Thursday, September 10, 2015

Validating My Motherhood

One of the biggest hurdles I have had to overcome in the six+ years since being reunited with Christopher has been the claiming of my motherhood ~ from my very first pregnancy, not just from the birth of the children I raised. 

For I never allowed myself to consider that Christopher was my child, therefore I was not "really" a mother to him.  He was always "the baby I couldn't raise". 

The things your psyche does to protect itself...

The first crack in that thinking was 16 years after his birth, when my daughter was 13.  She found the envelope of papers and photos of the brother she didn't know existed.  When she finally confronted me with the knowledge, she called him her brother.  My brain screamed "he's not your brother!" (I may have even said it out loud?).  Then my heart skipped a beat as I realized that yes, he was.  He was not just the baby I couldn't raise.  He was her brother.  He had two younger brothers also.  He was my son, I was his mother.  But I wasn't...

After reuniting and being able to fully acknowledge my motherhood, I still struggled with it.  I struggled with letting what other people think make a difference.  I allowed other people's attitudes that I wasn't really his mom since I didn't raise him take away from my truth.  I was letting my assumptions of Christopher's feelings (or lack of feelings) for me take away my truth also. 

When I was finally able to allow my heart to know and embrace my motherhood, to know what every other cell in my body knows is true ~ no matter what society or anyone else may say ~ that was a major milestone in my healing. 

While outside validation shouldn't be necessary ~ oh how wonderful it is to get it though!  Especially when it comes from outside the adoption world and friends I have found online. 

I got the most amazing and unexpected validation just a few days ago.  Christopher's mom and I occasionally send texts, have talked about getting together again for another visit.  I had been in their part of the state recently (to visit Christopher!) but didn't have enough time to stop on the way home and visit her this time.  I messaged her that I hoped I would be in her area again soon.  She replied back, and part of her message said "Don't we have a terrific son?" and "I hope you had a terrific visit". 

"Don't we have a terrific son?"

Six little words...  As happened in Whoville long ago, my heart grew three sizes!

I know I shouldn't need validation from anyone, but...  wow.  To get that validation from his mom is about as good as it gets for me.  Especially since it came on the heels of an after-visit melt down a couple of days earlier.  In such a short time to be at the steepest drop and then back up to the highest high ~ a roller coaster ride for sure!

I don't know what I've done to be so very blessed in this reunion journey of ours, but I am thankful for it every single day! 

Oh ~ and the visit!  I went on a road trip west to spend the evening with Christopher and his family last Friday.  It was a wonderful visit that had been too long in the making ~ it had been 14 months since I saw him and his wife, two long years since I saw his son and daughter.  We went to dinner then back to his house for a few hours.  The highlight of the night was hearing my sweet little 6 year old granddaughter calling me "grandma"!  She also gave me a tour of her bedroom and all her treasures. (There is a heaven on earth ~)   I had a great visit with Christopher and his wife after the little ones went to bed.  I even got a little one-on-one time with Christopher as he gave me a ride back to the hotel.  My heart was full as I was able to give him a hug goodbye and once again tell him I loved him in person. 

Life is Good ~

Monday, August 31, 2015

"7 Core Issues In Adoption"

In her latest blog post, Tao linked to a website that had lists of "7 Core Issues In Adoption", one list for each person in the so-called "Triad". 

Every item listed on the "Birth Parent" list was spot on for me. 




As Tao mentions in her post, these type of lists try to simplify things that are much too complicated to be put into bullet points.  When I saw that this list was on a web page described as "A non-profit adoptive family support center, serving families, professionals and educators since 1998", I was sure that the list for us moms was going to be far from reality.  

I'm still surprised at the honesty they have listed.

If only any mother considering adoption could read this page and KNOW the truth behind it!  

My surprise ended as I browsed the rest of that website however...

