Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One Little Girl Went Home

I was very interested in a recent case in which a foster family tried to adopt a child who's biological father never relinquished his parental rights. The foster family fought the biological family for 8 long years. They say the biological father and family abandoned the child but that can't be true. If so- who were they fighting in court for all those years?

They petitioned the court six times to adopt the child and each time they were denied. The child as a baby had custody granted to her biological grandmother by the state while the child's father fought to stay out of jail. But the endless litigation by the foster family kept the grandmother from obtaining custody. The grandmother died without seeing her granddaughter one last time........ And the father was released from jail.

In the end the courts returned the child to her father when she was 9 years old. The legal battles continued. This brings to mind the baby Veronica case. But there were some important differences. The most striking differences is that this was a case on dependency instead of private adoption. Next, the child in this case was old enough to speak to the court through her court appointed guardian. After a year with her biological family she was thriving in school and seemed happy. But most importantly she with her own voice claimed she wanted to stay with her biological family.

Similar to the Veronica Brown case is that the foster family hired a PR firm. They raised a lot of money to fight the biological family. They had so much support. Yet, the PR firm or the foster parents themselves made some critical errors in their attempts to gain support and sympathy. They gave to the media and the world a private phone conversation with their former foster daughter after she had been reunited with her biological family. She found this out through a teacher at school who unfortunately chose to share that information with the child. She was not happy with this and the court was not happy with this either. They forbade the former foster parents from any contact with the child and called them detrimental to her.

The former foster parents fought still. This time although being deemed detrimental to the child they fought to have the child removed from her biological family and placed in foster care while knowing it would not be with them. Who then? They fought even though they knew by the law they could not foster this child anymore. At this point it seems they fought to have the child placed anywhere but with her biological family. Spite? Was it a case of "If I can't have her, neither can you?" Or were they misled by the Veronica Brown case and promises that the law favored possession of a child over the biological family's rights? After all they had managed to keep her from being reunited with her family for 8 years. Surely the law would entertain all that time together as a "best interest case".

The foster family lost. After years and years of litigation they could not keep the child they raised (or kept from her biological family) and could not foster or adopt her. She was with her family. Although the fosters and their supporters believe she must be brainwashed (how could she favor the bios over them) she has made it clear by her voice and her progress that being with her real family is what she wants.

The little girl was not adopted. Her father although flawed (as we all are in some way) never took it to the media. Never released private conversations with his child. Never publicly fought back when he was called every vile name but father to the child. He kept silent, kept his daughter's privacy even though he was humiliated over and over again.

The little girl went home and was allowed by the courts to stay home. Home with her family, her father, her sister. This is a story that terrifies some people. But they are not the people we should be concerned about. Because adoption should only be about a child needing a family. It should never be a pissing contest about a family with more resources who believe the deserve another family's child because they think they have more, or are better.

I watched this case from the sidelines never believing that the little girl could be allowed to stay with her family. After all even Ronnie was ripped from her loving father. But this time, maybe this once, or maybe forever after, a child went back home to her family despite money, privilege, entitlement and a PR firm.

This little girl went home.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I Don't Know If I Should Be Here Anymore

Christmas was good. Life is good. I was a bit concerned after reading a blog post about the holidays that I might feel bad on Christmas. But I had a nice holiday season.

Which brings me to this post. I thought I would check out the adoptee/first mother blogs today. And I got a really bad feeling. It was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Like I shouldn't be here anymore. That coming to these places where we talk about the pain of being a first mother is the normal.

It doesn't feel normal anymore. At first I was resigned to the fact that I had lost my daughter when I relinquished her to adoption. That was a given when I was denied any information about her in this "open adoption." When she contacted me my whole world changed. The possibilities of a new life with her in it seemed infinite. Then that too changed when once again, I was denied any information about her.

More grief, more pain and tons of rage. Rage that things were not as promised but again.

I couldn't control that anymore than I could control the promises that people made to me. I had to live through the emotions that washed over me and stayed with me for years. But for everything there is a season. My season of rage has ended. My season of hope that my life would include my relinquished daughter has ended. I grieved. I lived through it.

Now there comes a decision for me. In my very core I feel it is time to stop feeding the grief, the rage, the sadness. I have become satiated with those emotions and to feed them when they don't want to be fed, is only going to make me sick.

I don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to end this blog because in the future there may be something relevant that I need to communicate. Or perhaps I will wake up and find myself needing to be here again. But for now, it seems wrong. I can no longer define myself as the woman who lost her daughter to adoption when there are no ties to that in my real world. It was real, it happened. But it doesn't mean a damn thing when I get up in the morning and need to feed the dogs and get ready for work. It doesn't add or take away from the fact that I need to pay my bills, make dinner, kiss my children, or plan an event. It is a ghost that lived beside me when I went about the day to day of living my life. I made room for it when it demanded my attention. Now giving it attention when it gives nothing in return feels abnormal.

