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.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The power of being a Birth Mother

This is a very personal thread today. 

I want to show the progression of change since the last time I saw my son, 19 years ago.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and these three say it all.

This is a picture of me just after the adoption was finalized.

This is a collage of pictures of me during my son’s childhood years.

This is another collection of random pictures of me as my son was maturing into a teenager.  He is now 18 and a legal adult.  Included below is a shot around his 18th birthay when I sent him our names and contact information.

What did you notice about me throughout this journey?
What you couldn't see me in the pictures?!?!  I am there, it's just that, well, I am invisible.

1st pic of Invisible Me -- Once the adoption was finalized, the adoption agency was not concerned about me anymore.  They got what they wanted, a fresh womb-wet white healthy baby to sell.

2nd pic of Invisible Me --The aparents sent me pictures until he started kindergarten, and then I became invisible to them too.

3rd pic of Invisible Me -- My son is now a teenager and old enough to contact us when he is ‘ready’ for contact, but right now I am invisible to him too.

STOP with the marketed brainwashing rhetoric that birthmothers are brave
Or that they are heroic
Or  that they are making a selfless choice

Just stop – it is a bunch of lies made up by people who want to make money from legally selling babies – callously severing the sacred mother/child bond to fatten their wallet
We were vulnerable and exploited, so cut the pretty words and use the real ones

If you are considering adoption for your baby – be prepared for a life of being invisible.
Once you let go of your baby you will become invisible and powerless.  You are no longer necessary and you won’t matter anymore.  80% of open adoptions close - you really want to take a risk like that?  Let me guess, your social worker didn't mention adoptions closing?

The being invisible --
It stings when it comes from the agency. You blame yourself for believing them, even though they were so convincing and painted such beautiful pictures.  Being masters of deception it seemed they genuinely cared about you. How were you supposed to know they would drop you like a dirty diaper?

It hurts when the betrayal comes from your child’s aparents.  How could they?  We trusted them with our own flesh and blood – how could they          fill in the blank because it’s all happened.  With semi-open promises of updates and pictures that are no longer sent.  Perhaps, it is e-mails in a more open agreement that stop or go unanswered.  Maybe they’ve moved away, leaving you no forwarding address or information.  How could they?  The answer is simple – because we are invisible to them.

All of that is much easier to bear than when it’s from your own son / your own daughter.  I know it has only been a few months and he “needs time.”  I just can’t shove off the feelings of being invisible, insignificant, and worthless. 

Only he can decide if/when he wants to make contact.  And I have no guarantee that he ever will – none of us do. 
Will I be invisible in the casket too?

If you are considering adoption for you baby – it is nothing like you imagine.  All the doubts you’ve stuffed while listening to the sweet social worker, all the questions you refused to ponder. They’ll come back to visit you again and again, whether awake or in your dreams.  They'll haunt you.

So, if you are considering adoption for your baby, the day you let go of him or her you may as well walk to the nearest toilet and flush your self worth – because that is what adoption will do to it anyway.



  1. Walk to the nearest toilet and flush your self worth... Ain't that the truth?? I still struggle with that, even being 49 years old, reunited for 4 years with my son, and even though my brain knows better. How do you shake the "not good enough" when that's why you had to give up your child? The most primal act of nature for a female, and I wasn't "good enough". I know, I know... it's so much more than that. But at it's most basic, that's what it is, that's what still is able to get to me to this day.

    Sending you lots of love and understanding Cheerio!

    1. Thank you for taking tine to comment, Susie. Yup, just last night I was asking myself when will I be good enough?

    2. sorry invisable is gracious, i feel that people so want to protect their own psychi that they insist the natural mom is deserving of losing their baby. they still use verbage that talks of single pregnant women needing punishment, protecting children from natural moms finding them, the loss is loss of intense mourning that no one accepts. we have to support each other and rise against this intense and world wide deception. great writing!

    3. Nadese ... so true ... 'we' need to be punished, but they should be rewarded for lusting after someone else's child

  2. My god, finally someone said it. I, too, feel so betrayed by my adult son, but I've been afraid to say it publicly (because, you know, I'm an abandoner).

