I Can See the Horizon 

Sleep found me easily and peacefully. I usually suffer from insomnia and will lay awake for hours praying that slumber will come upon me. A peace I’d never known before washed over me as all of my children were under my roof in the same place at the same time. The people I value and love the most in this world. The ONLY people whose opinions about me I care about. I felt complete and whole.

But sad. Sad for what could have been. Sad for the upcoming goodbye. Sad from what my choice had taken from all of my kids without their permission. There had always been a feeling that someone was missing and while she was here that feeling was gone. But it would soon be back. Nevertheless I tried to revel in how lucky I was to even have this moment, this time, at all.

I have three daughters and two sons. Of all of my children, she is the most like me in every way. It’s almost scary how similar we are. Many times people would comment “its like looking at you when you were her age!” Or “She’s JUST like you at that age!”

And she is.

She’s tenacious, she has no filter, she looks like me, she sounds like me, she has the same mannerisms as me. Admittedly she does have my husband’s nose.

Driving to Taco Bell one day we said the exact same thing at the exact same time with the exact same inflection. That happens within families all the time. Families that you share DNA with. “That’s never happened to me before,” she said with surprise. And it kept happening. My sisters and I are always speaking in stereo. It made me think how sad it would be to go through life without ever hearing someone who sounded like you.

And she’s just like her sisters. When a neighbor started up his motorcycle too closely they all screamed, shook, and started crying. All three of them. All at the same time. DNA is some powerful stuff.

But she’s herself too. It was lovely to hear her talk about the things she loves, the places she’s seen, the people in her life she cares about and how they’ve impacted her.

And still there was this thing hanging in the air. All the shared memories we had that she didn’t. My family is big on talking about “Remember when this happened…” and then proceeding to tell a funny or shocking story. So while she was like us in every way, and fit in perfectly, there was always the elephant in the room that reminded us that she had been gone.

So many mixed emotions. So much to untangle.

My husband was smitten. He reminded me of a new father doting over his infant daughter. Except we had already doted on her when she was born. I can read this man better than anyone and the looks on his face said, “I’m in love with this beautiful creature.” As he should be. She’s pretty amazing if I do say so myself.

And here is where I decided that this blog has served its purpose. For now, anyway.

When I was hurting it was here. When I needed to vent it was here. When I was scared, anxious, worried, happy, hopeful, suffering, it was here. You were here. Some of you lifted me with your thoughts and others pissed me off. And that’s okay. Because sometimes I just needed a good fight and you engaged me.

I know this journey is ever evolving and I’m not completely abandoning this space. There may be a time in the future where I need it regularly again. But this journey is no longer just my own. Now that our lives have come together again, and she is again a part of mine, our stories are intertwined and it’s not up to me what to share.

I have let adoption consume my life. That’s not an entirely bad thing. I’ve found sisterhood and courage in this community. I’ve found courage to stand up, stand out, and help make changes. I will always be an activist. Always. But I’m also a mother and wife. I can’t spread myself too thin so I’ve decided to focus my energy on certain endeavors that will allow me to balance things more equally. I lost my grandfather, who helped raise me, and a beloved pet who was my emotional support animal, this year. The wheels of time don’t stop turning for me to sit behind a computer.

So while I’ve already bowed out of this blogging thing pretty much, I thought I’d leave you all with a happy update. I’ll pop in once in a while. But it’s time to take back my life and focus on where I can really make a change, enjoy my family, and still remain a functional member of society.

 

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To The Mothers; Hope and Peace on Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to you. Yes, you. For nine months you grew a tiny human being inside of you, but it’s so much more than that. You nurtured your child every time you made the decision to forego that glass of wine and to eat healthy foods. You protected your child – at every doctor’s appointment to make sure things were okay, for every decision you made that put your comfort level below the health and well-being of your child. For nine months you talked to your child, felt your child move, sang to your child, maybe you even slept in a recliner because by the ninth month of pregnancy a bed was just too uncomfortable.

