Life is busy. Running me in many different directions.
I’m still working on a response to lovely Jennifer and one of her blog posts.
I’m still in the midst of my yearly “after Christmas” house scrub.
And I am a mere two days away from our family vacation for a week.
And yet, even with all this activity, all this “to do,” I find myself caught in an odd funk – for lack of a better word. It’s no where near the depression that used to settle in on Christmas night and last far into the New Year.
No. That was much different. And much harder to deal with.
Up until a few years ago, when I reunited with my son, the month after Christmas was always the darkest part of my year. It was the time I mourned, for many years without even understanding why, the loss of my son, born just two days after Christmas. It was the dark hike back through those memories of a Christmas spent with my parents, still happy and laughing, still unable to grasp what was about to happen to me.
And then the morning after Christmas, waking up and heading immediately to the hospital after my water broke, taking that first step into the moment in my life when my son and I would be separated.
That depression was hell! Something I hope never to have to experience again.
This time, though, it’s just merely a “funk.” Nothing as serious or emotionally draining as the past. But still there and holding on for the moment.
And it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is causing it.
I run it through my head. Is it that I wasn’t with my oldest son for his twenty-second birthday?
But no, that doesn’t seem right. He’s up in the town where he grew up, visiting, until tomorrow, with friends he hasn’t had contact with for awhile. Rediscovering that part of him that is so important to who he is and that he kind of simply walked away from for the past year and a half.
Yes, he has been staying with his adoptive mom. And yes, I’ve worried that the ugliness might start again. But, in reality, I have found myself actually very happy and proud of the way my oldest son has handled the situation.
For the first time in his life, he has found a confidence in himself and who he is to be strong enough to stand up for himself and to let others know that he will not allow them to treat him in certain ways.
He has found his voice in letting his adoptive mom know he will not listen to her talk bad about anyone in his family. To share with her his own personal feelings about how adoption and his childhood has affected him without backing down when she has challenged and disagreed with him.
He has confronted his adoptive uncle, letting him know that it was wrong that he used a taser gun on him when he was only fifteen. Finally putting words to his anger and hurt, standing up for the fact that he was just a child and his adoptive uncle had absolutely no right to do such a thing to him. That he never did and never will deserve such treatment.
And, most importantly, he’s reconnected with old friends and old memories, no longer living in the mindset that he must give up one life for another and instead slowly finding his way into bringing both his lives together.
So, on that end, I see great steps into a better future for my son, something that brings me joy, not sadness.
But the “funk” is still there. And I still wonder . . .
Part of it, I think, started on Christmas night (darn the timing) when my husband and I spent hours talking with my sister-in-law.
As our family can do while we are chatting, we ran through a wide range of topics. Unfortunately, one happened to fall back to one that I have now learned I still am not totally able to discuss without reaction . . .
My role in the abuse my son faced through his childhood.
It was one of those moments when the tears just fall, silently and non-stop. Like a dam is broken and they just come, not one after another, but in a flood you can’t stop.
And it hurt . . . just as it hurts now to write about it.
I can’t describe it. Can’t even try to illustrate an image of what those moments are like, of what the pain is I feel inside. It’s just there.
And ironically, it seems to hit, as it did that night, whenever someone tells me that I need to forgive myself for what happened to my oldest son.
See, I know all the reasons. I have searched, researched and searched again for the answers. But that doesn’t change it. That doesn’t ever take away my actions, my role in placing my son in the arms of the woman who would go on to abuse him.
In my heart, in those weaker moments when the tears flood through, I know the truth. I know the reality I will forever live with . . . I will never be able to forgive myself for something that caused so much pain and grief for my child.
And truthfully, I don’t believe there are many mothers who could.
Imagine, moms, if you learned, whether intended or not, an action of yours caused your child physical and mental harm. Imagine looking into your son or daughter’s eyes and knowing the pain you see there, in some way, with or without reason, began with you.
Could you forgive yourself? Could you listen and obey those who told you that you had to?
The best I can do is continue as I have been and learn, day by day, how not to let that guilt, that grief, control every aspect of my life. I can make sure that I still smile and laugh, treasure the amazing wonders I have been blessed with in my life.
But I just can’t see ever being able to forgive myself for my part in what happened to my oldest son.
