Sunday, September 27, 2015

Shout It Out

So, between taking my sweet Granddaughter to Disney World and getting into our family place at the lake, I’ve spent most of September barely on social media.  I’d pick up a little bit here and there when I’d log in but not enough to know what was going on.

Seeing the tags for #shoutyouradoption here and there had me curious, but not enough, I admit, to do further research into their meaning while I was away.  It wasn’t until yesterday, when I finally got my computer all set back up and ventured back into social media that I realized the disgusting reality behind why the #shoutyouradoption tags came into existence.

And my first thought was how heartbreaking and sad it was that our society so easily accepts, shares, and makes viral the clear message that a pregnant woman should be encouraged to keep her pregnancy so that she can carry a baby for nine months and then it give it up to someone else.  This is seen as okay.  A good solution to abortion.  Just carry your pregnancy through, go through birth and then give your own child away to the many couples out there desperate to claim it as their own.

This is what we are.  What we have been for so long.  We don’t really want to help vulnerable, pregnant mothers or their unborn children.  What we want is to force pregnancies so those couples willing and able to pay tens of thousands of dollars can claim the child they want.  It’s about them.  Their desires.  It has nothing to do with any kind of true care or concern for the two other lives involved . . . the innocent baby and the mother.

Trying to protest otherwise.  Attempting to make the claim about protecting “unborn babies” is nothing but a vague lie to cover the truth.  Because if it truly had anything to do with caring about mothers and their babies, the solution would not be to force a pregnancy and then force a separation between them after birth.

And don’t fool yourself into believing it isn’t a forced separation.  Don’t try quoting the same old, worn out and tired adoption industry script about how it’s about love and how so many selfless mothers out there “choose” to give up their babies to someone deemed “better” than them.

The fact of the matter is, it is VERY rare to find a mother who truly doesn’t want her own child.  Doesn’t want to be bothered with raising and loving her own son or daughter.  They aren’t choosing to give their babies away.  Instead they are left feeling as if they have no other choice but to give their babies away.

Because it’s the same circle, the same old excuses that keep this ridiculous argument about abortion . . . the desperate attempt to link it with adoption . . . going on year after year, decade after decade.  It’s much easier for people to climb on their pedestals, shame and condemn women for unplanned pregnancies, throw adoption around as some kind of solution against abortion, than it is to actually be a part of offering of yourself in the form of help and support for mother and child.

As a society, we are more prone to want to wash our hands of any responsibility to actually helping those in need.  When it comes to threatening our time, our pocketbook, we don’t want to be bothered.  So when it comes to the perceived solution to abortion the simple answer is . . . force a woman to carry a pregnancy and then give her baby away after birth.  That way, those who fought so hard against her choice of abortion don’t have to be burdened with any kind of responsibility to actually help mother and child once the baby is born.  Instead they can just support a baby taken away from his mother, his father, his family, heritage, identity and not have to worry about another expectation of any kind of help and support.

And then we throw up our hands, shake our heads and try to figure out why all the judgment and shame, the expectation of a vulnerable mother to simply give away her baby, isn’t doing anything to make a difference.  Why are women still terminating their pregnancies.  Why won’t they listen to the same old drone.  The same pretense of how abortion is supposedly “killing” babies while taking them away from their families and giving them away to strangers at birth is somehow “saving” them.

The fact is, there will never be change.  Never any kind of good to come as long as we continue to see an unplanned pregnancy as a crisis and take the easiest route we can to “solve” such crisis.

The fact is, half of all pregnancies are unplanned.  That IS NOT the crisis.  It is the situations faced at the time of the unplanned pregnancy.  For so many, it is a financial crisis.  Whether it be having no means to provide a safe place to live.  A way to afford even the simplest basics to survive. 

For others it’s a lack of insurance.  A solution to the medical bills that come with carrying a pregnancy to full term, giving birth – always with the risk of complications along the way which can take already outrageous bills into even higher levels.

And still for others, there is the fear of not being able to finish their education.  Create any kind of solid future for their child.  Or facing the reality that there is no way to raise a baby without having to work and having no clue how to afford good day care.

And then there are those who come from abusive relationships.  Who face the terrifying reality that they don’t know how, or even if they can, protect their child from such situations.

These examples, and more, create the crisis a woman more than likely is facing at the time she finds herself pregnant.  But instead of addressing them, empowering and helping her have the strength and find the solutions to such crisis, so many choose to address only the pregnancy while actually, at the same time, judging and shaming a woman for her pregnancy in such situations.  Using that as an excuse why not to give more.  Do more.  Provide whatever can be provided.

And then you see exactly what has been so clearly shown in this recent battle of the hashtags.  No concern, care or even thought to truly helping a woman through her crisis while facing an unplanned pregnancy.  Instead, just a solution that leaves little for others to worry about . . . just give your baby away . . . while guaranteeing the woman will continue to be in the exact same crisis after being forced to continue her pregnancy and then give up her baby.

And this is what we call saving.  This is what we find acceptable as an answer to the #shoutyourabortion tag.  Nothing about help and care.  Nothing about empowerment to work through and find solutions to the crisis that exists.  Instead just shaming and judgment with the expectation to go through pregnancy, give birth and then give your child away to someone “better.”

But, could you imagine the changes created if we actually cared more about mother and child.  If we recognized and understood how important it is to help vulnerable mothers and babies in need. 

