Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Worst Guilt

I’ve always carried around a terrible guilt. One I have never mentioned here on my blog.

A guilt that, next to the fact that I have three sons who I believe should always have the right to be a father, pushes me to fight for father’s rights, to detest those who try and take them away from any man who wants to raise his child.

In the last few months of my pregnancy, my husband (boyfriend at that time) was in California. He was sixteen when he left and felt like the weight of the world was bearing down on his shoulders. So, yes, he was one of those that ran. And his running took him across state lines.

It didn’t take long though for him to call and reach out to me. Within a couple weeks after he left, we were talking daily on the telephone and as my due date approached, he made the decision to come home.

Unfortunately, I went into labor while he was on the road with his stepfather, heading back. As soon as he found out I had given birth to his son, he called me in the hospital and told me something that, at that time in my life, angered me – his parents wanted a blood test to prove he was the father of our son.

Back then, I didn’t know why they were asking and I wasn’t yet a mother of three sons myself. It felt like a slap in the face. Here I was, without my husband for the last three months of my pregnancy, had just given birth, was facing the knowledge that I would soon lose my child to another woman, and they wanted a blood test.

Reluctantly, I agreed (I was still very naïve in the ways of the world and never thought of the fact that even if I had disagreed, he still had a right to get a blood test for his child.) For my son, the sample was taken before he left the hospital and when my husband made it back to Colorado – the day after I gave up our child – he provided his own sample for the test.

The results were what I already knew, he was the father. What I didn’t know was what his mother and stepfather planned to do with that knowledge.

I was actually with my husband when my adoption counselor called to tell me . . .

My husband’s parents had contacted her to let her know that they, and my husband, wanted to keep our son.

At that time, I didn’t understand that I had been misled about when my rights for my son had actually been terminated. Twenty three years ago, when I gave birth to my oldest son, the law was that a mother had three months to change her mind.

But that wasn’t how it was presented to me. When my counselor first handed me the clipboard in the hospital with the paperwork I needed to sign, it was explained to me that I was, at that time, giving up my rights to my son. And the wait between that time and having to go to court and do so in front of a legal official was just a matter of waiting until we could fit into the schedule to be seen.

So when I received that call less than two weeks after giving birth, I believed I had already given up any and all rights to my son. At first, though, I had this small glimmer of hope. With as desperately as I wanted to keep my son back in the hospital, but didn’t because of my fear of hurting his adoptive parents, I wondered if this could be the answer. My husband and his parents weren’t concerned about the adoptive parents and their feelings. They could be the “monster” I was so terrified of being and I could have my son back.

But that idea was completely destroyed when my adoption counselor told me that if my husband and his parents fought for our son he would then be taken away from his adoptive parents and could spend up to a year or more in foster care while they fought the adoption.

I didn’t know any better then. The only thing I did know, and the one key element that my adoption counselor also knew, was the thought of my son in foster care terrified me. It was why I had first turned down a closed adoption when it was presented to me, because my son would have been placed in foster care before going home with his adoptive parents.

Back then, with the visions I had of foster care and my belief that it would desperately screw up my child to be shuffled between families right after birth, and believing I had given up all my rights to my child so could not possibly ask for him back to save him from such a fate, I was terrified and desperation set in with a vengeance.

And so I did something I will forever regret and am ashamed of admitting, I begged and pleaded with my husband to not try and get our son back.

The memory of that is still deeply imbedded inside me. I can still see myself holding as tight as I could to his hand, crying tears I couldn’t stop, saying whatever I could, whatever might convince him to change his mind.

I did that to him and to my son.

I was one of those women. One that took my husband’s rights as a father and tossed them out the window.

And my husband . . . he reluctantly agreed and convinced his parents that the best thing would be to let our son stay where he was.

That guilt of what I did has forever stayed with me. I’m ashamed of it. I avoid admitting to it if I possibly can.

My oldest son knows the truth but most others don’t.

