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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In My Dreams

I obsess. That’s what I do. Fear is something that is always a part of my life and I have struggled long and hard, for so many years, decades really, to not let it control me. Alas, it sometimes wins in the end.

I have waited so many days, months, years, to see her again. To have communication with her. Sometimes I feel like a crazy stalker. I mean, I kind of am, aren’t I?

I wasn’t told her last name, their last name. I wasn’t told what town they lived in. I was given first names and a state. I put my trust into an institution (adoption) that I would get my yearly visits and I’d never be a stranger to her.  Then the visits stopped, before she could form any intellectual memories of me, her father, her siblings. What was I to do?

I did what any mother would do. I began looking for her. I would receive pictures every couple of years and an update about once a year. A far cry from what I was promised, but I took it anyway. I would study the pictures, heed the words, analyze everything.

A picture from the first day of kindergarten. A name tag hangs around her neck and I see it has her first and last name on it but the exposure is so high it’s nearly impossible to make out what it is. I can tell the length of the last name, though. It’s not your average length and that’s a clue I keep. Pictures with license plate numbers in the background, restaurants, anything – I grab it, store it in my mind, search frantically for hours. I just want to know her last name.

Part of me doesn’t believe the narrative that I’m getting in updates. It seems too good to be true. Everything is always rainbows and sunshine. It drives me to search more fervently. I feel like a mad woman. My husband tells me I should leave it alone. He feels guilty. He knows its killing me. He can’t make up for it.

Haunted by the faces of my daughters whenever I look at them. Each of them carries characteristics of her. It’s like I’m haunted by the ghost of someone who is alive but is so very far out of reach.

Sometime around her seventh year I finally get somewhere and make a huge discovery. Her last name. It opens doors. For the years to come I silently watch. When she is old enough to utilize the World Wide Web, herself, I start to find her foot print everywhere. It is amazing to me. She’s real, she exists, she’s not a ghost. A secret peek into her life as she knows it, not through the lens of someone else and what they choose to tell me.

I stalk. Is it stalking? I feel like a stalker. I am silently watching my child, making sure she is okay, and as years go by sensing that things aren’t really that okay. I don’t do it for the reasons that others stalk. I never reach out to her, disturb her world. I do it because I feel like I must protect her, its instinctual, and this is the only way I know how.

The first correspondence that confirms my intuition that something is amiss. Questions about my pregnancy, hinting to some issues. It honestly sounds like everyone in my family. High-spirited, oppositional. Yep, sounds like my girls, sounds like my husband, definitely sounds like me. I implore them to not drug her up. I am reassured everything is fine. Life goes on.

I realize I’m obsessing and for my own sanity take a break. I decide to only check up on her every few months, just to make sure she’s alive, because I honestly don’t know if I’d be told if she wasn’t.

The feeling is overwhelming. The “knowing.” I just know. I can’t explain it. It’s the same feeling from when she was just a week or two old and I knew the people in charge of her care were not treating her right. I awoke my husband very early and told him we needed to go get her that very moment. I knew something was wrong. I was right that time. I didn’t want to be right this time.

A single post, expressing how she was going away. It was made the same day I had the feeling. Now the feeling has changed. I feel betrayed, I feel sick, I feel like I may genuinely go crazy knowing she’s been sent away. A new obsession begins. I must know where they’ve sent her. I must know so I can see if she’ll be treated badly, if she’ll be abused, mistreated, there.

Pictures. I assume they are taken in the place she has been and I look for clues in the background. The name of a little coffee shop and a quick search reveal to me a city and state. Another search reveals the only place it could possibly be. The pictures match.

The waiting for her to come home. Never being outright told she was sent away so never expecting to be informed she was home. Worrying, wondering. More obsessing, more searching. Finding a blog written by a “house mother” who is bragging about sending a child outside in the freezing cold without shoes or a coat because she wouldn’t stop yelling. I wonder if that child is mine. I secretly want to hunt the woman down and hurt her for hurting my baby.

