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.


  1. I am not a birth mother. I am a mother. I did not choose to give my child to anyone. I was, in every sense of the word, coerced. I will always be my daughter's mom. I am the one that changed diapers, breast fed, walked the floors at night, held her close when she had colic, listened to her first words, smelled her sweet baby breath.

    Then, no matter how pretty they paint it, some woman stole my child because she was unable to have her own. Took my baby, hurt her, abandoned her needs, abused her and then, finally, walked out on her. Left her standing, wondering at age 30, what it meant to be a daughter.

    The buying and selling of human beings with us, the mothers, as the cattle, the breeding machines.

    Adoptive parents can pretend all they like. But the truth is, that pretending, those lies that they attempt to believe, and sometimes actually do believe, do not cover the fear that their thievry and lies will bite them in the behind.

    Maybe that is why so many are such nasty human beings. If you live in the shadows in fear, your love can't grow.

    I never pretended. I never let anyone tell me that the gut wrenching horrific pain would ever go away - I knew it wouldn't.

    Come into the light, and be amazed at how much love and happiness can grow - cause then the adopters, the thieves can't find you - they live in their lying little pools of black.

  2. As I sit here in an apartment overseas adopting my son, I thank God for adoption. I thank God that while it snows outside he has somewhere to go, warm, loving, and safe. His bio mother raising him was not an option, she abandoned him in the hosp after he was born. It took them 15 months to find her and terminate rights. She continues to run away from 'other' responsibilities as well and currently is not a free woman. I do not pretend to know everything, but I do know we all have choices. I learned this when I was 16 and pregnant and chose to keep my daughter and move far away with her father, even though I did not want to. I had NO family support. I barely could feed myself. I am sorry for those who were coerced. For me, I am praising adoption while praying for my son's mother, and yes, I will always call her his mother. I wish with everything I can that she could have raised him. She simply didn't. I know why, but really don't want to get into it on her, suffice it to say, she had good reasons. I only wished she had learned from her mistake. She missed out on an incredible little boy, and now she has chosen to miss out on even more.

  3. Hello,

    A prospective adoptive mom here.

    Please know that there are at least a few of us out here on the other end of adoption who hate the term "Birthmother" as well.

    I do NOT view any woman who - for whatever reason - feels that she cannot parent her child as "less than" or saint or slut or "just birthmother" or "other" or any of the other horrible stereotypes out there.

    She is a mother plain and simple.

    Please also know that I hope the mother of the child that I will one day have the privilege to parent will be very involved in her child's life.

    I can't know the extent of the grief and suffering that a woman feels when she feels that she has no choice but to give up her child for adoption. I haven't had that experience. But I can certainly try my very best to be aware, to be compassionate and to educate myself as I move through the world of adoption.

    It IS so hard knowing that my happiness and that of my husband and our extended family is predicated on someone else's loss. We are aware of that and are trying to move through this process with integrity. Goodness knows we'll make mistakes. And I'm sure that we won't do everything right in regards to the child we parent or her mother, but we'll try.

    Thank you for allowing me the space to share my thoughts and for taking the time to share your journey.

  4. But how do we KNOW that mother's "abandon" their babies and instead, may just be fleeing the societal shame and fear that is so prevalent. Because the adoption "machine" is so powerful, we really never can know. Because it influences societal thinking so much.

    I wrote about an experience I had as a child which I now understand more as an adult WHY it bothered me so much (over at my blog).

    Thank you so much for writing about this. Hugs!

  5. Lori - I hope some who read this will visit your blog and learn what happened to you and your daughter. Your story is one that needs to be known to uncover so much that is wrong in the unending push to separate mother and child.

    I understand your anger. I cna't even imagine living through all you have. But I also admire your strength for continuing to stand up and speak out about what happened to you and your daughter.

  6. **But I can certainly try my very best to be aware, to be compassionate and to educate myself as I move through the world of adoption.**


    As I said in my post, I believe it is only the strong and confident who are willing to educate themselves about ALL truths of adoption as you are doing.

    I know, in today's world, adoption will continue on as always and even though that is something I wish I could see changed, the most I can do right now is hope for moms such as yourself who are willing to look outside of what society has been led to believe to see the deeper truths that really exist.

    I am thankful for every adoptive mother who has taken that risk and looked at adoption through others experience and not through what the industry feeds into our lives.

