Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Different Stages

I have a friend.  I'll call her "D."

She's an old friend from back in my high school days.  Her oldest daughter and my middle son - the first child I raised - were born within weeks of each other.  And her first granddaughter and my first granddaughter where also born within weeks of one another.

Just in that we have a connection.  Two old friends with children and then, over two decades later, grandchildren, VERY close together in age.

But we also have another connection.  One I wish we didn't share.  One that breaks my heart to know she suffers the same pain, the same loss, that I do.

"D" and I share the heartbreaking loss of giving up a child for adoption.

Her loss came years after mine, during a time when we were no longer in contact.

I wasn't one of those First Moms, whispering in her ear, encouraging her to just do it.  Just give up her baby because I was so ridiculously happy with giving up my own child.

I didn't influence her in the way so many new First Moms do.  I didn't become her guidance, her push to follow in my footsteps.

And yet, there is still a part of me that feels responsible for her loss, her child's loss.  A part that wonders if there is anything I could have done, could have said, in those years before we lost contact, that would have saved her and her child from living the same nightmare my son and I live.

If I had been honest with myself during those first years after giving up my son, if I hadn't slipped so willingly into denial, maybe she would have had more of a personal knowledge of what it was really like to lose a child to adoption.

What if I had admitted to her, all those years ago, how desperately I wanted to keep my son once I gave birth to him?  How when, two years later, my middle son was born, I had a panic attack in the hospital.  How, just three weeks later, on Christmas Day, I refused to let others hold him because I couldn't bear to let him leave my arms.

Maybe if she had seen the suffering that I didn't even recognize as being a direct response to giving up my oldest son, she would have been saved from living the rest of her life with this hell.

But how could she know when I didn't even know?

How could she have a clue to what was happening to me in those early years after giving up my son when I was so firmly entrenched in my role as a good, grateful "beemommie."

When I was what so many new First Moms are today . . . numb and naive to the true pain giving my son up for adoption had caused.  Determined and desperate to be who I was "supposed" to be . . . thankful for the chance to give my child, my own flesh and blood, away to a so-called, more deserving couple.

"D's" story and what she and her child went through is heartbreaking.  And though it isn't my place to tell her own personal experience, I can say that I would give anything to go back in time.  To have just one chance, one opportunity, to sit with her and be truly honest with her, even when I couldn't be honest with myself.

As cliché as it sounds, I wish I knew then what I knew now.  I wish I hadn't lived in the denial, in the well-counseled mode of who and what I was supposed to be.

I wish I had known, had just even a clue, to the true danger my denial caused, not just me, but those close to me.

Maybe, just maybe, I could have done something to change what happened to "D" and her child.  Maybe I could have set their destiny on a different path than the pain and grief it has become.

But I was, instead, what the adoption industry wanted me to be, breeds so many First Moms to be . . . a product of the belief that I was unworthy of my child.  That others were more deserving.  And it was my job to go out and spread praise and joy for all pregnant mothers who might somehow match my worthiness by giving their children away as gifts to all the poor, needy couples out there who would never know parenthood without our sacrifice of our own children for their happiness.

It's a dangerous place to be. Not just for those of us who have already given up our children.  But for the others.  Those who trust what we share with them as real without having any idea of the denial so many First Moms live within during the beginning of their adoption journey.  Without having any idea to how so many have been shaped by the attack against their self esteem and the counseling they received to use such insecurities as a way to guarantee they behave as expected.

Tonight, more than usual, I've thought of this, struggled with it.  As I sit here, almost twenty-five years into it, still so young and raw compared to the grief so many others have struggled with, and yet so much further than the new First Moms of today have ventured. I find myself wanting to do whatever I can to protect those still to come from living this life I have known.

Find myself desperately needing to protect others where I couldn't protect "D."  Doing whatever I can so they don't know this grief, this reality that is adoption and never ends, no matter how much you might wish it to be so.

Where I once was the "feel-good" product of the adoption industry, I am no longer. And I refuse to sit back and do nothing, say nothing, while others, under the same influence, the same need for denial, repeat the mistakes I made . . . bring damage to those who deserve better than what we show, what we share, in those beginning years of what is a unending process of having to deal with just how deep and traumatic adoption has affected our lives.

I see it like the stages of grief.  There are certain steps mothers who have lost their children to adoption, go through.  For so many of us, it's very close to the same, over and over again.  Our stories are similar, mirror one another in the same way those who have suffered loss in other ways are a repeat of another's experience . . .

There are always differences in the time frame, the full reaction, some of the results.  But for the majority of it, our journey from such terrible loss to finally accepting such a loss in a healthy manner, is so very similar, we recognize it with ease because it is so familiar to what we have known on our own path.

And in our wisdom, and what we know, we would never accept or encourage those in the first stages of grief to counsel and advise others.

But in adoption, we not only encourage it.  We accept it.  Want it.  Hold it as a good thing.

Those on the first stage of what is a life-long reality of adoption are the ones so many in the world of adoption cling to, grasp as the "truth" they seek to paint the separation of a mother and her child as a good thing.

Still fresh from the crisis they faced when experiencing an unplanned pregnancy.  Under the crushing belief that they were not good enough for their children. Counseled by those they trusted to give away their child as a "gift" to some "more worthy" woman - these mothers are used and exposed in the worst of ways.

Their experiences are so raw, so far from a true reality.  Yet they are sought and encouraged by those hoping more will follow along the same path. 

Wanted so that others will never know the true, life-long affect adoption brings with it.  But instead will believe giving up their baby will make them feel as good, as justified, as saved, as those mothers who are so new, so naive, in the true journey they face.

Adoption doesn't end.  It just doesn't. 

And I'm so tired, so worn out, from witnessing one frightened, desperate mother after another following the same path I followed, "D" followed, so many First Moms have followed.

I don't want to risk just even one more mother crying in pain and wishing she didn't have to live the reality of adoption.  Praying, with everything inside of her, that she could just have a normal life.  Be free from the grief that never seems to end.