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

And then, confirmation, from her personally. A secret connection between her sister and her. I am overjoyed. I am scared. I don’t know what to do. I’m terrified of her adoptive mother. If she finds out, if I overstep anything she deems “appropriate” then it all crumbles. I know nothing. I have to obsess and search and worry on the Internet. Updates will cease to exist and updates are clues.

It’s all out in the open now. Most of it, anyway. I still watch my step, stay in my place, because if I don’t get to see her again, don’t get to touch her again, don’t get this visit, only the third since she went with them when it should be the 16th, I just might end up having a nervous breakdown. But now there is another fear, another obsession.

I am a stranger. There is no possible way she could think of me as much as I think of her. I don’t expect her to. This obsession isn’t healthy. I obsess about if she wants to talk to me, I obsess about if I’m coming off too strong, I obsess about if she would rather me just go away but she’s too scared to tell me. I obsess about, well, rejection. I want to talk to her like I do my other children. I want to have funny conversations about gross and inappropriate things. I want to discuss social issues that I am passionate about and teach her about the world, the way I do my other children. I want to know her. I want to hear her voice, see her face in something other than a still picture. I want to soak up every last bit of her. The good, the bad, the pretty, the ugly, the everything.

But I don’t want to scare her. I don’t want to hurt her more. I don’t want to make her feel like she owes me anything.

I don’t know what to say. I’m scared. I want to tell her how her expression in the newest picture is my expression in the picture of me 6 years ago. I want to tell her that her handwriting is the same as mine when I was her age. I want to tell her that her fiery personality and stubbornness comes from her father and I but the undertone of kindness, compassion, and empathy comes from me. I’m hard on the outside, soft on the inside. I want to point out that her voice, in the one video I saw, sounds just like mine. I want to tell her that her sister can’t distinguish, sometimes, while scrolling through her feed if a picture is of me or her, for just a second. I want to tell her that I see her.  I don’t “know” her but I see her.

I want to tell her I believe her. I want to tell her that I can’t say all the things I want to because I have to stay in my place because I don’t hold all the cards. I don’t hold any, actually. I want to tell her that she will always have a home. I want to tell her that she does belong somewhere, she exquisitely belongs, but she doesn’t know it. I want to tell her so many things. Little things, big things. But how much is too much? Where do I walk the line? How do I know? So I say nothing.

And then I obsess that my nothing is too much. Am I sending the message that I’m not interested, don’t care? Nothing could be further from the truth.

She’s hurt. She’s wounded. She’s been through a lot and, ultimately, it’s my fault. I chose this for her when she had no choice. And here comes another obsession. I don’t deserve her kindness, her love. I don’t even deserve her “like.” I had no idea, though. Everything everyone told me was that this was what was best. But I feel guilty claiming that I am a victim, too. At least I had a chance, she never did. How do I make it better? How do I find forgiveness?

These are such deep thoughts and, no doubt, would be hard for anyone to process. I stay quiet. I can’t push too much because if I do and she decides to go away, it would be like giving her up all over again.

There’s no going back. What’s done is done. I can only hope for the future. But how do you dare hope for something so perfect? Just to be a part of her life would be like a piece of heaven. Do I dare hope for that? Am I setting expectations too high?

In my dreams we walk, we laugh, we hug. We tell each other all that needs to be said. We catch up on everything we’ve missed without each other all these years. I catch her up on all my quirks and she let’s me into her private world. We don’t judge each other or push too hard. We just walk. And it’s exquisite.

 

A Reflection For New Years

This New Year’s Eve I have taken some time to contemplate where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. A new year is upon us, and that usually comes with resolutions we make with all the best intentions, but somehow fail to follow through with. I don’t even bother anymore. This year, so many things have transpired in my life that I can’t help but look back on not just 2015, but all of my previous years and the trials and triumphs that came with them.

