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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The Adoption Rollercoaster: Reunion?

As my relinquished daughter gets older it’s become more difficult to keep up with personal updates in regards to my adoption story. The older she gets, the more I realize that it isn’t just my story to tell and I have become conflicted about just what to share and what to keep private.

I see so many birthmom blogs of mothers early into the adoption journey blogging all the details of their great open adoption story. I see the same thing with adoptive parents as well. I’m guilty of putting things out there without thinking as well. I’d just like to remind everyone to be cautious when publicly sharing your story. The way you see things may not (probably isn’t) exactly how your child does.

Even so, I would like to share some things that have transpired. I’ll keep things simple out of respect for IKL’s privacy. I won’t imply that I know how she feels. This is just my side of the story and I’ll stick with facts and how I feel.

I learned that some decisions had been made for my daughter, by her adoptive parents, that I did not agree with. I felt there were some definite issues going on and could reasonably correlate adoption to some of them – again, my opinion. As you already know, I had an open adoption, with direct communication with my daughter (phone calls, visits, etc) until she was almost 2 years old. Direct communication, and visits, were cut off at this time. I still received periodic updates from her adoptive parents, sometimes sporadically, through email and there were a few photo albums mailed over a decade. I saw things through their eyes and while my daughter was becoming old enough to express herself and how she feels, I was not privy to what that may be. I’m going to assume it was the same for her as well.

Where were we? Some decisions were made to address “behavioral problems” and I didn’t agree with those decisions. I felt that the decisions made would reinforce any feelings of rejection or abandonment and wouldn’t really get down to the root of the problem which, I believed, adoption played at least some part in. I do believe her adoptive parents felt they were doing what is best, even if I didn’t agree – and it still didn’t mean it was right or the appropriate course of action. Of course I never expressed this to them for fear of risking communication being cut off altogether.

This started 2 years of emotional hell and the realization that I may have made a huge mistake. My fog began to lift and I found my voice.

At the beginning of that 2 year period, I went out on a limb and asked permission to write to my daughter for the first time. My request was received well and with much enthusiasm. I was hopeful that maybe the door to openness would begin to unlock. Previous attempts and open invitations to Skype, connect via social media, and visit were unanswered. Well, the open invitations to visit (and some even included that my daughter not need to be present if they were uncomfortable with that) were always answered with, “if we’re ever in that state.” So, the warm welcome to write a letter directly to her gave me hope and was something I viewed as promising. After all, regardless of any hard feelings, what’s truly best for my daughter would be for her to NOT be put into a position of Us vs. Them. She should never have to “choose.”

My first letter, written 2 years ago, came about 6 months after I learned of the decisions made as a desperate attempt to help heal any wounds caused by adoption that may not be being acknowledged. Carefully I composed an email, written to her, for her adoptive mom to print out and pass on, explaining, to the best of my ability, why she was relinquished and a little bit of information about what me and her father were like. I had to choose my words carefully as it would be first read by her adoptive mother and father. But I wanted to be honest. Quite the conundrum.

After hitting “send” I waited. A few hours later I received a message back saying that it was “beautifully prophetic” (whatever that means) and would be printed, placed in an envelope, and given to her.

Time went by. A few months later I decided to take a bolder step and send a photo book of our family and another, more casual, letter. I asked if the attorney’s address I had, from all those years prior, was still okay to send things. I didn’t get a response right away so I sent the package anyway. A few days later an email arrived with a PO Box address I could send anything in the future. This, again, gave me more hope. More openness. They were now allowing me to know the town they lived in, even if not their address.

About every 3 months me and the kids would send letters. Sometimes we’d include other things. Pictures, a life book, a handmade pillow, etc. Each time IKL’s adoptive mother would email that she was receiving these things but was not yet ready to respond or have contact but that she was hopeful that one day she would. Part of me would be devastated each time but the other part of me understood and didn’t want to push too hard. I felt that if she didn’t wish to receive communication, at all, I would be informed.

