Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Less than.....

I'm done feeling

less than because other people have more money than I do
less than because I'm too skinny like they said I was when I was a young
less than because I'm too heavy like they said I was when I hit middle age
less than because my hair is turning grey
less than because I have to buy shoes at Kmart instead of Dillards
less than because I can't buy the things other people can buy
less than because the gifts I give are smaller
less than because my house isn't perfect
less than because my yard isn't manicured
less than because my skin isn't flawless
less than because my bra size is smaller
less than because I couldn't afford braces for my teeth
less than because I got sick and now bill collectors won't leave me alone
less than because we lived together without being married
less than because I was pregnant without a wedding ring
less than because I lost my child to adoption
less than because I don't believe what others believe

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A PAP is asking....

I just read a blog post that made me smile. That's something I needed too. I've been having a hard time with the whole spirit of Christmas thing this year. Just not feeling it. The last few months have been an emotional struggle for a variety of reasons. That's why I haven't been posting here much. It's also why I haven't been reading much about adoption. There's only so much heartbreak I can handle before I have to take a step back, take a breather and then jump in again. Anyway, last night I finally got lights on the Christmas tree and my son and granddaughter come over to help me decorate. What a great time I had showing a little 18 month old how to put ornaments on the branches. Watching her toddle back and forth between the box of ornaments and the tree while learning to say the name of each one was such a kick! Nothing like an adorable little girl to light up my spirit again.

So back to the post that made me smile..... A PAP was asking where the babies are.

"We have her name picked out. We are ready to go. Except for one thing..... there are no babies up for adoption with either agency. There are not even any pregnant women/girls considering adoption with either agency. HUH????"

I think that's the first time I've read something adoption related that made me want to go woo hoo!! There are no babies available? The supply dried up? Excellent! I can just hear the agencies now...the demand is there so why aren't they producing? We have families here ready to give us a lot of money! Families have taken second mortgages, held fund raisers, borrowed and begged from friends and family, paid for advertising, did the home studies, taken cute photos with their dogs and picket fences, filled out tons of paperwork and yet there's no product to buy.

Yesterday someone asked me - but what about the couples who can't have children and want them? My response to my friend was "that doesn't entitle them to someone else's baby". So, what about those couples? They should have no bearing whatsoever on the issue of newborn infant adoption. I know that may sound harsh and my friend probably thought I sounded harsh too but as another friend said - "If someone lost their leg in an accident that doesn't mean it's someone else's job to cut off their leg and give it to them." Yes, there is a lot of pain for these waiting couples. I understand that and I'm sure most of them are perfectly wonderful and loving people. But, their wants do drive the market and the agencies are there ready and willing to give these couples that sense of entitlement. The agency is anxious to hold their hand and feign concern all the while taking lots of money from their other hand.

"I had a long conversation with my adoption coordinator last week. She is just as stunned in the low number of adoptions as we are. While I hope that number is lowering for positive reasons, it's hard to say. When I asked her what she thinks may be a contributing factor to such few children being placed for adoption, she said the MTV show "16 & Pregnant" is definitely NOT helping by glamorizing teen parents."

Really? Does she really think that a TV show is causing the number of available babies to drop? I also hope it's dropping for positive reasons. Reasons like better education about birth control, more people seeing through the lies of the agencies, more education about the damage that separating a mother and child does to both mother and child, more families stepping up and helping their family members, more people fighting for family preservation.

"Our only real conviction is that we are to adopt a GIRL. My dreams have been about a girl. I want another girl. Our boys want a girl. My baby girl wants a girl. My husband just wants me to be happy. So we are unanimous on the "girl" part."

It's all about what they want. Their wants have blinded them to the tragedy that's at the heart of how adoption comes about. Their gain begins with a terrible loss for an entire family. Wishing for babies to be free for adoption means wishing for other people to grieve for a lifetime. The news that there are no babies available at 2 agencies is sad for this woman but encouraging to me. It's another little something to lift my spirits this holiday season.

Friday, December 9, 2011

So tired

of this attitude......

" If someone chooses to parent when they aren't emotionally or financially stable can create an unstable enviroment for the child, the length of which is undetermined and often the Birthmom gives up on their persuit of their own dreams. To chose adoption I would imagine there is always a since of loss even with the best open adoption situation. So both optons have lifelong downsides."

I copied this from a comment on a facebook page. Oh yes, I guess according to this person all circumstances should be perfect before having a baby. All the planets should be perfectly aligned before giving birth and keeping your baby. If they're not then you should consider giving your baby to someone who has it much more together than you do. 

I can say that after living without my daughter for literally decades that no career is worth losing your child. No dream is bigger than the dream of being with your baby. No financial reward is worth the loss that mothers face when losing a child to adoption - open or otherwise. NOTHING can replace a child. I don't understand what's so hard to understand about that. The only reason anyone would have that attitude is if they want someone's child for themselves.

I lost my daughter in 1980 and it was only a year later that I married. Just a year after that my son was born. At the time he was born my husband and I were living in a small rundown duplex. We didn't have 2 nickels to our name but we had each other and our son. Were we financially stable at that time and really ready to have children? No. Was I emotionally ready to have a child after what I had been through just a couple of years earlier? No. Did I learn and manage? Yes. I did what I had to do. I became a mother and a damn good one too from what my children tell me. Three years after having my son I had a little girl. Both of them grew up to be happy, healthy, successful adults. There was no reason in this world that I couldn't have done the same with my first child. My daughter could have also been raised by me. We could have been together all those years. All of my children could have been raised together, known each other, played together. 

If financial stability is such a huge factor in whether or not a woman should keep and raise her child then what of all the people suffering financial setbacks right now in this economy? Does that mean all the people facing foreclosure on their homes should consider giving their children to others to raise?

There are no guarantees in life. Giving a baby to someone who has more money does NOT guarantee that the child will grow up happy. Giving a baby to a married couple does NOT guarantee that the couple will remain married. Giving a baby to a couple that seems emotionally stable (according to their advertising brochure aka bmother letter) does NOT guarantee that the child won't be abused.

Once I became a mother, a mother who was allowed to keep her baby, the dream I pursued was the dream that my children would grow up living happy, healthy lives. Yes, I also worked at becoming an artist. It was always a dream of mine to paint. I pursued that dream AND raised my children. The biggest dream I had though was the dream of seeing all 3 of my children in one room. It took 22 years to fulfill that dream.

