Friday, November 18, 2011

Lip Service

There is a heart breaking story out there about a grandmother who lost her grandson to adoption . . .

It is, unfortunately, another incident of another adoption agency destroying families at any cost for the sake of profits. Of more proof to the fact that as long as we allow these agencies to go unregulated and unchecked, they will continue to commit such crimes without punishment.

And adds to the sad realization that such agencies are the norm, not the rarity in the billion dollar world of adoption.

I’ve heard the argument, the justifications, but the truth of the matter is . . . there is no such thing as an ethical adoption agency. They don’t exist. They can’t exist under the nature of what adoption is in our culture.

As long as there is no protection for pregnant mothers or the children who are supposed to be the most important in adoption. As long as there is profit to be made off of human beings, government-paid programs teaching counselors how to convince women to give up their babies and more of our taxes going into helping couples adopt over helping mothers keep and raise their children, there will never be anything but corruption and greed, coercion and manipulation in adoption.

And an adoption agency can give hopeful adoptive couples or frightened pregnant women all the lip service in the world, it will never change the fact that it is just that . . .

Lip Service.

Because for an adoption agency to be truly ethical, to really care first and foremost about pregnant mothers and children, they would have to go against just about everything they are in business for. They would actually have to admit that adoption counseling is coercive just in the very nature of how it is done. Admit the damage separating a child from his or her family causes. And turn away from the profits they earn with each “successful” adoption.

A truly ethical adoption agency would refuse, without question or argument, to see or talk to a pregnant mother about adoption until she had received crisis counseling for her situation . . . TRUE crisis counseling. Not the kind that comes from counselors that earn their paychecks from mothers giving up their babies. Or Social Workers who aren’t trained to recognize or work with those who are in the midst of a crisis.

It has to be from those who know. Those who are licensed and have been educated and trained to realize that a mother claiming she wants to give away her child is not a normal reaction. To understand there are fears driving such feelings and a responsibility on the one offering counseling to help her not only work through her fears but overcome them so that any decision made is one done so outside of the emotions that are pushing her to make a rash decision that will affect her for the rest of her life.

But there is not an agency I know of that has such requirements. Instead they work their way around that by claiming they truly care about the pregnant mother because they offer “options” for parenting. What they don’t say, but they know . . . trust me, THEY KNOW . . .is that it doesn’t mean a thing to offer such options to a woman who is already caught up in fear. Already believes she can’t do it.

If she hasn’t been helped to overcome her fears, encouraged to seek solutions and answers to what is pushing her to make such an irrational decision, such options are going to be rejected without thought because she is already living under the terrible fear that she isn’t good enough for her own child. And NOBODY has helped her work through that fear or overcome it.

She has already been denied the help she needed . . . deserved. And is instead being manipulated because of her fears. Her desperate emotions being used to push her to give away her child.

There is nothing ethical about that. Absolutely nothing.

But it doesn’t even stop there. Again, for an agency to be ethical, they would also have to put every effort into making sure a child remain within his or her biological family if at all possible.

Not just in foster care adoptions – such as the grandmother who tragically lost her grandson because of the illegal practices of an adoption agency – but in ALL adoption situations.

They would make sure every pregnant mother who came in their doors was aware of the studies, the research, that shows children do better within their biological families versus being raised by strangers. They would encourage family adoptions over stranger adoptions and they would ALWAYS put their highest effort into keeping a child in their family, through whatever means possible.

There would no longer be counseling that encouraged grandparents to “accept” their daughter’s decision instead of stepping in to help support and raise their grandchild. No more suggestions that family offering to help was the same as them not “respecting” a pregnant mother’s decision.

And there would definitely not be situations such as this grandmother’s where biological families were denied their own grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, because there were already strangers being given the promise of adoption.

Keeping children, whenever possible, within their families would go beyond just a practice. Beyond whatever it is an adoption agency might tell others to appear ethical. It would be a requirement, a must, before any other form of adoption occurred. They would fight for it, be vigilant about it. And wouldn’t stray from it, not even if their profits were threatened.

And that is the final reason why there can never be an ethical adoption agency . . . profit.

They make money. They gain. They succeed off of taking children from their mothers and handing them over to strangers who have the ability to pay for them. They lie to adoptive parents, first parents and even adoptees. They cover their tracks, call themselves non-profit, do whatever they can to hide the one and true reason why they do what they do . . .

MONEY.

The money they will not give up. Money that keeps their manipulative, coercive, corrupt and illegal practices going. Money that pays for lobbyists to push for laws that keep them unregulated, untouched even when they clearly break the law. Money that denies protection for pregnant mother and children.

Money that does and will continue to make it impossible for any adoption agency . . . anywhere . . . to ever be ethical. Because they can’t be. They don’t want to be. And they never will be.

Not it today’s world. Not in the ugly truth that is adoption. The ugly truth that won’t change until our support, our belief . . . our own personal ethics . . . change and demand better.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sacrificing Babies

There is a wonderful place here in our state called Hope House.

It is a place for teenage moms. A place to support them, help them, teach them, so they are empowered to be the best they can be, as a woman and a mother.

And these young moms are amazing . . . so amazing. They are everything a mother should be. They are the proof to what it really means to make a loving sacrifice for your child.