Almost 11 years ago, during a very trying time in my life (both financially and emotionally) I left everything I knew and that was familiar, with my kids, and moved to a different state. I had no job, no home, and relied on the kindness of family to help me on my feet. It was one of the scariest experiences as an adult that I can remember. No real stability and structure, I was left wondering if we’d ever be okay. All I knew is that we were on a sinking ship and this move was the only life raft I had. There was no choice but to make it work.

I was almost 4 years post-relinquishment and almost 2 years post-“no more direct contact,” even though I wasn’t aware of this quite yet. My financial struggles had been devastating during my pregnancy and while improved slightly, things were starting to go down hill again. Almost immediately after relinquishment I began a descent into panic disorder (something I had battled with previously and seemingly overcome) and that led to a slow climb down to agoraphobia. I wasn’t completely house bound, but going further than the local grocery store, 2 miles away, triggered panic attacks so severe I thought I would die. Going outside an area of about 200 feet, surrounding my house, triggered anxiety attacks, but they were manageable. Everyday was also a battle, even if I never left the house, with racing thoughts of having every medical disease known to man and being quite sure I was dying from it. Thank God I didn’t have the Internet back then. Who knows how much of a frenzy I could have worked myself into.

Those 4 years after relinquishment were probably the hardest on my mental health. I didn’t recognize it as that, however. It never even crossed my mind. I believed that what I had done was healthy, heroic, and the best thing for my daughter and myself. How could the two things correlate with one another if that was true? Looking back, I realize those things started to gear up during my pregnancy. With the anticipation of having a baby and the inner thoughts that I would have to let this baby go, it was decided that to manage my mental health, I would be put on Paxil. Yes, during pregnancy and before doctors were really aware of the hazards to the baby. Thankfully my baby didn’t suffer any of the horrible things other babies did, but it still speaks volumes as to what I was going through. After relinquishment, things really started to kick into high gear and the panic attack express seemed unstoppable.

Understanding that a change was needed, and refusing to let my disease get the best of me, I braved a 5 hour car ride, to another state, with my mother in the driver’s seat, in hopes of a new life, a fresh start. I ran away from my demons, my past, my sins, my tragedy, my old life.

The car ride was interesting, to say the least. I will compare it to being trapped in a fragile bubble, adrift at sea, with sharks swarming all around. There were frequent stops, frequent tears, frequent hyperventilating. But, I made it…almost in one piece.

I had also left behind the father of my children, the father of my relinquished daughter. Our relationship had taken a huge blow, thanks to my mental health and insecurities, so I thought it best to go – and go I did.

The first few months were okay. I stayed with my brother for about a month, found a job at a fast food place, got my own little duplex, and pretended that this was what life had been like all along. I missed my significant other tremendously and every time one of our kids would ask for him I would retreat to my bedroom, the bathroom, for just a moment to weep about all we had lost. About 3 months after the big move, he came to visit for Christmas. The kids were thrilled and it was nice to have him there for those few days. It also brought the new realization that we were not ready to throw in the towel and weeks later he also relocated to attempt to fix what had been broken.

With him, I learned to utilize the public transportation system, had some more self confidence, and extra help with the kids, as well as an additional income. Things were far from perfect – we struggled and struggled good. Walking a sick 2 year old to the doctors in the snow, bringing shopping carts home from Walmart filled with groceries and then walking them back, because who steals a shopping cart? Struggling to pay bills, amongst other things.

There was one particular bus stop. It was grand central for transferring to the other lines that enabled me to expand my world a little bit at a time. It was also central to removing the boundaries of my life that had been self-imposed yet involuntary.

Years went by, things improved, slowly but surely. We worked hard, we screwed up, we loved, we fought. We were together and I slowly began a path of healing. 7 years ago we moved away from that first town we had lived in here. We went further north, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, to a place with corn fields, neighbors you knew, and small schools.

