Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Thanks

Tomorrow I will sit down with my family around the table.

Tomorrow I will be so thankful for all my children, for the joy they have brought to my life. I will be thankful for another holiday that we share again as a complete family.

I will be thankful for my husband sitting in his place at the end of the table. So very thankful that he survived his terrible scare this summer. That he is still here, a part of us, sharing another moment for us to remember and treasure as the years pass.

But tonight, with the pies baked and the turkey ready to go into the oven first thing in the morning. In this brief silence before all that is to come, I am thankful for the many wonderful people I have come to know through my adoption journey.

Thankful for their presence in my life. For all they have done for me, taught me and given me in the years since I first reunited with my son.

I’m thankful for the amazing first/natural mothers I have come to know. For their support and understanding. For everything they have offered even in their lowest times. Even in my closest friends I have never found anyone who understands the loss, knows how it can change us, make us into somebody completely different than we originally were, like the first/natural mothers who have come into my life.

I consider so many of you my dearest, closest friends even if we have never met face to face. You have been my strength when I had none. The shoulder I needed in my tears. The unquestioned understanding I sought for so many years.

I know there is so much I would have struggled to survive through if it weren’t for your wonderful presence in my life.

And I’m thankful for the many adoptees who give so much of themselves. Who also reach out, even in the midst of their own struggles, to offer help and concern for others. Who fight for change even in the face of ugliness. Who show their strength every time they speak out, insist we listen and they not be ignored.

One of my greatest lessons in this adoption journey has been the warm hearts of the adoptees I have come to know, like and respect. When I first learned of the childhood my son suffered, when I first desperately sought something, anything, to help him understand that his dad and I were there for him and that he could trust us, it was your help, your reaching out, that encouraged me, guided me through that time.

I don’t know what I would have done without you and I am so very thankful to have you as a part of my life.

And last, but definitely not least, I am thankful for the great adoptive mothers who I have come to trust and respect. Who, without even knowing it, broke through the harsh anger I carried and brought me to a place where I was more open to listen and learn, to understand from the other side. Who opened my eyes to the ups and downs of their own journey through the world of adoption.

I know my blog can sometimes be hard to read. I know there are times when my posts sound as if I am lumping all adoptive parents into one big ball of frustration and anger. But I hope you will always know that I am thankful for the support and respect you have offered. For your own personal insights that have taught me so much, led me to see things past my own personal experience.

I’m thankful for the one who can always put a smile on my face with her stories. For those of you who have given me a knowledge about international adoption I never would have known. For your dedication to your open adoptions even when it isn’t easy and faces the challenges that come with it. And for the fight you face when you speak up for change and your dedication to continue on, not for yourself, but for your children.

I’m thankful for your strength and courage to face the side of adoption so many don’t want to see. For the challenges you have presented me, forcing me to grab onto my own strength and courage, look past my own fear, and learn from your side as well.

There are so many wonderful people brought into my life through this adoption journey. So many amazing friendships that continue to grow and bless my days. Though one my greatest wishes is to never know the pain and loss and grief that have been so much a part of me, my son and my family, I am thankful that I do not have to face this alone. That there are so many of you out there who make me laugh, make me think, offer support and care, and remind me, all the time, of the greatness that does exist in this world.

And, ultimately, give me so many reasons to be thankful.

You will all be a part of my prayers this Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dear Anon

In my post, Is Silence Golden, you left your opinions without any other way of identification other than the name you claimed . . . “I agree with Anon. You are delusional.”

So in my grandness of delusion, and because you dared to suggest my son had done any wrong in what has and is happening to him, I am answering you here instead of attempting to fit it all into the space of a comment.

**Being adopted myself, I sought out and met my birth father, but NEVER would dump my adoptive family for them.**

As an adoptee, I would usually give you a wider understanding in what you have to say but not when such a statement at all reflects on my son and insinuates in any way that he was in the wrong for any action he took.