They are changing their lives, learning parenting skills, creating job skills, whatever it takes, whatever they need to do to become the best mothers they can be. To find self-efficiency. Gain power over themselves, their futures, and the futures of their children.

And they are everything the adoption industry doesn’t want them to be.

They are the ones that are considered selfish, unloving, irresponsible because they didn’t give away their baby. Because they didn’t believe they were unworthy or unfit but instead knew they could do it . . . could do ANYTHING . . . for their child.

They are the threat because by SACRIFICING FOR their children they aren’t allowing the adoption industry to SACRIFICE THEIR children.

And that is the bare ugly truth of domestic infant adoption and the way it is practiced in today’s world.

It is about discouraging mothers from making true sacrifices for their children while beating them down, keeping them believing they can’t do it, aren’t good enough, so their children can be sacrificed.

Sacrificed for that “more-deserving” couple who wants a baby, who is willing to pay whatever it takes to get what they want.

Sacrificed for society’s view of who is more worthy to parent, for our backwards practices that pays more into support to separate a mother and child than keep them together.

Sacrificed for yet another check to be deposited into the billion dollar profits of the adoption industry. Profits that go unchecked and unregulated at the expense of human beings.

Adoption isn’t a loving sacrifice. It is fear and desperation. Coercion and manipulation. It is about a woman who is carrying a product that another woman wants. It’s about an industry that gains off of taking a child away from one mother to satisfy the needs of another.

It’s about creating a terrible belief that women who actually work hard, change their lives, do everything they can to keep and raise their children are the “bad” ones. The ones not to be praised or respected, but instead chided and ridiculed for not giving away their babies to that “better” person waiting in line.

And you see it everywhere, especially in this month that we are supposed to celebrate all the wonderful things about adoption.

Pictures of those mothers who gave up their children, praise for them, respect for them, is in abundance.

They are so wonderful. So great for what they did. They are responsible and loving and unselfish because they gave away their baby to somebody better. Because they didn’t try to change their life, gain parenting skills, work skills and do whatever it took to be the best mother possible to their child.

They did what was expected of them, what has been pounded into their heads, their hearts . . . they admitted defeat, believed they were unworthy of their child, and gave them up.

And we as a society respect that, we glorify it. We celebrate it.

And we turn around and shake our heads in dismay at the moms who didn’t follow that path, who didn’t give away their baby.

We don’t celebrate them, hold them up as wonderful women to be praised for what they have done.

Instead we call them selfish, unloving, immature. We don’t see - because we are so deep into the lies flooding adoption - how much better it is, how much everything could change, if we supported these women. Supported programs like Hope House. Held them up in the highest of regard because of their TRUE sacrifice for their children. Praised them and helped them and created an overwhelming wave of mothers who have been empowered to be the very best they can be, for themselves and their children.

Could you imagine the changes it might make if our focus shifted and we cared more about supporting mothers instead of taking their children from them? If we could only open our eyes to the truth and see how damaging adoption is to women and their children.

Those in the adoption industry like to pretend they are supporting and caring of pregnant women. But they aren’t. It is impossible for them to be. You can’t empower a woman while also sending the message that there is another woman out there who just might be a “better” mother for her child. You can’t support her and encourage her when you don’t address, from the start, the fears that are holding her back from believing she is strong enough, capable enough . . . GOOD ENOUGH. When the very message that adoption sends is one of being less than and unable to overcome whatever obstacles there may be to become the best person she can possibly be – for herself and for her child.

We need to, desperately, start standing up as one against the damage adoption causes in our society. We need to look harder and deeper into what it truly means to sacrifice for your child. To be the voice that fights for TRUE empowerment for pregnant women.

Our government, our laws, aren’t changing anytime soon. But we can change. As a society we can refuse to support any practice, any industry . . . ANYBODY . . . who discourages women from making a true loving sacrifice for their children and instead encourages them to sacrifice their child, the most intimate, precious parts of themselves, for the greed, desires and judgments of others.

We can say, “NO MORE.”

We have the power. We have the ability.

And we have the knowledge, deep down inside of us . . . in those areas the adoption industry can’t touch with their lies . . . of just how much of a change we could make if we offered every pregnant mother facing a crisis the help, support and power to be everything she and her child will ever need.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"No" Vember

A friend of mine posted a picture on her Facebook wall of a list of “No’s” for November and I figured why not do one that is adoption related since it is National Adoption (BE)wareness Month . . .

NO SEALED OBC’S FOR ADOPTEES - - Nobody deserves to have their equal rights denied them simply because they are adopted.

NO “ADOPTION” COUNSELING FOR PREGNANT WOMEN - - Every women in a CRISIS pregnancy should have true CRISIS counseling from an unbiased professional.

NO DENYING THE TRAFFICKING THAT IS A PART OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION - - The proof is there, pretending it doesn’t exist won’t make it go away.

NO BELIEVING THAT THERE ISN’T LOSS INVOLVED WITH EVERY SINGLE ADOPTION - - No matter the circumstances or situation, there is always a loss when a mother and child are separated from one another.

NO COERCIVE PRACTICES LIKE PRE-BIRTH MATCHING AND/OR ADOPTIVE PARENTS IN THE DELIVERY ROOM - - The adoption industry has long-known that a mother is more likely to give up her child if she forms a relationship with the hopeful couple and becomes concerned about their feelings.

