Loved In The Womb

A woman writes – Feeling so selfish. I want to keep my baby. I’ve been matched with a family. But now I feel my baby kicking. Also, my life is getting better and I want to keep my child. What do I do, please tell me ? They’ve paid my rent and helped me out. I don’t want to be selfish. I have grown so much in love with my unborn. This prospective adoptive family is well off financially. I am troubled by thoughts that they cannot possibly love my baby more than I do.

Right off – No one will ever love your child better than you. Ever.

Keep your baby, and block the adoption agency, don’t answer calls don’t sign anything, heck change your phone number if necessary. Your baby, not theirs. They will be able to steal another baby, don’t put yours thru that.

No, they cannot possibly love your baby more than you do. I am adopted and I ache for my birth mother daily and I’m 26 years old with two kids of my own.

It’s not selfish to keep your baby from experiencing adoption trauma.

No “open adoption” agreement is legally binding.

Forget about this couple, any baby will do. 

From a birth mom – I wish I hadn’t let those around me pressure me into feeling like I “owed” someone else MY son.

Having more money does not mean they can be better parents to your child.

No one paying your rent or for anything else is entitled to your baby because of it.

They have a motive and that motive is self serving and is totally selfish. None of it is in the best interest of your child.

Their disappointment will fade, your love will only grow. Do the best for you and your baby.

I’ve mentioned this organization before and will mention them again because they have helped so many women keep and therefore raise their own babies – Saving Our Sisters. They are dedicated to supporting all members of expectant families who are considering adoption to NOT apply a permanent decision to a temporary situation.

It’s A Woman’s Prerogative

So the question is asked –

Should a woman that has planned on giving her baby up for adoption, with a family for the baby chosen, details worked out, etc, be able to change her mind after the baby is born ?

This started as a situation where the hopeful adoptive couple helped the expectant mother get back into school and away from an abusive ex. The couple got to hold and name the baby but then she took it away from them. She said they had helped her reach a point of stability, where she no longer needed to put her baby up for adoption.

The kicker is that this was a fictional TV drama but it upset hopeful prospective parents in a support group that this could actually happen in real life.

One comment in that group was – “make a decision, no take backs.”

To which members of my adoption group said –  “no take backs.” We are not seven years old trading Pokemon cards on the playground, lady. Good grief.

Another said – This isn’t trading Twinkies at the lunch table.

More realistically though, This is a HUGE decision. 100% she should have however long she needs to decide. There is no reason to rush into a permanent decision, when the problem that is motivating that may prove temporary. Many a birth mom has realized this too late and carried a lifelong sorrow because she acted too hastily.

The hopeful adoptive parent perspective is generally along these lines – She’s selfless and brave to give up her baby but deciding to parent makes her cruel and a mooch.

Another honest perspective is this – If its a mothers choice to go the adoption route, then she should have the right to change her mind and she deserves enough time for her hormones to regulate, before any choice is made permanent.

As to reforms – Moms should have at least the first 4-6 weeks with the child. This allows them to judge how they truly feel. There are so many feelings plus hormones while pregnant and immediately after giving birth. These can cloud a woman’s decision making. Let new moms have the chance to experience motherhood first. Then, if after a settling period, a mom is still feeling it’s too much for her to handle, at least she’s had some actual experience with her baby. A bonus is that the baby is able to spend time with the mom the infant grew within.

One mom who surrendered her baby notes – Pre birth matching is mentally manipulative and really I think its abusive. In hindsight, she says, this situation encouraged me to “follow through” on giving my baby up. I now believe that if they had not been allowed in at the hospital, I wouldn’t have signed the papers. If I had been able to take my baby home, she would be here with me today.

And I do agree with this perspective – Yes, they should be able to change their mind and shouldn’t be forced to pay or give back anything that the potential adopters paid out!

Many mothers don’t comprehend how strongly they will love for their newborn child, until the minute the baby is laid in their arms. Honestly, only then, can a mother even begin to make a sound decision regarding what she wants for her child.

Every expectant mom should be offered unbiased therapy to assist her in making the choice that’s right for her, not anyone else’s decision on her behalf. She doesn’t owe anyone her baby.

