Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I received a comment on old post the other day.  It has me thinking about open adoption, as well as adoption in general. 

Open adoption is "sold" as better for those adopted as well as the natural families.  But.  Is it?? 

It would have been so wonderful to have been able to know that Christopher was alive and well, healthy
and happy.  I used to fantasize often that I had been able to find his parents and write letters back and forth with them.  I often wished that I could have seen him throughout the years ~ been a bug on the wall to see what he looked like, to hear him laugh and talk.  However, for myself, I really don't think I could have participated in a fully open adoption.  I wanted to be a mom to my son.  Since that wasn't possible, I had to completely shut myself off from my motherhood to survive life without him.  If I had been told that I could not choose adoption without it being fully open, I would have chosen to raise my son.  There is no way I could have been a part of his life yet not fully be his mother.  A fully open adoption would have been like rubbing salt in an open wound.  I can't imagine how much worse my anger at my parents would have been ~ to see the son whose life I was missing out on because I refused to raise him in that house.  To have it in my face what my life could have been like (as a mother) if I had received one ounce of love or support (emotional, not financial) from my family.  Of course, I will never know what the reality of open adoption would have been ~ maybe it would have been better...   Who knows...

I can't speak for the adoptee side of open adoption.  Chris' comments make me think about the reality of open adoption on the child growing up.  Just as with everything in life, people react differently in similar situations.  While I know there are some children thriving in their open adoption situations, there are also other children suffering, as in the case that sparked my post "First Family and Forever Family".  There are probably just as many possible downfalls to open adoption as there are benefits for those adopted.  There are just so many variances in experiences, so many differences in the natural and adoptive families, so many things that can change the effects of one open adoption to another.   Open adoption is only as good as the natural and adoptive families work together to make it.  And yet, (this post) shows that even with great relationships between the families the reality can be painful for the child. 

I don't think the question of open adoption being better or worse for the child growing up will ever really be answered.  The problem isn't about which is better.  I think the question needs to be "Is adoption truly necessary in this case?"  Before it even gets to the point that a decision for open or closed adoption is necessary, every effort should be made to first help keep the original family intact.  If a child is being born into a loving family safe from abuse or neglect, they don't need another family ~ they already have one.  Ad
option should not be looked at as an answer to temporary problems.  Adoption should not be sold as "a loving choice" to mothers who love their child deeply and would give their right arm to raise her child, but is made to feel "less than" because of age, money, marital status, etc.  "First Family and Forever Family" is a great example of adoption being a permanent solution to a temporary problem. 

I'm not the only one blogging about open adoption today.  For an adoptee's view on open adoption, go visit Amanda.  

I had a moment of panic when I first saw the comment from Chris.  I still worry that my son may find this blog one day and think that I have this horribly depressing life because he was born. 
That is far from the reality of my life.  I do not write here because my life is all "woe is me, I gave my son up for adoption".  I write here now mostly to advocate for family preservation.  In advocating for family preservation, I am not saying that I would deny my son one moment of the life he has lived.  I am so very lucky that he has had a great life with a wonderful and loving family.   I probably laugh much more in the course of one day than I am saddened by adoption loss in an entire month.  The only place I "talk" about the effects of adoption in my life is here on this blog, and in the blogging/adoption forums.  So of course if you only know me by this blog, you would think that adoption loss is my life.  It is not.  Despite having adoption in it, I have a wonderful life ~ with more blessings than I can count.   

I never dreamed that anyone would want to read my rambling thoughts, my "therapy" of getting all of this out of my head.  The therapy part of writing about adoption in my life was the main reason for starting this blog, but I also want this blog to be a place where an expectant mother considering adoption can find information regarding the truth of adoption loss and family preservation so she can make a fully informed decision for or against adoption.  



Monday, May 23, 2011

I Hate This!

I have had a question for Christopher and a debate with myself running through my brain for weeks now.  I need to get it out of my head so that I don't send it to him in an email.  This sucks.  I hate feeling needy, being uncertain.  I don't write these questions to get answers from anyone, I just need to get the words and worries in writing so they are no longer inside of me, driving me crazy.  Yeah, right.  *laughing*  Like that will make a difference.

