Dear Unexpected Pregnant Woman

First, let me say how sorry I am that you are going through this experience.  I truly do understand.  Having an unplanned/unexpected pregnancy can sometimes be distressing with uncertainty; and possibly even more so in your tender teenage years.

I have made three different choices.  I have chosen to abort, I have chosen to single parent, and I have chosen to relinquish my parental rights.  Speaking from my own personal experience, all of these choices come with some sort of consequence.  As for your choices, I don’t want to persuade you one way or the other but I will share some of what I have learned and give you some things to consider.

If you are considering having an abortion, I do support a woman’s choice to abort for whatever her reasons are.  Women react differently to abortions, while going through the procedure and in the days and months following the procedure so I am not sure I could give you much more information that is not already available online.  But you should do what you feel you need to do to move forward in your life.

As for the choice to parent or relinquish, there are many factors to consider.  Here is a list of questions that you may want to answer to help with your choice and plan for the future:

  • Is the father of your child supporting you?
  • Is your family supporting you?
  • Does the father want to help raise this child with you as a couple or as two single parents/co-parents?
  • Is his family being supportive?

Having some sort of support system will benefit you (and your baby) greatly especially if you are still in school.

As for the adoption choice, if you feel you are unable to parent your child and are not being pressured or coerced by loved ones to make this choice, then review the various adoption plans closely and do what you feel in your heart is best.  I do believe that some adoption choices are necessary.  However, know that a richer/wealthier life for the child does not mean a better life for the child.  This is what I hear from adult adoptees all the time.  Love and security are the most important things a child needs.  I chose an open adoption.  For me, that has helped in many ways.  Know that the emotional pain from relinquishing your parental rights can be overwhelming at times.  It’s not impossible to heal but healing after your child leaves your womb and your arms can take a long time, sometimes a lifetime.

If you decide to parent your child, please honor that choice.  Make your child your priority.  A child should never feel like you gave up your life because you got pregnant.  What I am trying to say is, don’t place shame or guilt on your child for showing up unexpectedly or that you had to give up your dreams so you could parent him/her.  Nor should a child need to be unnaturally grateful that you decided to keep him and parent him.  As I said previously, having a good support system is beneficial but many of us have done the single parenting thing alone without our partner or family.  Nothing is impossible if you believe in what you are doing.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask for public/government assistance.

I truly hope that your loved ones are supporting you during this time.  But more importantly, I hope you understand that this is your decision about your body, your baby, and your life.  Do not allow anyone to tell you what is best for you.

I know you have a lot to consider.  And I trust that you will make the best choice for you.  Sending you much needed blessings and prayers, asking God to guide you in this choice, and wishing you all the best as you move forward in your life.

Supporting Women

When I say I support women and their reproductive choices, I mean it, wholeheartedly,

Recently, I received a personal message from a woman, who was in the midst of a dilemma, in a group I follow in BabyCenter.com.  She had seen one my comments that I shared on a post where I touched briefly and lightly on all three of my choices.  She asked me to elaborate.

At first I was hesitant.  I waited a couple days before replying.  I needed to gather my thoughts.  Since I have made three different choices due to unplanned pregnancies with three varying outcomes that led to a multitude of emotional residue, I didn’t feel it would be fair to build up one choice as a better alternative than another.  I also didn’t want to convince or persuade her in one way or another of what she should or shouldn’t do.  That’s not my place.  It would be no more fair of me to glorify open-adoption then it would be to glorify single parenting.

I strongly believe that I have no right to evoke a thought that may persuade any woman to make one choice over the other.  However she decides to move forward in her pregnancy, she is the one who will live with her choice for remainder of her life.