And from an adoptee’s perspective – Since adoption is supposed to be about the child, ALL newborns would respond YES (let my mom change her mind !!). Adoption isn’t the first choice of most adoptive parents and is certainly would never be a newborn’s choice. All newborn’s (including those adopted) are predisposed as humans and by nature to crave their own mother’s voice, smell, breast and heartbeat – not a stranger’s.

As adoptees we had no choice but to learn to live without our true mother, and learn and be conditioned to call another woman “mother”, but at birth SHE (the mother we grew within) is our universe. A woman choosing to parent her own child isn’t a failed adoption but a failed assumption on the adoptive parents part. It is a chance adoptive parents take, when they try to groom a (likely desperate) expectant mother with the intention of procuring her newborn for themselves.

The Family Preservation Project

Ever since I first heard the words “family preservation”, I have loved this concept.  I suppose because my family was fragmented by adoption – both parents were adoptees and both of my sisters gave up babies for adoption.  I often wonder what it would have been like for our family to have remained intact – parents with children – but then I would not exist, my sisters would not exist and they couldn’t have given up their babies to adoption.  Still, I do like the concept of family preservation and all of the efforts in these modern times to keep mothers and their babies together and if there is a dad present, him too.

So why the elephants ?  The Family Preservation Project‘s website answers that for me.

The Elephant is symbolic of the community this page would like to build. Elephants are a matriarchal society; that is, one that is led by a head cow, who presides over her herd of females. Each herd is made up of mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts. They are guided by the oldest and largest female of the herd. This herd sticks closely together, rejoicing at the birth of a calf and mourning at the death of a member.

The Family Preservation Project is not a community that necessarily excludes men, but one that celebrates femininity and the intimate connections made by women through motherhood.

FP365 is a family preservation movement and it is global. Their mission is to empower vulnerable, expectant mothers and prevent family separation. fp365 is dedicated to building a strong foundation of advocates willing to provide local support, networking and community involvement.  Additionally, they believe a critical piece of education and awareness is found by exploring the layers of lived experience. As we listen to those voices we will shift the current cultural narrative which promotes separation by adoption to one which celebrates the preservation of family. 

In the adoption community I belong to, the women have a mission to encourage expectant mothers to keep their baby and not rush into adoption.  They often mention Saving Our Sisters (SOS) as a resource.

SOS supports all members of expectant families considering adoption. We are committed to helping them make fully informed decisions based on information that so many other families have learned too late. We are dedicated to ensuring that they avoid applying a permanent solution to a temporary crisis based on partial or misinformation.

SOS is dedicated to direct action and education regarding the preservation of biological families whenever possible. This may include assisting expectant and new parents by locating resources, explaining the long and short term effects of adoption separation on everyone in the natural family, explaining the lifelong effects of trauma their infant will suffer if exposed to maternal separation, and connecting them with a local support person and mentor.

SOS welcomes volunteers, donations, and donors to join us in empowering and preserving families by preventing unnecessary adoptions and advocating for fair and ethical adoption laws, policies and practices.

If you want to learn more about how elephant families are like human families you can read the Elephants Without Borders pdf.  Throughout time, elephants have had a curious effect on people, creating a sense of reverence and respect. Of course, their massive size and immense strength is enough to demand it. But elephants and humans have much in common, including their intelligence.

Both elephants and humans love, protect, and nurture family members and educate the young with the skills and knowledge they need to survive. Like humans, elephants are not born with natural survival instincts and need to be taught these by their mothers and other female guardians. Lessons include how and where to feed, to use tools, what to be aware of and to understand their place in their social structure. (Much more at my link above.)

 

Please Don’t Make Me Stay

This is how an open adoption can become really tricky.  I read this morning about a situation where the biological child is allowed to sleepover at their original parents home every other weekend.  What is happening is that at the end of the weekend, the child does not want to return to the legally adoptive parents.

Now the adoptive parents are mad and are blaming the biological parents for the situation.  They are insisting that the child choose between the two sets of parents.  If the child does not, they will sever the adoption.

After the adoptive parents insisted on the child being returned early, which the biological parents complied with, now the child is screaming and crying that their biological parents should come and get the child.  That this child doesn’t want to be there anymore.

