Informed decision part one  

Thursday, December 4, 2008

In an attempt to help women make an informed decision before surrendering their children, I am posting this piece on coercion tactics used. This does not mean that I have suddenly become anti-adoption, I have however become anti-uninformed decision. Uninformed decisions hurt everyone. Anyone considering adoption should want to know that the mother was not coerced, that she did her research and made her decision based on her particular situation, and the safety and needs of her child.

Since my attempt to put together a list of blogs, articles, statistics, and links to possible useful information for women considering adoption to go to in order to make an informed decision, was deleted on Y/A, I will post it here. I was hoping for more exposure there but hey it offended someone.

I will gather more and post it later. For now here is a good start on tactics used, to manipulate a young scared mother to be. Followed by KNOW YOUR RIGHTS at the bottom. Enjoy and Inform.


Below is a list of some common practices used systemically by the adoption industry on single mothers in English-speaking nations from about 1950-onwards, as means of obtaining babies for adoption. These tactics might variously have been applied by social workers, clergy, "adoption facilitators," nurses, nuns, clergy, doctors or others with a vested interest in obtaining a baby to broker for adoption.

A. Psychological Coercion.
Purpose: To convince you that you were unfit as a mother and thus had to give your baby to people "more fit' or "more deserving." Methods used by "Adoption Professionals":You were told you that you were unfit to be a mother because you were 'unwed'. You were told that you would be inadequate as a mother. You were told that keeping your baby would be selfish. You were forced to draw up a list comparing what you could give to your baby with what adopters could give. It was stressed to you that your baby "needed a two-parent family." It was stressed to you that the needs of your baby came before your own needs and that you could not fulfill your baby's needs. The doctor who delivered your baby told you that you must sign-over your baby to him for adoption. (Did you later find out that the baby was adopted by friends of the doctor?) You were told that if you did not surrender your baby, that your baby would be put into foster care until you did sign. You are told that surrendering your baby is an expression of how much you love your baby (message: if you keep your baby then you don't love your baby). You are told that adoption is "thinking about what is best for your baby." (message: adoption is best for your baby). You are told that adoption is "putting your baby's needs first." (i.e., before your own needs. Message: your baby does not need you.)

B. Psychological Coercion.
Purpose: To convince you that you have an emotional obligation to surrender your baby.Methods used by "Adoption Professionals":You were told to think only of the joy that you'd "give to a couple who could not have children of their own." You were told that if you changed your mind, you would be disappointing a wonderful mother who was "waiting for her first baby." You were told that you could not keep your baby as your baby has been promised to someone already. You were encouraged to have the adopters pay your medical or living expenses such that you felt you "owed" them your baby. You were encouraged to meet with the adopters and after meeting them felt you could not bear to disappoint them by choosing to keep your baby You were encouraged to establish a relationship with the adopters, and then "fell in love with" with them prior to surrender. You were told by your parents that you could come home once you had "disposed of the problem" (i.e. surrendered your baby). You were encouraged to have the adopters in the labour or delivery room with you, for the birth of "their" baby, and thus you felt you could not bear to disappoint them by "changing your mind."

C. Psychological Coercion.
Purpose: To remove from you all personal support systems and make you reliant on adoption professionals for advice, counselling and emotional support. To distance you from any person who might try to provide alternatives to surrender.Methods used by "Adoption Professionals":Your family members or boyfriend were discouraged by adoption professionals from helping you.. Your family members and/or boyfriend were prohibited from seeing you. You were incarcerated by your parents in a maternity home or wage home where adoption was stressed as "the loving option" and/or "the only option." Contact with your parents, boyfriend, fiance, etc. was restricted by the agency, maternity home, or social worker(s). Your correspondence in or out of the maternity home or wage home was screened. Telephone use was restricted in the maternity home or wage home. Your boyfriend was lied to by adoption professionals that the baby was not his. You were told that your parents were coercing you by encouraging you to keep your baby, that "they only want to be grandparents." You were encouraged to distrust anyone who didn't support you surrendering your baby.

D. Psychological Coercion.
Purpose: To psychologically and physically distance you from your baby in order to increase the probability that you would surrender. To ensure that surrender of your baby was seen by you a "inevitable." Methods used by "Adoption Professionals":Your baby was taken from you at birth by either medical professionals or prospective adopters. Your access to your baby in the hospital was severely restricted by medical and/or nursing staff. You were put into a ward other than the maternity ward for recovery, a distance away from your baby. Your baby was immediately transferred without your consent to a different hospital. While still pregnant you were labelled a "birthmother," to put you into the mind-set that your only role in the life of your child was to give birth. You asked for your baby and were told "No!" You were told that you were not allowed to see your baby unless/until you signed the surrender papers. You asked for your baby and were told that it was best that you did not see your baby. You were given general anesthetic for the birth and kept under anesthetic until your baby was removed for adoption. You were given mind-altering drugs such as scopalamine by medical staff for several days after the birth in order to induce amnesia. Your signature was obtained while under the influence of mind-altering drugs administered to you by medical staff.. The drug Stilboestrol was administered to you as a lactation suppressant without your consent. You asked for your baby back and the adopters stalled until the "revocation of consent" period had expired.

E. Psychological Coercion.
P urpose: To psychologically traumatize you to decrease the chances of you bonding with your baby. Methods used by "Adoption Professionals":Information about labour and delivery was deliberately kept from you such that you were scared and traumatized by the unfamiliar process once labour began. You were left isolated and alone during labour. If there was a hospital attached to the maternity home, were you and other inmates forced to dispose of the placentas? You were physically assaulted and/or mutilated by hospital personnel during labour and/or birth (see "Catherine's Story") You were called derogatory names or otherwise derided by doctors, nurses or medical personnel during your pregnancy, labour or birth. The episiotomy was cut, or sewn-up, without anesthesia. The episiotomy cut thru ligaments, was cut down your leg, or was otherwise unnecessarily large.

F. Financial Coercion.
Purpose: To make you feel financially pressured to surrender. Note: young single mothers are often in a financially-vulnerable situation anyway and thus financial coercion is often a major factor. You are told, or led to believe, that no social assistance was available that would provide you with the financial support necessary to enable you to keep your baby. You are told near or after the birth that if you change your mind, you would be liable for paying for medical bills or other costs beyond your ability to pay. The hospital refused to release your baby to you unless you pay them a large sum of money beyond your ability to pay.

G. Fraud.
Purpose: To guarantee the surrender of your child. Methods used by "Adoption Professionals":Your baby was taken immediately into foster care with no explanation and kept there with the location kept secret from you until the social worker could use "abandonment" as a basis for revoking your parental rights. You were told at some point that the adoption was "final" and found out later that it wasn't. You were told that your baby had died at birth and later found this was false. Note, this is known in the adoption industry as "rapid adoption" - see the article "Rapid Adoptions." ALL single mothers who were told that their baby was stillborn and were not permitted to see the body should demand to see the certificate of death! You were told that the adoption was "final" and found out later that it wasn't at that point in time. You were told that there were no other alternatives. (information about social assistance was withheld from you). You were led to believe that a promise of open adoption was a legally-binding agreement and the adoption later closed. You were told you would "get over it" and be able to return to your "normal life." The documents were signed by someone else forging your signature without your knowledge or consent. You were informed after signing a "pre-birth consent" that it would be held binding in a court-of-law.

H. Withholding information from the mother.
Purpose: To you to surrender by withholding known information about risks or negative consequences. Methods used by "Adoption Professionals":Information withheld about the known lifelong implications, risks, and emotional consequences of surrender (see www.birthmothers.info for information adoption professionals are aware of but commonly withhold) Information withheld about options that would enable you to keep your baby (i.e. financial assistance, temporary foster care, foster care for you and your child together, temporary guardianship, or filing through court for child support from your baby's father) Information withheld about your right to independent legal counsel to explain the legal document you were signing and the legal ramifications of it and to be present in the room to protect your rights as you signed it. Information withheld about the existence of a "revocation of consent" period. You were not permitted to read the documents you were signing. You were not given a copy of the documents you signed. You were pressured to decide on adoption while still pregnant, or to surrender your infant without being able to first care for your infant for several weeks post-partum in order to make an informed decision about motherhood? Information withheld from you about your right to take as many days, weeks or months as you needed before deciding on adoption, if you decided on it at all. Information withheld about your right to care-for and nurture your baby in the hospital. Information withheld about your right to take your baby home from the hospital with you.

In Contrast:
Your Rights as a Mother:
These are some of the rights that may have been denied to you, no matter what your age or social situation was when you gave birth: You had the right to see your baby after he/she was born. You had the right to hold, nurse, and care for your baby.You had the right to be told the sex of your baby. You had the right to independent legal counsel to explain the legal documents were were signing and to be present when you signed them.You had the right to care for your baby without feeling pressured to decide about adoption within ANY certain time period. You had the right to adequate financial support which would have enabled you to keep and raise your baby. These rights come from application of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html), which has since 1948 guaranteed ALL citizens of Canada, the U.S. and other nations these protections:Article 12. - No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, FAMILY, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. Article 16(3) - The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State. Article 25(1) - Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. Were mothers "choosing" adoption?

DECISION: The ability to make a fully-informed, non-coerced choice between two or more viable options. Starvation, homelessness, or harm to our children are NOT viable options. How they committed a crime by taking our babies: The Criminal Code of Canada (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/C-46/42433.html) states, "(281) Abduction of Person Under Fourteen - Every one who, not being the parent ... unlawfully takes, entices away, conceals, detains, receives or harbours that person with intent to deprive a parent ... of the possession of that person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years."" They had no "legal authority" to take our children away from us any more than they would have had the legal authority to do it to an older, married mother.

See A Call to Exiled Natural Mothers Copyright © 2004 Origins Canada. Permission to reprint granted as long as this article is reprinted in its entirety and with copyright statement included.