"To chose adoption I would imagine there is always a since of loss even with the best open adoption situation. So both optons have lifelong downsides."      

This line in particular tells me that this person really doesn't have a clue. I can't think of a single downside to raising my other 2 children. Yes, we had some financial difficulties. So what! So do millions of other people. We got by and we were together, we were there loving each other. What was the downside of adoption? It was more than a "sense of loss" I can tell you. It was decades of unresolved grieving that ripped me to the core of my being.

I can show you many, many, many mothers who regret "choosing" adoption but so far I haven't come across any that regret keeping their children.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Holiday Traffic

I just looked at the date of my last post and was amazed. Oct. 11 was quite awhile ago. You know how it is, busy with life in general, working constantly and trying to make ends meet, noticing November's focus on adoption and wanting to avoid the subject all together. The last few months have been difficult and I just didn't think I could handle anything else that would add to the general down in the dumps feeling.

Today was a good day though. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. The focus is all on being with family, friends and loved ones. There's no pressure with shopping, budgets, time crunches etc..... for me it's just about love. I was with some of my loved ones and some were at other dinners in other towns and other states. Although they weren't here I know they care for me and I have so much to be thankful for. Today I had my son  and his family with me but my girls weren't here. My oldest is in Ohio and my youngest was with her hubby's family. I miss them but it's fine because I know our relationships are about a lot more than just one day.

So anyway.... I've been focusing on the gratitude today. I am so grateful to have my oldest daughter back in my life after 22 years of separation due to adoption. I'm grateful that I can now say I have 3 children. I can now say I have 4 grandchildren. I don't have to hide anymore. I don't have to lie anymore. I have contact with her. I can tell her that I love her just like I do with my other 2 children. She's a part of me and I can claim that without fear or shame. People who have never been through adoption separation have no idea just how huge this is. It's big. It's life changing - for both sides. I'm grateful that I was able to find my daughter. I'm grateful that I could stand in my back yard and take a photo of all 3 of my children - that was a dream come true. Even though that particular event happened some years ago, it still sticks in my mind as if it were yesterday. It was a pivotal event.  Holiday photos are taken by the billions and they're wonderful but there's something special about taking a picture of all of your children together for the very first time. That particular day wasn't a calendar holiday but it was a moment that divided my life. There was the "before my children met each other" time and then the "after my children met each other"time.

What else am I grateful for? The internet. It's helped me stay connected to my daughter and grandchildren. It's helped me to stay connected to family that live on the other side of the country. It's helped me hang out with friends and other artists. It's helped me get the word out about my work. It's inspired me by showing me the world. It's also shown me the dark side of the world we live in. Even though I don't really want to know this because it's hard to read or see, I'm grateful for it. If we didn't find out about the greedy, money grubbing, baby trafficking people like this how would we know what we're up against? We need to know that there are people advertising this little boy

 "Caucasian boy due Dec. 25 in UT. Agency fees of 30,500 plus 1K medical." 

or this baby.....

 "African American baby of unknown gender due 12/3. NEEDS UT FAMILY! Agency fees of 17K plus 6K medical." 

Now can someone please explain why the medical is 1K in the first listing but 6K in the second listing? Could it have something to do with the holiday? The first baby's due date is Christmas day after all. Why is the Caucasian boy so much more expensive than the African American baby of unknown gender. Is it because the gender is unknown or because the baby is African American? WTF? 

Here's another little item from this company's site....

Education on Birth mother warning signs and Birth father situations: We help our clients reduce the risk associated with adoption by matching with specific birth mothers and steering clear of birth mothers or birth fathers that exhibit common warning signs. Our agencies disclose a full social and medical history of the birth mother and frequently test for drugs and alcohol exposure.

Common warning signs of what? Mothers who may decide they want to keep and raise their children? What exactly are they saying here? These are people who are just another layer in the world of flesh peddling. They're not an agency. They are consultants who are nothing but another go-between in the middle of the AP's and the agency who is recruiting the expectant mother. This is another middle man. Another group of people with their hands out looking to make money on the sales of children but hey, if the word Christian is right there at the top of the page then they must be good - right? People (some, not all) who call themselves Christians are supposed to have a grasp of the concept of gratitude but can they appreciate the connection a mother and child have for each other? Can they appreciate that what's in the best interest of the child (except of course in the case of abuse or neglect) is to remain with his/her natural family? Do they only feel gratitude for the bottom line? 

As much as it hurts to see this, I'm grateful for the media that allowed it to come to our attention. If we didn't have access to this information, how would we know that this was going on? How would we know that there are things that need to change? I'm so grateful for the time we live in but so sad that the time we live in hasn't shown us to be more evolved than this.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Adoption

Occupy Wall Street is growing and spreading across the country. People are taking to the streets to take back their power and now it's moved on to the virtual streets of Facebook. Wouldn't it be amazing if there was such a thing as Occupy Adoption? The main idea of OWS is getting the money out of politics. Doesn't the same thing need to be done to adoption? The money has to be taken out of the adoption system in order for children's interests to be considered first. REAL family values have to be considered important. Mothers have to be considered important to their children, not interchangeable depending on who has the deeper pockets. Babies are bought and sold in this country just as our politicians are bought and  mothers are left bleeding at the side of the road.

a roar
“hearing her pain,
she stood up and spoke out loud.
another heard.
another spoke.
forming a circle around the wounded,
they bared their scars to one another.
gently they whispered.
we are one.
we are not in this alone.
we are one.
the chant grew stronger.
and stronger.
and stronger.
until a roar shook the earth.
and the world listened.”
~terri st. cloud

Thanks to FB (where I found Terri's words) and blogging we're getting the word out about the power hungry and the family starved. Just as people who speak out against corruption in government are sometimes  painted as anti-American, those of us who talk about power imbalance and corruption in adoption are labeled as anti-adoption. Am I anti-adoption? Yes and no.

