About Cheerio

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In general I am a cheery and energetic person. But I am enshrouded in a cloak of iron. That cloak is the weight of greiving my son, whom I've lost to adoption.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Totes by Cheerio

I discovered something last year. I discovered that I love working with material. I've started finding ways to actually use this 'new' discovery. Last year I made over 3 dozen little Christmas pillows. They were black and green and red, with many different designs. The funny thing is that people didn't put them away after the holiday. This year I've been making reversible totes. I've been enjoying myself. I have no intentions of turning my blog into a sales pitch - however, I think I have plenty of time to make 4 or 5 extra totes before Christmas. So, if you'd like to order a Tote by Cheerio for yourself or as a gift for someone else, shoot me an e-mail. (cheerio2you@yahoo.com) Here are some pictures of ones I've done so far. I love this little holiday birdie print! It's whimsical, which totally matches my personality. Holiday Birdie and White with blue contrast stitching

Holiday Birdie and Red with white contrast stitching non-Christmas designs: Penguin print and Tan with black contrast stitching Purple Bats print and lavender with black contrast stitching (added closure loop and buttons) ---oops, had to take this one out, didn't want to spoil a surprise--- Elegant Red with Gold and Tan with red contrast stitching Crazy Cats and Tan with blue contrast stitching (or with red contrast stitching) Hot Peppers and Tan with green contrast stitching (or Red material with black contrast stitching) Reversible Totes by Cheerio would be custom made. With or without monogram. With or without button & loop closure. (I do not have an embroidery machine, so monogram is hand fed through regular sewing machine)

Finished product is about 13" tall by 16.5" wide No pressure, no problem, I hope you at least enjoyed the pics.

Monday, November 23, 2009

our babies ...

Sep 13, 2009 at 11:30 PM
our babies are not supposed to fit in a box as small as the palm of my hand
and yet,
this weekend,
that is where it ended for our Little Flower Bud
it ended on Saturday morning, 9/12 at 3am

it was obvious what I saw, and I gently wrapped that Always pad and set it aside, instead of putting it in the wastebasket

i feel fortunate that he/she was not just dumped into a trash bin while at a hospital or that i passed him/her w/out knowing

grotesque some may feel,

but i needed to show respect to this baby, no matter how tiny he/she was

after he/she passed, the pain lessened, but the dr still wanted me to go to the ER

7 hours in the ER before I could come back home

I made sure my hubby knew why that one pad in the flowery yellow wrapper was on the floor and he knew to not throw it away

we talked about a 'final resting place', and agreed where that would be

I rummaged around in my craft room looking for an appropriate box for our Little Flower Bud, and found one that was heart-shaped. I used purple tissue paper to line the bottom, and covered the Little Flower Bud with yellow tissue paper

it was so hard i didn't really cry, it was more like whimpering as i arranged everything in this heart shaped box

putting the lid on the box was something i didn't think about ahead of time - doing so broke me
i just lay on the floor crying, weeping, and shaking

my husband comes upstairs and sits on the floor near me
he rests a hand on my shoulder

eventually i get up off the floor and walk downstairs
i tied a ribbon around the heart shaped box holding our Little Flower Bud

just before it gets dark, we walk up the hill
beside the Bleeding Heart seemed the most appropriate spot

while my hubby was digging, i stood behind him watching
watching and holding the heart shaped box and a fresh picked creamy pinkish-white rose
i am somber as he digs

he turned to me and asked if I thought the hole was deep enough, nothing can describe the pain that once again washes over me when hearing those words
nothing can describe the pain to peer into a dark hole in the ground
but this must be done and i step forward and kneel on the ground

i wrap the heart-shaped box and place it in the bottom of the hole
i also put in all the color swatches i was using to decide on colors for the baby blanket I wanted to crochet
once everything was in place i stepped back again

my hubby proceeded to refill the hole with the earth

on the freshly dug ground we placed a big heart shaped stone i unearthed this spring when expanding a flower bed
once again i kneel on the ground and lay the fresh picked rose on the stone that covered the final resting place of our baby
the tears flow freely
my husband kneels on the cold ground next to me
we hold each other as we cry and say our final good-bye

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

our "little flower bud"

our "little flower bud"

Thursday, September 10, 2009 at 6:40pm
today was another dr's appointment
i was not as uptight as last one and was looking forward to finding out if there was more than just one little flower bud in there i didn't have any reason to believe there would be
- except that my Grandma had a Twin Brother --
just another thing to mentally check off my list

so the gal who takes the weight, blood pressure, etc (i don't know if she's a nurse's aid or what her official title is?!?) asked a few questions then described the Doppler process

was relieved I didn't have to put on one of those flimsy hospital gowns

she couldn't find a heartbeat, which didn't freak me out, I've been doing my reading and they say it can still be hard to hear to at 10 weeks so the nurse practitioner came in and she couldn't find a heartbeat either, so they decide to try other methods, and took us to the ultrasound room...

the nurse practitioner called in the dr, and they talked a few moments she turned the screen my way and pointed to stuff as she talked I still was not freaking out, so far, it's all normal

"...either the pregnancy is much earlier than we thought, or the [baby] has stopped growing "

the words "stopped growing" stuck in my heart - this was not the norm I tried to stay calm all the while thinking, I cannot Lose Another one...not ANOTHER one! and with that very thought the tears started to fall

they sent me to the hospital for a 'better' ultrasound, and after a long time it only confirmed what the dr's office saw

our Little Flower Bud has faded, and will not grow into a mature flower that will become a vibrant blossom

I thank Every Single One of you for your Love for your Support for your Encouragement and Congratulations through this unscripted journey

Everything you ALL have said or written has meant so very much to me and my hubby and we just thank you from the depths of our heart for EVERYthing!!!

***I am trying to catch up copying over the earlier posts I wrote on FB, the date and time stamps at the beginning of this post are accurate,I came home from the dr's appointment and wrote this***
our little flower bud

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Down with the movie, “UP”

