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"A Bit of Peace"

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Dear Sister,

I don’t know your name, where you live or even what you look like. I don’t know what your voice sounds like or how tall you are and I don’t know what your favorite food is. You and I are, however, as intimately connected as any two women can be. I don’t know those things about you, but I do know that our son has your infectious laugh and killer smile. I suspect he inherited his adorable cheeks from you, too. Maybe his incredible sense of curiosity came from you, and his bravery from his other father. His spark of intelligence and stubborn streak, although mirrored perfectly in both his Daddy AND me, came from you too.

I’ve been thinking about you a lot this week as my precious boy approaches his second birthday, especially since it’s quite possible that in truth that milestone has already passed. The orphanage assigned his birthday as the 26th, but only you know the exact minute that this little miracle came into the world. I know there is so much you want to know about your baby, and I would give everything to be able to tell you all about what a special boy he is. I know your heart is breaking right now on these days surrounding the memories you have of his birth and your decision to give him a chance at something different. My heart is breaking because he will never get a chance to know who he got his “lucky earlobes” from, or who the first person to cuddle and soothe him was.

If I could talk to you, I would tell you that he always chooses the orange circle first when sorting shapes, and he leaves the red heart for last, that he can’t make it through a meal without at least three kisses on the head, that he can’t get enough tomatoes or guacamole but doesn’t like spinach, that he’s learning to count on his fingers, that he loves his dog, he’s learning to sing, he’s ticklish behind his knees, that he’s already worn out one copy of “Goodnight Moon” because we read it every night, and his favorite place on earth is a toss-up between the beach and Mommy and Daddy’s great big bed. He is loved with not only your whole heart, but mine as well.

 
I would try to tell you, too, how incredibly grateful I am for the chance to be this amazing child’s mother, and how unbelievably humbled I am to have received the gifts of not only your son, but of this capacity for love that I never knew I had. There are no words for that kind of gratitude, though, and it sounds hollow to me even as I write it. My gratitude is a tangible, breathing thing.

I can almost see it shining in waves every time I look at our son. I desperately want you to know that he is safe and healthy and happy. It is not the life you hoped for or imagined for him (of that I’m certain), but my promise to you is that I am doing the very best I can to give him the best opportunities for happiness and success. I promise, too, to honor your memory every chance I get. One day in the not-too-distant future he’ll ask about you, and while I won’t be able to tell him anything of significance, I do know that there’s not a day that goes by that you don’t think about him.

You and I will always be connected: the mother that carried him and gave him life and loves him from so far away, and the mother that has been blessed with the unimaginable gift of being called “Mommy” and being here to kiss the boo-boos and chase away the bad dreams. You are my sister, and although I will never meet you, I have more love for you than you will ever know.

On Saturday when we light the candles on his cake, we’ll light one for you, too, sending up a prayer as we blow it out and send the smoke sailing across the seas. I hope with everything in me that you hear it when the wind whispers past bringing my good wishes and a gratitude so huge that I feel like I could collapse under the weight of the joy it brings. I hope the wind carries away some of your grief and leaves you with a bit of peace.

by on Jan. 22, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Replies (31-40):
bellacocco
by Member on Jan. 22, 2013 at 8:48 PM



Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 

More often than not, it is a reaction to a crisis situation and, usually, it is not the pregnancy that is the crisis but the situation the mother is in when she finds herself pregnant. I hear this but allow me to say, these are not the women that I have worked with. The women I have worked with, the pregnancy IS the crisis and if for not the pregancy, they would not be in crisis. Unless there is something I am missing- a big something I am missing??? - - - Hmm . . . . so the women you have worked  with are in a crisis because they are pregnant and don't wish to parent their children?  They have never shared fears of being unable to financially care for their child?  Have no place to live?  Might be in an abusive relationship?  Don't have support from family?  To me that is interesting because the overwhelming majority of First Moms I know did not give up their babies because they were facing a crisis because they were pregnant but were instead were facing the crisis of a lack of support and help and were vulnerable to their current situations and left feeling as if they had no choice but to give their child up for adoption.