Think of all the time, money and effort that goes into fighting against abortion, promoting adoption.  Imagine what the very same could do if concentrated on actually helping a vulnerable, pregnant mother through whatever crisis she faced.  Empowering and supporting her to find the solutions to carry her pregnancy full term, if she so chooses, and be given the comfort to know she can do it.  Is the very best for her son or daughter.

Imagine if we cared as much about supporting organizations such as Saving Our Sisters . . . which makes no profit and relies on the kindness, time, money and care of others to help and support vulnerable, pregnant mothers and their unborn children . . . as we do about the continued support for the multi-billion dollar adoption industry that profits off the separation of mother and child.

Imagine the world we could have if we, instead of judging and condemning women for unplanned pregnancies, made the conscious effort to simply support them.  To give to them and their babies the love and care they deserve.

This same circle of fighting against abortion, of the ridiculous notion of throwing adoption up as some solution that simply isn’t there, hasn’t made a true difference and it never will.  True change will come ONLY when we have a heart for vulnerable, pregnant mothers and their unborn children.  When we change our thinking from believing it’s okay to take from those in need and provide children to those able to pay for them and instead realize every baby deserves every chance.  Every bit of support and help to remain with their mothers, their fathers, their families.

When we realize it is not the unplanned pregnancy that is the crisis.  That, from the very start, we show more compassion and care if we help a woman work through whatever crisis she is facing before ever attempting to throw adoption at her as some solution to abortion.  That we realize how wrong and unfair it is to expect a woman to go through a pregnancy, give birth and then turn around and give her baby away because nobody every truly cared enough to first help her through the crisis she faced.

To claim you care is easy.  To actually take the time, give the effort, to prove it is something completely different.  It takes work.  It takes sacrifice.  It takes giving and love and a TRUE concern about what is best for a mother and baby.  Not what will create the least amount of effort by claiming you care without having to do a damn thing to show it.

If we were a society that wanted to do something better, greater, than arguing, judging and proving our side was right, we wouldn’t have ever accepted #shoutyouradoption as some kind of answer to the #shoutyourabortion tags.  Instead we would have been disgusted at such a thing and we would have turned around and fought again with tags that might look something like this . . .


Unfortunately, I don’t see enough love in our society these days for any of these hashtags to ever be true.  And so the circle will continue and we will, sadly, remain a society that believes it’s better to force a woman to continue a pregnancy with the expectation to give her baby away than it could ever be to actually help and support her to keep and raise her child.

Because it’s not the mother and child who really matters.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hate In My Heart

I have come to know so many First Moms in my years fighting for Adoption Reform, Adoptee Rights, and even Father’s rights.  Some I consider my greatest friends.  Wonderful allies in this knock-down, painful world of adoption and the fight to change it. 

Then there are those who I often disagree with.  Believe are playing right into the coercion and manipulation the adoption industry seeks.  Pushing and encouraging more vulnerable, pregnant mothers into giving up their babies to make themselves feel better for their own experiences.

And though it’s no secret that I am often frustrated and angry with these First Moms, I also have an understanding, in my heart and mind, of what they have gone through.  I know the counseling they’ve had.  The messages they’ve received from society.  I can understand, on a level, why they do what they do.  Why it’s so important to them to push adoption as some wonderful thing that creates only happiness for everyone involved.
But, as I was reminded yesterday, there is yet another group of First Moms.   Those I find myself having no care, concern or understanding for.  Who push me beyond anger into hatred.  Of who they are, what they have done to their children.

It struck me yesterday, just how differently I feel for these particular First Moms. 

Though, for me, it was easy since I’m already in Colorado, so many traveled from all over to support Rob Manzanares in his years long fight for his sweet little girl . . . since before she was ever born.  And in those hours I spent there at the courthouse, from the rally before to the actual hearing, I saw and witnessed so much love and pain mixed together in the faces of not only Rob, but the other fathers fighting for their children who had come to support one of their own.

I saw the bonds they formed from the heartache they shared.   Realized, even more, the hell they live through every day they are denied their own children.  Their flesh and blood.  Theirs sons and daughters who they refuse to give up on, regardless of hard it becomes.
And to see how kind and caring Rob is.  To hear in his voice how much he loves his daughter.  To be witness to the pain that is with him every day.  The loss he suffers.  It truly is something that hits you so hard about the horror these fathers are forced to face for no other reason then they are being denied their rights to their children.

It’s something I can’t even imagine how they live through.  How they face the next day.  Keep going with such a terrible loss weighing them down.

But they do it.  And not only do they do it, but they turn around and offer support and love to others who are facing the same struggles.

To see that . . . feel it . . . and then, for the first time, actually be in the physical presence of a First Mom who holds blame for creating such loss and heartache for a father and child, it was an experience I will never forget.

It made me realize, whether right or wrong, just how differently I feel toward First Moms who create such horrors for their children and the fathers fighting for them.  How I can have love, or at least understanding for the majority of moms, regardless of agreements or disagreements.  But also can actually have a hatred in my heart for a select few.  For those who are a continuing part of denying their own child their right to be with their father. 

As I walked by the First Mom in Rob’s case – the very one who used so much deception and lies to deny him the right to keep and raise his daughter – as I looked her in the eye, all I felt was contempt for this woman looking back at me. 

I wanted to confront her.  Tell her she was an insult to so many First Moms.  An embarrassment to even be considered a part of us.  I wanted to smack her.  Shake her until she finally realized the hell she was responsible for.