Things went on this way for a while and then, almost a year ago, we got a package in the mail. You can read about that here: https://musingsofabirthmom.com/2015/01/12/the-letter/

4 months after that, I learned that my older parented daughter had received communication from IKL via social media. I won’t go into the details as that is their story to tell, but, suffice to say, I learned a few things that my parented daughter felt was important to share.

IKL had written me a letter, before my husband’s letter, and was under the assumption it had been mailed to me. I never received any letter.

IKL thought I had received her letter and was ignoring her since I never wrote back. (I had been writing every 3 months – this leads me to believe not all – maybe not any – of my letters or packages had been given to her)

IKL was more than ready, excited even, to have a relationship with her first family – again, my perception.

IKL did not want her adoptive parents, at first, knowing she was talking to her sister.

It was very hard not to jump in and tell her the truth. I don’t have all the facts and do not want to put her in the Us vs. Them game. I encouraged my parented daughter to encourage IKL to be forthcoming with her parents and removed myself from the situation altogether. I was not going to be the one to “tattle” on her for talking to her sister and betray any small amount of trust she might have for me. Nothing she was doing was dangerous and I made an executive decision, as her mother, to let the relationship unfold while guiding and educating my parented daughter about reunion. I thought she needed this contact and that it was good for both girls.

A few months later, I received an odd email from IKL’s adoptive mother stating that IKL had told her she was talking to my parented daughter. Just that line. Nothing more. I responded that I had never spoken to IKL and that I was glad she had told her. I asked how she felt about it. Her response what that she thought it was great and that I could talk to her if I wanted, too…she’d ask IKL how she felt about it.

I waited a few days, to see if I’d get an email back, and heard nothing. Since IKL had liked a few of my photos on one social media site, I decided I would initiate a hello message. I’d been given permission to talk to her, so I did. It went well. Short, awkward, and beautiful.

As it stands now, a few more months in, my parented daughter and IKL continue to grow closer thanks to social media. I’m more cautious about contact as I don’t want to overwhelm her. I want her to know I’m here, but I don’t want to be pushy. 15 is a difficult age for any kid without throwing in the added bonus of being bombarded by a whole other family eager to get to know you.

She’s always receptive and kind when I do message her. I see, in her, a tenacity, a love for life, pain, ambivalence, passion, stubbornness and a huge heart. It amazes me just how much like myself and my husband she is.

So, for now, we are okay. Baby steps. I’m not foolish enough to think this will be a happy ending to a reunion. I know it takes work and I’m not even at the tip of the iceberg for all to come in the future. I am hopeful, though. Hopeful that maybe one day we can build a relationship and make up for lost time. (is there really ever any making up for it, though?) 

For now I am happy that my children get to have some sort of relationship with each other, on their own terms, and that I still have the possibility of one with her. Far too many of my dear friends have crossed that bridge into “no hope” and it breaks my heart.

I’m letting IKL take the lead, make the choices, decide for herself. No one else has, thus far. She’s earned it. Hopefully she’ll decide to take the lead with a place in my life. If she doesn’t, I’d be heartbroken, but understanding.

I was never supposed to be in a “reunion.” I was promised my daughter would grow up knowing us. That’s what’s most infuriating. But, there’s nothing I can do about that now except look forward.

As of right now, I’ll continue to ride the adoption roller coaster and enjoy the plateau for a while.

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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

Complete and Total Transparency: Saving Our Sisters is Attacked

UPDATE:
Since this post has been published, a few things have changed. The transaction from the Gofundme account was reversed so that money never posted to Lynn’s bank account. If you are seeking a refund you will have to go directly through GoFundMe. This, however, also reinforces that Lynn stole nothing. Even though SOS is still being accused of scamming on the updates section of the Gofundme page.

Additionally, Beverly (sister) requested that Lynn’s payment of $400 for her care be reversed. One can only speculate why. 😉 So Lynn HAS recovered that money! Yay!

A portable crib arrived at the house yesterday thanks to one of our generous donors. Yet, the Gofundme page was updated today saying the money would be used for a crib. Something is definitely not right.

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The attack on SOS continues but all it has done, thus far, is gather more support, for which we are eternally grateful for.