My 'anti' list.....
mothers and babies being separated unnecessarily.
agencies and brokers making tens of thousands of dollars on the sale of babies
price lists for babies - oh, pardon me.... "situations"
pro-adoption language like the word "situations"
college scholarships for mothers who surrender their children for adoption
organizations like NCFA who lobby for the brokers
the lies of open adoption
the unenforceable open adoption
the time frames in which a mother can sign surrender papers
the ridiculously short revocation period for the mother
agencies advertising for and recruiting pregnant women
PAP's advertising for babies 
pre-birth matching
PAP's in the hospital with a mother when she's giving birth
the connection between abortion and adoption
adoption used as solution by pro-lifers
adoption used as solution to poverty
the lack of resources for mothers and children
the sense of entitlement that many PAP's have
adoption being viewed as a solution to infertility
adoptees not having access to their own personal history
sealed original birth certificates

My 'pro' list.
true orphans or children in need being taken care of by a family

As you can see the 'anti' list is far longer than the 'pro' list so I guess that makes me about 99% "anti-adoption" but it's not un-American to speak out against unethical practices. (I'm sure there are things I've left off the 'anti' list, I'll add them as they come to me.) The mothers and adoptees who are affected by the corrupt adoption system make up the bulk of the people involved in the industry but have the smallest voice. I think that's changing. Like OWS, the number of voices is growing. It needs to keep growing for the sake of families.

I love this list How To Really Love a Child by Sark. I would add to it.....

Keep children with their mothers and natural families whenever possible.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Upside down

There's an interesting discussion going on over at First Mother Forum. Jane was honest in her feeling of being uncomfortable around adoptive parents and the comments that follow are equally as interesting. While I was reading I kept thinking about the "triad" term. It was brought up in the discussion and the image that kept coming to mind was an upside down triangle divided into 4 parts. Those of us who have been torched by adoption know that there's no such thing as the equally portioned triad between the adoptive family, the natural family and the adoptee. What I keep seeing in my head is the sketch at left and that's not accurate either. Actually, the adoptee's portion should be even smaller or truthfully it should be non-existent and the natural mother's portion should be smaller also.

I understand what Jane is saying about her feelings around adoptive parents. I find myself shutting down when I hear someone say that they adopted an infant. It happened recently with a student. Since I don't know the circumstances surrounding that person's adoption experience I just keep my mouth shut and don't say anything but it does make me want to change the subject so adoption doesn't become the focal point of the conversation. For me, there are days when I can talk about it and some days when I can't. Sometimes the emotion of it is just too close to the surface and it's too painful to even take advantage of the situation and use that time to educate someone about the other side of adoption.

Being PC was also mentioned in the discussion in regards to the honest feelings about adoptive parents. One adoptive parent even commented that they were tired of other adoptive parents whining about what they go through to adopt a child.
Margie said.... 

"APs whine way too much about what they go through. I can tell you for a fact that the day my first child arrived, that "paperwork" was a distant memory, forgotten. I know it was a different story for his mother."

I appreciate Margie saying that. It's what I've felt all along. I know I've talked about pain wars and how pointless they are but let's get real for a second. All of us have pain and deserve to be validated. That is truth. Yes, it's painful to be infertile. It's painful to go through the tests, treatments and sorrow when the treatment doesn't work. It's painful to lose the dream of a family. I do understand that. I also know that all the paperwork and home study stuff is a pain to deal with and it takes time - I'm sure much longer than anticipated. BUT...... where does that stand in comparison with a mother who gave birth to a child, loves that child and wanted to raise her baby but couldn't for whatever reason whether real or imagined coerced. An infertile couple is grieving a loss. They are grieving the loss of a child that could have been, a child that doesn't actually exist, it's an imaginary child. What they're really grieving is the loss of being a parent, their own need to be a parent. When a mother of adoption loss is grieving, she is grieving the loss of an ACTUAL CHILD - a living, breathing infant who she is biologically connected to, an infant she shares DNA with, an infant she carried for 9 months. I'm sorry, but there is a difference. At this point I don't care if it's not PC to say it. The pain of not being able to conceive and having to do paperwork instead in order to become a parent doesn't even begin to compare to the pain of losing a child. There, I said it. Yes, I know I said the pain wars are pointless but like Margie, I'm sick of the whining about what APs go through. While an AP is experiencing the joy of parenthood a natural mother is grieving for the rest of her life. While an AP is rejoicing about their well adjusted, happy toddler they really have no idea how the adoption is going to affect that toddler in the years to come. While an AP is enjoying being a parent an adoptee is dealing with the loss of his original family.

In the comments after Jane's post Robin said.....

"Pertman goes on to say about infertile people, “We’re supposed to swallow our loss, internalize our pain and move on.” Well, yes, actually you are. Just because someone cannot conceive their own child doesn't entitle them to someone else's child. I've had some downtime lately and spent a part of it reading trashy celebrity magazines. It seemed adoption was mentioned on every other page. No matter how old the celebrity, no matter what his/her sexual orientation was or their relationship status, they all felt entitled to have a child (that is to adopt a child). They just seemed to assume that their fame and money entitled them to a family. Of course, not one word was mentioned about the pain to the first parents or how the child will feel about being adopted. These things don't seem to even cross the celebrities' minds. It's as if their are endless numbers of children who would be so much better off being raised by a wealthy celebrity. Unfortuneately, we still have a long way to go in some corners to get our message across.

The adoption industry is a system that's screwed up. I was going to say broken but it's not really broken as much as it's unbalanced and corrupt. There's a lot that needs to be fixed. Where do you begin to fix such a problem? Take a look at an emergency room situation. ER staff deal with triage. They have to determine who needs help first. In a triage situation they look at the most life threatening situations first and take care of the patients with the most need first. From there it's a sliding scale of need. Who in adoption should be considered first? The adoptee of course. It's supposed to be about children after all.

Jane said.... 

"The purpose of adoption is to provide a family for a child who needs one, not a child for a family. If the reason a child lacks a family is because his natural family lacks money, then people interested in that child's welfare would help the child's family care for him. Obviously when people are willing to spend lots of money to obtain a child but not to help his family care for him, it is not the child's welfare they are interested in but meeting their need to have a child regardless of what's best for the child."

The adoption industry is seriously ill so maybe it's time for triage. Where is the most need? Who needs help first? The children of course yet look at where they are in the upside down "triad" of power. They are the powerless yet they have the most need. The welfare of children should be everyone's focus, not dollars and the personal needs and wants of adults. Take care of the children! If you want to adopt look to the children who are truly in need. Don't take a baby from his mother because YOU want a baby. It's about the children. It's about the children. It's about the children. It has to be said over and over and over and over...... take care of children's needs first!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Nothing to do with adoption

 So this is what I've been up to for the last few months. I haven't been here on the blog very often or reading very many blogs because my life has been consumed with turning this life-size fiberglass horse into an abstract painting called Sunny.......

 helping my husband work on his life-size horse sculpture called Clockwork Fury........

and babysitting this charming little girl named Maxine.

