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:

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.