Happy Mother’s Day to you. To the mothers who prayed to the porcelain god those first few months, and even some beyond that; to the mothers who endured sticks and pricks and unpleasant internal exams; to the mothers who adored the life growing inside of them, who got upset when their babies would hiccup, from within them, and there was nothing more they could do to comfort them, when their kicks became frantic, except to talk and sway; to the mothers who had a glow and the mothers who had acne; to the mothers whose bodies will never look the same in a bikini because of the stripes that were born from the stretching of their skin or the c-section scar they wear like a badge, that are proof they carried a child and are a mother; to the mothers whose bodies endured hours of labor, the labor of love, to bring their child forth into this world; to the mothers who endured the grueling task of pushing, when they thought they had nothing left in them, with their only inspiration the promise of meeting the one they had loved for nine months; to the mothers who lay on an operating table, with all trust placed into a doctor, to get their child here safely; to the mothers who heard that first cry, and felt that instant connection and knew what unconditional love truly was because of one moment; to the mothers who were the first to hold their child and the ones who couldn’t, no matter how much their arms ached for their baby; to the mothers who had hopes, dreams, and wishes that, for whatever reason, were stolen from them like a thief in the night; to the mothers who are overlooked and sometimes put down and called “less than” because they could not parent their child – biology is, in fact, exactly what makes one a mother.

This Mother’s Day I bring you a message of hope and peace. “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul,” said the great Emily Dickinson. As long as there is a breath in our lungs, there is hope. No matter how dire, no matter how messed up things are, there is always hope. In your darkest hours, on your darkest day, never forget that you are this mother. Nothing anyone can do will ever take that away from you. No one can ever erase it. In the most basic and primal ways, the truth is you are a mother. Every tear you’ve cried and every hope you’ve ever wished cannot be taken away.

“I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.”

Hope is free, it costs nothing. My message of hope is this: Hope for yourself, hope for your happiness, hope for all that was lost, but whatever you do, don’t lose hope. In your darkest hours, when all seems to be lost, remember who you are. Remember you are a mother. No matter what anyone else says, no matter how anyone else tries to spin it, this is the truth. The truth always wins.

My oldest son took me to see the new Captain America movie today as an early Mother’s Day gift. One quote in the movie stuck with me and I will share it here for you. Hold onto it, embrace it, and even when the whole world seems to be pushing against you, hold firm in what you know, innately, to be true. May peace find you this Mother’s Day and everyday – in some form or another.

“Compromise where you can. Where you can’t, don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say ‘No, YOU move.'”

-Peggy Carter, Captain America

Don’t Stop Now! #notabravelove #bravelove #notbravelove

“A movement to increase adoption in the U.S.”

A few years ago an organization came on the scene. It was called, “BraveLove.”  It’s mission was and is to increase domestic infant adoption in the United States. There have been a few blog posts about it in the past, but now it is a hot button issue. Why? Because this past week they have launched a billboard assault all over the country with the names of first moms and how adoption is the perfect solution to a pregnancy in a less than ideal situation. By their own accounts, from their website they say:

“We’re a pro-adoption movement. We’re not an adoption agency. We’re not a pregnancy resource center or a church ministry. We’re a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) public charity organization headquartered in Dallas, Texas that exists to change the perception of adoption through honest, informative and hopeful communication that conveys the bravery of birth mothers. We believe birth mothers are heroes and adoption can be a beautiful thing.”

EDIT: Keep in mind that Frank Garrott, CEO of Gladney Adoption Center in Texas, is a board member of BraveLove. He also made almost a quarter of a million dollars from his position at Gladney- profiting off infants. 

You may have seen the #notabravelove (or #notbravelove) campaign going on the past few days. This campaign came into inception when one of my beemommy friends had had enough and suggested a campaign similar to #flipthescript that adoptees were doing in the month of November for National Adoption Month. Another beemommy friend suggested the hash tag #notabrave love and I ran with it. We needed to combat the billboard assault and tell expectant mothers the reality of adoption. It isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and it certainly hasn’t been a “beautiful thing” to us. It has meant a lifetime of grief, sadness and loss. Not being able to parent your child is not beautiful. The emotions that surround it align well with the death of your child. However, BraveLove want to INCREASE domestic infant adoption in the U.S. That is their mission. They have invested thousands of dollars into this newest campaign. I can’t help but wonder how many mothers facing crisis situations would have been helped with the money spent on these billboards. How many women would not have to surrender their children with just the money that was spent on ONE billboard?

