no more april fool

I have often wondered what role my own birth played in the layout of my life.  It was a rather traumatic birth.  The doctors – insisting that they knew more than the millions of women who’d given birth before their intervention – told my mom they were going to have to induce and told Mama to pick a time.  So she picked her own birthday, April 27.

She tried to have me naturally, but the doctor kept telling her that her tension was pushing me back up into the birth canal (really???  as if someone can really do that, are you kidding me????).  So they knocked her out – literally put her into unconsciousness and yanked me out of the birth canal.  My only thought on that is that perhaps she wasn’t pushing me back up into the birth canal.  Perhaps I was trying to tell those clowns I wasn’t ready yet (I mean, let a girl finish putting on her eyebrows, for crying out loud!!!)!

I lived most of my life half of the time, it seemed, in paralysis, frozen, at a complete standstill on how to proceed with what was confronting me.  In some ways, I’m still catching up.  It seemed that everything that came to me I was hopelessly ill-prepared for.  I know how the deer in the headlights feels.  I spent a lot of time there.

My son’s due date wasn’t until April.  When it became obvious he had other plans to get on with it sooner, I wanted so much, so much, to slow it down.  I wanted to keep him with me just a little while longer while he was nobody else’s but mine, and I didn’t have to share him with anybody.  He came beautifully and perfectly formed.  He was plump, his head was perfectly and beautifully round, and his coloring was magnificent.

When I was carrying him, I couldn’t imagine that I had anything to offer him.  Any and all inadequacy I’d ever felt was compounded in amplification.

I grew up in a home that was a drunken mess…only it was one dry drunk and another binge drinker, so, in some ways I never really got to know what true sobriety was.  After my stint in rehab, sobriety became a wondrous world I wanted to explore to the fullest.  I started learning about boundaries: making them, enforcing them, and learning where the boundaries were outside the space I was occupying.  It was all very fascinating, this newly discovered world.

And as my son was approaching his teenage years, I lamented at all the things I was learning that I didn’t get to pass on to him: how to hide his heart from predators, and what it means to not be a predator.  I didn’t get to teach him what I learned about sex – which didn’t actually start to hit me until I confronted his biological father with the possibility of becoming pregnant.  It was one of those times when the words within me were a revelation, an eye-opener to me.  I wanted to feel him out one day as to where I really stood with him and whether or not the relationship was truly as dead-end as I’d been suspecting, so I told him I was having stomach trouble and put it out there, ‘Maybe I’m pregnant’ followed by a nervous laugh.  He shuddered and asked what I would do if I became pregnant.  I think I looked at him like, ‘Are you insane???’  I’ve never had a poker face, and that’s exactly what I was feeling, so…I said to him, ‘What do you mean, what would I do?  I would raise our kid, that’s what!  I mean, I love you…What???’  As he proceeded to tell me what he would and wouldn’t do (he wouldn’t marry me, but he would help pay for an abortion) when those words, “Well, I wouldn’t marry you” hit me, this thought within me was so resoundingly clear, ‘Well, then, what are you doing sleeping with me?  I mean, HELLO!  It is called, procreation!! (and for years I kicked myself for not saying what I was thinking out loud).

So, so many things I wanted him to know, specifically, to grow up knowing.  So, so many things I’ve wanted him to know from my heart, the   But, God, I was lost…and spinning, and in dark cloud upon dark cloud…and..lost….

All I can say is, if I’d known better, I’d have done better, and I’ll say it again: that’s all I can say.  

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another question for the masses

“for the masses” sounded good for a title even though it isn’t necessarily masses who read this, but, hey!  I’ve always been a quality over quantity kinda gal, so my readership works for me  🙂   (and I’m so glad you’re here helping me survive all these things that have been bottled up all these years as they flood out of me…I am grateful).

Now on with the question:

This is a blog I started to focus solely on my issues as pertaining to adoption as I had never in my 21 years of experience with adoption truly shared openly – with anyone – about it.  And this is a place where I hope to advocate for change, and I believe that change starts with the way we, as a society, think about adoption.  It’s a place to shatter the myths and hopefully spare future generations the heartbreak we have experienced.

