Thursday, February 27, 2014

Birth Mother doesn't mean Victim

I know I have said this before, but there are times when I grow weary of the bitterness that a decent number of birth mothers have. Now, I am not saying every birth mother is angry or bitter. We are not all resentful and anti-adoption. There are many, many of us who are proud, confident and at peace with our choice to give our child more. But some just take it too far. They not only speak for themselves, but take on an "all adoption is horrible" attitude. And to be blunt, it's irritating and ignorant. Tonight while perusing a blog of sorts that showed up in my news feed, I clicked on a link and was led to a list. "29 Things I Wish I Knew Before Adoption Entered My Life". Now, I have come across many lists like this about adoption, some very true and insightful. This list, however, infuriated me. I am going to be pasting a few of the things on this list, and explaining what makes them so offensive to other birth mothers. 

"I wish I had known that it was not my job, nor obligation to make another couples’ “dreams of a family” come true."

Okay, this statement just, forgive my language, pisses me off. First of all, not once has any agency or adoption counselor, nor adoptive couple, viewed a birth mother as fulfilling an "obligation" to make them a family. No, it's not our obligation, it's our privilege. Helping create a family is not something to turn your nose up at or mock, not something to use as some sort of "fault" where birth mothers are concerned. It's a MIRACLE. Pure and simple. Never in my life will I forget the pure joy and love I saw in the eyes of B's parents on placement day. It was nothing short of a miracle, and nothing I will EVER be ashamed of. And how dare anyone try to shame me for it. 

"I wish I had known that I should not have taken pride nor comfort or some sick sense of self satisfaction by allowing other people’s needs to go before my own, not that I have an issue about giving of one’s self. I donate my knowledge, I give my time, I volunteer; but a child is not giving of oneself, a adoption is giving of another.. a child. I had no right to do that."

Again, this just irks me. I'll address the last part first. The idea that I had no right to give of another... of my son. That I was somehow outside my rights and in some sort of act of irreversible wrong by placing this beautiful boy with the people meant to raise him. That was ABSOLUTELY my right!! It was my right to pray for that baby, and see beyond myself to what was best for him. It was 100% within my right to DO MY JOB AS A MOTHER, and provide that sweet soul with the life he deserves. So do not ever try to infringe upon my rights as his birth mother, or to presume that I somehow wronged him. The only wrong thing would have been keeping him in a life where he was barely provided for. Back to the first part of the statement... Why not take pride in putting someone else's needs above your own? Why not be proud of the strength that takes, the selfless love required? This isn't a flaw, or something dirty. It's the very reason that couples otherwise unable to bring forth a child are able to raise their children and have a family, and experience that joy. There is no joy quite like being a parent. There are many joys that are just as wonderful, yes, and it's absolutely possible to lead a joyful life without having children. However, it's a different joy, one that I am thankful to have experienced, one that EVERY person has the right to experience, should they choose. To have that taken from you, to be robbed of that, well it breaks my heart to imagine. So thank God there are those who take pride and a "sick sense of self satisfaction" in that. Because without those people, a lot of couples would be robbed of the one thing they desire most after God and their marriage. A child to love. 

"I wish I had known that children really aren’t interchangeable. Just because one party wants something and another party isn’t so sure, doesn’t mean that we can switch things about and pretend we are God and it will work out OK."

Before I address the rest of this, I'll address the bit about one party wanting something and the other not being sure. Are you kidding me right now?! The implication that B's placement occurred because I didn't or wasn't sure I wanted him infuriates me. I wanted that little boy more than I want to breath. He was loved from the SECOND his existence was known. To insinuate that I didn't want him is ridiculous, and shame on you for putting being adopted in the same category as being unwanted. The next part is almost amusing to me. Show me a birth mother who claimed to be God. Who claimed to have some sort of right to control life. Not a single one. No, children are not interchangeable. Perhaps learn what that means. It means capable of being used in place of each other, and generally involves two things that serve the same purpose. Is there a puppy somewhere in my home in place of my baby? Was there some sort of barter I was unaware of? Nope. No puppy, no trading post, no exchange of one for another. Just a choice to place my most precious cargo in the arms of the most loving and amazing people I've known. A lot of things describe it. Interchangeable certainly isn't one. 

