Thank You for This Thorn


Dear Ms. Feverfew –

These last few weeks have been brutal on me, adoption wise. Sure, I hide it well and most people aren’t aware of the deep seated pain that encases my daily journeys through the Christmas season. I am the Queen of Carrying On in Spite Of.  Through all of this, there has been a silent pleading in my heart,

“O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant…” (Genesis 32:9-10; KJV)

Like Jacob, I felt inspired by the Lord to “return…unto thy kindred” – I felt led by His hand when I drafted and sent you the message on Facebook back in September. I felt the same promptings when I sent you the message last week. Like Jacob, I feel unworthy of all the of the mercies extended to me by the Lord and I fight against them from time to time, namely the peace that His gospel brings.

Like Jacob, I too have wrestled mightily with a messenger from the Lord, only to be left wounded as reminder of God’s power and divinity.  For many years, I have begged God to remove this woundedness from me, to heal the gaping whole left when I relinquished you for adoption. I have longed for Him to make me whole and to remove the suffering from my heart. I keep waiting for the day when he “will deal well with” me and it has not yet arrived.

This morning, as I lay nursing little Penelope, I was reminded of Paul and his predicament.

“…there was given to me a thorn in the flesh….For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 2:7-9; KJV)

And then it dawned on me.

If God were to entirely remove this thorn of adoption plunged into my heart, I would not care as deeply as I do about the plight of single expectant parents in the LDS church. I would not be moved to speak out on behalf of those who are ensnared in the unrighteous dominion exercised by many of its members in relation to adoption. I would lack the sufficient motivation to write, to speak, and to act with courage and conviction. I am reminded of this adoption-thorn with each rushing beat of my four-chambered mother’s heart and the burning reminds me to never give up, never give in.

So today I thank God for this thorn in my side, this woundedness in my soul. It keeps me human and humane. It increases my capacity to understand others suffering.  It refines and clarifies my belief about the eternal nature of family and God’s intent to preserve every family whenever possible.

I will be the first to admit I am a slow learner. Thankfully, God is good and God is patient and God’s mercy and grace are truly sufficient, even when I don’t recognize it.

Much love,

M.

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26 thoughts on “Thank You for This Thorn

  1. I find it strange that you don’t actually conduct yourself with the respect and dignity that you claim to have while commenting on other people’s blogs. My response to your completely unfounded remarks can be found here:

    http://thelolaletters.blogspot.com/2010/12/ask-lola-or-really-huge-lecture-in.html

    I’m sure it won’t have any positive or changing effect on you, much as I’d like to think it would, but I needed to write it for myself and the dozens of people I love who are clearly evil, in your humble opinion. {Even though I don’t know you, and you don’t know me…or them… and this exchange is clearly pointless…}

    I will be deleting it soon, because I like to TRY keep things positive and uplifting on my blog, but for now, you can check it out.

    • Dear Lola –

      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my blog. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to even acknowledge the experience of a first mother. Most LDS/Christian potential adoptive parents summarily dismiss our experiences by labeling us bitter and telling us they will pray for us. Most don’t even take the time to respond directly to us before deleting our comments and so I appreciate your courage in doing so.

      I have read your response posted on your blog and yet I do not understand why you feel I was calling you evil. I cannot seem to find that anywhere in my original comment. A bit of horror at your self-described “positive and uplifting” attitude? Yes. But evil, no.

      I do not think adoptive parents are evil by any stretch of the imagination. Some of my dearest friends are LDS adoptive parents (waving madly at Monica, my doula and hero). I have a deep and abiding respect for women who can open their hearts and their homes to children they did not bear, and in doing so open their hearts and homes to the first families of those children as well (waving madly at Shannan, Nina, and Margie). It is you who is characterizing potential adoptive parents as being evil, not me.

      What I took exception to is the flippant attitude so evident in your original blog post of December 10, 2010 (Original URL: http://thelolaletters.blogspot.com/2010/12/ask-lola.html) which apparently has disappeared. [Edited to add: My mistake – it is still there. Thank you for having the courage to leave it intact.] Fortunately I took a snapshot of it, but that is neither here nor there at this point. The attitude was one of how a single expectant mother (whether it is the cute 15-year old cheerleader you alluded to or some other person) = baby for you raise in an effort to ease your pain and anguish over not having children of your own.