  7. **But how do we KNOW that mother's "abandon" their babies and instead, may just be fleeing the societal shame and fear that is so prevalent. Because the adoption "machine" is so powerful, we really never can know. Because it influences societal thinking so much.**

    I agree. And I also believe it influences the lack of support and help for women who face such situations where desperation leaves them feeling as if they have no other choice.

    Shea - you, of course, have every right to be thankful to God for adoption. But that is something I never can be because, even in the case of your son's adoption, a great loss had to occur for both him and his first mom for the adoption to even happen. For that, I can never, and will never, be thankful for.

    Having choices or not does not negate or lessen the extreme loss for mother and child.

  8. Peach - your story on your blog was amazing! It's the kind that really makes you think about and wonder about the synchronicity in adoption and just how true and real it can be.

    Your comments on your blog is my next stop so I can share my story with you there.

  9. "And nobody wants to really believe that their happiness was gained on another’s tremendous loss"

    Or they do, but then they comfort themselves by thinking that any positives far, far outweigh the negatives (esp. since one can't go back in time, you know?).

  10. Fab post as always Cassi. I have read that same nonsense as well about mothers who either lose or place a child to/for adoption.

    I had been meaning to add to my post that same line: "I could never do that" or more aptly put to me by so many mothers who have been fortunate enough to keep their children: "I could never handle losing my baby like that. I couldn't cope if I lost X"

    Yet we are for the simple fact we are there to fulfill another person's demand.

    I am intrigued we have a PAP and an almost adopter here. I am also intrigued that, despite the "understanding" one PAP says she has about adoption, she is still pressing forward with adoption plans.

    Don't people get that the more they feed this industry, the more they create the demand, the more it will grow. I am constantly told there are no alternatives, no other ways... so create them! That is how new laws are changed, precedents set. By people with enough courage and strength to stand against the tide and NOT go with the status quo.

    As for thanking God for adoption... He doesn't concur. HE did not create adoption and in fact, adoption in the Bible, if one actually reads their Bible properly and understands it properly, adoption is anything but a good thing but in every instance, it is villianised. God does not agree with the way the West has decided for themselves to take what they cannot have for themselves.

    Ugh, adoption is a curse and sadly while it looks to be around longer, I pray for a day when we as a human race have evolved enough in spirit, grace and maturity to see the damage it causes, to say enough is enough and eradicate it once and for all.

  11. Myst-

    PAP's are notorious for only thinking about themselves. They convince themselves that they are "saving a child" but they are really just fulfilling their desire to HAVE a child, no matter the cost, no matter to WHO it costs, even if it's the child who pays later on.

    Sing it with me: "ME, ME, ME"

  12. Hi, Cassi,

    I'm not normally one to play out a discussion on someone else's blog. However, I'd like to address the comment from "Anonymous" above and then I will keep my peace. Again - I truly appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts.

    Anonymous says:

    "PAPs are notorious for only thinking about themselves. They convince themselves that they are "saving a child" but they are really just fulfilling their desire to HAVE a child, no matter the cost, no matter to WHO it costs, even if it's the child who pays later on.

    "Sing it with me: 'ME, ME, ME'"

    Obviously, Anonymous has extremely strong feelings about me and my role in the world of adoption. I very much appreciate his/her taking the time to express his/her views.

    In response...

    It is a little distressing to see all PAPs being lumped together in the author's comments. Is it really fair to lump us all in one category? As if we aren't each individuals with different experiences, thoughts, beliefs and approaches to the experience of adoption?

    Please also know that I have absolutely no illusions that I am "saving a child." I don't believe at all that adoption is a way to "save" children from poverty, from abuse, from "bad" mothers, from the "tortures" of a foreign country, or any of the other awful stereotypes that are bandied about...I do NOT buy into that at all.

    I am also VERY aware that I am fulfilling my desire to be a parent. That I am working to help fulfill my husband's lifelong desire to be a parent. We're not hiding that. We're not hiding behind the totally false and saccharin sweet "Oh, we just want to give a child a better life" ridiculousness that some PAPs and certainly the adoption industry spout.

    We want to be parents - to be a family. Just like any other couple who want to start a family - to love and be loved, to care for and be cared for, to teach and learn, to watch a child grow into adulthood. So, yes, I guess that makes me and my husband selfish.

    But it isn't all about "ME, ME, ME" either. We're not completely selfish. My husband and I recognize quite clearly that there are lifelong implications for all parties involved in this adoption - the child we will adopt, the mother of the child we will raise, the child's extended biological family, me, my husband, and my husband's and my extended families.

