Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My response

OK, I have had a while to think about the previous comment left here about my adoption story and there are just a few things I would like to address just to make sure my position is clear. 

I hope you make it to the bottom of this post because it is the second set of comments are the most meaningful to me, as they were posted by an adoptee who seems to have a good heart.

But before we get to the nice comments here are a few of my thoughts about the original comment.

First, it  began with probably the biggest zinger of what I read.  The commenter states she is an adoptive mother who chose closed adoption so she wouldn't have to deal with a birthmother.  Followed by this very interesting statement:

"It is to difficult for the birth mother to maintain her place and most often believes that she is owed special privileges following her decision to give her child up based on reasons that she later regrets."

I am interested to know what is a birthmother's place? 

In the most beautiful adoption relationships that I have researched and read about, the birthmother's place is respected and embraced.  In the same way that the adoptive parents are loved and respected. The adoptive parents appreciate the birth family for the role that they have in their child's life.  In those open adoptions the birthmother becomes an extended member of their family.  And the birthmother in return respects, loves and honors the parents of the child.

I know for certain I have never once said or even implied that I am owed any special privileges because I am a birthmother.  I asked one time to see the child.  They respectfully declined and I did not say another word about it.  I have never asked again.  The visit we did have was offered by Brit's mother and father. And we were grateful when they allowed us that time with her.

"She then begins to project blame, guilt and grieving on the mother who is loving, raising and embracing each moment of life with the gorgeous little girl."

This blog is about me and my feelings.  I do not call Brit's parents and cry to them.  These are not letters to Brit's parents.  This is a heartfelt sharing of my most intimate feelings.  Right or wrong.  They are my feelings.

The time I did talk to Brit's father on the phone, he willingly called me and I was clear that I did not blame them for anything.  I simply told him how hard it was to have such a broken heart.  I was just being honest because I firmly believe that in this situation, it was important that we all understood where we stood in the post adoption adjustment.

I specifically have stated here in my blog that Brit's parents were not the cause of my grief.  I was grieving the loss of a child and I think even more than that, I grieved the loss of a friendship.  Yes, the fact that they pulled back and ended the close relationship we had prior to her birth was very painful for me.  But after talking to Brit's father, I better understood why it had happened and I respected him and them for sharing that with me.  And I in return told them how I felt.  They did not intend to hurt me.  And I certainly have never intended to hurt them either.

I have always owned my own grief.  I was not coerced into an adoption plan.  I am a mature, educated, self sufficient woman. I made the decision. Now I wish that I would have done some things differently.  I wish that I would have asked more specific questions about what our future relationship with this child would look like. I wish I would have done more post-adoption grief research prior to placement.  I wish we all would have sat together and worked out a post-adoption plan that we could go back to when things got so tough for all of us because we were on an emotional roller coaster.  But the past is just that.  Now we must look forward.

Never once have I "dumped" my grief on them.  I save the grief dumping for here.  This began as a private blog that no one read.  Then a couple of adoptive mom's found it and now I have a few followers.  Only one is a person who I know and she is the one who connected me to the parents in the first place.  All other followers are from states far from me.  Not even my family knew about this blog.  It is simply a place that I have found others like me who can help me process post-adoption grief.  And a place where I can see and better understand perspectives of adoptive families.

The next portion of her comment, I just completely disagree with.

"I do not mean to appear disrespect but it appears to me from reading all of your blogs that you have expectations that are unrealistic and very unfair to this little angel.

You had roughly 8 months during your pregnancy and 12 hours post birth to parent her but apparently chose not to parent her due no commitment of marriage from your boyfriend, older kids you have already raised and your age."

I do not believe my expectations are unrealistic, nor are they unfair to our little angel.  I do not request visits, I do not hound her parents.  The only place that I even speak of these things is right here on this blog.  This is where I think out loud and wish for something different.  If I were calling them, or emailing them, begging for more, then I could begin to see your point.  I do none of those things. 

I want a relationship with Brit and I was clear about that prior to her birth.  I didn't know when that relationship would begin, but there was never any question about whether or not we would want to have a relationship with Brit and her parents.  We intended to maintain our friendship with them.  I had no reason to believe that would change.

Now, maybe that sounds unrealistic to someone who doesn't want to deal with a birthmother.  And if it does, then I am very glad that this commenter found an adoption relationship that relieves her of such a "burden". I hope that it also works for the child involved.

The rest of the comment is just mean spirited.  It is obvious that this person does not read all of the love and affection that I have toward Brit's parents.  I never speak ill of them.  I always say how grateful I am that they love sweet Brit with all the love I could ever want for her.

If I were an addict, or had other issues that would be difficult to deal with, I can understand why an adoptive couple would maintain a distance.  But even if that were the case, children have a natural curiosity about their biological family.  In spite of the circumstances from which they came. For the sake of the child, knowing more rather than less about his/her birth family seems to have the most benefit.

I did not choose an anonymous family for my child.  I chose her parents specifically because they were like us.  We got along great.  They will provide for their daughter the same kind of life she would have had with us had we stayed together, gotten married and parented her.

I spent 6 months of my life getting to know her mother.  We laughed together, cried together and created a friendship.  She met my children.  We have many commonalities.  She is exactly the mother I wanted for my daughter.  And since I wasn't in a place to do that, I am so thankful we found them.

The closing of her comment was also very mean spirited. But I share it again because there is a single ounce of truth to it.

"They do not HAVE to maintain contact and I am amazed they have continued to do so this long. Kudos to them for being so patient with your self-centered expectations. You should be grateful and at their mercy... "

She did get one thing right.  I am grateful for Brit's parents. Thankfully they have an empathy and a true heart for the best interest of their child.  I am so lucky that God brought them into my life and not someone who had no intentions of having to deal with the complications of a birthmother.  I am praying for this commenter. My heart hurts just seeing the hateful thoughts that fill her heart.