      I suspect that you, like many others within the LDS church, are simply unaware and uniformed of the lasting scars adoption leaves on first mothers and on their children. However, since you at least took the time to respond, perhaps it means you are willing to listen, learn, and eventually be a better adoptive mother for some child who may be in your future.

      I am sorry you feel this exchange is pointless and you need to delete your response to my comment I left on your blog. Then again, as a first mother I am used to being told I am pointless and being marginalized by other members of my chosen religion so it is nothing new. After 18 years, I have learned to not take is personally.

      Sincerely,

      Melynda

    • Dear Lola –

      Sorry about the mistake – you have not yet removed the blog post of December 10, 2010. I apologize for the mistake wholeheartedly. Thank you for having the courage to leave it intact.

      Sincerely,

      Melynda

  2. I think Lola should leave her disgusting blog intact. It shows the entitled attitude of infertile wanna-be adoptoraptors. Good job on exposing this smug little infertile gem. Beware, pregnant teens- Lola wants your baby!!

    • Oh Linda, come now – you are just a bitter adoptee. And a hypocrite.

      I will let Lola’s word speak for her about bitter, angry hypocrites like you and me:

      CLEARLY, you will continue to suffer as long as you continue to fight and rage against something that can never, and will never be different.

      It’s the basic equivalent of being angry that humans have to breathe or that, I don’t know, gravity exists.

      Don’t rage against what is. You will lose every time.

      I will pray for you, you little adoption loser, mmmkay? 😉

      (All said tongue in cheek with a heavy dose of sarcasm – I truly appreciate people like you, Linda. I take courage from your strength and conviction to speak out against this kind of stuff.)

      M.

  3. “Perhaps instead of looking forward with joy to the destruction of a family that adoption brings about, you will see that *every* family is worth preserving whenever possible, even if that family is some cute pregnant cheerleader and her baby.”

    Your words. That’s what you said. How do those words NOT imply that anyone who would take part “the destruction of a family that adoption brings about” is evil? Call me a family destroyer, or call me evil…to me there is no difference.

    I have not actually adopted any children and therefore have not had a hand in destroying any families or leaving any “lasting scars” {as you put it} on first mothers or their children, but I cannot for the life of me understand how an adoptive mother could read your posts or be in your association without feeling like a horrible person who should throw themselves in front of a bus.

    Perhaps you should choose your words more carefully so as not to sound like you are saying two directly opposite things:

    “Adoptive families are great! I have many adoptive parents as friends whom I LOVE!”

    “Perhaps instead of looking forward with joy to the destruction of a family that adoption brings about, you will see that *every* family is worth preserving whenever possible, even if that family is some cute pregnant cheerleader and her baby.”

    When I wrote my post on December 10th, I wrote it with full disclosure honesty. I wrote it from the perspective of a person who was trying to take the first steps in the adoption process and struggling. I’m sorry if you found my honesty flippant. There is nothing I can do about that and I absolutely won’t apologize for it. {And it is not courage that has prompted me to leave it intact, rather it is the knowledge that I know that it is part of my story. I am proud of it. I know what I intended to express when I wrote it, and you are the only person out of hundreds and hundreds of readers – birth mothers included- who found a way to be offended and paint me as a big fat jerk.}

    Your personal issues completely colored the way you interpreted my words and then you twisted them to imply that I was trying to con an unwilling, vulnerable girl out of her baby…which is extremely offensive and something I would never do…so I’m sorry if you can’t see how your saying that was out of line, but there is nothing I can do about that.

    What I was saying was, I imagined myself writing a sincere letter that would CONNECT with the right person at the right time and my adoption journey would begin. I don’t know how YOU respond to a deep emotional connection, but I often do so by crying. So, when I said “write a letter that would make a cute prego cheerleader in Colorado cry” I MEANT that she would possibly cry tears of joy and relief because she has found the right couple and is now experiencing maybe an ounce of peace in what is sure to be a very heart-wrenching and confusing time in her life.

