Thursday, October 13, 2011

Guest Blogger: its so easy to blame others

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My name is Chelsie Burke. I placed a baby boy up for adoption July of 1999. My back story is I was always at odds with my own mother. We fought constantly and with me being a high school senior with a boyfriend and a full time job and many extra curricular activities before and after school I figured I could take it but on the Fourth of July of 98 it just became TOO much for me and I moved in with my boyfriend. We both struggled with the decision because I severed ties with my whole family when I stopped talking to my mom and I was moving in with his parents and sister as well as him. I found out I was pregnant in November but I kept it to myself until the end of December. My bf's first response was 'get rid of 'IT' here is some money' but it broke my heart to think I would never know this part of me so I stalled until I turned 18.

I contacted an adoption agency and went in the next day. The counselor was shocked at how sure I was about my decision and gave me a folder of 'possible candidates' it took me a few days but I picked two and went from there. The first couple I saw right through them, they weren't being themselves and even brought their other adoptive child in the middle of the day and he was all over the place. I practically knew RIGHT away that the match wasn't made. We scheduled to meet the next couple a few days later. It was honestly love at first sight. The mom and I immediately started gabbing and we go along so well. They came without their other adoptive son and you could tell they had both been at work which impressed me. I saw they weren't trying too hard and they were nervous so I knew they were the right match for me.

I was nervous when I heard it would have to be a 'match' before we could move on. So I sat around waiting for the 'call' and it took a few days but when it came in I was ecstatic! We had a couple of meetings after that to 'get to know each other' but this was May before we found them and spent June getting to know them. All the while I was in summer school trying to get an A in Senior English so I could graduate. Which I did. I graduated on July 8th, 1999. I was so glad I finally got that out of the way and I had something to be proud of. So I celebrated over the weekend and helped my boyfriend work on Saturday for 12 hours. At this time I was over 40 weeks pregnant and had ONE MORE appointment before my doctor wanted to proceed. Sadly I went into labor at 2:00am on Sunday and the parents weren't contacted until 11:00am and the baby was born at a little after 4:00 am so they missed the birth but they did make it and the SECOND I saw the mom with the baby I knew I had made the perfect decision. I will never regret that feeling either. I had a sense of calm that just overcame me and left with peace of mind knowing my decision was the best for each and every person involved(I should add I graduated High School THREE days before giving birth and I was two days late at that point).

At first we had quarterly visits and monthly phone calls until he turned one. At one it was six month visits and still monthly phone calls. Then we had both decided that from then on we would wean the phone calls and only do emails and pictures with a promise to get them on his birthday and then any others were just an added bonus. It was a good situation until he was nine. Each year around his birthday I would get updates about his schooling, his sports, where they were currently residing, and other activities and vacations. At nine those emails stopped. I attempted to email them but my email was just bounced back. I was left DUMBFOUNDED! Needless to say I spent his birthday so sad and in tears. To make matters worse I wasn't with the same guy anymore since he asked me to 'take care of IT' I couldn't trust him or even look at him without being furious. Also my current boyfriends ex wives birthday is on the SAME day as my birth sons and they have a daughter together so its really hard for me to just forget the day because we are always talking about it around that time with schedules and phone calls and dinners.

So here I am today. For years I just thought it was a miscommunication, they lost my email and changed theirs. They have moved a few times and so its hard for me to pin point if they are in the Mid-West or in my same state. It never even occurred to me that my adoption could close on me. I am also tried to speak with someone at the agency but somehow I was being put into a voicemail that wasn’t in use and kept slipping through the cracks. So in January I thought I would give finding them on Facebook a try. I found the dad first off and tried the mom but she wasn’t on there so I sent an email to the dad just asking for an update and pics that I could keep. The email went unanswered until March when I searched for his mom again, YES she has a Facebook now! I was ecstatic! Her and I got along so well I thought I would hear right back from her. Well its now September and she hasn’t responded. To answer any question yes both of them have been back on Facebook since I attempted to contact them. Since my first attempt with the dad his has become private and the mom just didn’t respond. Its sad to me to think these were people I trusted and loved and got along with so well and here I am 12 and a half years later wondering what I could have done wrong to make them want to cut all communication with me? I have racked my brain thinking of things I could have said to either of them and nothing comes to mind.

How does one cope? Well for a couple of years I would just eat myself silly. I would go on complete food binges starting the day before his birthday and would stop 3 days after which in Arizona is the day I signed over custody. When you have no one to lean on it becomes harder than one would think. I mean yes I have friends and a wonderful man who are HERE for me but they have NO clue what I am going through and therefore have no idea how to help me. I have spent the last 12 years getting ‘what I thought’ I needed in the department of adoption. It took me this happening to show me I wasn’t coping AT ALL. What I was doing was playing the deny game. I was denying numerous things like I was ok, that I didn’t hurt, that I didn’t miss this person who grew inside of me and worst of all I denied that I needed someone to talk too. I can't explain how angry I was at first about it. When you get treated in a hurtful manner its so easy to blame others and be angry and take it the wrong way, though yes I agree that there is no other way to take the disconnect of your child initially. Now its years after that initial anger and hurt and I think I am doing better.

Yes I am sad still and I spent his birthday this year being torn into different directions emotionally, but I am now connected. I have other birth mom's to connect with, over the internet, and during my recent trip up to Washington I met a couple of WONDERFUL and AMAZING people who themselves who were adopted plus their mom and dad plus what I didn't know is my best friends husband is adopted as well. I was more connected than I though I was and I am amazed by it. Though I am still sad I have decided to look into the future to what will be. Just because I am not in contact with him and his parents today doesn't mean in the future we won't talk each year on his birthday when he is old enough to come to me on his own. I understand that its six years off but I am hopeful that when the time comes that he looks for me and would like for me to be a part of his life. Nothing about being a birth parent is easy. We make sacrifices in life so not only our children but their parents will have enriched and full lives. Making the 'ultimate' life choice for my child to not be raised by me an 18 year old who didn't know how to support herself let alone a newborn baby was hard and challenging but it showed me that no matter how 'adult' I thought I wasn't at the time it showed me how adult I was willing to be when it came to my child and his future.