    We certainly do not think or believe that it's all going to be wonderful, that all we need to do is love this child and all will be right with the world. Absolutely not.

    There are implications that need to be addressed with honesty and integrity and new relationships to be navigated. A family based on secrets and lies is no family at all. This child should have access to his/her OBC - to know his/her biological family (and not "in reunion" 18 years later but from the very start of life) - to learn why he/she was adopted directly from his/her mother - to know that while we will love and care for him/her that we recognize that he/she needs relationships with his/her biological family.

    Will we navigate these waters perfectly? Probably not. But, as I said in my original comment, we are certainly going to try our best to move through this process and the life of this child with honesty and integrity.

    Again, thanks Cassi for allowing me the opportunity to express my views and to hear your story as well.

  13. Jennifer - do you currently have any sort of contact with your child's other family?

  14. Wow!!!!!!! I've been linked! hehe cool, really awesome post. I think my next post will be dedicated to steps PAPs and adoptive parents can take to encompass compassion and ethics in adoption. (obviously just from my own pof, thats all I can offer)

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  16. ***Ugh, adoption is a curse and sadly while it looks to be around longer, I pray for a day when we as a human race have evolved enough in spirit, grace and maturity to see the damage it causes, to say enough is enough and eradicate it once and for all.***

    Myst - I pray for this everyday. I wonder constantly what it will take to make others understand just how great adoption, in today's practice, creates such unecessary - and truly sinful - pain and grief for mother and child, all to answer a "need" for someone else.

  17. ***Again, thanks Cassi for allowing me the opportunity to express my views and to hear your story as well.***

    Jennifer - please do not thank me. I FIRMLY believe one step into learning, educating and understanding one another is to allow comments and viewpoints from all sides. And though you say you do not normally continue conversations in blogs, I hope you will always feel free to do so here if you desire.

    I have only deleted one comment on my blog and that was months back when a commenter attacked a wonderful adoptee who I have a great respect for and it had nothing to do with the post or anything the adoptee might have said, it was part of an ongoing hit to whatever blog they could find to discredit this person.

    I do ask that posters here try to be respectful but I also believe that as much as I love others to agree with me and all others who comment, we learn best when there is a contradicting opinion for us to consider. Which I understand can chase some away from wanting to answer or respond because they may feel like the comments are unnecessarily hard on one side of the other but I just keep hoping some will understand it is the true emotions, good or bad, that adoption can, and often does, create.

  18. And with all that said, Jennifer, I will be 100% honest with you - I agree fully, without doubt, with what Myst had to say about p-aparents being the ones who fuel the demand in adoption (infant and international) and that it will not change until p-aparents begin to stand up and refuse to be a part of this and use the power they have to end such practices. And I also understand, and hope others understand, that comments that can and do sound harsh are created in the experiences and emotions of the poster. Many of the wonderful first moms I know weren't "carefully" coerced or manipulated into giving up their children. They wanted to keep and raise them with everything they had but were shoved aside, fought against, ignored for the benefit of the couple adopting their child. I realize some of the angrier responses can hit hard but I hope some who read here will take the time to follow their blogs or links to learn where that anger is coming from and understand these women were cheated, stolen from, disregarded and abused in every way by the selfish, uncaring acts of the adoption industry.

    BUT, with all that said, I do hope for a common ground to utilize as a start for change. You have been very honest, very open, I believe, with your comments here. You haven't resorted to what I have seen so many a-parents do, which is validating their desire for a child by justifying it with they are only trying to help a child in need, God is calling them to do it or claim what a great gift it is for a pregnant mom to bestow on another. (This last one always, without question, brings about the instead gag reflex.)

  19. And so, with all my previous long-winded explanations up to this point, I know that what is best for me at this point in your adoption journey is to encourage you to continue learning and educating yourself all you can about all sides of adoption.

    To let you know, though I don't agree with infant adoption in any form, I do have a respect that you are stating that you understand the importance of identity and heritage and roots to an adoptee and will fight for your child to have that as a full and permanent part of their lives.

    And I do recognize, that even among aparents and p-aparents, your thoughts and beliefs are not what others want to hear either and that you also may face adversity, discouragement and misunderstanding and I hope you will use the same strength you have showed here and stand up to that and fight for what you believe is best in your heart.

    And please, I beg of you, before you ever put your name on any adoption papers, before you ever create a relationship with any pregnant mom, remember that she faces pressure not only from the industry but society as well, to be the "good" mother by giving up her child. Please remember that forming a relationship with her prior, or directly after the birth of her child places an unfair, unethical and heart-wrenching pressure on her that NO mother should ever have to face because there is no way around the fact that your feelings will come into play on her decision and she will feel restricted by that in making a true and honest decision about her child.