Not surprising, the adoptive parents are blaming the biological parents for causing the child to behave that way.  They also blame them for now breaking up what had been in their own minds a happy home.

It is clear that they ALL need to go into therapy. The child should be seeing an adoption trauma competent therapist.  The adoptive parents also need to see a therapist to help them understand the child’s behaviors and triggers.  While in therapy, the adoptive parents should also work through their own fears and insecurities.  And the biological parents should be in therapy as well.  It is difficult to explain to their child why they cannot legally come and get her without the adoptive parents permission.

These are the kinds of wounds MOST adoptees are all too familiar with.  Once the child is surrendered (not a decision that child made for their own self) and the adoption is finalized, then the living with this situation begins and for the adoptee, the processing of this reality will consume their entire lifetime.

That is why the adoption group I am a part of is always counseling mothers and/or their partner to try to raise their child before taking this permanent step (and as the case above reveals – can be terminated – which is how some children end up in second adoptions, which just compounds the trauma for the child).

Birth COVID19 And Visitors

You probably already know this but the rules have decidedly changed.  For expectant mothers, giving birth at this time can be fraught with more than the usual anxiety.  For an expectant mother considering adoption for her newborn, all the more so.  And yet, it may also be a silver lining that hospitals are limiting visitors due to the COVID19 virus.

Adoptees have long suggested to these kinds of expectant mothers not to allow the hopeful adoptive parents to be present during labor and delivery nor for some days after birth.  The adoptive parents will have a lifetime to bond with your baby.  If you are truly determined to go through with relinquishing your baby, at least take this time to spend with the delicious reality of new life – especially during a time when death is dominating the news.

The hospital staff has the ability to support you through your birthing experience.  They have been through this many many times and in such a time as this, when extra precautions will keep both you and your baby safe from contracting the virus, it is all for the good.

It has long been felt, especially if you are not 100% convinced that giving your baby up for adoption is the right thing to do, that the presence of the hopeful adoptive parents at such a time is coercive.  Surrender is a permanent solution to a temporary situation.  None of us know what the future will look like after the threat of this virus passes.

Many of the mothers who gave up an infant regret their decision the rest of their lives.  It is a lifelong sorrow no matter how necessary it may seem at the moment.  If you are considering relinquishment and have access to an original mother who made that choice many years ago, do listen to her.  And be grateful the hospital is limiting visitors at this time – it is for the good on so many levels.

Angry At Mom

It is such a taboo but it is surprisingly common that in attempting a reunion, an adoptee will find themselves angry at their first mother.

Having experienced the wounds of abandonment, rejection and being given up for adoption, seeing stories of women handing their kids over to strangers is understandably triggering. Many of these moms are so blinded by the narrative that they don’t see the long term repercussions of the decision they are making.  Adoptees are shouting as loudly as possible and that is a good thing.  More expectant mothers are not allowing themselves to be pressured into making a permanent decision about a temporary condition (lack of financial resources or familial support).

There are groups for expectant mothers contemplating surrendering their baby and the reality is 99% of the women in those groups will pounce and fill her head with nonsense about how wonderful adoption is.  That is not a balanced perspective to make a decision from.  One should always seek out the most diverse perspectives about the really important decisions in life.

The truth is – nobody gets a say in being born or choosing biological parents (unless you believe as I do in eternal life and that such choices are actually made before birth with full awareness of the likely, though not certain, outcome) nor do they have a voice in being given up for adoption.  Voices filled with strong emotions always speak the loudest – be it the original parents, the adoptive parents or adoptees.

I have a very complicated story related to adoption.  I recognize that my story is not everyone’s. And I welcome anyone else’s opinion on adoption that needs to express themselves in their own way and in their own time.  We may agree to disagree about whatever but I will always seek to be respectful and considerate of each and every unique person and situation that comes my way.

Adoptees should not feel that they have to be grateful to anyone that is part of their adoption story.  My sons are both donor conceived.  We have never hidden that reality from them.  They would not exist otherwise.  I remember the oldest once said to us “Am I supposed to be grateful to her?”  We answered honestly, No but we are.

Life is never perfect.  Families are complicated.  Issues vary and hopefully, love prevails.  Sometimes love looks like removing one’s self from a relationship for one’s own well-being.  That is a valid choice as well.