Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thank God that November is Over!

This month has been a tough one. 

I started out the month thinking I would post every day for the Adoption BeAwareness Month.  It was too draining to try to get the words out of my head every day. 

A month of inescapable stories about the wonders of adoption.  The stories that began to feel like stabs straight to the heart.  Adoption ~ the loving option.  Yeah.  Loving.  That's EXACTLY what has been brought into my life because of adoption.  Adoption brought anything but love into my life.  Loss of my son, grief, denial, self-doubt, self-hatred.  Those are just a few of the things adoption brought into my life.

I have come to hate November.  The fact that Thanksgiving is in the month makes it even worse.  Thanksgiving used to be one of my favorite holidays.  But thankful and adoption do not belong in the same sentence, much less month.  Don't get me wrong, I am so very thankful for the blessings my son has had with his adoptive family, I am thankful we have been reunited.  But there is nothing thankful about the fact that adoption is a part of my life 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I have so much to be thankful for again this year.  I have more blessings than I could ever list, but there are a few that I want to acknowledge here.

First and foremost, I am so thankful to have my firstborn son in my life.  Especially thankful that I finally got to meet Christopher in person this year.  This will be my second Thanksgiving KNOWING that he is alive and well, not just praying that he is.  Before reunion, I really did not believe that I would ever be reunited with him in any way.  I have to remind myself of that when I find myself wanting "more" of a relationship with Christopher.  I am so thankful that he did get great parents, that he has a wonderful extended family as well.  I am so thankful that he is healthy and happy. 

I am so thankful for all my children.  I am so thankful that my three raised children have accepted and welcomed Christopher as a part of our family.  It is so wonderful to see my kids as young adults and also to see two of them parenting their own children.  I am especially proud of my daughter, who had her first child at 16, becoming an amazing mother at such a young age.  I am thankful that all my children and grandchildren are healthy, happy, and enjoying life.

I am so thankful for my group of close friends.  Two of us have been friends since 2nd grade, the rest I met in high school.  There are 5 of us, and I would be lost without them.   I have many friends, but The Girls are a part of me.  I am so thankful for our special friendships that have grown for over 32 years.  My grade school friend and I have been friends for 40 years now!  They have been with me through thick and thin, they are completely supportive of my reunion, and they always include Christopher and his children as a part of my family. 

And last, but not least, I am so very thankful for all the "friends" I have met online in my quest for finding myself after reunion with Christopher.  I truly don't know where I would be right now if I had not found all of those who validated the confusing thoughts and feelings I was having.  I am pretty sure I would have stayed right in that closet, scared of my own feelings, thinking something was wrong with me. 

I wish each and every one of you a very blessed Thanksgiving.  I hope you enjoy a fabulous day full of family, friends, and too much good food!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Just Don't Understand

So much for posting every day during this month.  For a week now I have been trying to write another post, but it keeps coming out too angry so I haven't posted any of them. 

I really just don't understand how the necessity of adoption reform is not obvious to everyone.  It all just seems like it should be so simple.  How hard can it be to understand that adoption begins with loss?  That the simple fact is that in order for somebody to adopt a baby, someone else has to lose a baby, and that baby loses his/her natural, God-given family.  In order for a family to grow through adoption, another has to lose.

How can anybody that has experienced a miscarriage or the death of an infant at birth, not understand the grief that a mother experiences when losing a child to adoption?  How can you knowingly put that kind of loss on someone else? 

How is it ok for one family to live with the sorrow of losing a child in order for another family to have a child to raise because they are unable to conceive?

Why is it that it's ok to spend tax-payer dollars on adoption tax credits, adoption industry funding, etc. ~ but it's not ok to spend tax-payer dollars keeping a family intact?  Why is it ok to give money to people that can afford adoption, but not ok to give money to people that can't afford to raise their child?  You are still spending the money, either way.  Except with adoption funding, you are paying to help tear families apart.

Why can't people see that for a mother to choose to give her child up for adoption, she has to see herself as "less than" first.  Less than the adoptive parents.  Less than good enough.  Less than able.  Less than.