Most crisis situations, in domestic infant adoption, are for temporary financial situations. Even just $1000 would be enough to get a mother back on her feet and where she needs to be in order to not be eternally separated from her child. BraveLove gives the false impression that being a birthmother makes you a hero, selfless, and brave. The reality is much bleaker. My birthmother survey showed that the majority of “open” adoptions, sometime in the first 5 years, end up closing. Promises are broken and there is no way to know if your child is even alive.  Just the past couple of weeks, alone, I have had a birthmom friend learn of her teenage son’s suicide through a Facebook post, weeks after his death, and yes, it was an open turned closed adoption. Another mother learned, from her grown daughter who was relinquished that she was reunited with, that she had been sexually abused by a family member. This does not sound like a beautiful thing to me. Let’s not forget to factor in the first moms who commit suicide after promises have been broken.

Any organization that would like to increase family separation, instead of investing their “non-profit” dollars into helping keep families together, is a front for the adoption machine. They may not be an agency but they are part of the industry, no doubt about it. I wonder how many of their donations come from agencies themselves. Gladney is HUGE on BraveLove and, no doubt, has donated a ton of money whether indirectly through adoptive parents and staff or maybe even the entity themselves. I am not able to afford to pay that $125 to get the full report and donor list but they are tax-exempt and receive money from the government and private donors. So it comes full circle. Adoption agencies either directly or indirectly donate to BraveLove, BraveLove works tirelessly to convince women to surrender their babies, adoption agencies get more babies, adoption agencies make more money, adoption agencies encourage donations to BraveLove and the cycle begins again. Gladney Adoption Agency, in Texas, from the very start of BraveLove even admits to being a part of their campaign. Talk about a conflict of interest.

As many of you already know, I am a part of a different kind of organization currently working towards non-profit status. That is Saving Our Sisters. We don’t have any donations coming from anyone who stands to profit from us. We work solely for the good of others and all the donations received go to mothers in crisis so that they may be able to keep their children and successfully parent. We give them a leg up. We don’t offer to help by taking their babies away from them. We help the entire family unit.

So now that I’ve explained my beef with BraveLove, let me talk about our counter-campaign: #notabravelove

Since we don’t have big players donating tons of money to us the only thing us first moms could think to do was to take to social media and educate that way. I’d like to share with you some of the Twitter posts you will see when you search our hash tag (you can do so by clicking it above).

Here are some of the things hash tagged with #notabravelove

“Enough with calling mothers who relinquish a child for adoption brave. We were alone, afraid and without options.”

“you should have spent your billboard money keeping families together. Please. Stop.”

“When everyone tells you what you can’t do, and you believe them.”

“I was told that my daughter deserved more than me, that I wasn’t enough. They were wrong. I was. And so are/were you”

“Surrendering a baby to adoption is it’s an act of desperation.”

but a complicated mess creating the only documented form of grief that worsens with time. is rooted in heartache”

“When I cried out to keep my son I was told I was selfish

“Nothing brave, only heartache and pain in giving up my child for adoption.

“I had no choice. A proverbial gun was put to my baby’s head. I was told keeping her was the same as pulling the trigger.”

“Motherhood is scary-adoption agencies and lawyers make it scarier. They also lie, a lot. Unethical immoral shameful.”

“There is nothing about no other options. Its

These are some of the things hash tagged with #notbravelove

“If your goal is to increase infant surrender above the national average w/ words like “brave” & “heroic,” it’s . It’s coercion.”

“Mother’s Day – One of the most difficult days of the year for this adopted person.

“You can’t build one family without destroying another. Real families are grown, not built.”

“Birth Mother’s Day is yet another diversion from the truth that is adoption.”

“I’m no hero.I’m not selfless.I’m not brave.I didn’t do what’s best.I failed my Daughter & her siblings.”

