Friday, December 13, 2013

Just sharing

This was shared on Facebook.

Adopting couple sees their purchase for the first time

(that's just my take on it - the whole "sees their purchase for the first time". They see it as seeing "their" son for the first time)

Yes, this is supposed to be a beautiful thing. People get weepy. They praise the Lord. They talk about how it's meant to be. Sorry. I just can't go there. Like I posted on Facebook... I have such a hard time with stories like this. I understand that they want a family but they are literally praying FOR a child to lose his family, FOR a family to lose a child, FOR a child to lose his medical history, FOR a child to lose his heritage and genetic history. They are praying for all this in order to fulfill THEIR wants and needs. Is that the Christian thing to do? What about the needs of the child? Where was his mother in all this? We don't hear anything about her at all. Was she coerced by the very corrupt for-profit multi-billion dollar adoption industry? Could there have been other family members willing to step up so he could remain with his own people? Are they willing to keep a connection with people who are related to him? Are they ready to deal with the questions this adoptee will have later about where he comes from and who he is?

Like I said..... I just can't go there. I can't deal with people who are so wrapped up in their own desires that they can't see beyond them. If they have such a need to take care of children, why didn't they adopt one of the many, many children in foster care who are in desperate need of a place to call home? Why did they become one of the many couples who create the demand in a supply and demand business? It's the demand of newborns that creates the business of newborn infant adoption/aka/human trafficking. Without the demand there would be no price lists/aka adoption situations. Yes, it's a business and it's a very sad business.

I don't know what to do about it except keep talking about it. I'd love to just tell people like this to go get a dog from the shelter. If you have a need to take care of a being- then take care of that being's needs and stop worrying about your own. If it's really and truly coming from your heart (and your god) then you will be focused on the needs of the other person and not so much on your own needs.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Coming to Terms



I read a blog post the other day. As Rebecca was triggered by Christine Murphy's book Taking Down the Wall, I'm triggered by Rebecca's post, not only as an adoptee but as a first/natural/birth mother. It was a difficult post to read. My adoptee status is different from most of my sisters at Lost Daughters. I'm a late discovery step-parent adoptee. It's not quite the same as what my dear sisters have had to deal with in their lives. I was raised by the woman who birthed me but at the same time, that same woman was the deciding factor in me losing my own daughter to adoption.

I know some adoptees have a hard time with that phrase - "losing a child to adoption". How do you lose a child that you surrendered? It's a legitimate question from where they stand. I can understand their problem with it. Intellectually, you can know about the coercion that happened to us yet at the same time, aren't parents, mothers in particular, supposed to move mountains to care for their children? I know as a mother, I would move mountains to do what I needed to save or help my children. But - why couldn't I move that particular adoption mountain out of the way of my oldest daughter's life? What was holding me back? My age, my unwed status, my upbringing, my parents, my naivete, my insecurity, my fear, my church - these were the obstacles that were too much for me to overcome at that time in my life.

Rebecca says....

"This anger is not an entirely new concept for me. I've acknowledged it before and identified it as "the baby rage." I've long been aware of its existence and intensity. I've simply never allowed myself to acknowledge its direction: my original mother and father."

I understand Rebecca's anger. I also have "the baby rage" toward my own original father. He certainly didn't "lose" me. He looked at me and walked away willingly and permanently. How could he just walk away from me - an innocent baby? I'm told that he never held me - only looked down at me in the crib. I'm told that his first words about me when he saw me in the hospital were "she's so ugly". He wanted nothing to do with  me. How can a man who fathered a child be that way? How could he? He failed me.

"I am angry because they didn’t fight for me. I am angry that they didn’t rise up and rage against the system that was tearing us apart. I’m angry that they didn’t realize what was truly being lost until it was too late. I am angry that they allowed themselves to be tricked into believing it would all be okay. Because it wasn’t and it never will be. Not entirely."

Just as I had no choice in whether or not I had my original father in my life, my daughter had no choices when she was born. I left her behind in that hospital, unseen and unnamed. Yes, I take the blame for not being there for my daughter. I feel the guilt daily for not being stronger and fighting harder for my daughter. I feel the guilt daily for not screaming at the nurses with their BFA protocol, the ones who took her from me in the delivery room and didn't let me near her. I feel the guilt daily of not standing up to my own mother when she told me that I couldn't bring a baby back to her house. I feel the guilt daily of signing the relinquishment forms that Catholic Social Services pushed in front of me as I sat there sobbing. I feel the guilt daily of not reaching out to others who might have helped me keep my daughter. I feel the guilt daily of what all this means for the relationship between my children as siblings and I feel the guilt of being the cause of the baby rage in my daughter.

"The baby me has no interest in the rationalizations of grown-ups. 
She is raging mad--and she has every right to be so!"

My daughter has every right to be angry with me and not be interested in my rationalizations. As an adult she says she understands and doesn't blame me but I certainly couldn't blame her if she does feel this "baby rage". She may very well feel it but may not want to express it to me. I may never know if this rage has kicked her in the gut and I'll just have to live with that possibility.

Over the years I've learned to come to terms with the guilt and it doesn't sting as badly as it used to. I'm sorry for what I've caused my daughter and I've learned to forgive the 19 year old me for not being able to fight harder, not being able to put my foot down and defy everyone. I've worked hard at being here for my daughter in the last 11 years of reunion and will continue to be here for her. Actually it hasn't felt like work at all. I spent so long looking for her that it feels more like relief. It's such a relief to call her my daughter and tell everyone about her. It's a relief to say I have 3 children instead of 2 and it's a joy to have her and her children in my life.

Did I "lose" my daughter to adoption? Yes I did. It was a forced, closed adoption. I had no choice at that time but my daughter was the one left behind and truly voiceless so I understand if there's a part of her that rages and it's ok if the rage is directed at me. I was afraid to use my voice but she was too young to use hers. What I can do is accept my part in it and I can feel better about being here for her now. It's also ok for me to direct rage at the man who walked out of my life and never looked back. He didn't try to know me. He never tried to find me even though it would have been easy for him to do so. For him there really are no rationalizations and I think that's why I haven't tried to find him. Why would I look for someone who obviously didn't want to be found?

My baby rage is directed toward my father but a different kind of rage is directed toward my mother. That's where a lot of my work is yet to be done. I've worked on forgiving myself yet I have a very hard time forgiving the woman who turned away her daughter and grandchild. Even after 34 years it's a rage that can blindside me. Many, many first mothers deal with this same issue and I've written about it before. It's an ongoing process that I'll continue to work on for the sake of my health and my family.