Working on public art projects like Horse Fever has been a highlight of my art career. This is the third time I've gotten to paint one of these horses and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. They're a ton of work but so much fun to do. I simply painted mine. My husband's horse on the other hand - now that one was some work. He actually took one of the fiberglass forms and cut it into many, many pieces. He then welded a steel frame upon which he reassembled the thing with piles of other parts like gears, rusted chain, clock innards and various other bits and pieces - working on that horse was pure madness. We spent many sleepless nights working out in the back yard with all manner of power tools and driving our poor neighbors insane I'm sure.

When I wasn't working on horses I was snuggling a grandbaby so other things had to rest on the back burner for a while. Eventually I'll get caught up on reading my friends blogs and hopefully catch up on the sleep too.

Credit for final Sunny photo: Tammy Griffin
Photo credit for Clockwork Fury: Brian Hershberger

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Just another way

I just wanted to share this post by Mei-Ling about the term "paper pregnant". I was truly disgusted the first time I heard that phrase used by PAPs. I felt like I, along with all the other natural mothers out there, just had the last door shut in our faces, the last connection to our children negated. The people that society claims are more deserving of our children are not only taking our babies but staking the claim to our pregnancies also. No PAPs, you are not pregnant, not even on paper. It's a lie. It's just another step in the "as if born to" process of pretending the baby is yours. It's another way that the agencies encourage PAPs to feel entitled to a woman's child before she's given birth to the baby. It's another way to put pressure on a pregnant woman. If she's sharing the pregnancy with the PAPs then surely she's not going to keep the baby from them after the birth. Here we have it, 2 more words in the coercion arsenal.

On another note, update on the show Parenthood that I mentioned on the previous post..... pregnant girl has a legal issue but can't afford an attorney. Guess who IS an attorney - of course, the one who wanted to buy a baby. She happily offers her services to the girl free of charge. You could see the gleam in her eye and the wheels turning.  Later in the show, after legal issue is resolved, she asks the pregnant girl if she would consider letting her adopt her baby and all the girl says is NO. Yay!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Will they or won't they?

I watch this show called Parenthood. It's pretty good for a weekly family drama/nighttime soap opera. I watched last season and was excited to see the new season starting this week. I was prepared, I was settled in with my remote, ready to fast forward through the commercials (of course I try to record anything I watch on a regular basis so I don't have to sit through those). What I wasn't prepared for was one of the characters on the show bluntly stating that she wanted to BUY A BABY. I don't remember the exact words but it went something like.... "You know the latte girl at the office? She's pregnant and I want to buy her baby". I may not have all the words exactly as they were scripted but she did say BUY. After I got over my annoyance that the topic of adoption crept into my guilty pleasure of a nighttime soap, I was shocked at what I heard. She really did say BUY!

My first gut reaction was such utter disgust that I was about to turn the tv off and declare that I'm never watching that show again. Then I thought..... I wonder where the writers are going with this. For them to have her state that with such brutal honesty, it makes me think - could it be that they might not be going down the sparkly, pastel colored kool-aid highway? What if a show actually, really told the truth about the human trafficking known as adoption? What if they actually talked about the role the agency plays and the amount of  money to be made on the backs of mothers and their children? What if they made a point of talking about how society views women. What if they actually tried to present adoption from the viewpoint of the natural mother, or even the adoptee? Could it happen? Am I dreaming to think that on prime time TV there might be a viewpoint presented that doesn't suck up to the industry? Could there be a show so bold as this?

Ok, I'm a awake now and yes, I know it's fiction. It would probably mean ratings suicide for them but I have turned into the eternal optimist. I would like to think that a show I've enjoyed would continue to be a show that I'll enjoy AND they'll tell the truth about something. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Religion and reality

I've been reading Sam Harris's book Letter to a Christian Nation. I read it a few years ago but decided to pick it up again. It's funny how different things jump out at you when you're in a different place in your life. When I read the paragraph below it screamed adoption at me.

"One of the most pernicious effects of religion is that it tends to divorce morality from the reality of human and animal suffering. Religion allows people to imagine that their concerns are moral when they are not - that is, when they have nothing to do with suffering or its alleviation. Indeed, religion allows people to imagine that their concerns are moral when they are highly immoral - that is, when pressing these concerns inflicts unnecessary and appalling suffering on innocent human beings."

The zeal of the religious to stop abortion may make them appear to be coming from a morally superior place - in the eyes of other religious people anyway. For many the morally correct stance is not to allow contraception. Then add to the list the abstinence only education for teens who are dealing with raging hormones and there you have the mix that creates the perfect environment for the religious to press their concerns and push the adoption agenda. Talk about inflicting unnecessary and appalling suffering on innocents! The unwavering faith in what the religious authority has to say allows people to simply wear blinders when it comes to the results of following those dictates. Why else would the BSE be allowed to be continued for so long? How could people who are normally loving and compassionate people, be duped into believing that sending girls away and forcing them to live without their children is the best solution for an unplanned pregnancy? So many people claimed that family is everything yet could send their pregnant daughters to go live among strangers to deal with such a traumatic experience on their own. That is truly a divorce from reality. The sad thing is these attitudes still continue today which is why adoption in it's hideous form still continues today.

"You believe that your religious concerns about sex, in all their tiresome immensity, have something to do with morality. And yet, your efforts to constrain the sexual behavior of consenting adults - and even to discourage your own sons and daughters from having premarital sex - are almost never geared toward the relief of human suffering. In fact, relieving suffering seems to rank rather low on your list of priorities. Your principal concern appears to be that the creator of the universe will take offense at something people do while naked. This prudery of yours contributes daily to the surplus of human misery."

This is the shame that created so much pain for so many millions. This belief, combined with the idea that only a married couple - defined as one man and one woman - is capable of raising healthy children, continues to cause pain for many more adults and children. This is another huge divorce from reality. Sadly many women are still raised in these beliefs and think they're doing the right thing when they hand over their babies for others to raise. It's only after the fact, and sometimes decades after the fact, that they wake up from the delusion of  "adoption is wonderful". In the meantime their children are living with the day to day reality of being an adoptee. The trickle down consequences of adoption continues for generations and it all stems from the belief that sex without a certificate of marriage is bad.

