Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm Sorry

Those of us who speak out about adoption have become very, VERY used to the “cookie cutter” responses we receive, over and over again. And one of the classics that I hear ALL the time is . . .

“I’m so sorry you had a bad experience but . . . “

The rest is always a mix of things but the plain and clear message that is there is – What you have to say really doesn’t count because your opinion, feelings . . . whatever . . . is jaded by your “bad” experience. Your voice should really just be ignored and disregarded because you aren’t talking from any true kind of knowledge, only from those screwed up emotions inside of you that really don’t mean much of anything to anyone and are nowhere near the experience the majority has had.”

And to think, I once let such a response get to me.

But when I step back and look at it logically, I almost have to laugh at the ridiculous nature of it. Because the truth of the matter is, my experience, in so many ways, mirrors that of so many of the other mothers who gave up their children, years ago and right into the present day.

But still, some will cling to whatever they can find. Most often, that ends up being the abuse my son suffered at the hands of his adoptive mother and first step-father. People are notorious for grabbing on to that, the worst heartache and horror I have ever known, and twisting it around to use against me.

And yet, that wasn’t even a bad experience. That was a nightmare. That was hell on earth. And for everything it was to me it was a hundred times worse for my son who lived it. Was hurt by it in a way nobody should ever be.

Of course that doesn’t matter to those who see it as their chance to discredit whatever I have to say. That’s their easy out. Their “winning hand” to make sure I mean nothing in the wonderful world of adoption.

Except for one thing, if I were speaking only from that nightmare and letting it jade my feelings and views of adoption, my blog would be full of post after post stereotyping all and every adoptive parent into a abusive maniac.

I mean, that is what they are suggesting, isn’t it, every time they give me that condescending pat on the back with the even more condescending, “I’m sorry you had a bad experience but . . . “

I must not be speaking with anything other than my emotionally challenged and prejudice view because of the nightmare my son faced and had to live with for so many years.

But then show me, in that train of thought, where has that prejudice that clouds my judgment brought me to speaking out about adoption because my son was abused and therefore, all adoptive parents must be abusive. Show me just ONE instance where I have let my emotions rule in such a way that I have said adoption needs to be changed because it causes adoptive children to be abused and mistreated like my son was.

You won’t find a post like that. Not even in the hardest and darkest moments that I have blogged about, will you find anything where I have ever declared that I speak out about adoption because my experience, my son’s experience, makes it very clear that adoption is bad because adoptive children are abused.

Infact, if anyone were to take the time, they would find that, even here on my blog, I began speaking out about adoption BEFORE I knew the horrible abuse my son faced.

And the thing that makes me laugh, brings me to shake my head in total bewilderment is . . . outside of what my son suffered . . . my experience is actually the exact same as so many. And that could be easily discovered if some actually took the time to read what I have posted.

I was THAT woman. I faced an unexpected pregnancy. I dealt with the fear and confusion. I went through the adoption agency counseling. Was told the EXACT same things pregnant women are still told today. The exact same things that come right out of their “instruction” manual Birthmother, Good Mother.

I met the adoptive parents early in my pregnancy, formed a relationship with them, trusted them. The adoptive mom was there when I gave birth, in the delivery room. I saw her and her husband, the adoptive father, as an amazing couple who could offer my child the kind of life I could never dream of. I was thankful for them, for all the “wonderful” things they could offer my son. And I believed my son would understand and be grateful for everything I had given him by giving him up for adoption.

For fifteen years, I lived a life where I claimed adoption was the most wonderful, loving option. I saw myself as better than those other First Mom’s who didn’t believe as I did. I felt sorry for the ones who had a bad experience because I was so much better in what I had. So much more special to be “happy” with the way my son’s adoption was.

I was oh so proud to be a birthmother.

Do you hear an echo here of what so many other First Mom’s say? I sure do. I know that. I lived that. That was MY experience.

And yet, today, that experience is labeled “bad.” It had to have been. It’s the only explanation for why I wouldn’t embrace adoption with all that love and joy and encourage it for everyone.

So what’s bad if my experience is so similar to so many others?

Is it bad because after fifteen years I began to slip out of my denial and question what had happened?

Is it bad because I started to wonder how in the world I had ever let anyone convince me that loving my child meant giving him away?

Is it bad that I found an amazing therapist and wonderful support group that finally gave me the freedom to be true with my feelings and work through them and realize the core of their existence?

Is it bad that, after four years of telling myself I was crazy, that nobody felt what I did, that I actually found others who shared my experience and began to read and research EVERYTHING I could find about adoption to try to come to some kind of answer to what had happened?

Is it bad that I took the initiative to learn what the adoption industry feeds into our society and realize just how much control they have over First Moms, Adoptees and Adoptive Parents?