All we can do as adoptees and as mothers is work on mending ourselves and hopefully in the process we can connect with our families.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Little Girl Taken


Cassi said it very well over at Adoption Truth. This family was destroyed. A little girl was taken from her family because of the greed and selfish desires of a delusional, self-entitled couple. Shame on those people! Shame on the justice system. Shame on society for allowing it and turning a blind eye to what the adoption industry has become. My heart was breaking yesterday. I cried for Veronica and her father, her sister and her grandparents. I'm a grandmother of a little girl about Veronica's age. Just the thought of someone taking her from my son, her father, and us makes me physically ill. I can't even breathe when I think of it. How must Veronica's father be suffering. 

What happened when Veronica woke up yesterday and this morning? If she's like my granddaughter she would be asking about her daddy - wondering where he is. Is she asking the Capobiancos when she's going to see her daddy again? Is she asking when she's going home? What is their answer? "Sorry, you'll never see him again." or maybe "No, you're not going back, you're staying with us." What will they say when she asks if he can visit or if she can go visit him? Will they tell her that he's not her daddy any more? Dusten doesn't even have visitation. Will they tell her why her daddy won't be visiting her? How it must hurt for her to hear the answers to these questions. Is she crying for her dad now? How can the Capobiancos live with themselves? How long will Veronica cry for her father and sister before she resigns herself to being owned by strangers. This is forever going to change this child.

In the not too distant future she'll grow up and be old enough to read the news. She'll browse the internet. How many kids get online and Google their own names? She will likely do that. What is she going to find? She's going to find her early life. She'll find all the people talking about her as if she's a prize to be won. She's going to find the many stories and pictures of herself with Dusten - her father, yes, her real father. She'll see how hard he fought for her, how many years he fought for her. She'll see how many people fought alongside him. What will she think then of the people who took her away from him? Do the C's actually think they'll have her heart? Do they think she'll be grateful to them? I'd really love for them to answer these questions.

This very sad situation left me with a lot of questions but mostly it left me so incredibly angry and depressed. What is it going to take for this country to recognize the pain of this horrid industry that sells children to the highest bidder?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Just thinking.....

This is a post for other mothers of adoption loss. I have a question. If you're own mother had a part in the loss of your child, how do you reconcile that relationship? How do you deal with being part of that family when your own child was taken from you and your family played a large role in it?

The bond between mother and child is huge, primal, like no other I know. I mean you share cells with this other human being. A part of me goes on in my children just as a part of me goes on in her - my mother. On that level I can relate to my own mother because on one hand I think... surely she feels that same bond with me that I feel with my children. But, at the same time, if she felt the bond with me that I feel with my children, then why was I put in the position of having to lose my own child? What happened to mothers during that time period that allowed them to feel like they could coerce their daughters into surrendering their own children? I can't even conceive of doing to my daughter what was done to me.

This is some brutal shit. I've had a very complicated relationship with my mother for over 3 decades and just recently some of this stuff has come to a head. I have to take ownership in part of it. I've maintained the relationship. I've played the part I was expected to play, I've participated and allowed the relationship to continue. Why? Maybe part of it is because of fear. Fear of what would happen if I was something other than the dutiful daughter. I have to take ownership in not standing up and not standing strong against those forces that wanted me to surrender. A part of me will always feel the guilt of not being strong enough at the time. I feel strong enough now to stand up for myself but I didn't then. Of course I was 19 years old at the time. I'm 54 now. Maybe I can take some solace in that. Maybe I can give myself a break.

So, the question is.... how much of a break do I give my mother? How do I maintain a relationship with someone who doesn't see that they played such a large role in the loss of a child - her own grandchild? How much forgiveness is expected? How much forgiveness am I capable of? - not only forgiveness of her role in this tragedy but forgiveness for myself.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dear Prospective Adopters

I woke up early this morning and the first thoughts that went through my head were about the comments I've seen on news articles about Veronica Brown and other similar cases. I've noticed a common theme among the comments by prospective adopters - the idea that "birthparents" can come back at any time to reclaim their children. I've seen many say, and I've personally heard people say, that's why they would rather adopt from over seas than adopt from within the U.S. They don't want to run the risk of parents wanting their children back. They want complete ownership.

Why is it that the child's original parents are always the ones vilified instead of the adoption agencies? Cases like Veronica's and others give the impression that parents can choose to just walk in and demand their child be returned to them. These people are either misguided by untrue news reports or are willfully ignoring the truth. I don't know of a single state where that is possible. Some states have a time period where a mother can change her mind. It  might be 3 days or 30 days and there are some, like my state of FL, where there is NO revocation period. None, zip, nada. Once you sign on the dotted line and you can do that only 24 hours after giving birth, there is no going back. You can change your mind on buying a car but you can't change your mind on forever altering yours and your baby's life.

Then why do I keep seeing these comments about the evil "birthparents coming out of the woodwork YEARS later to take the children"?

Dear prospective adopters,

Of course the first thing I would say to you would be - don't adopt. Don't take another woman's baby. You have no idea what that will do to her and the child.

Do your research. Really think about why children like Veronica end up in a tug of war. Instead of blaming the original parents, how about looking at the adoption agencies and how they operate. Really look at their practices for what they are - unethical and coercive. Really research and understand coercion. Understand that most infants were gained that way, through coercion. Notice I said most, not all. If you don't do this and you just go along with whatever the agency tells you, you run the risk of taking a baby from a family that wants and loves that baby. You run the risk of traumatizing a child for no reason other than your wants.

If you were duped out of your baby wouldn't you fight back? Instead of just blaming the parents, how about following the money. Take a closer look at what the agency is doing. If you find out after only a few weeks or months that what the agency did was wrong or that either of the parents wants to raise their child, do the right thing. Give that child back to the parents! Don't drag it out in court trying to hang on to someone who doesn't belong to you because the one who is getting hurt the most is the child. I know it will hurt you but there are other children out there who really do need you and that baby only has one natural/biological/original family. He or she has the right to be with them.

Please stop making this about what you want. Make it about the child.

If you want to do something, stop looking for pregnant girls who aren't wearing a wedding ring and start looking for the children who really need help. There are plenty of them out there. Yes, there are some really bad parents who abandon, abuse or neglect their kids. Those kids need you. They need your help but they don't need their names to be changed or their identities wiped out. They need your love, not your ownership.

