“Oh, Say What is Truth? ‘Tis the Fairest Gem”

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Kira Donnell speaks her truth about adoption, and although heart-breaking, this video is a gem of the fairest sort. Much love this Monday morning.

M.

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It’s the Same Old Song: People Say the Darndest Things, Part II

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

I saw this come across the news the other day. It’s an article titled, “Kaepernick’s birth mother speaks of trying to connect with son” by Katie Dowd.

(Photo by Seth Perlman/AP)

As you can imagine, the article is about the 49’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick and his “not-real mother,” Heidi Russo.  You know the pretend one that just birthed him, like any old brood sow could do?  Yeah, that not-real mother. (Sorry about the snark this early in the morning. I don’t have my filter on yet.) I decided to highlight some of the comments left by readers, just in case anyone was wondering if people’s attitudes about not-real birthmothers/birth mothers is any different once the child is a grown adult. (If you are busy this morning, I can sum it up so you don’t have to read all the comments: Nope, nothing changes in people’s attitudes about not-real mothers if those not-real mothers have waited a lifetime to reconnect with their now-adult children.

Enjoy with a cup of strong brew this morning (and perhaps a barf bag).

M.

P.S. I’ll save my personal commentary so others can draw their own conclusions about the comments.

Linky-loo to original article: http://blog.sfgate.com/49ers/2012/12/05/kaepernicks-birth-mother-spea/

“… Back off and clam up, lady. He moved on 25 years ago, and it’s time for you to do the same.” (outa_here 9:39 AM on December 6, 2012)

I’m wondering if she really has an ulterior motive and is attempting to only get to know him for financial gain…” (
mbonhamwolv 4:18 AM on December 6, 2012)

“It’s sleazy of the media to give her a platform for self-promotion at his expense.” (plano453 7:59 PM on December 5, 2012)

Hey Heidi, Colin is not your son, and you are not his parent.” (BlockHead2u 7:52 PM on December 5, 2012)

“…did she have permission or approval from adoptive parents when she went to visit him during college days????????????? (michol0808 5:34 PM on December 5, 2012)

A birth mother is not the same thing as a Mother.” (MsWest 4:53 PM on December 5, 2012)

“Hey Colin? Maybe you should tweet this to her. You had a chance to be part of my life but you bailed.” (hoosier1 4:33 PM on December 5, 2012)

“…she has a pair of brass ones to describe herself as a “parent” when she hasn’t actually done any parenting.” (finnlandia 2:09 PM on December 5, 2012)

I wonder what she needs the money for.” (dr_mojo 2:09 PM on December 5, 2012)

“OF course she wants to renew her relationship. HI son, it’s your mama, can I have some money. I really didn’t mean to give you up.” (R8derMan 2:05 PM on December 5, 2012)

“… you are no more his mother than any other female posting on these pages.” (nixonstheone 1:47 PM on December 5, 2012)

“GOLD DIGGER ALERT! Lets welcome the newest 49er gold digger…NOT! How nice it is to seek some fame now that her son is famous. This loser probably now wants everyone to know that she is his “real” mother. Some people have no shame. (sloan111 1:27 PM on December 5, 2012)

“…outside of biology, she probably didn’t shape any part of what Colin is today. That’s from his “real” parents.” (d2010 12:43 PM on December 5, 2012)

He know’s [sic] who his parents are and it ain’t you Heidi Ho and I use Ho loosely !” (boise49ers 12:10 PM on December 5, 2012)

Maybe she’s angling for a book deal. Title “How I got rid of my baby boy, but now want him back since he’s a big $tar” (
sanfran126 12:05 PM on December 5, 2012)

Piece of work that lady…. FYI: You are not his parent, you gave birth to him. The folks that adopted him and raised him, are his parents!” (Apetez 11:40 AM on December 5, 2012)

Oh my gawd. You are not his parent. You gave up that right.” (wahwah 10:40 AM on December 5, 2012)

Utah Mutual Consent Adoption Registry

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Did you know that since 1987, Utah has an active mutual consent adoption registry? This means if both you and I fill out the forms, send in our birth certificates, and $25, they will share identifying information with each other AND release your adoption records, including your original birth certificate?  Not just for me and you, but if your brothers and sisters want to register, they can as well. Did I mention it has been around since NINETEEN EIGHTY SEVEN?

