June 4, 2015 § 9 Comments
The visit last Sunday wasn’t horrible. C and L have warm, kind personalities and they are easy to chat with. L (adad) is clearly an animated, attention-grabbing personality, so he told a lot of stories and filled silences. David and I were quiet and probably seemed distant or detached; though I don’t know what they expected. They mainly told stories about the kid, who is the star of every room he is in. When we were in the restaurant and outside, everyone was looking at him and smiling. He has a ridiculous amount of charisma for a toddler. Apparently all the girls at daycare are obsessed with him, and he ignores them. Ha!
He was also a good talker for his age, telling us an adorable story about their trip to the zoo. He showed us the animals they saw by imitating each of them, roaring like a lion and waving his arm in front of his face like an elephant. I wish I was privileged enough to hear his stories every day, to hang around and see what he says next. He is happy and sweet and he obviously loves his parents. He has a hilarious sense of humor and the most contagious belly laugh. And he is all boy, super active and high energy even compared to other toddler boys, although he was perfectly well behaved the whole time I saw him. It was a surreal experience to sit across a table from him. I couldn’t believe I was really seeing him and he was so physically close, only an arm’s reach away and not miles. I pretended for emotion’s sake that he was like any of my friend’s kids in which I am only politely interested, so I didn’t stare. If it weren’t so painful I would have stared and watched him forever.
Apparently they were in town to adopt “H’s baby brother.” Guess they were all out of baby girls. They talked about it exactly like that, like he was already theirs. Every instance that baby brother was mentioned felt like a knife stab. If they were expecting a smile or a congratulations, they didn’t get one. I felt sick and paralyzed thinking of the soon to be separated mother and baby. I’m not even raising my own child, and they’re now raising two of someone else’s. Mercifully, they didn’t talk about any details except that he was going to be overdue like H was, and that was enough for me.
The good news is that they suggested e-mailing photos and updates, because of the international move, snail mail would be pretty inconvenient. I gave L my email, and he sent me a photo to make sure that it worked. They apologized for sending slightly late updates, and they seemed horrified when I said the agency takes at least a month to mail them. C asked if I had kept in touch with the agency and I wasn’t sure if she meant counseling or chit-chat. Either way, they only texted me a few times after I left the hospital and I’ve had no desire to ever talk to those women again.
Even though the visit overall went well, David and I had a difficult time with it. I still am. A familiar darkness has settled back in, the heaviness of moving around every day, and I have a fresh vision of what was lost. But it’s alright, I’ve accepted that I’m never going to catch a fucking break.
May 30, 2015 Enter your password to view comments.
May 29, 2015 § 8 Comments
I’ve been really happy lately, or at least trying to be. I know myself and what I want now, and I’m no longer floundering useless or escaping reality. David has been sober for three months, and our relationship has never been better. I feel as if I’m in a fairy tale with the love of my life. We’ve both been working hard, trying to sort out our emotional health, finances, and our future. We are a team with shared vision and clear goals.
I heard from my son’s parents, through a mediator of course, that they will be in town this weekend and want to see me. We are having brunch on Sunday morning. I was shocked to the core. I never ever thought we’d have visits, although C and L travel often and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had business in my home city once in a while. I just didn’t see a visit as something they’d be comfortable with. And I honestly don’t know the purpose of a visit for them. Most likely they see it as a benevolent act of kindness, to “let me” see him. Or maybe it’s for their benefit and they’re the ones who are curious about me. Either way, too much stuffed-down shit has been coming back up. I have never been one to wish for visits, birthdays, holidays, etc. I’ve been able to keep my emotions at a distance only because I don’t have to think about it. I quickly reached a point where I stopped living for the next update, yearning for the smallest tangible piece of my son. I know I’ve lost him forever. But I’ve never stopped regretting and hating all of it.
C and L didn’t specify wanting to see David, of course, they only invited me and they probably think that our relationship is long over. We were broken up while I was making the adoption plan, so that’s understandable. I let the mediator know that we’re both coming to brunch. I worry that they’ll be freaked out we’re still together. Normally I don’t GAF what people think, but since their uncomfortable feelings could lead to them closing the adoption or giving our son a negative impression of us as he grows up, I have to GAF a little bit. David and I have talked about being polite and respectful and treating the kid like any other stranger’s kid. I am terrified of seeing him. He is close to turning 3, he talks now, he looks frighteningly grown-up, and I don’t know what he’s been told, if anything. I can’t picture C and L dwelling on the topic of birth parents. It’s always been painfully obvious that they see themselves as the only parents. Plus, the kid is so young that if he was told who we are he might not understand. I believe we’ll just be another pair of boring adults to him. Nothing special. Thankfully it’s just one meal and will be over quickly.
