Exactly How Is It PRO Life ?

The latest manifestation of “caring” among some conservative people is that we should allow massive amounts of death among the old or immune compromised and just get back to work and crowding public places.

When it comes to MONEY it is clear that Pro-Lifers are really only pro birth.  Once that baby is born, they could care less about the quality of life.  And for some, even better, please surrender that baby to us.  We will BUY your baby through adoption and we could care less about the pain and trauma that you and that baby go through due to our selfishness.

I know this sounds harsh.  I’m not in a generous mood at the moment.  With the Coronavirus, the new trajectory for these Pro-Life people is – let’s sacrifice the old folks on the altar of pandemic and get this over as quickly as possible – so we can go back to living like we want to.

Yesterday, the United States set a new record – the highest single day death count on the planet since this virus began spreading.  And still, they support this president – who lied to us about how lethal this disease was going to be and who did NOTHING to prepare for it.  Even now, he projects blame everywhere else but accepts NO responsibility for his own failure to take this threat seriously in the earliest stages (or even before it reached our own shores from China).

Forgive my rant.  I wonder how many of these people will crowd their churches for Easter ?  Maybe this country would be better off without them – though I wish no one to die from this wretched enemy of too many people.

Too many are Pro life unless you are old, poor or in jail.  Then, they could care less – really.

Why Adoptees Wish They Had Been Aborted

This is not the first time and it probably will not be the last time.  For those of us who are grateful we have a life (and I am one of those), it can be hard to read that adoptees way too often wish they had been aborted and not given up for adoption.  It flies against every happily ever after story you may have ever heard about how wonderful it is to finally create your family thanks to a woman losing her child.  It is not wonderful for that woman nor is it wonderful for that child.

Today, I read one such comment – “I literally would have rather been aborted than adopted. Fuck adoption. It did nothing good for me and only led to years of self hate.”

Another said to a mom who just gave a newborn up for adoption – “Your kept children will be 50 and still talking about the one you gave away.”  This is probably true.  When I found my dad’s genetic family, they said as much.  They knew about him.  Wanted to know him and said his mother NEVER got over giving him up.

One woman gave her daughter up for adoption 14 yrs ago.  She admits it was the hardest thing that she had to ever had to do in her life.  The story gets worse.  Back then the agencies only offered a 5 year open adoption, not an 18 year one.   Guess what ?  the adoptive parents vanished without a trace after 8 years. This mother has’t seen or heard anything from them. She asserts – “I will find her one day.”  Then admits that she has other offspring who are already “looking” for their lost sibling.

Fact is – whether they were family friends before your pregnancy or not, once they have your child, you are pretty much disposable.  Sadly.

And the fact is, most friendships, or even family relationships, aren’t strong enough to stand up to the power imbalance of adoption. It’s like the sword of Damocles hanging over your head.

Yes, there is a decided power imbalance between a desperate pregnant soon to be mother with no access to resources and the people with the money (the adoptive parents, the adoption agencies, the lawyers, the social workers).  The deck is stacked against you and you will need to face this directly, before you take that permanent step.

If you are lucky, someday your child will find you and like my own mom wanted to do, let you know that she survived and is okay.  Worst case, your child will hate you for how her life turned out and wish she had been aborted instead.

 

Missed Opportunities

Evelyn Grace Johnson (later Harris) at age 2

I’ve only known about this family of cousins since October 2017.  The first time I became aware of this one is because her name appeared on the back of her parents’ gravestone in Pine Bluff Arkansas.  I was at the cemetery to visit the grave of my grandfather, Jay Church Moore.  Nearby was the grave of my mom’s half-sister Javene.  I only missed her by about 2 months because she lived to a very ripe old age.

I googled and found that Evelyn lived in Pine Bluff but could not locate a phone number and so we went on to Memphis that day.  Then in May 2018, we returned to the Arkansas area to visit Evelyn’s sister, Sherry, who gave me so much insight into the family, shared so many pictures and stories that I felt as though I had lived in this, my family, for all my life.

I didn’t see Evelyn during that journey either.  I talked to her on the phone.  She said she wasn’t well but maybe when she was better we could meet.  That day, sadly, didn’t come because she passed away last Friday without us ever accomplishing that someday meeting.

I feel I missed opportunities three times now – once with Javene and then twice with Evelyn.  However, I am blessed that I even know they existed.  For over 60 years, my two parents status as adoptees meant we didn’t know our original family roots.  Now I do.  And so today, I mourn a missed opportunity – while counting my blessings – at the same time.

