Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Other People's Blogs or Things I Wish I Had Known...

I don't know why I allow myself to read blogs by PAP's.  Or blogs by pregnant mothers choosing adoption and blogging about it while still pregnant.  It drives me crazy, makes me want to jump thru the computer and shake them until they listen and truly try to understand living life with adoption loss.  For both the mother and the infant.

There are so many things I wish these people would really 
think about, and understand,when considering adoption.  
Things I wish I knew when I was making the choice for adoption.  

Thankfully, with the help of some wonderful bloggers, 
I have been able to begin to find my voice, to tell
others the things I wish I had known...

Sadly, for the ones who are pregnant and considering adoption, it is impossible to truly know what it is like to live without your child until you are doing it.  And then it is too late.

Nobody is entitled to be a parent.  Especially when the cost for them becoming a parent is another parent losing a child.  It is so hard for me to understand how people do not see the pain behind adoption.  Even when adoption truly is necessary ~ it starts with loss and grief.  How can anything that starts out by tearing an infant away from his/her family be considered a good thing? 

The "Dear Birthmother" letters.  They are nothing but coercion, from the salutation on. 

The term "birthmother" should be banned from the English language.  Especially when it is used to describe someone who has not even given birth yet.  The people that use this term don't even allow the girl/woman to be a mother before the child is born, when she is the ONLY mother that baby has.  But the adoption industry knows how successful it is when the expectant mother takes this name onto herself.

When a mother chooses to give her child up for adoption, she does not suddenly stop being a mother.  She will forever and always be a mom, from the moment of conception on.  She will simply be a mother living without her child.  Any problems she had before becoming a mother, will now be harder to deal with as she will also be learning how to live without her child ~ on top of the previous problems.  She will not have a "fresh, new life", a second chance to get things right.  Her second chance just became a lot harder, as she will also be dealing with the biggest loss she will ever endure.

The pain does not get easier over time.  In most cases it gets worse as the mother gets older.  She comes to see that many of the reasons she used to choose adoption were only temporary ~ but adoption is permanent.

Some of the other things I wish I had known when choosing adoption:
  • That I would spend years, decades believing that I was not good enough.  Because I was not good enough to raise my own child.
  • That trying to prove myself worthy by putting everyone else's needs before my own wouldn't work.  It only made things worse, it reinforced my belief that I wasn't good enough ~ that I didn't deserve better. 
  • That doing as I was told and keeping the birth and adoption of my son a secret, I was only burying myself in shame.  Doing so made me carry the burden of grief and fear alone, making it impossible to now speak of the grief and fear, causing me to lose my voice. 
  • That choosing adoption effected not only the son I gave up, but the children I went on to have after him.  They were all denied being raised with their sibling(s).
  • That adoption would leave a hole in my soul that even reunion cannot fill.  Because we will never get the lost years back.
  • That adoption would close my heart and leave me unable to fully love and be loved.   Because I lost a part of my heart when I lost my son.
  • That I would lose the ability to cry, the ability to face the depth of the grief and loss in my heart & soul.  Because I am afraid of falling into that deep pit of grief and being unable to find my way out.   
  • That by choosing adoption, I was not only losing my son, but also my grandchildren, and a beautiful daughter-in-law.  
  • That even in reunion, the pain continues.

Some final words, from another mother who is Surviving Adoption Loss:

If you are pregnant
and considering adoption
my only word of advice is ... don't.

Listen to the screaming of your heart. Stop smothering it's cries with a pillow. The birth of your child WILL change you whether you parent or not. Embrace that change, don't turn in into a trauma.

Adoption is not "the answer." No, it is only piling on another problem and your life will become encased in thinly veiled layers of bondage. Unless you're violent toward children - your child deserves for you to take him/her home with you, so you can continue nurturing the bond that the two of you started 9 months earlier.

He/She already loves you. Please don't break his/her heart -
Don't damage yours.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I feel as though I lived a lie during the years after Christopher was born.  One of the biggest impacts reunion had on my life was that I felt I was finally able to live my truth.  I didn't need to hide the fact that I had given birth as a teenager and given him up for adoption.  I was a mother to four children, not three.