Under the description of their support services for "Birth Parents/Families" was this gem:

C.A.S.E. provides support for the birth parent(s) in grieving the loss of their child upon relinquishment as well as other times in the future when memories of that child surfaces (i.e. having other children, telling a spouse/partner, dealing with self-esteem, and dealing with the larger issues of social and political opinion surrounding adoption.)

Because, you know, memories of our children lost to 
adoption only surface in a few circumstances in the future. 



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Six Years Ago Today... Happy Birthday Sweet Girl

Six years ago today, I had been in reunion with Christopher for 7 months and 3 days. 

Six years ago today, I realized just how much I really lost when I lost him to adoption.

Six years ago today, Christopher and his wife welcomed their beautiful baby girl into the world.

Six years ago today, the reality hit me that I not only lost my son to adoption, I also lost my grandchildren...

Happy 6th Birthday sweet Brooklyn ~ Grandma Susie loves you more than you will ever know.  I hope that one year I will be able to celebrate your birthday with you in person.  I hope you enjoy your present as much as I enjoyed being able to send it you!


Friday, August 14, 2015

In The Funk. Again.

I've been in an adoption funk again for the last couple of weeks.  I know it's partially because a planned visit to see Christopher in July didn't happen due to my getting another kidney stone a couple of days before I was supposed to go.  Now we are finding it difficult to find time when we are both free at the same time.  It's been over a year since I've seen him, two years since I've seen his children.  I miss them dearly.

The funk felt bigger than that though. 

On facebook the other night, someone had posted a link to a site that calculates your probable conception date according to the date of birth.  Since I was bored, I clicked on the link and was going to punch in my kids' birthdays, starting with the first one ~  Christopher's birthday. 

Then I see.  Huh...  Does the body, the heart and soul remember? 

It's probably exactly 37 years ago, give or take a day or five, that I became pregnant with my firstborn son lost to adoption.

The Birthday was: Tuesday, May 8, 1979
Conception Date: Tuesday, August 15, 1978
Implantation Dates: Between Monday, August 21, 1978 and Sunday, August 27, 1978
The persons birthday was on Tuesday, May 8, 1979 at 40 weeks, and conception would have been on or around Tuesday, August 15, 1978 with sex likely between Wednesday, August 9, 1978 and Tuesday, August 15, 1978

37 years sounds so long ago.  So many things have changed in 37 years.  Sadly, much has not changed. 

Mothers are still being shamed into giving their children up for adoption. 

No ~ not as as it was,
having no choice if you were unmarried.

But in different ways. 
In more subtle ways. 
And some not so subtle.

I wonder if I will ever see a day in my lifetime when motherhood is honored again? 
When the mother and child bond is cherished as it should be? 
When the trauma and loss of a mother losing a child and a child losing a mother are losses that are recognized for everyone ~ and not completely dismissed if adoption is a part of the story?

I wonder...

Monday, August 10, 2015


I ordered the new adoption memoir "A Life Let Go: A Memoir and Five Birth Mother Stories of Closed Adoption".

As I was reading the reviews for the book on Amazon, I found my breath taken away by one of them.  One sentence in particular:

"...true story of a pregnant teen hiding in the house, frozen and blind to all possibility beyond invisibility, as a baby grew in the dark and a mother weds herself to shame"

 "a mother weds herself to shame"


That so perfectly describes happened 

The shame of the evidence of my lost virginity at only 15 years old.  Not shame of the baby growing in the dark, it was shame of my sexuality.

The shame of my 15 year old self with visible proof that I really wasn't a "good girl". 

Shame that society handed to me and that I so willingly put on myself

Shame that only reinforced the belief I already had that I wasn't good enough.  That I wasn't worthy of the love that I craved.  

Therefore,  my child deserved so much more than I had to give him.

He deserved more than me.


I wish I could go back and talk to that 15 year old mother...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

American Adoption Congress Speech ~ May 4, 1979

I've seen this before. 

From a speech given at the first American Adoption Congress in Washington, DC. 

It's not that I agree with every word that makes it hit home especially hard. 