    I have best friends who are birth mothers, and YES there are lasting scars, and YES they are ABSOLUTELY entitled to “bad days” and “venting” and anything else they need to cope with a sudden upsurge of sorrow. But they are doing positive things with their grief rather than waltzing around the internet on a high horse insisting that no one else is entitled to their life experiences…ESPECIALLY not any having to do with adoption that Melynda doesn’t agree with. That’s all.

    I respect and adore “First mothers” more than any other people I can think of. And I say that HONESTLY. I have sung the praises of birth mothers regularly on my blog and will continue to do so.

    I am not categorizing you as bitter because you are a “first mother” I am saying that bitterness is making you read into things that simply aren’t there and you are making villains out of people you have never met. I know you delight in being all sorts of technical with “what you do and do not say” and all, but the FACT is, you do not have to use the word villain in order to vilify someone. You did a perfectly good job of villifying me on my blog, and as you stated oh so correctly in your response, you did not use the word villain once. Which means you are getting really good at this, so congratulations.

    “I am sorry you feel this exchange is pointless and you need to delete your response to my comment I left on your blog. Then again, as a first mother I am used to being told I am pointless and being marginalized by other members of my chosen religion so it is nothing new. After 18 years, I have learned to not take is personally.”

    This exchange is pointless because you refuse to see anything from anyone else’s point of view, not because you are a picked on, marginalized first mother. Again, you are implying something about me that is utterly untrue. But doesn’t that statement have “self proclaimed victim” written all over it? I mean, YOU are the one who creates the world in which you live, and you just openly said {in your own words that you actually really wrote, like, for reals} that everyone in your religion and culture says that you are pointless. Really? I know for a FACT that this is untrue, (maybe SOME people are insensitive or don’t understand, but EVERYONE? Sorry, no.} And I am sincerely sorry that you choose to create this world… and choose to focus so heavily on all of the negative around you, and choose to create drama and find a way to be offended even if that was NEVER someone else’s intent, but the fact is, you’re the only one who really has to live with those choices, and no, I won’t “pray for you” as that is condescending and implies that I don’t have problems, trials, and TONS of my own flaws to work out and therefore need to focus on yours… but I do hope you can start choosing a better life for yourself. And stop finding reasons to be offended. And stop finding reasons to attack and pass judgment on other people who are simply trying to honestly work out their own stuff.

    I can honestly say that I’m not offended by you. I wanted to argue the flaws that I see in the statement you presented to me, but I am most certainly not offended. I can honestly say that I am doing the best I can in this life, and I know you are too. And I wish you all the best. Seriously.

  4. Ha ha! I LOVE that Linda just said something utterly nasty and petty and you cheered and praised her. There’s the real Melynda.

    Thanks for getting real. Finally.
    I was just starting to think I had grossly underestimated you.
    Not so.

  5. I have nothing to lose so I’ll just come right out and say it, Lola, you need to read up on adoption before you ever entertain the thought of going after the heart of a fragile pregnant cheerleader.

    I stand by what I said on your blog when I said that you need to read the blogs of adoptees, natural mothers and other adoptive mothers who understand that it’s not a joke. A woman giving up her child is not something to be mocked and ridiculed.

    Melynda is the sweetest woman I know on the blogosphere and the fact that you continually call her bitter is more proof that you don’t get it.

    Yes, it IS your blog…and you can post whatever the hell you want…just like my blog is my own and I’ll give blog author’s like yourself awards to showcase your writing talents. But you can’t tell me that you are naive enough to believe that you can spew out a post like the one you spewed out on December 10th and not expect that you’ll have dissenters who don’t (GASP) agree with you?? Really hon? Really?

  6. It’s not about disagreeing with me, people can disagree with me all the live long day and I have no problem with that.

    It’s the misreading me and then putting words in my mouth that I have a problem with. And honestly, Christina, you and Melynda are right not to appreciate the way I worded that sentence. It WAS insensitive and for that, I apologize. It was NEVER my intent to trivialize such a serious subject, it can sometimes be a problem with my writing style. I can come off glib and not even know it, and clearly this is one of those times. It’s a little bit embarrassing for me that anyone would think of me the way that you are thinking of me right now because you could not be farther from the truth and the way that I worded things is what led you to see me this way. I can own that, and I can honestly say that it was not my intent and I am sorry.