August 27, 2009 Occasionally on my blog I mention my youngest nephew. I call him My Buddy. He is an absolute joy to our family. He has an infectious smile, alert dark eyes, and a memory that surprises us. Sometimes he will bring up an even that took place over a year or more ago, even though he had not even commented about it at all just after it happened. He remembers with great detail, even when we think he it’s having no impact or that he’s not even paying attention. He’ll be 9 years old this December, and they really do grow up too fast. I am afraid that I don’t spend enough time with him to make lasting memories, or for him to realize just how much I love him and how special he is to me. One weekend this fall I picked him at his house. He sat in the truck in the seat next to me as we drove. I suggested we could stop to pick up a movie at Red Box on the way to my house. He talked about the movie, “Up.” He wanted to see “Up.” Since I don’t have a tv, I had not heard anything at all about “Up” and figured that if it just came out, it wouldn’t be at the Red Box yet. Unfortunately I was right. There was no “Up” movie. We ended up with a Sponge Bob instead. But I didn’t forget that My Buddy wanted to see “Up.” The next day I searched on-line to find out more about it. Then I looked for theater listings. I noticed that it was schedule for showing at the $2.00 theater in just a few weeks. But this $2.00 Theater is special. It is a quaint old theater in a small town across the river. It has a very good sound system and they’ve kept up the building, and it still has that ‘olde time’ feel to it. My Buddy hasn’t been to this theater before. So I planned to take him there to see “Up.” I copied some of the pictures from the on line advertisements and pasted them into a word document to created a special invitation. To: My Buddy to go see the movie, “Up” – From: Aunt Cheerio. And that is what we did. The day of our movie date, my Hubby wanted to along too. It is so cute to see my Hubby and My Buddy together. You can see the love they have for each other. I sent those two ahead to pick out the seats while I stood in line to buy popcorn and the rope of Nerds that My Buddy spotted when we walked in. I made my purchases and set out to find the boys. The theater was fairly dark, but I was able to spot them in the middle of the theater. I tried to joke with My Buddy that they were all out of the Nerds, but he didn’t believe me. We sat there chattering and eating popcorn (My Buddy is a king of chatter, keeping him quiet is the hard task). We looked all around at the décor of the old theater while we waited. As the movie began it felt good to be there with My Buddy sitting between us. So often I feel like the world’s most boring Aunt, and I was glad to finally find something I knew he wanted to do. In case you haven’t heard abut the movie either, it’s an animated comedy. All the trailers and promotions for it show a chubby little Boy Scout and an old fellow who ties a bunch of balloons to his house and they float all away. But none of the trailers show anything prior to this scene. The ‘old fellow’ was just a nerdy kid at the start of the movie. They showed him and how his other nerdy friend met. They fell in love, and you know the progression. They did a good job in the movie of implying the progression without actual dialogue. They skillfully showed them growing up from kids, to teens, to a wedding, to thinking about having children, to decorating a room to be the nursery. Then she lost the baby. It showed her sitting in the Doctor’s office with face in her hands, while the husband stood outside the room. The tears just started to flow down my face, and my entire body tensed as I cried. The scene moved on to her sitting outside in the yard on a swing, as the husband stood inside watching her through the window. I don’t really know if My Buddy was following along with what all was going on or not. But he did notice me crying. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him several times looking up at me. When he asked me this past spring if I was ever pregnant, it was the same reaction – tears. Through the tears I told him that I was pregnant a long time ago, and suggested that maybe we could talk about it another day. We haven’t talked about it yet, but the tears, these tears and pain, they are all from the same place. They come from any reminder of the child I lost so very long ago. It can be a subtle reminder like seeing a blonde haired boy, or it could be a poignant reminder like in this movie of losing a child. Those reminders point to and make me look at the hole and empty spot in my heart. The scene of the wife sitting in the chair sobbing-- that is a picture of me to this day. Losing my son is something I will never get over. My heart is stuck there like a scratched record. It plays the same sad notes over and over again. Nothing has erased the pain of losing my son. Not even now as I sit here with my Nephew, who doesn’t know that I’m pregnant (again) and planning for our new little Flower Bud’s arrival. I still cried for quite awhile after those two scenes. I did not have the courage to look back at My Buddy until after I stopped crying. The movie went on, and there were plenty of funny spots once the Boy Scout appears on the scene. My Buddy enjoyed the movie and I was glad that I could take him. I wish it were as happy as a memory as I originally planned. I took him to see a comedy, but it pierced my heart. Now anytime I hear about the movie, my mind goes right to those scenes. It was a good movie, but I won’t watch it again.
Down with the movie “Up”

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cheerio gets help ?