Regardless of your situation with your birth father and your adoptive family, you have no right to ridicule my son for his experiences and the choices he made. He did not “dump” anyone. He was failed in so many ways by his adoptive family. Failed by those who were supposed to love and care for him. His life was one of abuse and neglect. He was not protected from the harshness of life by his adoptive mom but was instead forced by her own hand to face them in the worst of ways.

My son does not, and will never, deserve to have those like you attempt to sit over him in judgment. Unless you have lived the life he has, you have absolutely no right to ridicule the decisions he made. Until you have faced his pain, you have no reliable voice in how he should or should not handle his relationship with his adoptive mother.

To expect him to remain in a relationship with those who abused him simply because they are his adoptive family is wrong in so many ways. Nobody deserves to live a life of abuse or be degraded to “dumping” those who were the abusers.

** This is just atrocious in my opinion and a testiment to why closed adoptions work for some.
You and you alone have made me just choose the "closed" option on our current adoption

What is atrocious to me is that you would try to use my son’s experience to give you an excuse to have a closed adoption for your child, especially since, perhaps, if his adoptive mom had not broken her promise and closed his adoption when he was five years old, his first dad and I would have known what he was going through and been then for him at a much earlier age.

If his adoption would have remained open as it was supposed to be, maybe my son would have missed the time in his life when he felt so desperate, so without hope, that he turned to cutting himself in his pain. Maybe he would have known and understood that even in his darkest times he still had parents who were there for him, who would help him instead of condemning him to the expectation that he had to “behave” for his adoptive parents. Maybe he would have had parents in his life who did not believe, as you do, and expect him to be perfect simply because he was adopted.

If your confidence in yourself and your parenting ability is so weak that you feel you must have a closed adoption then that is a choice you must live with but that is not something you will ever put on mine or my son’s shoulders.

**Crazies like you.
This just makes me sick. Where in this world would this kind of behavior be acceptable?
Just a grandious manipulation all around.
No one in this situtation is a winner, just a bunch of loosers

Well, since I have never claimed to be 100% sane, I suppose I can let your crazy statement slide. But as for the rest of your statement, I just don’t even know how to respond to you since having such beliefs just makes no sense to me.

Abuse, of any kind, should make you sick. The behavior of a mother treating her child in such a way should be what makes you question acceptable behavior. I can understand there are areas adoptive moms and potential adoptive moms feel the need to stand up and defend each other. But I can never, and will never, understand defending the horror my son faced .

You can disclaim many things about adoption. You can believe the pretty picture that exists for society to believe. But to so cruelly and outright justify abuse against a child from the hands of a mother in the way you have is to me, one of the most disgusting actions a human being could ever take.

How dare you question me or my son or our actions. How dare you make excuses for his abuse. He matters more than that. He is an amazing human being who deserved everything and yet faced so much of the worst kinds of hell.

How dare you minimize that in any way!

If you want to try and discredit me with your attacks that is one thing but to try to do the same to my son and his experience shows a very cold heart inside of you and a lack of any kind of caring soul.

Perhaps you would like to live a life being hit with branches from trees, being denied your inhaler, the very medication you need to keep you breathing, because you angered your adoptive mother. Perhaps you’d like to know what it feels like to be thrown into a wall. To be told you will never amount to anything. To be left for weeks at a time with no money, no food and no knowledge of where your adoptive mother is. Only knowing you upset her so she left you.

Maybe you should face that kind of hell and then come back and toss your judgments around.

How dare you!!!!

**Yes, because giving your child up in the first place is such a "champion" thing to do.
Wow, do you want a gold star for that

From you . . . I want nothing. Absolutely nothing.

And I know giving up my son was the worst thing I could have ever done to him. Do you not think I don’t live every day with that failure? Face it every morning when I look at myself in the mirror? Feel the pain of it with every moment my son hurts from the life he had.

I don’t want a gold star. I don’t want anything except for a way to help my son get through this. To heal. To believe in himself and the amazing man he is.