I know what it’s like to have others pressure you into making a choice that is their preferred outcome.  It makes one feel insecure and inadequate.  When someone forces or coerces another person or tries to paint a picture that is not based on facts but on their own limited perception, it’s all about control.  It’s one person trying to take another’s power away.  For some, they want to create their version of the perfect outcome of someone else’s life, as if they are God.  While others are conveying  from a personal point of view, as if this had happened to them, this is what they would choose or maybe have chosen.  But the truth is, it’s not happening to them.  It’s happening to the woman who is pregnant and is faced with a choice about her future.

Who am I to tell another woman what is best for her.  I have no right to tell another human being that she should end the life that is in her womb.  Neither do I have a right to influence her to surrender her newborn infant.  And I surely don’t want to guilt someone into parenting.  My intent is to provide as much information as possible for a well-rounded image.  Not all rosy, not all dark.  Not all positive, not all negative.  But always the truth.

I will say that I do understand and sympathize with the women who have become anti-abortion or anti-adoption because of their own personal experience and emotional trauma more so than coming from a man or woman who has never experienced a similar circumstances or choice in their life.  Woman who have lived through these experiences and life alterations are biased because of their involvement.  As sisters, we may not want another woman or mother to have to endure the gut wrenching pain that becomes a part of the aftermath of such turmoil.  We feel it’s our duty to protect other woman from this heartache and emotional mind game.

I guess that’s why I wrote One Woman’s Choice.  And I’ve had people upset with me because I discuss abortion and they do not approve of abortions.  Others who didn’t know me or my story before reading One Woman’s Choice said they were sad when they came to the page that told of my signing relinquishment papers because they were hoping that I had decided not to go through with the adoption.  While others felt I glorified adoption as a wise, religious choice.

The three most important things that I want people to understand after reading One Woman’s Choice are these:

  • Men are equally as responsible for unplanned pregnancies as women.
  • No one has the right to suggest, force or coerce a woman to make a choice (aborting, parenting or relinquishing)
  • God is a loving God.  And despite what some think, even after abortion, God is a loving God.

Truth is, there are no easy answers, no common outcome.  The issues are too complex and every circumstance is unique.  And if we choose abortion or adoption,  the road to recovery is experienced in many different ways.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve or heal.  My experience may be very different than someone else’s.  It doesn’t mean that either one of us is right or wrong, or weaker or stronger; we’re just different in our human experience.

In the end, I respect woman enough to know that with honest feedback, knowledge (pro’s and con’s), and compassion, we are very capable of making a well informed decision.  And when all is said and done, I will be here to support my sisters as best as I can, no matter what choice they decide to make.

Relinquishment

Pregnant woman in the shadows (BW image)

Pregnant woman in the shadows (BW image) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been thinking about the adoption evolution and revolution here lately.  How the adoption agencies and their clients have changed so much in their approach to the modern day pregnant women who is considering adoption as opposed to how they spoke to and about our baby scoop era sisters before us.  The modern day pregnant women considering relinquishing her parental rights are shown compassion, respect and admiration with phrases like:

“You are courageous, wonderful, and selfless.”

“You are giving your child a chance at a better life.”

“You are giving some family a precious gift.”

Now a day’s society understands that women have clear choices.  We basically have two more options that the baby scoop era women didn’t have.  So naturally, adoption agencies and the adoption community have changed their approach to the unintended pregnant woman.

We’ve gone from “You have to give up your baby,” to “You can choose open or closed adoption when you place your child.”  But the truth is, women don’t give up or place their children.  We have chosen to relinquish.  Society doesn’t like that word.  I don’t like it either.  But that is the truth.  Often times, it’s an ugly truth.  Ask any mother (or father in some cases) who has signed a legal document entitled Relinquishment of Parental Rights.  Once the ink makes contact with the paper and the strokes of the pen slowly inscribes your name, it soon becomes very apparent just how real those words are.  And it is done.  Relinquished!

I think back to the times when my (birth mother) sisters who were forced and coerced to leave their babies in a hospital.  The ones who never got to see their child leave their womb and enter the world, the ones who woke up after giving birth to an empty crib and empty arms, and the ones who reluctantly believed a bias society.  Although these women may have signed relinquishment papers, most of them had no other choices.  There was no Roe vs. Wade; only illegal abortions.  There were no single parenting options; only a cruel disapproving society.