What happened to "D" and her child will always weigh heavy on my shoulders. 

But from that I have also found more determination to fight so that more mothers are spared the painful reality that comes with living a lifetime of adoption and all the stages that it brings.

To fight so that maybe, just maybe, voices like mine will be heard and will help spare mothers and their children from being separated in such a painful, heart-wrenching way.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

And The Vote Is . . .

So, I'm starting this post during the midst of the results tumbling in for the election.  

At this point, there is no clear winner.  The television plays on behind me as I sit here on my iPad writing this - praying I won't screw this up when I send it to my laptop to be published on my blog (yeah, I'm a bit challenged these days in all the technology.)

This election is, for me, the first one in which I feel my vote . . . after twenty years (1992) of voting . . . comes from a place of healing and finally finding that place of acceptance within the turmoil I struggled with for twenty-five years, since adoption became a part of my reality.

I'm stronger now than I have been in the past elections.  Better in knowing and understanding my emotions instead of letting them take full control over me.

And with that, I can look back on my "voting" past and see just how much adoption shaped who I became .  How the counseling I received so many years ago played a part in my views, my beliefs, over what was important.

I come from a large, diversified family when it comes to political views.  But, for me, the ones who had the most influence during my young years were my parents -  my mom, dad and stepdad.

Growing up, I understood, from the very start, that Democrat was the way of things.  I don't ever recall any negative conversations about the Republican Party or even big debates over how one was better or worse than the other.

I just always knew and understood that the Democratic Party was where my parents had their loyalty.

And I look back now and think how much their party choices went against the stereotypical representation of who supports the policies of the different parties. My mom and stepdad are, and always have been, a part of the typical financial, successful, business class.  They both wrapped their fingers tight around the ladder of success and dedicated themselves to becoming the CFO and VP of finance they now are.

And my dad, he has only known the life of protecting and serving the community as a police officer.  For over three decades now, he has given himself to his position as a police officer and is now a Commander in my home town and where I live today.

For all three of them, the general acceptance of their positions in life would push them more to Republican beliefs over Democratic. 

But that was not to be for them.  And there are times now when I can't help but wonder if the judgment and punishments my mom faced when she was an unmarried teenager, pregnant with me, played a part in why she, and the men who have loved her, have chosen to support one party over another.

It would make sense to me since I can look back on my political views and see how my experiences from being sixteen and pregnant have influenced my own support of the different parties.

See, I was raised in a way that became a complete contrast in the views I took once I became old enough to vote - after  being a victim of adoption counseling and giving up my oldest son.

I was raised to help and support those in need.  From Cops for Kids, Adopt a Family and Christmas Cheer, I was taught at a young age the importance of helping others in need. I was taught the values that, to me, are so often, related to Democratic beliefs.

Values that support and fight for help for those in need.  That are an understanding that one "class" is not better than another and that we are all equal and worthy of support.

Values that I view as being a part of the Democratic beliefs.

But I didn't follow those values.  I didn't believe in them.  Broke away from them completely during the years after I gave my oldest son up for adoption.

And I know, without question, that I was influenced, my views were changed, by the counseling I received while I was sixteen and pregnant.  While I was facing a completely different brand of beliefs than I had ever known.

In a time when I was still too young to be able to vote, I was shown a completely different way of thought.  Was given a completely different vision of what it meant to need help and how society viewed and accepted those considered "less-than" because of money, career, marriage.

I learned, through the counseling I received, about entitlement. About the belief that there were certain people in our society who were worthy and others who weren't.  I was shown that those who didn't have enough needed to give up to those who did.  That it was selfish for anyone to expect help for where they were in their life.  And good to accept that I didn't have enough and others were more deserving because of how hard they worked, all that they did, to deserve what I didn't.

And I came out of that voting against everything I had been raised to believe.  Holding values I had never been exposed to, believing, without question, that there were two types of people in this world - - those who worked hard, did everything right and deserved the best. And those who did nothing, meant nothing and were foolish to expect, in their many failures, help or support from anyone.

Though it horrifies me to admit it now, I remember more than one political season where I would judge the "undeserving" nature of others.  I mean, how could they really believe they had any right to anything good in our country when they were "less-than" what was expected from them?  When they actually had the nerve to use government help to get through.  Actually dared to think that they were worth someone caring about them when they weren't doing enough, accomplishing enough, when it came to societies expectations of them.

That was me, for many years.  The daughter of Democrats.  The child encouraged to help and support those in need, finding my belief in judgment and anger against those who didn't equal what I had decided was my own personal guidelines for what made them acceptable to be considered, helped, heard.

And I don't mean to suggest that such thoughts are the basis of the other party.   I understand my views, and my reasons, for choosing to support the Republican Party, were my own.  Based on my own experiences and my own beliefs of which party represented the views I carried.

But there is no denying that what I believed before going through adoption counseling was a complete contrast to what I carried with me after I had been counseled to give up my oldest son for adoption.

I became a child, raised to understand the importance of help and support, to know there was no one person better than another, to an adult who judged others by their place in life.  By their income, their status in society, their worthiness of whether or not they truly earned "help."

I became everything I am ashamed, today, of admitting to.  Everything I speak out against.  Everything that I see as wrong.  As entitlement.  As just one more way for the entitled to claim power over those considered less than them.

And I held to those beliefs for many years.  I used them to influence which candidate I chose as my own.  Which party I felt more associated to.  To me, it wasn't about helping and supporting my fellow citizen.

No.  It was about everyone who worked hard and deserved everything the "less-than" believed they had any right to.  It was about judgment.  About deciding, for myself, who was worthy and who wasn't.

Even as a teenage mother, one that adoption was unable to save from knowing such a "fate," I continued to believe such things.  Even believed I was one of those who was unworthy of what the entitled experienced because I didn't do it right. Didn't follow the proper guidelines to be someone society should give a damn about.