My biggest worry is not seeing the kid, exactly. My biggest worry is seeing him AND being focused enough to think of what to say to his parents. What will I say to these people that I completely fucking loathe? The effort it will require for me to not be a total cunt will be enormous and exhausting. Maybe David should do all the talking.
Why am I such a Red Giant sized ball of bitch and motherfucking hatred? Besides the fact that these are the very people who gained everything from my loss and pain without so much as a passing thought. Well, I received a VERY late update from the family and I read it today. I’ll post about that tomorrow, under password protection.
Hopefully I can sort out some of these dark feelings before we all meet on Sunday morning. Hopefully I will survive the next few days and quickly return to the safe world David and I have made for each other.
December 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
No matter what they do to us
No matter what may come, my dear
Remember when I say
We’re never apart
We’re never apart
Feeling and dreaming on
We’re never apart
We’re never apart, yeah
Wherever you may be, love
When storm clouds appear
Just think of me
Wherever we may run
Remember these three words
We’re never apart
We’re never apart
November 30, 2014 § 10 Comments
Just in case consulting a real birth mother is too hard or too scary, adoptive father Lawrence Morton wrote this piece of fiction about what birth mothers are like. He attempts to contrast myth with reality, although there is nothing new or fascinating here. It’s the same sticky-sweet birth mother tale that adoptive parents and adoption agencies have been telling for ages. In calling out myths about birth mothers, the author only perpetuates a different set of adoption myths, except this time they are myths used to acquire more babies for adoption. Being called “selfless and loving” or “brave” is more insidious, but not any different, than simply being called a slut.
Since Morton is an adoptive father, not a birth mother, I figured I would do a better job picking apart birth mother myths.
Myth: Birth mothers are selfless and loving.
This is the most pervasive birth mother myth I know of, based on the number of terrible ads that blare, “Adoption is a selfless, loving choice!” Those words were said to me, over and over and over again when I was pregnant, and I believed it. Try to stop and comprehend the true meaning of that slogan for a minute. Isn’t parenting selfless and loving? I don’t know how other people are raised, but I’m pretty sure it’s common knowledge that parenting is tough shit. My mom and dad never let me forget it. We all hear about the troubled teenager who selfishly gets pregnant so she has a baby to love, but I have never met anyone like that. And yet, every expectant mother considering adoption is implicitly told that raising her child is selfish. Pretty sure most women are not fulfilling their own selfish desires when they parent alone and without much money. They are simply doing the work that every parent does, no matter the joy or the exhaustion. Undoubtedly, parenting is loving. There is nothing shameful about that.
It’s not always possible for mothers to raise their children, but adoption shouldn’t be higher on the pedestal than parenting. It shouldn’t be made out to be the best possible solution for mother and child, in all circumstances. If adoption is “selfless and loving,” then whatever obstacle the mother is facing in parenting her child, no matter how temporary–safety, money, marital status–is BEST solved by relinquishing her child forever. All other solutions are implied to be selfish and less loving. Apparently, it’s not even worth a conversation about how, in the future, choosing adoption may seem incredibly selfish to the one who was adopted. I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t seek out any adoptee voices when I was pregnant. I was told that adopted people are always happy and grateful, and that was that.
I came across a discussion of my blog on an adoptee forum, about the part where I wrote my cringe-worthy reasons for choosing adoption, and some of the adoptees who commented said, “At least she realizes how selfish she is.” Just because the adoption agency calls you “selfless” doesn’t mean you are, nor does it mean your child will feel that way. And if you choose adoption for a murky reason like not being married or not having a college degree, like I did, you will probably be called selfish at some point. I’ll admit that there are birth parents who are entirely deserving of the negative “myths” that Morton tries to debunk. The truth is that giving up your child doesn’t make anyone loving or selfless automatically.
This myth assigns the mother such worthlessness, that the best way she can show her love is by leaving her child’s life. It assumes that the adoptive parents will be better than the birth parents in every possible way, that the child will prefer being raised by the adoptive parents, and that the mother has nothing to offer her own child. If she keeps her baby, it is for no other reason than to satisfy her own needs and desires. There is no way to show her love and care except by relinquishing. And of course all adoptive parents are perfect–they are never abusive or flawed or any of the things birth moms are.
Moreover, the cheer of “b-moms are selfless, rah rah” takes on a different meaning when it comes from APs or PAPs. I’m sure my son’s parents were more than happy to rescue me from the horrible fate of Parenthood that so many will pay thousands of dollars for, and yet I was expected to just throw it all away. But in adoption, everything is opposite and backwards. “Adoption is a loving choice” makes as much sense to me as WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
Myth: Completing someone else’s family (while destroying our own) is a birth mom’s job.