Right now I can't live with ghosts any longer. I hope it stays that way. Because I dare say I feel happy in my life, criminal as that may be.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sometimes the Truth is Revealed

Things have been really, really good in my life recently. The family is great, the house I have fallen in love with. I do keep up with some adoption related topics, such as the case with the little girl named Sonya. I want to know how that plays out in the end.  I also check with Adoption.com every few weeks because that is where I started when I came out of my fog.

It was horrible. There were so many posts that to me seemed fake but I wasn't sure. First time posters who would write about how they could only love their adoptive parents, and us abandoning birthmothers could basically rot. Or how reunion just made them understand how insignificant everything about us was. There were also tons of responses from adoptive parents that their adoptee never wants to search or reunite. It was painful because I wanted to believe I had a chance of a relationship with my relinquished daughter.

The forum changed. I think it went under new ownership but I am not sure. But the most striking thing I have found is that instead of up to seven pages of new posts in 24 hours there is now usually only one, and this trend has been going on for almost a year. Also observed is that the birthmother shaming, and warnings to stay away have dried up to. Where did all that go? The forum hadn't changed that much in it's appearance or ease of use, so that doesn't appear to be the reason. The majority of posts are by foster parents which is what I always suspected was their main base of members.

I think the reality is that the site which advertises heavily for adoptive parents lost it's most dedicated posters. Were they the ones who had an interest in keeping the site potential adoptive parent palatable? I think so but I don't have official proof.  I have unofficial proof though, and that is good enough for me.

I am not saying there were not honest posts by people sharing their honest feelings- as painful as that might been for me. But when I saw a pattern of the same topics, written in the same writing styles by one hit topic posters I just started to believe there was an agenda.  In the past I believe members of that forum read my blog and sometimes wrote about (in a passive aggressive response) something I have shared on my blog. So it will be interesting if I see an increase in the type of posts of the past. Maybe they don't know how evident the changes are and would like to correct that. But if they do- I will keep score for a future blog post.

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck.........


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What Do Unecessary Adoptions And Paypal Scams Have In Common?

What do unnecessary adoptions and Paypal scams have in common? First there is the want. Somebody wants something from you that you would not willingly give if you knew the facts. So instead of facts you are given lies that are disguised as the truth. Next there is the expectation and hope that you will quickly respond due to emotion, therefore clouding your judgement.

For example, a common Paypal scam counts on a knee-jerk emotional reaction to steal from you. In a particular scam you will receive an email that appears as a receipt for payment for an item you have recently purchased. However- the dollar amount of the purchase will be vastly different and much higher than you paid. It looks like a correspondence from Paypal. It is designed that way. The email that looks authentic has a link for you to click on if you have questions or need help with your account. You may feel panicky and look for the promised help from that link.

Don't click that link. That link will infect your computer with the intent to steal your personal information and money.

Unnecessary adoption is designed that way as well. It counts on your emotional response to misinformation to steal from you and your child. It counts on you being alerted that you have a problem with your motherhood (financial, family, illness, societal) and asking for help.

Who enforces cyber crime and who enforces adoption crime? Well no-one really. Only the most blatant of offenses will addressed and even then the penalty is anemic at best. Society had decided that these crimes are not very important, and even if they are there is an allocation of resources to consider. In adoption there is too much money available to launch a defense. In cyber crime there are too many criminals to keep up with as well as the new technology they use.

A criminal is a criminal. Some will be well educated, and have resources that their victims do not have at their disposal. In unnecessary adoption the criminals may be well educated and have support from agencies, family and lawyers to assist them in obtaining victims. In cyber crimes the criminals are educated on technology, and usually operate in groups to obtain their victims. Another commonality they have is that they hurt people and they get away with it. Victim beware.....

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Open Adoption- When The Birthmother Drops Out

Recently I have read some posts where people speculate why a birthmother would become MIA in an open adoption. We hear the usual reasons such as the mother doesn't care, or it is too painful for her. What I don't see is any recognition that many of these birthmothers may be pressured to drop out of their relinquished child's life. Not with a gun to the head of course, but there are many subtle ways to let her and her family know they are not wanted.

For example I did not opt out of a post adoption relationship with my relinquished daughter by choice. The open adoption closed before she was two years old which has been speculated is the norm in the majority of cases. But the warning signs were very clear from the beginning. First was the coercive pressure to relinquish while I was ill. People who actually care about anyone other than themselves do not try to trick a mother into relinquishing her child. Next came the attempt to hide information. The adoptive parents did not want us to know their true names but later that became a moot point.

Shortly after the adoption our requests for promised pictures and letters were met with apologies and promises to send them. Later those requests were treated as hostile attempts to gain information about their daughter which invaded their privacy. We were sent emails back in which we were asked crazy questions such as did I still feel revolted at the thought of my daughter. Yes, that was a question asked and it was crazy. Was it an attempt to build a case later through her saved emails that I was disgusted with my child and proof she was saved by the adoptors?