Recently, I began working in that same town from 7 years ago. The one we got our new start in. The job requires parking in a city lot a few blocks away from work and walking the rest of the way. It’s a nice walk, through downtown, passing all the small shops and wonderful smells of the restaurants that reside there. Every week day, in my business casual, I take those 5 minutes to take in the day, reflect on the things I need to get done, and look through the shop windows, making mental notes of places I want to shop later.

One week, while waiting for the crosswalk to give me the okay to cross the street, I glanced to my right and saw a city bus. It was at that one bus stop, years ago, that became cathartic in my healing. I saw women with babies, who looked tired and defeated. I saw young men in shoes with holes waiting to get on that magical bus of mine. As I glanced down at my leather heeled boots, I was reminded that where I used to be is not where I was. In the moment, it seemed that’s all there ever was or would ever be. It seemed hopeless and sad. It felt as if my life would forever be riding buses and wondering where the next meal would come from.

I came to a sudden realization – I didn’t even realize how much my life circumstances had truly improved over these past 11 years. It came on so subtly, so slowly, I didn’t truly understand the stark contrast. I knew I was better off than I had been, but truly didn’t realize just how much. Then a sadness crept over me as I thought, “if I would have just trusted in myself, she would be here, too.” I made it with my parented kids. I made it. I made it. I’m not rich or famous, but I made it. I’m living the dream. This crazy, fantastic, beautiful dream. The messy house, the staying up too late, the homework, the coffee in the morning paired with Visine for over-tired eyes, the shoveling snow in the driveway, the mowing the lawn, DREAM. This is it. My kids are happy and healthy, and turned out pretty damn good if I do say so myself. I have my husband, and he has his wife. It would all be absolute perfection except there is one missing. She didn’t need to be missing, but she is and that shatters everything. It will always be the shadow that keeps me from believing the sincerity of this dream.

If I had a TARDIS (you thought I’d say time machine but get with the times) it could be different. I could film this beautiful life and show that scared young woman, that was my former self, how it all would turn out. But, I can’t, and nothing could be more tragic.

While I reflect on my 2015, I can’t help but remember all the years before it. I wish I could show all those that will come after me what this beautiful life looks like and how tainted it will always be because of that missing piece. I don’t have a TARDIS. Maybe this will be enough, though.

Happy New Year.

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“I Gave Her Loss” – Day One: NAAM

Today starts the first day of a dreadful month in my life. Wait, back up. I can’t say it’s entirely dreadful as it is the birth month of one of the most precious gifts – my child. However, I’m not entirely sure if I even have the right to call her my child. My heart says yes but adoption says no. That’s neither here nor there. Today is the first month of the onslaught of images, stories, and propaganda that will be coming across my news feed on Facebook, television set, radio, and pretty much every other outlet you can think of. The onslaught of adoption. The onslaught of how everyone should love adoption and be so grateful and thankful for it. It’s enough to drive a person insane.

I will watch while people “celebrate” that children could not remain with their families, for whatever reason. I will watch as they rejoice that some other mother wasn’t able to keep her child with her. I will watch as they ignore the reasons for adoption and the pain it has caused so many people. When you point it out most will acknowledge that it’s sad but then follow up with “But look how wonderful this family turned out! What a great gift that was given to this couple!” This negate’s my feelings and sends the message that we aren’t allowed to feel our pain or complain because, well, we wouldn’t want to taint some other people’s great gain of a child by reminding them of our tremendous loss.

the-giver-book-cover“I gave her the memory of a child, a child taken from her mother. I gave her loss. Too soon. The light went from her eyes. The next morning, without telling me, she went to the Chief Elder and asked to be released.”

-The Giver (2014 film)

Anyone who has read, “The Giver” or seen the film knows the pre-text of this quote. Let me clarify for those who don’t. The Giver gives his memories to a receiver in order to be carried on since we all live in a “perfect” and “orderly” society now. A society where women are selected to be “birthmothers” and the babies they bear are handed off to the family the elders find fit for them. The first receiver only lasted five weeks after the memory, above, was given to her.