Don’t get me wrong, society still has their way of getting into the psyche of vulnerable modern day females.  Family and romantic partners still use coercion tactics on defenseless pregnant women.  Adoption agencies and hopeful clients refer to expecting mothers as their birth mother while her baby still rests within her womb, (and in most cases) warm and safe, surrounded by the love of a mother.  How can a woman who hasn’t even given birth yet or relinquished her parental rights be referred to as a birth mother?  That’s society’s way of psychologically preparing her for what they hope she will choose.  Since they are unable to use the old scare tactics, the shameful tactics, the bad girl tactics, the “you’re inadequate” tactics, they have found new ways to subliminally prepare her for their anticipated choice.  So they call her by the name that labels her as a future candidate for the adoption industry.

Birth mother agreement.4

Birth mother agreement.5

I couldn’t imagine telling someone they should give up, place or relinquish.  I couldn’t imagine telling someone they should abort their child and yet people do both of these things every single day.  I wonder how these people feel about their own selves, after coercing a woman or teenage girl to abort or relinquish.  How does one live with themselves knowing that their persuading or forceful ultimatum created a decision that separated a child from his or her first mother and father?

Personally, I don’t think we appropriately prepare women for the truth of relinquishment.  Adoption agencies like to use nice words, fluffy words (placed, adoption plan, gift, loving choice) to conceal the truth.  I can tell you from personal experience, the word relinquish never came up in conversation once during my pregnancy when I met with my adoption counselor prior to the birth of my son.  The first time I remember seeing and hearing that word was when I went into a meeting room to sign the “adoption” papers.  When the relinquishment papers was placed before me, I remember saying the title out loud with a raised brow as I swallowed uncomfortably and looked over to my counselor.  She tried to offer a slight constellation, stating that that is what it is legally called.

We should ask ourselves why an agency feels the need to hide such an important word that goes hand in hand within the adoption industry.  Without relinquishment, there is no adoption; unless it is through the foster care system.

I wonder how many women would choose to relinquish if they were not persuaded in any way and if they knew all the facts beforehand of post relinquishment despair.  I’m not saying adoption is wrong.  There are some cases where adoption is necessary.  But what I am saying is that first and foremost, a woman should be free to choose with no outside influence.  No adoption should be legal without the consent of both biological parents.  More importantly the adoption industry needs to be truthful in every way.  They need to do a better job at preparing mothers and fathers of the repercussion of choosing to relinquish.

After the reality of relinquishment sets in, a birth mother’s heart breaks in a thousand pieces, her mind fills with images of regrets and what ifs, and if she feels she cannot bear another day without her offspring, she may try to rescind her choice.  However, society could care less about this birth mother now.  There is no going back.  There are no second chances.  Just listen to any mother (or father) who has tried and you will hear an evil hiss among the masses warning her, berating her and making false accusation and claims to sway the general masses.  Never mind that just weeks and months before, she was this wonderful angel doing a selfless act.  Now she is no longer a women giving but a women taking.  The priceless human being that God gives freely to females has now become a commodity, a legal lawsuit, and sometimes, a human ransom.  And so, the lawyers, the courts, the adoption agency, the adoptive parents, and even large amounts of society are quick to point to a signature on a legal document that states, Relinquishment of Parental Rights.  The act of signing ones name, that took less than a minute to complete will now take a lifetime to heal.

UNWANTED

A pregnant woman

A pregnant woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I find the whole Pro-Choice, Pro-Life debate frustrating at times. I don’t believe there are any other political issues in this day and age that draw greater polarities of opinions than this political topic. But this post is not about the debate, nor is it about the adults who are arguing over the debate but rather the children. They are the ones in the cross fire.

