Monthly Archive for August, 2011

Unplanned Pregnancy….a legacy of pain we must not forget…

I was recently sent a link to a National Public Radio interview titled.”The Girls Who Went Away”: Birth Mothers’ Stories by author and adopted person Ann Fessler…Fessler tells the stories of woman from the 1940’s thru the early 1970’s who were pregnant and sent away under the cloak of secrecy and shame to have their babies at maternity homes and then in most cases were coerced into surrendering their children to adoption…These woman were told to then move on with their lives …with no acknowledgement of grief and loss issues inherent in adoption the majority of these woman were left with regret, shame and guilt..some spent years silently grieving…. longing to know where their  children were…Were they alive?  Did they know they were adopted? Were they loved and parented well?? How did their lives turn out??…so many unanswered questions…a legacy of pain and unresolved grief…I was struck with how different  adoptions are today when a birth mother I worked with several years ago stopped in to see me…I had helped her with her second adoption…she  currently has an open adoption with the family and visits regularly with her birth daughter age 8…but the more exciting thing for me to observe was the fact that she had reconnected with her first child she placed for adoption…  that child was now age 16….they were spending several days together before school started .. this teen was connecting with her heritage..her genetics… her first mom…. and most of all a sense of  herself!!…I watched in awe as they joked and laughed together and I was struck how much they resembled each other physically…they left heading off for a day at the beach…I asked if they would like to speak to prospective adoptive parents to help educate them to the realities of today’s adoption..they eagerly said yes..I then asked the teen would your Mom and Dad be cool with that.?.She smiled at her birth mother and answered” they’d think it was a great idea they’d want to come too …They arranged this visit”!!… Click the link below to listen to the NPR interview…my heart goes out to these woman…how did the adoption community get it so wrong all those years… adoption practice is changing…in some cases not fast enough… I still read the blogs and see the chat rooms where woman were led to believe their adoption would be open only to have the door slamed in their face by fearful adoptive parents…we must continue to learn from this painful legacy and strive to educate birth and adoptive parents that if an adoption must occur, it needs to be built on real well defined loving relationships that are child centered….. hats off to this birth mom I have been blessed to know for sharing her story with me  and for teaching me how to be a better adoption professional….and many thanks to the brave and loving adoptive family for letting their daughter explore  her roots and connect…

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5408449&ps=rs

My son’s Birth Mom

Kinship Center adoptive mother Jackie, who also happens to be an adoptee, wrote a loving tribute to the woman who changed her life forever, her son’s birth mother. It is an amazing story filled with love and proof of what can happen when birth and adoptive families allow themselves to connect and build real relationships.

“I will never forget June 24, 2004. That is the day my life changed forever. It is the day I met my 3 week old son, Daniel. My life didn’t only change because I was adopting a baby. My life also changed because I met a true hero – my son’s birthmom, Francis.

The myth in society is that birthmoms don’t care about their children; that they don’t want anything to do with them. That myth couldn’t be further from the truth. I will never forget the pain and sadness I saw in Francis’ eyes while she held her infant son and handed him to me. I wept tears of sadness for her because I knew she was making the ultimate sacrifice for her son by letting him go.

I imagined what my own birthmother must have experienced when she left me at the hospital and went home empty-handed. I imagined what my adoptive mother must have felt the first time she held me. It was such a bittersweet day and truly difficult to enjoy. I felt tremendous guilt knowing that what was the happiest day of my life was the saddest day of Francis’ life. My heart ached for her for a long time knowing that she was grieving the loss of her baby boy.

That was over seven years ago and our relationship has evolved into more than just birthmother and adoptive mother. Francis is my friend. She is funny and witty. She is kind and loving. She is a blessing in my life.

Recently, we came very close to adopting another baby, but the mother decided to parent. We were heartbroken and devastated. As I cried the next morning, my mind went to Francis. I had this sudden urge to call her and tell her how much I love her. I kept thinking over and over how thanks to her, I am a mother. Not only did I have the need to call her, I needed to see her, spend time with her, and tell her face to face how much I appreciate her.
I owed it to her and I owed it to my son.

When I shared my feelings with my husband, he said he had the same need I did. So right then and there we decided we would go visit Daniel’s birthfamily. When we announced the news to our son, he ran to us and put his arms around us and enthusiastically cried out “Thank you mommy and daddy! You’re the best mommy and daddy in the whole world!”

During our two day visit with Francis, Armando, and their four children, we grew to love them even more, if that’s even possible. Nothing gave us more joy than seeing our son play with his birth-siblings and interact with his birthparents. We had fun; we laughed; we got to know one another a bit more; and most importantly, we created memories for our son to cherish forever.

While Francis and I were alone, she handed me a manila folder. When I opened it, tears immediately began to fall from my face. For the first time ever, I saw ultrasound pictures of my precious little Daniel. Francis said she wanted me to have them. And just like that, once again Francis proved to me the hero she truly is.”