It's the date that this speech was given.

May 4, 1979

Just four days before Christopher was born.  

Just four days.

Four  Days 

I had no idea...

I was not indifferent.

My son was NOT unwanted.

I did not wish to remain forever hidden from him.

Sadly, 36 years later and this still rings true...

”It is the child welfare establishment that has provided the picture of birth mothers as indifferent – as mothers who abandon their unwanted children with a wish to remain forever hidden from them. They know that this is seldom true, but it helps to facilitate their work for the public to believe this. Society does not dismiss the importance of the natural family as readily as the social planners, and so it is useful to portray relinquishing parents as different from caring parents."

”The birth mother must be different, an aberration; for if it were true that she had the same degree of love for her child as all other mothers, the good of adoption would be overwhelmed by the tragedy of it. Adoptive parents are somewhat relieved of guilt if they can be assured that the birth parents truly did not want their child; for, under those circumstances, it is possible to feel entitled to claim the child of others."

"Neither society nor the mother who holds the child in her arms wants to confront the agony of the mother from whose arms that same child was taken. But that agony is real, as we have come to learn through our experience with reunions.“

Monday, May 4, 2015

Teleflora's Commercial Tribute to Young, Single Mothers

While wasting time on Facebook the other night, I kept seeing a link that several different friends had  posted about a Teleflora commercial that had left them in tears. 

It left me in tears too.  But for reasons unlike my friends.  Especially during this month of May, that includes not only Mother's Day, but also Christopher's birthday.

What a kick in the gut.

This wonderful son, grown up and serving in the military.  Who had been born to a single mom who gave up her dreams of becoming a professional athlete after finding herself pregnant with him.

This wonderful son, who praised all the sacrifices his mom had made for him. This wonderful son, who praised all the amazing things he was able to accomplish because of the love that he had from his mom.

While I try to not play the "What If" Game, I found myself also in tears ~ wondering what my life, what my son's life, might have been like if I had raised him instead of losing him to adoption.

I have not one single doubt that I would have been a wonderful mother to Christopher.  I had taken care of many children from the time I was twelve years old ~ I was a regular babysitter for several families in my neighborhood.  One of the families was so secure with my ability and maturity that by the age of 14 I was watching their two children overnight while the parents were out of town for the weekend.

I have no doubt that I would have been a better mother to my raised kids also ~ I would not have been parenting with the unaddressed trauma of losing my firstborn child to adoption.  I would have been a better wife and daughter, better to myself.

So.  Enough with that game of "What If"  ~ It gets you nowhere and only ends in grief and anger.

While this commercial was a kick in the gut to me, I hope that any unmarried mothers-to-be who watch it gain strength from it.  If you are young and/or unmarried and facing an unexpected pregnancy, being a great mom IS possible, despite all that the adoption industry and the seemingly perfect prospective adoptive parents want you to believe.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Adoption Reunion From An Adoptee's Point of View

Most of the stories you see of adoption reunion in the media are just sort snippets in time ~ the moment that family members see each other face-to-face for the first time since birth.  How happy and exciting it all is.

Those short snippets don't show what happens in the time after the first emails, letters, in-person visits.

Reunion was life changing for me.  There are still times, six years later, that I find myself lost in some aspects; trying to figure out how to navigate this new life with my firstborn son included.  

Today I read this adoptee's story of her experience and feelings in being reunited with her natural family.

It's an important read I think, especially for those expectant mothers considering adoption who are still landing here on my blog.  If the hope of a future reunion with your child is something that you are holding onto in order to be able to go through with adoption ~ take that hope off the table.  It's not a sure thing.  I have come to know some wonderful reunion stories, but there are far more where either the natural mother (or father) or the grown adoptee is unable to have a relationship with the other. 

Here are a few things that Jessenia said that I want to share here, but if you have time please go read Jessenia's post here.  (I added emphasis on the words that cut like a knife into this mothers heart)

I used to think that searching for my birth mother would be the hardest part about my adoption besides dealing with being adopted (I got used to that already). However, I learned that life post reunion has to be the most difficult part about being adopted.