    I was so invisible to the people who orchestrated this (the illegal facilitator/baby broker/FAMILY FRIEND) that they had me picked up by the police after I signed those infernal papers; my attempt at suicide wasn't successful and they needed to get rid of the 'evidence' -ME-.

    Still invisible, three years after reunion.

    1. maru67 ... i'm sorry for the betrayal you're feeling.
      there is so much in this accusation AFTER the deal is done. Before signing the papers it is one story, then it all shifts. From doing what we felt we HAD TO DO because we couldn't possibly parent our child - to becoming the abandoner. That lable is so cold, yet it sticks and we feel it.

    2. sorry can't believe how much projecting those brokers do. They break a ton of laws and have you picked up by police. Slander, fraud, misrepresentation, not providing services promised. and too many times selling children to pedifiles and abusers.

  3. Great post. Agreed. Know this all too well.

    1. Thank you for taking time to comment , Suz. I think it helps to have others acknowledge this happens with then too - so I can't be easily be written off as "a rare case" or "an exception."

  4. This is an amazing post, Cheerio. And so very true! And yes, when the final realization comes with realizing you are invisible to your own child, it is the hardest sort of pain. I still clearly remember those feelings when my son backed away and stayed silent.

    It's not what they told us would happen, is it? What was that they said . . . our children will be so grateful that we gave them away to someone "better." If only we had known there was no one better for our sons than their own mothers, fathers, families.


    1. thank you, Cassi for taking time to comment.
      no, it is not at all what they told us would happen - that might have scared us off?
      and You are soo right on the money about there being no one better for a child than their own original family

      thanks for the hugs , I'll take all I can get
      {{{hugs}}} back to you !

    2. and that the buying family would teach our children how much we loved them and that they were good parents with tons of classes.

  5. My "invisibility" came a bit later. I had the rare open adoption starting when my adopted-away daughter was 9 in 1993...or do you say we were "reunited" at that point and the adoption became fully open?? I never know what to label it but ANYWAY, I played the good little birthmother until daughter turned 18 and graduated high school. I hid my feelings, played like all was good, grieved secretly etc. for all those years... until amom wanted to go "public" with what a wonderful open adoption we had! "We've all turned just fine!" was exactly what amom said. With the help of my psychologist (oh, yes...in and out of counseling during all those "wonderful" years) we crafted a thoughtful, non-attacking letter confessing the true pain and heart-break my family and I had suffered through the years. I told her I couldn't go public with a lie, but even thanked them repeatedly throughout the letter for "allowing" us to be a part of their lives for the past years and being so generous in their "sharing" of our daughter. Guess what I got in reply? NOTHING. I poured my heart out to aparents...trusted them enough to let the truth come out...and no one acknowledged my letter!! When I finally confronted amom about it, she said she didn't want to comment and make it "all about her" and she didn't know what to say. Talk about feeling invisible and like I didn't even deserve a "yes, I got your letter and I'm sorry to hear you've been feeling this way." I thought we meant something to them. Needless to say, that was almost 11 years ago, and aparents and I don't have any communication at all. We have started re-building our relationship with our adopted-away daughter...it has been a tough relationship to maintain. Don't ever let an adoption agency tell you that an open adoption is a "win/win/win" because I don't believe it can be in the long run. It's a very abnormal situation, and it's going to be problematic for someone along the way. An open adoption may sound like the perfect solution, but it's ripping a wound open again and again for the adoptee as well as the first-family. I know, I lived it and still live it. Even in the "perfect open adoption," I, too, am now invisible.

    1. Dear Amy - thank you for sharing your story. Your voice is so very important now, because "Open adoption" is heralded as a perfect 'solution' and way to many girls/women are making this choice from very false presentations.

      I totally get why you would feel like it was ripping the scabb off over and over and over again.
      Plus you had to put on a show to the aparents - if they saw how you REALLY felt, then you risked losing ALL and ANY contact. The imbalance of power was so tremendous.
      There cannot really be an honest open relationship with the ap's.
      I applaud you for not allowing them to use you again to parade you and your daughter around as adtoption trophies. Good for you!
      I have no interest at this point with any contact with my son's ap's.