Stop believing whatever the adoption agencies tell you. I know how much you want to believe them but don't. They lie. And please realize that your demand for an infant is what's keeping this horrible adoption industry going. They're not only still going - they're thriving to the tune of 13 billion $ a year. That's your money! Can you think of a better way to spend it besides lining the pockets of people who think it's ok to lie, cheat and steal babies?

There are some adoptive parents out there who get it. They've come to understand what the industry does to families and exactly how they make their billions. Please, please read what they have to say. Read what adult adopted people have to say. Read what original families have to say. It's easy to do, just google. The list of blogs is long. Don't just read what adoption agencies have to say. The agency is just catering to you and telling you what you want to hear because, of course, you're the one paying them. It's all about the money and it's not supposed to be. It's supposed to be about the children.

Please.



Saturday, August 24, 2013

Myths, Opinions and Facts

Settling back into the day to day routine after the Atlanta trip meant getting back to work, visiting the kids and grandkids and spending time with hubby. It was a very short trip but it was long emotionally. It was all good until about 2 days after getting home and it hit me. A lot of us deal with this kind of thing. You get really immersed in the adoption topic for a while - whether reading about it, writing about it or talking about it and then you hit a wall and have to take a break. It was kind of like that for me because the trip was not only about our right to our birth records but about meeting people I had come to love and admire but only met online AND it was about meeting with someone I hadn't seen in 34 years. He happens to live near Atlanta where the demonstration was held. Having a reunion with the one person who was there for me during the pregnancy with the child I lost was intense, to say the least. I wrote about him here.  It was a wonderful experience. I loved being there and meeting everyone. I loved being able to participate in such an important event and I'm so awed by the strong women and men who make it happen. I loved seeing my dear friend and having a little time with him. It was all great but I was also reliving some hard times. Dealing with the emotional aftermath is just something that gets done. What do I do when it's meltdown time? I throw paint. This is my therapy canvas.


Nope, not much to look at but sure feels good to slap the brush on the canvas and drip paint and then sand back the layers while releasing layers of tension and grief. This is actually just a small portion of the painting. The canvas is 4 feet square so it felt good to work big and get physical. It's very therapeutic. I'll probably set it aside now and bring it back out when I need another release. Who knows where it'll end up or what it'll look like. 

Another thing that came up while I was in Atlanta was the feeling that I was finally hanging out with people who understood. That doesn't happen often. It's rare to be in the physical company of other mothers who lost children to adoption. I've probably been around many of them over the years but didn't know it. Being with those other moms was healing and needed.

Do you ever feel - even within your own family - that no one gets it?

I guess what I don't understand is why so many can't even come close to feeling empathy or compassion. When we see someone we care about lose a child to disease or an accident, as a parent, we can feel for them. We may not have been through the same thing but we can imagine how horrible and painful that would be. Why are people so surprised then that mothers who lose a child to adoption also feel tremendous pain and grief? Because they've been conditioned by the adoption industry to believe that we all made this "loving" choice. They've bought into the idea that it's a wonderful thing to surrender your child. They've bought into the consumer culture that says money is everything.

Money trumps a mother's love.

They're conditioned to think - 

Birthmothers are so brave and selfless.
She'll go on with her life, get married and have more children.
It will hurt for a while but she'll find joy in knowing that her child is cared for in a forever family.
Adoption is a win/win.
All those babies are going to end up in foster care anyway.

Wait a minute.... if she's so brave and selfless and it's a loving thing to do to relinquish her baby then why is it that her baby would have ended up in foster care anyway? Some people hold both of these ideas in their heads. How can that be? She loves her baby enough to give him away but she doesn't love him enough to take care of him? She gave him away because she loves him but if she kept him she would have neglected or abused him?

When it comes to adoption, the list of myths and lies is long. Myths, opinions and facts. It's funny how those get confused. Myths are heard or read. They are shared by people online. They're told to the very women who are in need of help and need to know the facts about adoption. Myths become absorbed into our psyche to eventually turn into opinions and then the facts end up lost somewhere, left behind and forgotten, replaced by the lies. Just yesterday someone said to me that everything turned out fine after all since I'm now in reunion with my daughter. It was said in a way that meant - you're fine now, nothing to complain about. Another myth. Of course it's great that we're together and have a good relationship and yes, that certainly helps with healing a lot of the wounds but no way does it minimize what happened. It doesn't bring back 22 lost years. It doesn't give me her childhood. It doesn't give her a history of life experiences shared with her mother, brother and sister. Not having that history means it's not the same as if she were raised with us. It's a different kind of relationship. It will never be "as if". Just like her relationship with her adoptive family will  never be "as if" she were born to them.

Not so long ago I was told that I shouldn't let "petty" differences of opinion come between me and other people in my life. When an adoptive parent says that to a mother who lost a child to adoption and the difference of opinion is actually about adoption, the word "petty" isn't so petty. When you share facts about adoption and what you get back are myths and lies, it's not just a difference of opinion, it's a huge disconnect. Petty is defined as something of little importance. It's trivial. It's something that should be of little concern. The fact that these myths and lies continue is a monstrous concern to me. Nothing petty about it. When an adoptive parent says to me that these differences are petty it says that her concerns are above all others. It says that my concerns are insignificant, trifling in relation to hers. Is this a matter of opinion? Yes. She looks at things through a certain filter just as I look through my own filter. The difference is.... what she knows about adoption is skewed through the lens that the adoption agency put in front of her. What she thinks are facts are actually lies. What I know about adoption comes from personal experience and researching the facts.

To her it's all a win/win/win/win
 agency makes money/infertile gets baby/mother moves on with her life/baby rescued.

To me it's win/win/lose/lose
 agency makes money/infertile gets baby/mother loses child/child loses entire family and identity is legally erased.

Don't dare tell me it's "petty".

After the fact, the agency is gone. They don't care about anything but the bottom line. The other winning party doesn't want to hear from the 2 parties that lose. They don't want to hear about the lifelong grief of the mother or the identity/medical history/birth record/genetic info/family loss of the child. If they really did hear it and absorb what it all meant, it would no longer be petty. They could no longer ignore the issues because the pain would be too great. Acknowledging the trauma involved in the creation of the adoptive family would put quite the damper on the joy that adoption brought to them. It's much easier to dismiss us as just having a petty difference of opinion. When sharing factual information with people who don't want to know the truth it gets twisted into a difference of opinion. When that's all it is, it's set aside as unimportant. Just as people who have differing political or religious views - it's easier to not talk about it. Maybe for politics and religion it works but for adoption it ends up allowing the myths and lies to continue and the list to get longer. 