Is it bad that I now realize that the best thing I could have done for my son was to stand up and fight for him with everything I have inside me? To give him what he deserved, a mother who would do whatever it took to keep him and raise him to the best of my ability?

If that is my bad experience, then I will take it.

Because I am them. I am one of those First Moms that so many hail and praise and use as an example to encourage more adoptions.

The difference is, I found a courage I never knew I had and I began to heal in the way I needed to. In a way that allowed me to begin to truly heal from the loss of my child. And I did it without having to worry if it was a good or bad thing. I did it because I knew it was time and I just couldn’t continue to live with the masquerade I had for so many long years.

And for me, there isn’t anything “bad” about that.

13 comments:

  1. Great post.

    When people say that one First Mom's opinion is invalid vs. another one who has a more positive view on adoption because the one must have just had a "bad experience," I always say:

    "Are you saying living separately from ones child is a GOOD experience?"

    I think for many adoptees, we do not want our mothers to experience regret and grief--not because those aren't valid feelings but because it makes us sad to see those we love in pain. But on the same token, it would hurt to hear someone imply that living without us and not being able to raise us was a "good experience." I wish people would think about what they say, before they say it.

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  2. Thank you yes your experience is like so many others, we hurt, we miss our children, we long for them. There is no but in my statement at all. Alot of us feel used by th eagency that only wanted our children.

    I drank the kool aid for about 15 years also. My daughter wasn't abused but had loving adoptive parents. I still don't think the best decision for her, me, and my other children was to place her. How is it wrong to speak my truth? It's not and it's not wrong to speak your truth either.

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  3. "Are you saying living separately from ones child is a GOOD experience?"

    Amanda, I like that. Mind if I borrow it the next time I get such a comment?

    Jeannette - thank you! What you said is exactly what I have tried so often to say . . . my son could have come from the most adoring, loving adoptive parents in the world, it wouldn't have mattered to the reasons why I speak out.

    Like you, it's about what I have come to realize, it wasn't ever the best decision, for him, me, his First Father, or his siblings, to give him up and I, and he, deserved SO MUCH more than the one-sided and coercive information and tactics we were given to insure I would do just that.

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  4. Great post. We adoptees run into similar responses when we try to explain the pain of being adopted, even if we weren't abused or mistreated. Both the adoptee's and the birth mother's experience can be summed up by your rhetorical question,"Are you saying living apart from one's children is a good experience?" It hurts everyone involved in the adoption constellation for the child to have to live apart from her parents.
    Well said. Thanks.

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  5. I have so many thoughts in regards to this post but I have no idea how to express them.

    I keep thinking that if my mother "really" loved me, she would have kept me. Yet she performed the greatest of "really" loving me by giving me away.

    I'm an adult. I'm a young woman who has been through reunion, and that paragraph above just shatters me.

    How can something so "loving" be so contradictory to itself?

    "But on the same token, it would hurt to hear someone imply that living without us and not being able to raise us was a "good experience.""

    Yeah. I get that. *sigh*

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  6. Any statement with a 'but' in it is bound to turn out badly in my experience!
    So many areas of abuse in adoption and I don't just mean the overt anyone could recognise it type of abuse.

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  7. Ignorant yet "know it all" people love to label and scapegoat others.

    They don't want to know the truth so they dismiss it and call us crazy, ungrateful, angry, etc.

    Should all people who are discriminated against just sit back and accept their fate and injustices? That is what the pro-adoption community would love us to do. It's not going to happen.

    I will fight 'til my last breath to bring justice to the adoptees in this country/world who have been victimized by the adoption industry.

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  8. I have to agree with Von. Every time I hear the word but used in this context, it reminds me of when people start a sentence with, "No disrespect" and they go into saying something offensive. {rolling eyes} I don't even have the words to explain how ignorant that is.

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  9. Only with adoption do you find the public so alright with mother and baby being separated.
    I was having conversation with someone I know she actually tried to justify adoption to me. Of course she knows an adopter and they are a lovely family. I actually
    Confronted her and told her there is no way to justify this horrific man made social experiment.

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  10. I hear it echoed everywhere. And, every time I see a young mom who just relinquished talking about how great adoption is, I feel concern that one day she will be one of us.

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  11. This is wonderful and so true. So much of the coercion to get birthmothers to relinquish is by stressing how much the child will have a "better life". Even if only one child (and there ARE many others) is abused it still dispels the myth that adoptive parents are uber-parents who always provide a loving and secure home. HA! It is said that because aparents choose to become parents and go through a home study that they must be perfect. We all know this isn't true. And no, children are not always pleased about having been given away. I know I wasn't. And having been reunited with my first mother I know I would have been better off with her and in my own family. Adoption is a form of brainwashing.

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  12. Thanks for sharing such a useful stuff!

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  13. You were capable to strike the nail on the head plus spelled out the entire thing with out complication.

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