Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Power Of Words

My Italian grandfather – Grandpa Joe – was one of the best people in my life for the fourteen short years I was blessed to know him. During that time, I was his one and only grandchild which left me open for all his attention . . . in other words, spoiling.

And my grandfather was one of those characters who loved his little “tales.” Those white lies only grandparents can get away with like when a light bulb burns out it means somebody has told a lie. I can’t tell you how many times, as a little girl, I would rush frantically back through everything I had said during the course of the day to make sure I wasn’t the one being, “caught.”

But the tale I remember the most. The one that sticks with me to this day and I would probably still believe had I not been in a situation where my grandfather had to finally come clean with the truth was his so-called warning that if well water ever touched you, your skin would wrinkle up and shrivel away.

To this day, I still can’t figure out what encouraged him to tell such a story, especially since he had to have known, with a well in his backyard, that sooner or later I was bound to come into contact with well water.

And I did, one warm, summer day, when I was about ten years old. Grandpa Joe was watering the front yard and the spray of the water hit the edge of the path leading to the door. I thought I could beat the stream before it came back around, sneak inside with no damage done. But I wasn’t successful and water splattered my arm just as I was getting through the screen.

Oh the fear after that. I remember watching my arm, waiting for my skin to shrivel up. I didn’t know what it would look like, but I KNEW it would happen and it just couldn’t possibly be a pretty sight.

I don’t recall how my grandmother found out what had happened. But I do remember her dragging my grandfather into the kitchen and insisting he tell me the truth. I remember my grandfather’s guilt for scaring me earning me a trip to the ice cream parlor for a DOUBLE scoop cone. And I remember, most of all, being relieved that my skin was going to stay intact and there would be no wrinkling or shriveling involved.

So what does Grandpa Joe, well water and ice cream have to do with adoption . . .

It’s the relation of the power in our words. In what we believe, when we haven’t experienced it ourselves and base our opinions, fears and acceptance, on what others tell us.

Some, like my grandfather, truly mean no harm and never intend to hurt anyone. Others don’t seem to care if they cause harm or not as long as they can get others to hear them, believe them, and promote their agenda for whatever it is they seek.

In my last post, Sadness Not Allowed, there were some interesting comments that spurred the beginning thoughts for this post . . . brought about the need to see how we so often believe what we hear from others, especially those we respect and trust and would never think to question what they say – even when it is something as far-fetched as shriveling skin or the “roses and sunshine” tale of adoption.

Could you imagine the reaction I would have gotten if I had come across another little girl who perhaps spent her summers running through those sprinklers of well water? Could you imagine what she would have to say if I told her that her skin was going to wrinkle up and shrivel away? To me, I would have believed it because that was what I was told by my grandfather who I trusted and had no reason to doubt. For her, it would have been ridiculous to hear because she had actually experienced it, knew what it was like and had no knowledge of anything relating to what I had been told and was spouting off as truth.

Which is exactly what many first/natural moms and adoptees face over and over again in the world of adoption.

Organizations like the NCFA (National Council for Adoption) and the FRC (Family Research Council) along with various religious leaders and even those in the media and news outlets, claim they know the truth of how adoption has affected us. They stand up and declare they are speaking for us, know what is best for the poor pregnant woman facing an unplanned pregnancy.

They are respected, trusted by many in society, and so their words are believed, accepted as fact.

And not only are they accepted. They are repeated. Over and over again. In real life. On blogs. In online forums. Like a script society owns and reads from, word for word. A broken record those who have lost and suffered hear so often it at times brings about the need to crash our head against a wall in frustration . . .

