Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Am I a hero?

This post got me thinking.... am I a hero?

What does a hero look like? Does it look like a woman who is pregnant, young and not at all sure about what comes next? Does it look like someone who surrendered to pressure because she didn't have the finances or the strength to back her up? Does it look like someone who surrendered to the pressure of family and church because those people believed that having a child outside of "wedlock" was morally wrong and the child is then illegitimate and doesn't deserve to be included in the family? Does it look like someone who didn't have anywhere else to turn? Does that make me a hero?

According to the woman who wrote that post, we- meaning the mothers who bore children and were unable to keep those children-, we are heroes. What's wrong with that picture?

Not having choices does not make anyone a hero. It makes them simply choiceless. It makes them people who are doing what they have to do to survive. It makes them people who have to carry on in the face of grief that they're expected to live with regardless of how other people view the situation or how horrendous that grief is. It makes them people who carry on even though they want to just curl up in a ball and die.

Like the woman who wrote that post, the woman who adopted my daughter thanked me one day for giving her the gift of my daughter. I replied with- "she wasn't a gift, I didn't give her willingly. I was forced" There was silence on the other end of the phone. The subject was quickly changed.

Adopters are saviors and first mothers are heroes. This is what the adoption industry would have us believe. This is what they bank on. This is what keeps the bottom line healthy.


  1. Thanks for this post, Carlynne. In November we (NJCare) held an informational session at a local library on the new law in NJ allowing adoptees access to their original birth certificates (and showed Jean Strauss' documentary 'A Simple Piece of Paper.' My dad (who continues to advocate for adoptees' rights on behalf of my mom, Susan Perry, who passed away last year) couldn't make it but gave me tons of cookies and apple cider to bring, in case there was a crowd. One woman showed up. She was incredibly sweet and said, "I can't imagine that more people don't care about this issue." She was a first mother who had been in love with the father of her child, but who had felt so ashamed that she had given in to pressure to have sex before marriage that she never even told him that she was pregnant (she still hasn't told him, she said). She broke off the relationship, and she told her mother and no one else about the pregnancy. She surrendered her daughter for adoption, and then for the next 15 years she suffered from horrendous, crippling grief. I believe she used the exact words you did -- she said she wanted to "curl up in a ball and die." Eventually, she found the courage to search for her daughter. Her mother, a strict Catholic, wouldn't speak with her for months. I think of this woman and all that she (and her daughter) have been through all the time now. Though I get what you are saying about not calling women who had no other choice a "hero," I do think that anyone who can carry on, and even eventually come to a place where they are fighting for others not to have to go through what they did, in the face of such grief are, indeed, heroic. Again, thanks for the post.

    1. Thanks so much for your words. I was very sad to hear of your mother's passing. Her posts were wonderful and her voice is missed.
      I understand what that woman was and is still dealing with. I was also raised in a strict Catholic household.The shame can be crippling. It's only through being able to talk about it that I've been able to let go of the shame. I'm so glad she was able to search for her daughter. What got me through the toughest times was the dream of meeting my daughter one day. Searching and being determined to find her is what kept me going and we've been reunited since 2002.
      I wish I could have been to your informational session in NJ. I'm originally from NJ and I'm also a step-parent adoptee. The only birth certificate I have is the amended one and would love to get my OBC. I will have to look into that.
      Again, thank you for reading and commenting. :)

  2. I clicked on a link again! ;-)
    Here was my response, I doubt it gets approved:
    "Your god did NOT put a child in the uterus of another woman for YOU to have.
    I emphasize HAVE.
    You lusted after a child and you were able to find a woman desperate and scared enough to think that adoption (a PERMANENT solution to a TEMPORARY problem in most cases) was the best option for her and her baby.
    Did you ever offer to sponsor this mother and child? To keep the familial bond in tact?
    The only way you can live with yourself is to convince you and your adopter friends that the MOTHER of this child you adopted is a "hero". That way you can just "pretend" you're doing god's will and raising an "unwanted" child.
    BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FOR DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Typical adopter mindset.
    Read some adopted persons' blogs. Not the ones headed with rainbows and unicorn farts. The ones headed with pain, anguish, rejection, and emotional issues. See what you're up against as your purchased child grows older and starts to wonder why being abandoned was so "heroic"."