I continued to use my vote to not only go against myself and my family, but to also remain "good" by knowing and accepting that there are those in our society who are deserving and those who are not.

That's me.  That is the bare, honest truth of who I was, what I believed.

To some, it probably seems hypocritical what I fight for now.  Seems wrong that somebody who actually lost her child, who became a believer in the very ideas that made her unworthy of her own son, dares to fight for something different.  Dares to suggest that it's wrong to hold such views that places one person underneath the "worth" of another.

But I'm okay with that.  I'm okay that some may never understand and others might always be angry with who I was.

Because what matters to me now is how I have grown.  How I have stepped outside of the boundaries that once controlled me and realized just how they aren't me or who I want to be.

It took healing.  It took accepting and finally admitting what happened to me twenty-five years ago, to bring me to where I am today.  Bring me back to the one I was raised to be.  To believe that we are all worthy and we all deserve help.  That no one person is better or more deserving than another.  And to judge or assume the worthiness of one is not only wrong, but a complete denial of our own faults that can be easily found if we were held up to the same criticism as those seen as beneath us.

The election of 2008 was the start of my beliefs being challenged.  Of my first step back into the consideration and care I was raised to have for everyone, regardless of their place in society.

And this year has brought me to a point where I finally feel as if I voted for what I TRULY believed in and not in what others expected, counseled, or raised me to believe in. 

My vote this year reflected who I have become.  It was a firm, confident declaration of me . . . just me.

And now, hours later from when I first started this post, I hear Obama's acceptance speech and I feel empowered.  Not just because he was re-elected.  Not because the candidate I voted for won the election.

No.  It's because he talks about self-empowerment.  About having the right to express ourselves.  To be free to be who we want. And I hear him because I am there now.

For the first election since I was old enough to vote, I am finally free to be me.  I have broken every single tie and restriction adoption and it's beliefs have carried over me.  I have become a woman that is about me and what I believe and not about who I believed I was because my counseling made me "less-than" and took me on the path to view others with the same harshness.

I'm proud, for the first time in many, MANY years, of who I am, of my beliefs.  Of what I stand up for and fight for.

It's a new feeling and situation for me.  But I plan to savor it.  To accept it.  And to finally, for the first time in a VERY long time, realize that I am worthy of such feelings, such beliefs, such rights.  And I will never again, lose that for the sake of others. 

For anyone that suggests I am, or have ever been "less-than" another simply because my actions, my ways, do not meet the criteria of those who judge and assume power over others.

Those who I am thankful I no longer know or understand.  Who I am thankful I have grown past to find and know the real me.  The real woman who was always there but was shoved back and silenced for so long by those believing they were better and more worthy than me . . .

Something I have come to realize they never were and never could be.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Year of Awareness

So, here we go again . . .

National Adoption Awareness Month is back in full swing.

In honesty, I would really be okay with still being in denial that this time of year actually exists.  These last two months of the year, with the holidays and all that they bring, have always held a bittersweet meaning for me.

My mode of survival for so many years after giving my oldest son up for adoption was to throw myself fully into everything that was holiday related.  I tirelessly fought every year to make the holidays the best they could be.  From the decorations, to parties at my children’s schools, to thriving – desperately needing -  the big family get togethers, even when they weren’t always so pleasant or enjoyable in the end.

And yet, it was never enough.  I could never quite reach that feeling I was seeking.  That happiness I so desperately needed.  It always seemed to elude me, dangle just out of reach.  Teasing me with my constant struggle to reach it and yet never really making it there.

And then Christmas night would hit, after almost two months of pushing and doing, pushing and doing . . . on and on . . . to create the perfect holiday season.  And in the quiet aftermath, after everything had settled and there was no longer anything to keep me going, keep me busy and focused, the depression would set in.

It was heavy and painful.  And it returned, year after year.  A “knock you to your knees” sadness that took hold and stuck around for nearly a month.

It felt like this huge let-down.  This punch to the gut that another year had passed and I had yet to find that full happiness I had been seeking.  No matter how hard I tried, how desperately I did everything I could to create the perfect holidays, I always found myself hurting and struggling at the end of it all.  I couldn’t avoid it.  I couldn’t create two months that were good enough to keep me safe from the pain.

It came, year after year, without question.  Always hitting on Christmas night.  Always leaving me to believe that come the next year, come the start of November, I would do better, create happier memories, and somehow finally win over the dark monster that lingered at the end of it all.

It wasn’t until reunion with my oldest son.  Until my journey into healing from all the pain and loss adoption had caused, that I finally realized that there was nothing I could have done during the two months of the holiday season to ever escape the terrible sadness I fell into each and every year.

Because that sadness was never caused by my “failure” to create happy memories through November and December. 

It was caused, instead, by something I could never overcome during the years I lived in denial.  By a shattering loss I had denied and run from for almost two decades.

These last two months of the year were also my final months pregnant with my oldest son.  That desperation I always felt from the start of November through Christmas, had nothing to do with the holiday season and everything to do with my need to seek a happiness I could never truly find after losing my first child to adoption.

And Christmas night always hit so hard because it was my final time with my son where I wasn’t faced with the horrible realization that I would be losing him soon. Because early the next morning I was on my way to the hospital and at 1:11 am on December 27th I gave birth to my first born child, only to give him up just a few days later.

So yeah, this time of year was difficult long before I realized there was any such thing as National Adoption Awareness Month.  The holidays were already hard before being smacked in the face with the disgusting ways in which so many have hijacked this month to push and encourage more desperate, frightened mothers to experience the same horror that left me so desperately seeking some kind of happiness during these final months of the year.

If only this month stayed focused on what it was truly meant to be – encouraging help for those children TRULY in need of families . . . the nine year old girl who was forced to live through sexual abuse and has been labeled as “hard to place” because of the struggles she has faced from living through such a horror . . . the twelve year old boy who has been tossed around from foster home to foster home and is on the path to “age-out” before ever knowing what it is like to have someone love him just for who he is and willing to be the family he needs without forcing him to give up everything in order to “deserve” the love that should have always been his from the very beginning.