“Giving my daughter up for adoption was anything but brave. I was scared & alone with no support.”

“No one(agency)asked me if my family knew of my pregnancy,no one enc/supported me to tell my parents-family I told 15 yrs ago”

“I lost faith in myself and reached for the wrong help.”

“I honor my found daughter, and losing her 37 yrs ago for the crime of not being married.”

thinks all mums apparently should give up their children to eager . What a message.

“I was lied to and manipulated, nothing I was told was for the good of my child or me. is a hoax.”

This horrid campaign was launched surrounding the weekend of Mother’s Day. Already first moms and adoptees are feeling stabby and the slightest things can trigger us. BraveLove had some first moms sign a “Birthmother’s Day” card and then used those signatures for their billboards. They are exploiting first moms to line the pocket books of adoption agencies (donors) and encourage expectant mothers to relinquish their children.

BraveLove claims this is an abortion thing. They want to prevent termination of pregnancies. It is either a facade or they are just that ignorant as Claudia over at Musings of the Lame has already pointed out. Abortion and adoption are two separate entities.  This campaign is to procure more babies by the adoption industry to make more money (please don’t tell me agencies are non-profit. They are still making big bucks) and to give babies to hopeful adoptive parents who society deems more “worthy” of these babies because they have more money.

So where does that leave us? I am writing today to let you all know that BraveLove’s billboards are going nowhere. They are up for all the country to see. We don’t have the financial resources that they do. They are a machine. The only way we can go to battle is to keep the #notabravelove campaign going. We CAN be the champion of the underdog. We can win this battle but we cannot waiver. Keep sharing the campaign, keep your voices going strong. Take to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…wherever you can hash tag something publicly for all the world to see. If you’d like to remain anonymous, make an anonymous account, but get your voice out there. We will not falter. We will fight this machine, and we will be victorious.

#notabravelove

The Cult of Birthmother’s Day – A Mother’s Day Celebration For First Moms – #Not a BraveLove

It’s almost electric, the emotions flying around social media this time of year. Like a storm brewing or a dam waiting to explode from too much pent-up pressure in the tidal wave of water, Mother’s Day elicits an almost primal, and strong, response from those of us in the adoption community. Especially us first/birth/natural mothers.  If the tension on the Internet is only a fraction of what is really going on inside of our hearts this time of year, I can’t imagine what our real lives, as opposed to online lives, may look like.

* Not a BraveLove * *Not a BraveLove * * Not a BraveLove * *Not a BraveLove *

Some of us have other children that we parent and I know, at least for me, that helps to soften the blow. We will be getting “Happy Mother’s Day!” cards whether they are handmade or store-bought. We will be recognized on this day as a mother. It doesn’t make the hurt of having one of our children missing any softer, but at least we have recognition of who we are. For those who do not have other children that they parent, Mother’s Day can be one of the cruelest of days of the year. Walking that line between “mother” and “not-the-mother” can prove painfully ironic and many times friends and family members aren’t sure what to say. They worry if they buy a card or acknowledge the day they may be ripping open wounds best left stitched up. I’d say a good majority of the family members and friends of the first mom community are probably left with no recognition at all unless they are parenting other children.

* Not a BraveLove * *Not a BraveLove * * Not a BraveLove * *Not a BraveLove *

To add insult to injury, there is this thing the adoption industry came up with, years ago the adoption industry hijacked (although it is only the past 5 years or so that it has really taken off), a holiday dedicated just to “birthmothers.” It is “Birthmother’s Day” and it is celebrated the Saturday before Mother’s Day. As if not being recognized as a mother on the very day created to celebrate mothers isn’t bad enough, you aren’t even allowed to consider being a participant in Mother’s Day now because you now have a day dedicated for the sole purpose of recognizing that all you are is an instrument of birth. Birthmother’s Day was created by Mary Jean Wolch-Marsh in 1990. It was intended to be a day of solidarity, reflection and grieving for mothers of adoption loss. It was never intended to be celebratory.