    And know that ANY counseling she receives through anyone related with adoption or even outside sources who are not educated with the true affects of adoption will not truly address the many emotions she may face after she gives up her child.

    And above all, plese keep and copy EVERY single record you can get your hand on regarding your child's adoption and their original records created before their adoption was finalized, especially their birth certificate. And commit yourself to fighting the fight for equal rights to every adoptee because this is a fight your child will also face and struggle with if we don't start to make changes now.

    I hope you do venture back this way, Jennifer and I hope you will continue to read and learn as well as respond and educate others on your side as well. It is, I believe a very important thing for all sides in adoption to do, no matter what the risks or results are.

  20. ***Or they do, but then they comfort themselves by thinking that any positives far, far outweigh the negatives (esp. since one can't go back in time, you know?).***


    I can definitely see that being part of it too and, infact, can understand it even if I don't agree with it.

    **Wow!!!!!!! I've been linked!***


    You've been linked and added to my blog list. The information you share is amazing and I encourage everyone to check you out. Can't wait to read the next one you were talking about.

    ***Well, uh, let's just overlook that WE are part of our Mothers...that we have the same DNA, perhaps the same looks, the same likes and dislikes and wanting the same vocation as them...when they cast you aside they cast aside who we REALLY are and who we are like***

    Ah, Improper, I have missed you so. I also love when I see "ImproperAdoptee says" in my comments, as strange as that may sound.

    Your above comment is something I hadn't thought of and yet now I can't stop thinking of it and pondering it and realizing just how right you are in your statement. Thank you for giving me more to think about and understand!

    And don't be a stranger, please. I was terrible in my email responses during my down time but now I'm on top of it all and hoping you will email me again because I lost your email addy somehow but do NOT want to lose contact with you.

  21. Dear Cassi,
    I am always excited when I see you post a new entry & each time I am reminded I am not alone in how I feel. As I sat here reading this post, I found my self yelling "YES"! at my computer. You have put into words what I have been TRYING in vain to put into action for the last 10 years in my adoption. I have tried to be the "good little birthmom" and not make any waves, take what I can get(visitation wise) and be happy; that no matter what the capacity, I should be GREATFUL to these people who are raising my child. I kept telling myself my emotions & needs were not important & all that mattered was my son & his my happiness. I kept telling myself it was my fault for getting pregnant & anything bad that came from that was all my fault. I had no right to complain or want more. This was my cross to bear; my scarlet letter to wear the rest of my life in shame.

    Recently I gave all of that up & said quite frankly, F- that! My happiness is just as important and it shouldn't be based upon what the A-parents feel about me! If they "liked' me enough to accept my child & raise him as their own, then they should be able to accept me, faults & all. For neither my son or my self, don't exist without the other.

    I'm not looking for a pat on the back, or any of those regurgitated "oh you did such a brave thing" statements. I just want someone to take, take off the blinders, take a step outside of their role for once, walk in MY SHOES & attempt to feel what I feel; walk the razor fine line between doing what THEY want me to do, and doing what I need to do for myself so I can quit hiding behind this ridiculous mask of lies. Ultimately, I want to be treated in the same manner that I have treated them; with nothing less than respect period..I won't hold my breathe though as we all know that ain't gonna happen.

  22. Hi, Cassi,

    Thanks so much for tracking me down on my blog and for your very kind words. It's comforting to know that even though we share very different views and come from opposite places in the adoption world that we can still have a dialogue. That we can learn from each other. I have not been scared away from your blog and will continue to visit and comment.

    As for harsh comments - they are hard to take from this end of things, but I also recognize that they are the result of women coming from a place of deep pain and hurt. What I hope that folks in this blog realm realize is that in the world of adoption - we are ALL coming from a place of pain and hurt. It's how we ended up here. Perhaps we can all try to remember that fact and try to be just a little more compassionate with each other.

    Again, Cassi, I appreciate your compassion. It can't be easy for you to welcome the comments of a prospective adoptive parent, but you have done so with grace and kindness. Thank you.

    Best wishes for peace and healing,

  23. "What I hope that folks in this blog realm realize is that in the world of adoption - we are ALL coming from a place of pain and hurt. It's how we ended up here. Perhaps we can all try to remember that fact and try to be just a little more compassionate with each other."

    Yes, I agree we need more compassion for each other.