I know it isn’t perfect by any means, but why haven’t I known about this before? Don’t you think that SOMEONE (ahem, STUPID LDSFS PEOPLE) should have mentioned this little, teeny, tiny tidbit of information to me? Don’t you think SOMEONE should have printed out the forms and said, “Hey – why don’t you fill these out so your daughter can get her original birth certificate?” Oh, that’s right. Because then they would have had to explain sealed records, falsified birth certificates and all that jazz.

1987, people – 19freakin87.  I wonder how many other first mothers who relinquished in Utah know about this registry and have actually registered.  Or how many were just as clueless as I was until about 20 minute ago? Do you know about it? Do you know that you can have access to your original birth records when you turn 21 if your mother has joined the registry? Do other adoptees know about it?  WHY NOT??????

At first I wasn’t going to register – we already know each others name and contact information, why spend the $25 and go through the hassle? I have a copy of your original birth certificate, which I have always planned on giving to you – especially since the tightened security rules will make it nearly impossible for you to get a passport without it. But then the thought went through my mind: Ms. Feverfew needs to have access to it, on her own, independent of me. Just like I am able to do, you need to be able to fill out a form and get your original birth certificate without anyone hassling you about it. It’s your right; your birth right.

So sitting in front of me right now is the form, all filled out. I just need to have it notarized and then I will send it in. 1987. This registry has been around since 1987.  There’s not much I can do to help you along the path you are walking, but this? This I can do.

Much love,

M.

P.S. Edited to add this: I just spoke with an amazing mama who relinquished her baby for adoption in Utah through LDSFS within the last year or so. She has never heard of the Utah Mutual Consent Adoption Registry or the fact that her child can gain access to their original birth certificate ONLY if she registers. Huh. I thought adoption was so “different” nowadays than it was “way back when.” I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. Babies still loose their mamas, mamas still lose their babies, and no one tells the mothers or the adoptees about being able to access the adoption records or OBC.

IF YOU ARE AN FIRST PARENT OR ADOPTEE FROM UTAH, HERE IS THE PDF FORM . FILL IT OUT AND SEND IT IN. TODAY.

Utah_Adoption_Registry

(Moms – Even if you have a copy of the original birth certificate and the adoptive couple has a copy of the original birth certificate and you put one in a time capsule, YOUR CHILD HAS THE RIGHT TO ACCESS THAT BIRTH CERTIFICATE INDEPENDENT OF YOU OR HER ADOPTIVE PARENTS.  Yes, the physical piece of paper that is an OBC is important, but access to it is equally important, too. Do the right thing. Register today.)

What once was lost, now is found: I’m an auntie!!!

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

I have this brother in law, The Samoan. He was adopted as an infant while his parents were living in Samoa and then brought to the US.  His adoptive mother is the sweetest of little Mexican women, Grandma A. and his adoptive father is white.  The Samoan was raised thinking he was 1/2 Mexican and 1/2 white. He speaks fluent Spanish and can cook up some pretty mean Mexican food.

When he was 16, he found out he was in fact neither of those two things, but a full blooded Samoan.

Needless to say, it was a tough adjustment to discover that not only was he adopted but his entire cultural identity was founded on a lie.  Fast forward to four years ago – one of his aunties from his first family found him. Within the last year, he has met his clan and discovered he has countless cousins, uncles, aunties, and even a bunch of siblings.  When he met them, they fell in love with him and welcomed him home in true Polynesian style. (Have I ever mentioned that in the Samoan language there is no word that means “family” as in one mother, one father, and children? Their word for family means cousins, uncles, aunties, grandparents, brothers, sisters, moms, and dads).