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DNA test for Rachael  

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Since Rachael can't have another copy of her original birth certificate, (yes she had one and of all things it was stolen) and I lied about her fathers name on her original, AND she would need BOTH sets of parents permission to receive a new copy, would a blood test proving her father is in fact her father suffice in a court of law so that we parents (all 4 of us) could give our permission for her to have a new birth certificate?

Would it be possible to have her fathers real name inserted where the slightly altered name off of a cigarette pack is? I wonder? It will be impossible to get one even with every one's permission since her father is not the name listed on the original. A blood test would be the only way to clear that. But if we did clear that would it be possible to get her an original birth certificate with her mother and father's real name on it?

Any thoughts?

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The Tin Man  

Monday, November 24, 2008

I opened 4 e-mails this morning that brought tears to my eyes. One I have yet to finish because I have work to do on the phone and I can not be sobbing during business. The two in the middle were stories with some what of a happy ending. All four touched me in my one and only vulnerable spot, suffering. Be it human or animal I can't stand to see or hear of suffering. The last of the four e-mails simply said "I go to sign my papers today."

The ache resurrected from within resembles a hollow feeling. Like there is nothing inside me at all. I think of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. It was sad that the lion didn't have any courage, or the scare crow didn't have a brain, but the Tin Man was the one who had nothing, nothing inside but an echo. The heaviness that lays on my chest with the words in that e-mail will linger with me for weeks.

Someone is celebrating today, their life has been forever changed by the legalization of something they have no doubt waited for for so long. To someone else, this day who's date will be ingrained in their memory forever as well, is not the joyous occasion shared by others. It is the beginning of something equally as legal and permanent, yet has a hollow echoed feeling to it like the Tin Man.

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Hostility hangover......  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I know Lori has covered the subject about her confusion on other birthmoms and their lack of feelings for their children they relinquished. And I think she did a great job relaying her emotions on this. But I have to chime in on this.

Granted I am not a relinquishing mother, I have not given any children up for adoption so I can empathize with the emotions but not really understand them. Such as Lori and others can never truly understand what its like to be on my end-an adoptee. I think we both have a pretty good grasp of what the other has been through and respect the pain each has felt.
But the others....the ones that pretend as though they never gave birth, that blame the child THEY gave away, the ones that treat their relinquished children as a hostile addition to their lives......I ask you this......who the hell do you think you are?

YOU got pregnant. We were not there to assist, goad or provoke you. YOU are the one that chose to sleep with whomever our fahters are. **Now in the case of abuse, rape or any other form of this-I AM NOT SPEAKING TO YOU. I understand your pain and wanting to block it out. I can't say I fully agree with turning your back on the child, but I can see why it would be much harder for you to be there for us with welcoming arms.

But you others, the ones that simply made a mistake and got pregnant, HOW CAN YOU SHUN US FOR YOUR POOR JUDGEMENT???
I did not twist Lori's arm to sleep with Jim. It was a choice she made. I was the consequence of that. I feel no remorse for this, I feel no responsibility. I WAS NOT EVEN THERE. I also feel no anger toward her. I was a mistake, I'm good with that, it's ok.
I also made some poor choices. I took a different path than Lori. I graduate from high school 6 months pregnant. I blame no one but myself. I made that choice and I got pregnant, I choose to keep my daughter. Doesn't make me better, worse or anything else. I was just one more choice I had to make. Key words here are "I HAD TO MAKE" No one else.

I grasp the idea that you were young, poor, scared....all the reasons i have heard from others on why they relinquished. I support the choice you felt you made for the better. Hell, I even respect if you are one of those that flat out did not love/want/care about your child and you made steps to give them something more. But that still does not release you from your liability. You DID give birth, You ARE someones mother, You owe them at the VERY LEAST the common curtosy of giving them their history. Why??? BECAUSE YOU CREATED THEM, YOU GAVE THEM LIFE, BUCK UP AND ADMIT YOU DID MAKE A MISTAKE AND DID THE BEST YOU COULD IN THE SITUATION.

Everyone has things they are not proud of, if that is the reason for turning your back on the person that spent 9 months sharing your body, get over it. No one is perfect, people will look at you with more respect if you just say "I did the best I could" rather than act like a spoiled brat that isn't getting her way.
If you are unable to stand up and be a grown up then, in my mind, you are weak.

This not meant to be offensive. Well, maybe it is, I don't honestly care if anyone gets angry with me over this blog. It will not effect my life one bit. I am just so tired of talking to my other adoptee friends that have not had the positive relationship with their bmoms. They are shunned, condemned, tossed aside. They do not deserve such treatment for actions they had no voice in and no vote in. YOU ARE THE ONES THAT MADE THE CHOICE FOR US. We should not be expected to bear YOUR cross for eternity because you are too small of a person to do it yourself.

To those bmoms that wait eons to have their relinquished children find them, heart heavy and soul bruised, I thank you. I thank you for the open mind and strong backbone you exhibit. Being a bmom is not easy, but being strong enough to admit your shortcomings at that time in your life and want to hold your child again, shows more character than you will ever know.

Lori has always been honest with me. She has put out there that her life was a mess at the time SHE got pregnant and the choice SHE made to relinquish me. She is not faultless, but she was more woman than any of these cowards. She may not be famous, rich or powerful but she is my mother. And she knows that. She admits that. She made mistakes, she did the best she could, she made a choice to protect me, she stood by her decision, she claims no martyer title. She was a scared little girl with grown up decisions to make. At 16 she was more grown than any of you other so called women that can't even admit to themselves what they have done.


Lori, I am PROUD to be your daughter. I am PROUD that you are able to say I was a mistake and stand by your choices. I am PROUD that you are as strong as you are. I am PROUD you are not one of these weaklings that want to put on the rose colored glasses and pretend nothing ever happened. I will take your loud, brash, overly honest, in your face, kiss my ass personality any day.
You look in the mirror and remind yourself.....you are awesome and your daughter is gonna be just like you.

Thank you, for being a royal pain in the asses of the weaklings. I could not as asked for a better person to be my mother.
I love you......PAINFULLY

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making it my home  

I have been overly busy lately. My time seems to be slipping away from me. There is just so much to do. We recently bought a new house and are in the process of renovations. Some things are going smoothly and others seem to drag on and on. But the excitement the family is feeling is undeniable. Everyone is ready to make this move and see if we can get things back on track for us.

My whole life I never felt home. Home in the sense where you can feel completely at ease, your own space, 'hang your hat' so to speak. Growing up I was never intentionally made to feel like a visitor in my own life, but thats exactly how I did feel. I felt I was walking through the personal space of someone else. That same feeling held fast when I became an adult too. I still to this day feel like I am just a really familiar guest in the area I should be the most comfortable.

I have every intention of breaking that with my new house. Or at least, I'm gonna try like hell.
I know home is more than just a shelter, it is a state of mind. It is not just a phyiscal element, it is a part of your psyche. But, my new theory is "if I surround myself with things that reflect me, maybe it will absorb me"

I have no idea if that makes any sense to anyone but me, but that is what I am working to achieve. I have always had the hand me downs from others, which is fine, I don't need new sparkley things to passify me. But I would like to have a hand in the things I am going to be surrounded by. Not just what Aunt Ruth had and didn't need any more or Uncle Bob's old so and so he needs to clear away to make room for his new so and so....

This house is mine, free and clear. No one can ever take it from me. I do not need to ask permission from anyone as to what I can or cannot do there. I have thought long and hard on each detail, I have fell asleep to visions of colors and textures. I have put myself into each room. Thankfully, hubby has finally conceded to his long time 'white wall' theory and given me free reign. Poor man, everytime I tell him what color I have in mind, he gets a look of sucking on a lemon on his face. But he smiles and agrees. And with each new opening paint can I can see him shrink in fear, then take a deep breath and grab a roller. He is such a trooper. So far, even though he has been leery, when the room is done, he sits back and just stares in amazement. I catch him leaving and then entering the same room time and time again. Just to get that 'full effect'. I am chipping away at his fear of going outside the norm.


Now, it was not an easy win with him. He like normalcy. But I crave something else. I can't say what it is, but I feel I need to exert my personality into every room. My hope is, if everytime I sit in a room, I will see something that came from me, something I like, then it that will make me more secure. Like going to a beloved place from your past, somewhere that fuels that warm belly feeling. Somewhere you think of and can't wait to return to, that you can still smell, taste and see in your mind. A place where you can be you and no one cares.

I don't know if this is what everyone feels. Maybe I am putting too much weight on the physical being of home, but it makes sense to me. Surround yourself with things that reflect you and who you are, and the rest will come naturally.
Or I could be way off base and end up with nothing but a really cool house and still feel like a visitor.

I don't know if my plan will work, that will have to be an update for later. For now though, I am going to barrel ahead and give it all I got. Keep your fingers crossed, maybe the adage is wrong. Maybe you CAN go home, even if its for the first time.

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I went to church yesterday  

Monday, November 17, 2008

I have not been in church for months now. I have made every excuse possible, why I do not know. I like it there. I like being accepted by the parishioners. I like how i feel about myself when I leave there. But for some reason I have not gone.

I think in part is has to do with all the adoption I see. I live in a town of adoption and it very alive and well here. Since my last hour in a pew I noticed that our little church has gained several new families. That's a good thing. We needed it. Something else I noticed and just couldn't get it out of my head was a little girl I recognized with a cast on her arm, and two little boys with two black eyes each. They were together with a woman I had not noticed before, I assume they were brothers.

Now having a crash kid of my own, I understand how it is. I have one who seemed to have stitches in the weirdest places and can see why it would raise an eyebrow from time to time.