NO EXPECTING ADOPTEES TO BE GRATEFUL - - Whether you adopted your child or gave your child up for adoption, you should never expect them to be grateful for a decision that was made FOR them not BY them.

NO HUNTING DOWN A PREGNANT WOMAN TO FIND “YOUR” BABY - - It goes beyond wrong to solicit for and/or market yourself to vulnerable pregnant women in the hopes of them giving you their baby.

NO HIDING THE FULL TRUTH OF ADOPTION FROM AN EXPECTANT MOM - - Every women deserves to know the pain and grief adoption causes for so many mothers and their children.

NO PRETENDING ADOPTION IS THE ALTERNATIVE TO ABORTION - - As it has been said, over and over again, the two are not related. Abortion is the decision to continue a pregnancy. Adoption is a decision about parenting.

NO CLAIMING THAT GOD WANTS YOU TO ADOPT - - God does not, and never will, support the separation of a mother and child to fulfill another’s selfish needs. It goes against everything he teaches.

NO DENYING THAT NATURE IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS NURTURE - - Every child, adopted or not, is a part of nature and nurture. To deny them that is to deny them a part of themselves.

NO CLAIMING THAT ADOPTION IS A LOVING OPTION - - Adoption is not from love. It comes from fear and desperation . . .

. . . Any my last and final “no” for this month . . .

NO MORE BILLION DOLLAR PROFITS FOR THE ADOPTION INDUSTRY - - It is disgusting that any one of us supports and encourages an industry that treats human beings, innocent children, like merchandise. That we allow them to be “price-tagged” based on demand for their race, sex and age. That we really see nothing wrong with dedicating an entire month to celebrate something that in the greed of providing children for parents who are willing to pay for them we have left behind the children truly in need.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Shut Up And Listen

Wow! National Adoption Awareness month has really kicked off with a bang this year.

I can definitely see where we should all be dancing around and celebrating all that is wonderful in the big, rainbow colored world of adoption.

We are just four days into this month that the adoption industry has hijacked for their own gain and already a large group of adoptees have been insulted, ignored and told - - AGAIN - - they are bitter and angry and need to seek help because they dared to speak up to protect a young adoptee.

And in the swirl of this ugliness, as, over and over again, adoptees are torn down and stomped on for their attempts to speak out and protect a child, I can’t help but wonder . . .

Isn’t that what this month . . . what the whole of adoption is supposed to be – all about the children?

And who knows better about what adopted children might face during their growing up years than the adult adoptees who have already lived the life?

The very people who brave the insults, the degrading comments that always seem to start with, “I can see why your mother gave you up,” to protect, to bring awareness, to help the younger generation of adoptees.

They get kicked and shoved to the ground more times than anyone can count and yet they pick themselves up, brush off their backsides and go back at it. Not for them, or the money hungry adoption industry, but for the children.

You know, those pesky little ones that adoption is supposed to be all about to start with.

But it doesn’t matter because nobody wants to hear them. Not if they aren’t speaking the “truth” they are supposed to say. You know the one. Where they must bow down at the sacred temple of adoption and be grateful for all the wonderful gifts it brought to their life.

And they REALLY don’t want to hear them in the month of November. I mean really, how do they dare speak out in a month that is all about how wonderful adoption is, how saintly adoptive parents are for saving children, how great First Moms are for giving away their babies to strangers and how absolutely grateful, without question, adoptees are because everyone around them decided what would be best for their life long before they ever even had a voice to share their own opinion.

And how do they dare speak out on the blog of an adoptive mother who, in her disgusting attempt to continue to build her own popularity (articles in Adoption Today Magazine, awards for being an inspiring family) places her adopted daughter in second place by refusing to teach her about the racism she will face later in life. By encouraging as “cute” her being a part of such racism. The very kind of racism that ALL MOTHERS - - biological, adoptive, foster, step - - should always teach their children is wrong and inappropriate in any situation.

Nope. That is so wrong in this month that we must all realize that adoption is such a wonderful, terrific act that takes poor, nothing beings away from their unworthy mothers and bestows them on the perfect mothers that deserve a child.

It’s wrong in expecting any wonderful, terrific . . . “hold you up in such saintly wonder that you get your picture in an Adoption magazine” . . . adoptive parent might actually listen to the adult adoptees who are fighting for the future of the young adoptees that are now living the life they have known for so long.

Because adoption might be about the children but it’s not really about those children . . . you know . . . the ones who have actually lived the life. Who have gone through childhood, the difficult teenage years, adulthood, and come to realize their own truths and experiences might not exactly match up to the fairytales the adoption industry and so many blind, “stick my head in the sand” adoptive and first mothers wish to believe.

We can’t listen to them. I mean really, how can we we?

But we should.

Every one of us, especially in this month that is supposed to be all about adoption awareness, should shut up, step back and listen to what those who have actually had to live the life of an adoptee has to say.

Stop telling them what they should feel. Stop insulting them, degrading them, tossing them aside because they don’t say what you want to hear.

Listen to them. Give the meaning of National Adoption Awareness Month importance by giving the voices who have lived the life of being adopted, the lead.

Forget all your crap - - Adoptive and First moms alike - - and step back, listen and learn from those who have the most important message to be told . . .

The adoptees. The ones who were the children that it is supposed to be all about.