 

A Very Sad Reunion Story

In late 1996, a California woman named Terri Vierra-Martinez, had hired a consultant to help track her down the daughter she gave up for adoption.  She sent a letter to the adoptive parents, Jim and Gloria Matthews, asking for a “reunion” with Jonelle.

“I was thrilled that Jonelle’s mother wanted to contact her, because Jonelle had always wanted that,” Gloria told the Greeley Tribune in January 1997. “But then I had to tell Terri that the little girl she entrusted to us is gone. . . . I had to ask myself, ‘Could I have taken better care of her?’”

The families ended up meeting, and Jonelle’s birth mother said she was grateful to know the truth. “This has put some closure in my life,” she told the Tribune. “Jonelle has always been part of my prayers, ever since she was born, and now — not knowing where she is — I’ll continue to pray for her.”

A crew digging this week in the rural land south of Greeley found human remains, Greeley police said. The Weld County Coroner’s Office later determined that it was Jonelle.

On December 20 1984, Jonelle had just finished singing Christmas carols at her Greeley CO school. Her father, Jim, was still out watching her 16-year-old sister, Jennifer, play a varsity basketball game. Her mother, Gloria, was headed to the airport to care for a sick parent in California, according to a story the next year in the Windsor Beacon.

When her father got home later that evening, he found the TV on and Jonelle’s shoes and shawl lying near a space heater. Jonelle was gone.  It is still not known who took her or why or what happened to her in the final hours of her life.

Lifelong Sorrow

It is clear in my mom’s adoption file that my maternal grandmother, shown above holding my mom for the very last time, never intended to surrender her.  She was pressured and exploited by circumstances and the expert manipulation of that baby thief, Georgia Tann, in Memphis.

I read a statistic that said that more than 30% of women who have relinquished children never have another – either because they chose not to, or could not. There is an increased incidence of secondary infertility among natural mothers.

I know that my grandmother never had another child.  I know that while her birth name was Elizabeth, my mom’s birth certificate had her name as Lizzie.  I saw her sign Elizabeth to a note and a postcard she sent to Georgia Tann after losing my mom.  Yet, when she died in her 60s after marrying a second husband, Lizzie is what is on her gravestone.  I can’t help but believe she hoped my mom would find it someday.  My mom died without fulfilling her desire to know about her original mother.  I was the one to find the gravestone and sit beside it and talk with her soul.

There is no way to know why my maternal grandfather left my maternal grandmother in Memphis four months pregnant.  It seems her widowed father sent her away to Virginia to have my mom and I doubt she was supposed to bring my mom back to Tennessee.  It is clear my great-grandfather was unwilling to take the two of them into his home.

It appears that the only time my maternal grandmother had any communication directly with my maternal grandfather (after he left her alone and pregnant) was when he decided to go ahead and divorce her 3 years after they married and two years after my mom was born.  The divorce papers also show her name formally as Elizabeth.  I believe that having lost their child, my grandmother was so filled with shame, she could not face him.  The divorce freed her up to remarry and not long after that he remarried.  My heart is glad they didn’t die alone.

My mom’s adoption file is a constant reminder to me of what they had not done, of the courage they somehow lacked to fight back and of the child in the middle (my mom) they both lost.  I come close to tears every time I revisit this story in my heart’s mind.

Losing A Mom

Many of us have lost our mothers.  Whether we had her for a short time, almost no time at all, like my paternal grandmother who lost her own mother at age 3 mos.  Or whether we had her for a bit longer, like my maternal grandmother who lost her own mother at age 11.  Or whether we had her for much longer.  I lost my mother in 2015 at the age of 61.

My mom carried a deep unhealed wound that was caused by the unintended (unintended by her own mother) separation from her mother when she was exploited due to financial desperation.  When my mom tried in the early 1990s to get her origins information and reach out for contact with her original parents, she was told her mother had already died and that devastated her.

There was an emptiness that my mom carried her whole life and it was real and not imagined.  She was alone in a real sense with the issues that her life presented her with and we all are in reality.

Death is inevitable.  I accepted that almost 20 years ago when I learned I was positive for hep C but would never be treated for that.  Even though I knew nothing about my original grandparents and my own parents were still alive, my OB said he was more worried about my heart than my liver.  It seems he was intuitive.