Why can't people see that an adoption agency is a business?  That business is about supply and demand.  That if the demand is high, everything possible is done by a business to ensure the necessary supply.  Because isn't that why most people are in business?  To make money.  To hopefully see an increase in revenue every year?  To give their executives and employees an increase in pay every year?  That in order to keep the supply high enough, to keep their income revenues high enough, coercive practices are necessary in adoption? 


It should all be so simple. 


*This post is only about the loss for the natural mothers.  The loss is also felt by the fathers, grandparents, siblings, the entire natural family.  

**The greatest losses are incurred by the adopted themselves.  The adoptees are the ones who never have a voice.  Life changing decisions are made for them.  I started to post some of the losses faced by adoptees, but as I am not adopted, I don't feel that I am qualified to speak for them. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

This post is not really adoption related, it's more personal in nature. 

Again today, the daily email from The Brave Girls Club seems to be written to me.  From the very first sentence, "It's ok to cry sometimes, you know.  It's even ok to completely fall apart for a little while so that you can put yourself back together in the way you are supposed to be together...".  It even mentions having a hole in your heart where loved things used to be.  

I'm taking this daily email as a sign that I'm finally on the right path.  Finally taking the steps necessary to come to terms with everything before I lose one more day.

 

Because today I am reminded of how bad things can get 
when you try to bury something from your past. 


I found out today that a friend from high school finally reported something horrific that happened to her during our high school days.  Something that she had never told anybody until a few years ago when she confided in another friend of ours. 


I thought that keeping my pregnancy and the adoption of my son a secret was damaging.  What this friend has kept secret is so much worse.  

Sadly, she will be vilified by many.  I imagine very few people will place their anger where it belongs ~ on a man who had a wonderful reputation in our community.  A man who was a leader of many.  On the man that committed a grievous crime against innocent girls who were afraid to speak out. 


Instead they will blame my friend, who has fought drug addiction several times since graduation.  Drug addiction brought on because of what was done to her.  Addiction brought on because she kept a horrible secret.


I am so proud of my friend and another woman for coming forward, all these years later.  The bravery it would have taken for her to tell her story is unimaginable.  

I pray for her that telling her truth shall set her free.  And I pray that people will not judge unless they have walked a mile in her shoes. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Next Step In Finding Myself

This is from a post on a non-adoption related blog I follow.

This is a post that pushed me to take the next step in dealing with all my locked-up emotions.

This is a post that enabled me to finally call the therapist I found in July. 

I have been trying to find myself, the "me" that was before adoption entered my life.  I really don't think that girl exists anymore, but I hope at least a part of her does.

I know I need help, I need someone to help me open up things I have buried deep.  I need someone to help me cry again.  I need to get all of this sadness and grief out of my head and heart.

How sad that I need to go talk to a stranger to feel safe enough to open up.  Safe enough to "be", instead of stuffing everything inside. 

I'm scared to death, yet at the same time looking forward to continuing this journey towards living an authentic life.  I have overcome my fear of letting people know about Christopher, I was able to overcome the fear of what people might think of me because I was a teen-age mom who gave her son up for adoption.

Now I need to overcome my fear of myself.  The fear of my own emotions.  Or maybe my fear of even having emotions?  Again, I am not finding the words to express my thoughts, my fears. My fear that if I begin to open up to all the emotions I have buried for so long that I will lose myself.  I will lose myself in the huge, gaping hole in my heart.  The gaping hole left from the loss of my son to adoption.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Mother Is Born

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.
She never existed before. 
The woman existed, but the mother, never. 
A mother is something absolutely new. 
                                                               ~Rajneesh

I wish that I had known this 
          when I was pregnant with Christopher.  

I wish I had known that 
           a mother's love never dies.  
                    That it wasn't possible to 
                     "just get on with your life as if..."

I wish Christopher's (adoptive) 
          mom wanted to know me.

I wish it didn't hurt 
           that she doesn't.

I wish that every girl/woman 
           facing an unexpected pregnancy 
              could know the above quote 
                 and believe in it's truth.

I wish that adoptive/prospective adoptive parents             
           understood that the child they adopt does indeed    
               have another mother.  

I wish that mothers were 
              not considered replaceable.

I wish that the bond between a mother and her child
              was cherished and preserved always. 

I wish that I was 
               Christopher's only mother. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Adoption is Sunshine & Rainbows. Just ask this adoptive mom!