If only we took the month of November to TRULY concentrate on children in need.  To find the best ways to help them deal with the loss they have suffered while finding them the best family possible.  A family educated and counseled to know the importance of recognizing that adoption isn’t going to be all rainbows and sunshine for their child.  That their heritage should always be important to them.  And that they should never be expected to walk away from that, be denied access to it, or live a life of forever gratefulness because they were given the love and acceptance they always deserved.

But that’s just not, in so many ways, the reality of what National Adoption Awareness Month has become.

It’s become centered around encouraging even more separation of mothers and their children.  About satisfying the needs of infertile couples.  Pushing vulnerable, pregnant mothers into believing they aren’t worthy of their own sons or daughters.

In so many ways, it isn’t about what is best for children truly in need of families.  Instead it’s about how those very children somehow prevent mothers from pursuing their education and seeking successful careers.  How they are merchandise sold to satisfy the desires of infertile couples willing to do whatever it takes to find “happiness” in becoming parents.

And in that, the nine year old girl and twelve year old boy continue to wait and hope for a family to love them and truly believe adoption is about them and not about their own selfish desires.

In that is so many children who have absolutely no awareness brought to what they go through.  No defense to fight against the reality that they must be young enough, good enough, desirable enough, to satisfy the desires of the majority of those trying to adopt, to ever truly know what it is like to be loved, cared for and accepted for who they are instead of who they are expected, desired to be.

Adoption awareness should never be, or accepted as, promoting more babies for infertile couples to adopt.  As a means for mothers to give away their children, or for coercion to not only exist, but be tolerated because it, in some sickening way of thought, is a solution to single, unplanned pregnancy that actually “benefits” anyone through the unnecessary separation of a mother and her child.

It is so hard, I know, to get the mainstream thoughts of society to look differently at what they have been told is the “right and just” thing.  But I wish, more than anything, this disgusting farce of a month of adoption awareness could shift and change to become the power to do just that . . .

To change societies overall view of adoption.  To help them understand that it must become about children in need of families and can no longer be about dollar amounts, profits, or desires of adults who seek to satisfy their own needs.

To be the driving force that encourages society, overall, to step back and truly look at the realities that exist in adoption.  To finally question the disgusting billion dollar figures made off of selling human beings as babies, marketed and sought while so many children are left forgotten, truly in need, in foster care.

I wish we, as a society, would finally begin to look deeper into the truths we have been told about adoption.  Would finally start to see the wrong in stripping babies from their mothers in the name of profit and the belief that money determines a better parent.

That we would finally, as one united voice, stand up and speak out against a billion-dollar industry that has fed us lies, profited on our vulnerability and become so deeply accepted, through their profits and the control and power such profits have given them, to lead an entire nation to believe that it’s okay to strip newborn sons and daughters from their mothers because of a lack of support and help while leaving so many children, truly in need, to face a future of never having a family because their age, their experience makes them unprofitable, and in return, undeserving of true love and care.

We need . . . DESERVE . . . true awareness.  True care and consideration for children in need.

Adoption is not about the infertile couple who held garage and bake sales because they desperately wanted to become parents.

It’s not about mothers who are convinced that giving up their babies is the best thing and believe that they can not go on to build a successful future as long as they have a child to “weigh them down.”

And it’s definitely not about the multi-billion dollar adoption industry that has used their profits and power to keep their practices, their disgusting acts, accepted and encouraged during a time in society when we are tired of being controlled by big money interests.

It is, and always should be, about children truly in need of families.

But until society finally finds the courage to look beyond what they are being told and demands profits and power are removed from adoption, nothing will change and no TRUE awareness will ever be found.

Until mothers like myself, and so MANY, MANY others are seen as good women who deserved their babies and never should have been coerced, forced, manipulated to give them up so that others could profit from our loss, we will never know anything but a reality where those with money gain while mothers and children TRULY in need lose in the very worst of ways.

It’s just time . . .

Time to demand change. 

Time to finally step up and refuse to allow the profits of a dark, unethical industry to continue to control and take over the awareness we as a society are allowed to see.

Time to finally make it clear that adoption is, and should always be, about children in need.  And to make it clear that we, as a kind and considerate society, no longer support the profits made in stripping newborns from their mothers to satisfy the desires of those able to pay the “fee” of gaining a living, breathing human being while so may children TRULY in need are forgotten and ignored because they don’t offer the profit demanded in the very industry so many are choosing to blindly support, regardless of the damage caused.

Regardless of how true children in need are ignored. How vulnerable mothers are used at the expense of greed and profit.  

And worst of all, how a month of awareness has been stripped away from those it was meant to help because money rules and changes even the very best of intentions.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Two Kinds Of Help

So, we've all been there.  We've all heard it at some point or another . . .

When you dare to talk about adoption outside society's accepted views of rainbows and sunshine, you will be told, more than likely many, MANY times, that you need to seek help.  That you are somehow sick and unhealthy for your views and opinions and should seek counseling so you can just be "happy" and accept adoption like everyone else does.

It's ironic, to me, when someone makes such a suggestion because I have actually sought help twice in my life.

The first was when I was sixteen and pregnant and trusted my adoption counselor to help me make the best decision for myself and my unborn child.  At that time, I never imagined that their counseling was the same counseling they offered every pregnant mother who walked through their doors.

It was not about my own personal situation.  It wasn't about me or my child.  It was about how best to convince me to see adoption as a loving, selfless option so I would give up my child to the waiting couple who was willing to pay to adopt him. 

I could have been Jane Doe from Anywhere, U.S.A.  It didn't matter.  The counseling would have been the same.  Just as it still is to this very day for any vulnerable, pregnant mother trusting her counselor to help her make the right decision for herself and her baby.