"I wish I had known that you cannot re-write life as it comes to you. That we can’t cheat it and pretend that things happened differently than we would have liked. And sometimes, most times, given time, what seemed to be a disaster is actually part of making things work out exactly as they should, but we just don't know it yet. I wish I had learned to just accept things as they come and live the hand that was dealt to me"

This is another I find slightly insulting. In placing my sweet B, I did not try to "re-write" my life. I made no attempt to erase this baby from my life, from my story. I was not trying to hide him or act as if he were never born and does not exist. He is a crucial and special part of my story, one that made the rest of my story possible. I am thankful he happened, and "disaster" doesn't even come close to being accurate in reference to his conception or birth. Again, the word miracle comes to mind. And yes, things did work out EXACTLY as they should. I delivered this child from God to the arms of the people He created B for. 

"I wish I had known that adoption was not glamorous or romantic, but that life being a birthmother pretty much sucks."

This doesn't anger me, so much as sadden me. No, adoption isn't romantic or glamorous. It's not sparkly things wrapped in a pretty bow. It's hard. It's painful, sad, difficult, and beautiful. It's the process of breaking one's own heart to protect and provide for that gift that grew beneath it for 9 months. And it's the best thing I've ever done. As far as life sucking as a birth mother. Well, that's a choice. It's a conscious choice made every day by said birth mother. To either get up, put a smile on your face and tackle life head on, knowing you did something beautiful... or to wallow in the self pity and resentment until you become a shell of yourself. Nobody claimed it was easy, but being happy is a choice. You choose whether life as a birth mother sucks. Whether it's a curse or a blessing. That's all on you.

Now, this is not an attack on the writer of this entry. It's not a holier than thou attitude, I don't think I'm better or somehow more emotionally mature. But I cannot stand by all the time while the very women who created these families seek to destroy them. To be blunt, it's selfish. Stop turning your gift to that couple and your birth child into a tragedy. Adoption will never be an easy road, it will forever be the most mangled, terrifying, crushing path you will ever walk. But holy cow is it worth it. Look past your hurt, past your heartache and grief, past the anger at whomever you feel has wronged you. Look beyond all of it. And look at what matters in this. I do it daily, and it's not easy at all. But why take the easy way? Adoption didn't change my genetic connection to B, my love for him or the fact that he has my eyes and holds a piece of my heart in his chubby hands. But it put a light in those eyes more beautiful than any other. It gave him a future and a family that is bright and FULL of love and potential. It gave him a chance.

So please, can we stop treating ourselves like victims of something? Celebrate your birth mother status! Or don't. Because quite frankly, it just isn't about you.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Today is one of those days where the good is incredibly intertwined with the bad. I got to wake up to my sweet little J, spend all day with him, and have a lot of fun. It's amazing how much of a little personality he has, and how big he's getting. He had such a good time, and I just enjoyed being with him. I hadn't really had time to think about the fact that B is 9 months old today, until I saw the monthly update on facebook. Normally, I love seeing it, and it's the best day of the month for me. Today, instant tears. I had to walk away from a birthday party because I couldn't hold them back and I didn't want anyone to see it. I had a very selfish moment and just cried over the fact that I don't have him, and that I couldn't hold and kiss him today. 

Then I went back to the party and enjoyed J. After we got home from the party he was feverish and I had no medicine or way to get medicine, so I had to take him back to his guardians. He cried when I dropped him off, and the only way I could calm him was to tuck him in myself and sit with him for a few minutes. It broke my heart... I just wanted to tell them I changed my mind and bring him back home. It killed me that I couldn't. 

I just miss him so much. I know that I'm moving forward, and doing a lot to improve my life, and his life. But I just want to get there now so that I can get him back and show him that I love him. Be there to tuck him in every night, and feed him breakfast every morning... not just every third weekend of the month. I just keep telling myself there is light at the end of the tunnel. And try like hell to believe it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

J's guardians took me to dinner tonight to "catch up". I had a feeling when they arranged it a few days ago that something was up. We barely talk about anything other than J, and haven't gotten together for dinner since before they took guardianship. I tried to tell myself there were no motives there, but I knew. For the first half of dinner, they didn't bring anything up, things were casual, and I guess I kind of started to feel at ease, let my guard down. And then they just dropped the bomb on me out of nowhere. They want to adopt him, and they want to work with me toward that goal. They want to "help" me make that choice, if I just tell them what I "want". I nearly burst into tears on the spot, I had to fight hard to keep from crying. With all the claims that they understood it was temporary, that they wanted us to be reunited soon, how they can see how much I love him and he loves me. All complete bs. I was honest with them from day 1, it's always been my intention to take him back within the next 6 months. They knew that, I have stressed that repeatedly. Even put my foot down with him calling them mom and dad. 