You can keep the gold star for yourself and your obvious concern for human kind because coming from you with your beliefs, it would mean nothing to me or to my son.

Friday, November 20, 2009

And So . . .

He called her.

And now . . . I still have no answers. No idea of what to think, what to do.

Is there hope or fear in what she had to say?

I hate this! I hate having to see my son go through this. I hate knowing this is what adoption – the amazing loving option – brought into our lives.

And I want someone, anyone, who told me adoption was the “best” choice for him, that it would give him the better life, the one I couldn’t even hope to offer him, to answer me now. To stand in front of my son and explain to him why they believed being raised by his adoptive mother would be so much better than staying with me. Why facing this is what he deserved, what gave him the perfect life.

Because I still don’t have answers. I don’t’ have any idea what to think, what to do. And DAMNIT, I want somebody, anybody, to tell me how this ever was the best thing for my son.

And it’s hard to explain even what is bothering me about their conversation. I keep typing and deleting, trying to make sense of it here while it still doesn’t make full sense in my own head.

Because I know, in honesty, I face two fears . . . one of my oldest son being lied to again by his adoptive mom. The fear that she is “presenting” a side of her that is not real to bring him back into her life that will then change and place him again in an abusive relationship with her.

I fear her claims of no longer drinking, of his adoptive family, with a history of doing all they can to avoid one another, suddenly so close they love get-togethers with any chance they have, and her claim that his cousin and step-siblings, from her second marriage, are now upset because he doesn’t talk to them (though they have all had the information to get a hold of him and haven’t done so and were not viewed as close by my son) are games she is playing because she still sees it as a competition. A need to prove who is the “good” family. A battle between who my son wants in his life, instead of understanding he will always have two families that are a part of him, no matter what happens.

I fear she wants him to feel as if he has to pick the “better” side because she talked of how wrong it was, and how angry she was, that his first father and brother (my husband and youngest son) ever made that first step at reunion by going to the restaurant where he worked almost three years ago (when he was almost nineteen.) That she tells him after everything we have done to her that she wants nothing to do with us or ever speak to us again and is worried about how he is doing and how we are treating him, especially since he has come to the decision he no longer carries a belief in God. (Just not in the mind set to link to it right now, but there is a previous post on my blog about why my son lost his faith in God.)

But there is also that second fear, born in my own insecurities, that she will be able to show that we are terrible people and that he isn’t happy with us and that I will again lose my oldest son because I am still not good enough for him or have failed him in some way or just don’t know what it is to be what he needs.

And so that makes me no better than her because it is her insecurities, I know, that bring about much of her actions as well. And I hate it.

I hate it.

I hate it.

I hate it.

I dream of relationships like Dawn at This Woman’s Work has with her daughter and her daughter’s first mom. And I find myself wondering, what if . . .

What if it had been that way?

What if his adoptive mom and I could have formed such a relationship?

When my son and I first reunited, I had visions of the moments his adoptive mom and I would share. This was before I knew of the abuse he had been put through. When I had not yet let through all the pain and anger I carried from her closing his adoption when he was five.

But I used to think of that, imagine family celebrations together, holidays shared. I could see us together when he got married, when his children were born. I created fantasies of a bond we would create in the joy of watching our son together, growing and living, becoming a man and starting his own family. And I did this, even during my realitzation and decision to speak out about the darker truths of adoption. Even while knowing that I needed to make a change for other moms and understanding what happened to me when I went through the clutches of the adoption industry.

And even now, there have been times when I have let myself believe that someday, somehow, maybe she will beat her addiction. She will reach out to our son and let him know that she wants things to be better. She wants to do what is best for him, and we will find that chance again at having a relationship between all of us, a part of the ups and downs of our son’s lives. Being together as moms, sharing how much it means to watch the milestones of our child.