It's complicated. Everything about it is complicated.

It was well over a year, maybe two, that I reunited with my birth family face-to-face. Simply put, I wasn't ready. I learned that I had six siblings - two older and four younger. That in itself added another degree of pain to know that my birth mother had other child and more children. Why was I the one that was abandoned? What was so bad about me? I struggle with it often till this day because I don't have all the answers, but even with them, I am afraid I will always feel this way.

Today, in my heart and in my mind, I struggle with how to live my life with two mothers even though my adoptive mom is my mom. She is number one and will always be that because she raised me, loved me, and never gave up on me or our family no matter how tough it was. She worked three jobs and did her best as a widow. That is what a mother does. However, be it the loving person I am, deep inside I want to be able to love my birth mother and call her "mom" or something close to that, but I can't. I want to compartmentalize everyone into their spaces. Two mom's just doesn't feel right. It doesn't fit. It is awkward. It is like I have a family over here and a family over there. And I must keep them separated, my moms anyways. I am afraid that one will feel loved more than the other. Not that my adoptive mom ever said anything like that to me before. It's an adoptee thing. But I have no desire to love my birth mom how I love my adoptive mom. I just wish things could be normal? Whatever that is.

However, on the flip-side, my biological siblings are dying to be in my life and want to do all that, but I cannot let them in until I figure out things with my adoptive family. Because again, I don't ever want my adoptive family to feel that I am showing more love to my birth family. My mind won't let me rest on this. These are the effects of adoption.

There is so much more to this story, but the bottom line is that I still don't feel like I am connected to anyone. I learned that blood or biological ties really doesn't secure a bond like I had imagined. That comes with time. Unfortunately, my siblings are having to pay for the decisions that was beyond their control because I know they love me like crazy, but I won't let them grow close to me. I am traumatized by what has already happened in my reunion that I am afraid to subject myself to more pain that I can easily avoid by closing the door. I wish I wouldn't do this to them, but this is what being abandoned and adoption did to me. I pray like crazy that one day I can let my guard down and be open to love without fear.
Oh Jessenia...  I hope and pray also that one day you can let your guard down and be open to love without fear.  I hope that for all adoptees.  I also hope that for all mothers who have lost a child to adoption.  Myself included.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Stop Shorstein Network - Open Adoption Fraud

I previously posted about the Shorstein Advocacy Group and the filing of a class-action lawsuit against them.  I was recently contacted and asked to help spread the word that they hope to file the lawsuit this summer.

If you were defrauded by the promise of open adoption in the state of Florida since 1990, please join this class-action lawsuit.

Here is the info I received:

We have updated our Facebook page and email address. We are under the gun to find a few more mothers so we can file this summer. PLEASE help in any way you can. THIS MAY BE THE ONLY opportunity we have to stop or at least decrease the number of coerced and fraudulent “open” adoptions in FL. It may also pave the way to unsealing records. ANY help is GREATLY appreciated! There is no cost to the moms to join.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Strings of Life (Re-Post)

This is a re-post that was originally published on June 14, 2012:

The Strings of Life

I stumbled onto the writing of Dabeshim a couple of days ago.  One of his poems caught me from the very first stanza.  I again am amazed at how the words of someone adopted can be so meaningful to me as a mother of adoption loss.  Below is the poem, interspersed with my own rambling thoughts brought to mind as I read the words. 

There once was a day
The winds were cold, darkness creped as far
As the inside, It had its say
We did as others wished
Serving them on a golden dish.
We knew no other way.
Like marionettes we lived,
Upon the Strings of Life.
Giving no thought at all.