    As for the rest of it, I have to say, Melynda, you said that you appreciated me for not deleting what I said and avoiding the issue, and NOT stifling the voice of a first mother, and then you and your friends attacked me so nastily that I have to say to myself: “NO WONDER no one tries to have conversations with you – it is nothing but ugliness and hate and I don’t know what I was thinking letting ANY of this into my life.” I should have never responded. I should have never given you a platform in my personal space to spew out whatever you wanted at me… This is your thing and you should be the only one who has to live with it.

    Sorry about the pregnant cheerleader comment. It was glib and insensitive and NOT the way I would want to represent myself or my view of birthmothers. It was my way of making light of a situation that was very difficult for me to talk about and I should have measured my words more carefully.

    Beyond that, PLEASE just leave me alone. Leave my blog alone. Stay out of my world and I will GLADLY stay out of yours. I can say with no doubt that you do not know me and I do not know you, nor do I want to after this exchange with you and your friends. So, take care and please know that any and all further interaction or comments will be immediately deleted by me, so you might not want to waste your time.

    I didn’t understand why you were so pleased that I engaged in this conversation with you until now. No one usually gives you a platform for all of this nastiness on their blogs… because they are clearly WAY smarter than I am. And, while I may not be as smart as them, I am a fast learner.

    • Dear Lola –

      Thank you for your apology about the glib comments about first mothers. You might find this hard to believe, but I understand and appreciate there is a time and a place for adoption, specifically when a child is in danger or when they would otherwise be left to languish in foster care or orphanages. My only wish is that we first mothers be treated with the respect and dignity that potential adoptive parents demand. I am sorry you feel I attacked you – I did not intend for it to come across that way. In my initial comment, I was only trying to convey my feelings about what your 12/10/10 post sounded like from a first mother’s perspective. I apologize for obviously stepping all over an (obvious to me now) tender spot in your heart.

      I cannot speak for my adoptee friends. You will have to take that up with them. As the ones who bear the full burden of what adoption is and does to a person, they are the final word on the “blessing” of adoption in my opinion. Neither your opinion nor my opinion carries as much weight as theirs in the conversation between members of the adoption constellation (or potential members, such as yourself).

      I have the feeling this experience will render you a bit more measured and careful in the words you chose to use when you discuss such a difficult and tender subject. When a first mother is trying to select a family to raise her child, she is not looking for who has the cutest blog on the block, the biggest home, the best looking dog, who takes the most fabulous vacations, or whose “Dear Birth Mother” letter makes her cry. She is looking for someone who is authentic and true to their word, someone with whom she can entrust her heart and her child. Perhaps, when and if you do finally sit down to write that letter, you will have spent the time to read through the blogs of other first mothers who are 10+ years post-placement, adult adoptees, and adoptive mothers who “get it.” If you do, I think you will be able to write a letter that is real, that is honest, and that is not full of fluff and “look how fabulous I am” like so many of those letters.

      Truly Lola – I do not hold any ill will against you. Here is the reason why: Your line of reasoning and thinking about adoption is embedded deep within the LDS culture. Your thinking and position about adoption is an artifact of our culture. It is what we are taught from when we are little girls, it is what is repeated to us in Relief Society and Sunday School as adults. I truly believe that most potential and adoptive parents are motivated by love. However, I also truly believe that most potential and adoptive parents would do whatever it takes to keep a family together (meaning a mother and her baby) if they understood the lifelong affects of adoption loss on both that mother and her child. They would come to see that doing whatsoever “is gentle and human” just might include the possibility of assisting young mothers and teaching them to be righteous, loving mothers in Zion.

      However, you are right. Fighting for change in LDS adoption is like fighting against gravity. But just like we humans have been able to “slip the surly bonds of earth” and peer into the galaxies, I believe change can and will happen. The ability to defy gravity started with one apple and one man who was willing to look at things in a different way. It will be the same with LDS adoption. One apple, one person, one voice willing to speak out. It might take 304 years before the equivalent of the moon landing happens in the LDS adoption world but change is happening, as evidenced by the changes in the official Handbook. Hopefully it won’t take that long but if it does take 304 years? It’s OK because in the end, time doesn’t matter to God.