That said, I’ve been wondering how you who read would feel about seeing other parts of my life shared here?  I know it’s my blog, and I am free to as I please with it.  But I love and respect you for the support you have given, so I am asking because your readership has meant a great deal to me.  I have kept other blogs at various times in my life, but I am not sure if it would be best to share other aspects on a separate site or if it would fit here.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  And, thanks!  🙂  🙂

gimme some skin!

Perhaps, to those who’ve been following this blog since the beginning, it may seem as if I have gone soft in the political part of family preservation and adoptee rights.  What I have found about political causes, as with any “war” waged, it’s very easy to get caught up in the politics, and as soon as we do that, the humanity that brought the issue to light in the beginning gets lost in the battle as one side takes up arms to enforce change and another side takes up arms to resist change.

And when it comes to our kids, battling each other over them is rarely a good thing, and usually not a healthy thing.  And that is the essence of what must come back to adoption: it must, once again, be about what is best for posterity.  The last thing I want is for children, be they my own or anyone else’s, to become collateral damage – especially in a fight that will only be won when all involved, be they mothers, fathers, babies, or would-be adoptive parents, are given a chance to take a step back from their immediate crises and step into their true human forms and get connected and/or re-connected with their true human hearts so as to facilitate really thinking this all the way through.  The understanding human mind and compassionate human heart is where solutions will be found – and how children who are already born who truly have no families, for whatever reason, will finally be the focus of adoption, and they can have families too.

And so, my goal is to continue to put a human face on adoption.  I’m putting my face before anyone who’ll be brave enough to see it as one of many representing the heartbreak of a family that got shot down before it ever got a chance to take flight.  I represent one side of the adoption triad.  I will take up my banner at times and cry out for change, but, by God’s help and grace, I will fight my battle the way my conscience allows and will not allow my humanity to be taken from me in the process.  My humanity eluded me for far too long to toss it away now – to any entity, any thing, any cause, or even anyone.  I gave permission for that to happen and had no idea if I would ever experience my true humanity again.  For the past 2-3 years, little-by-little, I have been reclaiming it, and I am going to be very vigilant in making sure it isn’t taken from me again.

This humanity now has gashes, has scars, and rust, and deformities, and some things about it that just aren’t that pretty.  But you know?  When I was prettier, I was also much more shallow, much more judgmental, and far less capable of giving a pass or anything like a real chance to others.  I don’t have that kind of luxury anymore.  And you know what?  I am completely okay with that.

one good thing

Even though I may not get a lot of traffic on this site, I would love some interaction and some feedback on a particular question.

I have been trying to think of one good thing about adoption, and, as a birthmother, I haven’t come up with anything – at least nothing that feels real or viable.  And I’ve been at it for days!  I mean, I know I wouldn’t be who I am had I not traveled down this path, and I don’t actually hate who I am, but I do miss who I became when I had my son, and so I do miss who I should have been, which is L’s mom.

If I had to be tied down to an answer, though, I would have to say the one good thing that has come as a result of adoption is the people I’ve met who also have had the natural biological ebb and flow of their lives interrupted by adoption, i.e., other birth mothers and people who grew up adopted.  Thanks to them, I no longer feel isolated, and I don’t feel quite as much like as much of a freak of nature.

So, to all of my friends in adoption,  Thanks.

the day that changed me – forever

I feel it is important to celebrate the victories – no matter how small – as it is to bring light to the tragedy that resulted from my collision with adoption.  I refuse to let any one part of my life make the sum total of my life a tragedy, but it doesn’t always feel as though I’m on the winning side of that objective.  Reclaiming a piece of me I’d been missing, that seemed to be missing in action, was/is important – no matter how short-lived…as least the girl I knew, and that I liked, before is not completely gone.  It’s important to let the light shine on these small little windows of hope because my heart still breaks daily.  That which I tried for so long to hold together with masking tape now lies hopelessly in ruins, laid bare before my Creator and for all who care enough to see.

21 years ago today, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen.  I’ve seen a lot of beautiful newborns in my life, and the eyes I see them through are different than the eyes that saw before the birth of my own son.  There has never been a more extraordinary newborn in my eyes – before or since.