August 2009 If you’ve read the prior post, then I think you’ll easily understand why several people suggested that I “talk to someone” – meaning counseling. I’ve tried counseling before, and didn’t really benefit in the times I tried. Here is an abbreviated history on ‘ Cheerio gets help.’ ( TRIED to keep it brief, really I did!!!) Before I do that timeline, please remember that I’ve said countless times that I was in denial, and I mean complete denial for several years after losing my son to adoption. So complete was the denial that I never referred to him as “my son.” I felt like I was not ‘allowed’ to. After all, I was not the one parenting him, I was not he one tucking him in bed at night, I was not the one taking care of him when he was sick. You know, it’s all those things people say about why the aparents are the “REAL” parents. Yup, those are the things I believed. Part of the denial was that I believed he was ‘their’ son. Was that because I did not want him or not love him? No, that was not it at all! Him being ‘their’ son meant he could not be my son also. In adoption there is a great divide. There is a definite “us vs them” mentality. This great divide is also what is generally accepted and promoted by society. People forget (I forgot) that children are not possessions. Relationships are not inanimate objects. “Mom” is just a title, just a label for description, just as “Aunt” or “Cousin” is. People don’t freak out that a child would have more than one Aunt, or more than one Cousin. Yet in regards to adoption, there is a skewed thought, that a child can have only one Mother. This thought is not generated from love, but possessiveness and fear. There is much that could be said on that subject, but that would be going a completely direction from where we’re headed. My point in bringing this out was that SINCE I did not acknowledge him as my son, I did not recognize the adoption as a loss. At least not right away. It was not until the aparents stopped sending pictures that I was not able to keep a lid on all the feelings that kept surfacing. I literally felt like I was going to go crazy sometimes, and I finally decided to get help. At this point in my journey I was still very pro-adoption. And even though the aparents closed the door, I was still supporting the adoption agency, Bethany Christian Services. (what I know now, I do not view their ethics or practices as ‘Christian’, so I drop that from their name, leaving Bethany Services. I found that I could use just their initials, and from here on out refer to them as BS…a reference they rightly deserve.) #1 – I desperately needed help. I met with the BirthParentCounselor and the Branch Director admitting I needed help dealing. Whatever the aparents were going through was not really my concern at that time; I just needed help for me. That meeting is a movie burned into my memory. I recall sitting there with the director across from me. He was oh, so sincere and seemed caring. But his response was that he didn’t know how he could help. I asked if they had a list of counselors/psychologists/therapists that they could refer someone for me to see (and pay for it myself.) The answer was no, they didn’t know of any counselors they could refer me to. Recognizing my NEED for some kind of help, I threw out the question “Well, can you at least give me the title of a book, so I could at least try to help myself?” The director again slowly shakes his head from side to side and he says, “Gee, I can’t think of any.” That was very painful and depressed me even further. That meant there was no help, and I would have to live with this turmoil forever? #2 – My second attempt at counseling involved help from my pastor. There was a time when BS wanted to host a service at our church. The ONE person in our church that knew about my adoption experience made me tell my pastor about BS and about my adoption. He recognized right away that, yes, I NEEDED help. He vowed to help me find a Christian Counselor who had experience with adoption related issues. My pastor was frustrated when he came back to me empty-handed. He even went to the “crisis pregnancy center” that our church supported and asked if they could refer any counselors. That in itself is a great question, after all, this center promotes adoption – so they should in some way be able to provide someone with post-adoption help. But they could not. #3 – While my pastor was searching, I was also searching on the internet. I found a ‘counselor’ that was about an hour away. The first time I saw her, she gave me some little workbook pamphlet. That first visit, she was very very surprised by the responses I got from BS. She said she was ‘concerned’ because she referred many people to them on a very regular basis. (Hindsight recognizes now that her business is based on promoting adoption.) Visit#2 – she was a no show. Nice a two plus hour drive round trip – for nothing. Visit #3. I don’t know why I remember this, but one of the questions in the pamphlet she gave me asked the question, “What have you learned from your experience?” And my answer was “To trust NO ONE.” But that visit got under my skin for a different reason. She asked how many other children I had. Which of course, I did not have other children. Then she asked why I didn’t have other children? I gave her all the reasons of why I ‘thought’ I didn’t have other children. I was not yet out of denial enough to realize the real reasons. Her eyes lit up, and she says very emphatically to me, “There’s your problem. Don’t you see it?” And she proceeded to tell me that “MY PROBLEM” was that I did not have other children, and this made the aparents afraid that I never accepted my adoption and moved on. This is evident by not having other children. They were withdrawing from me because I haven’t moved on yet. At that point in my journey, I didn’t even realize the “move on” part, because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I thought moving on was ‘normal’ part of the process & I that was why I was so frustrated by and didn’t understand all these feelings and pain that was constantly surfacing. But that was not the red flag to me. The red flag that infuriated me was her transferring the responsibility of the aparents onto me. If the AParents were withdrawing because they were afraid, that was not “My Problem.” It was “their problem,” and they had no right to punish me for their problem. It was Their Responsibility to deal with their own issues. So, as you probably imagined already, when I left her office that day riled up – I never returned. I later had another confrontation with the BS Director. He mentioned this counselor and I could tell by what he was saying is what I had told her. So this counselor also broke confidence and talked to the Director about me. Now, I understand that if someone shows signs of harming themselves or others, that confidence can/should be broken. But if it is a very real threat, you would go to authorities. Lovely, huh? #4 – Instead of a three hour tour, it was a three hour drive to and from the office of the next counselor I tried. It was very difficult driving over an hour crying all the way, crying an hour in her office, and crying all the way home and the rest of the night. She was a nice lady, but I didn’t know that what I needed was a counselor who had experience with Adoption Loss issues. I stopped going, because we never talked about the adoption. We talked about my family, about my husband, about my missing nephews, etc. But we didn’t deal with what I wanted most to deal with and it didn’t make sense to keep giving her money so we could talk about what SHE wanted to talk about. #5 – Last year, 2008, I finally got up the nerve to call the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) to try counseling again. This time I was aware that I needed to find a counselor that was experienced in adoption issues. It was mentally and emotionally draining. It was daunting to sit there with a list of ‘approved counselors’ and then pick up the phone to call and ask questions. I was not just questions about scheduling, but each time someone answered my call, I was opening the door in my heart where the adoption was ‘hidden’, and I had to look at it. I had to talk about it to a non-interested stranger. It was very difficult to do this, not just once, but repeatedly. It took me several days to finally make enough phone calls that I found a counselor who said she was “qualified.” Our first Session I found out that her “qualification” relied on her having a sister who adopted two children. I don’t remember much else about the session. I wasn’t convinced she’d be much help. She talked about getting on with my life. How adoption is a good thing, not bad. Before our second Session had even ended, I mentally checked out. I was tense and all my body language clearly indicated that I had closed. What did it? It was her complete lack of understanding of an adopted person’s struggles – from the adoptee’s point of view. Her adopted niece and nephew were both “well adjusted” and “happy adoptees.” She went on to say that the niece decided to search for her original family, but the nephew doesn’t need to. And she believed that façade, that mask, that “grateful mentality” that was projected onto those kids. The thing that caused me to close down was not her talk of her adopted family; but rather her comments about my son, whom she does not know. You see, the reason I went for counseling was that I was considering the possibility of having another child. This was a stormy sea I was trying to navigate. I was trying to undo the brainwashing of who I really am versus who I though I was – based off of the adoption. I shut down when she said to me, “He will never consider you his mother. You will always just be a stranger to him. He will never consider any of your other children as his brother or his sister. They are your children, but he will never consider them his family.” And that did it. I decided this lady smokes the adoption mushrooms, and I mentally pitied the other clients she tried to help with their adoption issues. She was no help. She would only muddy the waters more and make things worse. #6 – And so, August 2009 – here I am pregnant (not unplanned), and very distraught and struggling with all the emotions, fears, and feelings from 16 years ago, in addition to the new influx of pregnancy hormones. There was no denying that I should seek counseling to help me deal with the issues from 16 years ago, so that I won’t be a complete basket case when my next baby is born. And so I call the EAP and get another fresh list of counselors. I broke the list into sections and determined to call 10-15 counselors each day. This time, the question I asked was if the counselor was qualified to deal with the grief of losing a child to adoption? I talked to some receptionists who had to ask the counselor and get back to me, and some places I left a voice mail message. There were two counselors who returned my call. One said she has not worked with anyone who lost a child to adoption, and did not feel that she would be qualified to help. The other counselor who called me back surprised me. It surprised me that she called back herself, kind of late in the evening (and pathetically enough I was still at work), instead of having her receptionist do it. But what really surprised me is that she TALKED with me! – for 10 minutes or more??!!??. She said she felt like she could help me deal with the adoption trauma. She described that she has worked with numerous women who have lost a child to death. She suggested that I probably needed to work through some grief as well. When I hung up the phone with her, I sat in my chair and just stared at the phone. She recognized I was hurting. Unlike everyone else who associates adoption with celebration, it sounded as though she saw the adoption as a tragedy instead. I was encouraged that maybe she really could help. In my first session with her she thinks that what I need to deal with more than the grief is the trauma. Then she goes on to talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “PTSD” . . . “PTSD” ? ? ? “PTSD” . . . “PTSD” ! ! ! “PTSD” rolls around in my head like 16 lb cannon balls. I’ve heard so many references to original moms being diagnosed with PTSD from the adoption. I just can’t believe that maybe that is what the ‘real’ problem is with me too? 16 years of walking around with this “thing” affecting every aspect of my life, and it’s gone totally “un-noticed”? After talking with her, I did additional investigating on the internet and questions on forums, etc. And it all makes total sense to me know. Her simplified description of PTSD is that the body gets ‘stuck’ at the place where the past trauma occurred. Whenever triggers or other things that happen in the future that bring back reminders of the trauma, the body, by reflex, reacts in the same way as if the trauma were happening now, in the present. I think this explains all the descriptions in my prior post … when I saw an infant or an infant of a picture, my body immediately responded with the tense muscles, the increased heart rate, the change in breathing. That description was not at all limited to my OB visit. It was the reality of what happened every time I saw an infant. It would happen anytime I would walk by infant clothes at a store. It would happen whenever I would hear someone talk about pregnancy. So, here I am at counselor #6, over the past 4 years (2005 – 2009). For the first time, I am hopeful, that maybe she can “get my body to recognize the trauma as an event from the past” so that I do not continue experiencing the same physical reactions whenever there is a trigger. I know it won’t take the pain away. I know it will not undo the past decisions. My hope right now is to just do what I can to be emotionally healthy, for the sake of this new little Flower Bud. If I can be healthy for her/him, then when I reunite with my son, hopefully I will be healthy enough and strong enough to be there for him too. I don’t want him to feel like he is alone as he navigates the deep dark waters of the chilling Adoption Ocean.
Cheerio and Counseling