I want my son to have all of us in his life, in a healthy, good way. I want to stop fearing that he will face more abuse from his mother. That she won’t push for him to choose between his families and will allow him to have both in his life. And that her games won’t take him away again, convince him that I am the mom who couldn’t offer him what he deserved and that he must choose between us instead of be allowed to have both of us in his life.

I want this confusion, this doubt, this fear that both of us are hurting him, denying him of what he deserves because of our own selfish actions, to end, to be a memory, replaced by a life where my son can happily say he has two moms in his life to watch over him, without ever facing more abuse, uncertainty, or feelings like he is trapped between us, forced to go one way or the other.

I just want something!

And I want to know why any one of us deserved this? Why did we have to be the ones who know about adoption? Why was it our lives that it had to come into, change forever? Why couldn’t we just be a normal family where these things never even were thoughts to be had.

Somebody just tell me, PLEASE! Where am I helping, where am I failing? Am I letting my own selfish desires harm him in the same way I get angered at his adoptive mom for what she does? Are my fears controlling how I react to what she said, restricting me from seeing good in what might be to come?

I just want an answer, an explanation I can understand. I want to know that this time what I do, the decisions I make, won’t set my son on another path of pain. I’ve already done that to him before. I can’t do it again. But I don’t know if I already have or am setting it up for it to happen to him in the future.

I can’t put him through it all over again. I can’t let my actions cause him harm for a second time.

But how in the world do I know how to avoid this?

Damn! I just hate this! More than I can ever say.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is Silence Golden?

It’s been over nine months since this happened – Closing The Door.

Nine months of silence from my oldest son’s adoptive mom.

After that last night of horror, she just disappeared. There were no more phone calls. No further contact. Not a single hint that she was still around.

Only silence.

Silence in which I have gone from worry, to anger, to hope and back again to worry, starting the process all over again.

It’s hard to even explain what it was like. In those first few months after the last call. I sat on pins and needles, afraid of the next one to come. Dreading the time when his adoptive mother’s number would pop up on caller I.D. Bracing myself for whatever lay ahead next for my son to have to face.

And then, as the months passed and we heard nothing, there was a shameful part of me that was so grateful for the silence, thankful we had some peace. It was like the break we needed. The chance to take a deep breath, settle down into a normal sense of life and not have to fear every phone call might bring about another round of my son having to face yet another onslaught of attacks and abuse.

But even then, it was impossible to feel completely settled to put it out of my mind for long. Because DAMNIT, she’s his mom too. He’s her son too. And that should mean something. Shouldn’t it?

And how does anyone find some balance between that need to protect your child, to want them safe from such cold attacks while knowing this is your child’s mother, adopted or not. She is a part of him. A part of who he is. A part that just went away. That was no longer there. Another abandonment for a young man who never should have faced such a thing.

It’s that weird mix of being thankful she’s not hurting him while fearing he is being hurt. It’s trying to find that balance of protecting my child while feeling helpless to protect him from her silence, her disappearance from his life.

And how does anyone ever find an answer to that? How can you ever know if you are helping or harming your child?

I look at my son and feel that love I have for him. That unexplainable “mother” emotion that swells for my children and I wonder how it is she could ever go almost an entire year having no idea what is happening to him. How he is. Cursing her for not being there for him, while thankful she hasn’t had a chance to abuse him further.

And how in the hell does anyone put that into anything that makes sense in their mind? How do you fear contact while hoping for it?

It makes no sense. Not in my mind.

And yet that has been where I have wavered for the past nine months while hoping, with everything I have, that maybe, just maybe, this long stretch is because she finally got help. That she finally realized that the best thing for her son . . . our son . . . was to give him a healthy relationship with both his mothers. A mix of both families who love and care for him and want whatever it is that is best for him.

Maybe . . . just maybe . . . she took this time to fight her addiction. To learn how her abuse when under the influence of alcohol affected her son, hurt him in the worst of ways. Maybe, the possibility of losing him pushed her to do whatever it took to keep him in her life because he’s worth it. Because he’s her son.