Sadly no. Not in any depth. Counseling is always offered. Rarely if ever do the mothers ever engage. Once they sign, they cancel their follow-up visit; never return my phone call.....But they are told and encouraged to complete a birth cert. and if they want a copy, I provide them with 1. but also tell them the AP will most likely change their baby's name once the adoption is final.  - - - What kind of counseling is offered?  Is it by trained and licensed therapists who specialize in crisis counseling?  I ask, because it is common that those facing a crisis can be reluctant to counseling because they are seeking an immediate answer - a salve - to whatever problem or pain they are facing.  Usually it takes someone specifically trained in how to reach out to them at this time to actually make any kind of difference.  And, I'm sorry, but I'm confused . . . how do you encourage them to complete a birth certificate.  Birth certificates must be filled out by an infants parents - at the time of birth.  Are you saying there are mothers who are not filling out their own child's birth certificates?  How is that possible?  And even though a mother gets a copy of her child's original birth certificate, it does not change the fact that her child will, more than likey, still be denied his or her equal rights once they become an adult.


 the women are counseld not to feel obligated to the pap. that their baby is still their baby and they can change their mind about their adoption plan at any time up until they sign- once they signn, it's final. but up until that time, they are the parent and should not feel pressured to place unless they were 100% certain. - - -  Now this I am very curious about.  Which agencies did you work for?  I hear many stories from many, many First Moms, all in different parts of their journies. All with differing experiences. And yet, I have never heard of one that was ever told such a thing.  And I'm a bit confused, if an agency encourages pre-birth matching, how do the then warn mothers about the coercion and manipulation that is a part of pre-birth matching?

How do I do this? How do I empower them? How do you wish you were empowered so that you chose to parent rather than place?  - - - You empower mothers by refusing to even suggest adoption to them until their reasons for wanting to give their babies up are identified.  Until they are given the support and help to find solutions to those problems.  You empower them by helping - not just suggesting - them fin the resources they need, such as housing, financial support, personal support.  By getting them signed up for the programs available to them so they can still continue their education while raising their child.  Can be a part of parenting classes if they are doubting their abilities.  Have a support group of other mothers like them if they feel as if they will be abandoned by others and will be alone raising their child.

You empower them by making them fully aware of their own rights. By insuring they have their own advocates in their corner that do not benefit, in any way, from them giving up their child.  By making sure they understand just how dangerous it is to sign away their rights to their child while they are still pregnant or in the first weeks after birth.


You empower them by believing they and their child are important enough to protective from the many different practices and actions we have now learned have been coercive and manipulative toward vulnerable mothers in their time of need.


 



Cassi


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter - - Martin Luther King, Jr.


http://adoptiontruth-casjoh.blogspot.com/

Freebairn
by New Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 3:23 AM

Ms. KitKat, I guess I'm having a little trouble understanding what this post is about, what you are looking for, and what your position is in the adoption triad.  Are you a mom?  If so, are you a mom by having given birth, or did you adopt?  Did you post this letter to see if a birth mother who relinquished her child is okay with it, if the words make it okay?  What is it, exactly, that you are looking for?

Ms.KitKat
by Bronze Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 7:57 AM

 

Quoting Cedartrees4:

 

 

women are counseld not to feel obligated to the pap. that their baby is still their baby and they can change their mind about their adoption plan at any time up until they sign- once they signn, it's final. but up until that time, they are the parent and should not feel pressured to place unless they were 100% certain.

But have these women already been matched pre-birth, presented with the profiles of "waiting parents," met them, and "bonded"?  You see, no matter what intellectual information you give a mother, if she has this type of direct contact with adoptive parents prior to signing the surrender papers, the risk of emotional coercion is so high that it is doubtful she will ever "back out."  You must know the term "failed adoption"?   No-one wants to be a failure, and no mother who due to soaring oxytocin levels has "fallen in love with" the adoptive parents or her mental image of them wants to hurt and disappoint them.  :(   That is what's called emotional coercion, as this adoption lawyer blatantly admits to: 

" For Meding, this process has been successful. “In my opinion, when the birth mother has more input and can see first hand how important the adoption is to the family, it is more difficult for her to back out and disappoint them.” (“Open Doors,” The Columbia Star, April 29, 2005)"

:( 

 Yes, I see this and understand. But then what am I supposed to do when a woman comes to my adoption agency wanting to see profiles? Wanting to meet the pap? IDK all about how other agencies work 9although I do know of one that works exclusivly with open adoption only) but where I work, it is the expectant parents who tell me what they want.