Original Post about this: SOS Update: Mom in Georgia

Saving Our Sisters Interim Page

I really hate that I have to do this. It’s ridiculous, but now it’s necessary. Since publicly announcing that we are no longer endorsing the campaign for the mom in Georgia, we have had a lot of accusations thrown our way all over the internet. Most of these come from the family and friends of the mom. One person, however, is Beth S. Brock. Beth is a member of the adoption community and had signed up to be a volunteer person for Saving Our Sisters. Since she lived close to the mom in Georgia we utilized that as our local contact person. Since then, Beth has, regrettably, participated in a smear campaign and has decided that she no longer supports SOS. She has accused us of fraud and keeps claiming the FBI is now investigating us as well as there being “pending charges.” Honestly, I believe it is a lot of “fluff” since this all supposedly transpired on a Sunday evening. Because of the actions of others, and a slanderous statement about SOS on the now stalled GoFundMe page, SOS finds it necessary to put out there, for all to see, exactly what transpired through texts and messages. We did not record phone calls, as we don’t think we’re going to have to defend our actions when we are helping a mother, but I did listen in on the majority of calls that transpired between Lynn, sister, or mom.

Here are the texts and messages that transpired over the past few days. You can see for yourself that these accusations are ridiculous. Lynn did NOT threaten to call DCAFS on the new mom. Lynn DID threaten (and followed through with) to call the police once the lying and games started. She had every right to. Her bank information was now on an account that she was locked out of and that sister could view. Trust was now out the window due to lies and I wouldn’t want my information out there like that either. Not to mention that the money raised for Dana was now going to be used to pay sister’s long overdue bills without the consent of the donors. Lynn did say that she didn’t want to have to call the police because that would not look good for Dana and the ALREADY OPEN DFACS  CASE. Lynn also implied that drama (i.e., car being repossessed) would not be good for the ALREADY OPEN DFACS  CASE. The sister is also claiming she never asked for her car payment to be made or the electric bill. The electric bill request was made over the phone so I have no proof of that. However, I do have the text of her asking for the car payment to be made. Logic tells you that since she lied about this request she is also lying about the electric bill request. Lynn did not take and keep the money from the GoFundMe. As I told you yesterday, Lynn DID initiate a transfer into her bank account per the agreement between her and sister. Upon being locked out of the account Lynn assumed that transfer had been stopped. It wasn’t, as we found out later. This transfer took place, according to sister and mom, at 3:45 am on Sunday morning. Later that day accusations were flying that Lynn had the money in hand and was keeping it. However, that ACH transaction still has not shown up in her bank account. Technically the banks still have the money while it goes through the digital world. There is also a chance that the money will not show up at all. Several people have messaged saying they have reported the campaign for fraud. Since the ACH transaction is still pending, if GoFundMe decides that there is cause for fraud, they may reverse the transaction until they can figure out what to do with it. This is a worst case scenario. What you will see, in the following texts and messages, is confirmation of everything we have said. Confirmation of the email sent out to donors asking permission to use the money as car payments and electric bills for sister. Confirmation from mom and sister that they okay’ed that email. Confirmation that the funds for GoFundMe were voluntarily given to Lynn for SOS to manage to avoid fraud and have complete and total transparency. You will not see anything illegal done on the part of SOS. You will see a lot of pissed off people that SOS removed their endorsement from this campaign. You will see a lot of vile comments directed at myself and Lynn. You will see total chaos and craziness and our attempt to manage it and do damage control to protect the SOS name.

Unfortunately, after this incident, we will no longer be able to help mothers without them first signing a contract for services rendered. This contract will be signed before the vetting process begins. And because of Beth S. Brock’s betrayal, we are also drafting a volunteer contract. These contracts will mean that it may take longer for moms to get services from us. This means that some emergencies may not get addressed in a timely manner. This means there is a chance that some moms may slip through the cracks. I wish it wasn’t this way, but SOS has to protect its members, its assets, and its reputation or we cannot be there for ANY mothers in the future.