And now I sit on that edge of finding that out. Of again hoping that “this time” it will be different. That “this time” she will be the mom my son deserves and won’t attack or abuse him but will let him know just how much he means to her and how desperately she wants him in her life.

Because she called. This morning on my son’s cell phone. He didn’t answer so she left a message.

And so he came to me this morning, telling me he wanted me to hear something but that I had to promise not to worry about him. And I promised (with my fingers crossed behind my back.)

I knew then, as he held his cell phone out, pushed the buttons, that his adoptive mom had called so I wasn’t surprised when I heard her voice. But I was worried and hopeful and wondering and praying that this time was different. And, yes, even in that small part of my mind, there was a part of me thankful that, since the call had come in before nine in the morning, that she was, more likely than not, sober.

She told him she had been thinking of him. That she missed him. She asked him to call her and said that if she didn’t hear from him, she hopes he has a great Thanksgiving, Christmas and Birthday (he turns twenty-two at the end of December.)

Hearing that, part of me hurt for her because I have been there with my . . . our . . . son. Missing him. Thinking of him. I know the feelings of not knowing what they are doing. Of wondering how they are. If they are okay.

But I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t have a way to contact him. To talk to him. She did.

With that aside, though, I find myself now praying for the best, while fearing the worst.

As of this morning, my oldest son didn’t know if he was going to call her back or not. But to see the truth of why, is so hard to deal with. His response wasn’t one of not wanting her in his life or no longer caring about her as his mom. It was one of fear. Fear that she would attack him again. Fear that reaching out to her would start another round of abuse like the one I wrote about in February.

So I sit here now wondering, worrying, hoping and praying. I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know what the outcome will be. I fear my son will call her and she will go after him again, hurt him like she has done so many times in the past.

But I also hope and pray that maybe it will be different this time (the same hopes and prayers I have had for so long.) But, maybe, this time, she has come to that point where she has realized just what he means to her and is ready to build a relationship with him that allows him to have all his family included.

Maybe now we can be what it is our son needs from us. We can come together and give our strength, our support to him so that he can face a future with a good relationship with both his moms.

I hope for the latter. I hope, with all my heart, that if he calls her back, she will be different. She will have changed. And my son will have all that he deserves.

But I fear the opposite of that. I fear he will face more hurt, more pain.

I fear he will again be left with facing a division in his life when what he deserves, what he should have, is a unity between all who love him. Between everyone who he loves and needs in his life.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Power Over Others

**Birthmother's are birthmothers. Plain and simple. They gave birth, and that was the extent of their mothering. It's not a slur. It's the un-candy-coated truth.**

I just read that little jewel on an adoption question and answer forum.

Doesn’t it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Reinforce the whole vision of how great and wonderful adoption is?

Do you think anyone in those adoption agencies are warning pregnant moms that they will either be viewed as saints or sluts by the majority of society? That the majority of those they come into contact with will never view them as normal, everyday people? That they will be the “other” moms. The ones who actually gave up their child when the normal response to that kind of loss is, “I could never do that.”

See, because we are seen as different. Whether you like us or hate us, most don’t understand us because they can’t relate to what they know, deep down inside . . . that it is an unnatural, painful and unending trauma to lose your child.

Especially, I think, for some adoptive moms who have suffered great loss in their own desire and love for a child. Whether it be through miscarriages, still births, or early deaths, they have felt that mind-numbing, life changing loss that comes with losing a part of yourself. They know it, in their own form, understand how it has the potential to drag a mother under into the dark waves of hell if she lets it.

But instead of using that as a reason to ask how it is the adoption industry can produce so many moms to give up their children and experience that pain, they instead do whatever they can to diminish, change, or discredit our loss by making us into the “others.” Those moms who, for whatever strange reason, just aren’t capable of feeling the loss of a child in the way they have, and are nothing more than the vessels who gave birth to a child meant for another woman.