As much as the debate frustrates me, there is one thing that bothers me even more and that is when I hear the term “unwanted.” This term seems to get easily thrown around by both sides of those debating Pro-Life and Pro-Choice with no apparent consideration of whom it may offend or hurt. I’m curious about these people who sometimes crudely debate this issue; who make their harsh judgments and careless comments about the “unwanted” kids? Who are they? Have they themselves ever felt unwanted? Were they born out of wedlock? Were they adopted? Were they raised by a single parent? Did they grow up poor or homeless? Were they abused or abandoned by one or both of their parents; or bounced around from family to family or foster home to foster home? I would like to hear from the voices of these children.

There are several birth mother groups popping up on the internet and Facebook, some of which are wounded, angry birth mothers who would like to abolish “newborn” adoptions as much as Pro-Lifer’s want to abolish abortions. They believe there are those who try to take advantage of the misfortune of an unplanned teen pregnancy and feel women are being used to supply the needs for the childless parents. At times, I do understand how they feel. As a woman, to have a society judge you for getting pregnant in the first place, then tell you that you are a baby killer if you choose to abort, to telling you it is unfair to raise a child as a single parent, to coaxing you into relinquishing your child; only to have society then tell the birth child he/she was “unwanted” by his or her first/birth parents.

People say it’s different now. For some, it is. But after reading the birth mother blogs, they say that the changes are not genuine but rather a marketing (open adoption) ploy by adoption agencies to get more birth parents to relinquish their parental rights, which turns into more dollars for them. Adoption agencies are playing match maker, representing both sides (birth family versus adoptive family) and will coach or persuade as they feel appropriate, sometimes beguiling one party to benefit another. I will say that my own experience with my birth son’s adoptive parents has been nothing more than positive, open, respectful, and loving for which I am very grateful. I do believe that we are the exception though and not the norm. I’ll let you make your own judgments on this.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 10 million single mothers raising children and 24 million children live in a biological father-absent home. These statistics are alarming and show us that too many women are facing their unplanned pregnancy independently. Men are abandoning women every day during the unexpected prenatal period and somehow we as a society accept this behavior. We allow men to go out and sew their wild oats and then walk away from their responsibility. Society tells women, “Well, you should have known better.” “A man is going to be a man.” Or my personal favorite, “Men can’t help themselves.” Really? Are we talking about children or are we discussing grown mature men. Do we need to remind men that sex was not created for just an orgasm; sex was created to produce life. When girls and boys become men and women, there is no “one” gender to blame for an unplanned pregnancy.

I have heard some men say, “She said she was on birth control.” We all know that birth control is not 100% effective. Even so, it’s not okay to leave the responsibility on one partner. If you do, don’t blame someone else for any consequences. Think of it this way. Your friend handed you gun. You decided to play make-believe Russian roulette. Your friend assures you that they removed all the bullets so you don’t have any worries. Do you aim and shoot? Do you consider the adverse consequence? Do you trust your friend well enough to risk your life?

In my memoir, One Woman’s Choice, I share that my own existence was based on an unplanned “accidental” pregnancy in 1963. My biological father went to prison when I was four years old and was absent for most of my adolescent years, causing my mother to shoulder the responsibility for my every need. I’ve had my fair share of teenage boys and adult men use me for their sexual hunger with no consideration for the unforeseen consequences of their sexual desires or deviances. Even my son’s father refused to take responsibility when he learned of our unplanned child, except to offer to pay for the abortion. And I’ve listened to countless women tell a similar story that resulted in abortion, adoption or single parenting because their male partner couldn’t handle the consequences of sex and walked away. Yes, you might say I am somewhat frustrated by how men can think about sex all the time without thinking about the consequences. Yet still, we continue to blame women for unplanned pregnancies. To borrow a line from the film, Philadelphia, “Can someone please explain this to me like I’m a five year old?”