Having now located who all 4 of my original grandparents were, I also know they all died of heart related causes.  Both of my own parents also died of heart related causes.  So I have to take my own health seriously in the aspects related to that.

Even so, no one can save my life.   We are all born to die and the timing of our death is never known until it is upon us.  What matters to me is the quality of the lifetime that I have available to me.  I do my best to honor that gift.

PTSD

Earl & Louise Little Family

My family recently watched Spike Lee’s Malcolm X.  Malcolm Little was born on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska.  His mother, Louise Norton Little, was a homemaker occupied with the family’s eight children.

Malcolm’s father was murdered in 1929 in Lansing Michigan.  Her children were split up and sent to various foster homes and orphanages.  Louise suffered an emotional breakdown several years after the death of her husband and was committed to a mental institution.

In Spike Lee’s movie, it appears as though the children were taken away soon after the father’s death because as a homemaker, Louise had no ability to provide for them and that loss subsequently caused her breakdown.  The movie shows a social worker telling her she can’t properly care for her children after an insurance company rejects financial compensation for his death.

Such an outcome would not be surprising because it happens many times that separating a child from their mother leaves a trauma that is very similar to post traumatic stress syndrome. It is a disorder linked to a traumatic event – characterized by being hyper vigilant, having flashbacks, emotional numbness, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, difficulty sleeping, concentrating, persistent anxiety, etc.

It certainly was a moment in that long movie that got my own attention.

Bottled Up Grief

Ever since I learned about my maternal grandmother, my heart has broken for the grief her life gave her.  She died at an age decades younger than her 2 sisters and 2 brothers.  They did not have her heartbreak.  They were all much younger than my grandmother when their mother died.  My grandmother was 11 years old.

Grief doesn’t vanish when we try to lock it up in a sealed drawer, yet I am relatively certain that is how my grandmother coped.  She didn’t talk about the pain but it didn’t go away.

The thing that makes you crazy isn’t that your mother died, or that you lost custody of your child – both of which happened to both of my grandmothers actually.  It is that you can’t talk about it.

You just want to run away, but you don’t know where you can run to.  There isn’t any where to go.

 

What Makes You Crazy

The thing that makes you crazy isn’t that your mother died,

or that you lost custody of your child,

it is that you can’t talk about it.

~ Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman

It is incomprehensible that BOTH of my grandmothers lived such similar circumstances – both lost their own mothers at a young age and both lost custody of their firstborn child to adoption.

There probably was no time to really grieve for her mother in my mom’s mother’s life – there were 4 younger siblings to be cared for and the enormous labor required of any woman without servants living in the early 1900s.  There were likely no words for my dad’s mother since she was an infant of only 3 months old and pre-verbal.

But what of the deeper wound ?  The loss of their firstborn children ?

Who could they talk to about it ?  Who wanted to hear anything about what happened at the end of their pregnancies ?  Most simply wanted to pretend that none of that had happened and just move on with Life.

Yet, it is unlikely that the wound ever healed or that my grandmothers didn’t think about their lost child every single day of whatever life remained for each of them.

 

The Wound Never Heals

In her book – A Hole in My Heart – Lorraine Dusky notes “You would be surprised how many little blond girls there are in the world when you are not looking for them. They are everywhere, filling your sightline like a chorus line of charming little dolls, reminding, mocking, making you aware of what you are missing, what you have done.

You stare at them, check out their clothes, absorb their little-girl movements and words.

The girl in the coffee shop with her mother. Another at the supermarket. Creating a scene at the mall. The daughter of a friend of someone you are dating, you can’t take your eyes off her, blonde, fine-bones and only a few months older than yours.”

Questions haunt a mother who has given up her child to adoption – Are my daughter’s parents good to her ? How is she ? Who does she look like ? Is she blonde like me ? Does she have my flat feet and his blue eyes ?

It is more than the girls themselves – an invitation to a baby shower. A picture of a baby in a magazine. Forsythia in a flower shop window. A family reunion.

I have this secret that makes me – different. Alien. Deep inside me there is a gnawing sense that I must find my daughter one day. Surely I am not the only one in this private hell.

It is good that the trend now is for – at the least – open adoptions.  And there are activists among those who were adopted themselves trying to reform the system to make adoption rare, if at all.

It is good.  It will stop some of the pain . . . as a society, we should care about our mothers and children more than we do.