And I wanted to demand she tell me why . . .

Why did she feel like she had a right to deny Rob and her daughter the chance to be together?

Why did she believe it was okay to use such outrageous deceit to make sure he was left with no choice but to face so many terrible years fighting for his little girl?

And why was she still a part of fighting him?  Still having an active hand in hurting her daughter by doing all she still can to deny her a true and full relationship with her father?

How could any mother be a part of causing such terrible harm to her own child?  How could she continue to cause that harm, year after year?

I’m not naïve.  I’m not blind.   I know how the industry works to deny a father his rights.  I know what they encourage vulnerable, pregnant mothers to do in order to get around those pesky fathers who want to keep and raise their children.

I know the counseling is good and strong.  I’ve been through it.  Was caught under the weight of it for many years.  Fathers are represented as unreliable.  Unfit for their children.  Scare tactics are used so vulnerable, pregnant mothers are left to feel as if they will never be able to count on the father.  Suggestions are made so they view him as the one being selfish for even considering wanting to keep and raise his child.

I do get that.   I also understand how some mothers are left to feel as if they not only have no choice but to give up their baby.  But also have no choice but to fear the father being involved because of the suggested “bad things” that will happen.

But there are those situations where any understanding or care ends.   Situations such as in Rob and his fight for his sweet daughter.  Trent and his battle.  Brandon and his.  And so many, MANY more.

Because when a father is breaking himself, tearing himself apart as the fight continues.  When he makes it clear, over and over again, he wants his child and the only response from the First Mom is “too bad” it takes it to another level all together.

It’s beyond the counseling one might have gotten.  Beyond the fear of the father walking away.   The belief that it was best to give up one’s baby.

It’s seeing the pain, the heartache you are causing (whether through coercion or not) and not giving one damn about it.  It’s being a part of continuing the fight rather than joining it for your own child.  It’s the horrible loss you are refusing to see or acknowledge you are causing your own child who has a father fighting for her.  Wanting nothing more than to raise and love her.  A right every child has!

It’s sitting in a courtroom in downtown Denver, hearing the judges acknowledge the fraud you committed to steal a daughter from her fit and loving father and still fighting to justify the hell you created.  It’s about refusing to help your own child but instead continuing to do all you can to deny her of so much.

How can any mother be a witness to how hard a father is fighting for his child, look into the eyes of their own child, and still continue to fight against it?

How can these mothers, any one of them, justify what they are a part of?  How will they later explain it to their children that they were a part of them being kept from their own fathers who were fighting so hard for them.

How will they ever be able to look in the eyes of their own son or daughter and say, “I denied you the right to be with your father.  I fought for years to keep you apart because I believed I had more say and decided you should suffer the loss adoption brings rather than being spared such a loss by being raised and loved by your own flesh and blood?”

How will they ever be able to make it right after all they have done?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What The Camera Missed

By this time, it’s very few who haven’t gotten more than their fair share of the pictures that have gone viral.  Pictures that show the story of a desperate couple and their desire to adopt a newborn.  Pictures that show their joy, their happiness at claiming the child they so desired.  Pictures that, conveniently, leave out the mother of this child.  The one who went through nine months loving and nurturing her little girl.  Who gave birth only to face the terrible reality she would would now begin a new life of being without her own child.  Her own flesh and blood.

Over the past few days, these pictures, the story of these adoptive parents, have been everywhere!  And, as is the norm for our society, anything that mentions loss for the mother and/or the baby is met with anger and attacks.  It’s not allowed.  We all must be positive.  We must celebrate with this couple and believe that this baby has just been saved from some terrible, tragic life and will forever be grateful for losing everything – her family, identity, heritage – in order to satisfy the desires of this couple seeking a third child to make their family complete.

It’s been disgusting.  Painful.  Heartbreaking for so many who live, every day, the terrible loss and pain that adoption causes.  To see these pictures go viral.  To see the ignorance.  The refusal to give a damn about anything other than presenting adoption - - AGAIN - - as something that happens in a vacuum where only the adoptive parents and their joy and happiness exists.  It’s just another, of many, hard hits that lets those who have lost so much – mothers and their babies – know that they really just don’t matter.  That adoption isn’t about them.  It’s about those who have the desire and ability to pay for the child they seek to make their lives complete.

So, it helped, today, to come across someone who had the amazing courage and talent to come up against this story.  To offer something different – in the best of ways – than what is flooding the news stories and internet right now.

And, my hope is, this story will go viral as well.  That there will be some chance, some hope, of others stepping back and realizing so much more than what they believe about adoption.  That maybe, just maybe, a bit of satire – in the right place – will help, even just one, take the time to see more than what so many accept adoption as . . .

A business providing children to those who pay for them.

***Here is the direct link to the post.  And make sure you read all the way to the end and the notes that are there.   They truly are the best part!***

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Popular Table

So . . . there are many reasons why I have been so neglectful here on my blog.

One of the greatest ones is I’m finally giving myself permission to concentrate on my other writing without feeling guilty for doing so.  I can still help.  I can still support pregnant mothers in need.  I can still be an advocate for adoption reform and adoptee rights.

But it’s okay, at this point in my life, to do that on a smaller scale so that I can concentrate on all I walked away from back when I faced some of the worst struggles in giving up my oldest son.