      Sincerely,

      Melynda

  7. I wrote the following to your friend Christina in response to her “Blog of Shame” award, but she doesn’t want people to read the truth on her site, so I thought I would at least share it with you, since it has a lot to do with you. I can actually appreciate every single thing you just said in your last comment, I understand where you are coming from, and I DO hope that we can change the way we view and approach adoption. I don’t think it’s impossible or too much to ask. I was just saying that changing the PAST is impossible and that it’s best to let go and move on. Changing the future, of course, is a different story and I hope you find success. Here is what I had to say to Christina, but it’s just as well to say most of it to you as well.

    @Christina
    Did you ever stop to think that I was being honest about my feelings regardless of whether or not they were PC in anyone’s eyes?

    I know that my thinking wasn’t clear or right or good, and THAT WAS SORT OF THE POINT OF THE POST. But you didn’t see that. Nope. You and your friends called me an infertile gem, a pig, a destroyer of families, someone who delights in scarring little children, and a whole host of other nasty things, and for what?

    For being honest about an experience I had two years ago? *gasp!* How dare me? Well yeah, I must be an evil piece of crap being that I was naive about the process of adoption and had never had the opportunity to see and learn from someone on the other side of it…

    Was my writing approach RIGHT? No. But could it have been a forum for understanding and enlightenment rather than a jumping off point for hateful assumptions and comments? Sure. But heaven forbid y’all take the high {patient, gracious, decent}road with people who have NO UNDERSTANDING about where you are coming from.

    Unfortunately, y’all did what you clearly do best and that is jump to conclusions and judge rather than give and honest rundown of where you are coming from so I could better understand. Nope, just jumped right into attack mode, and then you were shocked when I took issue with having my words twisted, labeled, and judged?

    I will apologize for wording things hurtfully. It was meant to express my desperate longing for a child {a longing that pushed me to think irrationally about birth mothers and look at them as baby machines that I could hit up for a cute, healthy baby all in the name of extinguishing the pain that was threatening to completely consume me- etc}

    Was my thinking that kind, considerate, or rational? NO!

    Was I, at that time in my life, in a place that was kind, considerate and rational? No!

    Was I desperate, heartbroken and so sad I couldn’t see straight? Why yes, yes I was.

    Does it define who I am? Nope. But you can judge me for it if you want to.

    That was desperation and hurt and five years of disappointment and pain talking, NOT “the sum of all that I am” talking.

    I would actually think you of all people might be able to appreciate the honesty of that place. I guess I would also be wrong in thinking that.

    My original response to Melynda was heated because she put words in my mouth and twisted things to say what I NEVER intended to say.

    She also said things that implicate adoptive parents as horrible people who take pleasure in “destroying families” as she put it, so yeah, being that I am SURROUNDED BY and related to dozens of adoptive families who I love very much, I took issue with that.

    Melynda actually did get around to sharing clear and fair opinions about adoption and I can see ALL of her points and can appreciate why she feels the way she does. It makes a lot of sense. I just wish someone could have done that in the first place without ALL of the judgment and twisting of words. I can tell you from personal experience, it is far more effective than what has gone on today.

    Because honestly, I am walking away from this thinking you are the most intolerant, unkind people I have ever met. So… there it is.

    I don’t expect you to publish this or show my side of the story, because hey, you’ve found a “witch” to publicly flog and vilify, and who knows when the next girl who is stupid enough to put her raw, truthful, feelings of despair on her blog will come along? Better make the most out of the one you’ve currently got.

    And frankly, if it’s what y’all need to feel better, I am more than happy to oblige.

    That last part wasn’t directed at you, but I at least wanted you to know what my thought processes were in writing that post. I wasn’t saying those things because they were right, I was saying them to convey to my readers that I was in a very bad spot. I will be more careful in the future about the way that I write and will also be sure to preface some of my posts with explanations of where my mind was and why I am sharing these things now.

    I really had no intention of trivializing the plight of first mothers – I was simply trying to share the only story I know – which is the story of a woman who dealt with seven years of infertility and went a little nuts in the process. I’m sorry that I was defensive and started a heated back and forth. It’s not what I want to be about.

