“But You’re the Exception”


Dear Ms. Feverfew:

Want to know what I am terribly tired of? People telling me that I am the “exception” when I share with them about losing you and then raising Captain Knuckle (as a single mom) a few short years later, all while getting my BS and MS and successfully balancing the demands of motherhood, scholarship, and work.

I am not the exception.

There are countless other women who successfully parent (yes, even single mothers), get degrees, have jobs, have lives, and generally live lives that are the antithesis of the stereo-typical crack-whore birth mother/abusive single mother scenario the adoption industry likes to perpetuate.

Women just like me. Mothers. Wives. Contributing members of society.

I am not the exception. I am the norm.

To borrow a phrase from current events, I am the 99%. (Well, technically it should be 99.73% because the vast majority of us fall within three standard deviations of the norm, but 99.73% gets a little awkward and doesn’t look nearly as good on signs and doesn’t rhyme as well, either. Plus, I can only imagine you don’t want a lesson in elementary statistics right now.)

Much love,

M.

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26 thoughts on ““But You’re the Exception”

  1. You have this right. I always hear from people “but would you have been ready to parent at the time, or how old were you”. I was just as ready to parent Allysa as I was Alex when I got pregnant just a little over a year later. I have never touched any illegal drug, I do not smoke, I haven’t even had a speeding ticket ever. I know I am not the exception, I am the rule. Most nmoms given the full facts would not have placed. If I would have known the the emotions Allysa would endure from not only being adopted but literally from being mentally abused from the better than adoptive parents I would have never placed. I see the emotional marks on my daughter everyday. I am not a perfect parent at all but none of my other kids were emotionally abused and basically left to raise themselves.

    • Exactly, Jeannette! When I found myself a newly divorce mom with a tiny 5-month old Captain Knuckle just a few years after relinquishing Ms. Feverfew, I was not a different. I didn’t have another skill set that had magically been instilled in me, simply because I had gotten pregnant while I was married. If anything, I was an even more fearful, anxious parent because I had already lost one child to adoption. That loss has colored all of my parenting since then and I have felt like I constantly have to “prove” myself worthy.

      I am so sorry about Allysa’s experience. I hope she (and you!) are finding some healing as you rebuild your relationship.

      M.

  2. I am the 99.73% although I don’t have my doctorate like you. And I’ve never done crack so take that you slanderous adoption industry.

    • As if you need a PhD, Starr.

      I seriously want one of those “not a crack-whore birthmother” shirts. Can you imagine me showing up at the ward Trunk-or-Treat party wearing it? People would go, “hahahahahahahaha” and I would be all, “No. I am serious. This isn’t a costume.”

      • You might have to make it say “Not a crack-wh*** birth mother!” so as not to offend the little ones. 😉

      • Oh yes. There are going to be kids at the party, aren’t there? What was I thinking! Perhaps I should just wear my devil horns and tail instead.

  3. I’ve been told I’m the exception as well, usually by people who have no connection to adoption and have never met another first mother. This myth is incredibly pervasive and I’m glad you are fighting it.

    • I’ve been told I’m the exception as well, usually by people who have no connection to adoption and have never met another first mother.

      Or *think* they have never met another first mother. I would hazard a guess many people know a first mother, they just don’t *know* she is a first mother.

  4. Not the exception at all. Quite the norm and on my son’s 15th birthday (As you know I was pregnant 18 and not married) I am glad I never stepped foot in that adoption agency… Love you Munna!!!

  5. Come on, Melynda, cut them with a bit of sarcasm, you just pointed out that even in Californian Mormon circles, 269 out of 280 mothers refused to sacrifice their children on the adoption altars.

  6. Oops, misremembered that one, it was FMF who pointed that out and it was in Texas, but still, if that pressure is so relentless, only a small minority fails to keep their children.

      • True, why do you think I decided to join a pro-life association? (Yep, I live in a far away country where pro-choice is pro-adoption and pro-life may not be VERY anti-adoption, but is certainly NOT pro-adoption.)

  7. Another 99.73%’er here! Not different. Just a mother. One who was actually in a worse spot two years later when I gave birth to my middle son because the pain of losing my oldest son to adoption sent me into a downward spiral where I stopped carrying about anything.

    I was a teenage mom who not only took care of my children, earned a degree and built a career, I did it while struggling, always, with the loss of my oldest son. While battling the insecurities adoption instilled inside of me and the fear of never being “good-enough” for my children.

    And I know, without question, I am part of the “norm” not the exception.

    • I was a teenage mom who not only took care of my children, earned a degree and built a career, I did it while struggling, always, with the loss of my oldest son. While battling the insecurities adoption instilled inside of me and the fear of never being “good-enough” for my children.

      Me too, Cassi.

  8. Ah, people used to say this to me all the time. Do you know if any of the other open adoption bloggers are blogging about an open adoption that was closed by adoptive parents?

  9. Thank you. I wrote a piece several years ago about the closure of open adoptions, and included that number (80%) as it was the only one available at the time — still is, I think. (The National Adoption Clearinghouse – now going by another name – fails to gain/hold said statistics, as do other entities whose job it seems would include the maintenance of such data.)

    In the piece, I used the term “place.” It’s how I still chose to view it (to some degree) at the time, and I felt that other terms would be difficult for still-young kids. All these years later, it depends on whom I’m speaking to.

    I scarcely read anything adoption-related any longer (let alone write anything adoption related anymore) … but was compelled to read much of your blog. Your voice is an articulate one, and I can see this blog evolving into a book one day.

    • Thank you so much, curious, for your kind words. I have actually started writing a book based on these letters. I am still trying to work out how to include important details without crossing over into revealing to much about my daughter’s beginnings. I don’t know if that is possible or not, but I am going to try because I feel like she should know all of the details of the story of “us” before I share it with the world. Once again, not sure if it will be possible, but I am going to try.

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