Wednesday, November 24, 2010


This is another one of my pieces, it's colored pencil on illustration board. I put this one up today because the leaf reminded me of a heart.

Today my heart is full. I've been struggling lately with a lot of stuff - creative blocks, stress stemming from the lovely health insurance industry, the economy, our *&^%$ car and dryer, but as I'm getting ready to bake the pumpkin roll for my contribution to tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner, I'm also thinking about what's happened this year and I'm grateful for so much.

As of this month, I'm one year past the cancer! I'm above ground and that's truly a wonderful thing. Five months ago my son's daughter was born - an amazing little person! Maxine has all of us wrapped around those 10 little fingers. My kids are healthy and happy and what more could a mom ask for. My oldest is back in my life for 8 years now (yes, that's a correction from the last post - no, apparently I can't count). My husband is still putting up with me :) I have the best BFF in the world in Kelli. I also have a great group of art students. I had a class with them this morning and they are so kind, loving, funny and talented. They make class time a real joy.

And finally.... this year I've met a great bunch of ladies. Robin, Celeste, Hanne, Lorraine, Jane, Cedar, Claudia, Lori, Linda, Jeni, Stephanie, 2 Karens, Beth and there's lots more. These are natural mothers and adoptees, they're wonderful women who have taught me so much about not only the adoption industry but myself too. Although I've only had the pleasure of meeting one of them face to face, I'm stronger because of them. I've been able to start speaking out because of them. I no longer feel so alone with this. I spent decades not having anyone who could really relate to what I had been through and now there are people who understand, who get it.

Life is good.

So, thank you and have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Family Reunion

Family Reunion, Frederic Bazille, 1867, oil on canvas.

This looks like the idyllic reunion day. How nice to gather with family and celebrate that connection with each other. That's what a family reunion is - celebrating that we have connections. Unfortunately, for adoptees and their original families, those celebrations are few and far between.

Today, November 14 is the day I received "the call". It was the day I found out that my daughter had been found and she wanted to have contact with me. That was 9 years ago today. So, as you can see, November has quite the significance for me. It's not only National Adoption Awareness Month (grrrrrrr.... I hate the way it's used by so many in the industry to promote infant adoption) but it's also the month when I got my daughter back. It's the month of my first grandson's birthday too. Yesterday was J's 13 birthday. He turned 13 on the 13th. It was his golden birthday. I wasn't there when my daughter was pregnant with him, I wasn't there when he was born, I wasn't there during his first years. That makes me sad. Now that I'm watching my son's baby girl grow it really drives the point home that I missed out when my daughter was having her children. She has 3 boys. I wasn't there for the births of the first two. We didn't know each other then. I missed out on seeing my daughter become a mother. This is just another item on the long list of what adoption does to families.

One of my Facebook friends posted this article and it made me think about my grandchildren. So many people don't realize how much the rest of the family is affected when an adoptee doesn't know who they came from. That could have been my grandson, it could have been any adoptee's family. I've heard people say that records shouldn't be opened because an adoptee is just curious. What about life and death? Is that a good enough reason? Why should anyone have to jump through legal hoops to get their own information in order to save their child's life? Besides, what's wrong with being curious?

That day 9 years ago was one of the happiest days of my life - to find out that my daughter wanted to know me, that she was willing to be found. To all the legislators out there who hide behind the skirts of mothers like me - open the records! I was not promised anonymity, I didn't want anonymity, I wanted my daughter. Give people their family reunion. They have the right to know who they were before adoption. It's not your life, it's theirs.

Happy 9th reunion anniversary Liz, I love you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's a miracle!

Miracle of Newborn Child, Titian, 1511 Fresco.

I see this phrase a lot.... "the miracle of adoption". When did the man-made notion of adoption become a miracle? The religious like to put God into the equation to make it seem as if adoption is a sacred thing. How convenient to use a person's faith to convince them that adoption is part of the divine order.

Here's a definition of the word miracle I found online. "A miracle is an unexpected event attributed to divine intervention. Sometimes an event is also attributed (in part) to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that God may work with the laws of nature to perform what people perceive as miracles."

Well, adoption is not an unexpected event and the only ones intervening are humans. Look at the line I put in bold - ....a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Now that makes sense. Adoption certainly IS an interruption of the laws of nature. Natural law creates a bond between mother and child that is sacred. This is the miracle to me. This is what people have lost sight of. This sacredness has been sacrificed for the almighty dollar. The "almighty" didn't create adoption. The adoption industry calls taking a newborn infant from his or her mother and giving him to a couple who are strangers a miracle. I see adopters writing all the time about God bringing a child to them, that it was meant to be. If all is created by God then why was that child created in the womb of the other woman? Was that woman not meant to be the child's mother? She is then told by people who like playing god that she isn't good enough to raise her own baby. It's not too difficult to believe that if you've been raised to believe that you're a sinner to begin with. Maybe for some, the brainwashing started long before the pregnancy.