I don’t know if society has brainwashed men for thousands of years or men have brainwashed women. Maybe a little bit of both. But brainwashing doesn’t make it true. Does society really believe that men are incapable of controlling their own sexual needs or that their desires are stronger than a woman’s desires? I don’t. I think this is an excuse. But that’s not the issue. It’s what happens after those desires are fed that result in an offspring that causes the debate which women and children seem to get caught in the combat zone while men sit on the sidelines observing from afar.

Now I already know that some of the men reading this may be thinking I’m bashing all men. I’m not. I personally know a few good men who didn’t abandon their partner when an unexpected pregnancy occurred and I highly respect them. But you have to admit, even when this happens, we’ve heard some people blame women again and say, “She tricked him.” Just for the record, I’m not saying that all women are saints. But statically, more women are carrying the load and responsibility of an unplanned pregnancy from the time of conception. Society watches her every move, her every decision and is ready to fire back with quick accusations, assumptions and sometimes unfair judgments.

With the exception of forced sexual contact, I don’t think that an abortion or an adoption should take place without the consent of both biological parents. I hope one day it will be illegal for any parent to walk away from his or her responsibility once a child is born unless their parental rights are legally relinquished. I truly believe that if more men supported their partner during an unplanned pregnancy, we would see fewer abortions and adoptions because many, many women chose these options when all other hope is gone, as a last resort. If we don’t begin to educate our youth and re-educate our society, we will continue to fall into the same repetitive cycle over and over again.

But I’m getting side tracked. Back to the “unwanted.”

I can tell you from personal experience that although I have chosen abortion and adoption, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t want my children. Have you ever “wanted” a new car but couldn’t afford it? Some of us know to leave the dealership before we get cornered by some smooth talking salesman who begins to talk us into agreeing to something we know we shouldn’t be doing. Some salesmen can be very persuasive when it comes to getting what they want. Sound familiar? Somehow the salesman gets into our psyche and convinces us into buying a new car. We skip a few payments (you could replace this with “periods”) because of our financial hardship and now the salesman is no longer sweet or charming but rather standoffish and unapproachable. For some of us, our car gets repossessed. It still doesn’t mean we didn’t want the vehicle, it just means we couldn’t afford the vehicle. Some may ask their family or friends for help while others may ask someone to take over payments to avoid repossession.

My point is the vehicle was not unwanted. Just like children are not unwanted. I would say most parents “want” their children whether or not; emotional, physical, or financial hardships prevent them from carrying out their obligation and responsibility. Broadcasting that a youngster is “unwanted” puts the emphasis on the innocent child which is unfair.

No child (or human being) is ever “unwanted” because we always have God, whose love is boundless, endless, and timeless.

Abortion

Do I dare even attempt to discuss abortion in a radical sense? Or for that matter can any of us discuss abortion in a sensible debate? Those who openly discuss abortion are those who either have never had an unplanned pregnancy while others proudly display their ethical crown and openly express their hate towards those who chose to abort and maybe the ones who regretted their choice to abort then later lash out in a hypocritical protest. And then there are the ones who are afraid to speak out, some of which had an abortion and now fear the backlash and judgment that will be thrown at them hastily so they quiet their voice for fear of ridicule.

As many of you know who have read my book, I have had abortions. I am not proud of this fact. When I had my very first abortion back in the early 1980’s, I truly believed that my only two choices were to either single parent or have an abortion. Adoption never even came up. The thought never entered my mind and I don’t remember anyone bringing up the adoption option. However, to speak frankly, I can’t say that if someone would have offered this option, I would have chosen it. I had no idea what it was like to be pregnant or for that matter to be a mother. My maternal instincts were very immature.

In my book, One Woman’s Choice, I acknowledge that my own existence was based on an unplanned pregnancy in 1962. My parents didn’t have the option to abort me. Well, legally abort me. They basically had two choices. Keep me or leave me. They chose to keep me. But this choice didn’t come without sacrifice. And too often, I became the sacrificial lamb.