Side note: It is very odd to me that Beth would think that SOS was capable of any of the things she is accusing us of. My opinion is that being on the ground with this mom has, obviously, pulled on her heart strings. I also believe she truly thinks that Lynn threatened to call DFACS, which simply isn’t the case. On the other hand, Beth now wants all the money from the GoFundMe, once it posts into Lynn’s account (if it does) deposited into HER PayPal account. She accuses Lynn of committing fraud for having the funds deposited into her account and then tells Lynn to send them to hers. Not sure what to make of that.

This message was sent minutes after getting confirmation from mom and sister that the email composed (asking donors if it was okay that the GoFundMe was used for car payments and electric bills) was okay to send. In order to send out the email to all of the donors, you must be able to log into GoFundMe and send them via that route. This was TIME SENSITIVE as we needed responses from all donors by Monday morning since there was a Tuesday disconnection. Notice the time stamp of the first message – 2:49 pm. When there was still no response, after 15 minutes, and after phone calls that went unanswered and ignored (both to mom and sister) and finding that the password had been changed, things became suspicious. Notice Lynn does NOT threaten to call DFACS. She does say her hand is being forced to call the police. Keep in mind that this was after a couple of hours of opposition, on the phone (I was conferenced in) asking why we need to ask donors permission for the electric bill, accusing of wanting to steal the money, talking over us and not listening to the explanation we were giving about transparency. Still, we kept repeating, “You need to stay calm. We are here to help. We want to help. But we have to protect you and ourselves. We didn’t ask for donations for the electric bill. We need permission from the donors.”

Text messages between Mom and Lynn. Lynn is blue, Mom is red.

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Accusing Lynn of changing the password while she’s in the account sending out the emails to donors. The emails that were agreed upon in order to maintain transparency. The password was not changed. It never was. It was only changed by sister. And more accusations. Why do they not trust us? We only asked people for donations, paid the sister’s car payment out of our own pockets, and had tons of baby stuff mailed to them (again, by our request). It isn’t like we asked them for social security numbers, bank account information, or anything like that. They don’t even have bank accounts.

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So, at this point, we’d had enough. It was becoming obvious that mom and sister couldn’t be trusted. We had given them no reason not to trust us. This is where I start to wonder where this mistrust came from. Was Beth on the ground telling them not to trust us? Are they just paranoid by nature? Did they honestly think we were trying to steal money from donations that we raised? I mean, seriously. Why would we need mom to raise money fraudulently? If we wanted to do that we’d just make something up and save ourselves the headache.

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At this point, Lynn was still unaware that the ACH transaction she had requested through WePay had not been stopped. She had been locked out of the account and assumed that her bank account information was now in the hands of these people and that the transaction for the donations had been halted. Because of the constant opposition we faced, and the accusations being flung, Lynn then assumed, as any reasonable person would, that this was also untrue and we started to think that maybe these people were a little nuts.

Let’s back track a little. When mom, sister and sister’s fiance (saying he is her husband) reach out to Lynn. Lynn did not contact them.

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So HERE ^^^ you can see where it was first suggested to take down the GoFundMe campaign. The prospective adoptive parents had been made aware that mom was trying to raise money. This is not good for a number of reasons but if you throw in using the money raised for mom that was supposed to go for an apartment and baby items and then use it to pay sister’s bills and PAPs get wind of that (as they were already aware of the campaign thanks to someone posting it on their page) then you must be EXTRA careful everything is on the up and up. They have the resources to pursue avenues of fraud. They put her out when she decided to parent. They called DFACS on her. Why would they not try something as far as donations were concerned? This is why it was suggested that donations go directly through SOS and the campaign be taken down. GoFundMe takes 7.9% and 30 cents per donation for themselves for using their service. Direct donations don’t. SOS direct donations also means privacy and accountability. Mom and sister are protected. No one can accuse them of fraud or using the donations for something other than what they said it would be used for (like PAPs).

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Again, reiterated. Not threats to call DFACS, actual concern that the PAPs would cause trouble that way. I remember the conversation between Lynn and I, on the phone, where she worried that having the campaign stating mom was homeless would be used against mom by PAPs if they decided to pursue legal means to have baby removed. This is where we first discussed transferring or shutting down GoFundMe and having SOS handle donations for transparency. To PROTECT MOM AND BABY FROM OVER ZEALOUS ENTITLED PAPS. Also notice that while sister is telling everyone she never asked for her car payment to be made that she is doing just that in the previous text message and the following one.