Do we need to talk?

Ughhhh... can you sound anymore pathetic?!?  Way to lay on the guilt trip there mom.

But I just need to know if everything is ok.  It's been so long since I have heard from him...

He's busy.  He has a job that requires travel.  He has two little ones, a wife, a home, lots of responsibilities. 

But I've never gone this long without hearing from him.

Did I sense a tinge of awkwardness at his last visit?  He was very short and quiet when I called him on Easter Sunday.  Didn't answer my phone call on his birthday...

Quit imagining things that aren't there.  You've done this before and the worry was for nothing.

Does he have anyone to talk to about all of this?  Do I offer him some blogs, the adoptee forum as places to seek support online? 

What if you are putting thoughts and issues into his head that aren't there? 

If I don't email him tonight, how much longer do I wait?  

For as long as it takes. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

When Will May 8th Be Over??

I have been trying to talk myself out of the funk I have been in since Christopher's birthday.  Which landed on Mother's Day.  Ughhh... I'm whining and I hate that.

I've been trying to stop obsessing thinking about Christopher and his silence.  I've been failing.  Miserably.  Not that I need any reminders, but this morning the first song I heard as I woke up was "Breathe (2 AM)" by Anna Nalick.  The last verse always makes me think of this blog, it is the reason I started writing.

2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to

Tonight Suz had another great post.  She put much of what I feel regarding Christopher's birthday into writing:

"It is a strange feeling, this straddling two worlds.  In World One I am a mother that is recognized and in World Two I am not.  I exist in both worlds and yet I feel incomplete in each one simultaneously.
...I reflected on that today as I thought about mothers like me often have the reverse problem, or perhaps the same problem, only slightly in reverse.  We are also wiped away, disappeared at the time of separation. We go on, in many cases, as we once were. We suppress the memory of our child and we go along with the great charade of society and pretend we are not a mother.  Then one day, upon reunion, whether it be our doing or forced upon us, some person tells us that person that we denied DOES exist and damn, they want to know that person....
...Other mothers like me, we embrace that existence, but really, we don’t know how to live that life, particularly when so many continue to deny it.  It is the stuff psychological disorders are made of. Multiple personalities. Dissociation.

Sure, my mother and my sister and my friends acknowledged me today, but did my daughter? No. Do her parents? No. Does society? No. So where do I go?
I guess I'm hoping that by getting  all of this out here, I can get rid of this nagging desire to write to Christopher.  To say more than I should.  Another catch-22 ~ so much I wish he could know, that I pray that he never finds out. 

I have avoided writing too much here on my blog because I'm still scared that Christopher may find it somehow.  I don't want him to know how much I hurt.  I don't want to scare him away.  It's not his fault, I don't want him taking my pain onto himself.  All of this pain and loss from one bad decision made when I was barely 15 years old.  Seems like an awful high price to pay...

Why can't society see the deep scars left by adoption?


I think that his job has him only an hour away again this week.  So close...  So far away... 

It is the stuff psychological disorders are made of.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Family Preservation, Not Anti-Adoption

What Is Family Preservation?

Family Preservation began in the 1890s, and in the 1909 White House Conference on Children it was the top ranked issue.  The movement was started to help keep children at home with their families.  Before this, children were often taken out of homes if parents did not make enough income to support them.  Many of the leading authorities of this time period argued that extreme poverty was reason enough to break up a family.  Support for family preservation can be traced back to the Orphan Train movement
Family Preservation has been seeing resurgence in the last decades.  Just a couple of the more recent organizations to take on this issue are Origins-USA and The American Adoption Congress  Other signs of the growth of the Family Preservation movement are seen in the positions held by The United Nations, UNICEF, The UN CRC, the Hague Convention on International Adoption, and Save the Children - all of which call for family preservation first, then kinship care and stranger adoption as a last resort - with international adoption the very last resource after no domestic adoption can be found.

Does being for Family Preservation mean I am Anti-Adoption?