I have been in very, very many identified potential adoptions. And yes, I have seen how the mother and pap bond. They talk every day, text, meet for lunch and dinner, etc...and I have also seen how once her baby is b orn, she cuts off all ties to the pap.  She refuses to allow them into the hospital. and the saddest stories for me? is when the mom places and the pap care for her baby and then days- sometimes weeks go by and then she asks for her baby back. This is heartbreaking- for everyone. The pap know the risks. The child is always hers until she signs. This is why where I work, we try very very hard to encouarge the mom that if she is hesitant in anyway about this plan,  to not place with the pap and use temp care instead until she can figure things out.

Ms.KitKat
by Bronze Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 8:15 AM

 This is a lot to read. I skimmed breifly and wanted to respond to you. I will go back and read more carefully though. Anyway, I want you to know, agency social workers do not intentionally withhold. The honest truth is- at least for me- is that I never really knew of the extent of the loss. Yes- I knew there was (is) loss but the extent? No. How can I with hold information that I have not fully comprehended myself? I guess I drank the kool-aide? I don't know. I do not like that I don;t know- that is the truth though. But believe me in this- social work school does not cover this! We learn family dynamics, we take classes in cultural competency and ethics at a very academic level not real-life. 

You are correct about the websites. For my agency it does talk about the expectant parents having "full resposnibility" and how we will "assist you in the planing for your baby even if that plan is not adoption."  

Quoting Cedartrewes4:

I also have to tell you that, as far as many (most?) of us are concerned, this is the information which your profession has always known but which agency workers intentionally withhold from us in order to obtain our signatures:

http://www.originscanada.org/effects-of-adoption-on-mental-health-of-the-mother-what-professionals-knew-and-didnt-tell-us/

and http://www.originscanada.org/adoption-trauma-the-damage-to-relinquishing-mothers/

This is the material we assume you learn about in social work school, because it is the most important information concerning a mother and adoption, what effects it will have on her, and most of it is from social work professional literature, and it shows that the trauma of surrender was known decades ago. :(

We also look at current adoption-agency websites and see none of this information presented, only the implication that raising a child is prohibitively costly and that adoption will be a win-win-win happy-forever-after experience. Those agencies that do mention grief reassure the mother that it is "temporary" or "will lessen" when they know that there is no guarantee at all of this.   Many natural mothers come to this group not having been told anything about the risk of negative emotional/psychological consequences - agencies never mentioned it to them.   :(   So, that is another reason why many do not trust agencies - we know the information they have about the emotional consequences and have had about them since the 1960s, but have not told anyone about. 

 

Ms.KitKat
by Bronze Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 8:37 AM

 bella- this is a lot to take on. I want to be able to address all you said. I'm not sure if I have the answers for you. A crisis pregnancy- yes. of course finances come into play and all the other factors. From my seat- I see it as a chicken/egg. Those are issues that arise BECASUE OF the pregnancy and if not for the crisis they will continue their lives. Does that make sense?

The counseling is "options counseling" exploring their options and alternatives to adoption- adoption is always the last choice.

I really do not know what to say re pre-birth matching. It's a request made by the expectant parents.

About the birth cert. some will allow the pap to complete it. I have to say- it really ticks me off when this happens. When the mom  does not name her baby and has the pap put their baby name chocie on the orginal BC. Or worse yet the baby is named Baby Girl or Baby Boy. I know the records are sealed- t hat is the law and a whole 'nother thread. My point about the BC is that I encouarge the parents to name their baby- making it more real that they have a child. Their child.

re empowering, I am not the one who is suggesting adoption. They are coming to me, the adoption agency saying I want to place and I give them alternatives to that. I tell them to think of other alternatives to adoption- again- adoption being the last choice. 

I hope I answered you?