Another first mom, Myst, puts this into great clarity in her most recent post, Adoption and Hypocrisy. Where she challenges the fact that adoptees and first/natural moms alike are denied the right to mourn and feel loss through adoption. That they are expected to move on, get over it, and accept what the adoption industry has stated should be the “normal” reaction for those caught up in the web of separating mother and child for unnecessary reasons.

We are expected to be different. Expected to be the “other” who doesn’t feel or mourn their loss in the same way children and parents do when they lose each other in any other scenario. If we show anything that goes against the happy, go-lucky perfect image that society wants to see we are labeled and discredited with disrespectful titles such as bitter, angry, ungrateful. Whatever it takes to deny what we feel in order to keep the belief other’s carry with them.

And the saddest thing is, it is the adoption industry itself who put the first fire to these restrictions on first/natural moms being allowed to regret, grieve and mourn the loss of their children. In this post, Adoption Then and Now, there is a clear and distinctive explanation for how the industry poured all their sunshine and roses into the media in an attempt to sway society to see it as they wanted, to jump on their side so they could continue the profits they were gaining by separating mother and child.

It is through these actions that the contrast of saint or slut first come to life. Here is where it has found its life, its ability to weed its way through the thoughts of society to become not only accepted, but held on to with such a strong, unfaltering force.

Because now, in almost every area of our life, adoption is fed as the most “loving” option a mom facing an unexpected pregnancy can do. It’s portrayed as a “choice” she won’t regret. A loss she will get over. A better chance at a wonderful life, for herself and her child, never known had she not given up the most intimate, dearest part of herself . . . her own son or daughter.

In our world, in the realm of those who benefit from adoption, it’s much easier to accept the good, to allow what we have been “told” to be our driving force. It’s a smaller sacrifice to lower a first mom to nothing more than “the one who gave birth . . . the extent of their mothering” than to try to grasp why so many first moms are speaking out so strongly about their losses. Stating, without wavering, how deeply adoption has affected us.

Because, I believe, to question that, for many, would mean having to question the very process that brought so many adoptive mothers their children in the first place.

And nobody wants to really believe that their happiness was gained on another’s tremendous loss. Only the very strong and confident are able to step back, see the true picture of what adoption is, and accept it without letting it diminish their role as parents to their adoptive children.

Not too long ago, Malinda over at Adoption Talk, posted a blog entry titled, What Does “Gotcha” Mean to a Birth Mother . As a first mom, part of my response was . . .

**To me a "Gotcha Day" is like dancing over someone's grave.**

It was, plain and simple, bared and true, MY feelings whenever I hear an adoptive parent refer to a “Gotcha Day” for their child and/or children. I didn’t mean disrespect to anyone. I tried to make sure I left it clearly understood that I was speaking for myself and nobody else. And yet, I still upset an adoptive mom who felt as if it was villainizing adoptive parents by stating such a thing as “dancing over someone’s grave.”

And the thing is, who would blame her for feeling that way? Especially since she stressed, herself, how she was trying to learn as much as she could, and came back even after that and continued to try to learn and understand what others had said.

But, is it really all that surprising that, perhaps, the very fact that my answer didn’t fall into line with what she had been told to expect, made her feel as if I was turning ALL adoptive parents into villains? I didn’t sing praises about adoption. I didn’t talk about how great it was or at least mention that it was the best for my child.

Instead I said everything, not expected, from what is fed into society. And so generated such a response because it isn’t what so many are told that first/natural moms might feel. It goes against all the “happily ever after” rhetoric that the industry feeds into the media.

It is, in every way, a complete contrast to what so many have been told is true for so long.

And in that, I have a respect for this adoptive mom because she didn’t pull from her arsenal the typical bitter, angry, ungrateful accusations that so many do when faced with a contradiction. She didn’t exactly do a complete turn around and proclaim with all her might that what I had to say might have any true meaning or influence in her view of adoption. But she also didn’t react with that instant need to discredit and disbelieve what I did have to say after her first original “villain” comment.