But, I suppose, for some, such help was successful.  It did keep me in that mindset of believing I had to be happy about giving up my child.  Held me in place for many years as another good, cookie-cutter bi$#hmother, praised for knowing I could never be good enough for my child.  For giving him away as a "gift" to a more-deserving couple.

Their help made sure I never had a bad thing to say about adoption and could repeat the same script, that’s repeated even today, of just how happy I was whenever asked about my feelings, my experience with giving my first born child away.

It also made sure that I never once considered that my deep fear of losing my younger children in some way or another had anything to do with the loss of my first child.  Never imagined that my self-doubt of my worth as mother was tied in to being led to believe I wasn't a good enough mother for my oldest son. Never even considered my heart wrenching reaction to even the smallest form of loss was a direct result of suffering the loss of my own child.

I suffered with severe depression every year.  It always set in on Christmas night and would last well into the new year.  But I had been helped so well that I never realized the trigger was my son's birthday - December 27th - that tossed me in to such dark, almost unbearable pain, year after year.

And fifteen years later, that help, that counseling, kept me from even admitting to anyone - not even my husband or closest friends - that I was suffering and struggling as the denial began to wear off and all the pain and loss was threatening to come swarming in.  I didn't admit it, didn't even want to acknowledge it, because in my mind, it was a sign that there was something wrong with me because I was no longer happy about giving up my child.

And that wasn't right.  That wasn't how it was supposed to be.  I had been counseled to believe different.  And I DID believe it.  To the point where, for five years, even with internet access and Google as my best friend, I never even thought to go online and search for anybody else who might be feeling like I was feeling.

Because, I didn't believe they were out there.  I was counseled that mothers who gave up their babies, even years down the road, were happy with their experience and never regretted it.  And so there had to have been something wrong with me when, fifteen years later, I was hurting worse than I ever had, unable anymore to feel anything but heart-wrenching grief and shame that I had actually given my son away.

I went through reunion with my son in that state of mind.  In that isolation of refusing to share my struggles, my pain, with anyone.

And that is when I plummented to the worst place I have ever been in my life.  It was the first, and only time, I ever considered what it would be like to just go, just end my life and be free of all the pain, the heartache.  There were days I cried from morning to night.  Times when I struggled to even get out of bed, left my husband and children without a wife or mother because I couldn't face the day living with the pain.

If I had never stumbled across the Bi*$*mom group on CafeMom while looking for ideas for my daughter's birthday party, I may have never known what it was like to recover from that dark place in my life.

It was my first light in the dark tunnel I was traveling in.  My first step into healing from all the pain and suffering I had hidden away for so long.

And that is when I sought help for the second time.

I was so very lucky when I did.  My therapist was one who specialized in depression and trauma.  She had no pre-set judgments on adoption or on how mothers who had lost their children were expected to feel, to act, to show themselves to the outside world.

So I never got the disgusting practice of being reminded of why I gave up my son.  I was never encouraged to find a way to be happy with what happened, to find a way to somehow see that it was all for the best.

Instead I was treated and helped for the depression and trauma I was suffering from because of adoption.

And it was all about me.  It was my situation that mattered.  There was nothing for my therapist to gain from, so I was helped just as I should have been helped all those years ago . . . without bias and with a true concern on empowering me to find the strength I had inside of me so that I could see, finally, that I was good.  I was worthy.  And I was never deserving of what happened to me all those years ago when I was young and trusting of those who claimed to care and offered their "supposed" help.

She also helped me see that, regardless of what others suggest, it is actually very healthy to find support and understanding with those who share similar experiences.  That the myth of "choosing" not to dwell on what has hurt you and to just be "happy" is actually very damaging.  And that acknowledging my pain, my experience, talking about it and using it as reason to try and make a change, is actually a very important factor in healing from the emotional trauma caused all those years ago when I gave up my oldest son.

What happened to me, to my son, was wrong and I have EVERY right to stand up and speak out against it.  To fight for change so others might be spared the same pain.  I deserved better, my son deserved better, and I refuse to ever go back to that place in my life where I believed otherwise.

And yet, when someone suggests I "seek help" that is exactly where they want me to be.  They want me to seek the kind of help that would take me back to that unhealthy woman I was for so long, through the years of my denial and being the "happy" bi*#*mother I was expected to be, to the silent suffering I endured, believing I was wrong for my feelings, my pain.

That kind of help is there and easy to find.  With adoption agencies now offering post-adoption counseling to try and keep mothers in their destructive belief of having to be happy about giving up their children. And so many therapists blindly accepting adoption for what society perceives it as instead of taking the initiative to learn for themselves about the coercion and manipulation that exists, it's not hard to get the kind of help most would prefer I have.

Because that kind of help is the kind that helps them feel better.  Takes away that uncomfortable feeling they get when I speak out about pain and loss.  About the trauma of losing my child.  About the coercion and manipulation that exists in the counseling given to vulnerable, desperate mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy.

And yet, what I say, would make sense, wouldn't be so threatening, if adoption wasn't a part of the equation.  As I've said many times in the past, what is logical doesn't exist when it comes to the world of adoption.

Because logic is knowing how ridiculous and heart breaking it is for any mother to even suggest she is happy she gave away her own child, her own flesh and blood.  Logic is fighting for the protection of a mother and her unborn child, understanding the damage caused by separating such a strong, natural bond.

But in adoption, that logic is mocked, criticized and tossed aside as nonsense. 

In adoption, mothers are expected to be happy that they gave away their children.  And their children grateful they were given away to strangers.

In adoption, denial is considered healthy while actually feeling and acknowledging pain and loss is viewed as reason for someone to get professional help.

In adoption, those who encourage taking a newborn baby from his or her mother are held as respectful while those who fight to support mothers and their babies are viewed as the troubled ones.

And in adoption, there is nothing wrong with encouraging someone to go back to the painful, unhealthy life they struggled with as long as it guarantees society's views will not be challenged, or even worse . . . changed.