I asked about the little girl since I sort of knew her parents. Her arm was not broken but fractured enough that at her age they thought it best to have it casted. But the boys are still bothering me. Lumped up foreheads and both eyes blackened. It could have been a car accident, it could have been anything but my mine saw something different. I immediately thought that these boys had been removed from their home and placed with whom ever this woman was. I did not see much interaction between the woman and the children so I could not see if they acted like mother and child. But it is still bothering me. I want to know what happened to those boys. I want to know if they have been removed from their home because of those bruises.

It is hard for me to go to church sometimes. There are all those people with other peoples children. They honestly think in their hearts that what they are doing is in the best interest of the child, and maybe it is. One little girl and her brother have recently been adopted by a family from my church and I have to admit they are shown so much love. I feel bad for the parents because these children were abducted at birth. No matter how many children their mother has she will have them taken from her at birth. I don't know the story behind it, but the adoptive mother is finished with DHS and being a foster parent. She does not blame it on the kids but the system itself.

I would really like to talk to her one day about her reasoning for that, but I am hesitant to in fear that it will come back on me and hurt my relationship with the church. I tried to talk to another woman once about something similar and she kept giving me her rendition of how wonderful everything is. I never did get my actual question answered.

So basically I went to church, felt good about it, and yet came home feeling depressed about the fate of the children again. Man this is hard.

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Coming Together  

Friday, November 14, 2008

In the past few months I have been feeling more confident about my position in adoption land. I am finally finding a voice, a passion, a stand. I have offered my ear or my email to women who are thinking of surrendering their children. I have offered my email to women who have recently surrendered and are having the proverbial hard time getting through each and every day with out a melt down.

Does this mean I have turned into the sweetest most compassionate person on the planet? Hardly. In fact it means a bit of the opposite. I've been getting a bit rowdier, more vocal. I have been stating my position with confidence. Something I could not do before. I couldn't do it because I wasn't sure where I stood. I certainly didn't want to rock the boat. I didn't want to do or say something that would jeopardize my relationship with my daughter or turn her parents against me in any way. But I think I have found my common ground.

I have read more in this past year than I have my entire life, and my waist line is definite proof that I tell the truth. I have been making friends and acquaintances with some perspective adoptive parents. Ones who have been turned off by the rantings of the unhappy, ungrateful adoptees. I have opened up my email to those who dare take the bait and I have actually been able to point out a few things to those who reside on the winning side of adoption. Mostly in the areas of myth busting. Myth being that all adoptees are legally available for adoption. Myth being that signing papers takes away feelings of the heart. Myth being that a relationship between a first mother and daughter negates the position of an adoptive mother.

My daughters parents are her mom and dad. I am her mother. I have a relationship with her. I have been accepted as her mother by her mom. I have been invited to their home, which I never thought would happen. I have shared my story and deepest pain with women I do not know. I have passed along information in an attempt to open the eyes of women on the other side of adoption. I have thought, pondered and blogged about the pain an infertile woman must feel and how it differs only slightly from the pain of a surrendering mother. Bottom line it is the pain of empty arms. Something women from both sides can relate to and come together on if they try.

Now I have decided to try and bring women together from both sides of a child. That's what it is basically. One side is surrender the other is infertility and for some reason it pits them against each other. Something I honestly believe was started by the all too uncaring agencies. Something I see as being completely and totally unnecessary and I am out to prove it.

In order for this to work I think I need to put myself out there, vulnerably. So here's your chance. What ever you write I will post unless it is descriptive of me naked. That's a visual no one needs and it means your probably my neighbor in which your opinion doesn't count.

I'm looking for women to tell me what they think.

Am I on the right track?

Am I wrong?

Do I live in a fantasy world?

Is my reunion a farce?

Are all these stories of abused adoptees, baby brokers, baby farms, human trafficking, surrendering mothers pain, a fabrication?

What do you think is in the best interest of an adopted child? Why?

Would an adoptees relationship with two sets of parents be a good thing, a bad thing, impossible? Why?

Are you afraid of International Adoption ending? Why? What does it mean to you?

Do you think the system is broken? Why?

If I can accept and acknowledge your pain can you accept and acknowledge mine?

Am I missing something? What?

Can we become responsible for changing adoption together in the name of what is best for the children AND for us?

Now for the DISCLAIMER: I'm looking for honest opinions on ways to bring women together. I am not discarding men. I am focusing on women. If men want to put in their comments they are more than welcome to do so. I welcome ANY male perspectives. I want real stuff though, if you have a strong opinion one way or another, THAT'S what I want to hear. If you think I'm an idiot okay, say so and move on, don't give me 40 paragraphs on why I'm an idiot.

If you have suggestions, I want to hear them. What do you think needs to happen before women can come together and make adoption a functioning system that is in all actuality a win win win situation.

All I ask is that you be "at least" from one side of adoption. This includes extended family. Grandparents especially, but also Aunts Uncles, siblings. If you have something to say that is within the broad and very laxed guidelines, I want to hear it.

FYI: I want people to understand that finding my voice came directly from the people some seem to think are the root of the problem. "The Ungrateful Bastards" If they had not been so patient with me over the past months (I'm sure out of respect for my daughter) I would not know what I do today. I surely did not know all this a few months ago. Do I have the utmost respect for them? YES. Should this be a problem here? NO.

I AM NOT NECESSARILY LOOKING FOR ANSWERS TO THESE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS, JUST PUT THEM OUT THERE AS A STARTER. SAY WHAT EVER YO FEEL IS RELEVENT.

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UGH, I think I'm one of THEM........  

While having a casual conversation with a dear friend of mine not too long ago, the topic of reunion and families came up. She is also an adoptee who searched and found her roots. Good, bad or ugly, she finally had some answers in her life.



As we chatted about nature vs. nurture, the importence of just knowing and general rights we, as adoptees, are denied, I made a passing comment about my daughter. A comment that would lead to a huge revalation for me and haunt me.

Let me give some background, so you can understand.



At the ripe age of 17 I became pregnant with my daughter. I was a senior in high school and was college bound-or so I thought. Her father was a quiet one, a far cry from my outlandish and loud personality. It wasn't exactly love at first sight-to be honest-it wasn't even like. I actully didn't care for him much. He was too quiet, too brooding, too mousey. But as I got to know him I found his true personality and was slightly smitten. We dated casually for some time and I became pregnant. I was scared but was determined to keep my baby. I called him to break the news. After a 15-20 minute conversation-I delivered the blow. He became quiet....he stammered a little....then he said it "ummm, WHO is this? I think you have the wrong number, I don't know anyone by that name. Sorry" >>click<<>

So it has now been 18 years. I have never attempted to contact him, I did not push for him to be in her life. I couldn't, what if one day he grew angry with her over me? What if he resented her and treated her poorly? I would not take that chance.
Years passed, and every so often I would see his name in the paper for some crime he commited. Drunk driving, larceny, assult.....it wasn't often, but enough to make me catch my breath each time. He sent word via a mutual friend that he had moved to another state, but there was his name in black and white in our local paper.

Over the years my daughter would question. She was hurt, curious, angry, confused, everything most of us are when we have a huge piece of our lives missing from the puzzle. I tried to keep the conversations light and not voice my anger toward him. It was not my place to form a poor image of her 'father' when she didn't know him. Hell, I didn't know him any more, how could I assume what he was?
Finally when she turned 16, I think, things were becoming increasingly hostile with her. She blamed most of this on the fact that she didn't even know his name. I finally broke and gave it to her.

Now this should have been a weight off my shoulders, but it wasn't. In fact it was the exact opposite. I found myself more vocal of my distain of him. I made snap judgements of what I figured he had turned out to be. I did everything in my power to keep her from searching for him. He could be very toxic to her. He may not have grown up at all. He may use her to gain for his own personal issues.

He may hurt her. He may shun her. He may deny her. He may DESTROY her.

So while friend and I were in this discussion, she stuffed my own personal blank slate of a past, in my face. She reminded me of the emptiness I had before I searched and found my mother and father. She waved the fact that my own father had a 'past' too, that he was a different person back then. I ALREADY KNEW ALL THIS. I knew because I went through it. I remembered the anger and pain I felt when I was met with closed doors at every turn during my search. I remember the questions, the gaping holes in my genetic history, the constant, nagging "what if....."

It really made me understand another side of the triad of adoption. I was doing everything I could to protect her, and I didn't even know for sure she needed protection. I was taking on the role of adoptive parent. I was battling the unknown of biology and it scared me. I was willing to deny her what I so desperately fought to attain for myself. KNOWLEDGE. I deserved to know, it was my roots and I wanted them. I was entitled to them. But when it came to taking a backseat and watching a potential train wreck with my daughter-I put on the brakes. I forgot what it was like to be the one in the dark.

I was ashamed of myself.

But with shame came a newfound respect. I thought of how my aparents must have felt. The fear of having to pick up the pieces if the reunion went sour. The worry of her liking or loving him more than me. The panic of potentially losing your child to a stranger.

I was willing to put it all out there when I was the one doing the looking. But to think of her being the one out there with her heart exposed......it was almost too much to bear.

I got a heaping dose of 'humble pie' that day. I realized what I had been doing and the possible backlash of it. I realized I was the thing I hated most during my search-the one with the answers that refused to talk. The person that was single handedly robbing her of her roots.

I have a new perspective on this now. Granted its easy for me to say now, she is in a place in her life that does not involve searching. So I am safe-for a while. But I have vowed to have as much info for her as possible when the day comes. And I know it will come. I would rather give her the chance to know, then to allow her to have a lifetime of wondering. Even if its a farce reunion, she will be able to say she knows. Any adoptee can relate to the idea that knowing is usually better.