    However... when you say we are ALL coming from a place of hurt and pain, it was not MY RESPONSIBILITY or MY CHILD'S to HEAL that pain. Adopters NEED to see that the pain of not being able to have a child does not mean they need to go out and get a child in another way. This is a prime example of where adoption has become all about the adopters. I am not trying to be harsh and I may come across like that but I am speaking the truth. I don't beat around the bush and paint things up with pretty colours as that doesn't help anyone.

    This last paragraph irked me somewhat because you have basically admitted that you are placing your pain and hurt on someone else's shoulders to carry. Another woman, with the corret information and support, may be able to keep her child but because of the demand, the reality of adoption is kept from her and instead, she and her child have to suffer so that your pain and the pain of any other adopter can be appeased. Don't you get it? The demand adopters create actually makes MORE PAIN as they are the ones repsonsible for creating the demand. Take the demand away and the pressure to fill it and find supply will ease considerably and more families will be kept together.

    I am truly sorry you have come into this with pain... but adoption IS NOT the solution to infertility. Creating MORE loss and pain does not make anything right, it makes things worse for a whole new bunch of people.

    Separating and breaking up a family (which I know you are not intending in an awful way but that is what adoption essentially does) causes pain that will last generations.

    Adoption can never be a good thing. I have researched, spoken to and with a myriad of people, read too many books too name and watched countless documentaries on adoption since I was cast into this hell in order to understand it better. I have come to the conclusion it is not a good thing. Its foundation was rotten given it was used to give polititians a leg up or to care for old parents in Roman days. Since then there has only been more pain. At the ned of the day, adoption acts as a band aid over a deep wound and fixes nothing; the wound underneath never healing and in some cases festering.

    I am not bitter but I am angry that women like me, Cassi and countless others were used merely to fill a demand. I didn't place my child, she was taken and it happens way to much in adoption.

    I am happy you are learning as much as you can and that you have been open to listening to Cassi. I just don't see how you learn anything if you proceed to adoption. There are many children in the foster care system who need a home. So why not start there?

  24. Hi. I am am adoptive parent of a beautiful little girl from China. I am not infertile and have 4 biological children as well. I am very disturbed by some of what I am reading in this post and in the comments. While I do not know your indiviual stories and would never try to dispute your feelings of your own experiences, I would like to address all of the generalizations made about APs and about those birthmoms who were truly not capable of raising their children. Some women (notice I said some) get pregnant even though they knew they were incapable of taking care of their babies and some of these women have baby after baby after baby. Some (notice again I said some)of these women are drug addicted or worse or are simply in terrible situations and are selfless enough to want a better life for their child and I don't know what you think sould happen to these children if there were not AP's to adopt them. My daughter has a very obvious special need and was more than likey abandoned because her birthparents felt incapable of raising her or maybe not, I will never know. I do know, however, that her life would have been very bleak had we not adopted her. I am not saying that we feel like we "saved" her. I am just stating a fact and will correct anyone who tells us that she is "lucky." We feel very blessed to have her in our lives. I do feel that we were lead to adopt her and will not go into all the reasons why but will say that her hands and feet look very similar to my wonderful brother's hands and feet and when I saw the picture of her hands and saw her beautiful face that somehow looked familiar, I knew that she was to be our daughter. She has been home for a year now and I already speak to her about her birthcountry and her birthparents and she gets very excited when she hears anything about "her" China. So I ask you, please do not lump all AP's together and try to villanize us as we as APs should not (and I think in many cases don't) try to villanize birthparents. Many of these birthparents made the very deliberate choice to put their babies up for adoption for their own reasons, not always because they were coerced. And I ask you, what would happen to all the babies and children (many of whom get adopted as teenagers and are given a chance)in the US foster care system or in the many, many orphanages in China and Russia and all over the world, if there weren't APs who truly wanted to add to their family through adoption. Again, I am not trying to speak to anyone's own personal experience here but also ask that you do not speak for mine. Thank you very much for allowing this kind of conversation.

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  26. Holly and Annie,

    I am going to try to answer you both in one response as you bring up similiar concerns and beliefs in your comments.

    First though, I must clear up one thing, I do not, and I know some of the others who have commented here, do not view ALL aparents as terrible people. I know it is hard, because I've been in those shoes too, to read and hear what others have to say and not feel it personally to take it as somehow being judged as well simply because of who we are.

    But I can assure you that we don't just hate all aparents and lump them all together in one category. There are so many aparents I have come across that I carry a very high respect for and like very much.

