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.


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8 comments: to “ Coming Together

  • maybe
    Friday, November 14, 2008 at 10:43:00 AM PST  

    Indeed, the "ungrateful bastards" have been my educators. I've also gained a lot from other mothers, but more in the area of validating my experience and pain.

    As to your question, "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."

    Wow, that's a doozie, I'll have to come back when I have some concrete ideas.

  • Lori A
    Friday, November 14, 2008 at 12:02:00 PM PST  

    Thanks Maybe.

  • Being Me
    Friday, November 14, 2008 at 4:15:00 PM PST  

    The "ungrateful bastards" are the greatest. I was so happy to find out mine wasn't the only one.

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around the infertility issue because I really don't see our situations as equal. Maybe I'm too self centered.

    The one aspect I'd like to see us come together on is the welfare of the children. In adoption children start out with four parents. That's twice as complicated as society's "norm", and only a part of what an adoptee is going to have to deal with as they grow and mature.

  • Lori A
    Friday, November 14, 2008 at 5:46:00 PM PST  

    being me: I did not mean to insinuate that infertility and surrendering were equal, only similar. My point is if I can show respect for your form of emptiness can you show respect for my form of emptiness? As far as the parent thing. I have seen children brought home to one set of parents with no one else around, and others to housefulls of relatives, siblings, aunts uncles grandparents, cousins who all cared for and watched out for them. It does not mean they have more that one set of parents who take responsibility for them. It is just the difference between large and small families. In large families I see the babies adapting to their environment just as well as babies in small families. I honestly believe if it started early the child would be comfortable with the situation because they didn't know anything else. I am from a small family, my friend was from a huge family, I had a hard time being around all those people all at once all the time. She on the other hand never knew anything else and was just fine with it. She had sisters who were old enough to be her mother, and still knew who she was accountable to at the end of the day. That's all. Does it make any sense?

  • Unknown
    Friday, November 14, 2008 at 7:51:00 PM PST  

    My first thought when reading your blog was...FINALLY, someone who "gets" it. : )

    Seriously though, I am so happy that you have finally found your voice and are willing to share your stories and experiences. Having input from people such as yourself is what will help to make me a better mom to my son, so I thank you!

    Being from the other side of the triad, I agree with so much of what you said.

    I will never be able to understand or fully appreciate the loss that your heart has experienced. Infertility was probably the single most difficult thing I had ever experienced in my life to that point - and yes, there were days where I felt like I could not go on. I lost babies whose face I never saw, but I also never got to hold them in my arms or feel them kick while in my belly. I can't imagine losing a child after experiencing those things. I guess what I'm trying to say is that both sets of moms (First & Adoptive) have experienced great losses. The losses are so different from each other, and yet, in an ironic way, they are or can be very similar.

    I'm not sure that I can answer all the questions that you posed and make any sense in my response without rambling on & on, but basically, I do agree that the "child" should always be at the heart of the adoption. When adoption is done for the child's best interest or well-being, then those are the "right" reasons.

    I also agree that all sides of the triad need to come together to promote education for reform and to stop coercion in adoption. Adoption should be about love - from all sides. It should not be because someone was "pushed" into it or because an agency can "threaten" a first family into relinquishing or because a single mom feels she just can't do it on her own.

    I receive a lot of criticism because I refer to myself as "Blessed to be a Mom thanks to Adoption". I don't mean it to lessen the pain of my son's first family, nor do I mean it to say that all adoptions are a blessing. But for me, I truly feel "Blessed" to be a Mom. And due to my infertility, that blessing came through an adoption journey.

    Has it been all sunshine & roses? Not by a long shot. But for our son, and our family, adoption was the "right" choice. I dread the day that I will have to explain why he was removed from his first home. I dread the thought of trying to explain away the unanswerable "why?". But I rejoice in having him in our lives and experiencing the love of our family as a whole. I can only hope that God will continue to give me the strength and the guidance to be the support my son needs during those "unanswerable" questions and difficult times. And I feel that one of those "gifts" is the people who I have met on all sides of the triad that have a story to tell.

    So, as I close my long-winded rambling, I just want to "thank you" for all you do. You are much stronger than you give yourself credit for. You are an amazing person - and don't ever forget that. I'm so grateful that you found your voice with regards to adoption. Don't ever let anyone take that away. : )

    Love Ya!