So, to you Dear Friend, thanks. I know you had no idea how much our conversation affected me. You slapped me with the reality stick and brought me back down to earth. I appreciate your honesty and understanding, but most of all I appreciate your gentle push in the right direction. I will do the right thing and help her when the time comes. Even if I hate every second of it-it not about ME, its about HER.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

I read a question on one of the popular places to go on the Internet today. The poster asked how so many can try to persuade her into keeping her child when we don't know her at all and she thinks she isn't the best thing for the child. She was irritated that so many are trying to "force" her into keeping her child. She seems to think we have no right. I usually do not boast the keep your baby scenario. I try to stay neutral to a mothers situation. I know how I felt when it was my turn to step up to the big girl plate and make my decision. I try to give the same respect but at the same time try to make sure that they ARE making an informed decision.

I have had a few women through invitation by me, email me just to talk about what it's like, how do I get through from day to day, did I make a mistake, when does the day come that my every thought isn't consumed with the ache of my empty arms? It is heart wrenching to hear the pain in their words. It is all too familiar.

There were several surrendering mothers who genuinely tried to explain what can not be explained. I have already said this but it is something you have to go through to understand and that alone is not good enough for these women considering adoption for their child. I don't want to point out the dark side, my daughter got a good home. Bottom line my daughter and I both got lucky. A luck that took 28 years for me to realize. But that's not my point.

I wanted to add to what had already been said but so much had been explained already I wasn't sure I could add anything. So I pointed out that those who dismiss adoption stories as only the doom and gloomers version and only once in a while fluke situations were not the women who had lived being a surrendering mother. That the women who had actually worn her shoes were looking out for HER. Most had already stated that it takes wearing those shoes to know how it feels. One even posted questions from that site that had already been asked by other mothers who were suffering because of their decision. I was at a loss for words so I asked her if she could live with the stories of another adopted child found dead or abused? If she was aware that not all children get the pony and the pool? That later on she may find out that her child might have actually been better off with her rather than without. Again I asked her if she could live with that?

I hope one of us got through to her that not all adoptive parents are necessarily better than a mother who has low self esteem issues. And that we are actually looking out for her.

DISCLAIMER: By no stretch of the imagination am I intending to disrespect good adoptive parents who love, care for, and try to understand what is important to their child. I am trying to find the words to express how it feels to be me.

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My views on Infertility  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rachael and I have both been so busy lately. Rachael is always busy, I have spurts. But none the less it is by no means rare form for either of us to miss the first two days of blogging in the month long quest to bring awareness to adoption.

Come to think of it she probably doesn't even know I signed us up for this. She will find out when she reads this post. I have wanted to take the time to post my views on infertility and I have been afraid to take the time. Why? Because I understand the pain and I haven't wanted to take the time to find just the right words.

Words are everything. Language is everything to adoption. I understand this, but most of my emotions, in depth feelings, and compassion, struggle to come out in proper words. It's like trying to describe how it feels to be kicked in the gut really hard. Something that has to be felt to understand. This is how I feel about my side of adoption, the surrendering mother side. If I could find the right words I'm sure anyone who ever read them would never surrender a child. It has to be the same feeling to find out that a person is infertile.

There has to be that indescribable feeling of inadequacy. The feeling of being cheated, left out, passed by in the line of particular body parts. I understand this. I can't pretend to know exactly how it feels, but I can through my own experience understand that there are no words that can describe the emptiness. I would imagine it would create a feeling of empty arms similar to what I felt as a woman who was fertile, suffered the nine months, and went home from a long, nightmarish ordeal of a delivery with nothing to show for my fight. A three day long fight that left me physically scarred from a C section.

I also understand the anger felt toward women who feel that their or their mates infertility entitles them to a child from other means. I understand why adoptees see these woman as selfish. Their medical circumstances has blinded them to certain aspects of adoption. The human factor seems to have gone out the window and the must have desire in them seems to have taken over.

I do not profess that all infertile women posses this quality. In fact it seems that things are slowly changing. More openness and respect on behalf of the adoptee has seemed to bring more infertile women to a point of listening at the very least. Some still resist, but it seems to me that more and more each day are reading the things that adoptees and surrendering mothers have to say. It seems that adoptees have in fact found their voice. They have found the words to express what it feels like to be adopted. I on the other hand still struggle with the words. It brings me back to the kick in the gut. Something you just have to experience to understand.

My hope is that if I can express in some small way that I understand your pain, maybe you will give me the benefit of the doubt and try to understand mine. To never be able to conceive, carry, feel the movement of a child growing inside you must be a devastating blow. To never have the back aches, heart burn, swelling from head to toe, lack of comfortable sleep, huge leaking breasts, raging hormones, and the physical PAIN of delivery that compares to no other, is truly something you are missing out on and my heart aches for you.

Try if you can, after several months of bonding with, forming love for, and parenting your child brought to you through adoption, to imagine what it must be like to go through all the things you will never experience and go home without the child you yourself have grown to love. It doesn't matter what a woman was, abusive, neglectful, addicted, abandoned or alone, the feeling is still the same for most. Her social status, bad choices, dealt cards mean nothing. Whether she surrendered freely or had help from her peers, society, church, the feeling is still the same. Whether she deserves the child or not, the feeling is still the same.

Why did I post this? In an attempt to bring mothers together. To show mutual respect for one another's misfortunes in life. To try an stop the madness that has become our modern day adoption which pits mother against mother through lies, deceipt, and money, and does nothing for the innocent, struggling child.

Was I wrong to try?

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Another Plea for Opened Records  

If this doesn't say Opened Records what will? Worth the 7 minutes, please watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIUPa57hIE8

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The Words of Another Mother  

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I have her permission to copy this here. I wanted others to see more than my opinion on what it feel like to be who I am. The one aspect of adoption that has not changed is the surrendering part.

Melissa writes;

In 2007 this girl I knew graduated high school with honors. She received a full ride to college. She was going to study business, travel, maybe get married, have children in her mid 20s and build a huge house in North Carolina or Georgia. She had everything planned down to the floors, Brazilian cherry by the way. That Melissa is no longer. I feel crushed and I can't forgive myself. I'm the skipped CD that refuses to move forward. I waste my time reflecting on events and decisions that can't be changed.


Thank you Melissa for sharing your words with me and the rest of blog world.

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Seeing How The Other Half Live.  

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Anyone who knows my story knows I had a hard time for years after letting my daughter go. I suffered silently, self medicated, and tried to kill myself literally more than once. I have always supported women's choice, concerning birth and abortion. I have defended blindly the pain and suffering of a first mother in the circus called adoption.

But one thing I can not wrap my head around is not wanting reunion. How can a woman not want to see the child she carried and surrendered?

I understand not wanting to relive the pain. Not wanting to go back to that time when you were so distraught, so helpless, so hopeless, with no support, no one to talk to, no one to understand. I just can't picture not wanting to heal yourself after all those years of silent torture. If anyone can put it into words without sounding shallow and self centered I will listen.

I listen to adoptee's who have been denied reunion by their mothers and it breaks my heart. A second rejection, what a blow.

If you could hear what I hear, if you could know what I know, if you could feel what I feel, I have no doubt you would change your mind, but how to get that information to you. How do I get you to understand what you are doing to a living breathing human being who wants nothing more that to see your face, know where they come from, feel your warmth, have a connection for the first time in their life.

I won't say that reunion isn't painful because it is. It hurts, but so did letting my daughter go. I can't say that reunion is all smiles and instant forgiveness, it's not. I had to go back to places I never wanted to go again. I had to say out loud, things I was afraid to say. I had to face my demons, all of them, be they by my own hand or not.

But the end result was a saving grace for me. I finally felt like a person. The weight that was lifted from me was enormous. I no longer had a dirty little secret. I no longer felt like that nasty little girl who got herself into a mess that she had to clean up.

And my daughter, oh my God, how wonderful she is. Short tempered, quick witted, insulting at the drop of a dime, everything I would want in a girl, or a boy. No seriously, she is a wonderful woman and she says she feels like a whole person now.

I remember how afraid I was that she would hate me, she doesn't, she loves me insanely. I gave her half the missing pieces of who she is. She finally knows who she is. The face was a mystery but the torso, the hands, the gestures, mannerisms, humor, all fell into place.

When we met her father again after 35 years, she found the rest of her. Her face, hair, eyes, and so much more.

My question to those who do not want reunion is why? Why do you refuse to free yourself from the pain that adoption has brought you? Why do you refuse to allow another human being to move on to the next level of their life?

Can you not see what you do? Have you given no thought to how much this second rejection hurts the child you bore? What are you afraid of, loving your child? Having a relationship? Being found out that you had sex as a teenager?

I listen to these grown adults speak of how much they would love nothing more than to see your face, hear your voice, tell you they are not angry with you, and you reject them. You put your own pain or embarrassment first. You expect them to remain your dirty little secret for ever. Never upsetting your perfect little world.

Your world is not perfect, just protected, and from what? You protect yourself from your child. I do not understand.

Have you listened to the agency too long? Did someone tell you that you would forget? You have not forgotten, I know you haven't. Your just afraid. Afraid that your secret will change what you have. You have lived in fear all these years and the one thing that can free you is knocking at your door. Why can't you face them? What about their fear, all their lives they have lived in fear. Fear that you will reject them again, fear you will die before they find you, fear they won't be pretty enough or successful enough. Fear they won't be good enough, the same fear they lived with all their lives. They weren't good enough that's why you didn't keep them. You know that's a lie. You know they were good enough, but they don't. So you reinforce that self esteem killer by rejecting them again. Why? They have lowered themselves to look for the one person who was never supposed to let them go and you reject them again.

I have never felt more whole than the day I laid eyes on my daughter. She was a grown woman with a family of her own. I had missed so much. My grand children are great. My daughter is a well adjusted woman who can think for herself and doesn't need me to survive. She needs me to be me. No more no less, just me. She needs to see where she comes from, feel the familiar surroundings, smell home.

Her parents are still her parents. She has never denied them their status, nor have I. She still confides in them on important matters, respects them as the people who raised her and the only family she has ever known. Her father and I are a bonus.