Sunday, October 18, 2009

7 Weeks and 5 Days (or so they say)

Thursday, 8/27/2009 Today I had my first OB appointment. It was not a visit with the doctor, just an appointment with the in take nurse. I am so glad my hubby went with me, because I was very anxious. As we sat in the waiting room, I was wringing my hands the entire time. This is now how it's SUPPOSED to be. I'm supposed to be all smiles and overjoyed that I'm going to have a baby. But the teeter totter inside won't let that happen. Some friends (other original moms) say it's just my body's way of trying to protect itself from what happened before. They called my name, and we headed down the hallways. The nurse steers me to the potty for a 'sample,' then leads my hubby on to the exam room to wait. I was so uptight that I just couldn't go. All the while, my mind starts kicking into overdrive and I feel my chest and throat tightening up. My face muscles start to feel drawn and a lump forms in my throat. "No, I can't start crying now...not here ... not now..." I kept repeating that to myself over and over. It felt like I was in there for house as I fought to maintain 'normalcy' until I was finally able to provide a sample. I washed my hands and splashed water on my face. As I looked in the mirror, I thought that my face didn't look too splotchy & maybe no one would be able to tell that I was fighting to hold back the tears. I finally opened the restroom door and there was the nurse standing just outside. She lead me to the room where my hubby was waiting. Then she left to test the sample (ewwww). So, once again, I'm sitting and waiting. It almost feels like I'm waiting for a sentencing and an 'inevitable doom'. My hubby can easily see me struggling and rests his hand on my knee to reassure and comfort me. The nurse walks in and closes the door. Everyone here has been pleasant so far, and she is no exception. She had a big white smile as she sat down and spread out her stack of papers. She put her hand on a 3 ring binder as she moved it into it's place. Immediately my entire body tensed, tears welled up in my eyes, my heart began to race, my fists clenched, and I started feeling shaky; all from just seeing this binder. "Your Baby's Birth," it was labeled, and had a picture of an infant on it. The picture of an infant is what triggered everything I'd been trying to hold in. Here it was 16 years later, and I still cannot see an infant, not even a picture of an infant, without feeling panicky. It was very apparent I was distraught, so the nurse stopped her spiel and said, "What's wrong? Talk to me." My throat was constricted and I could not even utter a sound, nothing would come out. My sweet hubby helped out by saying, "She's very anxious about everything." Then the nurse waited patiently (no pun intended) until I could at least talk again. With a very choppy and quiet voice, I squeaked out in broken words, "This is not my first pregnancy." Then the dam broke and all the tears I was struggling to hold back spilled out over the edges and streamed down my cheeks. People who have not lost a child to adoption ridicule the 'second time infertility' topic. They forget that the mind and body work together or against each other; however you want to look at it. Those insensitive narrow minded know it all rosy adoption pain pushers don't care to acknowledge how very real this is for us. Adoption IS a TRAUMA to both the mother and the child. It is NOT a "gift" (well, maybe a gift of scorpions and rattlesnakes) and it is NOT a "win/win solution." After I mopped the tears from my face and could speak again, I explained to her that 16 years ago, I did not know the truth of adoption, and when my son was only 3 days old I lost him to adoption. I wanted to make sure that I expressed the idea that 'untruth' was involved, and that it was not happiness to lose him. The nurses' response was "Just remember, you made the best decision you could at the time based on the information you had available to you." Then she rearranged the order of how she usually does things. She was really sensitive and kind, she was wonderful. When we left, I was still edgy, but I had calmed down quite a bit. When I got home, I put the 3 ring binder on the kitchen bar. I got out a sharp paring knife and made a slice along the top of the binder and removed their picture. Someday I'll be OK with pictures of infants, but right now, I'll leave this space blank for the pic of my own little Flower Bud when she/he arrives.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

with the wind blowing ...

Aug 11, 2009 – Tuesday There was a nice breeze as I was leaving for work this morning. It was already humid, so I decided to pin all my hair back and drive to work with the convertible top down. I don’t usually enjoy the drive into work, but today it was nice. It was warm, the sun was shining, the sky was a beautiful blue color (like my Hubby's eyes), with a few puffy white clouds floating lazily along. I had another chat with my Little Flower Bud. I was just rambling about the important things in life, and how it’s what is on the inside that counts. I’m afraid this poor little thing will be subject to a lot of these chats while I’m driving. I am concerned about how the relationship will be with my hubby once the baby is born and I go back to work. We won’t be using day-care; instead we’ll do split shifts during the work days. This means we’ll be like passing ships in the night, and only get to spend time together on the weekends. What is life going to be like without spending time with the man I so dearly love? It’s an uncomfortable thought. But then I’m intrigued to think that while he’s working I’ll be spending my time with some one else that I’ll love. Who knows, is it even possible for me to love anyone as much as I love my husband? While on the thoughts of love, my mind wandered back to 16yrs ago. I thought of love and of my first baby. I loved him, and I have never stopped loving him. In fact, it's a mystery to me, but it seems that this love for him has grown instead. He is no longer a baby, but is a teenage youth now. I remembered how the adoption industry made me feel; if I loved my baby, then I would not even consider subjecting him to growing up with all the disadvantages I would surely handicap him with. I was so absolutely convinced that I would ruin his life. Slowly my thoughts then turned to what I’ve learned from my support group on CafeMom. It is now what I tell every Expectant Mom I run into who might be considering adoption – that her baby already loves her. I didn't know this 16 years ago when I was pregnant the first time. At that time I believed the old adoption myth --that babies are blank slates, and it doesn't matter who parents them, as long as they are loved. And now you know what I was thinking as I drove down the highway with the wind tugging gently at tiny wisps of hair, that this Little Flower Bud already loves me… ? ! ? He/she will have my blood running through their veins and they will fit right into our wacky family. In fact, I smiled to think that they will not only fit, but that will have their own unique flair of weirdness to add and enhanced that level of wacky. I’d gotten off the highway, and was driving on a country road for a few miles. I told my Little Flower Bud (yes, I’ll need a new nickname if this is a boy- but for now Flower Bud it is) - I told him/her that I just cannot wait to see their precious little face. I cried as I told him/her that I can’t wait to hold their tiny little hand in my palm, and let his/her little fingers curl around mine. I can’t wait till I can hold him/her knowing I won’t have to let go. I can’t wait to feed and nurture him/her – which I did not get to do with my son 16 years ago. As my Dad often says, “I can’t change the past, but I can change the future.”
with the wind blowing . . .

Thursday, October 8, 2009

from WTP to WTHeck??!!???

Today started off normal I felt pretty good, aside from the tightness in my shoulders. Over the weekend I felt like I was making progress (see prior post titled 'WTP'). Well now, it’s time to try to find an Ob. The one who delivered my first child has retired. I lucked into having a fabulous Ob that first time around. So, today I faxed to my family doctor a list of OB GYN’s in my health insurance network. They said they’d help me look over the list to see if they recognize any names. While waiting for a call back I thought maybe I’d find something on the internet. Nope, nothing really helpful, just a bunch of names, addresses and phone #’s. Then I thought I’d search for a few ‘pregnancy’ questions I have. I now realize there are two very quick hitting triggers. Knowing too much information before I’m ready for it seems to having me feel panicky rather quickly. I’m less than 2 months along yet, I am NOT ready to think about delivery, and all that jazz. Maybe I’d be more ready if my mind wasn’t still doing the teeter totter with embracing this pregnancy. As one friend suggested, she thinks my body is just trying to protect itself from what happened before. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t view it as “a bad thing,” but feelings and fears from the past don’t just magically go away all of a sudden. I am not excited about facing all those fears and demons. I am not excited about such poignant and painful reminders. I am fully aware that this “path of joy” will run parallel with the “path of my greatest sorrow.” The other trigger I’m having is, well of course adoption. One site, which I think is the one that pushed me over the panic edge, was where I clicked on Pregnancy section, and their very first listed topic was Adoption. Is their agenda clear? Well, since it was a Disney site, and since they do believe they can make fairy tales come true – having adoption as your first thought just falls right in line with the rainbows and unicorns of adoption. Then there is the American Pregnancy Center’s website. There was, of course, a section on “Pregnancy Options.” It would be nice to think they had Parenting listed before Adoption because that was the priority. But that can’t be true because Abortion was listed above Parenting. They tried to provide guidance and education on options but once again adoption is presented with only *Benefits of Adoption. This one-sided presentation of adoption is LACKING education that women deserve to have. Yet at the same time, their section on abortion has a more on educating. Under abortion they list *Possible Emotional Side Effects, and *Possible Physical Side Effects. Why don’t they have those warnings under adoption? Oh, right, because adoption is a win/win situation. Your child will grow up grateful he/she wasn’t aborted or raised in a poor home. There ARE no Side Effects with adoption! Oh, I forgot! Tell that to the part of my heart that they forgot to cauterize when they ripped my family apart! So, I started the day off feeling okay, and then it went to panicky again; the rapid shallow breathing, the shaky feeling, and pounding heart. I’ve got to keep it together. I can’t let the industry steal all my children.
What the Heck !?!?