The Florence Crittenton building was a big, old brick building. Dark. Cold. Always. Not the temperature, it was the atmosphere in that building…

I did only as they wished. As society expected of me. I made sure to let them all know that I wasn’t “one of those girls”. I really was a good girl, not a crack-whore. I really did love my baby, I really only wanted the best for him ~ It wasn’t at all that I didn’t want to be a mom, it wasn’t that I wanted to have a life full of fun instead of responsibility. I proved that I really did love my baby, loved him even more than I loved myself. I served my son up to the adoption industry on a golden dish…

What a good marionette I was, right in line being the good birthmother without any further convincing necessary. I already knew that there was no way I would raise a child in the way I was living. I knew that the only way I would be able to raise my child would be to move out of the house, and that would have been impossible on my own. I gave no thought towards the future, only to finishing what I had started by becoming pregnant while unmarried and young. No thought was given to what it would actually be like to give birth to my child, much less live without him. No thought was given to the fact that I couldn’t really ensure that my child would have a better life. No thought was given to what an adoptees life was like, how their life was affected by adoption. I was just following along with what was expected of me, like a marionette I lived…

I returned to school that fall unable to really be myself. I was sure that any classmates who knew of my pregnancy thought of me as either the classic whore or as a heartless person who gave her child away. I never breathed a word of my son to anyone afterwards, losing the freedom to be myself. Always fearful that someone would find out the truth. In addition, without even realizing it, my heart was locked up tight in order to not fully feel the loss of my son. How heavy was the weight of that prison I imposed on myself…

For our own freedom, our own call.
Now after so many years
I awoke to see that the power to live is
In you and in me.
We could be
Light as the air
With the wind through your hair

Free to move, here and there.
There and here, everywhere.
Now that we are no longer tied to the loom.
We can go from room to room.
We are Free at last,
no more strings of life to hold us down,
making us like clowns

In the moment of reading the first emails telling me that my son was looking for me, I awoke. I awoke from 30 years of denial and felt the power, the freedom, of living in my truth. I felt as light as air ~ the weight of that self-imposed prison was lifted. Once I had the chance to bask in the joy and treasure this new life that now included my first born son, I wanted to share the news with everyone. Christopher himself told me that I could go stand on the sandhills of Nebraska and yell the news out to the world. I was no longer tied to the loom that was labeled birthmother. The loom of shame. Shame that wasn’t mine to take on, but that I willingly accepted from the judgment of our society. The loom of despair and grief from the loss of my son ~ loss that I wasn’t even allowed to speak of. Loss that nobody in society sees, much less understands to have any empathy for. (Except for the others who live with the loss of adoption that is)

In talking to the search angel who matched our profiles, I felt as though I had beaten the system. Even though deep down I knew it wasn't true, the remnants of former beliefs were still there. I had believed the social worker when she told me it would be against the law to ever look for my son. Taking on that lie, it tied me further to the loom of adoption loss. Now here I was, being told by an angel named Kim that my son had been searching for me for a while, was very excited and waiting to finally hear from me. Just as I had been tied to the loom of adoption, so had he. In the finding, we were both freed from the looms, we were free to go from the room of secrecy into the room of truth.

The past is the in the past
None of that matter anymore
Yesterday is out the door
Let’s make the most of now
Since time doesn’t last

We made our own many mistakes
Sacrificed the best of ourselves at the stake
Yet we are free now to move every which way
To say what we want to say
no more strings of life to tie us down
making us look just  like clowns

Yes ~ the past is in the past. I can’t get back those lost years with Christopher. I made my mistakes. Many mistakes were made in the years after I lost Christopher to adoption. My biggest wish is that I had been strong enough to live my truth, instead of hiding from it.  For I wasn't really hiding from it.  It was always there, just under the surface, just out of reach of my conscious being.  I not only sacrificed my son, I sacrificed my authentic self. Being silent after the loss of my son to adoption only allowed the myths to continue. Being silent gave the impression that losing my son to adoption was ok. Being silent kept the tremendous loss and grief hidden. Did another mother go on to choose adoption because she saw that my life did seem to go on as before after losing my son to adoption? I will never know. But I do feel that I fed the adoption industry with my silence. The strings tying me down are gone, I am free now to speak of my experience. I am free to speak of the child, now a grown man, forever lost to adoption. There are no self or society imposed strings keeping me silent now. I speak out of the truth of adoption loss on my life. I speak out not because it can change anything for us ~ but maybe I can change something for another mother, for the children of that mother. I speak out now to help another living with the loss of adoption to free themselves from their own loom, to no longer be a marionette of the adoption industry.