**Adoption is a wonderful, loving option. **

**A baby is so hard to take care of at your age. You are going to lose your childhood if you decide to parent.**

**There are so many great, loving couples out there who can’t have children of their own and would love to adopt an infant.**

**Your child will be grateful and thank you for giving him or her a chance at a better life.**

**Children are better off being raised in a two parent home.**

**You will go on and be able to finish school, get married and have more children.**

**Your child deserves better than you can offer at this point in your life.**

**Adoption is a selfless and brave act.**

**Women who choose adoption for their children are happy and satisfied they did the best for their child.**

And on and on and on and on it goes. The very same things heard everywhere. The very same beliefs. Repeated like a constant drone. Never changing. Never altering for the truth and experience of so many others. Just the facts, as so many see it, told to them by those who claim to know even if they have never walked in our shoes.

And they are believed. Unquestioned by so many. To the point that we who have been there, lived a life of loss and grief, struggled with the true pain of adoption, are the ones doubted. The ones so many refuse to listen to.

Our words are not trusted because we are not to be believed in the same respect as those who claim to “know.” And so the cycle repeats itself. The power of the words continues in a never-ending circle without the true experience of so many others being taken into light.

Because, just as I wondered with Grandpa Joe, why would they tell such a “tale?” Why would they lie, create something that wasn’t true? If you believe in the greatness of the person telling you, how can you possibly see any reason for them to do anything but tell the complete truth?

And so you get the little girl I was insisting to the other little girl running through the sprinklers that she is the one who is wrong. She is the one who doesn’t know because I believe what someone else has told me, even if I have never experienced it myself. I know, because that is what someone I trusted gave me as fact so how in the world can you, someone I don’t know or trust, be right.

That is the up and down, over and around, reality of adoption. Some, like my grandfather, will realize how their words have actually hurt another who has experienced it and realize the fear or pain they caused. Others, because of a need to hold on to such beliefs, will try to argue with those who have gone through the experience. And still others, simply won’t care because they have their own agenda, their own needs to fulfill.

And in that, those of us who have true experiences will continue to battle those who claim to speak for us. Those of us who know better will stand up to the beliefs of what is best for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy.

We are the ones who are and will continue to counter what others spread as truth. Because we know better. We have run through the sprinkler, come out on the other side, and know exactly what we went through along the way.


  1. Cassi,

    I liked the last part, that
    "We are the ones who are and will continue to counter what others spread as truth. Because we know better. We have run through the sprinkler, come out on the other side, and know exactly what we went through along the way."

    All others NEED to keep their mouths shut. They KNOW nothing of the tragedy that adoption brings, to the dyad.


  2. Wow talk about the power of words. You beat up on those who believe adoption is a great thing and who have probably saved so many children by speaking up about it and letting others know what an important act it is while using the power of your own words to demean the truth of adoption and encourage more women to kill their children through abortion or set them up for a life of abuse and neglect because you encourage them to parent when they are obviously uncapable of doing so.

    Do the lives of the unborn really mean that little to you that you would encourage such thinking and place so many innocent children into death or terrible childhoods because you don't like adotpion? That is so wrong and unfair to those kids who deserve a good family to take care of them and love them and give them everything they deserve that, for whatever reason, their own parents could not or would not do. --Sue--

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  4. And another thing oh deeply uneducated one aka anonymous, pray tell me where Cassi states it is okay to abort as I missed that part and having re-read her post, can still see nowhere the words "Have an abortion". Can't tell me? Gees, I guess thats because SHE DIDN'T SAY THAT.


  5. Cassi, what a beautifully written post. You have gently pointed out how others who have no clue what they are talking about effects others and the course of their lives. Brilliant, awesome post.

    To the idiot above me, you are a prime example of this post, speaking about what you know nothing of. You talk about the lives of unborn children, you have no care for them other than what you can get from them and you promote one of the biggest forms of child abuse around: Adoption. So until you have a clue what we are on about, you should either keep your mouth (or fingers) shut and do some research or stay away.

    Separating a mother and child so needlessly which is what adoption is ONLY about in 9/10 cases is the worst abuse imaginable. Seeing as you so obviously have no experience with this or if you have are stuck in the denial fog, then you really have no grounds to speak on.