Saturday, October 3, 2009


August 9, 2009

Many women who lose a child to adoption struggle with the thought that if they have other children, then they are betraying the child who is adopted. I can absolutely echo that this was a huge obstacle for me. Adding extra weight to this idea was the fact that I ended up marrying my son's father. Which made it seem even more like betraying 'our' first child. I just could not fathom ever looking him in the eyes and trying to explain why? Why did I let him go, but keep another child/children?

Then at the end of 2007 I started to learn differently from other original moms. In particular, I learned from the amazing women in the Cheerio group on CafeMom. Moms in this support group helped me realize that this was actually creating a burden for my son. I learned that adoptees do NOT want to feel as though they have messed up the lives of their original parents.

If my son were to know that the reason I did not have other children, was 'because of him' - this could cause him to feel guilty for "messing up" my life.

I would not want him to feel that way, but if he did, I could not just wish his feelings away. I would not want to add guilt to his life, especially since it is not his 'fault' in any way.

Learning that helped me, but only a little bit. The other thing they taught me is what helped the most. I learned that most adoptees are happy to find out they have siblings. Originally I learned of this notion from original moms; however, since last December I've gotten to know many adoptees, and they've verified it.

I meet them on Facebook, blogs, and on forums. I read their stories, their experiences, their struggles, and about their lives in general. Time and time again I've heard adoptees say that, yes, they do like finding siblings.

From what I've heard some say, siblings makes them feel more connected when they find other people who look like them, or have common interests with them, or sometimes siblings make them feel like they finally fit in or belong somewhere.

So, with this hope that my son might be happy about a sibling, rather than hating me, I worked my way over the 'betrayal' obstacle.

Several years ago our I was sending a box of gifts to an orphanage in India. One person in the group donated a series of Winnie The Pooh books. I never told her, but I did not send them to the Orphanage. Books are heavy, man! and it was already expensive to ship overseas.

I've had these books since before we moved to our 'new home' 3 years ago. I've boxed them up a long time ago to give away. Several times this year I've nearly had the box to my car, but changed my mind and brought them back in the house "just in case" I'd be needing them for my own child.

So, last night as I was putzin around the house "nesting," I unpacked the books and put them on the little bookcase in what will be the Little Flower Bud’s room. I pulled out book #1, and sat in the video rocker and read WTP to him/her. I’ve never really watched WTP, so I didn’t know all the voices to imitate.

This seemingly insignificant event of reading a book was a definite mile marker for me. Since I found out that I am pregnant, I have mostly struggled. It causes me to think back and feel and remember my first pregnancy from 16 years ago. Losing my son was the most and worst defining moments of my life. And through much of this pregnancy I have been sad. So, for me to be able to just sit and read WTP to our Little Flower Bud for the first time gives me hope that once he/she is born - everything will be allright. I won't have to lose him/her, as I lost my son. I'll be able to bring him/her home and read ALLthe Winnie the Pooh books and so many more!
Winnie the Pooh

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the Load O Fear

Copied this from a note on FB I'm using this note feature on FB, so I can have a place to journal without my family or co-workers finding out (yet).

I'm still waiting for blood test to confirm if I'm pregnant, but I know that I am. There is not a doubt in my mind.

It's only been a week since I took the HPT, and those first few days were really rough emotionally.

When I was pregnant 16 yrs ago I didn't realize that all emoms deal with fear. Surprisingly, I've learned that just a few years ago from my on-line support group.

But what I felt during these early days this week was not just the normal ‘OMGosh, what now?’ typical fear. Instead it was all the fear, all the emotions, all the thoughts and everything from 16 years ago all came back.

They came with the pressure of 16 yrs worth of being bottled up. The fear and feeling of judgment also returned. Everything from 16 years ago feeling so ashamed and condemned. Remembering how I felt walking in any public place, obviously very pregnant and feeling like everyone noticed I had no ring on my finger. Not that they did, but is how I felt back then.

And all those haunting feelings and imagined taunting voices and whispering filled my head and my heart.

On top of it was the fear of how will this affect my lost son? how will this affect his new sibling?

Will my son reject his new little brother/sister? I cannot expect him to understand “why”. There is no way for him to understand why I abandoned him, yet kept my next child. Even I can’t understand it.

But it’s a mute point now.

I was sitting in the bathroom with my head in my hands crying. I was so afraid and feeling panic. My breathing was rapid and shallow, I felt like I could throw up. My mind was reeling. I didn’t intend for my hubby to hear it, but I know he overheard through the door when I was saying “this was just such a bad idea.”

I did not mean to hurt him or blame him. But there was definitely a war going on inside of me. It was like a dump truck had backed up and unloaded everything on top of me.

It was a H U G E heaviness!!!

It was nearly overwhelming, partially immobilizing, and totally consumed me. Even the memories and comparison of pregnancies began.

I remembered vividly (as I do every 4th of July) exactly where I was on July 4th, 1994. I was about 7 months along. I went w/ my (at the time) boyfriend’s aunt’s family. Her twin daughters were in a beauty pageant. The twins won first and second place.

The event was held at a public park. There were little tea lights that filled the stream as it meandered thru the park. I remember the glow from the lit tea lights. We sat on a blanket on the grassy hillside, and watched fireworks.

I felt so incredibly out of place. Because I already had my mind set on adoption – obviously I was a horrible person, because no good mother would ever give her baby away. So there I sat in the middle of their fairy tale perfect family. And my family, well, was no fairy tale.

I remember crying a lot that night as we sat there, but it was dark out, and no one really noticed.

fear fear fear fear LOAD o FEAR

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fuzzy Flannel Shirt

Saturday, August 1, 2009
As I was getting ready to pack for our trip to the ARD I was scanning thru the closet to find something long-sleeved.  I was rummaging to the far right and saw a white flannel shirt.

I had the sleeves unbuttoned and rolled up one time. It had pink and blue teddy bears all over it.

I paused and touched it. Rolling the fabric between my fingers, I remembered back to how long ago I wore this shirt.

It was 16 years ago, when I was expecting my first child, my son lost to adoption.
Although I'm waiting for the blood test to confirm it, I know I'm pregnant again.

I know I'm 'supposed' to be happy, jumping up and down and beaming with joy. I WANT to be happy. I think that is what my husband is expecting.