No.  I am not naive enough to believe that adoption will ever be unnecessary.  There are some women (and men) who truly have no desire to be parents.  Unfortunately, there are also parents who cannot overcome their addictions to alcohol and/or drugs, there are those who are with a violent partner and cannot break the hold their abusers have on them, or are themselves abusers.  Only in the cases of abuse or neglect, or the lack of desire to parent a child do I feel adoption should be necessary.  I believe that father's have just as much right to raise their child as the mother does.  If a mother chooses to not parent her child, the father still has every right to raise the child.
I don't like the term "anti-adoption", as it is used with such deep negativity.  "Anti-adoption" brings the attention to someone who is perceived as bitter or angry instead of being about the best interest of children and their families.  There are some who see "anti-adoption" as being the extreme viewpoint that supports each and every mother raising their child.  In reality, I don't think that even the most extreme "anti-adoption" advocates would support every mother keeping her child no matter the danger involved for the child.  

In Cases Where Adoption Must Exist ~ I Am Pro-Adoption Reform

I am against the billions of dollars per year profits that adoption agencies see.  Take a look at the top salaries in the adoption industry and tell me they are truly not-for-profit companies.  The adoption industry also spends millions of dollars every year researching how to best convince mothers to give their children up for adoption. 
I am against coerced adoptions.  It is impossible to list each and every way coercion exists ~ I consider adoption to be coerced if a mother is made to feel unworthy of being a parent when compared to an adoptive family.  It is coercive to tell a mother she is too young or too poor to raise her child.  Using the fact that the mother will be a single parent to feel "less than capable" of being a mother is also coercive.  I consider pre-birth matching to be coercive.  I consider the use of the label "birth mother" when referring to a pregnant woman who is considering adoption to be coercive.  I consider it coercive when a mother is not given any information regarding the life-long effects of adoption on her child, herself, her extended families, etc.  An un-informed choice is not a choice.  If there is no alternative given other than adoption, there is no choice.  There must be something else to choose in order to make a choice. 
I believe that we need to raise public awareness of the realities of the effects of adoption on all involved. 
I believe in the right to identifying information for all adopted persons and their birth and adoptive families through records access (adoption papers, original birth certificates).
I believe that all states need to legalize open adoption agreements.

I am not alone in my adoption reform ideas.  Here are just a few links for more information:

Many states also have their own adoption reform groups.  Google "adoption reform" with the name of your state to find more information.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day/Birthday Blues

As expected, May 8th was really tough this year.  It was not only Mother's Day, but it was also Christopher's 32nd birthday.  The two hardest days of the year for me, rolled into one!

As much as I try to not get my hopes up, my heart can't help but daydream about a phone call that begins with  "Happy Mother's Day Mom!" from my firstborn.  And of course that dream phone call would end with "Bye Mom ~ Love ya".

So.  When the day came and went with no acknowledgement of Mother's Day at all from him, and my phone call to tell him Happy Birthday unanswered...  Well, let's just say it wasn't a good night once my raised kids and their kids went home and I was left with my thoughts returning to Christopher again.

(I did have a wonderful evening with my raised kids and their kids.  My daughter made a beautiful handmade gift that represented ALL of my kids.  It is a sculptured tree with birthstone crystals representing all of the kids and grandkids.  It's shiny and it sparkles in the sunshine ~ photos don't do it justice or I would post one.  Maybe I can talk my talented daughter into getting a great photo of it for me...)

The rest of the night was spent in a pity-party and a half bottle of tequila's worth of margaritas.  I prayed to be able to go back into the adoption closet, take a trip back up that wonderful river of Denial.  To go to that place where I again was not "really" a mother to Christopher, did not feel the intense pain of the loss of him.  I thought that if he didn't want me in his life, I should just accept that and step back and out of reunion.  Yesterday was a doozy of a May 8th hangover (more emotional than alcohol induced) ~ to say I was a bit crabby would be putting it mildly.  

Last night I was reading some of the last emails I received from Christopher.  I hadn't realized that the last one he sent was before his last visit on April 21st.  It was just six weeks ago that he had met his siblings, nieces and nephews for the first time, two weeks since he came back for a second visit.  