Now to rewind a bit, when he was much younger, he had a girlfriend. They did what boyfriends and girlfriends do. Eventually they broke up. Then right before he married my fabulouslyamazing sister in law, Maryann, this old girlfriend showed up and said, “Uh, Samoan. I thought I should let you know that this little boy is your son.” She was married at the time and no one knew quite what to do. The little boy thought his mom’s husband was his dad and so they just let it be.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve. I have known about The Samoan’s son for several years and I have often wondered if he would try to find him or if his son would try to find The Samoan.  As I contemplated our un-reunion, I had this feeling about his son….and somehow knew that something was afoot in the universe. It was weird, don’t ask me how I knew. I just did.

This morning, I was chatting on the phone with my fabulouslyamazing sister in law and she said, “I had the sweetest Christmas imaginable.” And then she told me that The Samoan’s son had contacted him on Facebook a few days before Christmas. He then joined them for the annual Case of Christmas Eve Crabs when the whole crazy family comes together and enjoys cases and cases of Alaskan King crab legs on Christmas Eve, courtesy of Uncle Jesus (so named because of his long hair, beard, and placid nature).

I couldn’t stop crying as she told me about their wonderful experience. I am so happy for my newly found nephew and for his younger brother and sister who are equally delighted to discover they have an older brother and for The Samoan. The New Nephew is now my friend on Facebook and I am eager to get to know him.  My fabulouslyamazing sister in law warned him of the ghost of aunties past but he basically said, “Bring it on!” and that he was excited to get to know us too. Woohoo!!!!

It is a good day today. Maybe someday I can write about you joining us at The Samoan’s house for a Case of the Christmas Eve Crabs too.

Much love and belief –

M.

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 23: Still Here, Not Gone

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

I am still here, it’s just that any thinking brain cells are being fully utilized as I write my dissertation proposal. My hope is to have it submitted by the end of this week (yes, that means I will be working over the holiday – my excuse for that is at least Mr. Amazing Man will be home and I can get some good work done without having to worry about kid wrangling or meals!)

Back to the matter at hand: I am working ridiculously hard to get this degree done by May 2011. It is requiring a multitude of sacrifices on my part and on my family’s part – we will all be so glad when it is over.  Between nursing little Penelope, being in an uber-traditional marriage/family life, and having to think high-level, pointy headed thoughts for hours and hours each day,  I don’t have a lot of space left in my brain.

Today, it dawned on me that perhaps it is for the best that you are still resistant to the idea of establishing communication with me. Knowing myself, that would eclipse anything else in my life and everything else would have to climb into the back seat and stay there for a good long time.

So maybe there is something good to come of all this waiting. I finish my degree, you keep maturing and growing. And eventually it will all work out in the end.

That being said, if you were to call/text/email/IM/carrier pigeon/smoke signal me tonight or tomorrow or the next day or anytime between now and graduation on May 6, I would be overjoyed. Thrilled. Ecstatic. Over the moon. Dizzy with relief and happiness.  Just so you know, I would give up this degree to know you again.

Much love,

M.

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 17: “He Shall Feed His Sheep Like a Shepherd” or in other words, God’s View on Reunion

The other day as I doing my early morning study, I read the following scripture:

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11, KJV)

The imagery of Christ gently leading those that are “with young” brought tears to my eyes.  Having been “with young” myself four times now, I know all too well how vulnerable – physically, emotionally, spiritually – a woman is when she is pregnant or when she has a little one tagging along beside her.  The idea that Christ will “gently lead” pregnant and new mamas as he gathers his lambs to his bosom is a salve to my soul.  This is the true heart of God.  We are – you and I and all the mothers and children like us – we are surely his sheep and his flock, just as much as any one else.

The image of Christ as a shepherd got me to thinking about shepherding in the gospel. I went to the topical guide and found the following scriptures about shepherds in Israel. As I read them, it became pretty darn clear: God isn’t too happy with the folks who lead his flock when they scatter and feed off of His sheep.  (Bold & underlined stuff is my emphasis…)

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 23:1-2 KJV)

“And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.(Ezekiel 34:1-4 KJV)

Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. (Ezekiel 34:9-16 KJV)

Two things about these passages really struck home for me. First, the shepherds had been “feeding” themselves from the flock. They had been taking that which was not theirs to satisfy their wants. They had scattered and driven away the sheep, they didn’t bind up those that were hurt but with force and cruelty they had led them.