But all the lies, and fears, and feelings from 16 years ago are staring me in the face. I feel like I'm THERE again.

While I was sitting in the dr's office I remembered that blood work was done on a Friday way back then too. I keep thinking, how do I tell my son??? And it makes me cry every time - just like now.

I am so afraid so ashamed so remorseful over the loss of my oldest child how do I tell him about his full brother/sister, which would be labeled "the kept child"

I'm supposed to be happy and I'm sure that as the baby grows, I will, but right now I'm so torn so very very torn.  Somber is the word my husband uses.

As I sat there wringing the life out of a newspaper, my Dr kept reassuring me that it's going to be okay. It was obvious I was "anxious" was the word she used.

I found myself yesterday trying to cover or hide my belly (like with a sweatshirt or something). I still associate being pregnant with being punished, and feel ashamed. I know that's not the truth...but it has been my truth for the past 16 years...and you don't just get over that in the snap of the fingers, do you?

I am sitting here with the tears freely running down my face. I should stop, I think you get the picture... I am so afraid
Fuzzy Flannel Shirt

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cheerios World Back Ordered

I don’t know what you expect when you visit this little blog.
I tell people that [here] I am an open book.
You may have noticed and maybe even wondered why there have been very few posts from Cheerio since the ARD in July.

It was because I did not have the physical strength. I noticed the lack of energy seemed to start at the ARD (Adoptee Rights Demonstration at Philadelphia in July). Several weeks leading up to the ARD I was under extreme pressure at work, but in the past when I went away on vacation and was able to relax, I would be up before the sun, and just bursting with energy. 

This did not happen at the ARD. I was confused and frustrated with myself at the ARD, because I was tired and slept a lot, much more than I usually would.

My Hubby chalked it up to it just being emotional for me, and therefore; he concluded, I was just emotionally drained. When I got back from the ARD, the pressure at work had not subsided. I was so extremely tense. I don’t think I had ever felt this unbelievably tense at any of my other jobs before.  

One night while I was driving home, I had a thought… What if I’m pregnant? What if I’m pregnant and the stress hurts my baby? I would hate them forever if anything happens to my baby from all this stress.

This nagging thought kept coming back until I finally decided I would take a HPT (home pregnancy test) just to be sure. If I was pregnant, I would have to find a way to not let the pressure and stress get to me.

There are a few more posts about the ARD event, including the ARD March itself, which I plan to write. However, before I continue with those posts, I am going to post some of the journal notes I wrote after the ARD and taking that HPT. 

I was not able to post them at the actual times - so I will note the actual journal date.
Cheerios World Back Ordered

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hi Mom

It was Monday. We had a wonderful time earlier at breakfast and meeting a whole bunch more folks who arrived for the event. It was around 11 am that a small nucleus was beginning to form in the hotel lobby.

We were all excited and there was a lot of chatter as we waited for H of the UK to join us. Although she was not downstairs yet, we were all talking about her and what was about to happen, Our Crafty Art Teacher made a sign for her the night before. If she didn’t want to use it, that was ok. But it was there ready for her if she did.

H arrived and we took a head count. Most people could fit in the van that Our Transporter drove down from Long Island. The rest piled into a car with the Itty Bitty Loudmouth and her hubby. I got to ride in the van with H. On the drive to the airport we listened to her tell parts of her story. It was very sad and angering to hear.

Now I’m not new to the adoption arena as far as what society believes and what apparent choose to think. In general society as a whole does want to hear anything “bad” or “negative” about adoption, especially NOT from an adoptee! Right away they want t o label him or her as “bitter” or “ungrateful” or both. Then they completely dismiss their experiences, thoughts, and feelings so they can just continue believing their untrue ‘feel good’ ideas.

But the sad part of H’s story is not about her childhood. She was raised in a good home and loves her afamily very much. But the truth is that her aparents and her life with them was not the VERY BEGINNING of her story (which is true of every adoptee). Her story started with a young woman I’ll simply call Mom.

Mom was a young single woman still living with her parents when she was expecting. It really was not all that uncommon, as some may think -- not even from back in that era. People just think it rarely happened because society tried to hide these young moms. These girls were whisked way from their home, families, and towns. They were hidden away in secrecy at maternity homes.

These ‘bad girls’ were punished by how they were treated throughout their pregnancies, and at the time of labor and delivery. They were mistreated and their babies were often forcefully taken away so they could be sold to a childless couple. Some stories have been recorded in the book “The Girls who Went Away.” http://www.thegirlswhowentaway.com/

Mom somehow was spared the punishment of being sent away, and the time came for her child to be born. After giving birth, she wanted to hold her child, but her child was not given for her to be held. Instead she was given platitudes and told her baby died while she was giving birth.

Mom did not believe it, she did not believe them. Yet they insisted her child was gone, had died, and sent her home with empty arms and a broken grieving heart that was now filled with anger, betrayal, and distrust.

After several years had passed, and Mom still refused to accept or believe that her first baby died, her mother’s conscience and the guilt got the best of her. She confessed that she had conspired with the delivering doctor to pretend the child died. It was all so the child could be adopted out.

I had not heard this part of H’s story before. There we were sitting in this van all listening to H retell what happened to her original Mom. She went on to tell us that after much searching she finally found Mom just a year ago. She dialed the phone number she was given. Mom answered the phone and H said to her, “Hi. You have not seen me in 38 years.” Right away Mom knew this was her stolen baby.

In just a few sentences Mom comments to H, “It sounds like you have a bit of an English accent?” She was stunned to learn that her baby was not just stolen away, but stolen away and carried across the ocean to another continent, to another country that her baby would call ‘home.’

Since that first phone call, they’ve called and e-mailed each other often. Mom even got to talk to her little grandchildren on the phone and got to know them too.

What a range of emotions we all had as H of the UK talked. We finally got to the airport, this little caravan to pick up Mom. It still chokes me up to remember and think how special this was, as that this would be their very first face to face meeting. Phone calls and e-mail during the past year was good, but not at all the same. Mom lived in FL and H obviously lived across the pond in the United Kingdom., and here at this Adoptee Rights Demonstration would be their chance to finally meet face to face.

We found a parking space, and this little caravan hurried on our way following this very quiet and soft spoken woman, H of the UK.

We found the area where her flight would be arriving. There we stood this cluster of guys and gals, with a buzz of energy and nervousness in the air. With the exception of myself and just a few others, this group had one thing in common, they are adopted. Back and forth they would ask each other that ‘forbidden’ question … “Have you reunited with your original Mom?”

My heart was heavy to hear some of their answers. What courage and strength for Jimm to be here among us. He found original siblings, but the search for his original mother proved to be too late, she had already passed on a few years earlier.

It broke my heart to know how much he wanted to see her, to talk to her, just to know her. Yet even her last breaths on this earth, she did not know this. Two hearts, two lives that were destined to be together were instead separated; separated forever, never to connect again. What an unnecessary tragedy.

The ridiculous laws of ‘secrecy’ (sealed birth records) cost him (and her) that chance and hope to reconnect. Michigan needs to change these outdated and discriminatory laws! Change them ‘for the sake of the children’ – for surely these children will grow up. When they become adults they should have their original birth certificates hassle free!

Next to Jimm stood Our Transporter. He is adopted, but he is no longer a child. He is a husband and a father of two lovely little girls. We originally met on Facebook. As he stood there, I remembered some of the messages he sent me about his story.