I wish that I could call him and ask him how he's doing.  I wish we could just sit down together and honestly talk about everything.  I hate to speculate on what he may be thinking about all of this, but it has got to be so very difficult. I try to imagine what he could be going through, what parts of this reunion would be hardest for him.  I think one of the things would be the difference between his two families.

Our family gets together often, not just for holidays and birthdays.  It's not unusual for me to get home from work and find a grandkid or two at the house just hanging out, or for me to get a phone call from my daughter or son saying that their family is coming over for dinner just because.  It is usually noisy and chaotic when we are together, from laughter, talking, kids playing, my youngest son antagonizing his nieces and nephew.  We just love being together, and don't need a reason to get together.

I don't think his adoptive family gets together very often, unless it's for a holiday or other special occasion, or if it's been a while since his parents have seen the grandkids.

After realizing all of this last night, I began to (thankfully) get out of my pity-party mood.  I looked at how far our reunion has come in the last year.  Just one year ago I hadn't even met Christopher in person yet, nor did he have any desire to.  Just short of seven weeks ago he hadn't met his siblings and their families yet.  I am so very lucky that my dream of having ALL of my children together in one room has come true ~ twice! 

As I went to bed last night ~ counting my blessings instead of focusing on what I thought I didn't have ~ I had a great nights sleep.

Today I received my "Daily Truth" email and it was again so very appropriate.

Our relationship IS growing ~ slowly but surely.  It may be growing slower than I want it to ~ but it is happening.

There IS so much fabulousness wrapped up inside of every stop of this difficult, long journey of reunion.   I have learned so much about myself.  I have "met" some wonderful people in my quest to heal from the loss of my son.  Through an online forum for mothers, I have been a part of keeping a mother and her child together so that they won't ever know the pain of adoption loss.  Through that same forum I have been a voice of truth regarding adoption loss for other mothers as well as prospective and adoptive mothers.  I have come to "know" some amazing adoptees and other mothers through their blogs.  If not for everything I have learned from my online friends, I can't imagine where I would be on this journey of adoption loss and reunion.  I am so very thankful for all of them.

I am thankful for this Daily Truth ~ pushing me even further out of my May 8th funk! 

I wish it wasn't so easy to get lost in the pain and grief of adoption loss.  Will that hole in my heart ever really be filled?  I dont' think so...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Birthmother's Day... Is Nothing to Celebrate

Today I will not be celebrating "Birthmother's Day".  I have never celebrated the fact that I am a birthmother.  (I also don't care for that title, but that's an entire post in itself.)

I have been working on this post for days.  I have written and re-written and erased more paragraphs than I can remember. 

Instead I'm just going to link to others who have written what I want to say, but can't find the words.

Cassie again speaks the words of my heart and soul when it comes to adoption loss.  If you haven't already read her post "Here We Go Again", you should go read it.  Be sure to read the comments too, they are as important as the post.  They are proof of the deep seated lies in societies beliefs about adoption.  They are proof that the adoption industry has been successful in their multi-million dollar research on how to turn a tragedy (a mother and child, a family, being separated) into something that is viewed as a "loving" action.

Lorraine has two posts about this.  The comments on the first post lead to the second post

Amanda writes about Birthmother's Day from an adoptees perspective.

My favorite post declares "Screw Birthmother's Day!".  And Claud is doing that in high style ~ with all three of her children being together for the day. 

I should leave this post on the high note of Claud's post.  However, this last link shows the true pain of adoption loss and the belief by many that because a mother has given a child up for adoption she is no longer a mother.  The adoption industry and this so-called day of celebration kills the heart and soul of many mothers.  Those who believe that it takes more than biology to make a mother are responsible for this young woman's heartache.  My heart breaks for Candace.  I pray that she will one day be able to say that even though she is not parenting her beloved son, she is still one of his mothers.  She is his first mother.  Without her, he would not be. 

To everyone living without a child because of adoption ~
You are a part of your child
Your child is a part of you
Your child is OF you
Happy Mother's Day