Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sadness Not Allowed

You know, it always comes at us . . . the ones who dare to speak out about adoption in contrast to the “rosy” light it is portrayed in. We are negative. Just taking one personal bad experience, our own, and generalizing all adoptions that way.

How could we?

Why would we dare to say anything that wasn’t happy and good about adoption?

We are the evil ones. Those of us who have suffered such great loss. We are terrible monsters, speaking up in such a “negative” way. Painting adoption in a different light than the great, amazing act it supposively is.

We are the ones who need to be silenced.

They travel our way from their own stories of how great and amazing adoption is. Visit our words, our stories, our blogs, to tell us how we are wrong for our own feelings and experiences. Label us with the ever so popular “negative” button that diminishes our very real truths, places us in a lower category than their own experience that is so happy. So fulfilling. So amazing because of how much they have gained through adoption.

And the rest of us . . . we’re the bad ones. The ones who are doing wrong by sharing our sides, our opinions, our very real experiences.

We need to sit down and shut up. We need to realize that there are so many out there who have gained through adoption and be aware of their happiness while they want to silence our sorrow.

We are wrong.

Just as we have been from the first moment of conception.

We are the ones who need to step back and say nothing, because we didn’t have a voice before. Why should we have it now?

Why should anyone care or want to listen about those of us that have hurt and suffered at the hands of adoption?

Why should that make a difference when there are so many out there who have gained and seen such wonderful results?

Our pain, our loss, our complete denial of help and support when we needed it most, doesn’t matter in the least bit when it comes to making sure adoption is still seen in the great “happy” light as it always has been.

And be damned if what we went through is enough to fight for changes. To actually see the true light of how adoption has harmed so many. Our stories don’t matter. They don’t need to be heard. Because all we are doing is being unfair to the many who have gained through adoption and they are the ones who matter. The ones society wants to listen to.

Why the hell should we make changes just because people have been, and still are, hurt by the process of adoption. That fact doesn’t matter, right?

And why should it when it’s the gain of others that dictate the process.

Because really, why should anything be changed that causes such drastic pain and loss. That brings about severe loss and grief to the point that some have taken their own lives, believed that not living was better than existing day to day with the constant reality that is adoption.

Those people are unimportant when it comes to the grand scheme of things. Their stories, their heartache, really doesn’t matter because what is most important is keeping adoption in a good light.

Sure we might lose some wonderful people. And, of course, there are those who will suffer and grieve their entire lives. But really, what are they and their lives worth in the glorious picture of adoption?

Why even consider changing anything when obviously, the lives of those who have been affected mean so little to those who can wake up every morning thankful for how adoption has, and will, bless their own, deserving and amazing life?

20 comments:

  1. This post is so right on the money.

    We as mothers were expendable, our babies a commodity to help those who couldn't have their own. Our rights were thrown aside, while our innocent baby were used to satisfy another woman's needs.

    Adoption has created more heartache and pain than many diseases. It kills those that live with the abuses created, by sealing records. Many adoptee's have died wanting to be in touch with a relative. To just see or know what their families were like,needing the love from their family torn apart by the wonderful act of adoption.

    Oh, and I am considered "bitter" by some. I really don't care, if one can't see the wrongs in adoption, and most people that adopt can't then they can call me whatever. I will NEVER change my thoughts and feelings about the abuse of adoptions, and the non rights of those most affected the DYAD, mother and child.

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  2. Agreed, I really have no interest in hearing about how "beautiful" and "amazing" adoption is.

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  3. Very well put.

    Too bad the people who think this way don't have the SPINE to read your blog, or my blog,
    or the blogs of adoptees.

    They're too content with their rose colored glasses on.

    They don't want to hear reality.

    They want to hear how wonderful they are for rescuing helpless babies from a horrible life with their natural families.

    cowards!

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  4. Cassi,

    I'm glad that you didn't "sit down and shut up," that you are sharing your truth. You are reaching people who need to hear what you have to say, though there are many more who couldn't be reached even with a 2x4 across the head!

    Keep up the good work.