How can you deny another person the opportunity to know where they come from? How can you deny them other family? How can you think of yourself first when someone has waited so many years just to know you, see you, feel your touch? How would you feel if you were someones dirty little secret? How would you feel if it were you who knew nothing about your origin? If it were you who saw nothing familiar when you looked in the mirror?

Someone please help me to understand how one can cause so much more pain to another human being who wants so little.

I hurt on behalf of your children and I am embarrassed by your selfishness. I also know how wonderful it feels to be free of the pain that has caused your fear.

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AGENCIES IDEA OF HELPING  

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

THIS IS HAPPENING TO A FRIEND OF OURS. PLEASE READ AND USE THE LINK AT THE BOTTOM TO SEE WHAT THE AGENCY ADVERTIZES THAT IT OFFERS AS OPPOSED TO WHAT THEY ACTUALLY DO.

Please Help Everyone!
« on: October 22, 2008, 07:12:47 PM »
Quote
It has been two days since Holt received this and not a peep. Typically I hear back from them within an hour.Either they have decided to cut their losses with me or they are in the backroom trying to figure out how to do damage control.Please everyone, If you can post my original post (below) on other boards,blogs, websites, that would be a great help.I have tried unsuccessfully to join some other groups over the pastcouple of months (just never heard back from some, so maybe they areinactive?) and/or I don't know what all places get the most traffic,as I am pretty new to being out of my adoption fog. Especially if youare a member of any international KAD sites, that would be helpful aswell.I think this is important for ALL Holt alumni to see what has happenedto me, because this treatment is not an isolated incident.Thank you!I have prefaced the document with background info for easier cuttingand pasting below*******************************************************************Holt Renigs on Promise-one document was found addressing two abandoned children:-the document is not officially stamped-the document has seven items which address them sometimesindividually, sometime together-transferred on the same day-from the same place-same sex-same age-the were given provisional names due to being abandoned-they were later given consecutive Holt orphan numbers,#4708 and #4709 (which every Holt orphan exhibits on their littlesquare photo)There is a remote possibility the girls could be related.Holt International located the girl's files and promised to contacther. After conferring with Holt Korea, they have rescinded their promise.Read her letter to Holt International below:Steve Kalb of Holt International,I entered into this search process not unlike most every otheradoptee, naively thinking Holt would help me out as stated on yourwebsite. However, this process, though friendly, has beencontinuously frustrated by your methods.* First, your organization told me you could not provide assistancebecause I was abandoned and there was no identifying information. Sorry.* Then, I received my child records, which are my legal right, only tofind there was important information in my records.* When pressed to receive my FULL record, which is my legal right, andwhich includes the records in Korea, I was told they were the same asthe records at Holt International in Oregon.* Then, I was told that assessment of my Holt Korea records showedthere was no identifying information so you couldn't help me. Sorry.* When pressed about what Holt Korea was looking at, I was told it wasjust one page in a log book and there was nothing important. Sorry* Only after persisting did your organization relent and send mecopies of my Holt Korea file and it proved to have two documentsinstead of one. The second document was most definitely very important.* There has been nothing but excuses and delays in a propertranslation of this important document.* When I asked to put my request for contact with Holt orphan #4709 inher passive registry you told me you could do better and facilitatecontact. You have broken that promise.Once again, you are acting as arbiters of what is and isn't valid.It is my understanding that two children on one document is NOT COMMONas you state.I find the argument that we can not possibly be related due to havingdifferent family names UNACCEPTABLE, as it states right on thedocument that we were given provisional names. Since both our nameswere fabricated, then how can you use a difference in names as theargument for BREAKING YOUR PROMISE to facilitate my contact? how canwe trust any of the other data, such as age? If Holt Korea now sayswe are six months apart, How do we know that is true if our NAMES werefabricated? How can you discern fact from fiction when there is noknown facts but known fiction? How can we trust your organizationwith an abysmal track record like the history outlined above?Your repeated frustration of my search efforts continue to be basedupon illogical premises and this frustrates locating a possible familytie that could be re-established, independent of a mother's desire toremain anonymous. If this frustration is not intentional, then thereis gross ignorance and ineptitude on the part of Holt International.You can DO BETTER. You have not handled my case well. You can do ASYOU PROMISED and facilitate contact with girl #4709, since you DO haveidentifying information for her, so that we definitively - and notjust based on your doubts - rule out that she is my sister. This isnot a matter of CAN you do it. This is a matter of WILL.Holt orphan #4709 may very well not be my sister, but it is ridiculousto not bother to find out. There is nothing to be lost by contact andeverything to be gained.I had no beef with your organization prior to this, but this charadeof what you call assisted search has inflamed my attitude towardsHolt. It's not too late to actually provide what you say you do. AndKEEP YOUR PROMISES.Once again, I must remind you that my entire search process is beingshared publicly and is transparent on this end, even if it isn't onyour end. The more you make my search more difficult than it has tobe, the less flattering it is for Holt International. And this iskey, Mr. Kalb - you could have spared all of us a lot of irritationand bad humor if you'd just ponied up all my documents up front fromday one and reviewed them with an investigative eye to TRULY assistme. I don't understand how continuously trying to send the adoptee ontheir way empty handed helps your case.I would like to close my dealings with your organization on a positivenote. Please give me reason to do so.ADDED:For detailed information on how to decipher Holt's Post Adoptionpractices, and what you can do to prevail, read the permanent pageBe Tenacious - How to get your identity backhttp://holtsurvivor.wordpress.com/be-tenacious-how-to-get-your-identity-back/If you have any information regarding orphan #4709, please contactal.most_human@...

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I made a difference  

Monday, October 20, 2008

I was in the biggest town around my parts yesterday and I ran into a woman who had been a foster parent and who had adopted a brother and sister recently. I know her from church and one day a few months back I called her to see if she had original birth certificates on her children. We talked for an hour. Mostly I talked. She kept saying "I didn't know that, I didn't know that,I didn't know that either" When we had gotten off the phone I wasn't sure if I had gotten through to her or if she was just humoring me until I ran out of wind. I wasn't sure because of her answers to my questions, or the fact that I had called her out of the blue to discuss this. I had envisioned her looking at the receiver with that who is this woman look on her face. Mozying around her house nodding in polite yeah okayness to everything I said.

WELL

Yesterday she walked up to me and told me that the adoptions on her two new family members (who were removed from their home ) were recently finalized. One a few months ago and the other last month. She looked at me with wide eyes and said " I got the boys original birth certificate" she went on to explain that the same office different person would not give her the daughters original but she wasn't done fighting for it.

I was dumbfounded. I had actually gotten through to her. She was listening. I was very proud of the fact that between the two of us we had managed to get at least one original birth certificate.

In that hour long discussion I asked her to talk to any other foster parents she knew and to repeat the things I had just told her. Even if they do not adopt the children at least somewhere there would be an original to go with the child. I suggested passing them on to the adoptive parents, sticking them in a file and sitting on them for years if need be.

Now I know that this does not change the fact that the law needs to be changed. I know that it does not help thousands of others, but it did help just one, and through this woman who does in fact know lots of adoptive parents because I live in a town of adoption, it may help even more.

Her own daughter is an adoptee light who may have passport issues in a few short years. You see my son and her daughter just graduated from modeling school together. Her daughter is ideal runway material. We both heard about another woman through the class who is right now working in Japan doing runway work, something that requires a passport. It hit home for her.

You never know what your kids career paths are going to be. My other son has a strong desire to travel and possibly work in Japan. He has expressed interest several times. Although he will have no passport issues, it just proves you never know how someone elses actions will affect the future of another human being.

I am happy on this day that a shot in the dark phone call that could have cost me a friend turned out so well for one little man. The funny part is he will never know the significance of it all. As it should be.

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The Pain of a Mother who choses Adption  

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I recently responded to a question on Y/A that in turn started a back and forth email session between myself and this young mother who recently surendered her son. It has only been a few weeks and she is doing the all too familiar flip flop back and forth between changing her mind and letting the adoption continue.

As many things that have changed, evolved, progressed in adoption one thing has remained exactly the same. The pain a mother feels after letting a child go. Her words are my words all over again. Her pain has resurrected my own. I ache for her, I cry for her, I feel that empty pit in my stomach and in my arms, my empty arms. I remember through her, the sleepless nights, the prayers just to let me die in order to stop the hurt. Disfocused, disheveled inside, putting a smile on my face every day so the world will not know what a fool I feel like. That it didn't bother me to do what I did, see I'm fine, as I bite the inside of my mouth to keep me from bursting into tears.

Why is it women who have not been there can not see through the words of women who have that this is painful. This is more than painful, it's humiliating, frightening, depressing, and so much more that words can describe. Maybe that's the problem I can't find the right words to get across to them that there is more to it, so much more to it than just signing papers and walking away.

Had anyone told me how much this was going to hurt and for how long would I have listened? Would I have changed my mind? Would this young lady have listened? Would anyone have been able to describe to her in words what it feels like to do what we did? Probably not. Especially when you have so many others clammoring in your ear about how easy it's going to be. How much better it's going to be. How wonderful your going to feel about making someone else soooo happy. She feels stupid, tricked, lied to. All the things I felt but would never admit.

I felt tricked for a different reason. Now a days you can't help but know that adoption costs a lot of money. Believe it or not I didn't know that. I didn't know people paid money for babies let alone more money for healthy babies. When I was told that I almost went insane. A woman asked me if my child had all her fingers and toes, limbs,etc... and was excited because she would go for a good price. I remember that day like no other. It changed everything for me.