Although NY is like Michigan in regards to sealed OBC, he had the info on his original mother to search for her; and search he did. But his search took him to one dead end after another. How much disappointment can one heart endure and still have the strength to continue on. While the dead ends were discouraging, none of them had the weight of that final blow – the original birth records were falsified. He will never know his original Mother’s name. Worse yet, he will never be able to find her.

I can’t even begin to imagine what an isolated feeling to be in a sea of people, yet not be biologically connected to any of them. No original grand parents, no original aunts or uncles, no original siblings. Yet, here he stood with H of the UK as we all awaited Mom’s arrival.

Many thoughts and feelings swirled around inside of me. I wondered what was going on in H’s heart and mind as she stood there at the gate (well, as close as a non-passenger can get)? She was holding her ‘Hi Mom’ sign that could’ve been read from a very far distance.

As the passengers exited, we did not know what flight they were disembarking. So with each flight that came in we had no way to know if Mom was among them. For some crazy reason Mom would not send H a recent picture of herself, so we all just scanned the faces of the passing crowds.

Had it been me standing there with the sign, I would have been embarrassed at the strange looks and comments of those who passed by. But H of the UK stood there, she seemed a bit nervous, but she was unwavering as she held her sign waiting expectantly for Mom.

I don’t know how I missed it, short attention span got the best of me again I guess. I looked over and there they were!!! The ‘Hi Mom’ sign was on the floor and Mom and H of the UK were in one of those gigantic hugs where you could just see the love, joy, and happiness radiating! They were unashamed to embrace in a public place.

Finally! Mother and Daughter together again!!!

The rest of us stood there crying – yes, even the guys had leaky eyes as H and Mom hugged and cried and hugged again.

Slowly we started to make our way to the luggage pickup area.

Then I saw it!

I’d read and heard about it from many other reunion stories, and I got to witness it for myself. H and Mom walked side by side chatting and holding hands as they went.

They held hands the entire journey from the airport terminal, to and from the luggage pickup area, and across the parking lot to the van.

I hope to never lose that picture I have in my head.

(Romany contributed the photos I’ve shared with you. Thanks Romany!!!)

What a beautiful and emotional experience for H to share with all of us. While we waited for Mom to arrive, thoughts and hope for reunion with my own lost son danced through my mind. These thoughts were soon followed by a keen awareness of missing him and desperate longing; longing to look into his eyes, to hear the sound of his voice, to feel the warmth of a loving hug.

What an amazing time it was! I tried to imgine all the thoughts and emotions that H of the UK might have been feeling. And yet, and yet as we were riding back to the hotel, she reached out her hand and rested it on my shoulder. A gentle squeeze was her simple gesture of compassion and understanding. Mom noticed this and looks at H questioningly.

H leaned over to Mom and let her know that Cheerio is an Original Mom who lost her son.

Mom looked at me and simply said “Never give up Hope.”

links to other Cheerio ARD related posts:

Searching for Identity and Ridiculous Red Tape (Day#2, first of 3 posts)

Day #1 Meeting on-line Friends

Funky light patterns on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge

Friday, September 4, 2009

part iii of iii - coming soon

3 day weekend on the Horizon... I promise to finish ARD - Day #2, part iii of iii... look for it next week (Hope I can find the photos I want)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sign Making Party and Encounter with the Itty Bitty Loudmouth

Adoptee Rights Demonstration - Day #2

Sign Making Party and Encounter with the Itty Bitty Loudmouth

(Day #2 part ii of iii)

**Sign Making Party

By now I hope you’ve seen some of the signs that were used for the Adoptee Rights Demonstration, both for the March to and displayed during that protest in front of the Convention Center where the Legislators National Conference was being.

If not, you can find some great shots in the youtube ARD Documentary just below this post.

The hotel allowed us to use the room that is the breakfast area. It had several tables that were pushed together to create our workspace. Jeff and his wife brought lots of arts and craft items. Others brought poster boards, sticks, markers, a staple gun, duct tape, and glitter.

There was not enough room to lay out all the signs in that one work area, so many folks overflowed out to the lounge area, to work on their signs. I wonder what the other hotel customers were thinking? Wondering what all these adults were doing acting like a bunch of kids?

I had an important job, and took it very seriously. To avoid splintermania the next day, I covered the wood handles with duct tape. It was a great task that I could do without thinking, which allowed me to talk with whoever came over to help me out. (Although my hubby mocked me for making the tape line up just exactly. NOT OCD!)

The final volunteer that helped me get to the end of the stick pile was Right Hand Man. He was with his friend, the Camera Guy, who spent most of his time peering through a camera while he interviewed and filmed. It was so very encouraging to me that he was such a big supporter and encourager for his friend, to the point of attending an Adoptee Rights Demonstration when he is not adopted himself. He described that it was very apparent that being adopted very much affected his friend, Camera Guy.

I don’t think this Right Hand Man realized how rare that is in a friend for an adoptee. As I listen to adoptees from all over the US, Canada, Australia, and even Lebanon, one of their struggles is that people who are not adopted just don’t “get it.” Their friends brush off the struggles with comments like “be grateful for what you have,” “everyone struggles with family problems,” or “don’t let it get to you,” or “you’re better off with your afamily”. And the frustration is not just with friends, but I've heard the same frustration about significant others, who do not understand and do not offer support through the adoption related struggles.

I think this is one of the things that cause adoptees to shove most of their feelings deep inside, because when they try to express what they are really feeling, even to their best friends – they are either criticized, or their feelings are dismissed. They feel isolated with these feelings that no one seems to understand, and often don’t want to hear about. So, it was very encouraging to know that the Camera Guy has a true friend who “gets it” and encourages him instead of telling him just to put on the “happy face” mask.

As we were splinter-proofing the sticks, it also gave me a chance to sit and watch. When I’m around people that I don’t know, I tend to clam up and hide, especially in a big crowd. This task allowed me to sit on the sidelines and just observe others. It really was amazing to see all these people from all over the place joking and talking, and asking someone to pass the glitter.

It was also amazing to see all the hugging. People I’ve only ever chatted with on-line would give me a big hug. It really was the coolest thing. It was just a warm environment, with lots and lots of energy going on. There was also an air of concern for each other. When one person would share painful parts of their story, others would stop and empathize and express sadness.

In the room there were obviously lots and lots and lots of adoptees. Some who are searching, some who have searched – but it was too late, some are in reunion. It was very interesting to hear the stories of interaction with their original family. Pro-adoption myth believers have this dreamy idea that “someday” the adopted person will meet their original family, and that suddenly they are instantly ‘fulfilled’ and they go on with their merry lives as if that meeting was the most natural thing in the world.

Put a Screeching Halt to that Cherry Cart! It just doesn’t work that way! There are years and years of unresolved issues on both parts, and it takes a lot of work to make a re-union a good one. And frankly, sometimes it takes more work than some people are willing or able to endure. It broke my heart to hear how badly some of them were treated by their original families, siblings are suspicious of them or their intentions, first moms withholding the name of the natural father, flat out rejection by people who are supposed to love them the most, their original mother & their original father.

Some talked about their afamily. Somehow society thinks that people who adopt a child are saints. But then again, that is the same society that believes that adoption is a win/win situation, therefore the aparents must be wonderful and special people for rescuing a child. (pardon me while I pull up the barf bucket…)

While many aparents are good, there are still whole boatloads of them who are not. I talked with at least two adoptees who were in very abusive homes growing up, and a few others who don’t even talk with their afamily anymore. Many faced rejection and retaliation from their afamily for even searching.