This is not a matter of opinion - 

Coercion still happens. Read about it here and here

Infant adoption is a multi-billion dollar industry. Read about it here

Original birth certificates are court sealed resulting in discrimination against adoptees. Read more here

Children are sold every day. Read about it here

There are price lists for babies (AKA adoption situations) on adoption agency websites. Read about it here

Baby brokers have their own lobbying group in Washington - the National Council for Adoption. They have a training program to teach agencies how to counsel pregnant women out of their babies.

so don't dismiss what the two losing parties in adoption have to say because we're getting louder.
I  hope more people open their minds and hearts and realize that we're trying to make things better. I'm so grateful for the other moms and adoptees who share their stories. We need each other.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Picture time at the Adoptee Rights Demonstration!

Sunday was the day. I was taking off for Atlanta to take part in the Adoptee Rights Coalition 2013 Demonstration. Me and two wonderful ladies hit the road. We've never met in person but we've been friends online for a while so of course when you have 6 hours to spend in the car you spend it talking. And talk we did! All the way!




                                                           Me, Tonja, Lynn and Claudia 
When we arrived, we got checked in and it was time to make signs. I can't begin to tell you what it meant to me to be able to meet these lovely ladies. I've been following Claudia's blog for a long time. Her blog was one of the first ones I read when I discovered the adoption community online. And Lynn, my goodness, there's no one more dedicated to family preservation than this woman! Finding other mothers was incredible. It meant I wasn't alone. It meant I could connect with others who understood me - that's huge!


Do you see what Claudia's shirt says?
Adoption
yeah,
it pretty much sucks!
I want this shirt.


My other sisters.
It was great to meet Julie and Karen, my adoptee sisters. Being a step-parent adoptee along with being a mother of adoption loss, puts me in the position of having a double reason for being at the demonstration. My birth certificate is trapped in New Jersey and my daughter's birth certificate is trapped in Florida. Of course we also had to use this opportunity to show our support for Veronica and her father. If you're not familiar with the case, please read up. It's astonishing what people are trying to do to this child.


 Why was free speech restricted to this pen? I'm sure there were reasons but still made me wonder.


 In front of CNN


Back at the World Congress Center


A final supper after a good day of walking, chanting, sharing and educating (and sweating, damn it was hot!)


Our fearless leaders, Julie and Claudia, ready to talk to the legislators at the conference - because that's how they roll! We had to head home but that doesn't mean the demonstration is over. They're spending several more days with the booth sharing info and stories (and candy) so more people, more legislators will hear us. Ladies, thank you for all you do!!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Leaving without them

This week my 6th grandchild was born. It's an amazing feeling to have 6 grandchildren and an even greater feeling to be able to tell the world that I have that many grandkids because there was a time when I wasn't even allowed to admit to having 3 children, let alone having so many grandbabies.

Before my open, out there, truthy days, when I was pregnant with my second child, I would cringe every time someone asked me how many children I had. If a nurse, during a check up, asked me about the number of pregnancies I had experienced, I went through the usual struggle in my head. Do I tell her about my first baby, the one I surrendered to adoption, or do I pretend that this is my first go around this block? Of course, because I was dealing with the medical profession and there was a reason they were asking me this, not just nosiness - I fessed up to it being my second time with this particular experience. Ok, the stretch marks were going to be a clue anyway so there really wasn't any getting away with a deception when dealing with people who are going to see you naked so might as well tell the truth. Even then, it wasn't easy. There was shame. There was the quiet moment when you shared the information and waited for the judgement. Am I turning red? Please don't let me cry in front of these people. I just want to get out of here!

So what brought me to thinking about all this? When I was in the hospital, walking the corridor on the maternity ward, excited about seeing my new granddaughter, I was passed by a woman in a wheelchair being escorted out of the area. At first glance, I thought - oh, a new mom leaving the hospital with her baby and getting ready to set out on her new life with her child. The reality was, there was a woman being escorted out of the maternity ward by deputies. There was no child in her arms. There were no congratulatory balloons, no flowers. She was sitting with her head hung low and her tear stained cheeks told a different story. Where was her baby? Did she die? Was she leaving her behind for a family member to raise? Did she surrender her child to adoption? Was she leaving the hospital in the same state I was in 33 years ago? This woman, leaving the maternity floor was obviously in the custody of the state. I don't know what her crime was but I felt for her. 33 years ago I was in the custody of the adoption industry and the church. My only crime was being pregnant and single yet there we were. She and I. Two women separated from our children.

When I saw her my heart hurt. I was immediately taken back to the day that I was pushed out of the hospital, sitting in the wheelchair, arms empty, a voice in the distance, to this day clear as a bell, asking me - "where's your baby?". Me, unable to answer. All I could do was sit with my head hanging low, just like she was, quiet, desperately trying to hold it together, tears pouring and throat closing, not able to beg or plead for my child. I was transported back to that young woman who was dying inside.

No matter what that woman's crime was, I hurt for her. Whatever was causing her to leave the maternity floor with empty arms was causing her a pain like no other. I wanted to put my arms around her because I know that look. I've lived that look. She had that haunted look, the look in her eyes that said she was lost. It was a look that said - my life will never be the same again.

In the middle of the joy of a new grandbaby, I was reminded. I remembered that there are mothers leaving hospitals without their babies. With each new grandchild I'm reminded that there are grandmothers who won't get to see their grandchildren, mothers who won't get to hold their babies and families who won't be together - ever. This is what infant adoption does.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Eventually

Photograph: Alamy

"People don't tend to have the same respect for emotional brokenness as they do physical brokenness. Because they can't see the broken heart like they could a broken leg, it's easy to doubt that anything significant is really wrong."

A dear friend, who I feel a great connection to although we've never met, said this in one of her blog posts. Really, you should read her story from the beginning. She is an adoptee going through a tremendous amount of emotional turmoil, stress and upheaval at the moment. Actually those words really don't convey what she's been dealing with but how do you get across the ridiculous amount of trauma that a person goes through. How do we explain to people who really have no experience with this kind of thing, what it is we go through. You really can't. Unless you've walked in those same shoes you really can't know the depth of the emotion. They hear the words and try to understand but since there's no physical evidence it's too easy to move beyond the brokenness without considering that the break is still there on the inside. It's too easy to forget that the pain is still there. A cast on a broken bone is a reminder. There is no reminder with emotional trauma.