From research:

“Mary Jean Wolch-Marsh first conceived the idea as a result of her own adoption experience. She knew she was a mother, but didn’t feel recognized as such, either by those around her or by her daughter’s parents. Remembering the feelings she’d experienced at her daughter’s birth – feelings of triumph and euphoria; she used them to help in her own healing. May Birth Mother’s Day bring acknowledgment and recognition to every birth mother who ever loved a child lost to adoption. May it honor and celebrate every mother who became childless after birthing a child, and was forgotten on Mother’s Day. For birthmothers, the observance can be a time to affirm joys and acknowledge the sorrow, grief, and pain that are a part of many experiences. It can also be a time to break the silence and release years of anguish, worry, shame, or guilt. The purpose of Marsh’s Birth Mother’s Day ceremony is insight, affirmation, growth, and wisdom.”

From Brenda Romanchik’s insightful article on Birthmother’s Day:

“Birth Mother’s Day was created in 1990 by a group of Seattle Washington birth mothers who met each other at a birth parent support group. It grew out of the shared recognition that Mother’s Day is one of the most painful days of the year- second only to the birthday of our missing children. Yet birth mothers have been shut out of the traditional celebration and remembrances of the holiday. Most birth mothers are neither named nor recognized among the mothers in our midst. For most birth mothers there are no cards or flowers. Society treats the motherhood of the birth mother as a momentary event that fades quickly from the collective memory. It often seems we are even forgotten by those who received the gift and the privilege of parenthood through the birth mother’s loss.” (1)

Why should first/birth/natural mothers have to have a separate day, other than mother’s day, to be celebrated and recognized? If the “creators” of Birthmother’s Day truly wanted to do something for first moms so they didn’t feel left out on Mother’s Day, why didn’t they encourage others to recognize them on that Sunday instead of making up their own “holiday” just for them? Having we been singled out enough already?

* Not a Brave Love * * Not a Brave Love * * Not a Brave Love * * Not a Brave Love *

What Birthmother’s Day Does For the Adoption Industry

There was a time, not so long ago, where the cultural norms of our American society equated having a baby out-of-wedlock to that of, say, murder. It was not accepted. You may as well have walked around with a big scarlet letter on your chest. You would be shunned by society. This worked to the benefit of the adoption industry. To acquire a woman’s baby for purposes of adoption all one had to do was work the “shame-angle.” With time, however, this cultural stigma in American society is, for the most part, non-existent. Women were no longer relinquishing babies simply because it was too shameful to keep them. To combat this, and to continue procuring babies to meet the demand (and fatten their pocket books – even non-profit agencies are making huge profits) the adoption industry had to reevaluate their methods. These methods were a complete 180 from the predecessors.

Instead of shaming young women into relinquishing their children, they instead made them heroes. For someone facing a crisis pregnancy it’s probably suffice to say they are already facing some serious self-esteem issues and their self-worth is probably considerably low. Giving first mother’s “Birthmother’s Day” is a way to make them feel special, like a hero. It’s almost like the same rush of having 5 seconds of fame. “Look how great I am! I did this great thing for my kid and for this great couple! I’m so awesome! Yeah, it hurts, but look at how much attention I’m getting! I’m brave! I’m selfless! I’m a hero!” Immediate self-esteem boost and the rush that comes with that. For someone who has lacked that for a long time it can become almost addicting. So, for the adoption industry, Birthmother’s Day first serves this purpose. Another purpose is to prevent first moms from “taking away” from the glory of the adoptive mom on actual Mother’s Day. Couldn’t have that, could we? No sharing of the motherhood here. You are not really the mom and you are not worthy of the complete recognition on Mother’s Day itself. There is one more purpose, however.

* Not a Brave Love * * Not a Brave Love * * Not a Brave Love * * Not a Brave Love *

The other night I was watching a television show about people who had lived in a cult. People that are missing something in their lives and don’t have a positive view of their self-worth are often the most susceptible to being drawn into a cult. It fascinated me to see how these cults could influence people to do things that were so obviously not right or okay. I decided to look up how a cult goes about brainwashing someone. Almost always, in a cult, people are sucked in by believing they are doing things for the greater good of their eternal soul. In other words, to get into Heaven. They are willing to accept a lifetime of abuse and pain to secure their spot in Heaven. Similarly, in adoption industry coercion, a mother is willing to do whatever it takes, endure a lifetime of pain and grief, to secure a “better” life for her child.  That “better life” is the equivalent of the cult’s “ticket to heaven.”