The ones who know, better than any of us, the truth of adoption.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tricks Without The Treats

My Italian Grandfather – Grandpa Joe – who I have written about before, loved Halloween.

He was one of those characters who took great joy in all the big holidays, getting into the spirit for everything from Easter Egg Hunts to Christmas Caroling to Haunted Houses.

All the neighborhood kids in the small town where he lived always knew “Mr. Joe” had pumpkins in his garden for them (after his granddaughter had first pick, of course) and homemade caramel apples waiting for them every Halloween night back in the time when there wasn’t fear over the goodies your children were given.

And they knew, when they rang his bell and yelled “Trick or Treat” there was always a very good chance that “Mr. Joe” would tease them with a trick of his own before giving them their treat. It was always simple, fun tricks, to earn a smile . . . a quick laugh . . . before giving them the treats they were waiting for.

Such memories are part of the many I treasure when I think of my Grandfather.

I was only fourteen when he died, just two years before I gave up my oldest son . . . his great grandson. And I can’t help but wonder, at times, what he thinks of what I did. What he thinks of the fact that his only grandchild (at the time of his death) who was saved from adoption herself partly because of my grandfather’s strong belief in the importance of family, sacrificed her own child. Handed him over to strangers because she believed the tricks of the adoption agency . . .

Tricks that never came with any treats.

And that is how the adoption industry survives, how they maintain their billion dollar profits. They continually trick pregnant women who are putting their trust in them, believing them and their promises of caring only about them and their unborn child.

But it is all lies, created so they can walk away with the treat – a mother’s child and the profit they will make off of that innocent baby.

And it is the lies they tell about our babies. The tricks they pull, that are the very worst.

Because they desperately need us to believe that separating a mother and child at birth causes no harm. And they tell us this, over and over again. Doing their very best to convince a pregnant mother that her baby doesn’t even know who she is, won’t suffer at all from being given away to strangers from the moment of birth.

And it is the worst . . . and most harmful . . . trick of all.

Because it’s a lie. One the adoption industry, and certain others, hold on to even with the studies, the knowledge, the simple human instinct that proves them wrong over and over again.

Babies know who their mothers are. They know. They hear them. They feel them. They are a part of them. In everything that is so frightening and new to them at the moment of birth, there is one thing . . . one person . . . who gives them comfort . . .

Their mothers.

The medical professionals know this. When my granddaughter spent those days in the NICU, the nurses made sure my daughter-in-law (her mother) knew how important it was for her to be there, to talk to her daughter, touch her, hold her.

And not because she was just some random caregiver and it was important for her to have human contact.

But because she was her mother. She was the one person my granddaughter knew, could be comforted by. Though there wasn’t any choice but to be placed in the NICU, it wasn’t good for my granddaughter to be separated from her mother, to be around strangers, no matter how much they cared for her or were there to help her.

She needed her mother. Needed the one person she knew. And as the nurses said, the one person – her mother – that studies proved, the more contact with, the higher the recovery rate.

And her mother was there. Always there. Never wanting to leave her little girl. We had to fight with her to get a few hours sleep. To pull her away from her daughter’s crib when she was so pale from exhaustion she looked like a walking ghost.

She knew the truth. Nobody tricked her, lied to her. There was no profit to be made. No treats to walk away with. So she was told, as all mothers should be, how important it was for her child to have her mother around. How much she needed her, how traumatic it was for her to be separated from the one person she knew and could be comforted by.

But so many other babies aren’t given that. So many other mothers are lied to. All in the name of profits, in the hopes of another woman desperately wanting a child.

Babies aren’t blank slates. They aren’t these non-intelligent beings born without knowledge of where they are or who they are with. I’ve been reminded of that every day since my granddaughter was born.

She knows, even in a household of four adults and one doting teenage aunt, who her mother is. She has from the very start. None of us are strangers to her anymore. But her mother, she is the one my granddaughter responds to the most. I see it, am witness to the truth every single day.

And I wish, oh how I wish, if there was just one single message, one single lesson I could get out to the pregnant mother of today, it would be to run far away from what I did all those years ago - - sacrificing my son to strangers - - and study, watch and learn just how important mothers are to their babies.

Don’t do as I did and believe their lies, their tricks.

Believe instead your worth, your importance to your child. And know that he or she already knows you, trusts you and finds comfort in your touch, the sound of your voice.

Don’t put your baby through the trauma of separation from you. Love them, hold them, keep them and cherish them.

Give them the most important need they will ever have in their life . . .

YOU!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

San Antonio Surprise

I am so far behind in just about everything these days, especially the blogging world. But it is all for a very good reason . . .

My granddaughter decided she didn’t want to wait around for her September 19th due date. She figured the hot summer days of August were more to her liking. And since I told her not to come while I was away in San Antonio at the Adoptee Rights Demonstration, she picked that as the perfect time to make her debut.

It was a sixteen hour drive, in the middle of the night, to get us from San Antonio back home to Colorado. We were on a dark Kansas Interstate, six hours left to go, when she was born. My youngest son, the wonderful man that he is, took a picture just a few minutes after she was born and sent it to us. And there she was, naked and screaming, and as beautiful as ever.

We celebrated. We cried. And we counted down the hours left till we reached the hospital.