But, there are so many others that do just that. So many, like the adoptive mom I quoted, who do dig into their arsenal and find whatever they can to make first moms who talk about the loss and grief seem like the weird ones, the outcasts. The strange occurrences that do not fall into line with what society expects of them.

And yet, as odd as it sounds, and as much as it might be straying from whatever true meaning this post is supposed to hold . . . to some first/natural moms there is a great importance put into what adoptive moms have to say and share about them, that keeps them firmly in line with what society expects from them.

I know because I used to be one of them. I used to fight so hard in my denial to hold on to the very tips of the pedestal my so-called adoption counselor shoved me onto that every bit of “like” that came from another adoptive mom’s mouth gave me just a little tighter hold on that edge I was slipping from.

Whenever those emotions I fought so hard to keep back began to threaten an appearance, all it took was a quick talk with an adoptive mom, to shove them back down where I could pretend, for a little while longer, that they didn’t exist.

And I was ruthless in my quest to keep it all hidden away, even if it meant looking down on a not-so-good “beemommie,” in the eyes of the adoptive mom.

Because see, that is where I gained my justification to continue in my denial, by being praised as the good one and compared to what another adoptive mom viewed as a “bad” first mom. I was still redeemed, still accepted, okayed, loved, for accepting the fact that I wasn’t a good enough mother for my child and somebody else was.

I continuously found my self-worth in being praised by adoptive moms who “wished” their child’s first mom’s were more like me. The perfect first mom, who wouldn’t even dare to refer to herself with such a title but would, instead, use nothing but the birthmother title the industry had tagged me with.

The perfect “birthmother” who expressed no regret, no pain, no loss. Who behaved and acted exactly like it was expected and portrayed by the industry, hoping to keep their profits up and growing.

I was good! I was loved! And everything I was feeling deep down inside . . . all those threatening emotions shoving me off the pedestal . . . were silenced, buried, because adoptive moms liked me. They respected me. And they hailed me with their praises instead of pummeling me with their insults.

If only they had realized how I was using their praise to make me feel good just as much as they were using my supposive happiness to make them feel good.

In that, at least I can say it was an equal sharing of bullshit between us.

It was a fair balance of denial for all of us!

And, now, I do believe I have completely lost any true direction for where I hoped this post would go.

But somewhere in there I hope I did make some kind of point that the statements such as the one I quoted are “par for the course” if you are a first mom who dares to speak out about anything other than what the adoption industry has portrayed about the way you should feel.

I hope some will see and understand that we aren’t different, we aren’t the “others.” We are moms who have lost tremendously in our lives. We suffer, just like other moms do, when we lose the most important, vital parts of ourselves. We miss too, the diaper changes, the late night feedings. The story times. The healing of scraped knees. The field trips and family vacations. We feel those losses too. Just as deep as any mom who no longer has their child in their arms to love, care for, and give everything they have to offer to.

We aren’t different. We aren’t strange. We’ve just faced and lost to the strong fist of the adoption industry that gains its strength from our government, from society in general and from the adoptive parents who won’t, or can’t, allow themselves to see that our loss, our child’s loss, is as great and life-changing as that deep part in their heart and soul tells them it is.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Aware Or Beware

We know what this month is right?

Outside of November. Outside of Thanksgiving coming up. Outside of Christmas approaching , quicker than we expected, or might even be ready for . . .

It is, as it is every year, National Adoption Awareness Month.

The time set aside supposively to heighten the awareness of children in foster care waiting to be adopted. To shed adoption in it’s typical positive, glowing light, so couples everywhere will stand up and help a child in need.

It does sound good in the way it is worded.

Who in the world would not support such a thing? Who would ever question such a noble campaign to help children TRULY in need of a family to love and care for them?

You would have to be a pretty cold-hearted monster not to jump on that bandwagon and join in the festivities.

. . . EXCEPT . . .

. . . yes, I know, shocking that I would have an “except” to all of this . . .