Quoting bellacocco:

 

 

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 

More often than not, it is a reaction to a crisis situation and, usually, it is not the pregnancy that is the crisis but the situation the mother is in when she finds herself pregnant. I hear this but allow me to say, these are not the women that I have worked with. The women I have worked with, the pregnancy IS the crisis and if for not the pregancy, they would not be in crisis. Unless there is something I am missing- a big something I am missing??? - - - Hmm . . . . so the women you have worked  with are in a crisis because they are pregnant and don't wish to parent their children?  They have never shared fears of being unable to financially care for their child?  Have no place to live?  Might be in an abusive relationship?  Don't have support from family?  To me that is interesting because the overwhelming majority of First Moms I know did not give up their babies because they were facing a crisis because they were pregnant but were instead were facing the crisis of a lack of support and help and were vulnerable to their current situations and left feeling as if they had no choice but to give their child up for adoption.

Sadly no. Not in any depth. Counseling is always offered. Rarely if ever do the mothers ever engage. Once they sign, they cancel their follow-up visit; never return my phone call.....But they are told and encouraged to complete a birth cert. and if they want a copy, I provide them with 1. but also tell them the AP will most likely change their baby's name once the adoption is final.  - - - What kind of counseling is offered?  Is it by trained and licensed therapists who specialize in crisis counseling?  I ask, because it is common that those facing a crisis can be reluctant to counseling because they are seeking an immediate answer - a salve - to whatever problem or pain they are facing.  Usually it takes someone specifically trained in how to reach out to them at this time to actually make any kind of difference.  And, I'm sorry, but I'm confused . . . how do you encourage them to complete a birth certificate.  Birth certificates must be filled out by an infants parents - at the time of birth.  Are you saying there are mothers who are not filling out their own child's birth certificates?  How is that possible?  And even though a mother gets a copy of her child's original birth certificate, it does not change the fact that her child will, more than likey, still be denied his or her equal rights once they become an adult.

 

 the women are counseld not to feel obligated to the pap. that their baby is still their baby and they can change their mind about their adoption plan at any time up until they sign- once they signn, it's final. but up until that time, they are the parent and should not feel pressured to place unless they were 100% certain. - - -  Now this I am very curious about.  Which agencies did you work for?  I hear many stories from many, many First Moms, all in different parts of their journies. All with differing experiences. And yet, I have never heard of one that was ever told such a thing.  And I'm a bit confused, if an agency encourages pre-birth matching, how do the then warn mothers about the coercion and manipulation that is a part of pre-birth matching?

How do I do this? How do I empower them? How do you wish you were empowered so that you chose to parent rather than place?  - - - You empower mothers by refusing to even suggest adoption to them until their reasons for wanting to give their babies up are identified.  Until they are given the support and help to find solutions to those problems.  You empower them by helping - not just suggesting - them fin the resources they need, such as housing, financial support, personal support.  By getting them signed up for the programs available to them so they can still continue their education while raising their child.  Can be a part of parenting classes if they are doubting their abilities.  Have a support group of other mothers like them if they feel as if they will be abandoned by others and will be alone raising their child.

You empower them by making them fully aware of their own rights. By insuring they have their own advocates in their corner that do not benefit, in any way, from them giving up their child.  By making sure they understand just how dangerous it is to sign away their rights to their child while they are still pregnant or in the first weeks after birth.


You empower them by believing they and their child are important enough to protective from the many different practices and actions we have now learned have been coercive and manipulative toward vulnerable mothers in their time of need.

 

 

 

 

 

Ms.KitKat
by Bronze Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 8:39 AM

 

Quoting Freebairn:

Ms. KitKat, I guess I'm having a little trouble understanding what this post is about, what you are looking for, and what your position is in the adoption triad.  Are you a mom?  If so, are you a mom by having given birth, or did you adopt?  Did you post this letter to see if a birth mother who relinquished her child is okay with it, if the words make it okay?  What is it, exactly, that you are looking for?

 social worker. please read from the beginning- the thread sortof "morphed" I guess I am looking for - understanding.

onethentwins
by Gold Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM



Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 

Quoting Freebairn:

Ms. KitKat, I guess I'm having a little trouble understanding what this post is about, what you are looking for, and what your position is in the adoption triad.  Are you a mom?  If so, are you a mom by having given birth, or did you adopt?  Did you post this letter to see if a birth mother who relinquished her child is okay with it, if the words make it okay?  What is it, exactly, that you are looking for?

 social worker. please read from the beginning- the thread sortof "morphed" I guess I am looking for - understanding.