But change is what is needed.  The reality of the pain and trauma adoption can cause can't continue unnoticed.  And one way we can bring that change to reality is to realize how damaging it is to suggest someone hurting from the very real loss of adoption is somehow wrong or unhealthy because of their feelings.  To cease the expectation of happiness when one experiences the loss of a child, a mother . . . a family.

So many mothers and their children are living a life where they believe, to be good, to be healthy, they must be happy.  Must believe adoption was good for them, for their life.  It's long past time to accept and allow them to truly mourn, hurt and grieve the losses they suffered from the moment they were separated.

It's time to stop the advice of "seek help" and instead see and understand that the coercive, manipulative counseling of pregnant mothers, the expectation of them and their children to be happy with one of the most traumatizing losses a human being could ever suffer, creates a tragedy most will never understand.

A tragedy deserving of pain, of sadness, and of the need to find healing in seeking support, speaking out, and fighting to save others from such a dark, heart breaking reality.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

No Humans Here

I love the movie, My Cousin Vinny.

One of my all time favorite scenes in that movie is when Vinny (Joe Pesci) is going hunting and he asks his girlfriend, Lisa (Marisa Tomei) if the pants he is planning on wearing are okay and part of her response to him when she is painting the image of a sweet little deer sipping from a brook right before being shot is . . .

Now I ask ya. Would you give a f**k what kind of pants the son of a bitch who shot you was wearing?”

I thought of that line the other day.  But this time there wasn’t any humor or laughter to go with it.  Just shock and disgust.

I was led to the  BLOG  of an adoptive mother who is out to adopt – I believe – a third child.

And of course, so often, getting that baby you want means having a meeting with the pregnant mother.

And for this adoptive mother who is seeking yet another women to give up her baby, one of the great concerns she faces is WHAT TO WEAR  when she first meets the woman who must first suffer a terrible loss, whose child must suffer a terrible loss, in order to satisfy her desire to become a mother to yet another child.

As I read what she wrote, all I could do was think . . .

You are about to meet a mother who, more than likely, is about to face the terrible separation from her child.  An unborn baby who isn’t yet aware of the loss of their mother, father, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins they will be forced to suffer.  And you really think it’s important to give a f**k about what you are wearing when you meet her for the first time.  That you actually believe you are doing good by having your fashion consultant speak up and offer advice on how best to dress and act to try and convince a desperate, frightened, pregnant mother that she should give her baby away to you.”

Can you say entitlement at its worst?  Can you get any closer to completely dehumanizing not just one human being, but two, because one is the source that offers the other as the product you seek?

Do you not realize how many mothers would give anything to be able to afford shopping sprees at Nordstroms.  Not because it would mean they could go pick the racks for some kind of perfect outfit to convince others of their worthiness.  No . . . for them, it would mean they might actually be able to afford diapers and clothes for their child.  Might actually not have to give their child away to strangers because they had something, some kind of means to keep and raise their child.

It’s just . . . back to that frustration.  That head hitting against the wall.

I get it, I really do, when it comes to how we look and carry ourselves because it can be a big deal when we so desperately want a job and are hoping, more than anything, that we are seen as the perfect “candidate” for the position.  When there is the crucial first date and we want to look our best, feel our most confident.

Yes, we are still trying to impress others, doing whatever we can to convince them to choose us over anyone else they might be considering. 

But the difference is, there is not the lives, the loss, the heartbreak of other living, breathing human beings involved.  You want a job . . okay.  You want the chance of a second date . . . okay.

But what about wanting a mother to give away her child . . . Hoping to be chosen as the strangers a baby will be given to after being taken away from their mother, the one person they know and trust after nine months of being an intimate part of them.

There should be a huge difference in those situations.  A realization of how shallow and insensitive it is to actually worry about what to wear when meeting a mother who is facing a lifetime of grief from losing her child.

But that’s just the way of things, isn’t it.  Mom’s like the author of this blog, don’t really have to view pregnant mothers as human, don’t have to consider the loss their unborn children will face right after birth.  Because who they are, what they are, has been so diminished in the world of adoption, that they are regularly seen and treated as the not-really humans who can’t possibly know or feel the terrible loss of a child, a mother, in the way “real” humans do.

And see, that is what gets me, what I can’t understand, though I have tried to, over and over again . . .

How can these mothers, who know loss with their own reality of infertility, really be a part of causing another mother such terrible loss?

How can they see nothing wrong with worrying about what is the right outfit to wear to convince another mother to lose her child to them?  How can they celebrate, be excited and gleeful in the expected separation of a child from his or her own family when they have faced their own realities of the grief inflicted when a child, or even the hope of a child, becomes not something to celebrate, but something to grieve because of the loss that comes to reality.

And see, that’s just where I have to believe that the women desperately hoping another women will give them a baby to call their own, really don’t, and probably never will, see pregnant mothers, or their unborn children, as actual, equal human beings.

They are less than . . . they have to be.  

How else could any woman who has suffered the loss of even the hope of being pregnant with a child of her own actually see absolutely nothing wrong with dressing right, acting right, doing whatever it takes so that they can convince another woman to know the suffering of not the hope of a child, but instead the very real, the very heart-wrenching reality of giving away their child?

Those pregnant mothers and their unborn children that desperate adoptive couples target can never be seen as equally “human” because to see them as so would take away from their conviction of being worthy of, deserving of, some other woman’s child.

It would dampen the belief of so-called heroes who supposedly are so strong they can just go around handing their babies away to strangers.  Would change the false declarations of love and admiration for mothers who fall in line with the expectations of admitting their failures, their inability to be a good mother to their children when compared to those who know the loss of a child - - just by never having the experience of giving birth to one of their own - - and are willing to be a part of a mother experiencing even a worse loss because they are more “worthy” of a child than she, as a “not so human” could ever be.

We, and our unborn children, do matter.  We are humans, just as you are.  Just as worthy and important as any one of you could ever be.