What could be more of a miracle than feeling your child move within you, feeling the kick of a baby as she grows? Being connected to that life on a cellular level, being one with that person for all those months is the closest connection any two human beings can have on this planet. That is the miracle! Seeing that child's face for the first time and knowing who she is, is the miracle. That experience was denied me when my daughter was born. I was physically connected to another human yet seeing her and touching her was denied me and she was denied knowing me. That's not a miracle, it's a tragedy.

Scripture is thrown around to justify the idea of adoption like these verses on an adoption site:

Deuteronomy 10:18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. Giving him food and clothing means just that - food and clothing. It does not translate into giving him new parents.

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. What is the cause of the fatherless? To be cared for and loved by their own tribe. If not the mother or father directly then another from their family. That would be seeking justice for the child. Working to keep the sacred connection between mother and child unbroken is seeking justice. Helping the mother IS helping the child.

People are using God to justify taking a child from a mother. If this so-called miracle is meant to be then does that mean God meant for the child to suffer the loss of her family and the family to suffer the loss of their child? How does this jive with the being who is supposed to be all-knowing and loving? When people pray for God to bring them a baby they are praying for something they want; they're asking to have their own needs satisfied. They are not praying for what's best for the child because what's best for a baby is her own mother. If their prayer is answered that means they got what they wanted and what they wanted translates into pain and loss, a sacred bond being broken. When you break it down it just means they're praying for someone else to lose so they can win. In adoption that means many people lose, not just the mother and child. An entire family is damaged.

I think I prefer this verse - Exodus 20:1-17 You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's. That includes their children.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What's it all about?

Adoption Week started in November of 1976 and became National Adoption Awareness Month in a proclamation by President Clinton in 1995. Here it is 15 years later and I'm wondering ~what is this month about?

Here's an example of what should be done with National Adoption Awareness Month. Not once does the article mention the "loving option" of adoption for an unplanned pregnancy. The writer is focused on children who are currently waiting in the foster care system because their parents rights have already been terminated. They're not trying to convince teenagers that they're not capable of raising their children so they can "give" them to couples willing to pay the price. They are focused on children who truly need homes. Good for them.

I did a search for the specific phrase National Adoption Awareness Month and one of the first sites to come up was this one. They apparently own this name for their website so let's take a look at what they have to say about November and adoption. The first thing they want you to do is celebrate! Let's celebrate adoption even though it starts with a tragedy, hmm...... Then they tell you how. This is what you can do - support Lifetime Adoption Foundations, a non-profit charity that offers grants to help people adopt. They offer $1500 - $4300 per adoption. They also "...proudly offer educational scholarships in deep appreciation to birthmothers who have chosen adoption for their children. They have enabled others to experience the joy of becoming parents...." So, this is another group offering girls help with an education IF they give up their babies.

Another suggestion they have for celebrating is to get some books about adoption out there where the public can see them. They want you to contact your libraries to make sure that books like this are available - The plug for this one says - "It contains the road map, the advice, the resources, and the working knowledge you need to find the baby of your dreams" Is it just me or does this sound like she's selling a car?

The woman behind these sites (and the author of the book mentioned above) is Mardie Caldwell. She is an adoptive mother, adoption facilitator and owner of Lifeline Adoption Center LLC. Here's her opening paragraph from the "our wings" page on the site.

How Adoption Became My Life's Work
"I remember when we decided to adopt. My personality was and is "I've made the decision so let's do it - NOW!" In my life if I wanted something, I could pick up the phone and call in an order, sign a check or ask my secretary to have it on my desk by noon. So here I sit with this overwhelming desire to be a mother and all this love to share with a child asking, "How do I complete this 'task' of parenthood by my deadline?"

That paragraph not only speaks volumes but turns my stomach and the more I delve into this site and the affiliated sites, the more disgusted I become. I also found a calendar for the month, giving ideas for daily activities dedicated to promoting adoption. Here's a sample of what they'd like us to do:

* Ask high school principals if adoption is shared with students facing unplanned pregnancy.

* Call woman's rights groups and encourage them to include the message of adoption.

* Ask clergy to include message of adoption for unplanned pregnancy into a service.

* Call TV stations and radio stations to encourage them to feature the message of adoption as a pregnancy option.

* Share adoption with your employer and ask them to add adoption benefits to encourage adoption.

What is this company getting out of all the National Adoption Awareness Month hype, the hype they're helping to create? Are they working toward finding homes for children that are currently in foster care, the ones who really, really need help? Or... are they focused on newborn adoption and the $ those adoptions bring?