Consider the common phrase “our birthmom” used by adoptive parents. I always hear that flung about, online and in real life: “our birthmom.” Really? Did she birth you and your spouse as well? Is she a human being with a name, or is her only purpose in life that you care about to give birth for your benefit? When adoptive parents call their child’s birth mom “our,” it makes me realize she is yet another lower class person in their lives who performs a service for them–our birthmom, our pool cleaner. Like she was a handmaiden assigned to serve them.
A lot of women buy into this. We’re told to feel happy and proud that we are building a family for people who can’t. But that’s not our job. No one should be made to feel that their baby is for someone else, which brings me to…
Myth: Birth mothers were destined to get unexpectedly pregnant for the benefit of infertile couples who “need” babies.
I’m not religious, and yet this myth plagued me for a long time. The ladies at the agency fed me the idea that by looking through parent profiles, I would find the perfect couple who was just MEANT for my son, thereby setting me up to choose people with hopes of parenthood so I would feel obligated to go through with the adoption, rather than chill out and think more about my options as my pregnancy progressed. After I picked C and L, they told me over and over that I found my son’s perfect parents by “fate” and everything happened for a reason. After I told C and L that I chose them, the agency encouraged me to sit back and relax with the knowledge that everything was as it should be. This marginalized the guilt I felt and made me feel content for the time being. After all, you don’t mess with destiny.
The idea of things happening for a reason can be comforting, I suppose, but it’s made-up bullshit. People love to tell you “everything happens for a reason,” especially at funerals. It’s difficult to face the fact that life and death are chaotic, senseless, and unfair. As infinitesimal specks in the universe, it’s comforting to believe in an underhanded arrangement out there, but it’s for this same reason that we shouldn’t presume to know what is meant to be or not meant to be. We are just too small and too stupid. When I look back on my pregnancy, I see now that there were signs everywhere that I shouldn’t give up my baby and that I was being used. I just didn’t pay attention. It was too stressful to deal with any cognitive dissonance, so I buried it.
It’s usually self-entitled adoptive parents who believe that adoption is God’s plan for them. They probably don’t realize that for God to plan an adoption, God planned for a mother to lose her child. If so, God is a real asshole. They also don’t understand the vast improbability that “THEIR child” is waiting in another pregnant woman’s belly. The principle of Occam’s Razor suggests there are more likely possibilities that involve fewer assumptions. And if an adoptive parent doesn’t realize that the biggest difference between them and birth parents is money, they are probably assholes as well.
Myth: Birth mothers did the right thing in giving their child up.
Like the “loving/selfless” myth, this one does not allow for any complexity to be present in the situation. Adoption is ALWAYS “the right thing.” It is as black and white as right and wrong. This implies that choosing adoption is taking the moral high ground. It’s as simple as saying no to drugs in your sixth grade DARE program. For adoption to be the right thing, it has to be the right thing for everybody. My son is not living a better life with his adoptive family, just a different one. And if adoption were the right thing for me, I wouldn’t be crawling out of my skin wishing I could be with him.
This reminds me. I always get a kick out of adoptees who don’t know anything about their birth families, but they wish they could thank them for doing the right thing. How do you know your adoptive family is better, or that your birth family didn’t relinquish you for adoption because it was “right” but because of sad, difficult reasons? Anywho.
There are times when adoption is wonderful and necessary. My son’s adoption wasn’t one of those times. Giving him up was not even close to the “right” thing to do, and don’t tell me I should find peace, either.
Myth: That everyone thinks birth mothers are selfish in the first place.
Dear Lawrence Morton, we’ve been bashed in the head with this propaganda long enough. 90% of the comments read, “I never thought birthmothers were selfish! They are so brave!” True, plenty of people think birth moms are selfish whores who discard their children. But we’ve all heard the “selfless and loving” narrative for so long, that’s what people believe now. There is something seriously wrong when adoption, which should be avoided if at all possible, has become widely known as the MOST loving option POSSIBLE, even for women who could realistically parent. In this day and age, young single women parent successfully all the time, and that’s what the adoption industry is afraid of.
Let’s be real, being a birth mother is not a source of pride or a badge of selflessness–it’s just the only way for adoptive parents like Mr. Morton to acquire healthy babies.
September 28, 2014 § 4 Comments
In August, I made it through his birthday and relinquishment day feeling okay. I thought of him on his birthday, but not too much. It’s too sad and horrible to go there, if I can help it. Nothing good ever comes from remembering those days in the hospital. I wish I could just erase the memories. I really thought they would fade at least.