Another reason is . . . regardless of how many times there were the claims that the “new” First Moms would be happier and have better experiences . . . they are speaking out more and more.  And their blogs are amazing.  They have such powerful messages to tell.  And because their experiences are so much closer to the “here and now” it’s easier to step back and know there are so many new, amazing voices carrying on the fight.

There is also another reason.  It is that struggle of just wanting to be done with even trying to do anything to help what is now the new generation of pregnant moms.  The ones who are so caught up in how “cool” it is to give up their babies, they just don’t really give a damn about anything else.

It’s the new “popular girls” club.  Give up your baby and you can come sit with us at the “popular” table where everybody loves you, praises you, and wants to be just like you.

And I, honestly, have just lost my patience with the mothers who have such a mindset.

Giving up your baby shouldn’t be cool.  It shouldn’t be your chance at popularity.

It should not be your reason to create a Facebook page to brag about giving away your child.  It shouldn’t be your “in” to be allowed in the popular groups.  Your ego-boosting therapy to make you feel so good about yourself and so liked by everyone.

It should be painful.  It should be heart-wrenching.  It should be an experience that rips you apart.  Leaves you aching for your child . . . your own flesh and blood . . . and wishing you could have done something, anything, to keep your baby.

And, honestly, I’m done with trying to nicely change the minds of these mothers.

Because I know.   I speak from experience.  And there is nothing that can ever change the fact that my son deserved a mother strong enough and courageous enough to change her life for him.   He deserved a mother like the ones helped and supported through Saving Our Sisters.  One who, like them, was brave enough to sacrifice everything I had to be the best mom I could to him rather than giving him away to somebody else to raise.

I’d give anything to be like those moms.  To fight for my baby.  To realize a true mom gives all she can to save her child from any kind of pain and loss rather than giving them up to it. 

And, in those personal feelings of mine, I’m realizing I’m losing more empathy for the mothers of today who are so eager and happy to give up their babies.  Even knowing the coercion and manipulation they face.  Even seeing, over and over again, how it is everywhere . . . give up your baby to a better life and you will be a hero.

Social media has changed that for me.  Because these mothers, who are on Facebook bragging about giving up their babies.  Seeking the praise to make them feel so special for doing so.  They are also the mothers who, because of social media, have what so many of us never did – the voices of Adoptees and First Moms who came before them.  The resources offered to help and support them raise their babies.

When I look back on my own experience.  Remember back to that time in the hospital when all I wanted was to keep my son but still gave him up because I felt like a monster for hurting the feelings of his adoptive mom, I wish I’d had the internet then.  Wish I’d known the feelings I was struggling with were the very ones the adoption industry was hoping I’d feel so I wouldn’t keep my baby.

I wish I’d had experiences to read that would have let me know that it was okay.  I wasn’t a monster for wanting to keep my baby.  That there were many other mothers who felt like I did.  And it wasn’t only normal.  But the very true feelings of any mother who has given birth and held their baby in their arms and felt that immediate bond with them.

I wish I’d had those voices letting me know just how coercive pre-birth matching was.  Had been given strength from those who would actually help me and protect me in the hospital so I wouldn’t feel as if I was obligated to give my baby away.

And, above all, I wish I had the voices of the Adoptees.  The very ones who speak up loud and clear to make it known that adoption isn’t roses and sunshine for so many of them.  That they faced struggles and pain that are never shared with pregnant mothers considering adoption.

I know there are pregnant mothers who aren’t even thinking about searching out so-called support groups that will tell them over and over again how great they are for giving up their babies.  Who, even with the wave of social media, are still so blind to the truth of adoption that it doesn’t even connect with them to search and see if there is anything else to learn about adoption because they fully trust those encouraging and counseling them to give up their babies.

And for those moms, my heart still aches.  I think of Carri and Kimberly in that group.  Given no knowledge, no encouragement to seek out more than what they were being told in order to get their babies from them.  It never dawned on me or so many others mothers to seek any other truths.  Not when those you trust, and believe are truly trying to help you, make sure you are never even aware of that “other” side of adoption.  The truth of it that exists with just a few moments spent on social media.

And I understand and know how it would never dawn on them, either, to even think that the ones they were trusting were hiding so much more from them.

But there are so many more, so different from those mothers.  And yes, I do get it.  In the back of my mind, I know, have seen often, how the adoption industry has become even stronger on keeping these moms in the mind set of giving up their babies is the “cool” thing to do.  I know they work hard to counter any other truths these moms might find through social media.  Strengthening, more and more, their message of how “good” moms give up their babies and selfish moms fight and do all they can to keep them.

It’s the reason why disgusting sites as BraveLove exist.  It’s why so many from the adoption industry sponsor, or run themselves, the Birth Mom getaways created to praise mothers for giving away their babies.

They know.  They understand, better than anyone, the importance of creating the feeling that it’s a wonderful thing to do – giving up your baby.  They love recruiting mothers who have already given up their babies to make those coming up behind them feel “popular” to join their group.  They praise those who make their way into mainstream media to deliver the industry's message of how wonderful it is to give away your baby.

But I just can’t play their game anymore.  I can’t try to be just as nice, just as understanding, on my end to help a mother see how important she is to her baby.  How worthy her child is to be spared the loss of adoption.

I’m just tired of it and can’t find that part of me as often as I used to that tries so hard to show them they can do it.  Can be the very best for their babies.

Not when they are all about how cool and great they are.  Not when they are bragging about giving up their baby.  Attacking anyone who actually believes they are good enough and should be helped and supported to keep and raise their baby.

