Welcome to the eighth installment of my Summer Interview Series. Throughout the summer I'm posting interviews with people touched by adoption. I hope that you will enjoy learning about them as much as I have. Please let me know if you would like to participate or would like to suggest someone else for me to interview.
This week - Birthmothertalks
How has your life been touched by adoption?
I am a birthmother from the time when it was more common for closed adoptions. Last Oct, I found my daughter on a social network and we are in contact. So, far, it's only in the form of electronic contact. However, I don't blog about it in my open blog. It's private.
How did you come to make an adoption plan for Izzy?
I was scared and hid the whole pregnancy. I was only 15 when she was born. My Mom suggested and basically forced me to give her up for adoption. My Mom's sister who knew someone who wasn't able to get pregnant and they became the parents of my daughter.
How do you feel today about your decision to relinquish?
I seriously regret it. I have never gotten over my grief and the shame of not raising my daughter. I feel like not facing my reality of being pregnant and weighing my options has increased my sadness and also probably made it more likely that she was adopted out. I was in the hospital and wasn't able to have contact with my Dad who most likely would have helped me raise my daughter.
How has your life since placement compared with what you thought it would be like?
Adoption was thrown at me so fast... I don't know if I ever had an impression of how it would be like. but I do remember thinking that once I had my first raised child that I would be over the loss. It took both of my sons and years later to see that having more babies didn't ease my pain. If anything it made it worse. I would be loving a special moment and think of how my daughter was missing from our life.
You wrote this in one of your recent blog posts:
I have been trying to be more supportive of the birthmother's. I feel that is where my support should be. It's not that I can't read and comment on adoptive parents blogs, but if I am going to comment and try to support then it should be with birthmother's. Because the road a birth mother must travel on after parting ways with her child is very lonely.
It sounds as though you need to choose to be supportive of either birth mothers or adoptive parents; you can't support both. I'm quite struck by your perception that it is an "either-or" proposition. I'm curious why you can't do both. I can speculate, but would you mind sharing your thoughts?
I know I can support both birthparents and adoptive parents but I think I was falling into of a pattern of reading and commenting more on the adoptive Mommies blogs because I think we as a society only want to really talk about the good stuff. If you take the time to see how many follow adoptive Mom's blogs compared to birthmother's. You might see that the adoptive parents see quite a bit more support by comments.
Also, I can't always be sincere and saying that I hope you are picked soon or that the adoption goes through. Because, what I really am thinking is how I hope the women find a way to parent their own child. I kind of feel like hoping someone gets to bring home a baby by adoption is hoping a woman loses a baby to adoption. I got to thinking back to the day that I finally told everyone that I have contact with my daughter and I didn't get tons and tons of people telling me how excited they were for me. However, to the credit of some adoptive Mom's that I felt like I really connected with, I had already shared my news with them.
What do you think adoptive parents want from birth mothers? That is an hard one. I would have to say to be open and honest and understanding of each other from the beginning.
What do you want adoptive parents to know about your experience as a birth mother? I want adoptive parents in general to know that even though a Mom chooses adoption because she feel it's the best for her baby.. It doesn't mean that she doesn't love him or her. Also, if the Mom is grieving because of the adoption that it doesn't mean that they are upset about your skills about parenting. It's more about how they miss the child and feel a loss for them.
I think they should know that when it comes to meeting and accepting a match for adoption of a child to only agree to the level of what you feel that you can handle. It's very depressing to live day by day not knowing if your child is alive and being taken care of. It's hard to wonder if you seen your child would you know it was this. For me... I took it as something personal that was wrong with me. Like they didn't trust that I wouldn't steal her away from them. I love my daughter so much. I could never rip her away from them to heal my heart.
Lastly, adoption and my daughter have been shoved under the rug. No one spoke of her for years.
Are there any adoption-related books or publications you recommend? I am glad that you have asked. I have blogged about some. I really enjoy reading about adoption from all sides of adoption. It gives me a sense of being normal. Someone else felt the same thing and it made me feel more normal. Here is a handful of books that I have enjoyed reading. I know I am missing some but here is the list that I could come up with.
The Red Thread by Ann Hood
The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler
Giving away Simone by Jan Waldon
The Adoption Reader.. birthmothers.. adoptive mothers and adopted daughters tell their story by Susan Wadia-Ells
Birthmothers by Merry Bloch, jones
Letters to my Birthmother by Amy Dean
The Other Sister by S.T.Underdahl
I know this isn't a question but I have a few final thoughts to add... Before blogging about adoption, I spent most of the years as a birthmother alone in the dark. My daughter was barely mentioned. My friends never knew about my daughter. Most of my family knew but choose not to discuss her or even let on that they knew about her. My daughter was born on Sept. 11 1991. When the attacks happened on 9/11 in 2001, it changed how often I thought of my daughter. It stole her birthday. My daughter's birthday was slammed together with the attacks. I had a really hard time and her birthdays started getting harder to deal with compared to getting easier.
Sometimes, I might come across as Anti adoption. I am not. I am also not praising how wonderful adoption is. I know it can be beautiful but at the cost of loss so deep that most people can't begin to comprehend the pain involved for the birthmother and from reading the adoptee too. I fall somewhere in the middle. I understand that sometimes adoption is the best choice. My brain understands this but my heart screams no!!!
What bugs me the most is how much people pay to adopt a child. I wonder how can the business be unbiased when they stand to make a profit if a women considering adoption choose adoption. It makes me sad to see people wanting to adopt to raise the funds from friends and family, because in a lot of cases if the birthparent had that same support either money or emotional support she could parent her own child.
Lastly, I want to mention how blogging about adoption has given me a voice to express my thoughts and sadness over adoption. I have connected with people from all sides of adoption. All sides have helped me in one way or another. The best friendship that has happened as a result of blogging was a birthmother who reached out to me when I needed someone the most. It was amazing to be able to talk to someone who really understood what I have been going through. We don't talk often enough but when we do... we sometimes finish each others sentences because we have both been there.
Thanks for your interest in my story.
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