* Not a BraveLove * * Not a BraveLove * * Not a BraveLove * * Not a BraveLove *

Recruiting is very important in a cult. Using “brother and sisters” of the cult to get new recruits is the most common path taken. You have people who are already in the cult and participating telling you how great it is. Similarly, in the “birthmom world,” those first moms who have already been taken a hold of by the “adoption cult,” as I will call it, are active, all the time, in recruiting more members. It ensures that the rush they feel about being a hero, brave, selfless, IMPORTANT, continues on and on. They will go out of their way to help recruit more women to join the club of “birthmom” because it is just so awesome, right? What they are really doing is helping to procure more babies for the industry of adoption and the profits that follow (did you click on the link earlier in the article? Would you like to see the profits that domestic infant adoption brings in? Click here). The adoption industry is the leadership of the adoption cult. Like any leadership in a cult, they are in it for self-serving purposes. Profits. And they don’t care who they hurt along the way to get it. As long as they get what they are after. So the last reason that Birthmother’s Day is so pervasive and useful to the adoption industry is because it continues to give their cult members and new recruits the fantasy that they are important.

* Not a BraveLove * * Not a BraveLove * * Not a BraveLove * * Not a BraveLove *

The Reality of Birthmother’s Day

The reality of Birthmother’s day is that it ostracizes first moms. It tells them they are not good enough (unless you’re a cult member then you think you’re better than) to celebrate themselves on Mother’s Day. Nothing could be further from the truth. I always see these memes going around on Facebook. They usually start with “A real mother…” or “A real father…” and go on to talk about bedtime stories, sleepless nights, etc. And that is not entirely untrue. That is definitely part of what makes someone a mother or father. The unconditional love that first moms feel for their children and the lengths they will go to protect their children (even if being brainwashed that their only ticket to Heaven – providing a good life for their child) is the very definition of a mother’s love. And, for many, there was no choice or brainwashing at all. They were literally forced. They were tied down to a table to give birth and had their children taken from them despite their useless protests. Does the mother whose child was kidnapped have less of a right to celebrate Mother’s Day than the kidnapper who is reading that child bedtime stories every night?

Why do we have to single ourselves out as “birth” mothers? We don’t hear people going around calling themselves “adoptive” mothers. Unless you are speaking about the two and you need to distinguish which mother is being talked about I see no need for qualifiers. Why should there be qualifiers? Are we not both mothers? And why do we have a Birthmother’s Day and not an Adoptive Mother’s Day? Puts things into perspective a bit.

* Not a Brave Love * * Not a Brave Love * * Not a Brave Love * * Not a Brave Love *

Finally, if you are reading this and you have a first mom in your life and aren’t sure how to approach the topic of Mother’s Day, let me tell you this. Celebrate her. Recognize her motherhood. On Mother’s Day. There may be tears, but it is nothing compared to the isolating and lonely feeling of pretending you aren’t a mother, of being a ghost in the crowd, of straddling that thin line between “mother” and “non mother.” She is worthy of being celebrated.

No matter where you are in your lifetime journey of “birthmother,” I’d like to say to you –

Happy Mother’s Day my sisters.

* For those wondering about the little inserts, there is currently a huge billboard campaign, nationwide, by members of the adoption cult that is being used to procure more infants by the industry. They are using first moms to encourage others facing a pregnancy, in less than ideal situations, to surrender their children. The terms, strewn about my blog, will help this blog come up in search results when anyone googles it. This is the only way I could think of to combat this hideous campaign.

#notabravelove

(1) http://www.firstmotherforum.com/2010/05/why-dont-we-have-national-adoptive.html – comments section

Unconditional Love

A love that will stay and persist without limits, without prerequisites. No matter what. To show unconditional love is to put yourself aside for the well-being of someone else. A sacrifice of one’s self because of this love. To voluntarily endure pain, hurt, disappointment, and more in the name of this love. To put someone else above yourself.