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Okay. Notice the time stamps. When requesting to call, Lynn called, hence the gaps. Notice that we said, from the beginning, the agreement, via their phone conversation, was that Lynn would pay the $400 from her personal account to avoid repossession. She would eat that money if donors were not okay with it going for a car payment. The other stipulation, since this was becoming such a mess, was that SOS would manage the funds. Again, to protect ALL parties. As you see here, after she asked for the car payment, sister texts Lynn asking how to transfer the account (per the agreement they had on the phone) and then gives her the log in for GoFundMe and WePay. The account wasn’t transferred totally into Lynn’s hands because we work on mutual trust. At this point there was no reason given to us that we couldn’t trust them. Beth had vetted them, she had reported, and everything seemed fine. Sister OFFERED TO TOTALLY TRANSFER THE ACCOUNT TO SOS. Lynn decided it would be better to just share passwords and have everyone on the same page. Transparency.

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So what you are looking at here is Lynn actually logging into the GoFundMe and WePay to take control of and manage the funds. When you try to log into WePay from a device that isn’t what it was created on it will send a code to the phone number listed on the account. In this case that was sister’s phone. Lynn needed it to go into the account and initiate a withdraw into her account to manage the funds and, eventually, shut down the campaign so all donations could go directly through SOS (reasons were mentioned above). You will also see that sister had already requested a check be mailed to her for $60 from the GoFundMe account (since they do not have bank accounts).

Let’s go a little ahead into the story. These texts transpire after the meltdown about the electric bill, accusations we are trying to steal money, and after the  disagreement was resolved and it was decided we would send an email to all donors asking if that was okay. You can see the email that went out in THIS POST.

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And it is with this text message that we leave where we left off before I went into the back story. This is sister confirming that she is okay with the email being sent out asking for her overdue electric bill to be paid. You know, the one she says she never asked to be paid for with the GoFundMe money?  This is also where Lynn learned she was locked out of the account and couldn’t send the emails out because of it. This is where we began to not trust and started to think that sister was royally screwing over mom.

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So, when mom and sister were both made aware that Lynn couldn’t use her own personal account AGAIN to pay another bill of the sister’s without confirmation from donors that it was okay to use that money to pay Lynn back (to the tune of $1000 dollars if she had paid that electric bill) they are suddenly too busy with company to give the password to the GoFundMe account so the emails can go out and permission granted from donors. Seeing as they were set to be disconnected in less than 2 days you would think this would be something urgent. Again you will see Lynn’s frustration and the trust slipping and all the accusations over the phone (and some in text) starting to weigh on her. She doesn’t threaten to call DFACS, she threatens to call the police. Rightfully so.

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The call Lynn is referring to is the police. As you can see, everything is now starting to stink. We are convinced that sister is doing something fraudulent. We don’t trust that she will actually email the donors so we insist that we be the ones to send those emails out.

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And, confirmation that Lynn did not intend to call child services. The police, yes. The “accusations” that sister is referring to are us asking to manage the funds. She did, in fact, call the police and spoke with Sgt. Perez. All of this was to protect mom from sister who repeatedly claimed, over the phone, she had no idea what was going on with the donations or account. All the more reason for us to look out for her.

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So what you are seeing here is Lynn slowly realizing she may be getting taken for a run by the sister. She decides that is probably best to attempt to have that payment stopped (in which she was not successful). You are also seeing the sister throwing it back in her face that she paid it. This is where I reported the GoFundMe page for fraud. Still not aware any funds had been transferred to Lynn. That wouldn’t have mattered, though. I would have preferred GoFundMe work it out and keep the money. After the campaign was reported for fraud the above message came in. Remember, these past few texts were ALL about us gaining access to DONOR EMAILS TO ASK THEIR PERMISSION TO USE THE FUNDS FOR AN ELECTRIC BILL AND CAR PAYMENT. Why did we face such opposition to ask their permission?