I sat in disbelief with my mouth dropped open while Our Transporter told me that his aparents would not acknowledge the birth of his first child. They would not visit his new baby, and they would not even congratulate him or his wife. Why? Because he was able to do something they could not do – have their own biological children. His aparents apparently never dealt with their own issue of infertility, and took it out on what could have been their own grandchildren. Pro-adoption people won’t tell you these kind of stories.

While I’m on a little sidebar conversation, let me bring up a point that I hear over and over from adoptees, but no one else (especially pro-adoption folks) talks about it -- Extended AFamily. Sure the aparents may be very good parents, and they may love their adopted child with all their heart, but that does not mean that everyone else in the family will.

The new Aunts and Uncles don’t consider the adopted child as a “real” neice or nephew. I’ve heard countless stories of how “Grandma made this special gift for every grandchild- except for me.” Adopted children are not included in the “survived by #children or #grandchildren” portion of obituaries. The rest of the family still treats the adopted child differently. It is no fault of the adoptee, and yet they are not stupid, they see it. The see it, and more dramatically, they feel it growing up.

I could have let those paragraphs out, but then it wouldn’t be real. This was an adoptee event, by and for adoptees. These are stories of what they experience. It makes me incredibly sad that I was pro-adoption for so many years and promoted something that puts a child in such a tenuous situation throughout their entire life.

Back to the sign making event… There were other first moms there. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I did not reach out and talk to them all. In fact, if I didn’t have a hint of who someone was (like if I would know them from on-line) I kind of just sat there working merrily along.

There was a t-shirt there with a slogan that I decided to use for my sign.

“Original Identity is a Basic Human Right.” I’ve also decided that instead of natural, birth, first, that I think “original” is the best description possible, and maybe you noticed that in this post. I am my son’s Original Mom, my dad, my father-in-law, my nephews, they are my son’s Original Family. I’ve just decided that I like it. So far, I haven’t had to explain what I mean when I use the term.

I also liked the statement that Original Identity is a right, and I believe it is. It is THEIR identity that was changed, and if they choose to search back to where it originally started, I believe they should have the right to do that.

This is a perfect segue to the story I alluded to in my prior post, my story about our “Itty Bitty Loudmouth,” and she knows who she is. Anyone who was in the room that night making signs knows who I’m talking about. She was definitely “itty bitty” in size, but NOT in volume!

**Encounter with the Itty Bitty Loudmouth

The sign making party had dispersed. Well, actually I think they chased us out of the room (heehee). Most folks had gone to their rooms. I had the armful of sticks while the Itty Bitty Loudmouth and her hubby had the remaining box and a few signs.

When the elevator door opened for us to enter, Itty Bitty Loudmouth decided to go check the room one more time to make sure it was presentable. Her husband took some supplies up to their room. I walked to check out the room with her, and the trash was already taken out, the tables were in order, the chairs were all put back in place, the countertops had been wiped down.

Itty Bitty Loudmouth went over to close the other set of doors, which was near one side of the bar. I just stood in the room waiting for her return.

Even though I was in another room, I could hear she was engaged in a conversation with a few fellows at the bar. It started out with one of them asking about a slogans on one of the signs. This of course led to a discussion of what the heck were the signs for anyway? Which of course is a subject the Itty Bitty Loudmouth is very passionate about.

The conversation slipped into a confrontation when Itty Bitty Loudmouth referred to adoptees as b@stards. The fellow sitting right beside her took offense to that statement. He challenged her that he has two adopted children, and they are not b@stards.

And of course we know that most AParents are delusional about the true needs of an adopted child. Many AParents feel (they not admit it outloud, but they do feel) some sense of ownership of a child they adopt. Many AParents are unaware of their own insecurity and fear that the adoptee might ever want to know - or God forbid! have a relationship with their original family.

Now keep in mind, Itty Bitty Loudmouth is an adult, she is a wife and mother, and an employee. She is small in stature, but she is not a teenager or a little kid anymore.

I admit that as I listened to the confrontation I could not make myself leave the room to ‘defend’ her as she stood toe to toe with this ADad. I thought about it, but when he described the typical idea of an original mom, I did not want to listen to the abuse that he certainly would turn toward me – if he knew I was an original mom too. I did not have the backbone to face the sneers or judgmental looks, and certainly the mocking as they would jump to all kind of conclusions of “what kind of woman” I am.

Their conclusions that would most likely be wrong. Many people think original moms do not WANT their child. This is just so not true. Many people think original moms are incapable of parenting. Many people think original moms are defective – druggies or sluts or child abusers. I did not have the will to fight their imaginations. They already have their opinions formed and their mind made up. I am not willing to put myself out there for them to attack so they can just walk away feeling better than me.

So there I stood, nearly paralyzed at first. I eventually made my way out of the room and stood behind Itty Bitty Loudmouth. In all honesty though, Itty Bitty Loudmouth did not need any help at all. She was standing her ground, and was quite literally in this guys face – pointing her finger at him as she vehemently spoke.

You must pay special attention to this part of their conversation. I know this post is getting long, but I think this is what is in the minds of many AParents.

ADad, “my kids don’t need their birthmother. We took them and have cared for them as they grow up.” Basically the “we’re their parents now.”

Itty Bitty Loudmouth “But when those kids become adults, they should have a right to their own original birth certificate.”

ADad, “No.”

Itty Bitty Loudmouth, “I am an adult adoptee, and I should have the exact same right as you and every other American, I should have the right to my original birth certificate.”

ADad, “No, that’s not your family any more. And you should not have a right to that certificate.”

Itty Bitty Loudmouth, “Why is that? I am an adult, as you are. You can request your birth certificate and get it without any questions. I want that same right.”

ADad, “No, the Aparents are your parents now, just like I am the father to my adopted daughters.”

At this point the bartender made her way over to this corner of the bar, and was leaning on the bar, making sure no punches were thrown.

Itty Bitty Loudmouth, “What about my rights?”

ADad, “What about them?”

Itty Bitty Mouth, “Every one else can get their birth certificate, and I can’t.”

ADad, “You should not have access to your birth certificate.”

Itty Bitty Loudmouth, “So, are you saying your rights are more important than my rights?”

I wish I could have captured the look on this man’s face.

She posed the question straight up.

You could see that for a few seconds he was pondering her question, he didn’t just blurt out an answer. His response was deliberate. “Yes,” he said, “my rights are more important.”

And this is where the bartender put her hands between the two of them and suggested that they agree to disagree.

And so that is what we did the very next day, was we marched through the streets of Philadelphia, exposing this blatant discrimination. One adult’s rights should not trump another’s. Especially in this case where there is no valid reason for it.

It is based out of fear. “OMGosh, if they know who their original parents are, they might not love us anymore….and they HAVE to love me, after all, I’m the one who paid for them, and took care of them while they grew up, and bought their first pony and their last car.” The basis is fear and a sense of ownership.

I am still dumbfounded (not really surprised) that this man flat out said

“Yes, my rights are more important.”

Links to other Cheerio ARD related posts:

Searching for Identity and Ridiculous Red Tape (Day#2, first of 3 posts)

Day #1 Meeting on-line Friends

Funky light patterns on the Benjamine Frankliln Bridge