Not one of us deserved to lose our children.  Not one of us should have ever, or should ever, have to go through the horror of losing our child while someone else is so much more concerned about whether or not their clothes, their actions, are good enough to convince a mother to give away their child to them.

Step away from your entitlement and step back into the grief and loss you know.  When you are there, do you really believe you are more deserving of another woman’s child?  Do you really view a pregnant mother and her unborn child as so much less-human than you that you see nothing wrong with fretting over the “perfect” outfit and getting advice on how best to dress and act to convince that desperate, frightened woman to give you her child.

Do you really believe that, somehow, that mother and her unborn child are so much different than you, so much more “unhuman” than you are? That they deserve to live a life of such grief and loss so that your own struggles can be healed by the sufferings of another?

Are you really that special?  Do you really mean that much to the overall collection of the human race that women and children should lose, should hurt, should suffer, so that you can gain? 

Do you really believe that you are somehow a better human then they ever could be because you deserve a child while they deserve only grief.  Because you have earned the right to worry about what is the right outfit to wear while they are losing their child, suffering the worst grief that is imaginable to a parent, because they haven’t yet “earned” the right to their own child. 

Because whatever they are, whatever they might be, can never compare to the worthiness of those who give a f**k about the clothes they wear when having that first meeting with a pregnant mother who will, hopefully, give them the child they deserve.

Because you have hurt, you have suffered.  And that is what matters.  What is important.

You are the true human beings to care about.  Your pain and loss is what is important.

Because you have earned enough, been successful enough, to be accepted as worthy.

And as for those “other” moms . . .the ones carrying “helpless creatures”  . . . well . . . they aren’t exactly human, not in the deserving and worthy kind of way.  So let them lose, let them be victims to desperate couples so entitled they can seek “experts” to tell them how to dress, how to act, to convince a vulnerable, desperate mother to give them her child.

Because really, who is going to care?  Who has ever cared?

Their loss doesn’t matter because they can never lose enough to be worthy of being treated as equal, worthy, human beings.  They aren’t enough . . . they won’t be enough . . .

And that is . . . in every way . . . the true reality of adoption and its treatment of mothers and children never able to be good enough to be considered and viewed as equal human beings to the money and privilege already determined worthy because wealth, success and the ability to write the required checks, determines the worthy humans.

The “worthy” ones us undeserving pregnant mothers and our unborn children will never know.  Or ever have society believe we have the “right” to know.  Because we are less than and, sadly . . .

We will always be.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Head Meet Wall

I keep starting a new blog post only to end up deleting it.

Start . . . delete.  Start . . . delete.  Start . . . delete.

It's not that I don't have anything to say.  The one thing you can always count on in the world of adoption is an abundance of topics to write about.  The myths, the loss, the coercion happens every day.  There is never a break when it comes to the reality of what the darker side of adoption truly is.

And yet I still find myself struggling because I have hit that point where I don't know anymore what to say, or how to say it, to actually make a difference.  To get people to listen.  To do something to protect pregnant mothers facing desperate situations.  To protect their innocent children who have no voice, no choice whatsoever in the futures being planned for them before they are ever even born.  To do something . . . anything . . . so fathers aren’t denied their rights to their own children.

At the end of so many days, I find myself with the urge to find a wall to smack my head into, over and over again.  With the same old question . . . Why? Why? Why?

Why are we so cold, so judgmental, so self-entitled as a nation that we really just don't give a damn about unnecessarily separating a child from his or her mother.  That we base our beliefs on material things to determine who is more worthy of having a child.

Why do we lag so far behind other countries in our understanding of the importance of Family Preservation?  Allow the billion dollar adoption industry the power to demean and destroy the importance of the bond between a mother and her child?  To throw a newborn baby into the arms of strangers and never question the damage that is done by doing so because the industry profiting off such terrible acts tells us it's good, it's about love, it's a wonderful act.  And like good, little trained followers, we nod our heads, repeat their mantra and encourage more of the same loss because that is what we have been told is the right thing to do.

A month ago, a Utah State Legislature stood in front of me and two adoptees and had no problem letting us know that, although she understood how b*#*hparents don't like Utah's unfair laws against father's and their rights, as an Adoptive Parent, she loved the laws.  She said it plain, simple and without hesitation.  She even said it with a smile.

A lawmaker.  Someone we are supposed to trust to make and uphold laws in the best interest of the citizens.  And not only did she not care about admitting how much she enjoyed and gained off of Utah's restrictive laws against fathers, she happily admitted to how she had gained because of such laws.

And that's it.  Our lawmakers, our voices in the media, our organizations created and supported to protect equal rights for all, don't give a damn about the abuse against pregnant mothers, fathers and their unborn children because so many of them have gained from that abuse.  So many of them have become parents, have gained babies to make their lives complete from the practice of coercion and manipulation that exists in the world of adoption.

Why would they want to stop that? Why would they want to protect those mothers, fathers, children, when doing so would remove their chance to become parents. Would restrict the opportunities available to them so they can have it all . . . marriage, money, career and then kids - in whatever way they can get them.

If they were to create the laws to protect vulnerable, pregnant mothers, unborn children, desperate fathers.  If they were to use their place and respect in the media to finally expose the dark truth behind adoption.  Use the resources of their organization to fight for the equal rights of EVERY human being, they would risk taking away that self-entitled belief of others like them whose success, wealth, marital status has earned them a right to a child. Whether it be one they gave birth to themselves or adopted from that less worthy mother who, somehow deserves the treatment she has been given. The outright ignoring of her rights, her child's rights. The denial of the abuse she is enduring. That mother, father, child, not good enough to be included in creating laws, exposing truths, fighting for rights, because their unworthiness is the gain of those who hold so much control.

And how do you combat against that? 

And not only that.  Because you can stand on the highest cliff, scream till you are red in the face.  Beg and plead for others to hear you, to take the time to research and learn themselves about the truths behind the billion dollar adoption industry and it still doesn't matter.  Still doesn't make a difference.