We are as light as the air
With the wind through your hair
We have no more cares
That will hold us and keep us,
From ourselves,
like marionettes up on the shelves.

Oh you must believe me!
Oh can you see me?
Can you hear this song I sing?
It brings me here to you!

The strings of life have all disappeared
The strife we lived, sheared and blown away
We are free now to move every which way
To say what we want to say
no more strings of life to tie us down
lifting us high above the ground

We are free now to just be. The strings of adoption no longer control us as though we are only marionettes. I am his mother, he is my son. I love Christopher no less than the children I raised. The strings of adoption could take away my legal rights, but could never take away my love for him.

Oh come with me
And Fly! You will see
The music is playing, the choir is saying
We are Light as the air
The wind through your hair
Free to move, here and there.
There and here, everywhere.
With no more ties
Gone are The Strings of Life.


© 2012 Dabeshim

Thank you for sharing these beautiful, yet haunting, words Dabeshim. Thank you for allowing me to ramble on and write of how the words touched my heart.

"The Strings of Life" by Dabeshim at 


Susie has not only complimented and interpreted my poem "The Strings of Life" she has likewise created a beautifully expressed narrative revealing the pain and joy of a mother who lost a child to adoption with the words of pain and joy of an adult adoptee she doesn't know.
Well done!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Happy 6th Reunion-versary!

Six years ago today I finally had answers to the three questions that had been haunting me since the first and only time I saw my firstborn child.  Questions that haunted me for 29 years, 7 months, and 13 days.

Yes, he was alive
Yes, he was healthy
Yes, he was happy
And yes, he got great parents too.

Despite the laws in the State of Iowa (where grown adults are denied the right to know their true origins) my son was still able to find me. There are no words to express the gratitude I have for the online reunion registries and for Kim, one of the many amazing people known as "Search Angels".

As I remember that wonderful, yet frightening, day six years ago, I find myself again with mixed emotions.

That adoption is still celebrated and treated as sacred in this country.  Despite the many, many studies proving the trauma to both mother and child due to unnecessary separation.  Despite the many people now speaking out their truths regarding adoption loss.  The adoption industry is just another example proving that it is the almighty dollar that runs this country.  I long to see the day when the mother-child relationship is celebrated and treated as sacred ~ despite the mothers marital status, age, income level, etc. 

That adoptees are still denied their rights to their own true stories.   That mothers are used as the reason for keeping those records sealed ~ when the vast majority of mothers welcome and hope for reunion themselves.  It is inhumane to expect a mother to not know if her child is even alive, much less healthy and happy. 
For those who help the lost be found.  For those who help those lost in grief to find their way out.  For those who speak out their truths so others know they are no longer alone.   For those who advocate for equal rights for those who are adopted.  For those who lift up and advocate for mothers facing an unexpected pregnancy.  For the many friends I have met in Adopto-land, who have helped me find my way out of the closet, out of denial, and out of the grief that had been buried for so very many years. 
For Christopher.  As well as for his beautiful children and wife, I am overjoyed to be able to know them and be a part of their lives.  Love for his parents, who have welcomed me into their lives as well. 
 And for the first time in forever ~ love for myself.  
It's taken most of these last six years to get to this point,
there were times I wondered if I would really survive it all ~
but I did.  
 I am stronger and braver and wiser for it.

 This year I was finally able to embrace my younger self 
and show her the love and support she didn't have all those years ago.  

We deserve it.