And so I’m sure that is part of my “funk.”
And I am also guessing that is why my guard seems to be down more than usual so that some of the things I have read through the adoption blog world have hit harder than I usually allow them to do. Broken through that protective wall I have had to learn to put up so that I don’t personally feel or take offense to everything I stumble across.
Because when you start to let the words and beliefs of others affect you personally, you take on more emotionally than you should. You react in ways that do not protect you or your feelings and become too closely involved in how others might or might not feel.
And when that happens during a week like the last week or so has been, it can definitely cause some hell.
It seems like, for some reason, the New Year has begun with the gates being opened and the challenges in adoption pouring through without check.
From an amazing First Mom who fights tirelessly for what she, and so many others, believe in, being labeled with such horrendous titles as mentally ill and damaged to another great First Mom who has the kindest and gentlest voice I have ever known being accused of being hateful and bitter.
And the God and adoption belief revisted over and over AND over again. Adoptive moms who hold themselves to such a level that they actually believe “God” willed their adoptive child to them. That they are so special, so much better than another woman, that he would gladly cause loss and grief for one mother so that they could finally have the child they deserved.
Who in the world actually believes this? And how can they? I wish, for just a second, I could get in that mindset, understand it long enough to have some understanding of where they are coming from, how they created such a belief that entitles them to God’s graces while denies another.
Where in the world is that born? How in the world can anybody see themselves as that great and deserving?
I just don’t understand it. And I know I never will.
Especially not when, on a certain blog I probably should have avoided after the first read, the writer states that she isn’t supportive of more support for pregnant moms in need of help and yet believes that it was God’s plan that she be blessed with her son.
So, in other words, you have restrictions on helping your fellow man but believe that God sees you as worthy enough to be “blessed” with a child that another mom must suffer the loss over.
And just how does that make sense? Where in the bible, or any Christian writing, is this a part of what we are taught, believe in, or are led to follow?
Yeah, it’s been one of those weeks.
Children are “gifts” given to adoptive parents. First moms are simply women who spread their legs and must deal with the consequences of their actions and those of us who speak out about the darker truths are the rare few who have simply had bad experiences and know nothing of what we are saying. Nor should we be taken seriously in any manner because adoption is the best thing ever created.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
Like I said . . . I’m in a funk.
And yet, what has hit the hardest is a recent discussion (my version of it) between First moms on another blog.
It isn’t that I am surprised that we are many with many different experiences and opinions. Or that even among us First moms there is anger and misunderstandings.
Those things I already know and have come across plenty of times before.
No. For me, it’s that old part of myself I see in the First Mom’s who so proudly exclaim how happy they are that they gave up their child. How they made another couple so happy by giving them a child. How they wanted better for their son or daughter and knew they couldn’t give it to them.
I hear in their stories an eerie echo of mine, and so many others, stories. A sad note to the fact that the adoption industry always has and always will use the same tactics to convince woman that they are not good enough for their children, that another woman is better, and that they are good and worthy of praise for making the “loving option” and being happy about it.
It’s not that I believe every First mom who is happy with their adoption is in denial or will suddenly turn around and regret losing their child.
It isn’t that I believe that if I stomp my foot and demand they believe what I say that they should do just that and suddenly realize and declare that they were coerced and manipulated into giving up their child. Such a fit doesn’t work for my twelve-year old daughter, it sure as heck isn’t going to work for me.
No. It’s in their stories. In what I read of what happened to them. In the relationship I can find in the woman I was for so many years. The woman who had to, for her own survival, believe she did the best thing for her child, grasp and hold on desperately to being the “good beemommie” because the alternative was an emotional time bomb I wasn’t able, prepared, or willing to face.
And it’s my fear of websites they have created to support other pregnant moms who might be considering adoption. Websites that do not touch on the darker sides. Do not give voice to the other risks, like the First Moms who have suffered through depression and PTSD from the loss of their children. Who have learned, as the years go by, that the pain not only doesn’t go away, but can very often get worse with time.
And there isn’t mention of adoptees who have lived the life of adoption. They don’t mention the struggles they face, the rights they are denied. Nothing is said of the different experiences adoptees face or the challenges they may experience growing up and as adults.