    I really do wish you all the best.
    Laura

  8. I don’t love adoption. But I love my Adoptive Parents. They are too different things. Adoption took apart my Original Family; my Adoptive Parents did not.

    Asking Adoptive Parents or people who want to adopt to consider that adoption should be a last resort, not something to convince and encourage a woman (or teenager) of is not about labeling Adoptive Parents as evil. It’s about asking them to consider adoption’s impact on others when considering adoption.

    Is adoption about helping truly needy children? Or the adults who want to adopt children? I find nothing wrong with promoting a child-centered view of adoption, and yes, a child who is adopted loses its family. A child-centered view of adoption should not be taken offense to by people who want to adopt. Parenting is about what’s best children; not the parents. How else will any one learn more about adoption and what’s best for children if they don’t listen to the people who have lived adoption for decades?

    Adoptees and First Parents are marginalized minority groups that fall under a lot of stereotypes. I would expect that any Adoptee or First Parent who reads something that offends them to post and explain why.

    • Dear Adult Adoptee –

      I am so grateful you have joined the conversation and that you can distinguish the difference between loving your adoptive parents and loving adoption and that it was adoption that dismantled your original family, not your adoptive parents.

      You said,

      How else will any one learn more about adoption and what’s best for children if they don’t listen to the people who have lived adoption for decades?

      Yes, this.

      M.

  9. I also realize that unless I am polite to those who have offended me, they will not listen. It it is a shame that it is upon the person who was offended to in turn be the least offensive in expressing their opinion, in order for others to listen and accept a new point of view.

    • I came to this realization last night. I was left wondering, “How could this have been handled in a more appropriate way?” Maybe I need to ask some of my enlightened adoptive mama friends what their journey was like as they woke up from the adoption fog and what was most helpful/hurtful in that process.

      M.

  10. I have three adopted children and the reason why I love Melynda and Christina so much is because I have to wonder, “Will my children feel this way? Do their mothers feel this way?” Reading their words and stories makes me feel better able to help my children now and hopefully in the future, and also helps me better understand and connect with their mothers. And reading Melynda’s blog doesn’t make me want to “throw myself under a bus” as Lola indicated it should. It’s when my daughter asks, “Why didn’t my mother love me and why did YOU adopt me?” that makes me feel like I want to throw myself under a bus. These blogs empower me and give me courage and ideas of how to talk to my kids and help them cope with and understand the reality of their adoptions. Otherwise I would have just been forcing gratitude down their innocent little throats and telling their mothers to get over it.

  11. I have adopted two children and I also love Melynda and Christina as well as Melissa at Yoons Blur and many other adult adoptees and first mothers whose blogs I read regularly for their invaluable wisdom, insight and the enormous gap that they (you) all help me bridge between my experience and my childrens’ – their experiences now as 10 and 7 year old children and what their future experiences will be. When my husband and I adopted our oldest son almost eleven years ago, I was shocklingly naive and I have to say firmly resided in the land of adoption butterflies and unicorns – not because I was a bad person but simply because I had no experience with adoption and didn’t know any better. I had simply never known any adult adoptees or first mothers and I am ashamed to admit that it truly never occurred to me to question anything. I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon the “adoption blogosphere” but once I found Christina and Von and Myst and Melissa and Raina and Melynda and on and on and on -WOW-were my eyes opened & I could NOT stop reading. I still haven’t. I check most of those blogs every day and I have read most of the ones I listed from beginning to end. Some of it is very hard to read – it’s painful and often raw and honest and real and has made me look at myself and question myself over and over but once I knew, I couldn’t pretend NOT to know. I couldn’t invalidate the truths of the adult adoptees and first mothers out there by pretending that y’all don’t exist or write off your experiences as “bitter” or “angry” or whatever other marginalizing or minimizing term could be used. I am so, so grateful to all of you who put yourselves out there and tell your truth and open yourselves up to the opinions of strangers. Im going to steal Shannan’s words from her comment above becuase she put it so well. The blogs empower me and give me the courage to be open with my kids and the understanding to grasp just the tiniest little bit into their realites and what their worlds may look like when they’re adults. So, no, Melynda’s blog doesn’t make me want to throw myself under a bus. The thought that I might have stayed in the narrow, closed world of adoption butterflies and unicorns does.