I still stand behind my decision of adoption being the better choice for my daughter, just like this young lady stands behind hers, most days. But to know what someone is headed for and not be able to explain it to them in words adequate enough to understand is frustrating. All I can do is be there and try to help them pick up the pieces of their shattered life. Sit with them without words having to be exchanged because words fail to accurately describe. Let them know that someone stands next to them and completely understands. Accept them into the club no one wants to join. Help them work on themselves so that their sacrifice is not in vain. Get them to that next level, help them through that one day that seems to never end.

I have heard people talk about saving that one child through international adoption. In a sense I can relate. I want to save that one mother who is in pain beyond words. I want to get her to that next class, get her to work the next day, get her out of bed and in the shower. I want to keep her from that early morning drink, that next dose of make it go away pills. I want to hold her hand through the next 18 years only to realize that the real wait has just begun.

I have always said that I do not belong to the sisterhood. Meaning I don't automatically stick up for women just because they are women. Especially when it comes to things they do to men. I am more ashamed to belong to the species most of the time. But this is a sisterhood I feel I belong to. This one I can relate to. This one I can't turn my back on.

My young friend, if you are reading, I want you to know you have found a sister. One that will hold your hand from far away and help you through all the initiations of this club you now belong. I will drag you out of bed, get you in the shower, send you off to class or to work on time. I will be there when you get home and can't hold back the tears. I will listen when others have had enough and feel you should move on, because I remember, and I had those who were there for me.

When you are strong, and I assure you that day will come, maybe you can be there for another who has made the same choice we made. Maybe you can find the words that seem to escape me. Maybe together we can find a way for others to get through the one thing that has not changed in my 35 years. The Pain of a Mother who choses adoption.

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To the man who made the most sincere offer I have ever had  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I have known this man almost my whole life. He was a high school friend of my older brothers. He fell in love with me and offered to marry me in order for me to keep my daughter. Yes there was another option for me, but it would have been a lie. A lie to him. I could have married him, kept my child, and made all of us miserable because I did not marry him for the right reasons. It would have destroyed the love I genuinely do have for him.

No other person has ever made my heart smile and ache at the same time. I have never met a sharper wit, or one who was more spontaneous. Voted class clown in high school, he is a true master of comedy. Sometimes dark comedy, but dark has always been my favorite shade. He is an excellent writer, words truly are your forte. He taught me many things over the years, the most important being how to turn a bad thing around. I learned from a master.

He could have walked away from me and never looked back after my rejection of his offer, but he chose to stay. He stayed for another 40 years and counting. He has disappeared on me for lengthy periods of time (something that drove me crazy) but he always returned.

This last time I honestly thought he had moved on to the the next level. I had not heard from him in quite some time. But he's back. I found word of him on classmates.com. Seeing him again is so important to me that I left a message on my brothers site whom I have not spoken to for many years just to have one more conversation with this amazingly funny and lovable guy. This man who has earned and gained my trust. A man who I know in my heart I will see again because we are not finished with one another.

I no sooner found him and he was leaving again. We only had time for telephone conversations and a few brief emails but it was enough to exchange verses, slapsticks, and contact information. He called the other day and I was too busy with my kids to stay on the phone. We talked briefly but promised to talk again soon.

He called again today. He is headed back my way in November and we have made plans to see each other then. How I wish my daughter could get to know this man. One who was an intricate, positive part of my life. One who made an offer knowing that the love would be unbalanced in an attempt to spare me what he could not spare himself, the loss of a child. He too lost contact with his first born. I have not had a chance to ask him if he ever heard from her again, we have had so many other things to talk about in the short amount of time we get on the phone.

I want you to know you have been loved most of my life, far more than you will ever know. You have been missed all the time you were away. You have been prayed for, cursed at, (under my breath), and thought of more fondly than any other. I want to thank you for all you have given me and all you have offered that I refused to accept.

I loved you then, I love you now. I will love you next time we meet.

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a friend by any other name.....  

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Recently I recanted a story of a friendship lost to a new friend. It was a very hard story to write, especially since I was making an effort not to swear every other word. I surprised myself with the amount of venom I still harbored. I have to admit I was a little ashamed of myself for holding a grudge as passionately as I had. But when someone hurts you to the core-you carry that for a long time.

I won't bore you with the details of the saga, honestly, there is no way I have the energy nor patience to do it all over again. But it brought up a point that has been gnawing at me. TRUST. What exactly is that anyway? What traits in a person make you trust them? Or better yet-what flaw in my personality allowed myself to be subjected to such abuses from someone? We are not talking a couple of months here people, this went on for 20 years. Twenty years I hung in there, clinging to the idea that she was a true friend, she cared for me, that I could trust her.
Ends up, she was a leech and many had warned me about her. I, of course, defended her like it was purpose in life. I loved her. She used me. I ended it. She drug my name and life through the mud. Now I wanna kick her ass. But I won't, because she is not worth the effort I would put into it. Or the bail money-definitely not worth the bail money.

I have heard many say that adoptees in general have trust issues. But is that really true? Is it a trait widely found in adoptees or is it a learned response from life itself.
Maybe it's both.

As parents we abuse that trust. "DON'T TALK TO STRANGERS, JR." to "here honey, sit on Santa's lap" ( a big, urine smelling stranger in an obnoxious suit)

Is trusting someone really the basis for a good relationship? Or does it leave us open to potential doom?
How can we ensure we don't take the hurt out on someone else that is not connected to the betrayer? Or condem them for the evils of others?

Trust-such a little word with such a huge impact on our quality of life.

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When you see what you want to see  

Monday, October 13, 2008

I just got off the phone with my mother. She called to see how I was doing with my new college class. I had not told her that I cancelled it, why would I, she made it sound like I was stupid for taking more classes. I want my bachelors degree and now seemed like a good time to get started on it. Well as the conversation went on we started talking about remembering things from our past. She asked me if I remembered taking a friend school shopping with us one year. No I don't remember that but supposedly the friend did remember and had recently repeated how spoiled I was to my niece, who of course repeated it to my mother. I don't think my niece meant anything by it, she was just repeating a story about a girl who came from such a large family that she rarely got new clothes. My mother offered to buy her something and the girl had never forgotten.

This is the same girl who has been here in my town a dozen times and never once called to say hello, or lets have coffee. The same girl whom I hung around with exclusively for a few years. The same girl who married well and divorced even better. Telling my niece how spoiled I was for getting new school clothes when she couldn't, and how wonderful my mom was for buying her a pair of shorts. I know that you are supposed to be grateful for what you get and remember the things people do for you, and I'm sure she really didn't mean for me to have my nose rubbed in it for getting so many clothes, but the way it came back to me was probably much different than the way it was originally said.

The part that no one wants to look at though is that she had 5 older sisters. Five, for crying out loud. Clothes could have been passed down. I had no sister, none, and at that particular time I had picked up eczema from somewhere and was put on steroids to relieve it. Steroids over a few months time turned a small framed girl into a chipmunk. My cheeks were so fat that I was unrecognizable. My clothes didn't fit at all. I couldn't wear one thing that was in my closet before the brain surgeon dermatologist put me on steroids. And I was always good at crossing things over into another outfit, not to mention that my mom got child support to pay for those cloth and if she didn't buy them my dad would have been all over her.

This girl came from a large in tact family, that was always an envy for me. What was happening to me was not happening to her. I was alone inside most of my growing up years, where she was running free, being a kid, having fun and living the childhood some of us could only dream of. She had the support of her father, mother, 5 sisters and 6 brothers. She had more clothes available to her on any given day than I had my whole teen years. She was constantly telling me I was spoiled and obviously still feels that way as she lives in her 3,000 sq. ft home with her beauty shop, manicured lawn and all the golf lessons her kids can take. She has done very well for herself but still sees me as a spoiled child.

Unbelievable, that she can't see what was happening to me. Her sisters know, and yet she still sees a spoiled girl. I would have given anything to be as poor as she was growing up, to have sisters to protect me, to have a mother and a father who cared about me. To have male relatives who acted like they were related instead of using me for practice and letting their friends do the same. Like I said she was probably repeating a small story that she remembered in a fond way yet by the time it got back to me, all I got was how spoiled I was. I had always known that my family was a bunch of surface dwellers. By that I mean, things look good on the surface. All the nasty stuff was hidden and obviously still is. I wonder what she would of thought if we had traded places for a while? Would she still be focused on all the clothes? Or would she of wanted to go home?

When you see what you want to see things look so much better.

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The Other Shoe  

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's been a while since I have written anything but I haven't really had much to say. I have been lurking in my least favorite Internet hangout and was inspired by conversations of infertility. I want to write about that but not now. I want to share my feelings on something else.

I have been trying to get one of my units into a local school for almost 3 years now and think I have finally broken their will with my sheer determination. I am not going away any time soon and I think they realize that.

I was sent to the new Athletic Director to talk about a petri dish test that had to be done in order to prove that my unit was working. Now this man has known me for at least 5 maybe 6 years as he has been my boys teacher and coach. He has formed a bond with my one son and if I dare say doesn't care much for my other son. Which is okay, my other son doesn't care for him much either, and this teacher is no longer his coach so its all good.

I was talking to this man who has seen first hand what my units can do. He had one in his classroom last year. He was there for my presentation to the principle and told him he wanted two of them, which surprised me because when you live in a small town popularity contests exist everywhere and I lost out in one 3 years ago when I refused to leave the Superintendent's office. That was a long heated argument that didn't win me any teacher friends. They have to work there. But since he retired and died, (yes the man dies shortly after retirement) I have been a steady pain in the rear to the new Superintendent, Principle, and A.D.

Things looked good in the spring when school was getting out. There was to be a shelf put up to test my unit properly and everyone seemed interested. Well long story short, the shelf still has not been put up, but instead we found a make shift place to put it to test it out. Now keep in mind that school budgets come out in the spring. That's when they have money.

Well with the economy being what it is, and my business barely squeaking by because of the economy I felt the urge to gently nudge these people into not wasting any more time and getting the unit set up right away. If not I may be the next person to leave here and take my kids out of their school system. Not out of meanness but necessity. They have lost their share over the past year, year and a half and they need every student they can get.