Yet they want to take him from me. They want to slap their last name on him like he's some shiny new toy instead of a human being. They want me to sign those disgustingly cold papers again, watch another child slip through my fingers. Just because I was able to peacefully place B, they somehow think it's the same thing. It's not even close. I didn't even know what to say, how to respond to that. How can they want to separate us? They see how he cries for me when I leave, how he begs every time I see him to come home with me. How he lights up and jumps into my arms the instant I come in the door. How can they possibly feel good about coming between that? He is mine. No papers, adoption or otherwise, are going to change the fact that he is MY son. I carried him for nine months, I gave birth to him, I woke up for all those nightly feedings and soothed him when he was sick. Raised him for nearly four years on my own. He. Is. Mine. I'm not being some sort of territorial jerk, or trying to minimize that they love him. But they're fools if they think a set of documents and a signature from a judge is going to make him their son. He will NEVER look at her the way he does me, never cry for her when he's sick. Beg to leave me to go with her. 

She will never truly be his mother. 

So why are they doing this? They aren't stupid, they know they can fight me and possibly win. Especially with their high priced attorney. But why do that to me, to J? I can't and won't agree to this right now, I won't lie to make them feel better and say I'll place him. Because I don't think I can. I don't think I would survive it. He is my whole life, the best thing in my world. I can't hand him over to them, no matter how much they may want it. Losing him would kill me, and I truly don't think I could make it through it. I am STILL grieving B's placement. I still have moments where it hits like a ton of bricks, four and a half months after placement. It still hurts. And I can't imagine how that grief would be multiplied by placing J. His guardian/foster father says I may have to put myself aside and be the selfless, strong person I've proven myself to be. WHY??? Why do I have to prove that again, why do I have to make everyone else happy at my own expense? How dare he even say that to me?! Are they thinking about his best interest? Are they realizing he's almost 4 years old, not 4 months old. Are they considering the pain he would go through being away from me permanently? Of course not, they are too busy worrying about what they want to consider the little boy they will hurt in the process. They have some insane notion it will be like it is with B's placement, but it just won't. B doesn't know I'm his birth mother, that I was his mother for the first half of his life. He knows D. He reaches and cries for her, grins when he sees her face. She is mommy in his eyes, and J is daddy. That's all he'll ever know. J isn't the same, he knows I'm mommy. And this would devastate him.

I need to be his mommy. My life feels empty without him. Maybe that makes me selfish, but it's the absolute truth

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sometimes when I think that things are where they need to be, where I can see myself moving forward, something stops me. Without fail, some sort of obstacle is slammed down in my path. B's birth father contacted me recently. I haven't heard from him since I was 6 weeks pregnant, and he never wanted any involvement. But suddenly, there was an email from him, asking me how I was, asking about "the baby". I told him I'd had a little boy and placed him. Part of me expected him to be mad, but all he said was "you do what you have to do, I guess". He couldn't have cared less. And it made me so mad, and it hurt. How could he NOT care about this baby, his flesh and blood? How can you have a child out in the world and not have a desire to know them.

I don't get it, not one single bit.

He has far more children than necessary, and doesn't see any of them. Not even the ones he had with his ex-wife. Part of me feels sorry for him. His life has got to be empty. To be his age, with no real love in his life. He got married again apparently, has a child even younger than B. But I don't think he even loves his wife truly. Or he wouldn't have contacted me wanting to get together. He wouldn't be completely dismissing her feelings by behaving this way. He is such a jerk, and I just want to throat punch him. I thought I would be glad if he contacted me again... but it makes me sick. I want nothing more than for him to just go away and never come back. I don't need him, I have far higher standards now. B doesn't need him, he has a daddy who loves him, and is the kind of father he could never hope to be. 

But he's an obstacle. He takes me back to my past so quickly, the kind of person I used to be, the lifestyle I was living. I'm so thankful I'm not that person anymore, but I still feel like I could be if I'm not careful. All I want is to look in the mirror and be proud of who I am. I'm not there yet. But I really hope that someday I get there