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  5. Hey Cassi,

    Of course they label us negative... what else can they do. We don't fit in with their happy clappy views and we speak so much truth it scares them to their core and they HAVE to come up with a label to dismiss us so they can keep justifying the evils they commit. They console themselves with thinking we are just bitter women, 'negative'. Truth is, most of us have gone on to lead normal lives that no one would guess we carry this huge wound and injustice with us.

    Speaking up about our injustice doesn't fit the box of okay because if our injustice were to be recognised for what it is, it would shut down the evil practise that is adoption; expecially infant adoption and those 'poor innocent' people who cannot have their own babies wouldn't get what they want... a baby at any cost.

    I wear the fact I am labelled as a badge of honour. Its shows I didn't give in; didn't give up for my girl's sake. I will fight these morons until I die if it means no other mother and child have to suffer as we have.

    Well written Cassi, and well done for standing up to those imbeciles.

    Myst xxx

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  6. I understand what you are saying Cassi. I feel the same frustrations sometimes- as an adoptive parent. I’ve devoted my blog to writing about the complexities of adoption and often feel I am writing into a void. I’ve narrowed my blog reading down to blogs like yours, adult adoptees and adoptive parents – like Malinda and Margie @ Third Mom- who are exploring the complexities and not hiding from the hard stuff. There are frighteningly few blogs where all members of the triad converge and have respectful and insightful discussions.

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  7. I assume that this blog was directed at my comments from your last post. And I will not post here if open discussion is not wanted. Just let me know and this will be my last post.

    I never said that you shouldn't post your story (your truth) or fight for certain changes in adoption practices. I asked only that you do not generalize.

    There is a big difference in "domestic adoption hurt me and it hurt my son" and "adoption is bad" "adoption is an evil practice" "adoption is always only to the benefit of the adopter" "I'd do anything to help a natural mother keep her child" "all Christians who are involved in adoption are evil".

    And those are not meant to be direct quotes, but rather general impressions that I gathered from the original post and the comments.

    What would you tell a 15 year old girl who was pregnant...had no support from the father or any adults in her life and didn't want to have an abortion?

    You COULD tell her, it's a very serious decision. My son and I had a very bad experience, and if you are considering adoption here are some things that can happen that you should think about.

    But what I hear from your blog instead is "Don't EVER consider adoption. I suffered from it...my son suffered from it. So did alot of other people. Adoption is always a bad thing. People who want to adopt are selfish and bad people."

    All I was trying to do by posting about my life was show you that it isn't always a bad thing.

    I live an example where the adoptive parents are happy, the adopted children are happy, one of the birth parents is happy (Birth Dad)...and one is too enmeshed in drug addiction to care (Birth Mom).

    If the 15 year old came to me. I'd probably tell her that it would be very difficult on her and the child if she chose to parent. It's possible to do it, but she'd be giving up alot of her own childhood. Either decision she makes will likely impact her for the rest of her life. I would tell her that the are a lot of stable, loving couples out there who would like to parent. And if she goes that route to chose carefully, and only chose a family who is interested in an open adoption. And I would tell her that she's the only one who can make the choice for herself. If she asked my opinion, I would encourage her to go with adoption, and chose the family wisely.

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  8. Julie,

    This post was not in direct reference to your comments on my last post. It was not in response to any one person's words at all but a collection of the many times I, and others, are told we are just being negative or harming adoption because we speak out about it. My blog is not the only place where I, or others, talk about the "other side" of adoption.

    I know others will and have disagree with what I write here, and I don't mind having civilized discussions from one side and the other (as I believe occured in my last post). You are very much entitled to have your say, as well and I would never discourage that as long as it is done respecfully - which it was. Infact, I'm not surprised, but disapointed that the response I left on the blog I linked to here was not published. To me THAT is the cowards way out to restrict any conflicting messages from getting through. And for the record, though I disagreed with the writer of that blog, I feel my response was respectful.

    So, my long answer to that question is - No. This was not a direct reply to your last comment left on the other post and I was not trying to discourage you from having a voice here.

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  9. As for your other questions - I will try to answer them here but may need to come back to some, depending on time (my daughter and I have a date for the swimming pool soon.)