When I lost my daughter to adoption no one could see the broken me. No one had any idea because I was expected to hide it. She was a big secret so of course no one knew what had just happened. Imagine this scenario - your child dies and no one knows. In just a few days you go to work and you're expected to smile and act as if nothing has happened. You can't talk about it. You can't cry about it. You can't even seem sad let alone be able to really grieve. Your friends don't know so when you go to a party or out to dinner, you have to pretend not to think about it and just make small talk until you can get through the evening without crying. Your coworkers don't have a clue of course so you have to put on the professional face and maintain your composure throughout the workday. You run into people at the grocery store that you know from school or church or work and you have to pretend to be happy that you've run into them and have to now act like nothing out of the ordinary has happened.

Then you have the family members who DO know what happened - the very few who were privy to the actual events- the ones who knew where you were when you were gone out of town for 5 or 6  months during the pregnancy. I'm starting to realize that when dealing with this type of trauma, it's really not much different when people know what happened as opposed to the folks who really didn't have a clue. If you're not part of the adoption community in one form or another it's difficult to understand the trauma that is involved for that person. For the people who knew what was happening, it became about not only keeping the secret but keeping the peace. I think on one level they just didn't want to upset me. The thinking at the time was... just don't mention it. Just like the idea of keeping a baby away from the mother after the birth was supposed to make it easier to deal with the separation, the idea of not talking about the loss was supposed to make the transition back to "normal" life easier. Did that work? Of course not. On another level, this kind of denial just made it easier for them. Just get back to the status quo and everything will be okay. If we make it look good on the outside, it will be good on the inside. Keep the surface squeaky clean and all will be good.

But.... what happens then? Sure, you manage to maintain on the outside but what's happening on the inside? You're still broken. You swallow the pain. You go home and try to figure out how to cope. You cry when you're alone. You have nightmares. You deal with fear. You deal with anxiety. Why do we struggle to deal with this alone? Because like my friend said.... the emotional brokenness is not as obvious so it doesn't get the same amount of respect. We hear.... just move on, don't be bitter or angry, put the past behind you, why can't you just leave it behind? It's been so many years... why are still crying about it? Why are you still writing about it? Oh, you're writing about that again... that's why you're banging on the keys so hard. Well, pardon me, don't mean to be so noisy while I do my best to work through this and try to do something to help others. Sorry, hard not to get snarky when dealing with this issue.

With a broken bone you can see the result of healing - the cast comes off. The wound is healed. With adoption, whether adoptee or mother, the wound is never really healed, it's just scabbed over. Sometimes events pick at the scab. Sometimes people pick at it with the comments they make and they don't even realize they're doing it. Sometimes the comments are intentional because others don't want to deal with the truth - it makes them too uncomfortable. Maybe that's because they had a hand in making the adoption happen or maybe it's because they participated in the adoption of another child because like so many millions of people - they got sucked in to the adoption industry propaganda. 

However it happens.... the wound is there and the respect isn't. We have to hold each other up. We have to be there for each other - mothers for mothers, mothers for adoptees, adoptees for adoptees. Eventually we'll get there. Eventually people will understand more. Thanks to my dear friend for putting herself out there and letting people see the turmoil and raw emotion of what being an adoptee is like from her experience. It's only through the telling of these experiences that we can gain the understanding and eventually the respect of others.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

2 Conversations


This past week someone close to me, a family member, asked me how old I was when I was pregnant with my oldest child. She was referring to the one lost to adoption and when I said I was 19 her response was

"you were old enough to make your own decision"

Last night I was chatting online with a friend of mine and he said -

"even the strongest rocks crack and erode from constant pressure- that's how we got the Grand Canyon"

He was talking about a situation that is totally unrelated to adoption but when I read those words, they resonated with me, not just in the case we were discussing but also in relation to adoption. It was interesting to me that these two conversations happened so close to each other. His comment reminded me immediately of the other one about me being old enough to make the adoption decision and I thought how strange it was that someone who has known me for so many years and who has had numerous conversations with me about adoption, still didn't seem to understand the coercion for what it was. I guess she still thinks I had a choice and freely made the decision to surrender my daughter.

My friend's comment about cracking and erosion was spot on. That is what happens to mothers being groomed to surrender their babies. They crack and erode from the constant pressure. The pressure may be subtle, the techniques slick and fluid as water, but it's still pressure. Sometimes it's blatant but still not recognized by the mother because of her unsupported and vulnerable position. I sometimes still see comments from people on articles about adoption that say to the grieving mother - "well, no one held a gun to your head". Well, that person would be right. No one held a gun to my head. But what the people around me did hold was......

the ability to help me but they didn't. 

the information I needed in order to keep my child but they didn't share it. 

the knowledge of how adoption affects mothers and their babies but they didn't share that either.

the financial support that would have enabled us to remain together, once again, no sharing.

the emotional support that would have helped sustain us until we could stand on our own but wasn't given.

the emotional manipulation tools that would steer me in their chosen direction and they used them well.

Guns are not the only weapons that can be used against someone. If something as simple as water can carve out a canyon then why is it so hard to believe that a young, vulnerable, pregnant woman can be coerced out her newborn child?




Friday, May 10, 2013

Well, here it is again....



Mother's Day. And "Birthmother's" Day. The second one I refuse to be part of. I never was a birthmother, I will always be a mother. Thankfully, this weekend doesn't carry the pain that it used to. The memory of that pain is still buried in the recesses and it gets easier over time to keep it there and not let it cloud the time I spend with family.

There are defining moments in our lives and those moments have a profound affect on certain holidays and celebrations. There was life before Liz and then life after losing Liz. There was life before reunion and life after reunion. Of course there were other defining moments such as the births of my other 2 children and they affected these same celebrations but for now I'm just talking about the life altering event of losing a child.

Life before Liz.....
Mother's Day for me was spent pretty much the same way as any other average kid growing up - shopping for a card, trying to come up with something different for a gift, a special church service to honor mothers, going somewhere special to eat.