Instead I find myself responding to them in a much harsher reality. 

And that doesn’t help much when you are trying to help.  Trying to have a blog that reaches out to and empathizes with mothers facing the struggles of an unexpected pregnancy.

But really.  If you are on Facebook, seeking praise for giving up your baby, attacking anyone who believes you are good enough for your own baby, what kind of gentleness is their really worth offering.

The fact of the matter is, at that point, I might as well just speak the harsh truth that exists inside me as a mother who has been there and realized my son deserved me having the courage to change and make a better life for him.  Rather than giving him away for others to take that responsibility.

Because the fact is, for every mother bragging and so happy to give up her baby, there are the others who are brave and strong enough to realize their babies deserve so much more than that.  Have the courage to fight back against the hardest of odds to become the very best they can for their own flesh and blood.

For every pregnant mother wanting others to praise her and tell her how great she is for giving away her baby, there is a Carri . . . a Kimberly . . . who face the worst attacks.  Are judged, ridiculed and pulled apart by others.  But they don’t let such hatred discourage them from fighting for their babies.  From knowing they will give anything, do anything, to have them back with them where they belong.

I see courage every day in them, in the many mothers who reach out to Saving Our Sisters for help.  And watching them.  Seeing what amazing mothers they are, shows me more and more how, really, I have nothing left in me to offer “kindness” to the others who have every chance and opportunity to find the same strength and courage to be the very best for their children but refuse it because they thrive on the praise they receive.  

Because they want to be cool.

Because they’d give up their baby for a place at the popular table.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Coercion And Manipulation . . . Can't Fight That

Again, another fit, loving mother, Kimberly Rossler, is being forced to fight for her baby.

For Kimberly, she had decided before ever giving birth to keep her son.  She took him home, raised loved and cared for him for three weeks before he was taken to satisfy the desires of the woman desperate to claim her son as her own.

There are  many news stories, blog posts, out there that can give you Kimberly’s story and the horror that happened to her, and worst of all, her newborn son.  With a visit to the Facebook page, Bring Baby Elliott Home, there is plenty of information on her case and how to help Kimberly in her fight for her baby.

As I’ve read through the many different comments on the stories being published and shared, there has been, yet again, a repeated theme in what some have had to say.  It’s an anger, disgust, over vulnerable, pregnant mothers receiving  expenses paid from those hoping to adopt her baby.  And forming a relationship with them before ever giving birth only to “crush” their hopes when they then choose to keep their babies.

It’s sad to read, the anger being directed at the mother for practices the adoption industry insists on because they know and understand the coercive and manipulation nature of paying expenses to a mother in need.  Encouraging her to form a tight bond with the couple so desperate to adopt her baby.

The agencies, attorneys, facilitators, don’t push such practices for the benefit of the mother and her unborn child.  They push it for their paying customers, the ones so desperately wanting to adopt a baby.  They push it because they know the odds are better of a vulnerable, pregnant mother giving up her baby if she feels manipulated into feeling she owes the hopeful couple for the money they paid or is fearful to hurt their feelings after growing so close to them during her pregnancy.

For those of us in the world of adoption reform, we have repeated until we are blue in the face the risks and downfalls of pre-birth matching and paid expenses.  We have made it clear that such practices need to be done away with, for both the protection of the pregnant mother, her unborn child AND the hopeful adoptive couple.

Those of us fighting for family prevention advise pregnant mothers seeking help and support not to accept money from anyone who benefits – through profits or a child – from them giving up their babies.  We discourage them building a relationship with the hopeful couple before birth.  We do this because we know and understand how such methods are full of coercion and manipulation.

But, for as many times as I’ve heard them complain.  For the comments that happen again and again, sharing disgust about a mother choosing to raise her baby after a hopeful couple  paid so much  money and was there for her during her pregnancy, I rarely ever come across hopeful adoptive parents or adoptive parents  speaking up when it comes to fighting for the practice to end.  They remain silent when it comes to fighting for change so such situations no longer occur.  Instead, they move on and repeat the process with yet another vulnerable, pregnant mother . . . if they don’t become one of the “entitled” who believe they have a right to another woman’s child and fight her for him, as in Kimberly’s case.
And the cycle continues.  The complaints carry on.  The comments of broken hearts and empty wallets litter news stories everywhere when it comes to the topic of adoption.

Why is that?  It’s the adoption industry, not the pregnant mothers, pushing so hard for such practices.  So why not speak up.  Why not join the voices of the rest of us and fight back with a clear message that such things need to end?

There is only one answer to that, coming back around and around again.  Ending such coercive and manipulative practices will reduce the number of newborns available for adoption.  Putting your voice to the fight is seen as a risk to everyone wanting a child to claim as their own.  It’s more preferable to continue the coercion and manipulation then turn around and blame the mother for it than it is to do anything that might threaten the availability of adoptable infants.

And the paid expenses and pre-birth matching is just a part of it.  One of the things that struck  me hardest about Kimberly’s experience is the fact that she was actually counseled by a true, unbiased therapist rather than someone invested in convincing her to give up her baby . . . such as the options counseling agencies provide.

Kimberly’s therapist first worked on Kimberly herself before ever addressing the idea of giving her baby up for adoption.  She was true and professional in the help she provided, understanding, as TRUE therapists do, that first Kimberly needed help to work first on herself and whatever obstacles she faced.  She needed to be helped through whatever crisis she was facing and find a place where she felt confident in her ability and own self-worth.