    Also, as I said to Jennifer, I understand it can be hard, at times, to read this blog or the comments others leave. There have been harsh comments towards first moms and adoptees as well on this blog that I have not deleted because I believe even in someone's anger, we might learn from the other side and that there is too many people already silenced in the world of adoption.

  27. I am also one who does not believe in adoption AS IT IS IN TODAY'S WORLD.

    And yes, because of that belief I tend to regularly get the questions, should children be left in orphanages or foster care then. Should they be exposed to life of abuse or neglect. Never given a chance at a family.

    And I always wonder do they really believe anyone would ever want children to have to suffer in such a way. That we who don't believe in adoption as it is today are so cold and heartless beings that we expect children to go through such dark experiences.

    My son was abused and neglected by his adoptive mother and I've seen how it affects him even now. That is not something I would ever want any child to have to go through. EVER! Nor do I believe that my dislike for how adoption is today would keep children in those kind of situations.

    Children who are truly in need of a family and home, deserve a family but it shouldn't come to them in the form of a practice that separates them from their past, their heritage, their first family. It shouldn't come to them in a denial of their basic human rights, in secrets and fraudulent documents, in an expectation that they must give up their past to be loved by another family for their future.

  28. Both of your comments talk about children whose first moms wanted to give them a better life, or couldn't afford their medical care or lived in extreme poverty.

    To me, these should NEVER be reasons for adoption. For a mother and child to be separated for life. A mother should have adequate help and support for her child. She should never feel as if she MUST give up her child because of poverty, medical care, or lack of support.

    We need to stop promoting adoption as the first answer to these situations and instead find ways to support parenting. We need to concentrate first on keeping children with their mothers, within their families and their home countries. Address the issues why so many feel as if they have no other choice but to give up their child, and find a better way to help them.

    But this is not what happens today because there is such a demand for children to adopt that the focus is on creating the supply not on what is truly best for the child.

    And that is where adoption is a curse, for those who have fallen on the side that they had to lose their child/their mother because there wasn't the resources for them to stay together. Because there was a bigger push and more attention into "adoption" being the answer when it wasn't.

    Of course your children aren't curses. And I guarantee you that is not what Myst meant in any way. And being an adoptive parent does not automatically make some one a terrible person.

    But the act of adoption as it is today, the process of unnecessariy separating mother and child, of allowing poverty, maritial status, age, medical care, etc . . . to be reason to remove a child from their family, their heritage, their country is a terrible curse.

    There are children who are truly in need of a family and a home and the demand should be for them, for their needs, not the other way around.

  29. I've been thinking about the last couple comments before mine again (well that and watching the football game - it's half time)and I wonder if it's possible to see and recognize a difference in the fact that it isn't a "hate" for all adoptive parents but a "hate" for adoption practices

    Yes, there are adoptive parents that I disagree with on all levels. Adoptive parents who anger me and can and do bring out the worst in me. But there are also first moms that can get to me that way too. And certain relatives and co-workers, and even a neighbor or two.

    As I said in my post, I do understand where a lot of the beliefs and expectations are born and it starts with what the adoption industry itself has fed into our society. They are the first ones to bring about the belief that a child would be better off in a wealthier adoptive family than living in poverty with their biological family. They are the first to bring about the thoughts that first moms are selfless and making a "loving" option when they give up their babies.

    And so, yes, I do get upset and even angered when I see these same beliefs repeated over and over again and First Moms and adoptees true emotions and experiences being disregarded to keep up the belief poured into society and the expectation that we too should view and accept adoption as the right choice and best solution or else be seen as the "others" I wrote about to the point of viewing us as the kind of people who would accept, in any shape or form, children facing horrific lives or being harmed in any way.

    We might not believe in adoption as the majority due but that doesn't mean we hate everyone who has ever adopted or that we are so cold and uncaring that we would wish anything bad on any innocent child.

    Again, we aren't the "others." But we also can't, and won't conform to the current belief in adoption today.

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  31. Holly - I have to admit, right off, that I am one who cringes whenever I hear about God and adoption, but it does sound as if yours was not an immediate belief to adopt but one to care and help those in need that then led you to adopt your son. Which, to me, is different than the belief that it was God's Will that your son was abandoned and suffered loss because you were "meant" or "called" to be his mother. Does that make sense? I believe fully that God wants and expects us to care and help for those less fortunate than us. I believe he wants us to live in Jesus' image and be non-judgemental and loving in our actions with others. But I don't believe he would ever want for a child to have to suffer harm, loss or grief so that he or she can be adopted by a "good" Christian. To me, those kind of beliefs are the very ones that create such comments as the one I was told that even though my son was abused by his amom, it was still God's Will because I needed to be punished for my sins of becoming pregnant with him when I was young and single. And, often times, I also see it used as a justification to adopt, a denial of the very real loss that comes before adoption can take place.