    • Deanna –

      Thank you for commenting. Like you, I read a great many adult adoptee blogs because I am trying to understand what my daughter’s lived experiences may be like. Sometimes what I read is very difficult to digest, but I am so grateful for the courage of those who are willing to share their lives with us so we can learn.

      You said,

      “I have to say firmly resided in the land of adoption butterflies and unicorns – not because I was a bad person but simply because I had no experience with adoption and didn’t know any better. I had simply never known any adult adoptees or first mothers and I am ashamed to admit that it truly never occurred to me to question anything.” (My emphasis)

      This is exactly what I believe – I don’t think the vast majority of adoptive parents out there are bad or evil or should throw themselves under a bus. Most simply don’t know any better and have never questioned adoption from the perspective of an adult adoptee or a first mother. It’s the ones who are unable or unwilling (for whatever reason) to see any other side of the equation other than their own privileged view and feel morally justified in this behavior that frustrate me the most.

      M.

  12. Yeah, this is embarrassing.

    I really did say ALL of those things because the information you presented me with, M, was so sudden and very jarring for someone who had only had the kittens and rainbows stuff rolling through her head her entire life, and I didn’t know how to digest or make sense of it. I really did feel ONLY attacked, and once I felt attacked, I became closed off and was unable to see your very good points.

    I think the biggest part of my disillusionment stemmed from my adoration of first mothers. I just think they are incredibly strong, and selfless, and amazing, and that feeling towards them spreads out to color the whole adoption world as “beautiful and miraculous and perfect” when it has now become clear to me that this is not the case and acting like there are no primal wounds associated with a child being taken from his or her natural mother IS SO NOT HELPING the situation. I think I get it a lot better now.

    But man, just from the honest perspective of someone who had no idea that this world existed, it is A LOT to digest especially when it comes out of left field and especially when someone (ahem, me) has their hackles up.

    I have best, best, best friends who were adopted, and last night, as I took some time to look inward, think about some of the things you said, and acknowledge that (gasp!) I just might not know EVERYTHING, I was able to see for the first time some of the fruits of their deeply rooted pain. I had never seen the connection before because my belief in the perfection of adoption had colored my view. But last night was an eye opener.

    I now see that while adoption is sometimes necessary, it is by no means perfect or the “best answer to any and every teenage or unplanned pregnancy” or what have you. I also see why it is SO IMPORTANT that an adoptive mother see the realities of adoption so as to be best equipped to help her adopted child as they go through life together.

    All I can say is, I am SUPER embarrassed to have fallen into the category of the status quo. I can’t believe I full on called you bitter and every name that everyone who has no freaking clue as to what they are talking about calls you. Just embarrassed. And I sincerely apologize for doing that.

    I can’t stress enough how much I had no clue. I think this is really important information to have, and I would like to help in educating others if anyone is interested in guest posting or doing some sort of interview on my blog.

    Thanks Melynda.
    (Sorry, I am WORDY!!! Always… I try not to be but…)

    Lola

    • Dear Lola –

      No apologies for wordy responses. I come from a long line of women who have waaaaaaaaay too many words rolling around in their heads, so it is very familiar and comfortable for me to read others who struggle with the same “problem.”

      I will admit I was a little taken aback by this latest comment – not in a negative way, just in a “did I just read that right????” kind of way. If your comments here reveal your truest heart, then perhaps you and I have a lot more to talk about.

      You are not the first person to experience a crash course in the “rest of the story” of adoption. There are many potential adoptive parents and adoptive parents who have had to confront the same prejudices and thought processes in their own lives. I know it is not easy and I also know sometimes it is not very pretty either. No one likes to find out that a strongly held belief is built on quicksand (including this first mother). Like I said yesterday, I am very grateful that you were at least willing to enter into a dialogue with people like me and my adoptee friends. You took the time to wade through some tough stuff and really listen to us….that speaks volume about you. Even my husband, Mr. Amazing Man, is impressed with you and let me just say, that is a supreme complement coming from him. Considering the caliber of people he associates with on a daily basis at work, it takes a lot to impress him and he doesn’t dole out his approval willy-nilly.