Most don’t know that I not only gave away my son but also stole the chance he had, and my husband had, to be together.

It is something I have learned to live with but will probably never learn to accept.

And it is also something that will forever drive me to stand up and speak out when other men are denied their rights as fathers. When I see agencies play the same games, tell the same lies, to get a child away from the family that wants them.

I hate what I did. I hate having to live with such a guilt for the rest of my life.

But I have decided, it is long past time to share that dark part of my experience. To use it to show that there are fathers out there who deserve their children and should never be denied the right to have them and raise them and love them.

My husband is an amazing father. Yes he ran in those last few months but that had absolutely nothing to do with his parenting skills and ability to be there for his children.

And today, our oldest son will be the first to tell you, he only has one father – my husband.

The man I cheated out of the right to keep his child. The man who wanted to fight for him when I couldn’t. The man who deserved everything I took away.

Friday, April 15, 2011

ANGRY!

Yep, I know there is so much in the world of adoption I keep needing to talk about, but right now, I wish MORE THAN ANYTHING adoption WAS NOT a part of my oldest son’s life.

And for the record . . . NO! It is not okay to call, after all this time, and claim you only want to help “our” son while telling me he lied about the abuse he went through and that he “deserved” what you did to him because of the “bad” things he did!!!!!

He is an amazing person and he has NEVER deserved anything that has happened to him since the moment he was born and I placed him in the arms of a stranger.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Women Versus Women

I’m second guessing a decision I made to like a page on Facebook – One Million Pissed Off Women.

It’s not that I don’t believe in what they stand for overall, or want to add my voice to their fight. But, after reading some comments left by one of the co-founders of the page on Motherhood Deleted’s latest post, Pissed Off and Proud, I really don’t like the idea of supporting any group that doesn’t take the time to research and see that supporting adoption, as it is practiced today, actually goes against the women’s rights they are fighting for.

I just don’t see how anyone claiming to fight for women’s rights can support the billion dollar profits the adoption industry makes from taking children away from young, poor, single women. How they can support anything that encourages the coercive and manipulative tactics that are given in Birthmother, Good Mother, to “convince” a women she is not good enough to be a mother.

How can they stand behind an industry that markets to our young daughters that unless they are married, successful and wealthy, they do not deserve to keep their children. That uses women in their most vulnerable, desperate time in order to take from them their own child. That instills the belief that mothers who are viewed by society as “not good enough” should give up their children to those that are viewed as better than them.

I just can’t get myself to support such a way of thinking.

The co-founder of the site who commented, outside of, of course, knowing a first mom and adoptees who are perfectly happy with their situation, voiced a concern that by taking away the “choice” of adoption, you run the risk of forcing a woman to parent.

What she doesn’t seem to understand is that the vast majority of adoptions that happen today are not because a women simply chooses not to parent, but because she is FORCED into losing her child because she feels as if she has NO OTHER CHOICE.

The typical woman facing a crisis pregnancy isn’t walking into an adoption agency and declaring, “I just really don’t want this baby. Please let me give him away so I’m not forced to spend the rest of my life raising him.”

No, the truth of most, is much different than that. For them, it is a situation where they want to raise their child but don’t have the support or help to do so. They feel desperate, unsure and terrified of what the future holds.

They may have nobody to support them. Don’t have the money and resources they deserve, as their basic human right, to keep and care for their child. Can’t imagine how they can ever make it work when everything seems so dark, so terrifying at the moment.

And only in so-called adoption counseling is it actually encouraged, when anyone in the mental health field knows the harm in it, to push someone to make a life-changing decision while in the midst of a crisis. To actually guide their decision-making by shoving adoption at them as the “loving” solution to their problems.

Such situations can never be seen as a good thing for women’s rights.

If someone truly supported women’s rights, even with the belief that adoption should be a choice, then they would stand up and fight for better support and help offered to young, single, poor pregnant women to enable them to keep and raise their child instead of feeling as if they have no choice but to give them up.