    And I'm sitting here typing and deleting my response to you over and over again in an attempt to let you know where I understand where you are coming from while still having my own varying views on adoption.

    No, I do not think walking away and leaving children in orphanages or foster care will change the way adoption is practiced today. Nor do I see you as a bad person for giving your son the caring, loving family he deserves. But does it make sense that having so many couples willing to pay so much to adopt a child and the adoption industry pretty much unregulated here in the states that such a demand does call for a need to fill that supply? That the groundwork is already laid then to encourage more coercion and manipulation of mothers in order to provide more children to adopt?

    And I do believe part of that lies also in the lack of resources offered to mothers because more emphasis is placed on adoption being the better answer by so many that there are less and less out there like you who express the wish they could have helped the mother keep her child if it would have been possible, and instead view it as a way of saving a child from an unfit mother or a "worse" life lived in poverty.

    And I understand feeling even more helpless when it comes to providing such things to mothers in other countries where laws and their own governments play against them and our ability to help them, in so many ways.

    But that doesn't mean it makes it right, or justify a continued push to demand even more adoptions from those countries. Yes, if there is NO other option and everything has been done to keep mother and child together and to keep the child in their home country if at all possible, than there is then a need for a child to have a loving family. I don't argue against that. I argue against the practices that can often lead to the children ending up in orphanages and being taken out of their home country. And I argue against the procedures afterwards that deny the child their basic human rights once they are an adult. The lack of education and help for the aparents and the child to understand how best to help them through having two families and being able to hold and cherish their past, their heritage, their roots while still being given a chance at a life with their adoptive family.

    I argue the fact that athere is a creation of fraudulent documents and that their original birth certificate is sealed away from them. And that so many in society will expect them to be nothing but grateful that they were adopted and will try to restrict them from having their own personal feelings if they don't equal what is expected of them.

  32. And you mentioned infant adoption and even used the term "make an adoption plan." And that simple phrase right there is one right out of the indsutries own studies on how to make more women view adoption as a good thing, as the "loving" option for their child. Encourage her to make a "plan" so she can view adoption as a positive thing as a way for her to be a good mother. Don't use words like "give up" or "surrender" because those create images of loss which might prohibit a mother from choosing adoption.

    No, there is no real choice in infant adoption . . .

    Please take the time to read that post, learn about things such as the Infant Adoption Awareness program that teaches counselors from crisis pregnancy centers and adoption agencies, school nurses, hospital workers, social workers, how to best present adoption in a positive light so more women will give up their babies.

    Learn about the money and power the NCFA has and the terror they reign over pregnant moms, first moms and adoptees. Check out their membership, full of big adoption agencies from here in the states who invest heavily to guarantee they can continue to make their huge profits off of adoption.

    I know it is hard to understand how anyone can not support something that is portrayed to be such a wonderful, caring option for children in need. But, truthfully, all it takes is research into the side the Adoption industry doesn't want you to know about to learn the other truths about adoption and the fact that so many mothers and children are being separated not because it's what is best, but because they need to fill the demand in whatever way they can.

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  34. Holly... for you to insinuate I believe children are curses shows you are out of your mind. And that reference in the Bible? You obviously have no idea what it really means. In the real world, when a natural parent is separated from their child, the only way they can get their child to be recognised as theirs again is to ADOPT BACK their own child, which is pretty much what Romans is talking about. He is already our Father because He MADE us... like mothers create in their wombs their children... again something God created to be like that. So your excuse to adopt based on that verse is a load of crap and just an excuse. You have no idea what you are really talking about.

    Adoption IS a curse because it curses those who have lost through it. Your son's real mother has lost her son as has her son lost his mother. I know what the rules in China are like and I know from what I have heard in some cases mothers don't get a choice whether they keep their children or not... heir fathers take the child and leave him (or more commonly her) somehere because of their harsh rule.

    You have NO CLUE about the damage adoption has on people and you are going on without being fully educated. It is because people choose to be uneduated that adoption continues and MORE PAIN is created. How can a decent human being support such a cruel institution?