So much money has been invested in selling adoption as the "loving option" that the cries of those who suffer from the cruel reality of being separated from their mother, father, child, family, are not just ignored but actually doubted, criticized . . . attacked.

Adoptees, who have lived their entire lives in the reality that is adoption, are being told that they need to educate themselves about adoption.  

Their experiences, their feelings, mean nothing because they aren't following the script.  They aren't boosting the egos of those who adopt, or hope to adopt.  Aren't sharing how grateful they are.  How they only have one set of "real" parents - the mother and father who adopted them.  How their life would have been so terrible, so lacking, if it wasn't for the wonderful, saving act of adoption.

And First Moms are having it explained to them that the act of giving up their child is a loving, unselfish choice and that they just don't understand how hard it is to deal with the "loss" of infertility.

Because, you know, giving birth to and then giving away your child isn't really loss.  Not in any way that could compare to the loss of those who can't have children of their own and must depend on a fertile women to give them the "gift" of her child.

How does one even start to combat against that?  What is left to say, to do, that will make any kind of difference when so many just, really and truly, don't care.

When our lawmakers don't care.  Our judges don't care. 

When our media decides the dark truths of adoption are not worth exposing.  Our organizations created to help and protect the underprivileged, abused, denied, have absolutely no care or sympathy for pregnant mothers and their children.

What is the next step to take?  What are the magic words to get somebody . . . ANYBODY . . . to listen.

It's not like the proof isn't there.  Every adoptee in every state has their identity falsified with amended birth certificates.  Over seven million adoptees are denied their equal rights because they are adopted.

Stories of fathers having their rights and their children stripped away from them are growing more and more common.  Heck, there was even an undercover investigation that proved, without doubt, that adoption agencies encourage pregnant mothers to lie about the fathers, hide their pregnancies, and do whatever needs to be done to insure the fathers have no say or choice in the adoption of their own sons or daughters.

And what about the coercion and manipulation that pregnant mothers constantly face?  What about the fact that the adoption industry deliberately and intentionally targets our young daughters with the message that adoption is the right answer for unplanned pregnancies.  That our schools welcome those who teach that only certain women are deserving of being mothers and that it is perfectly okay, and actually encouraged, to not take responsibility for your own child but to instead walk away from that responsibility and be loved and praised for doing so.

Read a book - like Birthmother, Good Mother.  Take a course - like the Infant Adoption Awareness Training.  Visit the websites of those "helping" our daughters through their appearances in our schools – like Decisions, Choices and Options.

The proof is there.  And it is so accepted that there is no reason to try and even hide how outright coercive and manipulative they are.  It's encouraged, bragged about, held up as an "example" for what is good and right in the way our society views women deemed unworthy of being mothers.

And you can say it in a million different ways.  You can be kind and caring, patient and respectful, it really doesn’t matter.

Because the majority don't care enough to hear you.

Their concern is not for the children being taken away from their mothers, fathers, families, for the profits of the adoption industry.  It's not for the pregnant women, frightened and desperate, left to feel as if they have no other choice than to give their baby away to someone deemed more worthy than them to be a mother to their own son or daughter.

They don't care about the fathers who have laws so stacked against them it's close to impossible for them to have any rights to their own children.  About the grandparents who are helpless with absolutely no way to protect their grandchildren and keep them in the family.

What they care about is the image of the heart-broken, infertile couple who has proven their worthiness to be parents through the careers they have built, the bank accounts they have, the houses and vacations they enjoy.

Their hearts break for them and their struggles while caring nothing about the losses of mothers, fathers and children who are being unnecessarily separated for the gain of those couples.

Because none of us have enough to matter. 

We just don't.

Babies are, of course, born with nothing, not even a voice to ask to be spared the pain of being taken away from their family.  And so others become their voice and decide that the best thing would be for them to be given away so that a more worthy . . . a better . . . couple can become parents.

And the moms and dads . . . well they not only don't really matter, they also, pretty much, deserve what is happening to them.  Because they dared to have sex before being successful, financially stable and happily married.

They are those unmentionable animals who screwed around, opened their legs, asked for what they got, because they did what is part of nature - enjoyed the intimate, unquestioned satisfaction that is sex.

So give them what they deserve.  Ignore the coercion, the manipulation, the outright cruel acts that deny them any and all rights to their children.

They don't deserve anything good once society has decided they, and their acts, are so bad.  All that matters is they did wrong and don't deserve the same care and concern as all those women out there who are so right and so deserving of a "bad woman's" child.

And there is nothing you can say, write, scream with all the desperation you have, to bring any one of them down to a level where they stop judging, stop determing who is worthy and who is not, and actually care about what is happening to pregnant mothers and their unborn children in our day, in our country.

As much as I might try, I don't know the words that will work.  I don't know what I can say, what plea I can give, what fact I can share, that will do anything to make any kind of difference in how pregnant mothers, their unborn children, and so many fathers, are being treated.

Because so many don't even care to hear it.  Don't care about what is happening to those they view as less worthy.  Don't care because the more deserving are gaining from such treatment.  Are being given everything they deserve, regardless of the abuse that must happen to give them that.

And so really, what can I say anymore.  What is left when I am just another one among many who was undeserving, unworthy of protection.  Of care.  Of consideration.

My voice, to so many, is nothing because I no longer speak the "approved" script.  Because I am one of the "bad" who now dares to try and change the treatment I, and so many others, were victims to.

I can talk till I'm blue in the face.  I can slam my head against the wall in the worst of frustration until I'm bruised and bloody.  It isn't going to make a difference, make any kind of change to the many . . . SO MANY . . . who have already decided, judged and determined that moms, like me, deserved what we got.  That our children were nothing more than products to be exchanged.  And that those who are truly deserving have gained everything they are worthy of no matter the pain, loss, heartache caused to others in the process.

Because while they deserved our children, we deserved the hell.

And there is nothing we can say or do that will ever change that.