The open adoption slammed shut. But for a moment let's speculate what may have happened if it had not. Imagine being the adopted child who has three visits a year with her birthfamily by adoptors who really don't want an open adoption at all. Besides the potential pain that seeing your birthfamily may invoke there is the adoptive family to deal with. The weeks or months leading up to the visit may become tense as the adoptive parents handle their feelings of resentment and insecurity. It won't take long before the dread that the adoptive parents feel before a visit becomes the dread the adoptive child feels before a visit.

For the birthfamily it may become very tense as well. There would be so much excitement at the thought of seeing your child. But with it may come the dread of being treated as unwanted, with everything you say or do scrutinized and being collected to use against you. For example any tears may be a sign of "emotional instability" or proof that you have not "accepted" the adoption and the adoptors roles as parents. It may be expected that you will act overjoyed and grateful with them as your child's parents and any sign of grief is proof of your ungratefulness.

If the child appears sullen or unhappy during the visits who will get the blame? Perhaps the child has reacted to the stress of her adoptive parents. Perhaps she is afraid to show emotion or perhaps the emotion she feels is unhappiness or confusion. In any case many adoptive parents will use this to stop visits and blame it on the child not wanting to see the birthfamily any longer. And really- who could blame the child? Who wants to deal with that?

Or the birthfamily is treated as unwanted and an outsider. People who are only to be tolerated while they fear reaching out to hug their child, or doing or saying anything that may anger or threaten the adoptive parents. They are reduced to being treated as something to be feared and by proxy their raised children are treated the same way. Not only would this do a psychological number on the birthfamily, they may not want to put their relinquished child through this type of stress. It may seem better to stop these visits. However, it will most likely become ammunition by the adoptive parents to prove that they were the saviors who were there when the birthfamily did not care enough to keep contact.

There are always two sides to the story. The adopted child and others may only be privy to one side of the story. The side that informs others that the birthmother or family closed the open adoption without any acknowledgment of pressure put on them or their relinquished child to cease contact by the adoptive parents.

I suspect I will always be grateful that our open adoption closed no matter how much anguish it caused me and my family. Not because closing and open adoption is a good thing, but because the adoptive parents had decided that we were adversaries as soon as they wanted our child. No good could ever have come out of that situation.

I do not think making open adoptions legally enforceable is the answer even though some people believe it is. I think the answer is education. We need to educate mothers that relinquishing their child through unnecessary adoption is not the answer. That all promises are based on the need to separate their child from them for financial gain or to fulfill the desires of people who care only about what is good for them. It is all about the mother producing a marketable product for the consumer. Once that is understood and we get rid of all the rainbows and unicorns, we are left with the cold hard facts of unnecessary adoption.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Love Lost or Lost Love

Losing someone or something you love can be incredibly painful. But losing someone whom you loved and loved you back with the same intensity is excruciating.

If I choose I can open my heart and love again. But to find someone or something that loves me as much is not so easy. To lose that connection is to lose a part of myself and who I am. I become who I was.........

That is true loss. Everything else pales in comparison. I reflect on that, and how this simple fact changes the very core of what we are. This is how we change. Can I lose someone or something I love that does not love me and grieve? Absolutely. Will part of me die when it goes away? Not always......

I think it was important for me to learn that distinction.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

OT- I Hate My Kitchen

I hate my kitchen. I hate it so much that I kick it every time I walk in there. I like the tile, I like the cabinets, I like the appliances but put it all together and I hate it as much as a fat kid hates gym class. No offense to fat kids because fat kids are at least cute. Cute my kitchen is not.

I have a Sawzall...........

I dream of removing some of the cabinets and counter and relocating the appliances. I see myself in the kitchen, working in a growing funeral pyre of wood and tile with a mad grin on my face. Then the dream becomes dark as my husband walks in and gives me that look of "what the hell are you doing now!" Which of course wipes the grin off my face as I pretend to not grin.

I need a plan. The first plan should be to remodel the kitchen. Here is where it gets sticky. DH did remodel the kitchen. He just did it without totally gutting it. See where I am going with this?

The second plan that came to mind was to sell the house. I have been lusting after pics of Zillow of a cute Craftsman house about a mile away. The lot is much smaller and there is not a park next door which my husband will not like. Plus there is the whole renovation thing. Sometimes men get mad when you plan to sell your house after all the blood they have spilled renovating it has not yet dried.

Next there is my DD who will not like having to get in a car and drive to my house in a panic to tell me that I must come over IMMEDIATELY to get rid of flying insects that have invaded her home. In her defense my husband did leave her door open which was their point of entry. 

Somebody is going to end up very unhappy about the kitchen. I imagine I will hear him cuss and throw things while I ask him to please be quiet so I can finish my school work.........