Monday, August 9, 2010

guest blogger: OMG what have I done?!?

birthMOM specifically asked this guest blogger, the fabulous wise loving and utterly delightful mrsperrbearthe very same that designed our logo, to share her thoughts on that overwhelming moment of self doubt when at any given time after placement, a birthmom finds herself asking herself, 'omg- what have i done?'. 

I tend to notice, that in all things in life, there are extremes. We find them present in politics, in religion, and surprisingly enough in Adoption Blogs...especially those written by firstmoms, birthmoms, tummy mummys, or whatever your preferred term is. There are the ANGRY blogs, written by women who feel coerced or taken advantage of. Some of these women placed children during the infamous "Baby Snatch Era", and were treated less than human by agencies, families, and an obviously broken system. In all honesty, I cannot relate to them, but I still ache for their loss, and bleed for what they have had taken from them. On the flip side, there are the OVERLY HAPPY blogs, where birthmothers gush non-stop about the wonderfulness of their choice, the amazing qualities of their perfect Adoptive Parents, and no sadness or sorrow is ever shown in these blogs. The ones that are filled to the top with "Rainbows and Butterflies" and never touch on anything else. I cannot relate to these women either, and tend to personally avoid these blogs when possible. What I want to address here, are the people like me...those that reside in the middle of the spectrum...those that have good days and bad days...and yet still feel positively about the role adoption plays in their lives.

When I was pregnant, and for a while after placement, I was 110% completely satisfied with my choice to place my youngest child for adoption. I did not know a lot about adoption, even though I had played an active role in one. We did not use an agency, nor lawyers, and I did not have an advocate or personal advisor to walk me through my journey. All I knew was that I was comfortable about my decision (as it was the only one I could make), and that two people who had been trying to become parents for ten years finally were. I did not have a personal support staff in place, and did not go to counseling. I figured that since I got myself into this situation, I would be able to get myself out. I have always been self sufficient. I thought that this situation would be no different.

In December of 2009, I finally got regular internet access at home, and since the grief was really starting to set in heavily, I began researching all that I could about adoption. It was then that I ran across the "angry" blogs. I read story after story of women who beat down all of the glorious and beautiful notions I had in my head of Adoption. Their stories were not my stories, but as my own adoption became more distant and more closed, I couldn't help but wonder if "they" were right. Was adoption a money grubbing industry where people could buy and sell children legally? Is that what I had done? Had I been coerced, and convinced to do something that was not in the best interest of me, or my children? Were my aparents, who sent really crappy pictures and hardly any details in their updates, Monsters who had lied, cheated, and stole to take my child from me? They had promised so much, and delivered so little. Were the "anti adoption" people right? Or was this simply a case of imperfect human beings acting imperfectly?

On the bad days, the sad days, I have doubt. I play little games in my head where I think what would have happened if I had parented her. And my little fantasies are fuzzy and glowing, and filled with flowers and sunshine. Then, I look into the smiling faces of the three beautiful children who were just as much a factor in my decision as she was, and I come back to reality. I think certain doubts are normal. No matter how ugly or how beautiful it can be, Adoption goes against the normal order of things. If there were not things such as financial hardships and infertility, Adoption would not exist. But because these things do, so does Adoption. Just because it is not "the norm" does not make it a bad thing. I often wonder how much of the grief I encountered was brought on by my own normal level of self doubt, and how much of it was brought on by researching just a little too much on the dark side of Adoption.

Another thing I run across daily...on TV, movies, books, and the occasional idiot on the street are the horrible stereotypes and stigmas surrounding birthmothers. I have been asked a hundred different ways and times "HOW?"..."WHY?" How could I just give away a child that was my flesh and blood? How will I explain to her, or to my three why she was placed for adoption? How could I pick and choose who stayed and who goes? Why wasn't I on birth control? (Which for the record, I WAS!!!), Why didn't I just have an abortion? Why do I cry if it was a decision I made? Why do I advocate for positive open adoptions when my own situation isn't always positive or open?