And so I fear for those who are yet to come and ache for those who have already walked down the path.
Because you hear in their words what they went through. You hear of the First Mom who was preparing herself to single-parent her child and, at first, refused to meet with LDS Family Services as her mother suggested but then gave in to her mother’s begging and agreed to meet with them and after that meeting knew within 12 hours that she “adamantly” wanted to give up her child for adoption.
And of the mother who, when pregnant, went to stay with her sister and met an “amazing” woman who had been trying so desperately for six years to have a baby, who had already gone so far as to set up a college account for the child they so desperately wanted to have and realized this woman was better for her own child than she was.
Do you hear what I hear in these stories?
My heart breaks for them when I, from this side of my journey, after learning all I have about how the adoption industry works, see the same pattern, the same tactics, the same manipulation used on women who are so capable, so loving and so deserving of their children.
And that is where I find it so hard to live with. These women who are so much, have so much, can offer so much, not only don’t realize just how great they would have been as their children’s mothers but, in turn, are also encouraging other mother’s not to realize their own strengths and abilities as mothers to the children they might currently be pregnant with.
You read what they have to say and you see intelligence, caring and love and you know, you just know, they should have been given every opportunity to raise their children because they show the ability to do whatever it would take to give their sons or daughters everything they could.
And it’s hard to know they will never get that chance and don’t see in themselves how very much they deserved that chance.
These women aren’t addicted to drugs or alcohol. They aren’t prone to abuse or neglect their children. They are exactly what you would expect a good mother to be – genuinely loving of the tiny lives they were blessed to carry and nurture to life.
And yet, not only did they never get a chance to put their qualities and abilities to use for their children, they truly believe that they never were good enough for them and that somebody else possessed “better” than them that made them more worthy of raising their child and them grateful that they did.
I know I have hit on this very thing so many times over the past couple months but I can’t seem to get away from these feelings, this sadness for these amazing mothers who should have been given every chance to keep and raise their children.
When will we understand that they not only needed, but deserved, every ounce of support we could have given them to be the best parents possible to the little ones they carried inside of them.
When will we realize that offering that hand in the beginning to these amazing women who already show every sign of being great parents will guide them into a future where they are able to offer their children the “good” life they desire for them without them ever having to suffer through the loss and grief that adoption brings with it.
Why do we punish these women? Why do we believe it is better for them to give up their children to someone who is deemed more deserving instead of helping them at the start so that in the end they will be self-reliant, capable and the best kind of mothers they can be?
When I read their stories. When I hear them proclaiming over and over again how much they didn’t have compared to how much another woman did have, my heart breaks and my anger rages.
Because they deserved more . . . their children deserved more.
They were never, and I believe never will be, neglectful, uncaring mothers who don’t give a damn about their children.
On the contrary, they are mothers who loved so much, who cared so much, that they believed they weren’t good enough and set themselves up for a lifetime of grief under the belief that their child deserved more than they could give them.
And what exactly did they get in return?
In my opinion . . . absolutely nothing.
And that’s where I get stuck and struggle with this “funk” in the midst of all the busyness in my life.
Because how can we support this? How can we allow this to happen?
So many have suffered . . . so many more will follow the same path.
So many, MANY mothers who show from the start just how truly amazing and capable they are, are being encouraged to give up their children. To not see their true worth and ability in the light of another who can offer “more.”
And, because of our societies beliefs, because of what the adoption industry pours into so many areas of our lives, these mothers are left with the expectation and the need to be happy with what has happened to them. They are led to believe, through so many areas in their life that they made the right decision by believing they were not capable to give their own child the very same love and dedication they showed from the very beginning, before they ever held their child in their arms.
Yeah, it’s a “funk.” One, I know, was brought on in more than one way, AGAIN, by the reality of adoption as I know and see it.
I know I will work through it. I know I will go away for the week with my amazing husband, all four of my children, and laugh and enjoy and remember everything that I do have in my life that makes me happy and thankful.
But I also know that for myself and everyone else who has stepped into the adoption world, there is always another fact that we can never get past . . .
The fact of just how adoption has affected us and will continue to affect us as we stumble our way through this journey that so many don’t, and never will, understand.
In Other Words: Susan Harness and Sandy White Hawk
27 minutes ago