This hits the nail on the head. If anyone truly had to live through this, had this memory, this feeling, passed onto them, it isn’t something they would be celebrating.

I’m reminded of another quote:

“Another woman’s child calls me mom. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”

This is an adoptive mother who gets it.

The fact is, NAAM (National Adoption Awareness Month) was not created for people to celebrate adoption. It was created to raise awareness to the thousands of kids who are sitting in the foster care system without families. It was not intended to be what it is today. Even those “orphans” in the system probably wouldn’t appreciate the loss of their family, no matter the reason, being celebrated. They may appreciate that they are in a loving family now, but you cannot celebrate one without ignoring the other. Ignoring why adoption was possible is wrong. We need to focus on ways to ensure that there are no losses, that families can stay together and that parents have the resources and tools they need to successfully and safely parent their children.

Today is day one of a month I have to endure. I wish that I could sit here and contemplate the birth of my fourth child without all this static and fuzz called NAAM. I wish I could think about those stolen moments we had together the first few weeks of her life. I wish I could cry when I needed to cry, smile when I needed to smile, and not have to have how “great” my loss is rubbed in my face at every click of my mouse or push of the button on my TV.

Before you go celebrating how great adoption has been in your life, remember our loss.

“I gave her the memory of a child, a child taken from her mother. I gave her loss. Too soon. The light went from her eyes.”

Top 5 Things Not To Say To A Birthmother

Here we go again. Another blog post about what NOT to say to a birth/first/natural mother. Right? Wrong. I’ve seen them done a few times. The lists. What not to say to an adoptive mother. What not to say to a birthmother. What not to say to an adoptee. I can’t speak for others in the adoption community, but I can speak from a personal place as a first mom. While some things on these lists ring true with me, there just wasn’t one that truly felt all-encompassing or “complete.” Some even had things included that just grossed me out. So, in true Letterman style, here is my top FIVE list of things NOT to say or do to a first mom.

Avoiding Talking About the Child She Has Lost to Adoption Altogether.

Okay, so maybe this isn’t what not to say but it sure is what not to do. Some people truly don’t know how to approach the subject and don’t want to say the wrong thing. Instead they choose to not say anything at all. Even though we have been through a tremendous loss, we still want you to acknowledge our child. We want you to ask questions about them. Even if we have no information, whatsoever, we want to be asked. “Have you received any new pictures of [insert child’s name here]? How are you doing this time of the year without [insert child’s name here]? What do you think [insert child’s name here] looks like now?” It’s really quite simple. Living in a world where you are the only one who acknowledges your child’s existence can be miserable and lonely. Just because they are out of sight does not mean they are out of mind. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. It’s an ambiguous loss for us. There really is no closure. By asking us questions about our child, you acknowledge our pain, acknowledge our child, and open the door for further conversation if we feel up to it. If you don’t know what to say, just say so! “I’m not really sure what to say, but I was wondering if you wanted to talk about [insert child’s name here].” Even if the answer is, “I’m not really ready to talk about that” we will be over the moon that you asked. Really, we will. When people bring up our children in casual conversation it affirms to us that they do exist. They are real. We didn’t dream it up. Sometimes those are the only things that get us through the night.  Furthermore, for some women, it was a shameful thing to have a baby that was then lost to adoption. Many were ridiculed, sent away to be hidden and give birth, and chastised. Talking about their child, as a normal, positive, everyday thing, helps them to break those barriers they have battled their whole lives. It helps them to see themselves through a different set of eyes. Not the eyes that passed judgement and condemnation. Yes, talk about our children. Please do.