I still get head nods, gasps and told how selfish I am for my actions. The phrase 'Well if you are old enough to have sex than you are old enough to raise a child' still drives me nuts. Luckily the understanding people and the word 'selfless' comes out more often which just tells me I will never regret my choice even with the hardships I am currently managing with this.


Elizabeth said...

"The phrase 'Well if you are old enough to have sex than you are old enough to raise a child' still drives me nuts."
I could not agree more!! Yes, we were old enough to have sex, but also old enough (and mature) enough to know that we couldn't provide for our babies. That takes more 'age' and maturity than keeping and trying to care for a child that you know you can't. That phrase goes through me like a rusty nail!
Your story breaks my heart. I am so terrified every day of that happening to me...someone once said to me, "Adoption isn't the choice for you if you'd be upset if they cut contact," but who wouldn't be hurt if they cut contact? It was a risk all birth moms must be willing to take...and I am very very sorry that it happened to you. You will be in my prayers..

Lara Zierke said...

This is so sad. So frustrating. There are only a handful of things that would cause me to ever close our adoption - stuff like drugs, criminal activity, etc. I can't imagine it just vanishing like this. I hope the contact resumes sooner rather than later. Just think - your son will be old enough to be on FaceBook in a couple years. :) Thank you for sharing this painful story. It just solidifies my desire to keep everything open with my daughter's birth family.

jodilee0123 said...

I am so sorry that has happened to you. We haven't heard from our son's birthmother since May and I'm really sad about it. We had to tell her we didn't want her boyfriend coming over anymore and after several times of them not listening we had to get stern about it. I know she is very angry with us. I have emailed her, sent her photos, and letters telling her it is about her relationship with her son and us, not her boyfriend. It goes a bit deeper than that...but that's where I will leave it. Keep your hope. I hope she will come around. We have seen her about once a month and often more for over 5 years. I am really sad about it, but I won't allow my kids around her boyfriend anymore and she chooses to not come over because of it. Why does it all have to be so confusing? Thank you for sharing such a difficult part of your life. Sometimes it just makes it better to know others are experiencing their own hardships on the opposite ends of adoption. I pray it works out for all of us!

DaNelle said...

It is so heartbreaking that something like that happened to you. I can't understand why they would promise open adoption then just close it without telling you why.

We haven't found our birth mother yet, and our first 2 children are biological so I can't say I've experienced being an adoptive parent(yet), but gosh I just can't imagine breaking someone's heart like that. If I didn't get to see my kids and gosh, not knowing where they were or if they were okay would be horrible! This is great post for me to read because I don't ever want to cause someone that kind of hardship. I would hope the adoptive parents understand it is healthier for him to have you in his life, even if it's just a little.

I really hope they have a change of heart and try to contact you!

Thanks for this post, amazing.

chelsburke2 said...

Thank you everyone for your support. This was very hard for me to write. I would NEVER bad mouth his parents EVER, even now, and I get frustrated when girls around me bad mouth their aparents. I love them and appreciate everything they have done for me and OUR son. I am holding hope that eventually they will contact me but I won't hold my breath.

I have a very busy year ahead of me with a move to a new state so new jobs, homes, schools and friends so I am hoping when his birthday rolls around that I will be too preoccupied to be so hurt. I understand their stance, even though I don't really know it, and am trying to get info from the adoption agency but that is another thing that I won't hold my breath on.

The best thing I can do is remember they may have gone through something or maybe they finally told him he was adopted (they were supposed to tell him when he turned 10 and he is now 12) and maybe he requested not to talk to me so they decided to back off so they wouldn't upset him. Either way I should have been told why the connection was broken and not left in the dark :(

Rachel said...

I am so sorry about what is going on in your life right now. That has to be so hard. I just placed my son on September 16th and I've been so afraid that this will happen to me. I hate when people talk down towards birth moms because of their choices.You're exactly right when you say that it is a completely "selfless" decision.
We didn't go through an adoption agency so if this ever happened to me I don't even know where I would go for help. I do hope that the parents contact you soon so that you have that reassurance that your child is ok.

Laurie Meredith said...

I am an adoptive mother and your story breaks my heart. I have tears in my eyes reading it. I don't know how they could just cut you off like that. We have the opposite problem with us trying to keep in contact and our birth mothers not reciprocating, but I think it's just because it's painful. Keep your head up and if they don't come around, your son will find you someday and you'll reconnect.

Ashley said...

Thank you for posting this. My friend and her husband are starting on their adoption journey and we talked about open adoption today. She asked me "What if things just don't work out with the birth mom, what if we change our minds about open adoption?"

This post answers her question. I've been so blessed to have a friend who has allowed us to remain a part of her life and the benefit for our daughter is just priceless.

Honestly, unless Carri did something to intentionally Julia, I can see no reason for pulling a stunt like this. She had three months where she thought we'd done this to her (the agency hadn't forwarded our bi-weekly letters and the literal DOZENS of photos we'd been sending) and it still makes me sick, three years later.

I am so sorry that they are doing this. There are a number of reasons I can think of, most of the ones on the top of my list of ideas have to do with their own insecurity, which is a shame. Maybe he is going through a bout of "anti-adoption" right now. Who knows. The bottom line is that I'm so sorry you're hurting and this is another reminder to the rest of us to make sure this doesn't happen in our own relationships.

You're loved.

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