Sound familiar?

Sounds a lot like what Christians (of any variety) do to single expectant mothers, even all of these years post-BSE. They scatter the very flock they should be protecting when they convince a young mother to make the “loving choice” and give her little one away.  Their hunger to parent – any child, dammit! – leads them to feel justified in satisfying their craving by feeding off of the most vulnerable among us, single expectant women.  The first mother then becomes an acceptable casualty, left broken and bleeding beside their path to motherhood.  And when those first mothers or those children start to talk about the catastrophic loss adoption caused in their lives and the brokenness it has left behind, they are frequently met with cruelty from the very people that should have been protecting them in the first place.

I don’t know about you but it makes my heart pause to read what God says about the people who are scattering his fold: He will require his shepherds  to account for what they have done to mothers and children and visit the same evil upon their heads. (What this means, I don’t know. I figure I will let God sort it out and not worry my pretty little head over it right now). Additionally, He will eventually bring an end to the unholy practice of scattering the lambs of His fold through infant adoption.

The second things and perhaps most important to my situation is when God tells us,  “I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken.”

I think most first mothers will agree that the day we lost our child to adoption, the day our baby was scattered and driven away by the appetites of people who thought they were better parents, was a pretty “cloudy and dark day.” But here God promises that he will bind up that which was broken  – my heart, your heart, and the hearts of millions of other mothers and children just like us. He will bind up our hearts and restore that which was lost. He will seek us out from wherever we have been scattered, bind up our broken relationship and carry us in His bosom.

In my mother’s heart, I know this to be true. I just wish I knew His timing but his ways are not my ways. I just have to keep trusting that God is faithful and he will fulfill all his promises.

 

Grace Shall Be

As you are already aware, I sent you a message directly on your FB account a few days ago.  I think it is a good sign that you haven’t (a) disabled the account entirely and (b) are still logging on.

Sending you that message has brought me a measure of release, a measure of healing. At least now you know – you have direct, personal knowledge – of where I am and how to find me when you are ready. Strangely, I thought I would be more anxious about getting a response from you, but I am not. Instead of fretting, there is calmness. Instead of angst, there is stillness in my soul, like the quiet solitude of an early autumn sunrise – crisp, clear, and clean.

I inhale. All is well. I exhale. All is well. I close my eyes and let the sweetness of the September sun warm my cheeks. All is well.

I do not know how long I will wait until I hear from you, if I ever do. What I do know is that all is well.

At least for this moment.

Much love,

M.

Calling All (Search) Angels

Today, a good friend of mine called me up and offered to watch Princess P. for me for a couple of hours. I jumped at the chance and called my favorite spa to see if they had an opening for a haircut and a pedicure.  Since most of the east coast is slow dancing with Earl right now, their schedule was wide open and they were able to get me in.

So I take Princess P. over to my friend’s house. I know she is an adoptive parent – the inky darkness of her little E.’s hair and the creamy chocolate color of her skin is a clear sign that E. is an international adoptee. My friend and her husband are after all, as white as white as white can be. But that’s not the story here, the story is that she casually dropped the “oh, that’s E.’s ‘gotcha day’ ” in the middle of a conversation.

The room spun around for a moment. I could feel the bile rise up in the back of my throat, and my muscles tighten throughout my body. I had read about “gotcha day” on the internet but never actually heard any one speak it out loud in real life.  What was merely irksome in writing was vile to the ears. While I can’t speak for an adoptee, I can only imagine what that terminology must feel like when they hear it. I mean, can’t they (the people who adopt) find any better way to describe an adoptee joining their family than “gotcha”?  Anything more compassionate, more humane than a word that typically denotes “a potential problem or source of trouble” or is used “when you have an advantage over someone,” or if you are real geek like me, means a misfeature of a program that tends to make mistakes ? Or am I just making to much of this whole “gotcha day” thing?