    So yeah, in YOUR mind I may be wrong but knowing the Bible and the correct translations of what that passage says based on the original language it was actually written in ('cos you know, it was written in modern english, surprise, surprise), means I know your use of that passage is why off.

    Besides adoption takes a massive battering througout the Bible from Moses (although he wasn't truly adopted), to Solomon and through to Jesus being born to an unwed mother (Mary only married after she became pregnant). SO yeah, I can safely conclude God's view on adoption is more parallel to mine than the masses who use adoption to take what they want for their own purposes or use it as an exscuse. God does not condone those actions anymore than he condones murder, abuse, rape, terrorism... you get the drift.

    Sorry Cassi... I don't want this to become ugly given that it is YOUR blog.

  35. Holly, how arrogant to think that the only way to help a child is to adopt them. I cannot fathom the way Americans go about doing what they want in this world because they feel they are "helping"... there are ALWAYS alternatives to trying to help than by taking extreme measures like adoption.

    And, if you are trying to cope with grief right now, then you shouldn't be on blogs attacking people. Go deal with your grief first.

  36. As for the "generalisations" about adopters... sadly, its adopters who cause this through their inability to grow a heart, open their eyes and ears to the truth. Don't want to see generalisations? Start changing the way adoption is viewed then. IT IS NOT A GOOD AND NOBLE THING. IT IS NOT HELPING ANYONE. IT IS DESTROYING MORE LIVES THAN IT IS HELPING.

    I am pissed today. Over the weekend I have "met" adopters who I don't believe deserve to be free based on their callousness. I have heard heartbreaking stories of what adopters do to a mother and her child and I am SICK of explaining why adoption is so very evil. The fact people cannot see it for themselves repulses me in that it shows me how many selfish, cold hearted and cruel people we have in this world. Open your eyes people and see the truth for crying out lould. One can only tip toe around you trying to explain calmly for so long.

    If adopters don't want generalisations made about then, then don't give cause or reason.

  37. Dear Myst,
    I am truly sorry if I have offended you in any way with my own thoughts or feelings. It was not my intention.
    Obviously I have never walked a mile in your shoes. I do appreciate hearing a totally different perspective even if I don't agree that most adoptions are wrong. I have never been on the other end of the adoption.
    I again apologize that you feel that I attacked you and you are right. On a day when emotions are already high, I should not have participated in such an emotional conversation.

  38. Okay. Wait. Just a minute please!

    Holly, first and foremost, I want to say, that no matter what else takes place here I, and my family are very grateful to your husband and to you for the sacrifices you are making for our country. There are not words I can express to give you an idea for my gratitude for what your husband, you, and your children give up to fight for the rest of us.

    Myst, you should never feel as if you need to apologize here for speaking your side and your experience. But in that same realm, Holly, I wish you wouldn't have deleted your own comments and will consider allowing me to repost them.

    I know it is hard to face so much of the disagreements that come in adoption but I do believe that both you and Myst have very good points to be heard to continue a very good, insightful discussion into adoption and where it can and can not serve the beneift of the child.

    I don't agree with the practice, as I stated before, and Myst doesn't agree, but when there is things for others to gain from others insights, as you provided, Holly, there is good to be found in learning a way we can all fight for what is most important and that is what is best for the child.

    I know my blog and comments aren't easy. I have struggled before with keeping my comments open to all and have come to the same decision over and over again to not monitor or delete comments. But I can only be successful in this endeavor if others also realize that even when I and others don't agree and have our own response that all voices still need to be heard so that we can come to some kind of answer between all sides of adoption and fight for more to believe that our fight is united in that we want what is best for the children while never denying a mother and child their absolute right to stay together unless true harm is threatened.

  39. Cassi said:

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

    I so relate! That's adoption for you. Incidentally, thank you for linking to my blog. I am honoured to be here.

    The disagreements you refer to above are legion and we will never stop disagreeing. However, we can still respect each other. It would be a shame if we allowed what happened to us to generalize to the point of really not seeing other people or really not understanding their motivations--good, bad, mixed. We can react to other people's stories with fear and defensiveness or we can just let them be heard. Which is what your blog is doing.

  40. By that I meant, just let them be heard.

  41. Holly, thank you for realising I would never see a child as a curse and of course, apology accepted. I have your email now and will get back to you when I have time to give proper attention to it ( I have a huge weekend I am getting ready for).

    Cassi... thank you for allowing discussion on your blog... it is very rare and yes we do learn from all sides. Again though, I am sorry it got to this point and Holly felt the need to delete all comments.