I remember when I was around four years old, my older brother and sister would get picked up by their father or by their paternal grandparents for the weekend; I was left behind with our mother. My father had recently moved to Florida and my paternal family had no plans of picking me up for the weekend. I was sad to see my siblings leave home without me and even sadder that my own father wasn’t coming to pick me up. Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes it was great hanging out with mommy. No sharing attention with my older siblings; just me and mommy by ourselves was fun. However, other times, it was quite a different story, like when my mother was forced to take me on her dates. My mother made it very clear that the only reason I was going out with her and her date was because she had no one to watch me, no place to drop me off. Basically, she was stuck with me. I remember how this made me feel. I had strict orders to keep quiet and make no sound. It was very apparent that I was not going out with my mother and her date because they wanted me to join them; I was going as a last resort choice.

As a mother myself and a single mother at that, I couldn’t imagine making my son feel like he was a burden or an unwanted guest. And sadly, this is exactly how I felt; unwanted, uninvited, and unaccepted. My father didn’t want me, my mother didn’t want me at that moment and her date surely didn’t want me ruining his plans. Wow, now that’s a heavy load.

From the moment I arrived, my delivery into this world was based on lies and deceit. My mother was still legally married to her first husband when she gave birth to me and with the approval of her separated husband, led the hospital to believe I was his child so his insurance would pay for my delivery. And if that’s not enough, I overheard my mother on a rare occasion give the impression to an old friend that I was from her first marriage. Guess that’s because she was afraid that if they knew the truth, they would judge her. Does that mean I am a shame to the family?

At four and five years old, we can’t really decipher the entire scenario and make reasonable or for that matter practical judgments. At four and five years old, our heart and mind is developing and we are learning about the world around us. We learn from our parents how to love and honor each other; what is acceptable behavior and was is not acceptable. It was during these times, I was very confused about my place in this family, my existence to my environment and my worth as a human being.

I’ve confessed to my son about my abortions and he is aware that he and his younger brother were both unplanned pregnancies. He also knows what influenced some of my decisions. I told him that I myself was unplanned and at times, because my childhood pain was so deep, back then I “sometimes” wished that I was aborted. I know that this may sound horrifying to many of you. But in my mind, I felt like I could have still been in a spirit form hanging out with God my father rather than in this human form with pain and suffering. Of my mother’s five children, I am the only one who was born out of wedlock or illegitimate. I mean who wants to feel like you were given birth because there was no other option, no other choice. Who wants to feel like a burden or that your life has brought shame to your family?

With tears rolling down my face, I said to my son, “I believe that if abortion was legal when I was conceived, I would have been aborted.” You may ask why I feel this way. Well, besides what I described above, my mother suggested for me to abort my first pregnancy, she suggested to abort my second born son who was later placed for adoption. And lastly, upon finding out my first born son was bi-racial, (and too late to suggest abortion) she wanted me to place him for adoption. Why would I think anything else?

I reassured my son and admitted, “When I got pregnant with you, I had a choice. I chose abortion before you were born and after you born and could have chosen to abort both you and your brother. I gave birth to you both because I wanted you both. That’s one thing you can be sure of. ”

I will tell you of the three choices I have made; choosing adoption was my hardest choice both before and after the adoption took place. This choice brought about such pain that I would not wish this on my worst enemy. You can ask other birth mothers and just about all of them will tell you the same. Single parenting was by far my easiest choice. Although it is a lifelong commitment and can be very stressful at times, as a parent, we get so much in return. The love of a child is like no other love I had known before and something that I had longed to feel. As for the abortions, who knows how life would have turned out if I chose to give birth to the children I aborted? Would I have felt like they were a burden to me and mistreated them solely because they came at an inconvenient time, or because I was not married nor did their father want to marry me or parent or for that matter co-parent the unplanned child?