Life after losing Liz and before reunion.....
Mother's Day became a day of strained relationship with my own mother. Searching for a card was no longer easy. The sentiments expressed no longer fit for me. If I were to give them I would feel like a liar. Honoring her as mother became difficult because my own motherhood was not only not honored, it was hidden and denied. I think I spent the first post-adoption Mother's Day in a fetal position. I remember lots and lots of tears. After the births of my son and youngest daughter, I could accept the many well wishes of family and friends. I could smile and feel the love of my husband and children but there was always a little girl in the back of my mind. Where was she? Who was she calling "mom"? What were they doing on that day? I thought of her every day of the year but certain days meant those thoughts were in the foreground every moment, coloring a grey veil over what should be a happy time.

Life after reunion....
The day became easier with my own mother. We've made some peace and done a lot of healing. This week my sister and I took her out for a nice dinner and we had a great time.
I am truly one of the fortunate mothers of adoption loss. Now on Mother's Day I can think of my daughter and smile. In fact I'll be talking to her shortly. She'll tell me about her life and what's happening with my grandchildren. I'll tell her about my life here, about her sister and brother, nieces and  nephew. We won't be together because we live in different states but we're in each other's thoughts and can call or text and send virtual hugs. It's taken a while to get to this point because just like other relationships, it takes time to get to know each other. The pain of pre-reunion Mother's Days is almost gone. I don't think it will ever leave me completely. Now what comes up is more the anger at being forced to wait 2 decades before being given the chance to get to know my own daughter. So even now, after reunion, adoption plays a part in the day. The experience of adoption for the mother and the adoptee is part of us always.

For the mothers who are still in the - life before reunion - stage....
I know how painful this weekend is but don't lose hope. You are a mother and there's always a chance that you'll be able to celebrate your motherhood with your son or daughter. My thoughts are with you. Much love and hugs.



photo credit: wallpaperpin.com

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption - A Must Read!

It's about coercion, deception and adoption culture.
I'm not done reading this book but I have to share it anyway. I do believe it's a must read for anyone who is thinking of adopting, thinking of relinquishing, has been adopted, knows someone who adopted, knows an adoptee, knows a mother who lost a child to adoption, interested in the history of adoption, basically anyone and everyone in the United States should read this book. It should be required reading.... period.

Kathryn Joyce brings us the history and the very current state of the adoption industry in The Child Catchers.  As a mother of adoption loss it's a difficult book to read but a fascinating one. Not all of the information contained in the book is new information to me, I've read and learned about some of this before but when put together in the context of adoption's history with what is going on right this minute, and viewing the timeline of a business, it is astounding! And it makes my blood boil.

Here are just a few of the sections I highlighted in my Kindle version. I'm finding so much I want to highlight I might have to buy the actual book so I can really use a highlighter and make notes.

Despite the varied but largely altruistic motivations of evangelical adoption advocates, as a movement it is directing hundreds of millions of dollars into a system that already responds acutely to Western demand- demand that can't be filled, at least not ethically or under current law. What that can mean for tens of thousands of loving but impoverished parents in the developing world is that they become the supply side of a multi-billion-dollar global industry driven not just by infertility but now also by pulpit commands.

"If you want to look at what's wrong with international adoption, state adoption, and Christian adoption," one agency director told me, "it all has to do with how they treat birthmothers. The common denominator in all of these is that the birthmother is invisible." When you get that, one adoptive parent wrote, it changes everything. Or, as another told me, "It's like the Wizard of Oz. You open the door and either you have to accept it's a house of cards or you stay in denial. There's absolutely no middle ground."

At the local level churches report a "contagious" spread of "adoption culture" that inspires fellow congregants to adopt, with even smaller congregations witnessing as many as one hundred adoptions in just a few years. Often parents adopt multiple children, and many adoptive families swell to eight or ten kids or more. The growth of adoption in churches is so rapid that it's led some Christian leaders to muse that church planters - Christians who help establish new, franchise-like branches of a church community- could build congregations this way.
The viral effect is intentional. Addressing an audience at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2010, the ABBA Fund's director of ministry development, Jason Kovacs, had counseled the crowd that the key to building a church-wide "adoption culture" is to "Get as many people in the church to adopt, and adopt as many kids as you can." He added that they should also "Pray that your pastor will adopt," noting the precedent a pastor can set.
One result has been the creation of "rainbow congregations" across the country, such as Louisville's Highview Baptist, where movement leader Russell Moore, author of the 2009 book Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches and a leading Southern Baptist theologian, is a preaching pastor. There, with the help of an active adoption ministry, members of the church have adopted some 140 children into the congregation. At a ceremony to celebrate them, Moore recalled, Highview's many adoptees toddled onto the stage with flags from their home countries. What brought Moore to tears was realizing that "most of the kids didn't recognize the flags they were holding but they all knew 'Jesus Loves Me'".

There is so much more to this book. I will post more as I get deeper into it but for now, if you want to read about the history of adoption and the current state of adoption in this country, then this is the book to read.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

On this day....


On this day, 33 years ago, my oldest child was born.
On this day they hid her from me.
On this day, for 22 years, I cried.
On this day, for 22 years, I made a wish.
On this day, 15 years ago, I baked a birthday cake and started the search.
On this day, 10 years ago, we shared her birthday for the very first time.
On this day, today, I have my beautiful daughter in my life and I can smile.





Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why would anyone choose that?

Yesterday I saw yet another story of a young man who decided that dying was preferable to living because being gay in our world was too much for him to bear. Every day gay and lesbian teens and adults are bullied, insulted, beaten, ostracized, shunned and shamed by their friends and families and yet we call it a "chosen" lifestyle. Why in the hell would anyone choose to live a life like that? Why would anyone choose to be brutalized by society and it's attitudes? Why would anyone choose to be treated as less than a person worthy of respect and dignity? I didn't choose to be heterosexual. I didn't just wake up one day and decide hmmmm..... men or women? I think I'll like men today. It's just who I am so why is it so hard for others to understand that being gay isn't a choice either. The pain of being treated with such disdain for simply being who you are must be terrible. I imagine, for some, the pain of hiding and not living an authentic life eventually becomes greater than the pain of being open and honest about who you are so it then becomes time to let people see the truth regardless of how those people will respond.

This brings me to adoption and mothers of adoption loss. A comment on one of my recent posts was...

"How can anyone believe that we would have knowingly and willingly signed up for this?"