Now here is the a comment that I would really like to talk about.  This comment came today after I posted the original nasty message.  I don't know this person, but she sounds very grounded and insightful.  I love the things she had to say.  They are very true.

"That was harsh wasn't it? Well, as an adult adoptee I would have to say adoption is harsh for us too.

My wish is that everyone would understand how hard and lifelong painful it is BEFORE they decide that it will be a win-win-win for everyone.

You can continue by being honest on your blog. It seems you though it would be like you were raising your child from afar without the responsibility, but able to enjoy all the milestones. Its not so easy is it? It will not be easy for your child either.

And if this adoption closes, it will also be hard for both of you. There are no easy answers, just a lifetime of loss.

And as you see, some adoptive parents just want everyone to get over it, so they can continue with the "as if born to" fantasy.

Good luck with your hard choices, I hope you can find a way to compromise and keep the best interests of your child in mind."

The only thing that I would say that is not true of my expectations of adoption is the idea that I would be able to share in milestones.  I knew that I was relinquishing that right when we made her adoption plan.  I knew I would be loving from afar most of the time. 

That doesn't mean it still doesn't make me sad.  I wish it wasn't this way.  I wish I could have kept Brit and raised he in the same manner that her parents are raising her now.  But I couldn't.  And they are.  Brit benefits.

I never had any intention of being a co-parent.  I am not Brit's parent.  But I love her.  And I want a relationship with her.  It will not be like her relationship with her mom.  That special place belongs to her mom.  But I can still have a meaningful relationship with Brit, and her parents.  It is just different than being her parent.

I want to be their family friend.  I want to share in the joys of Brit's life.  I don't expect that I will be there for all of them.  But I want to celebrate them just the same.  Even if it is at a distance most of the time.  I liken it to the kind of relationship I have with my sister and nephew.  I am crazy, head-over heels in love with that little guy.  I try to spend as much time as possible with him.  But I am not his mother.  However, I love him like crazy anyway.  I wasn't there when he took his first steps, but I rejoiced when they told me that he finally started walking.  I wish my relationship with Brit and her family was like that.

I want Brit to always know who we are so she doesn't fantasize about her birth family.  I want us to be real to her.  I want her to understand from a as early as she can comprehend, that we chose her parents especially for her, not because we didn't want her, but because we wanted her to have more than we could provide for her at the time.

I don't want Brit to feel like she lost anything.  I want her to have everything that is available to her.  Parents who love her, a birth family who also loves her, and an identity of who she is and where she came from.

I hope that by being involved in some type of relationship with Brit, she will be able to appreciate all of the ways that she is special to so many people.

I want to shield her from as much loss as I possibly can.  I have always wanted only the best for her.  And I hope that is exactly what she receives.


Lora said...

I am glad you took my post in the spirit it was meant. I worried that it was too blunt. I am probably old enough to be your mother and I have been a closed era adoptee for a long time, I spent 40 years pussyfooting around speaking about adoption and being in denial. So part of what I need to do for my own healing is speak my truths.

I had one more thing to add about this:
"You should be grateful and at their mercy... "

Wow. Do you think this adoptive mother expects gratitude from her children as well? Last I looked, its the adoptive parents that got what they most wanted, and the first mothers and children who lost a biological connection. Unfortunatly its true,they are both at her mercy
and she does not seem like she is very gracious with that burden. One day she will pay the price when its her own adopted child asking for answers.

birthmothertalks said...

I like the way you handled that mean comment. She will have to answer to her child someday about how she wanted a closed adoption because she didn't want to honor and respect his or her birthmom.

Amber said...

WOW, I could write volumes in response to your post (and the asinine comments the one person made). Hello, by the way. New reader and adoptive mother here. :)

I am so grateful for the openness of our adoption, the wonderful people who chose us to be Aidan's parents. And if I could just voice my own disagreement with the first nasty comment... why on earth would a birthmom NOT deserve special status?! Our birthmom may have made some bad decisions in her life, she may even continue to do so, but she had the courage to be unselfish for Aidan. It's not about the fact she chose US as his parents, it's about the fact that she realized she couldn't provide him with what he needed. No matter what ever happens in our adoption equation, she will ALWAYS have special status. To deny her that, in my mind, would be a travesty. That said, 'special status' isn't the same as the relationship that I have with Aidan as his adoptive mom.

I'll shut up now before I break your comments page and upset anyone. :) Thanks for putting this out there. I look forward to reading more!

wsbirthmom said...

I feel so on the same wavelength as you.....
and am standing on the first few steps of this long 'birthmom' journey, and reading the 'ugly' post was like pouring salt in my very open wounds....

You handled and addressed all of the comments with great grace......

This person is honestly not a very strong person, and realizes that she is not capable of being as you put it 'strong', and able to 'do the hard things for the sake of her child'.
Unfortunate for the child she was so fortunate to have placed with her. I wonder what the agency who actually placed a child with her would say, of course she would have to be 'honest' and 'up front' about her feelings for them to even know.

I am so happy that you have been able to finally meet with your beautiful little angel, and her parents, and that it was a very positive experience. I am hoping for the same, and am focusing on the day that we will be able to experience the same joy that you did as well.

I'm so ecstatic to have found you and your blog!

DeeDee said...

Journaling is so theraputic...keep it up...maybe a book can come from this as a way to encourage others. I am sorry for the emails that come with mis-understanding n bitterness...you cling close to God as your refuge and He will strengthen you...Blessings