Only then did her therapist begin discussing the adoption with her.  And, because Kimberly was first given the support and help to face her obstacles, to find her self-worth, she began to see and understand that she was good enough, worthy enough, for her own child.

It wasn’t months or years later, as happens with so many mothers, that she realized she could take care of her baby.  It was before she ever gave birth, preventing yet another scenario you hear adoptive parents complain about . . . the mother who seems unable to deal with her emotions.  Seems upset she gave her baby away.  Isn’t falling perfectly into place as one who is grateful to them for raising her child but is instead questioning if she made the right choice

But again, putting a voice to and fighting for vulnerable, pregnant mothers to receive the kind of true counseling Kimberly did from someone not invested in adoption but instead specializing in depression and helping their clients work through crisis situations, reduces even more the number of babies available to adopt.  Because empowering and supporting the mothers drastically reduces the numbers of those who believe they aren’t good enough or worthy enough for their own child.

There is this ridiculous notion that pregnant mothers and their unborn children receive too many rights and that those desperate to adopt deserve more so that they can get their hands on the babies they desire.  There is this belief, because of expenses paid, relationships built, mothers choosing to parent instead, that somehow those wanting to adopt are the ones who are losing out . . . at the expense of the mother and her child.

I don’t agree with this in any way.  I find such thoughts ridiculous since every child deserves to first have everything possible done to save them from unnecessary separation from their mothers, fathers, family.  Every mother (and father) deserves to first be helped and supported in raising their children before ever being led to believe giving up their babies is the best thing.

And honestly, what so many desperate couples are demanding is not an end to the coercive and manipulative practices of expenses paid and pre-birth matching so that a mother never feels as if she has no choice or is forced to give up her baby.  They aren’t fighting for true, unbiased counseling so that a vulnerable mother never has her crisis situation used against her to convince her to give up her baby.  But instead is truly helped and supported to be the best she can be and from there make the best choice she can.

What they want, what they demand, is for even less protections for vulnerable, pregnant mothers and their unborn children.  They want the coercion and manipulation to be even stronger so that if they pay the expenses, form a relationship and are promised a baby, then they will get that baby without a chance of the mother choosing to raise her own child instead.

They want their own desires for a child protected by making sure mothers receive the options counseling designed and created to use their crisis against them to convince them to give up their babies rather than a true, professional therapist actually providing the help deserved.

It’s not the coercion or manipulation they are against.  Because getting rid of such practices would greatly reduce the babies they desire.  It doesn’t matter how angry or frustrated they get.  So many are not willing to put a voice to fight such things.

Instead they want their voices to create a world in which horrors such as what Kimberly and her innocent son faced become the reality.  They want to be able to take a child from a fit and loving mother if they paid the expenses, formed a relationship.  They want to restrict them from true counseling so they are seen as the best choice for another woman’s child.

They, just like the woman in Kimberly’s case, want to get their pay out for taking advantage of and using another’s suffering for their own gain.  And, if they don’t get that, it will be the vulnerable, pregnant mothers they will direct their anger at rather than at the true evil . . .

The adoption industry and the coercion and manipulation they survive on.

***This post, of course, does not pertain to every hopeful adoptive parent or adoptive parent.  I am honored, to know and have friendships with some wonderful adoptive parents who, themselves, face terrible attacks because of their belief and fight for change in the world of adoption.***

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Repeat After Me

Okay, sit back, get comfortable, clear your throat and repeat after me . . .

The promise of Birth Mother privacy is a lie!

Let’s say it one more time . . .

The promise of Birth Mother privacy is a lie!

I have yet, in the many years I’ve been a part of the fight for Adoptee Rights and Adoption Reform, come across a First (Birth) Mom who was promised privacy.  And I have never seen a single piece of legal paper guaranteeing such a thing.

If you are a First Mom who claims you were promised privacy, you are either lying or were lied to.  It is just that simple.

To carry out a promise of privacy for First Moms it would mean our children’s original birth certificates would have to be sealed the moment we put pen to paper and sign the relinquishment papers.  It would be based on our action of giving up our rights and nothing else.

But, not only does that not happen, but there is not a SINGLE law in the United States even allowing for that to happen.  It just can’t be done.  Not a single court in this country of ours would approve such a request regardless of any suggestion of promised privacy.  They can’t because there is nothing that allows them too.

Sealing away our children’s birth certificates rests solely on the actions of the couples petitioning to adopt our children.  It’s done as part of their process, not ours.  And has always been meant for their benefit.  Not ours and definitely not our children.

It has been said over and over AND OVER again . . . the myth of Birth Mother privacy is nothing more than the Adoption Industry using us to fight against Adoptees being given their equal rights.  They don’t give a damn about us.  They don’t give a damn about our children.  We are just their scapegoat.  The easy targets they use as an excuse to deny Adoptees what the rest of us take for granted.

And, honestly, if you are a First Mom who has the warped belief that your desire for so-called privacy justifies your own child being denied their equal rights than you are the one with the problem, not your child.

And if you are a general part of society believing these lies, please know you are being played for a fool.  The industry knows, for the most part, we are going to believe what we are told – especially if they add a little to tug on your heart-strings – rather than researching the truth for ourselves.  But the truth doesn’t change, regardless of the pretty bow the industry might try putting on it . . .

The promise of Birth Mother privacy is a lie!