And today . . . my granddaughter is almost three months old and absolutely perfect. Though she was six weeks early, she was born healthy and strong and spent less than a week in the NICU. From there she came home to our house, with her wonderful parents (my youngest son and daughter-in-law) and has reminded me every day just how truly amazing it is to be a grandmother.

Every day she changes. And every day I am so thankful for her.

And in all the congratulations and well wishes since her birth I have been asked, only once, if I regretted going to San Antonio and missing the birth of my first grandchild. And my answer was exactly as it still is now and will be in the future . . .

No. I don’t, and never will, regret it.

But it’s hard, I have found, to get it to make sense to others in the same way it makes sense inside my own head.

Because I do wish I could have been there when my granddaughter was born. I would be lying if I said otherwise. But I wasn’t there. I can never change that I wasn’t there. And if I wasn’t meant to be there, through fate, God, or whatever force you might believe in, than I was meant to be in the next best place I could have been.

I could have been anywhere, doing anything, with anyone, when I learned my granddaughter was on her way. But I wasn’t. I was somewhere that meant something to me. Something beyond anything I could even try to explain.

And it’s beyond the fact that I finally had a part in standing up and speaking out for the Adoptee Rights that I believe in. (Though I am SO disappointed that I missed my booth time and solemnly swear to do double time next year in Chicago.) It was who I was with. The wonderful people I was surrounded by, that made the experience something I know I will forever be grateful for.

The fact that I was excited to become a grandmother was never a secret with anyone. Those who knew me, knew I couldn’t wait for my granddaughter to be born.

But there was a special group of people, who I consider friends in every way that matters to me, who understood, over and beyond, how adoption added another layer to my feelings. Understood even where I couldn’t explain it.

They just knew, without any explanation necessary, that the birth of my first grandchild held something over and beyond what was expected. Past the normal excitement and joy of welcoming another member into my family.

And it was those friends I was with when I learned my granddaughter was on her way. This group of wonderful people who I never even knew - just a mere five years ago - existed. Who are some of the most giving, understanding, loving and loyal human beings I have ever had the honor of crossing paths with.

Outside of my husband and my other children, they were the first to know my granddaughter was on her way. The first tears I shed were on the shoulder of a wonderful woman and adoptee who I think was actually crying before I was. The first hugs and congratulations came from those who, through their own stories and experience, their support and friendship, held me up and kept me going during some of the darkest times of my life when it felt as if adoption had beaten me down as far as I could go.

And even in those last couple hours on the road, when the hospital seemed so close and yet still so far away, it was those same wonderful people who were the first to call (outside of my family) and to know my granddaughter had been born just a few hours earlier.

No. There are no regrets for where I was, what I was doing and ESPECIALLY who I was with when my granddaughter decided it was time to make her entrance into this world.

What there is instead is a story to share with my granddaughter as she gets older. She will always know where I was and what I was fighting for when I found out she was coming earlier than expected. She’ll always be told about the wonderful people who were the first to know she was on her way. And she’ll always have her own personal tale of how she became our San Antonio Surprise.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kickin' It In Texas

I’m out of here!

First thing Friday morning my husband, daughter and I hit the road for San Antonio, Texas and the Adoptee Rights Demonstration . . .





Unfortunately, our oldest son won’t be able to join us as we had hoped. With all the time he has missed from work these past few months in his battle against cancer, he isn’t able to take any more time off.

We will miss him but we will fight for him and for the equal rights he is denied.

Did you know, he is actually an unbelievable individual? He really, truly is. How could he not be (I mean besides my own completely biased view) when he has, if you count his birth certificates, been born three times.

Yep, out of all four of my children, my oldest son is the only one who has three birth certificates . Three DIFFERENT birth certificates. Not three copies of the same.

He has his original birth certificate which, here in Colorado (as an adult), he had to fill out a form that he had to sign, I had to sign, had to be notarized and then sent into the state with a hefty fee, only to wait almost five weeks for it to be delivered.

He also has his FIRST amended birth certificate, that we made sure he got before it too was sealed away from him, and his SECOND amended birth certificate (which sealed his First amended birth certificate) that was created when we adopted him back.

Can you follow that? My son has been issued three different birth certificates, two of which he is not allowed to have access to unless he is willing to jump through the hoops required of him.

And one of the craziest parts of that is, his second amended birth certificate, the one he is “allowed” to get, has the exact same information on it as his original birth certificate except for the fact that his father was finally allowed to be included as well. So his time of birth, his place of birth and my name, as the mother who actually truly did give birth to him, are exactly the same as what his original birth certificate states. And yet, he still cannot just walk into our local health and human services office and obtain his original birth certificate.

He STILL is treated like a child, slapped on the hand and told, “No. You don’t get to have that.”

And his first amended birth certificate – you know, the one so many believe is all he really needs in his life – well, he doesn’t have the right to that one either.

Yeah. Makes all kinds of sense doesn’t it? Especially if you try to use the logic those against adoptee rights like to throw out there - - that he is being denied his equal rights to protect his “birthmother.”

Ha! As of right now, in his life, according to all the legal mumbo jumbo that has passed through the courts, my son actually has two “birthmothers.” (I told you he was an unbelievable individual. Not only has he been born three times, he’s also been born to two different women!)