In the beginning, I felt as though a huge weight had been taken off of me.  The weight of secrecy.  Unfortunately, I allowed other people to make me feel as though I could not live my truth, so I started putting that weight of secrecy back on.

Because they didn't understand that my son was still my son.
     Even though I did not parent him.  
Because they didn't understand that I had been a mother from the day that I became pregnant.
     My motherhood did not end on the day I walked out of the hospital alone.
Because they were uncomfortable with my truth.
     Because it went against everything they believed to be true about adoption. 

After writing my post "When Others Want You To Stay In The Closet", and reading the comments, especially the one from ms. marginalia , I realized that I was choosing to let other people's attitudes take away from my authenticity.

Nobody can take away my motherhood.  I cannot un-birth any of my children, even the son I did not raise.  I don't want to live in the damn closet anymore, nobody can force me back in there.

Nobody can tell me that Christopher is any less my child than the children I raised.  The love I feel for him is no less than the love I have for all my children.  When we were together on Saturday, it was as mother and son, not strangers.  If that makes anyone uncomfortable, I don't care.  It is the truth!

I have lived my life avoiding confrontation at all costs.  I have lived my life as though I wasn't "good enough".  I have lived my life pretending that everything was perfect, like I was perfect ~ trying to prove to everyone that I was good enough, even though I didn't believe that myself.

I lived my life as society expected me to after the loss of my son to adoption.  I never spoke of him.  I went on with my life, pretending like everything was ok, when it was so far away from ok it couldn't have been any further.  How can I expect people to know the truth of adoptions effects on the mothers, if I do not tell my truths? 

How can I expect anyone to know or understand the reality of adoption in my life, if I don't live my life authentically?  How can I expect anyone else to look at Christopher as my son, if I don't fully live life as a mother of four instead of three?

I choose to live with authenticity.  I choose to have the courage to be imperfect.  To acknowledge the role of adoption in my life.  I am shedding the weight of the lies and secrecy that adoption brought into my life 31 years ago.

I am Christopher's mother.  He is my son.  I have four wonderful children, not three.  I have eight, not six (and one more to be born in March!) amazing grandchildren.

I am a very blessed, very happy woman!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I Am Complete...

I met my son on Saturday!  It  had been 11,456 days since the first and only time I saw him when he was just 3 weeks old.  I spent a glorious hour with him, it was just the two of us. 

I was traveling east for a quilt expo, while he was traveling west to get some supplies for his new kiln.  We were going to be only an hour apart from each other for the day.  I suggested meeting for dinner, before each of us had to head back to our homes, since we were going to be so close.  His first response to that suggestion was that it probably wouldn't work.  Then on Friday he emailed me that he would text me Saturday afternoon if it looked like the timing would work.

Saturday afternoon I got the text that he could make it work, that we could meet on one condition ~ I could not cry!  I didn't think it would be a problem, as I have been unable to cry for years ~ a benefit of living in deep denial for decades, denying my feelings.  And from growing up in a hateful house where feelings weren't cared about anyways.  I am great at acting like everything is great when in actuality I am falling apart.

We met, appropriately enough, at a town off the interstate with a huge smiley-face water tower.  My smile was about as big from the minute I read his text.  I was so excited to finally be able to see, touch, hold, and smell my son again.

I got there early, I wanted to be the first to arrive.  I found a place to park near the back of the lot, where nobody else was parked.  I was so nervous while waiting.  Could I pull off not crying?  Every vehicle that pulled into the lot made my stomach jump.  Would it be uncomfortable?  Awkward?  What do I need to steer the conversation away from in order to keep my no-crying promise?

30 minutes later, I see his truck pull off the road, and head towards me.  Time stopped.  He parked next to me, we got out of our vehicles, he walks towards me, hands out saying "this first hug is going to be a dirty one!".  I told him I didn't care.  That hug was truly the best one I have ever, or will ever get!! 