I did get an update and photos after his 2nd birthday. They’re doing well as usual, traveling a lot and living their WASPy lives. I don’t hear much about their personal lives at all, actually. C mentioned in the letter that they have a soccer ball and a goal in their garage, and he has taken an interest in kicking the ball into the goal. I perked up at this, because David used to be a soccer champ. C wrote that he must’ve been inspired by the World Cup, but I know better. She also apologized for sending it late; she said she just wanted to include pictures of the birthday party. That’s nice of her, because last year I didn’t get any pictures of his first birthday. Anyway, the adoption agency takes so long to send the updates that I didn’t receive it until September.
David and I will probably break up, and I will probably have to move away and figure out a new living situation. Looking back, it’s easy to see that moving in was never a good choice. I just thought that once we moved in, David and I would slowly become so sweet and domestic we’d have a baby, and live happily ever after. Early this year, I so naively believed this that I told my blog about it. Turns out that was a huge misunderstanding. A few months later, we talked about it again and David doesn’t want kids for like a decade, if at all. He only told me we could have another one to make me feel better.
As for why we will probably break up, it’s because his drinking has worsened. He has been a social binge drinker for a long time, and since we moved in together, it has taken a turn into legitimate alcoholism. I wish I had seen that coming. I’ve done everything I can to stop him, but there’s nothing I can do. Not only that, but he becomes horribly mean and cruel, an altogether different person. I lost hope long ago that anything will change, but I can’t move until our lease ends and I’m just trying to keep everything together until then.
I’m not used to opening up about personal stuff. There is a lot I don’t share with anyone, and even though I’ve shared intimate thoughts in this particular space, it doesn’t make it easier to talk about such a stressful situation. It’s even more embarrassing. “Well, thank heavens she didn’t raise her baby,” people will read this and think. “Her boyfriend is an alcoholic and she dropped out of college!”
If I played the what-if game, I honestly believe that while we would’ve faced problems if we kept him, those problems would be much different than the ones we currently have. I would certainly not have dropped out of college. My relationship with David may have fizzled a while ago, as I’d be way less likely to tolerate unstable behavior. Or he may never have gotten so heavily into drinking, because he was simply too busy with parenting (which I know he would have taken part in, despite his assumption that he would hate it). Whenever I think about the what-ifs, a dark and scary sensation creeps over me, like I’m coming too close to a parallel universe, a world I can’t reach, but jealously observe.
It’s maddening to know that world likely exists out there, if all possible quantum outcomes can be realized. Somewhere, we are all together. That world will always be more desirable than mine.
July 29, 2014 § 5 Comments
I’ve been doing everything I can to distract myself this summer. I really try not to think about adoption things and to stay busy, keeping up on my to-do lists and staying productive. Even relaxation needs to feel purposeful, such as going on a run, or reading a book. Last summer was the exact opposite–I stayed inside my sweltering hot little apartment, crying/sleeping/eating, barely even got a tan. I was always on my computer or my phone, reading adoption articles and blogs and googling adoption-related phrases, trying to ease questions in my head. I took no part in the long, fun-packed sunny days that summer should be.
Now this year, I’m oddly detached. Could I be the first person so awful that his upcoming birthdate doesn’t matter to me? It would matter to me if I thought more about it, but I don’t. I just want to enjoy this summer. I’ve started thinking that my son is dead, or that I never had him, so I can block out thoughts of him and the adoption. I will miss him for the rest of my life, and sometimes it’s just better to let it go for the moment.
For the last two years I have purposefully made no effort at any friendships, to avoid having to tell someone why I’m sad or explain any of this. But that approach becomes lonely and I’ve started pursuing friendships with other girls, especially the ones I work with. None of them know I had a baby or will ever know. When making new friends, not giving a fuck is important, as is being happy. No one is attracted to moping or desperation. And I am actually happy most of the time.
How is that okay? I often wonder. I shouldn’t be happy–not because I don’t deserve to be happy, although that may be true as well, but because, logistically, I shouldn’t be able to live with such a loss and reach past the sadness for something else. If I start feeling happier, what if that justifies everything that happened? Just because my current situation is great, does that make everything right? What if it means I don’t love my son anymore? My heart protests fiercely, no, nothing could make that okay. Saying goodbye to my son forever when he was 2 days old will never become okay, no matter what happens. As for loving him, that is absolute and unquestionable, a law of the universe. But time and distance wears on our ties.
After so long, I love him dearly but we don’t know each other. We’re not in each other’s lives. Even if the photos and updates were more frequent, this would still be true. The substance that a bond is made of, the kindling if you will, doesn’t exist. I’m tired of feeling around in empty air for something that only makes me miserable. Missing my baby, feeling sad, even awaiting the updates…I don’t want to do it anymore.