When we filled out the paperwork to adopt him back, the name of his adoptive mom actually went into the space for birthmother . . . only in adoption can it be that my son’s adoptive mom is now legally considered his birthmother and I am considered his adoptive mother.

And yet, twisted as it is, under the logic so many try, desperately, to use to deny an adoptee their equal rights, my son is denied his original birth certificate AND his first amended birth certificate to protect both myself and his adoptive mother – the only two moms he has in life – from having any contact from him (cause you know he is this crazy, unsettled sort of creature that surely would put us at harm. I mean, really, I should just be so thankful I have survived this long with him back in my life. Who knows when he might break and become the madman he is sure to be.)

So technically, he is not worthy, good enough, or sane enough, to know the mother who adopted him any more than he is to know the one who gave birth to him and then, also, adopted him.

The poor guy is screwed!

And for what? For what reason? What SANE, LOGICAL reason?

Three birth certificates issued to one individual person. Two moms, the only ones he has in life, supposedly protected from whatever crazy, insane notions my son has in his perceived messed-up mind, and a long line of lawmakers deciding for him what he can and cannot know about his own PERSONAL information.

I mean . . . really? How much more crazy can it get?

With my son’s cancer, and how much different it could have been if he had not known his family history, I could already have a good, hard fight for why adoptees deserve their equal rights. But the fact is, all the “side” arguments as to why are just that - - the side arguments.

Because the fact remains that my son’s story, Linda’s story, Amanda’s story, Allison’s story, Joy’s story . . . etc . . . etc . . . etc . . . all boil down to one clear and true reality –

Give adoptees their equal rights. Give them what the rest of us take for granted. Allow them to be adults. And everything else, the multiple births by two different women, the medical history, the right to know their roots . . . ALL OF IT, will be an argument of the past, one no longer needed to be rehashed by the act of one simple action . . .

Give back to adoptees what has been denied from them for far too long. Give back to them what the rest of us take for granted.

And that is, plain and simple, all it is. That is why I, my wonderful husband, and my daughter, will be in San Antonio. That is why so many other wonderful adoptees, First Moms and Adoptive Moms will be there as well.

Because, even with all our differences, we have one thing in common . . . the belief that we, and those we love, deserve the same rights, the same respect and the same freedoms to have and be what we are, by our birth just as much as our upbringing.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Oh Baby, Baby

The day is here.

In some ways, it feels like it was just yesterday I learned I was going to become a Grandmother.

And yet, today, it’s Baby Shower time with just a month and a half until my daughter-in-law’s due date.

This whole experience of becoming a Grandmother for the first time has been amazing, wonderful, terrific . . . and so many other things I can’t even put into words.

And it’s also brought a lot of understanding I thought I knew, but am coming to see I never full realized until now. Until my own personal experience has brought me here.

Though I was too naïve with my oldest son to realize what was happening, I have never . . . NEVER . . . doubted the bonding that happened between myself and ALL my children during pregnancy. I could tell you who kicked the most. Who had hiccups ALL THE TIME. Who loved when I slept on my back and who loved when I slept on my side.

I knew every one of my children, intimately . . . in the way only a mother can . . . long before they were born. But I have never before had the experience of being close enough to someone I love to witness, as an outsider looking in, such a bond.

But I see that now. I know that now. And it is one of the most remarkable things!

And it isn’t like it is this giant, screaming occurrence that happens.

Instead it’s the little things. Those moments that come and go, that you are lucky enough to catch, that give proof to the bond between a mother and her unborn child.

I see it when my daughter-in-law rubs her stomach and, in a soft voice, asks her baby girl what she wants to eat. When her laughter fills the room because she has enjoyed chocolate and the kicks and punches against her stomach have let her know her daughter has enjoyed the treat as well.

There are the times, when we are all together, talking, playing pool, chatting, when my daughter-in-law will start singing softly to her stomach because she knows, can feel, when her baby is restless inside her and has learned that a song, no matter how off-key, soothes her.

It is just so amazing to see from this side of things. As a Grandmother so ready and excited to welcome her first Grandchild . . . her Granddaughter . . . into the world.

And yet, I also know something else . Understand something that is so important . . .

For my Granddaughter, no matter how much I already love her. No matter how much I have planned and looked forward to and been eager for her to finally be born . . . I am, and will be for awhile, a complete stranger to her.

I may love her with all my heart, love her in a way I can’t even describe at the moment, but that doesn’t change the fact that she will not know me, love me, or even trust me when she is born.

I am, as of right now, a stranger to her, as is everyone who is not her mother. She will not enter this world suddenly loving me as I love her. How can she when it is not my voice, my scent, my heartbeat she knows?

And knowing that makes me so thankful that my Granddaughter will have her mother there. That she will never feel alone or afraid in a world of strangers because her mother, the one she does know, love and trust, will be there for her. Will be the comfort nobody else can offer her during those tender months after her birth as she is learning to trust and believe in those who surround her.

I couldn’t imagine different for her and am so thankful I don’t have to. But my heart does break when I think of how many infants will never know the comfort and safety my Granddaughter will always know because adoption will take that away from them. Because so many want . . . need . . . cling to the belief that there is no damage in separating as child from the one person he or she has loved, relied on and trusted long before the rest of us have ever even become a part of their life.

