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.