Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I was reading the words of an adoptee the other day, I read these words and found myself nodding in agreement:
No one believes me that my mother is an ordinary woman. An ordinary person who cares for her children. But that can’t be true, because she gave me up. So she loved me enough to give me up but not enough to keep me – yet she’s “okay” because she kept her other children – but because she kept her other children and didn’t keep me, she’s seen as an abnormal woman.

She gave me up and kept two others, so there is something wrong with her. She didn’t love me enough, she loved me selflessly, she loves me but just not as much as her other children, she was foolish for not being able to take care of me, etc etc.
 It took me a few days of reading and re-reading this post to figure out what exactly had me going back to it.

It's no wonder that the average Joe has these beliefs about mothers who have given a child up for adoption.  I myself believed these things for many years.  I didn't think I was "good enough" when parenting my raised children because after all, I had given my firstborn child away.  There was something wrong with me because I was stupid enough to get pregnant so young in the first place, then to top it off I gave him up for adoption ~ making my "mistake" even worse.  How could anyone look at me as an "ordinary woman" when I had failed my firstborn son so badly??  How could I ever be considered to be a good mom to my raised children when I had failed my firstborn so badly??  I doomed him to be an illegitimate child, to life as an adoptee.  I told myself that I chose adoption out of love for him ~ but if I really loved him, wouldn't I have done everything possible to raise him?  I didn't even know if he really did get that "better life", if he really did have great parents who were better than I could have been.  How could I have put such blind trust in complete strangers? Is there anything less "ordinary" than that for a mother? 

I still found myself going back to Mei-Ling's post with an unsettled feeling.  I went back to read the post yet again, and saw it this time:
Granted, when I see the statement “a mother kept one child but gave up the other[s]“, it does make me wonder. All the intellect in the world doesn’t matter when semantics come into play. And oh lord, does it ever make me hurt for the day the relinquished child will discover their mother kept siblings. Because I know how it feels, and it can be excruciatingly painful to witness that, to have to live with the knowledge that you were given up but your siblings weren’t, so you’re automatically deemed as less worthy. I know how it feels to be an outcast, to be fed crumbs and know you only get those crumbs out of pity.
Case in point: If my mother woke up tomorrow and got in a traffic accident on her way to work and ended up in a hospital overnight with a severe brain injury, how would I know?
Quite simple: I wouldn’t. Because I was relinquished and I’m not part of the “real” family over there in the way my kept and raised siblings have been.
Because a mother who has given up a child and who ultimately kept her other children, is not worthy. Our brains give us all the legitimate, politically correct terms the whole wide world has to offer, but at the heart of it all, the raw truth is that it translates to:
Your mother didn’t care enough.
That was it.  The fear I had about reunion.  The fear that my son would one day find out I had gone on and raised three children after I gave him up.  I was so very fearful that he would be angry about that.  So fearful that he would hate me for that. I was terrified that Christopher would think that I didn't care enough. 

This one single post of Mei-Ling's touched on so many things for me.  So many of the beliefs I had for so many years after giving my son up, beliefs that changed dramatically after we were reunited. 
And so this gives free rein to the stereotypes, the misconceptions. This gives others the mindset that they can say whatever they want, no matter how true or false or exaggerated it may be. Because all they see is:
Mother gave up her child and kept the other children.
And they think:
Who does that?!
No one cares to know, either.
Because the truth, intellect doesn’t matter. No amount of intellectual explanation matters. The law says she didn’t have enough money. The law says she didn’t have any support. The law says “You need to realize not all parents can care for their kids.” The law says “We shouldn’t have to give a damn about parents who end up in situations where they can’t care for their kids.” The law says “That’s your explanation, we found good parents for you, so what’s your problem? Your mother couldn’t care for you. Not our fault.”
Christopher did get great parents, he did have a great childhood ~ so what's my problem? 
And then, coincidentally, the law says “Other people wish to become parents. Other people want a child to love.” That’s the explanation.
Adoption narrative: The law says “We shouldn’t have to give a damn about parents who end up in situations where they can’t care for their kids.” -> And then, coincidentally, the law says “Other people wish to become parents.”
I hope and pray that through this blog a mother facing an unexpected pregnancy may find the information to make a TRULY and FULLY informed decision for or against adoption.  I hope and pray that these mothers will find the resources to learn about how adoption will really effect herself and the precious child she is carrying, that she can be directed to the support she needs to keep her family intact.  It is not only the natural parents who are deceived by the adoption industry, it is also the adoptive parents who are not told the truths of adoption.  I hope that people can come to realize that the adoption industry and our laws regarding domestic infant adoption in the U.S. are not about a mother, about the family, needing to be cherished and preserved.  DIA has become about the attorneys and agencies ensuring their multi-billion dollar incomes through the women and men who want to add a child to their family through adoption. 

After seeing what I have seen on the blogosphere, and the amount of discussion pertaining to the intellectual and semantic conflicts in adoption, the question is no longer: If my mother loved me, why did she give me up?
I know my mother loved me. I looked her in the eye and I knew she loved me, without any outside influence.
The question is now:
My mother loved me. So why wasn’t she supported to keep me?

I hope and pray that Christopher does truly know how much
I always have and always will love him.



  1. Honestly, I always just expected my Mother WOULD have more children. Why wouldn't she? It has never bothered me that she did. It only bothers me that I am not considered a "real" daughter/sister/niece/grand daughter by many in my first family.(even in my a family, for that matter)

    My natural grandmother died last Friday. I found her online obituary a few hours ago, and I was not listed as her grandchild, and my children were not listed in the greatgrands count. THAT is what hurts- that intentional exclusion that will follow me til the day I die.

    Having children is a natural, normal part of life. But- as always, not every adoptee feels the same way I do.

  2. Oh Linda ~ I am so very, very sorry about your grandma. I'm also sorry that you were not included in their family listing. My heart hurts for you...

    I am lucky in that Christopher wasn't angry when he found out about his siblings at all. I don't like to speak for him, but I think he is very happy about them! That was one of the biggest fears I had before reunion though.

  3. Susie:

    As an adoptee I was never angry that my bmom had other children "after" she had me. My bmom was a young teen who could not take care of herself much less a child, I understood that when I met her. Now if I had an "older" sibling, and I was placed, I would not have the relationship that I have with her today. I cannot understand, nor will I ever, how a woman can keep her first/second born children but not the one she placed? Meaning if you're a mom already, how can you purposely give one away and split-up siblings? Even in an open adoption, it doesn't work because the child is consistently "reminded" that he/she was the only one give away, which is not cool at all!

  4. Hugs Susie. Reading your blog helps me understand what my birth mom can not articulate. We have not bonded deeply since I found her 5 years ago. But my birth dad and I have. The issue I have is that when I found my birth parents it that they were were married, and I have a full blooded older sister. She was raised in the family by aunts, not by my bio parents. But I was sent off to adoption land. My older sister wants a very distant relationship with me.

  5. Suzie - I just found your blog and I love it. I feel like we are twin sisters. My daughter was born in 1980, just ten days after 1979 when you had Christopher. So much of what you write I feel also. I'm lucky though, I drank the koolaid so completely that until reunion I never felt I had done my child wrong. Lucky because I did not have a problem feeling bad about my subsequent children. It was a terrible blow when I did meet my daughter, though. All the denial came crashing down and I realized what a monster I was to believe the rhetoric that my daughter was better off without me. WRONG! At least Christopher got the fantasy family we were promised. That did not happen for my daughter.