If the religious were really pro-life they would welcome new life regardless of the marital status of the mother. If they were really pro-life they would do all in their power to keep sacred the bond between a mother and her child. If they were really pro-life they would make sure that a new child is taken care of within their own natural family. If they were really pro-life they would do all in their power to prevent the suffering of living human beings, not just blastocysts. The suffering caused by adoption is immense yet the blinders are still on thanks to the immense power of religion to turn something natural and beautiful into something dirty and shameful. Equally as shameful is the adoption industry that uses people's beliefs in these ideas against them in order to acquire babies to sell and line their pockets with the cash.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

More evidence of the power imbalance

Most of the time, when reading blogs from mothers who have recently surrendered their babies, I see the usual rainbow and butterfly propaganda from the adoption industry spewing forth - sometimes it's more like projectile vomiting and I just want to duck. Today I read a post that was different. This mother sees just how unethical and unfair the industry is and what she had to say just enraged me.

"I learned that everything that I did in my frantic, desperate attempts to keep my son with me, were to no avail, from negotiating my and W’s Dr., hospital and anesthesiologist fees, to a plea for Medicaid only to be denied because I made too much money. I would have had to file bankruptcy if I had kept him and that purely because W is ‘adopted’, regardless of the scenario of his adoption, or the income D & H make, that 1) he receives $175/mo in free formula from WIC for his first year, and 2) he is on FREE Medicaid for his first year, and 3) they will be getting more food allowance from WIC once he turns 6 months as he begins to eat solid foods."

Well, millions of us know the story of being stuck in the middle and falling through the cracks. You don't  make enough income to pay for what you need but make too much income to qualify for any help. It's a crappy place to be. So a single mother who is trying desperately to take care of her child is denied Medicaid yet the people who adopt her baby - who obviously had the funds to pay an agency the adoption fees and we know how high those can be - get $175/mo in formula for a year and Medicaid for a year. They get this help because they adopted. AND add to this the ridiculous tax credit/refund of something like 13,000.00 they'll get simply for adopting. All of this help is available to the couple taking the baby but none of it is available to the child's mother. This is sickening! How many more posts have to be written, what do we have to do to get people to see this industry for what it is?

Sometimes I think about not doing any more posts here because it can be so difficult to keep it up. It's just hard to keep talking about such an emotional, personal and painful subject. If I could just go about my life and not have to think about this crap anymore I would certainly have less stress but when I see stories like this I feel like I can't stop. I just want to scream. I want to shake people. Women lose their children because of money yet we (the taxpayers and that includes the mother who lost her baby) give money to the people who can afford to buy those children. Why aren't more people enraged by this?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Care and Feeding

In my wanderings through web pages I came across this little tidbit. The title of the article is Infertility - Caring for the Birthmother. Seeing this line in the middle of the list of other articles such as what kind of aromatherapy candles to buy for stress relief, recipes for chocolate cake, and shopping for funeral sprays made me feel like there should be a card with a list of how-to's like you get from the hardware store about re-grouting your bathroom tile. Maybe adoption agencies could start making labels they can tag on pregnant women that give PAP's care and feeding instructions for "your new birthmother". Geez.... the title says it all too doesn't it? Infertility = take someone else's baby. And... she's not even a woman or an expectant mother, she's THE birthmother, an "it" to be handled.

Here are three of the items on the list.....

3. A complete social, family, medical and personal
history is essential, including drugs and alcohol
use. The woman may be afraid to be specific.
4. A woman considering placing her child for
adoption may be at higher risk for STDs and
social problems. She may require additional
medical and social supports, even after the
placement of her child.
5. Care during delivery should be the same as for all
mothers. However, delivery may not be joyful; in
fact, the mother may show signs of grief and
bereavement. The mother may not want to see her
child or stay on the labor and delivery floor. These
wishes should be honored.

Well, you know how I feel about the "b" word so I'm not going into all that again.

Interesting that the first line of #5 has to be mentioned at all. We all know why that is. Care during delivery for unwed mothers used be very different from married mothers. For decades we were treated like breeding stock and even abused by medical staff. "However, delivery may not be joyful; in fact, the mother may show signs of grief" - wow! Imagine that - the walking uterus has feelings.

The snark could go on forever with crap like this but it's a lovely Sunday afternoon and I've had enough of being annoyed. Just thought I'd share.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just stay out of it!

You know, I'm not one to rant and rage against adoptive parents or PAP's. As a general rule I'm not hateful toward people. I hate the money grubbing adoption industry but I don't hate people. There are some really great adoptive parents out there. Now here comes the 'but'. There is a page on facebook that's meant to be a source for expectant mothers who are considering adoption. They want to hear from mothers who have been down that road and are willing to share their experience and knowledge. Well, since I've lived with adoption as a mother who lost a child at birth I thought I would comment and share some of my blog posting. I also thought it would be good for them to hear from an adult adoptee so I shared a couple of Amanda's posts with them as well. I think EVERYONE involved in adoption should listen to what adoptees have to say. Plus, I wish there were people around who could've shared some of this stuff with me 31 years ago.

Anyway, it wasn't long at all before the admin was being warned by an AP about the "anti-adoption forces on facebook". She was there to offer help and support should things get out of hand with these forces. Gosh, am I part of a force? That's pretty cool :) My point is though, why is an AP on that page to begin with. Is she there to monitor the dialogue to see how the baby market is holding up? Is she looking for more babies and is afraid that someone like me might have a "negative" influence on the suppliers? Aside from this one person I also saw several posts by PAP's just openly advertising that they were looking for babies. Like I said, this is a group by mothers for mothers who are in need of support and information. Why can't these greedy, selfish people stay out of it and let these women hear from the mothers who have been there. We can tell them exactly what it's like to lose a child, not only in the months following the birth but decades later. If you're trying to prevent an expectant mother from hearing the real truth from other's real life experiences about what it's like to live with adoption then you are contributing to the coercion of that woman.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Words I read this morning on Barbara's blog Motherhood Expunged

Harvest my heart before my child

What would you do if you needed a new heart and a young woman offered hers to you?  What if she was poor and didn't know how she was going to support herself so she just decided it was more important that you have her heart. Of course you would tell her no. You would never kill another to save your own life, even if the person offered.  

