This butterfly was a painting project I did for the city of Lakeland. They were doing a fundraising auction to build a children's playground and a bunch of us artists were fortunate enough to be chosen to contribute art. This particular project was special to me not only because it was to benefit children but because the city of Lakeland is where I was living when I was pregnant with my daughter lost to adoption. Near this park is where I had to sign the papers when she was 4 days old. When I was designing the pattern I was going to paint on the wings I decided to incorporate my daughter's initials into the design (thankfully this project came up after finding my daughter so I actually knew her initials). So, in this small way, Liz and I are always together in the town where I spent those months carrying her.
You see, mothers don't forget. Our sadness over losing our children doesn't turn into joy and warmth knowing that our babies are with other people who have more money or are married. I bring up the butterfly because our children, although not with us, are part of everything we do, everything we think, everything we feel. Last night I was looking through some websites and came across yet another rah, rah, happy adoption site. These sites always have questions supposedly asked by pregnant girls/women considering adoption (I doubt they're genuine questions considering how similar the questions are from site to site). I see this one all the time - "Will I feel sad forever?" The reply was...
"NO! There may always be a bit of sadness in your heart. But will be replaced with the joy, warmth, love, security and financial support your baby will have with the adoptive couple."
Oh, BULLSHIT! Seeing this nonsense just burns me. How dare someone, who has no idea what the hell they're talking about because they haven't lived in these shoes, give that kind of answer. These are the kinds of outright lies told to young, vulnerable pregnant girls in order to convince them to give up. After their baby is gone they're left to deal with the grief day in and day out for many, many years. Sadness will be replaced with joy? A mother without her child doesn't feel joy about the adoption no matter how long it's been. Sadness replaced with warmth and love? No and no. Love for who- the couple who took her baby and is raising her baby as if born to them? Love for the other woman who is being called mommy instead of the child's natural mother? Sadness replaced with security and financial support - well that just doesn't make sense. She might feel the security and financial support if she had been adopted by the couple along with her baby. I'm pretty sure what they meant to say was that the sadness would be replaced with love knowing the security and financial support their child will have. But here's the thing - there is no knowing. No one has a crystal ball. Those pretty brochures with the smiling, perfect looking PAP's could be false advertising just like the lies told above. There's just no way to know.
In the 22 years without my daughter I cried on a regular basis. There was an underlying depression that never left me and when her birth month rolled around every year I would be overcome with grief. Every day of my life I was searching. Every time I saw a child around her age I would wonder - could it be her? I worried that the people she ended up with could be abusing her (thankfully that wasn't the case but it does happen sometimes). I even wondered if she was still alive - could there have been an accident? maybe she was sick? You just don't know. That's not "a bit of sadness in your heart". That's living with constant uncertainty and depression. That's living with a piece of your heart far, far away and never knowing when or even if it will ever be returned to you.