They would stand up and shout for the millions of dollars our government pays to teach how to “convince” a woman to give up her baby be redirected into programs that offered better sex education for our youth. Parenting and job skills for mothers. Financial support so that no mother ever again has to lose her child due to poverty.

They would demand an end to the profits made off of women giving up their babies. Would fight against the unrealistic portrayal of adoption that is fed into our society. Scream at the top of their lungs that women in crisis pregnancies must have true, unbiased counseling that does not push adoption at them as the “loving option.” But instead works with the woman, in each individual situation, to determine what factors are contributing to her belief that she can’t keep her baby. And warning her of the risks, to both herself, and her child, that adoption brings with it.

Just as there is a fight for women to have the right to abortions and pregnancy prevention, there should also be a fight for women to have the right, the means, and the support, to try parenting their child before ever being forced to make the decision to give her own flesh and blood away.

Womens rights supporters should be outraged that, while still under the effects of giving birth, it is legal for a mother to sign away her rights to her child forever. That women can be threatened with things such as paying back medical bills and being turned into social services if they change their mind.

Whether you believe in adoption or not, I just don’t see how you can support women’s rights and not fight for drastic reform in the acts that are used, over and over again, to separate women from their children every day. How you can say adoption is a good thing while knowing there are so many women who have been lied to, used, coerced, forced and manipulated into losing their sons or daughters.

And how can anyone who claims to stand for women’s rights, support an act such as adoption, that denies millions of women adoptees the most basic of human rights, their original birth certificates.

Supporting both women’s rights and adoption, at this point in our nation’s history, just isn’t possible. Because to do so, you make the very clear statement that some women deserve their equal rights while others must suffer and sacrifice without the help of the very people . . . other women . . . who should be helping them the most.

Friday, April 8, 2011

What If

I keep seeing, over and over again, the suggestion that those of us who blog about adoption, from whatever side we might be on, are not “representative” of the normal, everyday folks who walk the same journey.

I hear it mostly in regards to Adoptees and First Moms. The suggestion that we are a minority and don’t truly portray the overall feelings of Adoptees and First Moms who don’t blog about their experiences.

We are the weird ones. The ones who don’t truly portray adoption as what it is. We’re those ones to pat on the head and say, “Oh so sorry for your experience, but it isn’t the norm so you really shouldn’t be given much credit for what you have to say.”

It is, to me, just another way to ignore and discredit the truths that are being spoken, over and over again, in adoption blog world. It’s a denial of the painful side that so many don’t want to acknowledge. Because it is much easier to say, “So sorry for your experience but it’s not like the majority” than it is to say, “I want to hear and listen and learn from another side I might not have thought about before.”

I firmly believe it takes a strong, brave person to dare to step into waters they have never waded through before. To open themselves up to hearing something different than what they believe, have been told or witness in their day to day life. It takes courage to ask yourself . . .

“. . . what if . . . ”

--What if, the Adoptees and First Moms who blog about adoption are actually the ones who have fought the boundaries of having to be what is expected from them and are finally honest about their feelings when it comes to the loss of adoption?--

It took me a long time to fight against the bonds that held me in the happy “beemommie” stage. Even when I was starting to slip free from my denial and questioning everything that happened, I never dared to say anything different to anyone about my feelings. Even to my own husband, and my parents, who are as close to me as anyone can get.

I spent years, terrified of sharing what I was actually feeling, because, in my mind, it was wrong. It took a lot of time before I even found the slightest bit of courage to post what I do here on my blog. It took finally breaking free of what was expected from me and becoming my own person before I dared to ever send a single word out into the blog world.

--What if, those who blog, have a life outside of the blog world and come across, more times than some might think, others who are more open, more honest, when they find that kindred soul who allows them to say and feel what they need to, instead of what they are expected to feel.—

Overall, Adoptees and First Moms are told to be thankful for their loss.
How many times have we heard that Adoptees are told they should be grateful they were adopted because it saved them from abortion and gave them better lives?