And though I want to kick myself, scream at the top of my lungs, create some kind of punishment for those who caused my oldest son to never have such security in the earliest part of his life (including me and all that I robbed him of.) I’ve come to realize that sometimes you don’t know, or understand, until you have that opportunity to be on this side of things, when you are the outsider looking in, learning and seeing what you couldn’t while it was happening to you personally.

Though it would have been completely impossible to happen, if I could have lived this experience before giving up my son, it would have taken forces greater than any we know exist in man(woman)kind to rip my oldest son away from everything he should have been given at the time of his birth. To cheat him from what my Granddaughter will always have.

But, unfortunately, I can’t change history, for myself, my son, or anyone else in my family who has suffered the loss adoption brings.

And that is where another part of the understanding becomes even more real now that I am here, living the reality of being a Grandmother for the first time.

Because there is something else I can never change . . . the memory of my mother, unable, for the one and only time in my life, to be there beside me, supporting me and holding me up in time of need, because the loss she was suffering was too much for her to overcome.

When I gave up my son, when I handed him over to his adoptive mother in the nursery, walked out of the hospital with empty arms, one of the first things I saw was my mom, sitting in the passenger seat of my parent’s car, crying like I had never seen her cry before.

To this day, that image of her is still one I struggle to deal with. One that can, and has, haunted me through the years.

And yet, it took this . . . my experience with becoming a Grandmother for the first time, just as she was when I was pregnant with my oldest son, to fully realize the pain and heartache she was struggling with on the day I handed my oldest son over to strangers to raise.

I took a moment in time that I am celebrating, loving and enjoying, and yanked it away from her. I not only allowed some other woman to become my son’s mother, I also allowed another woman to become my son’s Grandmother. A place in his life I truly had no right stripping from him or my mother, his grandmother.

I did that. And not only did I do that, I have now come to realize, through my own experience, just how wrong it was to deny my son and his Grandmother such a relationship.

I either heard it or believed it all then though . . . how wrong it was for me to expect my parents to raise, or even help me raise, my son when they had already raised me. How selfish I was being to even believe they would help me, to even consider accepting their help.

And yet, now . . . I get it! I would do anything for my Granddaughter. There is nothing you could ask of me that would be too much when it came to the health and happiness of that little girl. I would give my all, sacrifice everything I had for her . . . just as I would have done for any of my children.

I now understand . . . though my mother’s support, because of her experience, was silent support . . . my belief, my argument, that they would help me, support me, be there for me, because they loved me and their grandchild, was exactly right.

I was right, without doubt! My mom, because she is me and I am her, was feeling exactly as I do today. She loved her Grandson before he was ever born. Would have done anything for him, not because she was forced to by my own selfishness. But because she loved him, loved me. Because he was her Grandson. Because he was a part of her and a part of her child. Because she wanted, and always has, what was best for me and for my children.

I understand that now. Understand something that even all our talks, our understanding of where we each were back then, of how our experiences played such a huge part in that time of our live, could never fully make me see until I walked in those shoes, became the Grandmother who could never imagine, never think of losing her Grandchild to strangers.

I couldn’t do it, and honestly, don’t know how my mom did.

If I were to lose my Grandchild, I fully believe it would be the end of me.
And it hurts and tears me apart to know that, if my daughter-in-law had come across different feelings. If she had decided to give up my Granddaughter, whether my son, the dad, or the rest of the family agreed, we would have no say, no ability to keep our Granddaughter, daughter, niece in the family.

She would be lost to us forever because the law decides that strangers are better for her than we are. The law says that although she is our family, a part of us, loved by us, it doesn’t matter, because we don’t matter.

And that is such bullshit. (And yes I did it, I actually used such a word . . . a word that doesn’t even come close to my feelings at the thought of my Granddaughter being taken from us and given to strangers.)

My mom (who would leave most adoptive parents in the dust if she were to go through a Home Study to determine her worth) had absolutely NO RIGHT to her own Grandchild. Strangers held more right than she did to her own flesh and blood.

And strangers hold the same right to my own Granddaughter. They do. You would be a fool to question it.

I love my Granddaughter. I can’t wait for the chance to hold her in my arms, to love her and spoil her like a Grandmother is supposed to do.

But none of that matters to the law, the adoption industry, and many adoptive parents.

Because to them, I mean nothing. To them, strangers have the right to take away my Granddaughter if that is what her mother decides and I have no say, no legal rights to fight. Nothing to save my family and keep it intact.

I am, as a Grandmother who is already crazy in love with her Granddaughter. As one who would give everything, sacrifice whatever I have for her, nothing in the eyes of so many. Especially those who are so eager to profit or gain off of the very thought of my Granddaughter’s birth.

Because she is another infant born to young parents without successful careers, stable incomes or healthy bank accounts. Because I lose, my son loses, my entire family loses if, for any reason the adoption industry was able to convince my daughter-in-law she was not worthy . . . good enough . . . for her own child.

Because my Granddaughter . . . a healthy, white infant . . . is a hot commodity in today’s world. A product desired, bought and sold in what is reality for so many. And if just one thing, one small thing, had gone different, she could be on the selling block with so many other infants, a price tag on her head and a promised life of never knowing, never growing up with having the experience of being part of a family that has loved her, wanted her, and known she was a part of us, of all we are, from the moment she was conceived and began her journey into this world.