I have many times read an adoptive parents views of how wonderful adoption is.  I belong to a forum full of people with a rainbows & sunshine view of adoption.  But I have never really experienced a full-blown happy-happy attitude in real life until today.  I thought my head was going to explode.

I work in an elementary school.  There is a family of adopted kids, the mom always brings the "Adoption Day" cake to share with her kids & their friends at lunch time.  This has always bothered me, but I have been able to ignore it for the most part.  Until today.

This morning the little boy, 1st grader, came in telling everyone that mom would be coming because it was his "anniversary".  So at least I had a little warning. 

Mom comes in with a beautiful cake as usual, but this time she has a photo album in hand also.  She was early, so she came into my office to show everything off while she was waiting.

I will call the little boy LB, who was 2 years old when he was adopted.  As I started looking at the photos, I remarked about his serious looks.  Mom told me that it was two months before he smiled.  She did not say this with any sadness, it was really weird.  It was almost like it was being bragged about.  She said he did not cry, smile, laugh, anything, the entire trip back to the US.  She again mentioned that it was two months before he smiled a true smile.  It broke my heart, mom seemed unfazed. 

LB has had sores on his face for as long as I have known him.  They will clear up a bit, but sure enough he starts picking at his face again before long.  I remarked about his face being clear in the first photos I was looking at.  She laughed and said "Yup.  That's how I can tell which ones were taken in Russia.  In Russia, no sores; in the US sores."  She in no way seemed sad or upset about that.  It was just a simple little fact to her. 

I got to the photos of the orphanage.  Mom had written the name of the orphanage, and some info about the place.  She also had written LB's russian name,  I asked her how it was pronounced.  She told me, and told me that his middle name was his father's first name.  I remarked that I thought he had been an abandoned baby (that's what I had been told by someone).  She smiled and said no, they knew his parent's names.  I asked her if she knew why he had been given up.  She told me that 9 days before LB was born, his dad died at only 31 years of age.  The family was already poor, already raising a 5 yr old son, and mom gave him up because on her own she couldn't make enough money to support two kids.  Just as I was starting to say "That is so s..." (going to say sad), she smiles and says to everyone "Yes, LB's adoption story is so full of positives.  That his mother was strong enough to allow her son to be adopted so he could have a better life.  I can't imagine doing that, birth moms have got to be so strong, so loving, blah, blah, blah, blah." 

I do not even remember which teachers and staff were in my office at this point, I know there were at least two others at that point.  I seriously thought my head would explode.  I wanted SO BADLY to finish my sentence and say how sad it was that the mother lost not only her husband, but her precious child, simply because of being poor.  I couldn't get any sound out.  I don't even know for sure if I was breathing at that point.

I managed to ask her if they sent letters and photos to his mother.  She replied that the mother left the city after leaving her son at the orphanage, but the rest of his extended family still lived there and were allowed to come visit LB anytime they wanted, and could have taken him out of the orphanage at any time. 

Mom went on to tell everyone how upset that made Adoptive Dad.  He was mad that even as they were there in Russia waiting the days till they could take LB "home", the family could come get him.  Mom though, lovingly reassured Dad that God wouldn't have brought them this far, only to have their son taken away from them.  At this point I was going to say something, but LB's class came into the commons area and she saw him & went out to show him his beautiful celebration cake.

I was, am still SO livid at her callous remarks and attitude about the great loss in LB's life, about the poor mother in Russia who has no idea how or where her son is.  To be able to tell the story of the father's death, the birth of their son so soon after, and that the mother felt she had to give him up because she was too poor.  How completely sad and horrific is that story?  And Mom is so clueless to smile and proudly say that LB's adoption is so full of positives?!?!?

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for LB, firstly of course because he is adopted, but mostly because he has so many challenges ahead of him because of the effects of living in a Russian orphanage for two years.  He is a challenging little guy, but he is also so loving, and has come so far in the years we have had him in our school.  Now that I know the callous attitude his parents have about his adoption, it just breaks my heart. 

They will continue to celebrate the day he was torn from his country, from his family ~ who continued to visit him until he was brought to the US.  They will have no clue about the loss he will associate with his "adoption day", while they are celebrating.  They do not honor his mother's pain, they only see that she was loving and giving. 