And, as a First Mom, there were very few times, in the past, that I would say anything about what I was truly feeling because I knew it was going to come with the same response I had heard, over and over and over and over . . . .   again . . . “At least you can be thankful that you gave your son a better life.”

It wasn’t until I began to find other First Moms who were daring to speak out about their true feelings that I was finally able to be honest with others about how I was feeling. It took knowing that there were others out there who understood what I was going through and wouldn’t give me the same mumbo jumbo I heard for years to give me the ability to speak out about my own true feelings.

And I saw the proof of this in another just last summer. I met her only once and only for a couple hours. I was at an old friend’s house when his younger brother showed up with a girl he was dating – a short lived relationship. She was only twenty and had given up her child for adoption only six months earlier.

She didn’t know immediately that I was a First Mom myself and as she talked to me, she said all the right things, repeated the script us First Moms are expected to say to anyone who asks about our experience. But when she was done, I didn’t repeat back the same “scripted” response. Instead I hugged her and told her I was sorry for her loss. That I had lost my own child to adoption and it was, for me, the worst thing I had ever gone through.

And her response . . . she cried. And cried. And cried.

I will never forget that moment. I will never forget how long we stood out there on the back porch while I held her and she let go of the pain that was inside of her.

It didn’t matter what she had been taught to say . . . I couldn’t give him what he deserved so I decided to place him for adoption . . . I knew I wasn’t prepared to parent so I gave a gift to a couple who couldn’t have children of their own . . . I’m happy just to know he will have everything I couldn’t provide . . . etc . . . etc . . . etc.”

In that moment, on that summer evening, she was allowed to just hurt. To cry and feel the pain that was inside of her because somebody else understood. Somebody else acknowledged that losing a child was the worst thing anyone could ever go through. The boundaries were gone and she was free to feel however she needed to feel.

--What if, with open adoption being the norm now, there are many First Moms out there who don’t dare share with anyone their true feelings because they know they could very well risk the adoptive parents closing the adoption.—

Back in March, I wrote about a new First Mom who faced the terrible reality of the adoptive parents closing the adoption because she wasn’t “happy.” They didn’t like that she was grieving and hurting and so thought the solution was to restrict her from having any contact with her child.

And her story, sadly, is one I have seen over and over again happen to First Moms. The minute they step over the line and share too much of their feelings, they are cut off from any contact with their child. It doesn’t matter what promises they were made. If they show anything that does not fall in to what is expected from them, they are left without the openness they were promised.

--What if, plain and simply, there are First Moms and Adoptees who don’t want to, or know how to, blog. What if they aren’t writers. What if their lives are just so overwhelming, they don’t even want to think of what it would take to maintain a blog. What if they just aren’t ready to go that public with their experience. –

When I finally decided to bring my two worlds – real life and adoption – together, I placed my blog address on my Facebook page, letting everyone and anyone who knew me find and read my experience and my opinions on adoption.

Since I have done that, I have been contacted by four women who I went to school with (one happens to be my husband’s first serious girlfriend way back when) who, unknown to me, also lost their children to adoption. They don’t blog, they don’t share their experience on Facebook or anywhere else, but they wanted to let me know that they understood and felt the same way. That what I wrote made sense to them because they were there too. They just didn’t write about what happened to them.

And in the different groups I have belonged to (both online and in real life) for First Moms, there are so MANY women who share their stories, their pain, their grief, who don’t have a blog or share their experience in any way in the public forum.

Some don’t do it because they just aren’t strong enough, in this part of their journey, to share their stories in the blog world. Some don’t because they believe setting up and maintaining a blog takes more time and knowledge than they have. And some don’t because, for them, all they need, all they want, is that understanding from another person who has been where they have been to give them the support they need to make it through another day.

