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 . . .



  1. I would like to link this to my edu page - is that okay?

  2. Yet there ARE adoption agencies that subscribe to the important messages of neonatal therapists such as Dr. Michael Trout, and who do counsel mothers about the primal wound and the importance of having ample private time with the babies they choose to place-- both before and after placement. I recognize that there are still far too many who don't, but take heart in knowing that the voices of those who found themselves harmed by the adoption experience have helped to reform some of the practices being used today.

  3. My mom died 4 years before I became pregnant with my son. Everyday I wonder what she thinks of me or what she wouldve done. I raised my little boy til he was 11 months old then decided that my home with his grandfather was not a safe environment for him. I knew he deserved better. I have an open adoption. I see pictures of him and his family on facebook and talk to them often. He's even a big brother through them now. Its extremely painful to be apart from him but I do not regret the decision I made for him. He is happy and well adjusted, I couldn't have asked for a better family for him to be with. The adoption agency I used told me over and over again that there are other options: foster care, government assistance, etc. But none of them seemed healthy at all for my child. I wanted him to be safe in a permanent place. I just wished they would have directed me to a birthmother support group in the area because at times I feel very alone.

  4. @Tammy,
    It is the very rare child who wanted to be given away and is happy that his parents have relinquished him. I can only hope that your son is as satisfied with the situation as you appear to be.

  5. E.A. Jurenovich,

    Though I hope our voices are making changes, I find it hard to believe that any adoption agency fully believes or shares the truth of the damage caused by separating a mother and child. Adoption agencies exist and are supported by convincing pregnant women to give up their children. They know what they are doing, every step of the way, so I just simply don't believe they would tell pregnant women anything more than what they "deem" to be safe to insure it doesn't in any way change her mind about the adoption and the profits they stand to make off of her and her child.

  6. Tammy,

    I am so sorry that you found yourself in a situation where you believed the only way you could keep your child safe was to lose him to adoption.

    I'm sorry you and your child were cheated and harmed because you were either not offered or not given the proper counseling to accept the resources that could have kept you and your son from being separated from each other.

    If you are looking for support from other mothers, I would highly suggest starting at

    They have a "Birthmothers" group there that could be a good starting point for you to find support from those who share your experience.

  7. Do you mind if I link to this? (If I can figure out how!)