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.


  1. There will be a day when they realize their loss. It may be decades away, but it will happen. Their coming out of the fog will be so much worse than ours ever was though - for they will not only have to face the reality of their "choice" on their own and their child's lives, but also all the mothers and adoptees who were separated due to their selling of it.

    1. I do wonder about that, Susie - how hard it will hit these moms if/when they come out of the fog. It's hard enough to face the truth that you gave up your own baby but to face it knowing that you turned down help and support to keep your baby. That you actually believed it was "cool" to give away your own child and then encouraged others to suffer the same, terrible loss.

      I can't imagine what it will be like for them trying to come to terms with that!

    2. I can't imagine either, I don't think I would be able to survive it... There were times I didn't think I would survive with my sanity intact when I came out of the fog, and theirs is so much thicker.

  2. This is very powerful. I never really thought about it that way -- choosing what will get you that adulation, that popularity. I know the alternative isn't just "neutral" though, it can be harsh and ostracizing. So hard to be strong when you are all alone, or made to feel that way.

    1. I agree and like I said, I do understand, inside my head the coercion these moms are under. I know most of them are facing some crisis that leaves them feeling as if they have no other choice but to give up their baby.

      But I just have a hard time, these days, with how happy and excited they almost seem to become a First Mom - as if they are joining some wonderful new club they can't wait to be a part of. And they are so eager to get there that they will attack anyone - including Adoptees who are reaching out to them - who doesn't agree with how wonderful they are for planning to give up their babies.

      I guess it's just a different mindset these days that I'm really struggling to understand. I stood on my own pedestal for many years. But I was never, and couldn't imagine ever being, excited or bragging about giving my baby up.

    2. You probably would have done that, if you had been the victim after the brainwashing by the modern industry. The industry needs those happy voices to counteract the voices of the likes of you, the previous generations, so they create them.

  3. Cassi, I want to thank you for openness and compassion and all that you do to educate me and others. Some day (soon I hope) this nightmare called adoption will disappear. Some day soon.

    1. Oh, Trace. Thank you. Coming from you, that means so much to me.

      And, I agree. I hope someday this nightmare that adoption is will be nothing more than a terribly memory.

  4. Great post, Cassi. I believe that these "cool" birthmoms-to-be have such low self-esteem, and that is why they're reveling in all the praise and attention. They've fallen prey to the "machine" and now these poor girls/women are being elevated to "saint" status...if only for a short time (which they will soon find out). I remember in the early years trying desperately to feel "good" about my "decision." Ahh but once that fog goes away, and the pedestal falls out from under you...the hard, cold reality sets in of what we did. Even if it was against our will, which most of the time it was. I can't imagine *wanting* to give up your baby. It goes against human nature. And the fact that they don't listen to those of us who have experience and have "walked the walk" of this life really shows how deeply in denial they are. Had I been able to access the internet back in 1985 to read the stories of the women who went before me as well as how adoptees REALLY felt, I would have never given in to the pressure. This "new breed" has me stumped and I can only chalk it up to what I said before...extremely low self esteem and being naive. One day it will hit them square between the eyes, and knock the breath out of them. However, they'll have no one to blame but themselves. Sad.


  5. Thank you for always standing up for the child. Children do not want to be given away by their parents, unless they would be in danger in their original homes. The last thing I would want to know my mother was most proud of was giving me to strangers. I was fortunate in that. My n-mother said she desperately wanted to keep me but was forced to give me up.

  6. In this day of social media, i wonder how these relinquished children will feel. I can't imagine seeing my beloved mother all over the internet crowing about the wonderful thing she did.

    My mother and I were both damaged, forever by our separation. Our lives have been wracked with pain, and always will be, no matter how close we may become.