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The call in which Lynn is referring to here, is the call to her credit card company about the $400 charge on her account for sister’s overdue car payment.

PART 2

In the meantime, the local contact person for SOS starts a campaign of harassment against Lynn. Lovely, right?

First, the initial messages between Beth and Lynn about her being the contact person for SOS.

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As you can see, Beth and Lynn both discussed the GoFundMe campaign and the concern that the prospective adoptive parents may use it to find a way to take the baby away.

You can also see that Beth was fully aware that the funds would be going into Lynn’s account so SOS could manage and make sure all the I’s were dotted and T’s were crossed.

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THIS IS WHERE THINGS TOOK A DRASTIC AND ASTONISHING TURN IN REGARDS TO BETH.

I can’t help but wonder if the mom and sister, upon knowing we wanted permission from the donors to use the money for costs that they didn’t donate for originally, brought Beth into things and manipulated her into thinking we were going to call DFACS on mom. Because they did NOT want to get permission to use those funds for something other than an apartment for Mom and baby items.

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In addition to this, there are messages that transpired between myself and mom.

The messages, in their entirety aren’t anything but more of the same of what I’ve posted. Its mom reiterating she has no control over the GoFundMe page and doesn’t know what’s going on with it. What’s important here is that she sent a screen shot of the WePay site saying that they were sending a payment to the bank (Lynn’s bank). And the next message says it was sent at 3:45 am (on Sunday). Since Sunday evening is when I was speaking to her it is proof that it was IMPOSSIBLE for Lynn to have access to those funds when these accusations were flying. And EVEN THEN, we offered for Lynn to pay the electric bill, out of her own personal account, if donors agreed that funds could be used for that, and Lynn would recoup the car payment and electric bill from the GoFundMe funds.

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THIS is when we found out that the deposit had NOT been changed when we were locked out of the WePay account. Sunday EVENING.

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oneNotice I say “after the emails are in with everyone agreeing to that who donated (which shouldn’t be a problem)”

This is in reference to the email sent out to all the donors. This is me reinforcing to her, as I had before, that there would probably be no problem with the funds being used for the car and electric bill as long as we were up front with everyone. After all of this went down, Lynn checked those emails and found that almost everyone was okay with that. Until they found out about the accusations that were being thrown at SOS. Then they did have a problem with their money going for something that they didn’t donate for – sister’s bills.

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And here you will see me saying, even after all their accusations, lying and run around, that we could STILL do the deal with the electric bill. You know, the one that sister claims she never asked to be paid. You will also notice that this is when I became aware that the funds were, indeed, in the process of being transferred to Lynn’s account. Because ACH transactions take a few days, Lynn was willing to use her own money, after confirming the deposit was going into her account, to pay the electric bill as well so that it would be paid in time to avoid a shut off from the electric company.

Here it is folks. TOTAL transparency. I have not blocked the email addresses of Beth S. Brock because that is who you will now need to contact if you would like to request a refund of your donation for it being used on things that were not stated in the original campaign. Once the funds have cleared the bank, Lynn will be transferring them to her. This is so she can stop being harassed and so that SOS’s name stops getting drug through the mud. So, if you are okay with Beth having control over the money and what it’s used for, you need not do anything. If you are not okay with this, you will need to contact her directly. Understand, though, it may be a couple of days before Beth has the actual money to refund and the fees that GoFundMe charges may not be able to be returned. You may also attempt to recoup your donation through GoFundMe if you’d like.

It really is a shame that any of this had to be posted. SOS HAS to protect it’s good name, though. We have to. We cannot let accusations continue to persist and not address them. Additionally, the SOS page is not going to be able to be updated on Facebook for a week since Beth, mom or sister (maybe all) reported the page. Lynn also cannot post, comment, or like on Facebook for a week. She can still message. None of this needed to happen. It was unnecessary and counter productive. The sad thing here is that mom and baby will suffer for this. We’ve done all we can to help without putting our own well-being at risk.

My kids have been waiting patiently for the past few hours for me to finish with this so that I can spend some time with them. I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours Lynn and myself have invested in this. The parties that would attack us and create this situation should be ashamed of themselves.

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?