Well folks that's what happens when you take another woman's child. Unless a childs safety is in jeopardy everything needs to be done to support the mother.  The mother and child need each other. Another mother will never replace a child's mother. Remember, they were together for nine months. The bond was established and will never be severed. And truthfully if you take a woman's child it would be kinder to take her heart. 

So simple and to the point. It gets to the heart of how I feel about infant adoption.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Imbalance of Power

Imbalance of Power
oil on canvas

Seems like everyone's talking about the 'b'mother terms right now. There's the argument that it's just semantics and what's the big deal. Then there's the view that the 'b'mother term is used to put us in our place and relegate us to just a walking uterus. So where do I stand? Well, I used to stand with the first camp and now I stand with the second. Robin at Motherhood Deleted just did a very good post about this issue.

I used to think it wasn't a big deal but then I learned how important language is. We create our reality with what we think. We think in words. How we define ourselves in our own minds and in words we speak to other people is what we become. If we constantly tell ourselves and others that we're stupid, can't accomplish something, or we're clumsy then that becomes our reality. This is why motivational speakers are so popular. They're using words and their energy to pump you up, get you excited about what you can do and who you are. A child who grows up being told that she isn't good enough will believe it and it then becomes a self-esteem issue to be overcome as an adult in order to be successful.

If language has this much power then it stands to reason that the terms we use to define who we are in the world of adoption are critically important. If we want to make changes and have an impact on how others see us in relation to adoption we have to be careful with how we define ourselves. I am my daughter's MOTHER. There are no qualifiers needed. I gave birth to her, I wanted to raise her, I wasn't allowed that privilege, the power was taken from me.

Sometimes I think it's a shame that we end up having these discussions over and over again but maybe that's what's needed for people to understand. The down side is we end up embroiled in this battle between mothers instead of focusing our energy on regaining some of our power. I see language as a way of doing that. Changing the language can shift the power. Hell, just the fact that the industry uses that word makes me want to never hear or see it again. Taking back our rightful moniker can be one of the ways we take back our identities and our rightful place in our children's lives. That slight change can be very powerful. Making that change in my own mind made a huge difference for me just like working on the painting series has been very healing. This latest painting gives an indication of just how out of whack the world of adoption is.

There is a huge imbalance of power. The industry has the money, the lobbyists, the clout and legislation on their side. The PAP's have the desire for babies, the money and the clout. The adoptee has no say - she hovers there between two families. The mother of course has nothing - no money (isn't that why she's surrendering?) and certainly no lobbyists (our families and society didn't lobby for us to raise our children).

Here's another word that's a lie - triad. This multi-billion dollar a year industry uses a constellation of people, organizations and businesses to keep the scales tipped their way - doctors, lawyers, lobbyists, religious groups, women's clinics, advertising agencies, even other mothers. They use women against each other. Young women who have recently lost their children to adoption and still believing the words of the agencies are put on display on the websites to reassure other young women that giving their child that beautiful fake family tree won't be so bad. What they haven't realized yet is that tree has no roots and they're the ones who are going to be crushed along with their children when the idea of the perfect life in adoption falls.

I'm taking back my power, one word at a time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A good discussion

There's a very good discussion going on over at Feministe about adoption and the rights of children to be raised by their biological parents, the rights of mothers to raise their children, rights regarding creating families and raising other people's children, what's problematic in the adoption world and what can be done about it. There are many comments coming from a variety of POV in the constellation.

I think it's worth reading if you have a few minutes....

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Did I make reparation yet?

1. Against the law; illegal.
2. Born out of wedlock.
3. Grammar Not in correct usage.
4. Incorrectly deduced; illogical.
5. Biology Unacceptable as a scientific name because of contradiction to the international rules of nomenclature.

I have been fighting this word for years. I hate it! I hate it when it's used in reference to human beings. To me it's demeaning and humiliating. It's completely unnecessary. The dictionary definition may not seem that way, it's just a word. It's just a meaning for a word. That's true but words have power. They affect people in good ways and in bad.

Today a friend of mine posted a link to a site I've seen before but I hadn't seen this particular page before. As I read I could feel my blood pressure building, my teeth grinding and the bile rising in the back of my throat. Just like the definition of that word, people like this priest have power. People listen to what he has to say. They put stock in the answers he has to offer and what he writes on websites like this. He's a representative of a church that I used to belong to, a church that participated in the taking of my child. If you read the page on this link you'll see that in the church's tradition....

"The Catholic Church does not look down on such a woman or expect her to bear the mark of her guilt upon her person, like a cursed woman. But, at the same time, the Church does not deny that the woman must still bear the consequences of her action after Confession, even if she made a perfect Act of Contrition, and would thereby be worthy to enter Heaven in she should die that very moment.

The social situation of the mother and child does not change after Confession and the completed penance; and yes, no matter who has argued to the contrary since I first broached the subject over a year ago, it is an ongoing scandal. Until her situation as a “single mother” changes, it is not advisable the woman should be included in all the normal social life at the parish, e.g. youth groups, etc. An unwed mother can get support from certain more mature members of the parish for her spiritual and temporal needs without appearing ostentatiously for the confusion, and, yes, the scandal of the little ones.

Fr. Jacques Leclercq, Professor at the Saint Louis Institute of Brussels, author ofLessons of Natural Law, indirectly confirms this opinion when he states:

“To admit the illegitimate children in the family, and to put them at the same situation of the legitimate ones, would be to ruin the fundamental institution of the marriage, because the same familial advantages would be obtained without the family by means of illegitimate unions” (1).

What is valid for the family life, proportionally is also valid with regard to Catholic social life in the parish and elsewhere."

So..... the unwed mother is not looked down upon by the church but she is to be ostracized from it. Seems to me the church is speaking out of both sides of it's mouth. We care for our parishioners but don't you dare have sex outside marriage. Well, we all know that sex outside marriage is going to happen because we're human BUT if you get caught by growing another human inside you (because that's really the only way anyone is going to know that you had sex outside of marriage isn't it?) you can't come to any of our meetings anymore. AND, if your children are to associate with legitimate children the institution of marriage will be destroyed. We can't have these associations so here we have the solutions....

Catholic solutions

"The presupposition of the three solutions below is that the mother has full right over her child, as has the father. They also have the duty to raise their child well. In principle, they should marry, if the father is still single. But, as almost always happens, the father is either unknown because of the promiscuous life of the mother, or is known but has fled his responsibilities. So, let us face the common case of a single mother alone with her child.

What are the solutions for such a scandalous situation?