I am a single mother and more often a single parent, and a birth mother and I accept that I am not a perfect mother or for that matter a perfect human being. I know we all have our shortcomings. And I have confessed to my sons and apologized for any wrong decisions or poor choices that I may have made.  But I want them to know that I had a choice and my choice was to give them life. Not because I had no other choices, not because I felt pressured or needed to satisfy their father (who didn’t want any more kids) or a society or my family or my friends or my religion or whoever else wanted me to choose something other than what I felt I needed to choose.

My sons were chosen and they are loved.

TO MY BIRTH MOTHERS

Last month, I went to my very first birth mother’s support group meeting.  It’s hard to believe it’s been thirteen years since I placed my son, Noah, for adoption.  My life was much different back then than it is today.  Not in ways one might imagine.  I mean, I’m still single, I still live in an apartment and I drive a ten year old Toyota.  But emotionally, I’m a different person today than I was thirteen years ago.

When I discovered I was expecting Noah, I was already a working single parent of my twelve month old son, Jaren.  This new pregnancy was unsettling to say the least.  I was very aware of the backlash I would get from my son’s father (who by the way was Jaren’s father), and my family, and friends, and co-workers.  To my despair, my greatest fear was realized when I confronted my son’s father and confessed to my family.

My first instinct was to hide this pregnancy from the general population and have an abortion.  I had had an abortion previously and I knew what to expect.  And my son’s father requested for me to have an abortion and even provided the funds to help guarantee his request.  But for some reason, when the day came for the abortion, I couldn’t go through with it.  I don’t know why.  Maybe because I had gone through the experience of growing a child inside me and giving birth to a heavenly human being, it somehow changed me.  For whatever reason, I decided to carry this new baby inside me and place him for adoption.  However, I would not be emotionally prepared for what was about to occur next in my life.

Any woman who has ever been pregnant knows our emotions are in a bi-polar stage as our body and hormones go through a variety of changes.  Add the fact that I was a single mom, no supportive partner or family, and then having to face the facts that I may need to let go of my baby boy once he is no longer attached to me would discharge any human’s beings emotional state off the charts.  Luckily, I was drug free because if not, it would have been very easy to escape into some kind of comatose reality.

After Noah was adopted, I went into a deep depression.  My eyes fought back tears daily, my face lay heavily on my skull and the mere sound of laughter sounded like hyena’s cackling.  Subliminally, I was thinking, “How can they laugh when I am hurting so much inside?

It seemed everyone around me was enjoying life but I was stuck; stuck in a world that no longer existed.

Now, thirteen years later, sitting in that meeting room, I realized I am in a much better place today, at least emotionally.  You see, I recognized the sadness that penetrated these birth mother’s eyes, I felt the sorrow they were trying to hide and I understood the heartache that drenched their body.  All those emotions lay heavily on the birth mother and we want so much to ring it all out of our body like a wet rag but we can’t.  We’re trapped in this state of helplessness.  We’ve been stripped to our core and our weakness is exposed and we become vulnerable to any attack that is thrown at us.  We are at the mercy of our choice and sometimes, our regret.

No, I didn’t know these birth mothers personally, but I already knew their emotions and their heart.  I know who they are.  They are amazing women who were forced to make decisions under turbulent conditions.  They are women who were willing to risk their reputation and public judgment for their sacrifice.  They are women who helped other women become mothers so they could experience motherhood through the generosity of a birth mother.

I wish I had a magic wand to erase all the birth mother’s sorrow but I don’t and I can’t.  And even though we share this experience, I know that each birth mother needs to grieve the loss of her child under her terms and in her own special way.  In the end, I hope my support and seeing me at thirteen years out, that these birth mothers could see that I am still standing and I continue to heal every day, and my quality of life continues to increase.

Life after adoption is not the end of a birth mother’s story.  But rather, a new life emerges, new chapters begin and our stories continue.  It’s a story of love, strength, perseverance and faith.  And hopefully, one day when her child is fully grown into adulthood, it will be a story of thanksgiving.  Thanks be to God.

Adoption in the Perfect World

English: Globe icon.