And this, my friends, is what is wrong with adoption.  Adoptive parents who fail to see that adoption is based on loss.  Great loss.  So many things in LB's story that would have most people crying, instead have mom smiling. I have been fighting tears all day.  I have a feeling that tonight my inability to cry may end.  Tears for LB, but mostly tears for his mother in Russia.  Maybe even finally tears for me. 

How I wish I could find a way to get LB's mom's name from LB's adoptive parents and find her.  Send her pics and tell her how her sweet little boy is doing.  Put an end to the unknown for her. 

I feel that I need to talk to adoptive mom someday.  I don't know where or when, but I feel that I owe it to LB.  And to his mom.  Both of them...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Same Story, Different Story



In every adoption story, there are at least three, usually many more, completely different points of view.  The natural parents and their extended families, the adoptive parents and their extended families, and the adoptee.

Points of view that often change over time. 

I myself have had three different "stories" about adoption.  One before adoption entered my life, one during my son's childhood & early adulthood, and yet another after reunion.  I went from seeing adoption as a way to save my son from the life I was living, to seeing adoption as causing a deep and painful hole in my heart and soul ~ yet at the same time as "the right thing for teen moms to do", to now realizing that everything possible should be done to honor and keep the mother and child bond intact ~ no matter the age, marital status, etc.  I believe that the only time infant adoption should happen is when the mother fully and truly has NO desire to raise a child, or if abuse or neglect is part of the equation. 

One of my biggest worries when first in reunion with Christopher was that I would say something that I meant as something good, but he would take it as something hurtful or mean.  In the beginning of our reunion, he said some things that I know were said only in kindness and maybe love, but to me they were not. 

That is what originally led me to start reading blogs by adoptive parents and adoptees.  I did not want to say anything that would hurt my son more than I may already have. 

I still struggle with those worries with Christopher.  I also try to be mindful of that when writing blog posts and commenting on other blogs and forums.  Since I have not been in the shoes of an adoptee or adoptive parent, I cannot know how something innocent to me may be harmful to another. 

Because, after all,  we do not see things as they are ~ we see things as we are.  We see things through our own points of view, our own life stories.  


I know there have been times I have responded in anger and/or hurt from something said by one of the other sides of adoption.  I need to be more aware of my words when posting with anger or grief.  

I also need to remember to not take on the views by other adoptees as the views my son may have.  My last couple of posts have been proof of that need. 

Everyone is on their own adoption journey.  All sides of the so-called adoption triad.  All in their own places in the adoption/reunion.  All coming with their own life-experiences effecting their outlook on life and adoption.

Everyone with their own hurts, their own blessings, their own truths.  

I do not want to be the cause of hurt to anyone because of my words.  There is enough hurt in adoption.

I have bookmarked this simple, yet wonderful reminder that my truth is just that.  Mine. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Mother's Love

I received the following comment on a previous post, The Ugly Truth...

But my other question is: How can a mother love her children all the same when one child has been kept and the other was given up? She doesn't know the relinquished child in the same way. :\

I needed a topic for today's post, so I will reply to that comment here.

I cannot explain the love I feel for ALL of my children.  I think it would be impossible to do so.  Every mother I know has loved their children from the moment they were born (and before).  A mother does not need to "know" their child as a person before they grow to love them.  A mother's love is immediate, is unconditional, is forever.  

If a mother's child would die at birth, does the mother feel less love for that child than any others she has had/will have in the future? 

I may not have raised Christopher, nor been able to show my love to him as a parent every day, but I felt love for him always.  With all of my heart. And I will love him forever.  No matter what. 

I cannot explain a mother's love, but one of my favorite poems tries.  (Emphasis mine)

A Mother's Love

A Mother's love is something
that no one can explain,

It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away . . .

It is patient and forgiving
when all others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking . . .

It believes beyond believing
when the world around condemns,
And it glows with all the beauty
of the rarest, brightest gems . . .
It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation . . .
A many splendoured miracle
man cannot understand

And another wondrous evidence
of God's tender guiding hand.

                        Helen Steiner Rice

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Ugly Truth...