The first is marriage. If the woman finds another man of upright character who marries her in the Church and takes her and the child under his custody, her situation is regularized. He covers her shame with his honor and his name."

I don't know why.... why am I still surprised by these attitudes - "almost always" the mother is a slut and the father is a deadbeat. So the solution - find another guy to put a ring on her finger because we all know that that is the be all end all of existence. That child will not be a legitimate human being unless there's a ring, a band of metal formed into a circular shape and pushed onto the ring finger of the left hand. Now her situation can be regularized. What the hell does that mean - be regularized? I guess it fits right in with my so-called status as a BM. 

Oh, and let's not forget - he covers her shame with his honor. So because he was willing to say "I Do" her shame is no more. When, oh when will these attitudes go away?! Isn't it about time we recognized each other's worth as human beings and love each other simply because we are, not because we say a certain collection of words or wear a piece of metal around a digit. When is the human race going to outgrow this nonsense? If we are to really follow the lessons of natural law then we will love each other unconditionally. We will accept and love new life without labels and insults. We will care for each other without casting members of the race aside simply for being human.

From the same page....

"Adoption is also a possibility for such a situation, provided that the unwed mother is at least reasonably certain that the foster parents will raise the child in the Catholic Faith. The role of the godparents, usually in practice more of a background role, clearly becomes more active and they are required to help the mother fulfill her responsibilities in such a situation. It may even be the case that one or both of the godparents (if they are married, which is often the case) would be in a situation to become the foster parents. That would be ideal.

An important point to remember in these last solutions is that the unwed mother has to overcome her natural affection for her child in order to give the best chance to save his soul.
This separation imposed by charity will go a long way in helping the unwed mother to make reparation for her sin, assuming, of course, that she did sin, and was not violated without her fault." 

Well, that was obviously written by someone who has never had children. Apparently the only way I was to save my daughter's soul was to overcome my affection for her. Separating a newborn infant from her mother will cleanse the mother of her sin and save the child's soul. No thought is given to what the separation does to the child or the mother, the lifelong grief that results. This is written by a man. A man who has no idea what it is to carry life within. What it is to give birth. A man who cannot marry and have children of his own. A man who has no idea what it is to raise and love a family. How dare he?! How dare he put these rules out there. Rules about life and love that he knows nothing about. Who is he to decide what is sinful? Who is this church to decide who is to be accepted and who is not? Who is he to tear mother from child?

I'm so tired of hearing this attitude of moral authority from an institution who hides criminals and has a history of abuse in so many parts of the world. I'm going with number 4 of the definitions of illegitimate: the CHURCH is "incorrectly deduced; illogical"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Now I remember.....

There was a reason I stopped watching Dr. Phil years ago. I was reminded of it again last night when I watched a rerun of an episode about a 16 year old girl who was pregnant and trying to make up her mind about what to do. This girl had a home, 2 parents who love her and were willing to support whatever decision she made and her boyfriend who was supposedly involved in the decision making process. It appeared that her mother was having a difficult time with the idea of letting her grandchild go - understandably.

Now Dr. Phil's idea of helping - have the girl meet with the people at Catholic Charities, have her meet an adoption attorney who wants to set her up with a counselor - gosh, no conflict of interest there. Here's the doozy - have her meet a woman who tried to adopt a newborn 5 times and the mothers all changed their minds after the births. What do you think is going through the mind of a 16 yr old pregnant girl as she watches a woman cry because of 5 "failed adoptions". Now the girl doesn't want to see a counselor because she and the PAP are best buds and she doesn't think she needs counseling.

Dr. Phil throws in one more helper. An adoptee who thought open adoption would be a bad idea because it would be too confusing for the child. The child only needs one set of parents and should be allowed to only bond with them. So where was the natural mother talking about the consequences of losing a child to adoption? Where was the counselor or psychiatrist discussing the lifelong pain and grief that natural mothers can suffer or the pain of adoptees who long for a connection with their natural families? Where was the discussion about the feeling of abandonment many adoptees live with? Where was the discussion of the lack of legal protection for the natural mother in regards to open adoption?

This young girl was only 6 1/2 months along, was being told that she's not responsible enough to deal with a baby and being presented with the usual one-sided, "adoption is the best option" BS and then pressured to make a decision. So of course at the end of the show she announces her decision to choose adoption. What a surprise. And people say coercion doesn't happen anymore - more BS.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Things that I'm pondering

In art there is such a thing as a value scale. Here value refers to the relative lightness or darkness of a color. On some value scales there is a numeric value placed on the scale with 0 representing the darkest value and 10 representing the lightest value - white. I never thought I would see a correlation between the value scale in art and the value of children in adoption. There's a value scale in adoption? You betcha.

Recently I was reading about race and the cost of adoption. When I first heard of this I was surprised and the older I get the more I find myself saying "why am I surprised?" I'm also currently reading the book ETHICS IN AMERICAN ADOPTION by L. Anne Babb. To me the title is an oxymoron and I'm sure many would agree. There's not much ethical about adoption in this country. In the part I'm reading now the author talks about race in adoption during the BSE. She's referring to how single pregnant women were treated based on the color of their skin.

from page 44...

"The Caucasian single mother was expected to pay for violating norms against premarital sex and conception. Her pregnancy, according to experts, was a neurotic symptom. Experts also agreed that only the most seriously disturbed unwed mothers kept their babies rather than giving them up to middle-class Caucasian couples for adoption (Solinger, 1992). While 90 percent of African American single mothers kept their babies between 1945 and 1965, over 90 percent of Caucasian unwed mothers in maternity homes relinquished their babies for adoption. The view that giving up her infant for adoption was the only path to psychological redemption for the Caucasian single mother was promoted by officials and professionals employed by the United States Children's Bureau, Florence Crittenton Association of America, the Salvation Army, and Catholic Charities, as well as by psychologists, psychiatrists, and clergy.

The social mandate of giving up children for adoption paralleled an increase of infertility among Caucasian couples of childbearing age and an increased demand for adoptable healthy, Caucasian infants (Zelizer, 1985; Silber & Speedlin, 1983). At the same time, African American women received the mandate to keep and raise their illegitimate children, a mandate so strong that an African American unwed mother who tried to give her baby up for adoption could be charged with desertion. In a paper presented at the National Conference on Social Welfare in 1953, Caucasian, unmarried mothers were referred to as "breeding machines, a means to an end. As individuals... they are overlooked, and popular support tends to concentrate upon securing babies for quick adoptions" (Solinger, 1992, p. 28)."