I think it's wonderful that you, as a social worker, are here looking for understanding. Really wonderful.

welcome 


Ms.KitKat
by Bronze Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

 

Quoting onethentwins:

 

 

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 

Quoting Freebairn:

Ms. KitKat, I guess I'm having a little trouble understanding what this post is about, what you are looking for, and what your position is in the adoption triad.  Are you a mom?  If so, are you a mom by having given birth, or did you adopt?  Did you post this letter to see if a birth mother who relinquished her child is okay with it, if the words make it okay?  What is it, exactly, that you are looking for?

 social worker. please read from the beginning- the thread sortof "morphed" I guess I am looking for - understanding.

I think it's wonderful that you, as a social worker, are here looking for understanding. Really wonderful.

welcome 

 

 Thank you. I'm thinking it's time for a career change though........ I feel that I too am impacted by adoption. I am one of the players. I never thought I was the "bad guy" though. I thought I was doing good. Sometimes I think I am. Most times(lately)- not so much.

onethentwins
by Gold Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 2:57 PM
1 mom liked this



Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 

Quoting onethentwins:



Quoting Ms.KitKat:

 

Quoting Freebairn:

Ms. KitKat, I guess I'm having a little trouble understanding what this post is about, what you are looking for, and what your position is in the adoption triad.  Are you a mom?  If so, are you a mom by having given birth, or did you adopt?  Did you post this letter to see if a birth mother who relinquished her child is okay with it, if the words make it okay?  What is it, exactly, that you are looking for?

 social worker. please read from the beginning- the thread sortof "morphed" I guess I am looking for - understanding.

I think it's wonderful that you, as a social worker, are here looking for understanding. Really wonderful.

welcome 


 Thank you. I'm thinking it's time for a career change though........ I feel that I too am impacted by adoption. I am one of the players. I never thought I was the "bad guy" though. I thought I was doing good. Sometimes I think I am. Most times(lately)- not so much.

Well I think that the very fact that you are questioning this means you are exactly the right person to be doing that job.


Cedartrees4
by Silver Member on Jan. 23, 2013 at 3:26 PM
1 mom liked this



Quoting Ms.KitKat:


 Yes, I see this and understand. But then what am I supposed to do when a woman comes to my adoption agency wanting to see profiles? Wanting to meet the pap?

Explore with her *why* she wants to do this, and why she wants to do it "immediately."  What is she seeing as the benefits to her and to her baby?   What is going on here?   Is she "panicking"?   Who led her to believe that this is a decision to be made during pregnancy as opposed to having recovered from childbirth first?  And ... what benefits of waiting to make this decisino are explained to her?  Does the agency offer cradle-care?  Do you mind me asking what your agency states are the rights a mother has, and what are the emotional consequences of surrender?   Because if a mother is not told about these risks  (severe depression, unresolved greif and loss, PTSD, etc) then she cannot give informed consent.  Similarly if the mother has not recovered from childbirth and experienced the first-hand mother-child relationship with her baby - many of us also say she cannot give informed consent either --one reason why consents are not taking until 6 weeks post-birth in the U.K.

The surrender decision reminds me of surgery and the issue of informed consent here -- anyone can go to their doctor and ask for some random type of surgery they feel they need. but the doctor will ask them "why" they feel they need this and explain the risks.  The doctor won't go ahead and do the surgery unless it's required.    Or, organ donations as another example:   If someone, for example, is feeling pressured by someone or something else  to donate a kidney, if there is some sort of pressure behind it, a doctor will talk to them about this, and ensure that they're not being pressured.  The doctor will explain the short and long-term risks of the procedure.   If a doctor does not know the risks him/herself, then we call it "professional incompetence," especially if that patient was never told about a risk of a negative consequence and then experiences a negative consequence.   :( 

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