English: Globe icon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently read some blogs from a birth mother site. I was surprised to say the least for so many reasons. Birth mothers, who were hurting and very angry, were attacking adoptive families. Adoptive families were backlashing with ridicule towards the birth mothers. One adoptive mother even said she was sparing her child from telling him that he came from “bad stock”. Really? Have we come to this? Or maybe I have just been shielded and naïve to this birth/adoptive community. No loving parent would ever want to bad mouth or say derogatory things about a child’s family; loving being the operative word here.

I was born out of wedlock in 1963. My mother chose to keep me and parent me as a single mother. She already had two mouths to feed, my older brother and sister from her first marriage. Four years down the road, my father went to prison for murder. She never told me that I came from “bad stock”. She actually allowed me to maintain contact through letters and an occasional phone call with my imprisoned father. At times, I felt like a second class citizens for being born out of wedlock, for not having my father in my life and then finding out later about his crime and prison sentence. If I had been told I was from “bad stock” or was made to feel guilty for something my parents had done, it would have made me feel horrible and like less of a human being.

The only reason a person would choose to portray someone as “bad stock” is if one person wants to make another person look bad so they can make themselves look better. So in essence, it has nothing to do with the birth parent or birth child but in fact with the voice who is speaking the hate and judgment.  Isn’t that called bullying?

My mother told me that she decided not to tell me anything derogatory about my father because one day I would grow up and I could decide for myself what kind of man he was. She said if she tried to make me hate him, I would end up hating her; smart woman.

I agree that too often, expecting pre-birth mothers don’t have the resources to consider their other options, like single parenting. And many times, post birth mothers were forced, coerced or convinced that placing her child for adoption was the best choice. But one thing that really bothers me is all this blame going back and forth between (what appears to me) birth mothers and adoptive mothers. Let us not forget that most of these women (birth mothers) had consensual sex. The real reason this child is made available is because too many men are shirking their responsibility and the expecting mother is alone many times without any support of family and friends. So yes, her choice is made in a desperate state. Once she hands over her child (if she was allowed to do so) to the adoptive parents, her grief begins.

It does seem like at times, that some of our society would like a perfect world. But remember, in a perfect world, no pregnant woman would be left to fend for herself without the contributing male donor that helped her conceive “their” expecting child. Couples who are unable to conceive biological children would remain childless. In a perfect world, no woman would be raped by a man but decide to carry her child nine months to be placed for adoption. In a perfect world, no father would molest his daughter. And the daughter would not be shamed again and judged by an adoption agency, a nun, a hospital nurse, or a society claiming “the birth mother” was easy and a slut. IN A PERFECT WORLD!!!

I am a single mother and a birth mother. My first born, I am parenting and my second born I chose to place for adoption. I have an open relationship with my son’s family. And although we have hit bumps in the road, we have worked through them for which I am most grateful.

We may not live in a perfect world and I may not have a perfect solution. This is God’s world and I believe He guides us so we may all work together in a loving way to support each other; to respect each other; to find common ground for the good of our children and for all humanity. I live in the real world.

Unexpected Mother

 
We shared our love so gingerly
As many times before
With smooth strokes and soft kisses
A heart beats for more.
 
My eggs were patiently waiting
They had a hungry need
You generously left your legacy
You deposited your seed.
 
I waited and I waited
For that special time to come
Until I finally realized
The deed had been done.
 
I called you and told you
We conceived our first child
The words that came out your mouth
Were now words of denial.
 
You loved me so generously
So many times before
How could you not love me
When God has provided us more?
 
I now have a choice to make
God, what should I do
This man that you created
I’ve learned is untrue.
 
He denies me his love
He denies his own child
What kind of life can I create
God looked at me and smiled.
 
Dear child, do not worry
About the one who refuses
For my love is greater
Then any man who bruises.
 
This child you have conceived
This child is My creation
This child you have given life
This child is a new generation.

1998 Jaren's birth

__ Written by, Karen Whitaker