It’s simple.  It’s true.  So let’s stop allowing it to be used as a reason to deny Adoptees their equal rights.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Scream Until It Hurts

When my middle son was just a baby, I worked at a day care center that included infant care – it was all about the benefit of reduced child care costs and being able to work while still being near my baby.

During my time there, I had an experience I will never forget.  An experience that forever changed me.  In the crib next to my son’s in the infant room was a baby boy named Garrett.  One afternoon, during the routine checks of the sleeping babies, the two wonderful ladies who cared for the infants discovered Baby Garrett wasn’t breathing.

Those of us who knew CPR were hurried into the infant room.  And there I was, knowing my own son slept in a crib just a few feet away, holding a limp, lifeless baby, desperately pumping air into his lungs.  Praying with everything I had that he would just gasp, open his eyes, cough . . . all those miracle actions you always see in the movies . . . and come back to us.

Unfortunately, that never happened.  It was determined that Baby Garrett died from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and there was nothing we could have done to save him.

That was almost twenty-five years ago and yet the fear of SIDS still stays with me.  I’ve always been overly conscious of checking my babies, and now grandbabies, when they sleep.  Even when they have slept through the night, I have never been able to since experiencing Baby Garrett’s death.  I’ve always been up every few hours.  Needing to check them, feel their tiny bodies for the breath pushing through their lungs.

It wasn’t even my own child that I lost, yet it changed me forever.  And when I talk about my fear of SIDS there is always understanding.  Nobody ever questions why it is I struggle with such a fear when my babies and grandbabies are so little.  What I go through is normal.  Accepted by everyone who knows.

A few weeks ago, my Grandson – my second grandchild – was born.  And with the holidays and my middle son and his fiancé (my Grandson’s wonderful parents) in the process of moving into their new place, I’ve had an abundance of wonderful nights with them staying the night with us.  And I’ve been up.  I’ve checked.  Always needing to make sure he’s okay.

It’s a fear I will always have.  I know it.  Accept it.

Just as I will always have the fear of losing a child/a grandchild to adoption.

Over twenty-seven years ago, when I gave up my oldest son for adoption, it was another experience that forever changed me.  And that experience, that change, is so much deeper . . . so much greater . . . than anything I’ve felt for Baby Garrett’s death.

That loss WAS my own child.  A piece of my own heart that will forever be broken.

Even the thought of going through that kind of loss again has the power to completely take over if I allow it.  The fear of it has a hold on me that I know will never go away.  It’s there even when I don’t fully realize the extent of how deeply it’s affecting me.

In the months before my Grandson’s birth, I struggled with anger whenever I attempted to write about or debate adoption.  I tried many times to write a post for my blog but always gave up after everything I attempted to put to words came out in a fiery rant of disgust with no real message to be heard.

I couldn’t make sense of it.  Things were good.  My family was good.  There were no triggers that I could put a finger on that would cause my anger.  But it was there and it wasn’t going away.

It wasn’t until right before and after my Grandson’s birth that it began to make sense . . .

It was the fear of losing a part of myself all over again to adoption.

Even though there was nothing outright to make me worry.  Even with all the precautions I knew to take.  That fear still hovered.  Wearing on me even when I was unaware.  Like a breath I was afraid to release until after my Grandson was born and happily sent home with his mom and dad.

Till I knew adoption would not be able to claim him and take him away from his family.

Because, no matter how much I knew in my head, how many steps I took to do all I could to protect my son and my Grandson, there was always that knowledge that it could always come down to just one . . .

One person having the nerve to suggest to my son’s fiancé that she wasn’t good enough.  She was too young.  Wasn’t married.  Didn’t have a career.  And so, if she truly loved her child she could prove that love by giving her baby away to a more “deserving” couple.

After that there would be little hope.  Even with doing all we could to protect my son’s rights as the father.  Even knowing, supporting and loving his fiancé through her pregnancy.  I know, have experienced, seen all too often, once the Adoption Industry gets its hands on a vulnerable mother and convinces her she is no good and should give her baby up, there is next to nothing that can be done to stop them.

Our government, our laws, our own society works in their favor, making it an almost impossible fight for the families who love and want their children/grandchildren.

And that’s where the anger came into play.  Where it still sits today as I wrestle with the reality I know and see.

When it comes to my fear of SIDS, nobody questions it, doubts it.  And everyone I have ever seen bring up such a reality fully supports any and all change that is needed to prevent more deaths.  Nobody would dare suggest someone was wrong or just had a bad experience or needed to seek help if they spoke out about the many ways to help  prevent SIDS from occurring.

Could you imagine anyone with common sense actually suggesting that I just had a “bad experience” or should seek help or realize how many babies don’t die from SIDS if I were to mention how important it is to put a baby to sleep on their back.  To keep blankets, pillows, bumper pads away from their face.

I can’t imagine anyone suggesting I’m crazy or telling me I should “just be happy” about the fact that I held Baby Garrett in my arms and tried to bring him back to life after SIDS had already taken control.  They wouldn’t be afraid that I was somehow making SIDS look bad or discouraging women from having children because of what I had to say to prevent such a tragedy from happening.

But put my even harsher, more personal and painful fear of losing a grandchild to adoption and everything changes.  Doesn’t matter that I have also lived through that experience.  Makes no difference that I have researched and learned all I possibly could about adoption just as I did about SIDS.  When it comes to my fear that I could lose a part of my family to adoption many of the responses I get are so much different than anything I have ever, or would ever, receive about SIDS.