--What if many of the experiences seen as normal are still in the “young” stage of their adoption journey. What if they have not yet experienced what the loss of a child feels like after ten, twenty or more years. What if they were more than capable of raising their child but are not yet at the point in their lives where they realize that or begin to question why others told them they were unable to.--

There is a common theme among many First Moms who lost their children to adoption. They started out, in the early years, believing what they were told. Believing they were undeserving of being a mother, unable to raise their child in the way he or she deserved.

They cloaked their loss with the same sentiment many new First Moms today do, by hiding it behind being grateful and happy they gave their child a better life. Offered a gift to some random couple more fit to be parents.

It’s not hard to hear what they have to say about their past experience and compare it to what new First Moms today have to say. Most of it is repeated word for word, whether it’s separated by a year or ten years.

When you lose your child, that intimate part of you that you can never get back, it can, many times, be an act of self-preservation to hold on to the belief that the pain you feel inside is okay because you did the right thing. To believe the grief and loss will get better, like you were told, as time goes on.

There are, most often, two choices you can make after giving up your baby. You either continue to believe you weren’t good enough for your child and the pain and loss is worth it because you gave him or her a better life. Or you take in and accept that heart-wrenching ache that is inside of you and live with it for so many, MANY years to come.

And I firmly believe, no matter if it is in real life, in blog world, or anywhere else, the majority of First Moms out there are traveling one of these two paths. Either they need to accept, “the pain is worth it because my child deserved more than I could offer” train of thought to help them handle and deal with the loss that, if allowed to, can overwhelm them. Or they have stepped past that boundary, allowed themselves to truly grieve the loss of their child and now face years of living with such a painful emotion that so many will never understand.

What changes though, over the years, for the ones who hold on to the belief that their pain and loss is worth it because they were unfit to be a mother, is the realization that the pain doesn’t go away like they promised. That time gives us an insight that makes us realize many of our insecurities and doubts were unfounded. And that age brings wisdom and the need to question what happened to us during the times we felt so young and naïve.

It is then we realize what common sense and our own true feelings have told us all along, losing a child is one of the worst pains a mother can suffer. Trusting strangers to raise our own flesh and blood because they have more money, marriage, a nice home, just isn’t right.

And the worst one, that seems to knock us all back and leave us breathless . . . our children deserved us. They deserved their mothers to step up and do everything they could to give them the better lives WITHOUT giving them away. They deserved everything we gave to any other children that came before or after their births. They deserved to have us be just as much, work just as hard, do what we should have, to keep and care for them just as we have done, or are doing, for the sons and/or daughters we kept.

Such an understanding is one, from my own personal experience, that is hell to accept and acknowledge, much less write about for all to read. And maybe that is where I, and others, are in the minority from all the new First Moms who are out there. Because we can admit that now. We can admit that sacrificing for our child meant giving up our own life, our own freedom to be whatever he or she needed. Not handing them over to strangers to raise. Not walking out of the hospital empty-handed believing our life would go on as usual while changing theirs forever.

And maybe that is where it is. Maybe that is why those of us who blog about adoption aren’t seen as the “norm.” Because admitting we failed our children. Facing the truth that we should have been there when we weren’t, is a hard step to take and an even harder fact to live with.

And who really wants to say that, admit to that when they risk being the “bad” mother all over again?

In that, I guess we are the minority and don’t fit the norm. But that doesn’t, and never will, change my belief that if someone just takes the time to ask “what if” and dares to look deeper , they might not be so quick to disregard a bloggers experiences as, not so important, because it doesn’t fit what they think they know.

Because, for many of us, our stories are shared in the experiences of others. We speak where others can’t, for whatever reason. But our voices are still just as strong and just as important. We don’t walk this journey alone or in the minority. We walk it with many who have come before us and will come after us. We walk it, and share it, together, with everyone who has ever experienced the loss of adoption and the continuing affects it has, and will continue to have, in our lives.


***Just to make it known, the experiences of First Moms that I mention are in regards to those who lost their children to adoption after the BSE/EMS era that forever marks our countries history. Those moms have a completely different story that I can't pretend to ever know or fully understand.***

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

San Antonio . . .