    Kim (aka BPD Wife)

  • rachael
    Saturday, November 15, 2008 at 2:27:00 AM PST  

    just a brief note on some of my ideas. very brief.

    for one, sterotyping. not all aparents are ward and june, not all relinquishing mothers are crack whores. not all adoptees are angry, grateful, blessed, doomed or a product of sin. these generalized titles are a part of the problem. everyone is pointing a finger without any real knowledge of the situation.
    saying that-if you find your bmom was a crackwhore-by all means, call her one. but if you dont know that for fact-shut your mouth.
    not all aparents are baby stealers. unless you can show evidence of their crimes on humanity-bite your tongue. so many of these people are under the impression what they are doing is legit-you can not blame them for things outside their knowledge.

    the open adoption thing must be enforced. period.
    bmothers, you had a child. you made a choice to relinquish, it did happen. i deserve the right to know where i came from for me and for my children. im sorry you were promised verbally that your info would be kept private. but i need to know. you gave birth and passed your genetics on, your signature was given to another, that will probably pass it on, we should be given the chance to have any info about ourselves so we can make our families strong.

    i can go on and on, but i am getting all wired up and need to decompress before i do any more discussion on this.

    and for the record-i am proud of you lori, for having the nerve to put this out there. for asking for every side to participate. nothing will EVER get accomplished if we dont start listening to each other. you may have given some a chance to learn something or teach another something. as long as we all commit to being honest and open.

    im glad you are you....i wouldnt want to share a gene pool with anyone else on this planet. you make me proud to be a part of you

  • Lori A
    Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at 6:58:00 PM PST  

    First off HUGE kudos to you Lori! It takes so much to unburden yourself to the point where you can be a help to others.

    I think you are on the exact track we should all be on. Enough of the petty warring over who has suffered more. In the end only the child's suffering matters. If you are living in a fantasy world then I'm calling Tattoo and you over for a party cuz I'm living in it too. I don't see any way that your reunion could be a farce since it is so similar to my own, so much love and respect all around. It is magical and VERY real.

    I wish I could say that the horror stories of adoption are all fabricated but I have had personal experience with the darker side and I'm not able to negate my own truths to appease those who refuse to listen. I was coerced, my sister's first mom was told she died at birth and I've had personal encounters with others who have endured such tragedy. If my pain and grief is not real then I shudder to think how broken I would be if it were. The adoption loss is all encompassing, it shapes everything in my life. Loosing my own parents to adoption was something I grew with, I know that pain inside and out. Loosing my son was something I had no practise with. When I had him I felt love like no other, he was the first blood relation I laid my eyes on. The first person who shared my DNA that I was able to touch, love, bond with and feel close to. Loosing that first tangible member of my family was, and is, devastating. He was, in many ways, my only connection to who I was and I was his as well. We both lost the only blood family we had.

    I have always felt that having all four parents in an adoptees life is the best way. We all need to stop fighting over who is the "rightful" parent and start thinking about the children. Kids don't care who loves them as long as they are loved and there is never too much love in a child's world. Once we can all get past the tag words Mom and Dad and see beyond our own need to control our children the world of adoption will, indeed, be a better place. I am his mom and she is his mom, we both love him the same. The only difference is that my love is from afar and hers is up close and personal, for the moment.

    I think my biggest fear about international adoption is that if it is shut right down where will all the babies come from. We live in such an abusive society, so much me, me, me, that I fear another BSE on the horizon. People are experiencing infertility at an alarming rate and that has pushed adoption rates, or at least interest, through the roof. Celebrity adopters and the vast amount of good press has given a new rise to adoption. Everyone wants to save an orphan or be a Juno. Nobody is thinking about what is happening to these kids, nobody is looking to minimize the trauma placed on them. I remember when my cousin and her family returned from a missionary station in Kenya with the newest family member. My second cousin was three years old, born to a 14 year old mother in a remote village. She spent her first three years in the Kenyan heat and was never able to adjust to our climate. I worry for international adoptees in the same way. Climate and culture shock may seem little to us but to those experiencing them it is awful. Westerners just swoop in and expect these kids to eat our food and enjoy our culture while their little bodies freeze from our harsher climate... I digress, sorry.

    I KNOW the system is broken. What I don't know is how to start fixing it. I think people like you will forge ahead and help us all to form an organized front and for that, and MANY other reasons, I love you to bits. You are what I hope to someday become, a caring, insightful, compassionate and real, reunited first mom!

  • Lori A
    Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at 7:01:00 PM PST  

    Of course I tried to help someone out and it didn't work. The post above this one is from ANDRAYA. She was having trouble getting her answer in so I thought I could help. NOPE.

    Thanks andraya for your efforts and your kind words. Sorry I messed it up.


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