I explained what I was looking for in the way of repeat business and the new A.D. actually wrote it down. No one had done that so far in my 3 year quest to outfit this school with my handy inventions. No I didn't invent them, but they are sweet.

So I'm thinking that I am really getting somewhere with this new A.D. who already knows me and my reputation. I'm thinking that I might be able to turn my finances around and go back to actually having a life not just an existence. With one kid in modeling school, one graduating this year, and a husband who wants to go pro on the natural body building circuit, I'm constantly stealing money from places I shouldn't and putting it in places I have no business putting it. For the first time in months I may see a glimmer of hope at the end of a very long dark tunnel.

Here it is folks, here's the punch line I have been building up to. What I refer to as the "other shoe". In case you are not familiar with the term it implies hitting the floor and simultaneously bursting your bubble and either sending you right back to where you were before or worse.

My son comes home from practice and says he has a message from the new A.D.
I sit down in anticipation, dollar signs flashing before my eyes, and he says. " The coach wanted me to tell you that if you have to move and I don't want to go, which I don't, he will adopt me for the next two years." I could hear the music from the shower scene in the movie Psycho repeating in my head. I had no words for what seemed like a very long time.

Finally I looked at my son and not wanting to over react I told him that although I know this mans heart is in the right place and he is only trying to offer something truly genuine, he used the WRONG WORD. My son looked at me and said "what adoption?" Yeah, adoption. There is no way in hell I am going through that again not even for two years. My son didn't say anything more about it. He knew I would not allow that unless I was in between a rock and a hard place. I have to admit it gets pretty tight at times but I always manage to pull the rabbit out of the hat.

Needless to say, days later I still can't shake the words. I even went so far as to see in my head CPS getting involved now that they know I am struggling. I envisioned this teacher using his position to twist my financial status and anything else he can to get his hands on my son.
I know in my heart that what he was offering was genuine. My son is a great athlete and has a great bond with his coach. The coach not only wants to keep the student but the athlete as well.

So I have to face this man again, probably tomorrow. I have to keep my composure and not let what was said interfere with getting these units into this school. I know what I have to do but I am afraid I will be unsuccessful at doing it. I have told the principle several times that because I have kids in the school system we need to keep our issues separate. Now I have to follow my own advise and I'm not sure I can look at this man the same any more. I am both flattered that he cares enough to offer, and offended that he would suggest such a thing all at the same time.

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Waiting Arms  

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This is a persons name. She left me a message on my post "I've been Inspired" about how offended she is that I would lie about another persons situation. She has accused me of going into http://www.twietconfetti.blogspot.com/ and twisting everything this woman was saying.

The problem I have with this isn't that she left a comment on my blog. As you can see I left it there. It is that when I ASKED, ASKED, for clarification, I got a very snotty reply and was guilty by association to my friend Cricket. Whom I did just talk to by the way. I do not agree that she blocked your response to me on her blog. I think she should have left it up, what ever it was, but it's her blog so there isn't much I can do about it. She thought you were mean and hateful. I find humor in that statement as everyone involved seems to claim Christianity.

I openly admitted that I was new to the whole religion thing and did not understand the statement about pancake breakfasts. I still don't understand. Not from her point of view. But I have talked to a hand full of Christians who are outraged by the statement made by the original poster wanting her church to step up and help her with her kids.

I tried three times to make my point, even posting something (which I can't remember now what it was) in reference to the people I find offensive. Oh I just remembered what it was. The girl who wanted an adoptee from some tribe who does piercings as part of their culture because it would match her own piercings. I sent that to her, and she still blocked it. I told her that if she really was doing what she says she's doing I applaud her for saving lives. BUT, I got no where with her. She refused to give me the common courtesy to explain why she felt the church needed to step up and help with her bills concerning these children whom she had labeled as orphans in one breath and disclaimed it in another by stating that the mother's weren't actually dead yet.

She quoted the bible as to how we are to take care of the widows and orphans and yet all the talk was of the younger children. I ASKED if there were no older kids to care for, to which she did in fact reply yes. That they had helped some of the older children too. At least I got an answer on that one. But instead of trying to help me to understand, she dismissed me because I was a friend to Cricket and told me to go talk to my pastor.

If you want to spread the word that the church should step up and help with these costs, you should not be offended by someone asking you why you feel that way. I was trying to see her point. I had no opinion one way or another on it, but was actually trying to form an opinion. Well long story short this woman has sparked something in me that I do plan to investigate further. Unfortunately her opinions and basis for thinking this way will not be part of my opinion on the subject because she eliminated herself from being allowed to discuss it with me. Maybe I would have supported her opinion, but you will never know now.

As to your remark about my drug addiction, I'm confused. I drank too much, realized it was a problem and that I do not drink alcohol well and did something about it. This was partly brought on by my surrender of my daughter but more so by the bad gene's that run in my blood. Not something I can do much about. I had a problem and I handled it all on my own. It hasn't been an issue for 20 some years. I fail to see the relevance in bring it up unless you are trying to dis-credit me with it. Good Luck with that one. Adopters drink too, so do Christians. Some way more than they should.

And I am totally confused by your remark to my daughters fathers family. What venom or viciousness is it you accuse me of in regard to them? The only thing I did was swallow a lot of fear and find the one man my daughter really wanted to meet. I had no idea what he was going to say, or how he was going to react to my call. As far as I can tell it all turned out better than it could have. Every reunion has it's bumps, something you would know nothing about, being as your children or your friends children or whomever's children will never experience reunion, for several obvious reasons.

Again I am ASKING to hear more on that. What have you misconscrewed in my reunion with my old friend and his family. He has one sister who is not interested in meeting my daughter. She is protective of their mother, justifiably so. If you knew anything about reunion you would understand that this is a normal behavior. But I would like you to clarify what it is you think you mean.

I will be really surprised if I get any further communication from you, but if you answer I will post it. Bottom line I TRIED, but was guilty by association. Cricket and I agree on very few things. It does not mean we can't be friends. We are great friends, with different opinions. CAN YOU AND YOUR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS SAY THE SAME????? I think not, and the both of you just proved it.

Just to be perfectly clear, I never intended to offend your friend but this is the Internet and inflection can be misconscrewed. I was ASKING because I was trying to understand. She ASSUMED that I felt the same way as Cricket. Your friend accused Cricket of not knowing her Bible, sorry not true.

Now I don't want to hear anything your friend has to say, and so far in my talks, with the Christians I know, neither do they. They all think she's bogus.

My mistake I did just re-read the post you are referring to about the fathers family. The jury is still out on that one. I didn't do anything wrong, Aunt D is the one with conflicting stories. Rachael sent me the message Aunt D sent to her and it is way different that what was sent to me. As far as I know there are still family members who are willing to meet my daughter, and her grandmother is more than receptive, I just haven't posted about that yet. We are still waiting to see what transpires. But the relationship between her father and Rachael could be better and it could be worse. As far as the rest of the family, these things just have to work them selves out. Again something you would know nothing about.

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A CALL TO MIGHIGAN MOTHERS  

Friday, September 19, 2008

Although Rachael and I stay out of the mainstream of mud slinging against Adoptive Parents, and this might be misconscrewed as such, I want to make it perfectly clear that this particular piece is not about adoptive parents. This is about equal access for all American citizens. I intend no harm or hard feelings toward Adoptive Parents. I simply want all civil rights restored to those who have had the fortune or misfortune to be a part of an adoption. Adoption is no reason to be separated from your civil rights.

There are two bills in the house that pertain to Opened Records for adopted citizens. If you are a Michigan first parent and would like to write your legislator about your experience with adoption, how you were NOT promised anonymity, and how you WOULD like contact or already have contact with your child please do so soon. One of these bills is a contact veto. If passed as is this bill allows contact for certain and not all, adoptees.

Find out who your Michigan legislator is or email me and I will help you find out who your legislator is.

I am very much a novice at this, as you may also be, but I have access to some very wise women. It doesn't have to be long. All it needs is your experience and how you feel about contact with your child and the fact that you were not promised anonymity.

All citizens should have access to their information, not just the non-adopted.

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I just received a message  

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I know that my daughter and I are not a package deal in regard to her reunion. We have had this conversation a few times and if anyone has been keeping up with our ramblings you know that my daughter had turned the reunion table on me. By this I mean that since she hasn't gotten as much contact with her father as she had liked and I seemed to be getting more contact than she had, she offered to gracefully back out of my reunion with my old friend. How weird and screwed up is that?

Rachael's Aunt D recently went into Classmates and posted that she was looking for me. I reinstated my account with them to be able to get back in touch with her and put her in touch with Rachael after a year of no contact. All seemed to be moving along fine. They had been emailing back and forth a little and it all seemed good. I've had more activity on my account this time around in three weeks than I had in the three months it was active last time around. Most of the people who bothered to leave their name I do not know. I assumed that since they all had Aunt D as a friend she was sending them to view the picture of her new found niece. I was flattered and I told her so in an email. I have had 91 visits total with 38 signatures. Three of whom I remembered.

Her sister had recently opened an account with classmates, so I thought maybe I should send a quick hello along to her as well. I got no reply.

In the mean time Rachael noticed that when she gets messages from aunt D she had Rach listed with her family name, in other words her fathers last name. Odd but okay. Maybe it is so she can remember who she is.

I recently posted an awareness message on one of classmates bulletin boards in reference to opened records. I don't feel ready to take on the government just yet but I thought I could handle putting a message out there and asking for peoples opinions on it. That was days ago and I got 4 responses from 2 people. It seems talking about an imaginary hay ride is more up their alley.

I asked aunt D if she could go to this message board and give her opinion on opened records since she seems to want to be part of Rachael's life. I also told her that I had sent a message to her sister and gotten no response. I was wondering if I should leave it alone or try again. I got two different responses.