  6. Cassi,

    Mentions, those words,

    "Those of us who know better will stand up to the beliefs of what is best for a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy"

    that trigger so many, those who hunting down women who are pregnant, those who go to "crisis" pregnancy centers,where a young mom to be might think there would
    be some type of help. Instead, they find people, including paps and mother's who still live in lala land thinking they are so "good" that they gave their baby away to a better home. Live a few years, maybe 15 or so and then talk to me about your "wonderful" actions, those who have religion and think saving a baby, is adopting, those who have raised their children, and decide they NEED to provide a home because they are empty.

    And those who think that the world is filled with children who are orphans, in truth, the world is filled, with poor women who cannot even afford, to live themselves, while the country they live in exploits, the children that are born or stolen there for the adoption frenzy fed by Americans, and others around the world.

    My question is wouldn't it be more beneficial to help an poor mother and her baby stay together instead of taking her baby?

    Hey, religious people get your church to support some mothers, thereby, keeping mothers and babies together, NO,,that wouldn't work as there are too many women on the hunt for other women's babies, and adoption is going to save the world's children instead it is going to displace, children with little or no roots from their country but who cares as long as a
    woman can get a baby, any, baby, they get what they want and to hell with the baby or mother.

    I don't mince words, adoption tears apart families, mothers and babies, and tries to create something that only a higher power can create. That higher power doesn't make mistakes, or to those who adopt he does, they just make the corrections to suit themselves.

  7. Anon Above - It is sad that there are so many who will believe they are actually doing the best thing when it comes to their push for adoption and are unware or ignore the pain and grief it can and does cause.

    I think so many of them carry their beliefs because others who claim they are experts without ever experiencing the loss adoption causes tells them such things as truth. They need others to see adoption in their "happy" light so they can continue to create the profits they earn.

    I do believe too, though, that there are some who do begin to listen and learn what they were told was wrong. They do begin to realize there is so much more involved than they were led to believe. Unfortunately, when that happens and they too begin to speak out, all too often, they face the same anger, the same arguments of how wrong they are that so many of us have been subject to whenever we tell our truths of adoption.

    In adoption, so many simply want to resist any hint of the pain and loss it creates.

  8. YTS - you are so right. Those who haven't experienced the terrible loss of a child through adoption and refuse to listen or believe those of us who do share our experience, should just plain and simply keep quiet instead of spreading more myths and lies.

    ***pointed out how others who have no clue what they are talking about effects others and the course of their lives***

    Myst - YES EXACTLY! That is it in a nutshell. All those tales that exist out there in adoption that others so casually toss around can and so often do affect others lives in so many terrible ways.

  9. Anon(Sue) - I'm not even going to respond to the accusations you made about my promoting abortion, abuse and neglect!

    The lives of the unborn - as you put it - deserve first and foremost to be raised by their mothers. MANY women who surrendered their child are amazing moms and more than capable of raising their children and are doing a great job of parenting their other children. All they needed was help and support to keep the child they lost. They needed those around them to recognize how important it was to prevent separation between them and their child instead of encourage it with false tales from those who wanted only to profit from their loss.

  10. No one here is promoting abortion or abuse... we are simply talking about the pain of losing a child to adoption. And most of these adoptions are completely unnecessary.

  11. Maybe is 100% right! I couldn't have said it any better!

  12. I am so sick of religions, that say a woman must carry a baby.

    Then when the mother does carry the baby, they want to take it away because there are "two parent" waiting to adopt.

    religions need to stick with religious "teachings" and actually "help" mothers keep their babies instead of going into the baby selling business!

    If they can't make enough off donations, they must resort to baby selling, to keep the hypocrisy going in the religious aspect of helping themselves to someone else's child.

  13. I continue to be flabbergasted at some of the comments I read on first mother and adult adoptee sites. Thanks for this post, Cassi. It gave me food for thought.

    (Oh, and do you ever share your e-mail address? For the record, I do keep those I have private.)

  14. Hey Sue - what if abortion was never a plan for the mother? What if she had actually WANTED to raise her own child?