Not only is it assumed by many that I just had a bad experience.  That I just need to seek help so I can be “happy” with my experience.  That I’m just crazy and need to shut up before I scare couples away from adoption and vulnerable, pregnant mothers away from giving up their babies.

But many . . . so many . . . actually accept and even encourage the unethical, terrible practices that provide the greatest threat in unnecessarily separating my grandchildren from their family that wants and loves them.

The Infant Adoption Awareness Training is meant to teach those who come in to contact with pregnant mothers – such as nurses, counselors, etc – what to say to convince them that they are no good for their babies and adoption is the way to prove their love.

There is absolutely nothing, no protections in place, to keep a nurse, a doctor, a hospital social worker from approaching a pregnant mother and making the suggestion that she could give her child a better life by giving him up.  With the NCFA-backed training so many of them receive, they know the right words to say, the points to push, the insecurities to expose until a vulnerable mother begins to believe them and truly believes her child would be better off if she gave him up for adoption.

And there are so many who support this.  Think it’s a great thing.

Just as there are so many who believe a father should have no rights when it comes to his child.  Who actually see nothing wrong in the deception and lies that keep them from having even the slightest chance to be a part of their lives.  Who make excuses, find whatever weak reason they can to justify a desperate couple’s actions in fighting a fit and loving father for his own flesh and blood.

How could I not be angry?  How could I not finally hit that point where I want to scream until it hurts, punch until everything aches?  I’ve already lived the hell adoption loss brought into my life.  I’ve forced that hell on my oldest son who I gave up for adoption and my three younger children who I raised.

And yet, all I find, over and over again, in so many places, are those who want only to continue the very practices that threaten to take children away from their families.  Who cares if nurses, doctors, counselors are trained in the best way to convince vulnerable mothers to give up their children?  Who gives a damn if fathers are given no rights to their unborn children?

Too bad for your loss.  Get over your crazy fears.  Adoption is a wonderful thing and you must accept that.  Who cares if you lost a son to the coercion and manipulation that is allowed and supported.  Who gives a damn that you live with the fear of losing a grandchild to the very same tactics.

You just need to remember to think of all the poor, suffering infertile couples who deserve to be “gifted” a child of their own.  You have to accept that the training that occurs is a good thing.  It’s not coercion.  It’s just helping vulnerable pregnant mothers see that they are no good for their children and understanding that they can prove their love by giving their babies away to a more deserving couple.

And if it threatens your family in any way.  If there is nothing to protect the unnecessary loss of your grandchild . . . well . . . that’s really not all that important.  Because think of all the pain infertility causes.  Think of all those wonderful couples who are so much more deserving of a child.  Think of everything else, everyone else (just as you were counseled to do when you were the vulnerable, pregnant mother) and realize you, your own flesh and blood, aren’t really all that important when it comes to the wants and needs of all those infertile couples, suffering so bad and so deserving of a baby . . . even if that baby happens to come from your own family.

Yeah.  It’s anger.  It’s frustration.  It’s a constant hit to the gut.

Because I’ve dealt with my own experience.  Through counseling (yep, I actually have sought help and received it) I have the skills now to not let it affect me when others try to rewrite my experience of what happened to me, to my oldest son.  I’m too far in.  Too long in this fight against those who don’t want reform to let the same old tactics get to me.

But this is something new.  This is hitting in an area I haven’t protected myself from.  Because now I hear their voices and it’s not about my own experience that I can’t change or fighting for the vulnerable pregnant mothers who can so easily become victims to the adoption industry.

Now their words carry a darker, crueler tone to them.  I hear in them the fuel to my fear.  The total lack of care or concern for my own grandchildren.  My own flesh and blood.

I hear again the same message I was once surrounded by . . .

What you want, what you love, what is yours by flesh and blood doesn’t matter when it comes to the wants and desires of the infertile couples who deserve your child (now grandchild) to make them happy.

Nobody truly cares about the coercion or manipulation because your family isn’t worth being protected from that because you haven’t yet proven yourself as “good enough” to have the same sympathy or care from society that infertile couples are given.

I can lay out everything I did right, according to how I was counseled on who deserved a child.  A marriage, career, stable income.  Yes.  I finally accomplished all that was made clear that I lacked and failed in being a mother to my own child.

But none of that matters.  Because it still doesn’t make me, my family, worthy of protection.  It still doesn’t get anyone to give a damn about the very real threats of coercion and manipulation, lack of rights for fathers, when it comes up against all those other couples that are somehow still better, more deserving of a child even at the cost of vulnerable parents, innocent children and their loving families.

My fear of SIDS has never come to reality just as my fear of losing my grandchildren have, thankfully, never come true.  But that doesn’t mean the threats don’t exist.  That the reality doesn’t still linger.  If not for my family, for another.

For every time there is denial of protection for vulnerable, pregnant mothers.  A refusal to give fathers equal rights to their children the message becomes loud and clear . . . our families are unimportant, matter very little when brought up with the wants and desires of infertile couples.

I hear that message now, louder than ever before.  And my anger continues to build at the realization that nothing has really changed, no matter the life I’ve built, the family I’ve created.  I still lose.  My family still loses.  Because we will never be viewed as the worthy ones when there are so many desperate couples out there who are “better” for no other reason than their desire for a child and their ability to pay for one.

In the eyes of so many, they win and who gives a damn about those who had to lose . . . they weren’t important anyway.