-Astrid

This is my definition of unconditional love.

Unconditional is defined as “not subject to conditions.” Love is defined, by man, as “an intense feeling of deep affection.”

Furthermore, God defines love as patient and kind, free of envy, boasting and pride. It is not dishonorable, self-seeking, or easily angered. It also keeps no record of wrongs. It rejoices with TRUTH and does NOT delight in evil.

If you are a believer in God then you know that you are required to try your best to love one another in the way he has described, unconditionally. However, let’s take the layman’s view and assume you don’t HAVE to love EVERYONE unconditionally. You are free to just “love” people, no qualifiers required.

If I asked you how you were supposed to love your child, based on what I’ve written above, what would you say? Unconditionally, right? Of course. That’s how we’re wired. It’s how it’s supposed to be. We are supposed to love our children in a way that puts their needs above our own. Even if it hurts us. Isn’t that what it is all about?

The act of giving my daughter up for adoption was not selfless. I cannot say that it was because to claim that would be to imply that parenting my other children (all unplanned and coming at times that could be considered “crisis”) was selfish. And it wasn’t. However, when I relinquished her, it was because I was willing to suffer a lifetime of pain or never knowing who she was if that is what she wanted. If she never wanted to speak to me, ever, in her life, I was okay with that so that I would not cause her any emotional pain. Yes, it would hurt deeply, but I love my daughter so much (all of my kids really) that I would take that hurt so they didn’t have to. Wouldn’t we all? Wouldn’t we all take our kids hurt in a heartbeat if we could so as not to see them suffer? Of course we would, if we could.

What if you could? What if you COULD take that hurt away and make it a little better. What would you do?

What if you are an adoptive parent of a teenager. What if this teenager of yours is having a REALLY rough time emotionally? So they’ve asked to send their birthmother a letter. You let them write the letter and many things that are said in the letter hurt you. It’s only human to face insecurities. However, you know that sending this letter and hoping for a response back would be something to help a little with the healing of your teenager, even if it hurts you. Even if the thought of losing the child you’ve nurtured from infancy was almost too much to handle. Would you be willing to let your child continue to suffer and hurt so that you could make yourself feel more secure about your place in their life? If you answered “yes” then you do not love your child unconditionally. You do not love them selflessly. You are not willing to sacrifice yourself for them. Regardless of how many late nights you have stayed up with a sick toddler, regardless of how many bedtime stories you have read them, regardless of how many recitals you have been to. None of that stuff defines the true meaning of being a parent, a mother, a father.

The very definition of motherhood should be unconditional love. As a birthmom, I am willing to love my child unconditionally. I am willing to accept her for all of her faults and for all the things she may do that would make me feel bad. I will love her no matter what and do what is best for her. I will live with an unbearable grief for the rest of my life because I thought I was giving her a “better” life, even if that turns out to not be the case. My actions were in good faith at the cost of great personal pain and sacrifice, at the very high cost of great personal pain of my other children and family members. I did all of this because I loved her so. I let her call someone else “mom” because of this. Because I loved her and thought I was making the best choice I possibly could then.

It baffles me beyond reason how a person would not be able to do the same for their adopted child in return. Why they wouldn’t be able to suck it up, swallow their pride (“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”) and help their child heal. Not leave their child thinking they have been rejected and ignored. Are you that insecure that you would sacrifice your child’s well-being for it?  You would lie (“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”)

Adoptive parents who choose to break promises and cut off birth families for any reason other than they are DANGEROUS, I have this to say to you:

If you think that cutting off communication between your child and their birth family is the way to go – Don’t be selfish. Do the selfless thing. Do the loving thing. Put your child’s needs ahead of your own so that they can have a better life. A life that includes all of their family. You are not giving up your child. You are placing her in a healthy environment that includes knowing her roots. Remember, you are in control of the adoption so there is great power in that. Don’t abuse it.

Don’t ya like how all those things that we were told during our “adoption plans” can also be used for you?