But once again, that’s not the point of the story.

So, I leave her house and head to the spa, ready for a few hours of relaxation and mindless gabbing with other women.  A wonderful woman does my pedicure and as we talk, we begin to discover we have many similarities. Although she is a 2 years older than me, our birthdays are within days of each other. She has children the same age as mine (minus the 3 month old). Her husband is 12 1/2 years older than her and was in the Army for 20+ years, just like mine. They met 18 years ago, like I did mine. They got married in late 2002, just weeks before I married my husband. We like the same kind of music, the same kinds of entertainment, we like the same restaurants, and she knew exactly what color I wanted for my nail polish. Seriously, she asked me what color I had chosen and I hesitated a bit before saying “Give Me Moor.” Before I had a chance to reply she said, “Oh, the ‘Give Me Moor’ ” from the OPI Espana collection would be perfect for you.” We had a good laugh over it and when she started to put the polish on, I noticed she was left handed, just like me. I said, “M., we must be related and living parallel lives or something!” She grew quiet and a smile spread over her face and she said, “You know, we might be. I was adopted as a baby and I am always wondering if I am related to people.”

After wiping away my sudden tears, I disclosed to her my first mother status and told her I was thinking of contacting you. She said, “Oh what I wouldn’t give to know about my mom and if I have any brothers or sisters out there.” Turns out she has tried but has come up against the typical brick walls that many adoptees encounter.  I told her that I might be able to find someone who knows someone who could help her in her efforts.

So if you know of any search angels, could you let them know that a very delightful 40-year old woman who was born in New York on October 29, 1970 is looking for her mother? She knows her mother was 17 when she was born and that’s about all. (Damn those closed birth records!!!) I would love to help her hook up with someone who can help her find her mom. Without charging her $3000 to do it.

Hoping that angels come my way –

M.

Still it Comes Ringing, Clearer than Clear

A few weeks have gone by, I am getting more sleep now and the crazy post-partum hormones are settling a bit. Consequently, I am more able to deal with the “Toad’s Wild Ride” of emotions that adoption brings up. It’s amazing what sleep can do for a woman.

I was pretty dramatic in that last post, wasn’t I? I guess I could go delete it, but I was truly feeling that way at that moment – defeated, despondent, and full of grief. The truth of the matter is this: I can never, have never, and will never lose the hope that someday, we will know each other again as adults. That someday we will be friends, that you will eat waffles with strawberries and whipped cream at my house for breakfast one day, and that your brothers and sister will get to know you and you will get to know them. I will never give up believing that someday I will get to introduce you to my amazing husband and he will finally be able to meet this daughter-now-woman that I have cried for, prayed for, loved, and cherished from a distance for all of these years.

It has been difficult find that balance between the hoped for future and the here-and-now, but I think I am getting better at it. Now that I am not in constant physical pain, I am much more graceful at dealing with the emotional part of all of this. Speaking of the here-and-now, I can her her hollerin’ for mama over the baby monitor. Until next time –

Much love and belief,

M.

P.S. I still think your parents should have given you that package like they said they would.

Please Tell Me: What Do You Want?

Your birthday is in a few short months. Your 18th birthday. I weep as I write those words.

It means you will be of legal age, an adult.

It means I have to decide: What do I do?

I wish I could read minds. I wish I knew what you wanted me to do.

Do you want me to send you a letter and let you know that I am here, always loving you, always wanting to have you in my life again? Or would a phone call be better? Or do you want me to let you make the first overtures towards rebuilding our relationship? Do you even want to rebuild a relationship with me? And how do I even explain how all of this came to be like this? Do you even want to know or are you fine in your life, knowing only what your adoptive parents have told you of me? Since you will be a legal adult, do I need to go through your adoptive parents? Or are you really an adult, independent and autonomous? Can I send letters directly to you? Friend you on Facebook? Follow you on Twitter?

Most importantly: Do you want me to?

I know what I want, but I have the feeling that this must be about what you need. After all, you were the innocent, voiceless part of this whole equation.

So my dearest Ms. Feverfew, please tell me: What do you want?