. . . Here I come.

I was thinking there for a while that I would again miss out on the adoptee rights demonstration.

Since the one held in New Orleans (when I first learned of the adoptee rights movement) I’ve sworn to myself, over and over again, that I would be there, I would stand up and fight for what I believe in.

And yet, another year passed, and then another, and still I wasn’t there.
So, this year was going to be different. This year I was going to be there. I was going to be a part of fighting for what I believed in.

And then my daughter-in-law became pregnant with my very first grandchild with a due date within a month of the date of the demonstration. And my oldest son was diagnosed with cancer, and I began to think I would again, miss out on another year.

With a heavy heart, and a huge load of disappointment, I resigned myself to accepting the fact that I would again be home, watching from the sidelines, as those I respected and admired, stood up and fought for adoptee rights.

I mean, how could I up and leave when so much was happening in my life. How could I be away during the time when my sons might need me more than ever.

That was my mindset. One my wonderful husband let me toss around, gnaw on, and work through before he finally stepped in and suggested what I didn’t, in my mind, ever believe I could do . . .

Just go.

That simple. That easy. If I wanted to be a part of it, than just be a part of it. No “mother” worries. No fears. Just my desire to be there and be a part of what I have wanted to be a part of for so long.

Yes, I run the risk of my daughter-in-law going into labor while I am away. Yes, I have no idea what will happen in the next few months with my oldest son going through surgery to remove, at the very least, his right thyroid gland, and having to undergo radiation treatment.

But I also have the reassurance that, from Texas to Colorado, home is a short flight away. And if I need to, I will be on the first flight I can get. Running back as quick as I can to be there for whatever might happen. And, until then, I have an amazing, supportive family that will step in and do everything I would do. Who will “hold down the fort” until I can get back.

And, the sealer of the deal, as my husband pointed out, is the fact that being a part of the adoptee rights demonstration isn’t something I have just expressed my desire to be a part of. My oldest son has let it be known that he would like to be a part of it too. Would like to be there and fight for the very rights, he himself, is being denied, every day of his life.

So why not, with everything he is going to have to go through in the next couple months, give my oldest son that chance to be there, to be a part of, something he believes in and wants to be a part of, as well.

Which, is now, what the plan is. We’ll be there . . . my husband and I and my oldest son. The rooms have been booked, the plans have been made. And barring any unexpected complications, we will be there to stand up and fight for what we believe in.

And I am so happy, and grateful, for the chance to get to do this.

I have, for so long, felt like I haven’t put enough into the fight for adoptee rights since my writing tends to, move often than not, center on First Moms and their experiences. But it has always been close to my heart. Always been something I believe strongly in.

How could it not be when one of my own children faces the same denial of his own equal rights. When, every semester, when he registers for our local community college here, he is forced to jump through hoops just to get the “in-state” tuition he qualifies for – all because, proving his identity, is a hurdle he must jump through, over and over again, for the one and only reason of, his records are sealed, and denied from him.

I want change. I want my oldest son to be given the same rights his younger siblings are given. I want to see an end to the struggle he must go through for no other reason than he was adopted. And I want to be a part of that fight for change that will someday, hopefully, bring that to him.

And, now, I will be. Finally, after years of hoping for it. I will be there. I will get to stand up “in real life” for what I believe in. And I will get to do it by the sides of my husband (a First Dad) and my oldest son, who I lost to adoption all those years ago.

In that chance, though, I’m asking for help, from anyone who can provide it.
Though my husband is the First Dad of my oldest son, he isn’t involved in adoption reform as I am. He has struggled with his own problems from the adoption . . . guilt, loss, grief . . . but has, though hearing and supporting my fight, never become an active part in changing the wrongs in the adoption world.

But, since he will be joining us, and will stand up and fight right along with everyone there, he has requested that I send him information about adoptee rights, outside of the standard articles and information, he’s read in the past.