We talked and laughed for an hour.  We talked about meeting again, this time with his family. At one point in our conversation, I commented that he was spoiled by his parents.  He looked kind of embarrassed and replied yeah, he was.  I simply smiled and said "good!".  I am so happy that he has wonderful parents, who spoiled him when I could not. 

There was not a single uncomfortable moment.  It felt so... right.  I could not quit staring at him, looking into his eyes, seeing my little boy.  He is beautiful, inside & out. 

I did not cry, I only felt overwhelming happiness and fullness. 

One thing I fully was taken by surprise over, was not expecting, had not thought about.  When it came time to leave, we were both in our vehicles.  I could not drive away.  I could not leave him again.  He was going to have to do the leaving this time.  I waited for him to pull out of the parking lot.  He looked at me, let me know he was waiting for me.  I was just getting ready to sign for him to roll his window down, when he gave me a huge smile and a wave and drove away.  I followed behind him to the interstate, he headed east, I headed west. 

Our journey has come full circle.  I truly feel (and hope and pray) that we will continue to move forward, along with his wife & kids, the siblings he didn't grow up with, our extended families. 

A friend sent me a text not long after I was back on the road.  She wanted to know how I was doing.  I replied:   I am fine.  I am... complete. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Neurotic Worries..

I really get nervous that somehow my son will find this blog.

I try to not write anything about his life, as it is not my place to tell his story, so that's not what I worry about.  What I worry about is him taking any of my garbage onto himself.  Or him thinking that I am in reality a "bitter birthmom" that he wants nothing to do with.  I already think that a lot of what he says/doesn't say is just because he is really a nice guy & doesn't want to hurt me. 

I am so much more than a first mom.  This blog is just my place to vent about that part of my life.  My place to try to come to terms with all of it.  I started this blog to speak out my truth.  To "cancel out" one of the happy-happy-birthmom blogs that I see more and more of out here in blog-land. 

I just can't help but worry that if Christopher finds this blog, it will scare him away.  Because the neurotic 15 year-old in me worries about that often. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When Others Want You To Stay In The Closet

Additionally, and slightly more profound for me, is that I actually married a man that kept me closeted as well. I was not conscious of this of course but it became painfully obvious when I started to tip toe out of the birthmother closet and he rushed to put me back in. This too was my own doing. I did not want to deal openly with my own horrors so I sought loved ones who helped me keep the door closed.

That's me.  Exactly.  I didn't even know it until I read these words.  

When I read the above blog post comment, it was a HUGE ah-ha moment for me.  I am scared to death to fully come out of that closet in real life.  I am scared about my relationships that are built on the lies of denial.  Scared to open my heart, only to be hurt.  I am allowing the people in my life who are not comfortable with my coming out of the closet to keep me there. 

For the last year or so, I have been slowly creeping back into that closet.  Slowly closing my heart off again.  Scared to completely open up my heart to my son because I worry that he doesn't want or need it.  Scared to open up to my family (specifically my husband and in-laws ~ who are more like parents to me than my own) because I fear that they won't understand it, or worse ~ that they don't care to understand. 

When my son and I first reunited 20 months ago, I wanted to stand on the highest hills and scream to the world that my son was alive and well.  That I had four, not three children.  It felt so freeing to be able to talk about him, to acknowledge my true identity, not the lies I had been living for almost 30  years.  

Then I started getting the mixed reactions from people.  People that said they were happy for me, yet uncomfortable talking about my son.  The people that told me what a wonderful thing I had done.  The people that responded to my deep desire to meet Christopher in person by telling me that I had to remember that I gave him up, that I had to honor that.  The people that were confused by me calling him my son, since I didn't raise him.  

I hate the lies adoption is based on.  I hate that I am 47 years old, yet in so many ways I am still that stupid 15 year old.  I hate that I am scared to do what I know I must do in order to claim my sanity.  In order to heal from all that adoption has brought into my life.  From all that adoption has taken from my life.