    When I talk about adoption here on my blog, it is not to "generalize" anything. It is to expose the other side of adoption that is expected to be kept a "secret" from others, especially expectant mothers. The happy stories are out there everywhere. The media loves those kind of stories and has no problem with splashing them all over the place. And usually when you hear about anything negative about adoption, it is more of how adoptive parents suffered a failed adoption or an expectant woman is being charged with fraud for taking money from a couple and promising them her baby. I will admit there does seem to be more stories now about some of the problems with International Adoption, but even those stories seem to make little impact on so many.

    I don't believe there is good in the act of adoption and I won't promote good for it. No matter what the stories, adoption starts with loss and grief. Yes, there are many who are happy AFTER adoption (and I do believe the majority of them are adoptive parents) but the fact still remains there isn't anything happy in adoption itself and what leads up to it. How can there be when for whatever reason, seen as justified or not, a mother and child are separated from one another and the child must form new attachments to another family that, in most cases, are strangers to them in the beginning and lose their rights to their own records from before they were adopted.

    But I do not believe EVERY adoptive parent is a terrible person (and for the record, I personally do not use the term adopters because I know some are offended by it. I also stopped using the abbreviation PAP's for the same reason.) My blog roll has sites from adoptive mothers that I respect and genuinely like. No, we don't always agree on everything adoption related but I believe they have important things to say about adoption as well. I don't generalize them all into one big bad category.

    That does not mean though that there aren't many adoptive parents who I do not respect and who I believe refuse to see ANYTHING but the "rosy" side of adoption and will jump quick to try and discredit those who do speak out about it.

    If I'm generalizing because I do not speak well of them, or because I think the process of actively pursuing a pregnant woman in the hopes of getting her unborn child is predatory and wrong, than I will just have to accept that title, because I cannot talk good about adoptive parents and hopeful adoptive couples who act in such a way.

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  10. As I stated before, with the foster care adoptions, there are differences than in domestic infant adoption - which is the main topic of my blog. But we do need to also be aware of the corruption that can and does happen in foster care as well.

    I don't have answers for solutions to either International Adoption or Foster Care Adoption. All I have there is a growing awareness of "darker" side as well. But I don't often speak up about changes for those areas because I don't know enough yet to feel as if my voice is strong enough to be heard.

    But for domestic infant adoption - you are right - I do have a very determined view on it and what I want to see happen to it. And this is one of those areas where I do risk upsetting some of those adoptive moms I respect because I know my view is different here and I know of atleast one who did adopt domestically and I think she is a great person. BUT, I personally do believe the majority of those adoptions are unneccessary and wrong and should never happen. And again, if that is generalizing, than I will take the title. I believe EVERY mother should be given the opportunity to try parenting their child before EVER even coming close to considering adoption. I believe a pregnant woman deserves help to keep and raise her child and should never feel as if she has no choice but to surrender her baby because she doesn't have the help and support she, and most importantly her child, deserve. And I fully think it is wrong to encourage adoption as the answer to an unplanned pregnancy.

    For the fifteen year old girl, I would tell her of my experience. I would also tell her of the experiences of so many other first/natural moms who have lost their children in the same way. I would encourage her to learn about how adoptees can be affected by adoption. How the adoption industry uses manipulative and coercive tactics to try and get her to give up her child and that they will push that she can not be a good mother unless she loses her child to adoption.

    I would never tell her about hopeful couples who would love to have a baby because that is not her, or any other pregnant woman's responsibility to provide babies for those who can't. I would not tell her someone else would be a better mother than her or that she would be cheating her child out of a good life if she raised him or her themselves.

    I would make sure she knew of EVERY place she could go to for help. I would tell her it won't be easy while getting her support from other moms who have been in her situation and who made it and don't regret it at all. And I would, though it might not settle well with some, point out that her child didn't ask to be here but now that he or she is coming it is up to her to take on the responsibility and do everything she can to raise her child and give her child the best life that SHE can offer. Not count on someone else to do that or believe someone else would be better at it.

    And finally, I would warn her that open adoptions are not legally binding and can be closed at any time and she could lose her child all over again. I would tell her that even adoptions that do stay open are not easy and can create their own problems and that she has no way of knowing the true worth of anyone after just knowing them for a few months of her pregnancy. And situations do change and adoptive parents can also divorce, face poverty, battle addictions and abuse their children and that the only way to be 100% sure of how her child will be raised is to do it herself.