I am so thankful I will be able to celebrate my Granddaughter entering our family instead of mourning the loss of her as so many Grandparents are forced to do in the world of adoption. And because of her, and so many other infants born to mothers society deems “not good enough” my fight will continue, even stronger, to fight against a practice that needlessly destroys families.

Today I will eat and drink, play games, laugh and share my happiness with friends and family while always remembering the many families who have lost so much because of adoption. Who were never allowed the chance to celebrate a wonderful new life because their child/grandchild, brother/sister, niece or nephew was taken from them to be presented as a “gift” to a couple deemed more worthy.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Repeating His Words

The disgusting “price lists” for babies are making their rounds again.

Every time I see them, I not only get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, I also think of my oldest son, an adoptee, and his reaction when he first discovered such a disgusting practice existed.

It’s been two and a half years since he was traveling around the internet and came across this site . . . Adoption: A Path of the Heart. At that time, the blog owner allowed comments and my son took full advantage of it.

But I knew, from experience, the chances of his comment remaining on her site were slim to none, so back in January 2009, I made sure his words would not be lost forever by publishing them on my blog . . . In My Son’s Words.

And I am thankful I did. It took less than twenty-four hours for the blog owner to remove his reply and close down comments on her blog (my son’s words were just the first of many who shared their horror that such lists existed for “purchasing” human lives.)

So, as this disgusting site, and others like it, are being discovered again, I thought I would share, once more, my son’s response, his first reaction, when he learned such disgusting lists existed . . .

jctippinward said...

First, let me start off with saying this is one of the most disgusting things I have ever laid my eyes upon, and I’ve seen a lot in my 21 years of living, but this, putting a price on a child and listing him/her on a blog as if you were selling a car is just wrong. A white Caucasian male will run you about 35k while an African-American male child will run you about 23k. What is this, cars made by a certain company therefore will be better? Are you serious?

These are children people. The most innocent thing in the world has now become a Market for investments and profit. Look at the way you list them here as if they were a product, like they came out of a plastic box. Do you not have children of your own? Let me ask you this, would put a price tag on them and sell them on the open market? No? Then why do you find it to be right to sell another person(s) child over blogspot?

I’m sure, by now, some have stopped reading and wrote me off as an uneducated buffoon who has no idea what I’m talking about and to those of you closed minded, ignorant pricks, all I can say to you is piss off.

I am a product of the whole open adoption craze. It was like a new fashion craze amongst you. Everyone is doing it so it must be right. Well it’s not right and I will tell you why. When my Amom stopped sending my Mother(Cassi) news and pictures on how I was doing, my Mother went to the adoption agency and complained. They told her there is nothing she can do about it, that I was now under the control of my Amom(Terri). My adoption was an open one and just like that it became closed. I will only say this, the amount of pain that caused my mother still ripples through time today. What it did to me has changed who I am forever. I spent most of my youth jumping around from step dad to step dad, watching the first one physically and mentally abuse Terri and I. The second one never loved me. He told me that himself. There was no father figure besides Terri's Father. He passed away when I was 15, the only sort of guidance for me had passed on to a better place. I was lost. I didn't know who I was I knew that I wasn't blood with the people I lived with and deep down inside I knew I didn't belong where I was.

As a teen I was far from an angel. I did a lot of things I look back on now and hold in deep regret of my actions. When I was 16, Terri left me with her Mother who at the time was unable to walk. I had complete freedom and I took full advantage of it. I found myself stealing her car, credit cards, and cash and partying every night. By the time I was 17, I was kicked out of Terri's mother's house and left to move back in with Terri. This was the hardest time of my life.Terri was a drunk and a mean one at that. It caused many fights and many problems for us. I don’t want to cover much on this time.

I was doing nothing but living to die. I knew deep down I hated everything and everyone and the only thing that made that go away was an abusive drug habit that still scars my heart today. Both of my shoulders are destroyed from self inflected wounds. They will never look the same. These are the things that haunt me. Now I tell you that story to tell you this one.

The adoption agency told my mom she would not be able to be a good mother for me. Those lying bastards. I have 2 little brothers and one little sister. Both of my Parents are still together and married doing what they can to make sure we, their children, have everything we need to succeed in life. They told her this would not happen.

Now I’ve read all over books about feeling angry towards (and I hate using this term) the Natural parents and if you’re one of those right now reading this, I want to say this from me to you. Forgive and open your heart. Remember when you were young and scared about the world? Well they were too and they were tricked by a money thirsty industry. If they would have known the true cost it would never have happened and it would have been done there. So again forgive. Your heart will feel better as will theirs.

So don't sit there and tell me someone can’t raise a child because they've smoked a little pot. Or because they are young and still young adults themselves. 99% of parents out there love their children with all their heart to an extent that words cannot describe. I say 99% because there is that 1% who kill their children because they are legitimately insane and God told them to do it.

Love is a powerful thing and it will make you do crazy things, such as forget your old lifestyle and begin raising a child.

And so now here you sit reading over ads on the Internet for children. All of them have different packages and mileage on them and you feel good about yourself? It should not matter the race or gender or age of the child. Why? Because they are children, all the same innocence wrapped up in a bundle of joy.

So I hope this made some of you think a little bit about the truth behind this industry. It’s not always everything they tell you it will be.

And like before, I will leave my son’s words as the final thoughts of this post.