, in this next year, I might actually have learned more to help me work through the three-hundred-sixty-five days lying ahead of me.