      If you are sincere in your desire to help educate others, I would be willing to be involved on one condition: No more apologizing to me for being part of the status quo. I really don’t take the name calling personally because I am very aware of how our culture perpetuates the myth of adoption being about rainbows, unicorns, and pony rides in sunshine and portrays it as a win-win-win for everyone involved. Trust me, as a first mother who bought into it hook, line, and sinker, I know it all too well.

      In peace and with love this Christmas season (and I really mean it!) –

      M.

    • P.S. Whew – I almost forgot to add this: Are you as glad as I am in the we believe in a gospel of repentance and new beginnings? I know I have certainly “stepped in it” many times in my life and I am so grateful for The Great Plan of Happiness and the good news of the gospel of Christ. As sisters in Zion, I believe that we have far more in common than we do differences. Let’s see if we can build on those commonalities instead of acting like 13-year old girls after gym class (which I am prone to do from time to time, just ask my ridiculously patient husband).

      Much love –

      M.

  13. “I just think they are incredibly strong, and selfless, and amazing, and that feeling towards them spreads out to color the whole adoption world as “beautiful and miraculous and perfect”

    I know you are here to learn, and I will explain to you what this looks like:

    “Othering” mothers who have given up their children. Making them out to be fabulous people – by placing a label of alienation and praising them for something many mothers could never even imagine doing.

    The phrase: “What a brave, selfless decision – *I* could never do that.”

    Which is actually not about being brave or selfless, because the next phrase “*I* could never do that” completely contradicts it. It is not loving, because loving a child means KEEPING THEM. Therefore, when someone says how brave a mother is, it’s really code for “They gave up their child – something I can’t ever imagine anyone doing. Therefore, they are not ‘like me.’ ”

    I see you mention the “unplanned pregnancy.” I see this is often brought up a lot on adoption blogs. What people conveniently choose to forget is that many KEPT children are unplanned as well. Somehow that automatically translates into “unwanted” in adoption, even if it goes against the facts. Even if it goes against all of neurological research into pregnancy & the psychological bond while in-utero.

    But “unplanned” kept children aren’t assumed to be unwanted, are they? No.

    Honestly, I’ve had a lot of people telling me in one breath my mother was a saviour to give me up, and in the next, telling me how ungrateful I am to want to be with her since she didn’t raise me.

    Because secretly, we all know it’s not natural to give up one’s child. Whether it be abuse (not natural to hit a child, either), neglect (most mothers don’t “want” to starve their children), most of us agree it’s not natural to “abandon.”

    Adoption covers this up and wraps it in a bow-tie.

  14. Lola,

    There is a blog which may or may not be of much help. It’s not an emotional one. It is a political one – and the topics it discusses on a very base level can be applied to domestic adoption as well (if you’re not attempting a transracial adoption).

    I’d like to highlight something from a specific blog post:

    “I know a woman who searched and found her adopted child’s family with positive result. Now, it may be argued that this act serves mainly to further ingratiate the adopted son to his adopted mother, and I chafe at applauding it because she does not acknowledge that the act of adopting in the first place perpetuates a system that limits choices in societies that oppress women, and that the lack of a child’s access to their own identity only shows how adoptee civil/human rights are violated and controlled by this system which awards the privileged and robs those who are powerless.”

    Read that last sentence. Let it digest. Because quite frankly, it’s got a lot of ugly truth in it.

    The act of adopting in itself is a privilege, because something more horrible or tragic has to occur in order for that child to become available for adoption. As a prospective parent, *you have the ability to choose adoption.* That is a freedom that is given to you as a blessing. Many people who gave up their children doesn’t necessarily even have the rights to their own children.

    Of course there will always be situations where adoption is necessary (or so I believe). But that doesn’t take away the privilege and social class rights within the system. Think about it:

    How many adoptions occur from a higher class family to a lower class family? How many adoptions occur because there is no help? How many adoptions occur because humans do not have fundamental rights? How many adoptees go from higher class income households to lower ones?

    Not a lot.

    Because it’s not about love. It’s about who has the political power in adoption.

    (The blog can be found here: http://transracialeyes.com/)

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