So the same questions I asked about being gay could be asked about mothers who surrender babies for adoption. We supposedly made a choice, right? Why in the hell would anyone choose to live a life like this? Why would a mother choose to live without her child? Why would she allow strangers to raise her baby? Why would a mother choose to be brutalized by society and it's attitudes? We were treated as less than people worthy of respect and we still are in many circles. How many times have we seen comments from people that tell us that we deserved to lose our children because we didn't keep our legs closed? How many times do we hear that the "birthmothers" must have been drug addicted, she probably didn't even know who the father was, if she keeps the baby it'll just end up in a dumpster or in foster care. How many women would go into a so-called open adoption knowing that the adopters could close it at any moment, knowing that they could suddenly be shut out of their child's life for a minimum of 18 years? Why would anyone choose that and why is it so freakin' hard for people to understand that we didn't? Why can't they understand that expectant moms still really aren't choosing it?

I hear and see people all the time talking about the horrible pain of a disrupted adoption, how awful it is to lose a baby that they thought they were going to adopt. Everyone consoles them, tells them how sorry they are and how they're going to pray for them. What do they do then? They get over it fairly quickly as they move on to the next available adoption situation baby as soon as one is presented to them. At the same time there's the adoption agency telling pregnant women that if they love their babies, they'll give them to strangers to raise. I was told I would be selfish if I kept my baby. Aren't women still told this very same thing when they're strongly and repeatedly encouraged to do the "brave and loving" thing? Pregnant women aren't told about the lifelong grief they'll experience because then they're not likely to sign up for that. Instead they're told that they'll be sad for a while. I was sad for a while when my cat died. I can tell you that being sad for a while isn't even in the same universe with losing a child to adoption.

Pregnant women aren't told about the likelihood of adoptive parents closing an open adoption. They aren't told that the open adoption agreement isn't legally enforceable. They aren't told that their child may suffer from feelings of abandonment regardless of how loving their adoptive family is. They aren't told that there are no guarantees that the baby's adoptive family will remain intact, or they won't have financial problems, or won't have substance abuse problems, or won't abuse their children. Of course they're not told any of these things because then, why would they sign up for that?!

They say (before the adoption consent form is signed) that "birthmothers" are brave and selfless. We weren't brave, we were beaten down. Today mothers aren't being brave, they're being coerced. Later when a mother wakes up to what happened to her and her baby and she finally understands that she was exploited for the sale of her infant, she's called bitter and angry if she dares to speak up. Sorry, no consolation or empathy for you. Her voice is shut down. She's banned and blocked from public forums because the general populace doesn't want to hear it. Too many mothers are still hiding from the shame that was imposed on them. They not only have to face their past but then they have to face what people will say about them now and in the future.

As more people come out of the closet, whether they be gay or mothers of adoption loss, the more our voices can be heard. If we get loud enough, maybe, eventually, some minds will be opened, some hearts will find compassion and we can end this tragedy known as infant adoption.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Insert Baby Here

I set up a Google alert for "infant adoption". Today a new one came in. I know this has been talked about many times before but for some reason this one just irritated me more than usual. I won't post the link here because I don't want them to get the attention but it's for a couple who struggled with infertility and have now gone to "plan B". We all know what that is... infant adoption. In order for that to happen they've set up a page on a crowd funding site.

On the site they posted a short video showing them with their dog, showcasing their hobbies like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and playing air hockey. They also listed their expenses for the hoped for new addition to their family....

A Homestudy $1,500-2,000
Agency Fees $10,000-20,000
Birth Mother Expenses $1,000
Attorney Fees $1,000-5,000
Travel Expenses $500-1,000

In addition to the list of expenses that would be required for buying a baby, of course there were the usual wedding photos and "see how much we love each other" photos. The one photo that got under my skin was the picture of the two of them pretending to hold an infant. They're both cozy on the couch and her arm was bent as if holding a baby, he was sitting beside her with a baby bottle in hand as if feeding the infant in her arms. A word bubble over head said... "Insert Baby Here". I just don't know where to go with that. I ended up thinking of ads for other products so I did a Google search for that advertising term, that use that technique to sell an idea. What I found was anything from green roofing solutions to art and creativity to pornographic images. I'm not only disgusted and angry, I'm sad. I'm sad for this couple because they feel such a need to be parents that they would resort to this. I'm sad that they won't even consider the option of foster parenting or mentoring a mother so she can keep and raise her own baby. I'm sad that we have an industry in this country that encourages this behavior (of course they do, it's for their bottom line) and exploits these couples for tens of thousands of dollars. I'm angry that there is an industry just waiting to exploit a mother so they can "insert" a baby into that scene. I'm angry that human beings are treated as products that you can just "insert here" for the benefit of others.

Overall, I find crowd funding in adoption offensive but so far, this one takes the cake.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Please Wait


I've been thinking a lot about birth. My daughter just gave birth a couple of weeks ago. This is her first child and my fifth grandchild. I got to spend a few days with them at home, helping her around the house while she recovers. I watched her deal with the emotion of postpartum living, the extreme emotional ups and downs of becoming accustomed to being 2 separate beings as opposed to one connected. Living pregnancy and delivery is an emotional roller coaster and it's understandable considering what a woman's body must go through. When we have a new mom going through the early days of motherhood we want to be there for her, support her, understand her, help her. My daughter has a wonderful husband, friends and all of her family for support. This is the ideal for having a baby yet she still has to cope with the hormone changes that come with being a new mom. These moments can be hard.

So what about the women who don't have the ideal situation? They may be single or in a bad relationship, they may lack resources or information about where to get resources, they may not have family support. What they need is someone by their side to help them find what they need. They need an advocate, someone to tell them that they can do it and help them find out how they can raise the baby and be ok.

But what does the adoption industry do? They actively look for young women who don't have these ideal circumstances and uses them for their gain. They literally spend millions of dollars in this active search. If a business (that's what it is -a business - it certainly isn't some benevolent organization with a mission to help people) can spend millions looking for the source of it's products, then you know they're making many billions on the sale of the products. Instead of seeing an opportunity to help a young mother get on her feet and care for her newborn, they convince her that she's not good enough for her own baby. They use the postpartum hormone changes against her by insisting that adoption consent forms must be signed within days of giving birth. Many times she hasn't even left the hospital yet. Seeing the emotional roller coaster that is postpartum life in the best of circumstances makes me even angrier at the system that coerces women in this way. The fact that they push her to sign so soon after giving birth is, in my eyes, nothing less than evil.