The first was asking me just what I wanted her to do on the message board. She asked if I was intending to change Rachael's last name. Why would she even think that? Besides, I couldn't change Rachael's last name if I wanted to. If I could get it changed on her birth certificate I would, and I doubt that her father would argue it. I used a false name on the adoption papers, but the agency didn't seem to have a problem with that. So if anyone wants to come after me for falsifying an official document, good luck.

Second message, (sigh) was asking me to leave her sister alone. Stating that she had already told me that her sister wants nothing to do with my daughter or this whole situation and that if I persist it will cause an uproar within the family. Everyone knows that her brother has found his daughter and although they are happy for him they feel that this should be enough. She stated that she doesn't know what I am looking for but I need to keep it between Rachael and her father and not the rest of the family. She also stated that the sister who doesn't want anything to do with this situation is the spokes person for Rachael's grandmother and what she says pretty much goes. She said that she had already told Rachael that if she wanted to get in touch with her grandmother she needed to send cards and letters. That is not exactly what Rachael relayed to me that her Aunt D had to say about the whole thing. I remember something very different. I don't remember her telling me to stay away from the sister. And it sounds now like Rachael has all but lost her relationship with her grandmother.

My heart is broken. I was there when all the talk was flying about getting together with the rest of the family. I heard the plans being made to go fishing at the cottage. I didn't expect it to happen, I didn't expect to be included, but I heard the invites. Hell my husband and my kids were invited. I remember her grandmother saying how silly it was of us not to come find her 8 years ago to get in touch with Rachael's father. Now it's between Rachael and her father only? One huge family lost before it was even found. The grandmother who was so excited about getting to know her son's only child is being guarded by the family watch dog, and I'm rocking the boat all of a sudden. No more calls? Only cards? What kind of contact is that? What happened to your one of us no matter what?

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SABBATH?  

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Today was an interesting day. For the first time in-ummm-to be honest I dont remember, we attended church. It's been at least 10 years, because my husband has never been with me. Now I was raised Lutheran, a rather lax denomination. We are not known for being passionate or loud. We do not raise our hands and sings praise at the top of our lungs. There is no incense burning or ashes on our foreheads. We go in, sit down in our Sunday finery and listen. We obediently stand, sit and sing on cue.
Back in my young years I was very active. I was an acolyte, in the choir (jr and regular), youth groups, church camp every year, Sunday school and confirmation. My life was formed around it, it was a second nature to me.

I don't know when or how it happened, but I grew up and church was left behind. I got myself into one problem after another, I was living a 'fast' life with no time for worship.
As I grew up more and became a young mother, I met my first husband. He was a nice enough guy at the time. He still is. We were able to maintain a very friendly relationship. But as the time grew near and we decided to marry, we decided to make more of an effort to re-join the church. He was raised Catholic, but was not an active participant. My boring little Lutheran church suited him just fine.
This made his mother very angry. Being a Catholic Italian, she was very vocal of her disapproval. I learned within the first few months of being with him that I would never live up to her expectations, so her shrieks of anger didn't phase me.

So husband #1 and I started attending and taking the classes required to be married in that church. This was the church I was raised in, my family was raised in, all the way back to the churchs beginning. Which was 200 years. It was MY church, and I loved it.
We had a newer pastor at the time, he was older, but new to the 'calling', he started preaching in his late 40s. I was unfamiliar with him but welcomed the chance to meet someone new and his perspective on things. I was starting to get my old faith back. I was on the path to leaving much of the self pollution I was doing behind me. It was my next step to making myself a better person and I was able to bring my soon to be husband and my young daughter with me.

At first the classes were long and boring. We were just getting to know each other, although he knew my family, I was a stranger to him. It was rather uncomfortable to speak of personal things and experiences, but I was determined to get back on track. I could do this, I was confident.
Then something went wrong, terribly, terribly wrong. And it left me empty and lost more then I had ever felt before.

We went to our class as usual one sunny afternoon and sat with him in his office. He asked questions about our families. I was raised by Ward and June Cleaver and he knew that. They were members and he had known them for a couple of years by this time.
Pastor turns to soon to be hubby and says "tell me about your life with your mother and father...."
He tried to explain how his life was, but to be honest-he had limited exposure living with his parents. Most of his life was spent living with his grandparents. Not for any reason, he was just very close to them and that was his home.
While he struggled to find words to sum up his parents, I stepped in to try to help. I said, "but you were never there at home." Meaning he didn't live with his parents. I was trying to take some heat off the man, but it back fired.
Pastor slapped his palms on the desk and jumped up. "ha!!! thats what i'm talking about!! right there, right out of your mouth!! i knew it!!"
Soon to be hubby and I were shocked to say the least. I looked at that man as if he were utterly insane. "what are you talking about? you knew what?" I demanded. The answer I got was mind blowing.
"you said 'but you are never home' you said it yourself, you aren't even making it as a couple now, how will you function when you are married? it can't be done"

Of course I made every effort to explain that was not what I said, I tried desperately told him he misunderstood, I even moved to the side his hearing aid was in and tried to talk to him there. He refused to listen. He shook his head furiously and just kept saying over and over "I HEARD YOU!!! I HEARD YOU!!!!"
It was hopeless, and finally I gave up. The conversation turned very sour after that. Not only did he throw in my face the miscommucation we had, but he started in about my sister. She had been divorced for about a year at this time and it was an awful, messy rollar coaster that almost destroyed her and our family.
I was appalled to hear her name come up. Who was he to judge her? Who was he to make a mockery of her heartache and pain? Who was he to say SHE was the failure in that relationship? Who was he to tell her business, even if it was to me. Who else had he spoken to about her and her problems?

All I could do was sit there and stare, with my mouth open. I was stunned into speechlessness. Anyone that knows me AT ALL knows this is virtually impossible. I always have something to say.
Then he went over the edge, he brought my daughter into it. He talked of her damnation because of my sins in her conception. He told me how God felt about my fall from grace. He preached to me of my own emminent demise. "God DOES NOT forgive people like you. You will go to hell no matter what you do in life."
I honestly felt my stomach sink into my feet. My head swam with the words. My mouth went dry and my knees went watery. I began to shake, shutter is a better term. The fury set in and I gripped my hands together tightly in my lap. I was afraid if I didn't I would stand and hurt him. I truly thought I was going to blast him out of his chair.
I clenched my jaws to keep from saying anything that would hurt my situation any further.

When I regained my composure enough to open my mouth I told him he was out of line. My sister was none of his business, my daughter was a gift from God (he did create her, right?) and I could not listen to any more of his lecture.
I must have offended him, because then he started to get red in the face. First he chastised me for 'blaming' God for my sick and twisted sins and sexual perversion leading up to my daughters birth. He shook as he talked. He said I was responsibile not God. He was sick and tired of people putting blame on God for their screw ups.
Then I got the hear the threats that he was not going to allow us to be married in "his church".
He said that church belonged to him and he had control over it. If he said no-then there would be no wedding there. "besides, you don't come often enough OR donate enough through offering to justify a church wedding."

All about the money I guess. Money and power. He had power over me and my future life, he loved every minute of it.

Needless to say, by the time we left I was a complete basket case. My quickly approaching wedding (which we already had the hall and invites printed, along with the programs for the ceromony) was now hinged on the mood of this man. My family's privacy was possibly being infringed upon by him openly disrespecting my hurting sister. My place in heaven was thrown out the window with no hope of repair. My pocketbook was not large enough to suit his satisfaction and I was a poor christian for not giving more money. My daughter would never amount to anything because of the sins I commited.
I spirled out of control. My plan to get on the right path and get back into the church was gone. My commitment to cleaning up my self destructive behavior was tainted. Alcohol and drugs took over again in my life. Any faith I had was completely gone. I was going to hell no matter what, so I may as well live it up while I was still kicking.

So you can see why church was not a place I wanted to be. Lori has tried and tried over the years to get me more open to the idea. I smiled and thanked her for her concern, but never had any intention of following up on it.

But things change. My views are about the same, but my daughter and her friend have been pushing me to come with them to a new church here in town. It used to be a very popular night club and they converted into a non demonination church. It seemed different, it sounded very focused on the next generation and I have to admit, I was curious.
So we gave in and went today. The whole family plus a couple others loaded up in our van and off we went. I was leery, but open to try anything at this point in my life. The last few years have been crushing for me. The weight on my shoulders has been devastating.

Imagine my surprise when I walked in to a D.J. spinning records in the middle of the room. A pastor that does not shake hands but hugs. An hour of fast paced upbeat music sung by a former back up singer to a very popular and well known R&B artist.
Then the guest speakers started, they belted out raps to chest bumping bass about asking for help, being there for each other and living a life the best you can.
Hands were raised high, people were dancing in the aisles, people were shedding tears of pure joy.

I was by no means comfortable. I was awed by the passion that oozed from every corner of the room. I watched in mild confusion as people held hands over their heads and yelped in happiness.
This was more of a party then traditional worship. I felt like a fish out of water. But secretly I kind of liked it. My husband stood, clapped and raised his hands in the air. He was not comfortable either, but he was gonna try with all his might. It made me smile.

My daughter cried and asked if I would be returning, I smiled meekly and shrugged. I don't know if this is the place for me. I don't know if I have suffered enough in life to be re-considered for salvation. I don't know if I completely buy into all this God stuff-yet. But I am going to try. Maybe this is what I need, something totally out of my element, against the grain. Maybe these people are just out of their minds.
Maybe I'll go back-or not.

I still have a physical reaction when I remember the venom my former pastor subjected me to. That tells me my faith may not be as far away as I thought, otherwise I simply wouldn't care. But I do. (shhhhh......don't tell anyone-I have a reputation to uphold!!! LOL!)

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