The meaning of this month and the actual reality of this month are two different things entirely.

Where it might be stated that this month is only about raising awareness about foster care children, it, as always seems to happen, spreads its way into all forms of adoption. Muddying the waters, as the industry likes to do, so that every adoption is seen as a great rescuing effort executed by amazing couples saving children from lives of doom and gloom.

And their “awareness” falls short of what everyone, involved in adoption or not, should be knowledgeable about.

That’s my biggest problem with this month – the lack of true “awareness” that is actually offered while continuing to circulate the sunshine and roses stories.

I would just love to see honesty come from this time. I’m not seeking an excuse to try and discredit the love and dedication of adoptive parents. A denial of the sad truth that there are children in our world who truly are alone and deserve a family. Or a justification that any child should have to remain in a life of abuse or neglect.

But portraying only happy, wonderful stories of adoption, for whatever reason, fails adoptive parents, first/natural parents and adoptees alike. And worst of all, it fails those children truly in need and still waiting for a family to give them the security and love they deserve.

In 1990, the National Adoption Awareness Week was expanded into a full month and yet how much change has it really encouraged? Nothing has truly differed in the two decades that have passed. Children in foster care are still being overlooked. There continues to remain a ratio of over thirty couples waiting to adopt every one infant born. Corruption continues to exist in the International world and laws remain that literally leave mothers with NO choice.

And the adoption industry continues to profit billions of dollars, mostly unregulated, while thriving under the support of our very own government.

At this rate, we could have National Adoption Awareness Month into the next Millennium and there would still be nothing changed.

If we don’t make a conscious effort to also address the more difficult truths, we will never get anywhere. If we don’t address the reasons why adoption happens to begin with, acknowledge where so many have been failed and left with no other option but to lose their child forever, we will continue to spin our wheels without any positive outcome to the fact that so many children are left without the stability of someone to love and care for them.

If we want to have a TRUE month of awareness than we need to address issues such as NO child should ever be expected to give up their past to become a part of a future with another family. Their records should never be falsified or locked away from them, denying them the basic human rights the rest of us take for granted.

Lack of support, marital status, or financial strain should NEVER be an accepted reason to separate mother and child. Every mother, in every country, should be given the tools and help to keep and raise her child unless there is a solid case of the child being at risk for abuse or neglect.

And if there is that risk, and there is NO other choice but to remove a child from their mother’s care, than the importance should become one where a child remains within their biological family, their home-country, their own heritage and roots.

Adoption should not be an option. It should be a last choice. That final step that must be taken because every other resource or opportunity has been thoroughly explored and determined, morally and ethically, that it fails ONLY for the benefit of the child.

And even then, drastic changes need to be made. Hopeful couples should be required to be educated and well informed about any issues their children might face. Support should be mandatory for any adoptee from any situation that offers them the freedom to feel and react in the way they want without ever having to fear judgment or lack of support.

Adoptive and first/natural parents alike, should have no choice but to be made aware of the importance of always supporting and encouraging an adoptees right to know where they came from. Their family’s history. The talents, traits, and other quirks that tie them to so many that came before them.

Corruption, profit and deception, in adoption of all types, needs to be demolished. Honesty and true understanding of every truth that comes with separating a child from their family, their past, their roots, needs to not only be acknowledged, but accepted and understood before one can even be allowed to step a foot into the adoption world.

Our adoption awareness needs to be redirected, changed from where it resides today into a new perception.

If we truly want to make a difference than we need to start with building the “awareness” that adoption, as it exists today, fails children in so many ways. It does not make them most important, center on what is best for them and their future.

It doesn’t, because it can’t. And it never will as long as a child’s past is not respected. Falsified and denied records are allowed. Support is not offered and family is not preserved before separation becomes reality.

Until then, brace yourself, prepare yourself, and know the month of November might mean many things but it does not, and cannot, mean a true awareness of adoption and all the realities that come with it.