A part of me is thrilled and proud as I recall the moment I first laid eyes on him.  A part of me falls to pieces all over again.

I.  Am.  Still…broken.

happier happenings

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In the era of the early-to-mid 1980’s, I was a young adult, just finding my way, spreading my wings.  I was very excited about the possibilities before me, and, I daresay, quite the little fashion diva.  I was a hairdresser and loved fashion.  My original intention, in fact, was to work as a hairdresser for a few years, make lots of money, and save up to go to the Parson’s School of Design in New York.  I really took to fashion in those days.  That all got destroyed during an unfortunate marriage and subsequent divorce.  I just got caught up in other things and got off course and forgot all about it.

Then after pregnancy and relinquishment, I lost myself – so much so, in fact, that I remember looking in the mirror within 2 years of becoming a birth mother and searching earnestly within my own eyes.  The words of this thought reverberated not just through my head but throughout my whole being, ‘There used to be someone living in here…I wonder where she went…’  So, in losing myself, I lost the ability to connect with my own sense of style for many years.  And then, eventually, as the years dragged on and on being separated from the person who became the single most important person in my life, I completely lost my give a rip.

That bothered me.  I would dress up, but there never was a connection with it the way there was before getting tossed to and fro from one crisis to another.  I used to care.  And it bothered me that I didn’t care and that I couldn’t find it within myself to connect with the ability to care.  And I prayed, earnestly, that I could care again.  Caring about the way I looked may sound superficial, but there’s something in it for me, something within my identity, that was lost.  I don’t really know how to explain it other than I just liked the girl I was when I truly cared.  I cared – passionately – about a great many things that I somehow lost connection with.  In my early 20’s, the way I looked was part of my art, a part of the art of me, and that art was – or at least it felt – vital…alive...

Well, something’s happened in the last couple of weeks.  I’ve been hitting the thrift shops – hard!  And I’ve been buying clothes – lots and lots of beautiful clothes.  They look beautiful.  They feel beautiful.  I’ve been washing these garments, and concerning myself with how they are dried and shaped.  And you know something?  It feels really good!!!

And we have a new pope – from Argentina (the beautiful Argentineans)!  And he asked us to pray for him!  And he smiled!  I just found his unveiling so beautiful…and so hopeful…!

That must be it: The beauty and hope had been missing from my life – or perhaps it had just been in hiding or in exile.  In any case, Hello beauty!  Hello hope!  I have missed you so…so, so, so…!  I’m ecstatic to see you again!!  You are very happily welcomed!!!

vultures and vampires

It took a few years for me to catch up with the phenomenon known as American Idol.  Oddly enough, it was back in 2008, when I had gone as long as I could go with trying to catch my breath and recover from all of the effects of giving up my child and made my first of many escapes to the mountains.  I stayed at one of the many lodges in one of the majestic national forests, and when I was flipping through the channels, happened upon a angelic-faced young man in dreadlocks singing “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen and was surprised and quickly drawn in.

I haven’t watched it every year, but I did watch this year and became enthralled by the young performer named Charlie Askew.  And I watched as the media machine shot him out like a clay pigeon and shot him down with a gazillion holes.  And that is the world in which we live.

Of course, everything horrible about life in this world reminds me of what it was like after I surrendered my child.  But seeing the media frenzy blow one hard day in the life of one young man waaaaay out of proportion, I was reminded of how the vultures and vampires came out to pluck my eyes and life essence when I had been kicked down as far as I could possibly go – to the point I was dying and didn’t even care.

An unseen presence cared, though, and that is how I maintained breath in my body and grabbed hold of a liferaft and got my bearings enough to also grab hold of a will to live.  This world is disgusting.  Stinky, smelly, horrid…just so many things there aren’t words for – and I don’t want there to be words for.

If they can’t find a way to rape one way, they’ll find another.  I could have been sucked in by the fame monster just as easily as I was by the adoption machine.  It’s all the same.

And yet there is the indelible human spirit whose candle still burns steadily and brightly with a light not of this world in spite of it all…I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: Don’t tell me there isn’t grace!!!