    I would encourage and help and support parenting LONG before the word "adoption" would even enter my vocabulary.

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  11. Okay, off to the pool. Just wanted to say, I am not generalizing, I am stating and fight for what I believe in my heart is right. I think the best place for a child is with his or her mother. If, sadly, abuse or neglect, make that impossible, than I believe a child should not have to lose everything from their past in order to be accepted into a new family. I believe their heritage, their roots, their own personal story should be respected and encouraged as part of their development.

    I believe adoption just simply cannot be pushed as a "happy" solution. I know from your experience, why you believe otherwise, but for me, I think it needs to come with so much more facts and awareness of the loss and grief it can and does cause. I think we need to stop lying or trying to cover up the darker side and be completely honest about the problems that adoption can cause.

    Will some be happy and satisfied with their adoption experience, yes. But it is unfair to use that as an example when so many others are hurt by it. That happiness does come at the cost of loss and trauma. Grief and pain. That, to me, is the honest truth about adoption.

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  12. OH, and I was going to do a response to the other comments, but I think there isn't much more to say. Everything I would have said, I think I covered in my long, LONG, long answers before this.

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  13. I'm in Taipei now. :P

    Just stopped by and catching up on the blogosphere before my baba and sister return home.

    The past 24+ hours have been a whirlwind of sorts. Back in Canada I used to post about how much I had lost and that I missed my family and gosh darn it, Fate didn't have anything to do with my adoption!

    1.) Now that I'm in Taipei, it seems almost irrelevant to remark on how much I lost. It's not that I am unaware, but it is not as painful because I have other ways in which to communicate. It is not bothering me as much as it did before I got on the flight.

    2.) It is strange to witness a conversation where people are talking to/about you and everything goes right over your head.

    3.) I am in a 2nd-world country. There is no doubt when I walk through the door that it is indeed miles below the social class privilege in Canada. BUT. It was going to be my home, and for that I have nothing less than total respect. I have no memories of this place, but it doesn't matter. My origins are here and I am content with knowing that, despite the less-than-happy condition of the place.

    Speaking of privilege, I have to write a post about the Fate issue now that I've arrived here...

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  14. Mei-Ling,

    I am so happy to hear from you. I thought we would have to wait till you were back to find out how it is going.

    I won't even try to guess what it is like for you right now. I'll just keep thinking of you while you are gone.

    I can't wait to hear more and I'll watch for the post.

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  15. Part of Julie's comment:

    "If the 15 year old came to me. I'd probably tell her that it would be very difficult on her and the child if she chose to parent. It's possible to do it, but she'd be giving up alot of her own childhood. Either decision she makes will likely impact her for the rest of her life. I would tell her that the are a lot of stable, loving couples out there who would like to parent."

    illuminates just how little some people understand the experience of losing a child, and further illustrates that because they do not know what this experience is like for many mothers they are in no position to be "counseling" a pregnant woman.

    I see many of the same problems here with her comment because of her ignorance that I see in agency counseling. The way things are phrased, for example, "Either decision she makes will likely impact her for the rest of her life," But she neglects to say that one will bring joy, and the other has the potential to devastate.

    "I would tell her that the are a lot of stable, loving couples out there who would like to parent." Same thing here. The unspoken message to the young mother is that she isn't stable, that she isn't loving.

    It's not her (the commenter's) fault that she truly doesn't understand, but misguided ideals and the omission of truth due to ignorance are not in the best interest of the soon-to-be family. Unfortunately, it's all too common.

    Carol

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  16. Cassi - it is extremely difficult and draining. The unfamiliarity causes me to lose normal sleeping hours. My body doesn't seem to recognize when I'm normally "hungry" during the day, I guess because of the jet lag and time zone differences. I am so tired at the end of the day because people talk about me and I can't catch what they're saying.

    In short: I am very much like a deaf-mute.