Don’t Withhold Personal Stories of Grief For Fear of Making Her Feel Bad

No one likes to be tiptoed around. Sometimes people can be super aware of the “adoption situation” and feel bad sharing their own loss stories. Sometimes their personal loss, they think, can pale in comparison to the first mom’s loss. This may be true sometimes but, as human beings, one thing we are great at is empathizing with each other. Sharing stories of personal loss with one another will sometimes find you at the beginning of a road called “healing.” Sometimes others are further in their journey and can offer some great advice or encouraging words. And sometimes being able to be the one to offer the encouraging words assists in your own personal journey of healing. Don’t be afraid of her grief (shoot, don’t be afraid of yours). Know it is a normal part of life when there is a loss. Know that tremendous learning can be gained from it as well as compassion, empathy, kindness, and understanding. Don’t rob each other of these opportunities. Open the door of grief together. Explore what’s inside and walk with each other on that path.

Avoid the Cliche Comments

“You can always have more children.”

“It was part of God’s plan.”

“What you did was brave and selfless.”

You know, all the things you’ll see pouring out of rainbow-colored lips on every “feel-good” adoption story you’ll ever read online. But here’s the deal. 1) Some women can’t always have more children. It’s called secondary infertility and it’s prominent among first moms. Even if she can have more, it doesn’t take away the pain of the one she lost. 2) You aren’t God and you don’t know His plan. And even if it was part of His plan (which I wholeheartedly believe 99% of domestic infant adoptions, done the way they are in America, are not) does that make her pain less? 3) It’s really not that brave when you have no other choice. Imagine standing at the edge of a cliff. The drop is 200 feet. Someone pushes you. You survive the fall. Someone tells you that you were brave to choose to jump off that cliff. Huh? You didn’t choose to jump, you had no choice, someone pushed you. That’s kind of how adoption works. Anyone who truly had any choice, at all, would have parented their child. No one wants to give away their child and go through this grief. They had NO CHOICE. And selfless? Well, it’s a horse a piece. It can’t be selfless because that means parenting a baby is selfish. Still….does this make her grief go away? Do not invalidate a mother’s grief from her adoption loss by throwing out the cliché statements that run a muck in the adoption world. It doesn’t help. Instead say, “I’m sorry you are hurting. No one will ever be able to replace [insert child’s name here] and I am sorry for that. Your circumstances were really crappy and that really sucks.” Validate their grief. Give them permission to have these feelings by affirming it to them. It DOES suck. It WAS crappy. And you ARE sorry they are hurting, right?

Who?

This one probably irks me the most. “Who?” When you openly say something about your child such as, “[Insert child’s name here] started horseback riding lessons last month! He’s doing really well!” If a first mom is talking to you in this context, about her child, it is going to be assumed that you know of the child she is talking about. Your response of, “Who?” says to her that you don’t care enough to remember her child’s name just because she isn’t parenting them. This will also make her less likely to openly discuss her child with you in the future (see my first list entry). Whenever I get this response I have to then say, “you know, the child I gave up for adoption.” Saying those words cuts like a knife. Usually it’s the only way I can make people understand who I’m talking about. Then I become a little angry at them. Come on, really? You don’t care enough to know who I’m talking about? I know I don’t bring her up much, but how long have we known each other? Please….at least remember her child’s name.

You Gave Him/Her a Better Life

You don’t know that. No one knows that unless they own a crystal ball or can time travel. The outcome of one’s life compared to the potential outcome of a potentially different life is something we, as mere humans, are not privy to. Even if that weren’t true, would you like me to tell you that you should have given your children up for adoption so they would have had a better life than what you’re giving them? Maybe they would have been better off with someone making $200,000 a year instead of the measly $70,000 you’re pulling in. Are you divorced? Your children would have been better off if you had given them up for adoption. Then they would have had a two-parent household. Oh! I know! It’s never too late! You should give your children up for adoption so they can have a better life. Do you see how asinine that sounds? Saying “You gave your child a better life” is probably the most cruel things you can say to a first mom. It reaffirms, to her, all the things the industry told her. She wasn’t good enough and her child is better off without her. In most situations, this simply isn’t true. Instead of saying, “You gave your child a better life” how about just not saying anything at all.

#ShoutYourAdoption