Here she quotes Rickie Solinger again...

"[Black unwed mothers] were viewed as socially unproductive breeders, constrainable only by punitive, legal sanctions. Proponents of school segregation, restrictive public housing, exclusionary welfare policies, and enforced sterilization or birth control all used the issue of relatively high rates of Black illegitimacy to support their campaigns. White unwed mothers in contrast were viewed as socially productive breeders whose babies, unfortunately conceived out of wedlock, could offer infertile couples their only chance to construct proper families. (1992, p. 24)"

So what it boils down to is, the "product" of an African American woman's womb is not as valuable as the "product" of a White woman's womb and the means of control used on each woman was different based on her skin color. The way I was treated in 1979/80 was no different than the treatment of girls in the BSE. The BSE did not abruptly end in 1972. It gradually tapered off and it took many years for that to happen. That has me wondering about some things. Being of Latin descent, was I treated differently than other unwed pregnant women? Did my daughter's adoptive parents pay a lesser fee for her adoption? If they did pay a lesser fee, did they pay it because of the fact that the adoption was handled through Catholic Social Services or because of my heritage? Or both? Then throw this in the mix - I found out 6 years after losing my daughter that I was also an adoptee - although a half-adoptee/step-parent adoptee/adoptee-lite - whatever you want to call me. Upon finding out about my adoption I found that instead of being Puerto Rican/Cuban, I'm Puerto Rican/Irish! My natural father was blond and blue-eyed, the ideal adoptable combo and my daughter's father is also blue eyed and fair. Her Latin side suddenly got watered down a bit more. So, what does that mean? Does it mean that had my daughter's real heritage been known by the agency there would've been a different price attached to her? Where do I fall on the value scale - 6 or 7? Where does my daughter fall - 8 or 9 maybe?


One more minor ponder... why is it that spell check doesn't recognize the word 'adoptee'?

Monday, May 23, 2011


Wow, it's been a while since I've posted here. Life just has a way of getting in the way of things that I'd like to do. Actually I should say jobs have a way of getting in the way. Sometimes we just have to realize that there's only so many hours in the day. If I could figure out a way to skip the whole sleeping thing I would but since I'm not a bot I have to deal with it.

For the past couple of months I've been dealing with the end of an 18 year job and the beginning of a new adventure. The transition required that I work both at the same time and that's been incredibly difficult. The end of the job was a good (and scary) thing. I had been burned out to the degree where I had to talk myself into getting out of the car every morning when I got to the parking lot. I had to repeat positive, self-healing mantras on the drive to work each day while fighting back the tears just knowing I had to go there (if that isn't a sign that you're burned out I don't know what is). While doing that, I also began another venture with my painting partner. We've been teaching art classes together for years, we wrote a book together but now we're taking it to another level with our own studio location. So while handling the closing sales of the store and end of the job I was trying to get the new situation started. There's a lot to do to get up and running!

How do you deal with the end of a job and the expansion of a true calling while at the same time wanting to do research, write blogs, write to legislators, work on boards, paint paintings in the adoption series, see family, visit the kids, babysit the grandbaby, oh yeah - I am still married so seeing him occasionally would be nice too.

So, what's the point of all this whining? Just letting you know that I'm still here. There are certain people who can get me fired up, get back in the saddle and wanting to spread the word and they are Amanda and Robin, two of the strongest voices for adoption reform I know.

I may not be able to post as often as I'd like but I'm still reading, I'm still listening, I'm still here. Let's take the money out of adoption! Let's preserve families.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter weekend

It was Easter weekend when I met my daughter for the very first time. I remember flying in to Columbus OH airport, (not a very long flight from FL although it felt like an eternity) and getting off the plane. No one was at the gate to greet me so I headed to the baggage claim area. I think I hyperventilated all the way down there. At one point going down the stairs I thought I would faint. My breathing was labored, my pulse rapid, I had to stop and lean against the wall to try and catch my breath, all I could think was - I'm about to meet my daughter! It was only 22 years in the making and the year that we met was also her birthday weekend.

I didn't know what to think. I know what I was feeling - pure terror! I wasn't afraid of her - I was afraid of all the emotion that the reunion was going to bring up. I was afraid I would be a blubbering idiot in front of all these people - all these people being her adoptive family. What would they think of me? What would she think of me? I figured some of them would be at the airport to support her and that was fine and dandy. I'm the one who made the decision to go alone for the reunion so I had no one there holding me up. It was my own fault. For some reason I felt like I had to do this on my own. I was alone throughout the pregnancy, I was alone when I gave birth, I was alone when I signed the papers and I needed to be alone to meet her. It was between me and her. There was one thing that she and I shared - and no one else - and that's her birth. No one else can lay claim to it. Her adoptive family could sing happy birthday to her but it was me who was there. It was me feeling the labor pain. She arrived in this world through me. No matter what else happened it was me and her.

So since that reunion it's been me and her figuring things out, getting to know each other and feeling our way through the labyrinth that is reunion. We took things slowly and it was worth it. We've been remembering our connection and learning how to navigate it. She's learned I'm 'momma' and I rejoiced the day I heard her say that word. I remember crying with joy the first time she called me that. There's just no describing what it feels like to hear your daughter call you a term of endearment for the first time ever, decades after giving birth. It's a tricky thing to feel like someones mother yet at the same time be on the outside looking in. It's a weird place to be. How far do you go with the 'mom' thing. She has another mother, the one who was there when she was growing up. I wanted to be the one who was there but wasn't allowed to be. It took a long time to figure out how to fit in now that she is grown up. I think we got it figured out though. It was hesitant at first, became a friendship over time and then it grew and filled in the spaces that make up 'mom and daughter'.

Because her birthday is so close to Easter, this holiday used to bring with it a grieving. While I was having fun watching my other 2 children hunt eggs there was a sadness that sat just below the surface. I didn't dare think about it. That got completely turned around in that spring 9 years ago as I sat next to her, shoulders touching, on a bench in Ohio, watching my grandchildren play in the yard. Easter once again became a time for new life and this year I get to celebrate another new life with my granddaughter's first Easter.

Life is good with all my children and grandchildren in it. Happy Easter Liz, Aaron, Sarah, Josh, Kory, Jakob and now Maxine. xoxoxoxoxo