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  17. I would also like to comment on something Julie said:

    Part of Julie's comment:

    "If the 15 year old came to me. I'd probably tell her that it would be very difficult on her and the child if she chose to parent. It's possible to do it, but she'd be giving up alot of her own childhood. Either decision she makes will likely impact her for the rest of her life. I would tell her that the are a lot of stable, loving couples out there who would like to parent."

    Anonymous above covered most of it really well, but I'd like to zero in on the "she'd be giving up alot of her own childhood" part.

    Let me make one thing perfectly clear: When you come home from the hospital, after having given birth, your childhood is over. Whether or not you have that child with you. You are NOT a child anymore, you are a mother. I don't care how old you are. If your baby is adopted, then you are a mother with empty arms. You are NOT a child any longer and never will be again. You will always carry that emptiness from your missing child WITH you. Always. You NEVER get over it.

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  18. Lynn,

    what you wrote is so very, true, I lost my son in 66. I still live with the loss, even with our 16 year reunion.

    Why? are we expected, to "get over" it when those who are looking to adopt, can't "get over" NOT being able to have a baby?

    even today, I have "those types" telling me to forget it, move on, get over it...well guess what YOU GET OVER IT! Let me take your baby, never having saw his face, and live 26 yrs till reuniting, and lets see "HOW WELL YOU GET OVER IT...you don't ever.

    "You are NOT a child any longer and never will be again. You will always carry that emptiness from your missing child WITH you. Always. You NEVER get over it."

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  19. Lynn wrote: Let me make one thing perfectly clear: "When you come home from the hospital, after having given birth, your childhood is over. Whether or not you have that child with you. You are NOT a child anymore, you are a mother. I don't care how old you are. If your baby is adopted, then you are a mother with empty arms. You are NOT a child any longer and never will be again."

    This was the life-altering message I got when I read "The Girls Who Went Away." I think it should be required reading for ALL expectant mothers contemplating adoption, ALL prospective adoptive parents who think adoption is only happy-happy-joy-joy, and ALL adoptive parents who haven't gotten that message yet.

    Many states have statutes that require those providing abortions to counsel women about adoption, but also about parenting options, including child support enforcement, whatever welfare is called these days, etc. But that applies only to women who present at clinics, not women who present at adoption agencies. THAT should change. It should be legally required that adoption agencies inform pregnant women of these things. And this is the additional thing I'd tell that 15-year-old in addition to the helpful counseling suggestions Cassi has made.

    malinda
    adoptive mom, who hopes she gets it a little bit

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  20. Dear Cassi,

    I just discovered your blog today. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    My husband and I are in the early stages of adoption and so I felt strongly that I should leave a comment. I'm commenting not to try to change your mind on adoption or to diminish in any way your pain and grief. Obviously you and your family have suffered tremendously and for that I am truly sorry.

    My comments are simply these - please know that as a prospective adoptive parent I am grappling with knowing that my husband's and my ability to have a family is predicated on someone else's loss. And that I am trying to understand and be mindful of this very difficult fact - trying to see things as best I can from the perspective of the woman who will give birth to the little person that may become an integral part of our family. Please know that there are adoptive parents out here - well, at least one - who do not believe that the woman who gave birth to our children are expendable, evil monsters or that children are something to be sold/purchased. That as an adoptive parent I will be so incredibly honored that another woman would allow me the privilege of raising her child and that I can only hope she knows the extent of my gratitude. Please also know that as an adoptive parent, I do understand that there are very serious implications for all parties involved - the child, the child's mother & father, my husband and I, our families, the family of the mother and father. We're not going into this situation thinking that it's all going to be happiness and joy. Because it isn't. It's incredibly complicated and requires serious thought, integrity, honesty, right action, kindness, and empathy.

    I can't know what it means to give up a child for adoption because biological children are not an option for me. And I'm sure that I can't even imagine what kind of suffering that engenders - although your story and those of other moms in your situation have helped me to learn more about that. I'm looking at this from the other side of the adoption table - knowing that the only way that my husband and I can become a family is via adoption. Would we have a biological child if we could? Yes. But we can't so...

    Again, I want to thank you for sharing your story. It's good to read your words - and for me to hear the hard stuff. And again - I am truly sorry for your loss and grief.

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