There are days when it feels like the whole world is screaming (my own inner voice along with it!) "that no mother should ever in her right mind be able to 'give up' her child!" Some days, I feel the need to answer those questions. Some days I don't. What I do know, with my entire heart and soul, is that by choosing adoption, I gave the best scenario available to all four children involved. That even though there are sad days, everyone is better for my decision. Even when she was born, and I stared into her wonderful little face, and thought for the briefest of seconds of keeping her...No amount of love, or want, or anything changed the circumstances surrounding my decision to make an adoption plan. The people who ask hateful questions, those who judge without truly knowing my story...I allow them to keep their views and do not try to change them. I sleep soundly (figuratively speaking) knowing that for my family, this was the best path.

I would encourage other expectant mothers, or birthmothers to find a means of support. DO NOT try to walk this path alone. For some, it is family. For others, it is a church or support group. For me, it is my blog and my amazing group of women at Adoptionvoices.com. And then there are my "heros"...Kelsey Stewart and Desha (birthMOM) who share their wonderful stories, blogs, books, and videos with the world. 

All of these positive options keep me going on the days I get overwhelmed with feelings of sadness. On my days of sorrow. In my normal, God given right to days of self doubt. Because eventually, even in the times of "OMG...What did I do???", it becomes clear to me that I loved enough to do EXACTLY what was needed to be done. For all of us.


LeMira said...

I love Michelle because she tells it exactly how it is for her, and she doesn't deny how others feel.

Envyshope said...

Really great post! Gives me another view to consider and learn about. Thank you so much for sharing. Blessings to you!

Meg and Ken said...

You are simply the best!!! love u :)

Mostly Jessica said...

Love you, Michelle!

Rachel said...

This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your honest heart with us!

Kelsey Stewart, Author said...

Michelle, I may be one of your heroes but you my dear are MY MUSE!!! Love you and all that is you! Fantastico!

Anonymous said...

If you didn't have at least two viable options, you didn't have a choice. Maybe your kid will understand, eventually, that that's why you gave her away. It's a lot easier to bear than other reasons.

Sterling Bo said...

Michelle - You don't know me from Adam, but this post is exactly what I needed to hear. It's [adoption] not always happy, but it's also not always sad. It's not always perfect, and it's not always imperfect. You're amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your story!

Amanda Woolston said...

My [First] Mother was one of those women...and it wasn't in the BSE/EMS and I'm hoping it was a rare experience, despite the fact that it was the largest agency in the United States that treated her that way. The 80's-90's was also a very bad time in adoption for many women.

Whether forced or not, these women do know what it is like to live a very long time seperate from their children and I respect their perspective. They also fight tirelessly for an adopted person's legal entitlement to information about their lives pre-adoption--something currently only 6 states respect without restriction.

My mother is not "angry." But we acknowledge the injustices that happened against her.

Not all women were manipulated. But adoption still is a 3 billion dollar per year and rising unregulated industry. I advocate heavily for regulation and de-profitizing because I believe the result will be better treatment for all involved.

I liked what you wrote about balance. As an adoptee, there is a paradox I feel and have come to accept. I don't want my mother to feel regret...but it would really hurt my feelings if she was happy that she didn't raise me either. I think we both regret that there were no resources in place so that she could parent--rather than regretting she didn't raise me in poverty. I also don't regret being raised by my Adoptive Parents.

Lots of paradoxes.

Being special to her, and feeling like her real daughter, is important to me.

earth mother said...

"Had I been coerced, and convinced to do something that was not in the best interest of me, or my children? Were my aparents, who sent really crappy pictures and hardly any details in their updates, Monsters who had lied, cheated, and stole to take my child from me? They had promised so much, and delivered so little. Were the "anti adoption" people right? Or was this simply a case of imperfect human beings acting imperfectly?"
Are we anti-adoption if we hold AP's accountable for their pre-adoption promises? Did they say they would only send crappy pictures and just a few details of your precious daughter's life with her new family? I'll bet they sang a pretty tune about their "intentions" So, why would one dismiss their behavior now as--'hey, just human imperfection' as if they aren't capable of holding a promise to the Mother of their daughter? Again, why does asking this question imply that I am anti adoption in your mind?

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