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.


  1. I shared this on my blog Cassie. Thank you very much for this articulate and powerful post.

    1. Thank you so much, Trace.

      P.S. I LOVED your book. I read it in two days and now it sits proudly on the bookshelf in my office.

  2. In that same vein, it should be about fixing the shattered system that allows a 12 year old to still be waiting and a 9 year old girl to have endured numerous sexual child should have to spend half their childhood shattered.

    1. I agree with you. Unfortunately, we fail, in so many ways as a society in truly protecting our children.

  3. Excellent post, Cassi! It is definitely time to demand change. Thank you for standing with us to do it.

    1. Thank you Ms. Marginalia. And you should never have to thank any of us mothers for standing with you. It should be expected by everyone of us who had any part in adoption!

  4. Cassi,

    I just wanted you to know that your efforts and experiences shared have reached across the Triad. In your blog I found a voice for many of things I have often felt or expressed to baffled folks ( family, friends, sometimes (but not as often as you might think) other AP's) as an adoptive Mom.

    The love I feel for my children has never overshadowed my ability to recognize that our family was created from loss. For them...for their birth families. Joys yes...but unrecoverable losses too.

    I do try to educate folks as often as I can about the true realities of adoption; that with the good, comes many unsavory aspects too....that it can be messy and hard. That the stereotypes used to define us as Adoptive parents, our children and their overseas families are more often than not, in error. AND that's just not okay.

    That our kids can feel however they want to, even if its not what is "expected" by society. That they should never have to "grateful" ( how I hate that notion!). That I don't feel threatened or overshadowed by their connection to their Overseas Family or Culture, but instead support it and can only imagine I would feel the very same in their shoes. ......Support it and feel nothing less than empathy, deep sadness and respect for their First Families, even if that seems trite from another's point of perspective.

    So much more I could say and honestly I'm not saying it very well; but during what I suspect might be a difficult month for you and so many others reading and contributing to the threads on this blog, I just wanted to express my thanks and let you know I'm 'listening'...... and doing my part, where and when appropriate. AND sometimes when its not too. :)

    Just a Mom

  5. Just A Mom,

    I can't say enough to thank you for your comment. There is so much I want to say in response to you but I fear it will come out sounding cheesy and no where near as sincere as I hope.

    Just know I am always so thankful for those who listen without judgment, and even know they might not always agree, do understand that adoption is so much more than the sunshine and roses that is so often portrayed within our society.

  6. Cassie, I just wanted to say blogs like yours and including yours STOPPED my husband and I from going through a domestic adoption. Now, we will only consider foster care adoption. I could not live myself if I participated in funding the legal kidnapping of children from their mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings...Adoption agencies (not foster care adoption agencies) in our country are disgusting and violate human rights. The fake birth certificates, the manipulative adoption language and the profiting from breaking up familes makes me ill. We need to spread the truth to save children and their familes from the ttrauma adoption brings into their lives. Cassie, I am so sorry for your loss. I really am. I wish I could give you a hug! Xo