This post is rambling, I've tried to get the thoughts to slow down, the swirling to stop so I can put everything I am thinking and feeling into written words.  But it is failing me.  It's like they are right there, so close, but I cannot grasp the words. 

It's almost like my brain is not allowing them to slow down, to be written. 

     Because then they would be real. 

          I would have to face them,

               and I just can't. 



I read the following on Campbell's blog today:

My parents, adoptive, are my first and only parents. My biological parents are just exactly that, the people that conceived me with my mother giving birth to me. They all have their importance, their value, their influence, but my parents are my parents, end of story. As much as I'm enjoying getting to know my bio mom now, she will never be a substitute for my first parents. How could she be.

And I felt the hole in my heart grow bigger.  Then I read it again.  And it's true.  The Truth.  The raw and ugly truth.  I am not Christopher's parent, as I did not parent him.   I know that, have always known that. 

But...

I am his mom.  I love him no less than I love my other children. 

But...

Is that love returned?  Am I simply just someone he is enjoying getting to know?  Like a pen-pal with the added benefit of ancestry & medical information? 

Just another wonderful thing about adoption that you are not told about.  
Your love for your child will never go away.  It will grow.  
But it may never be returned...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2nd Day of November

Another late post!  More than an hour is left in the day this time though.  I meant to get  a post up earlier, but for some reason I ended up on an adoption forum that I haven't visited for quite a while.  I don't know what possessed me tonight to visit there as it always makes me sick with their "adoption is rainbows and sunshine" outlook.  I think I may find myself reprimanded by a few of the good people there after a couple of replies I couldn't help but make!  Any mother considering adoption that finds that group will never hear the truth of adoption there.  There are a couple that try, but the PAP's and adoptive parents are right there negating anything truthful that is said.

I often struggle when writing about the ills of adoption.  After all, I myself at one time believed all the adoption myths.  How many people in my life looked at adoption as a good thing because I went on with my life and pretended like everything was ok?  I know a few other mothers that choose adoption after I did.  Could I have had any part in their decision?  I pray not. But I also fear that I did them a disservice by pretending like everything was fine, by not living the truth of adoption loss & grief.

I also struggle because I, as a mom who chose adoption, was not fully a "victim" of the adoption industry.  I went into this on my own accord.  I fed the machine that is adoption, willingly.  I feel a tinge of guilt every time I read about the hurt caused to an adoptee by adoption.  Because I was one who believed that adoption was best. 

It is my son who had no voice in any of this.  It is the children that are the innocent victims in the world of infant adoption.  And isn't adoption supposed to be about the children

Isn't it not supposed to matter what kind of hell I live in, how broken I am?  As long as my son got a "better" life?  With a mother AND a father?  Who were/are financially stable?  Who were ready and waiting to be parents? 

I chose adoption because I wanted better for my son, not because I wanted better for me.  If the decision had been made for my best interest, I would have raised my son. 

My son did have a wonderful childhood, he has parents he loves as much as they love him.  He has great love for his entire extended adoptive family.  He has had life experiences I couldn't have given him.  He has said he is grateful for the life I gave him, by giving him up for adoption.  He can't imagine life any different.  And isn't that what I hoped and prayed for?

So, who am I to bitch? 

Monday, November 1, 2010

National Adoption Awareness Month

"November is National Adoption Month, a month set aside each year to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care. This year's National Adoption Month initiative targets adoption professionals by focusing on ways to recruit and retain parents for the 115,000 children and youth in foster care waiting for adoptive families."
I have come to hate November.  The adoption industry, adoptive parents, and the media choose to ignore that the meaning behind this month is to raise the number of children adopted out of foster care

Instead we get to have an entire month dedicated to hearing and reading about the wonderful world of adoption.  Not adoption of foster children though ~ adoption of newborn babies who have been born to parents who are deemed as less worthy than the adoptive parents.  A month dedicated to celebrating the destruction of natural families, instead of preserving them.  Celebrating, instead of seeing the truth about the harm done when children are not raised with their natural families.  Children who lose their identity, ancestry, medical history, and more.  A month that ignores the  mothers who are forever changed, who spend the rest of their lives without their precious child. 

I'm going to try to post every day this month ~ to do my part in spreading the truth about adoption loss.  I don't know how well I will do ~ I am posting on this first day with only 38 minutes left!