If you're considering surrendering your child to adoption, PLEASE WAIT! There is no law, in any state, that says you have to sign a consent soon after giving birth. A consent can be signed at any time! Wait at least 6 to 8 weeks. Give yourself time to heal. Give your hormones time to level out. Give yourself time to meet your baby and discover what it is to be a mother. You have to know who you're giving up before you can sign away your rights. No matter what an agency or a prospective adoptive parent says, give yourself time with your baby before making a truly life altering decision. Think about you and your baby's needs, not the wants of the PAP. Talk to other mothers but not just the ones that the agency wants you to connect with. Seek out people who are not connected to the agency in any way. Don't solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution.

It's been 27 yrs for me since I gave birth to my youngest daughter but watching her now with her new baby reminds me of what it was like after the births of my children and just confirms my commitment to stopping this business of using woman as breeding machines for money.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Random thoughts on thankfulness......

Memories. A lot of them have been flooding back recently. Last month one of my Facebook friends  mentioned a folder next to the messages Inbox that said "other". I didn't know that this folder existed. It was there but I never noticed it before. I decided to check it out and see what was in there. It said I had 99+ messages. Most of them were from pages I had "liked" or people I had some kind of connection with. What possesses FB to just randomly dump messages into another folder? I don't know but it pissed me off! As I was scrolling down the list I discovered a name of someone I hadn't seen in 33 years. The message was sent to me over a year ago and I'm only now seeing it. That's just plain wrong. Facebook was mucking about in my personal life. Ok, yeah, I know it's free and I do love FB. I'm just grumbling because I've missed out on a full year of communicating with this person because THEY decided that the message belonged in "other".

Anyway, this is someone I dated, in what seems like eons ago. He doesn't want to hear that it's decades but it actually is. If you've read my blog from the beginning then you've probably figured out the timeline. My daughter is 32 years old. No it's not my daughter's father, it's someone I dated shortly before meeting my daughter's father.We had dated when I attended our community college, before attending art school. He moved away and the romantic relationship ended but the friendship didn't. This is someone who was there for me when I had no one else. This is someone who, upon finding out about my pregnancy, asked me to come visit him so I could get away from the situation for just a little while. He was someone who cared.

He was attending a very conservative school at the time. He was concerned about what I was going through and not about what other people would think of me being there - in my very pregnant condition. He was the opposite of what I was dealing with. I was about to lose my firstborn child because of what society and the "neighbors" would think yet, there he was, doing his best to make me comfortable no matter what anyone said about him. There was talk I'm sure. I figured the rumor mill was working overtime. I worried about what people were saying about him. I stayed in the girl's dorm during the week of my visit. The looks I got! Omg...you'd think the devil had moved to town. Did it faze him? No. He didn't care and that's exactly what I needed at the time.

He said to me the other day that he worried about me after I left from that visit and he wished that he could have done more for me. I don't know what that would have been. Some would say that a 22 year old college student doesn't know much about the world but from my perspective now, he knew a hell of a lot more than the adults around me did. He knew about the need for living in the moment. He knew about living for what's important and not for what other people think of you. He knew about the importance of connections and family. He knew what it meant to be there for someone.

My connection with him didn't change the outcome of the situation, I still lost my daughter to adoption but that was certainly not from any lack on his part. It pains me to think that he would feel any guilt or responsibility for the situation. As a matter of fact, I think at that point Catholic Charities had already gotten me to sign the adoption consent. They had me sign a consent for adoption when I was only 6 months pregnant - illegal, by the way and not just by today's laws. He did his best to help me and I will always love him for that. My point is... there are people in your life that you should cherish. There are 2 men in my life who understand me more than anyone. One was there for me when I was pregnant and the other was there for me after I lost my daughter. Both of them are cherished. Both of them mean the world to me. The first one was in my life for just a brief moment in time and now has another life, a life he loves and I'm so happy for him. I'm fortunate that I get to share part of that life again thanks to the internet. Ok yes, thanks to Facebook even though they pissed me off.....  The second one is the man I married. We've been married for 31 years and thanks to him I'm relatively sane :) Thank you to both of them. I don't know that surviving the loss of a child would have been possible without them.


Monday, January 7, 2013

It doesn't get old

I was going through my sketchbook looking for ideas for another painting and came across these notes. It was about a small interaction that would seem to be insignificant to the ordinary person who hadn't experienced what we've experienced. It was a moment of real simplicity yet something that could mean so much in the heart of a mother.

An exchange between me and my daughter-in-law about going to the movies to see the latest in the Twilight saga became something more. My daughter lost and found, expresses a desire to go along says.... "If you and mom go see it let me know how it is!"

"If you and mom".... there are the magic words. It's been 10 years in reunion and I still get a thrill when I see or hear the word mom or momma come from her. It doesn't get old. I don't think it ever will.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A good read


I just read this book The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman. It wasn't my intention to sit on my butt all day last Sunday and read but once I started I just couldn't stop. I started and finished this story in one sitting. It wasn't adoption themed but in a way it was. It was the adoption loss core of me that it touched. Through the story you see isolation, grief, joy, prejudice and what happens to a child caught in the middle of adults who are grieving, overwhelmed, needy and delusional.

*Spoiler alert*

A woman still grieving the recent stillbirth of her baby hears a cry. She finds an infant crying and left alone with what appears to be the body of the child's deceased father. They're in a small boat that washes ashore an isolated island where the woman is living with her lighthouse keeper husband. She convinces her husband that they don't have to report finding the dead man and infant. In her grief she tells herself the story that the child's mother surely must have drowned and God brought this child to her to raise. She decides she is meant to be this little girls mother through divine intervention. Where have we heard that before?

A few years later, back on the mainland a mother is still grieving the loss of her infant daughter and husband. The small boat is found but no bodies. Of course all assume that both are dead until she receives a note telling her that her baby is alive and well cared for. With new hope she fights to find her child and finally succeeds. By the time the mother is reunited with her daughter, the girl is 4 years old and of course doesn't understand what's happening. She has no memory of her mother and all she wants is to go back to the woman who found and kept her. The scenario brought to mind all the recent articles of parents fighting for the return of their children from people who were trying to adopt them, people who know the child is wanted by their mother and/or father but still hangs on to the child along with the delusion that the child is supposed to be theirs.

This is the story of 2 grieving women and the little girl caught between them. It's also the story of a man caught between his love for his wife and doing what he knows to be right - returning the child to her mother.