So, I’m asking . . . pleading . . . from those who read here, if you have a good post, source or article about adoptee rights, please leave the link in my comments so I can pass them on to my husband.

In the years since I have started this blog, I have read so much, taken in an abundance of information, from personal stories, studies, public information, that has helped me to understand how very important adoptee rights are.

And I would like to provide my husband with the same. He knows, and he sees, firsthand, our oldest son’s struggles with being denied such rights. But, I think, to be more “in tune” with what he will be a part of in August, he desires to know more, from outside sources, so he can be as aware as possible in his fight.

And since I am so madly in love with him, and believe he is one of the best husbands on earth, I want to provide him that.

So I would greatly appreciate any help in that area.

And I look forward to August and San Antonio.

And to not only be able to stand up for what I believe in, but to have the chance to do it with my husband, and hopefully, my oldest son, by my side.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thankful Through Sadness

I’m thankful for . . .

-The creation of MySpace that created the first step for my reunion with my oldest son.

-My husband’s courage where I had none to reach out and make the first contact with my oldest son.

-The many emails and MySpace messages my husband and I sent to let our oldest son know we were still there and loving him when he pulled away.

-The many adoptees who reached out to me and helped me in any way they could to better understand my son’s feelings and what he was going through.

-Cheerio, who was the first one I shared the knowledge of my oldest son’s abuse. And who held me up and supported me. And gave me the strength I needed to get through the worst time of my life.

-Daria, the first adoptive mom I ever trusted, who held my hand and guided me through those dark months after learning of my oldest son’s abuse when I still had no contact with him. Who offered an understanding I never, at that point in my journey, believed an adoptive mother would be able to give.

-That first message I received from my oldest son on MySpace, after our reunion and the following year of silence.

-The moment in the parking lot of my husband’s work, where my oldest son and I stood, waiting for him. When I just knew it was the time to reach out to him and to tell him that it didn’t matter to us what had happened in his past, or how “bad” he saw himself, or had been led to believe he was. We loved him and would always love him, no matter what.

-The summer day when he moved in with us.

-The first holidays we spent as a complete family.

-November 28, 2008, the day we adopted our oldest son back which also happened to fall on my husband’s 38th birthday. Even the judge cried that day.

-My oldest son’s adoptive mom reaching out to him, after all the dark times, and showing him, for the first time, that he was important to her and that she did want him in her life, and was willing to make changes for that to happen.

-The chance my oldest son received to get to know his great-grandmother on his father’s side, his great-grandfather on his mother’s side, and his uncle, before they sadly left our lives.

-My oldest son being there to toast his baby brother at his wedding.

-The nickname “Uncle Ju-Ju” my oldest son has already been dubbed with before the birth of his first niece or nephew.

-My oldest son’s car accident, as strange as it sounds, because it got him to the hospital where it was first discovered he had a calcium buildup on his thyroid gland.

-The medical history my oldest son had information to because of reunion.

-The detection of cancer early enough that his chances are very good.

-A family, on both my side and my husband’s side, who love him and support him, and will be there for him through every step of his battle with cancer.

-His adoptive family who has finally seen what an amazing young man he is and will, hopefully, be there to support him as well.

-His adoptive mother who is sober and fighting her addiction successfully and has given him back the mom he deserved. She may not yet accept the fact that he does have two moms in his life. But, at least, she is there for him and will be another source of love and support as he goes through his latest fight.

-The many amazing Adoptees, First Moms and Adoptive Moms who have left such warm, caring messages on my blog. Though I have never met you in person, your words and thoughts have done so much for me over the past month. I am grateful for each and every one of you!

-The bonds of my children that adoption was not able to sever, giving my oldest son siblings who will do everything they can to fight right along with him.

-And the knowledge that, against everything that has happened. Against the separation that adoption brings, his father and I will be there at my oldest son’s side, through every step of his battle with cancer. We will be there and we will support him because he’s our son and we love him and he deserves everything we can possibly give him, now and in the future.