      I am sorry it strained the relationship with your daughter, and a relived that you are working on rebuilding.

      Again, thank you for sharing your story and usuing your voice!

    2. I hear this alot. The buying mom saying how great these open adoptions are. The thing is you never hear the real mom saying that. And anyone that takes someone elses baby is going to think it is about them, if they did think they wouldn't have taken someone elses baby.

  6. Take it from an adoptee. So many adoptive parents are narcissistic and manipulative. Who knows what they could of told your children about you. They lie a lot to. I don't agree with waiting until "he is ready". You are his mom. You have a right to know the truth and what he may of been told and I think you should seek him out in person away from the aparents and tell him that to his face. No body knows how much time they have on this earth, so wasting time is foolish. You should tell him that to, because no one can assume someone will still be here when they feel like talking. Just my 2 cents.

    1. Dear Anon - yes, I take many of my ques from my adoptee friends. I often hear about their narcissistic and controlling ap's. I am fully aware that What may have been told to my son about me is not likely to be accuate.

      I think my thread was unclear and that is why you disagree with the 'ready' idea. I edited my thread to try to clarify.
      I feeel like I have to wait for him, at this point. I have provided my contact information to him, and while there is a slim chance he did not get it - there is a greater chance that he did.
      Some adoptees want a reuion right away when they find out names of original family. But many don't - many feel overwhelmed just finding out names and they need time to process all the feelings, thoughts, and emotions that unexpectedly surfaced.
      My son may be of the latter type - and I MUST respect HIS space. I have been dealing with my 'stuff' for many years, but him? He most likely was not expecting to be handed our names AND contact info on a silver platter the day he turned 18.
      It has been just a few months, and there is more danger in pushing than in waiting a little while longer.

      So, I hope that explains a little more what I mean about him being ready, and I tried to clarify that in my thread.
      Thank you for taking time to comment and share your thoughts
      Your comment is much more valuable to me than 2 cents. I treasure input from any adoptee :>

    2. Well, I thought he had an open adoption? His aparents didn't tell him your name? One thing you might consider if his aparents don't want him to have a relationship w/you is that they may of threatened to cut him off. The proverbial adoptive parents buying adoptees a pony story is crap a lot of the time and some of them are cheap beyond belief. I don't think biological parents understand how ap's control their adopted kids concerning money. But it happens and when it does it gets dark and ugly. It's scary to try to make it today the way the economy is and a kid of 18 is going to feel overwhelmed if college isn't going to be paid for, etc.

    3. Hello, Anon. No, it was not an open adoption - it was a semi-closed adoption. Updates and pics were sent to the agency and the agency would eventually forward to me. I could send gifts or letters to the agency and the agency would eventually forward to aparents.
      Just over two years ago, I found out their last name and their address. So when he turned 18 this past Oct 2012, I sent his bday gift and letter directly to his addressed.
      You point out how ap's often control their adopteed kids in money (and other manipulative threats), but it is not just original parents that don't understand this - it is society in general. The adoption loving society we live in views ap's as saints and don't want to believe ap's would act that way.
      It sounds like you are not familiar with my journey - I have been involved with adoption related topics since 2001 and have spent the past four years rubbing elbows with adoptees, so I am familiar with what you talk about.
      You're right - it does put the adoptee in a scay situation as well as a serious perdicimen if he/she feels like they have to "choose" or if the are threatened with "consequences" for searching.
      It is sad, really sad.
      AP's are put on this pedestal and when an adoptee finally opens up to anyone, they are shut down with displief that AP's would do "something like that" or that the adoptee should be 'grateful'.
      Adoption makes quite a mess for the adoptee and puts them in MANY situations theey didn't create for themself - and no person in their right mind would choose for themself.

    4. fortog to mention that
      his AP's stopped sending pics and updates the first time because the adoption agency told me it would be for 18 years, but told the ap's to only send until he started school. SO, to defend the AP's they did what they promised to do.
      However, after a very long and drawn out situation, several years later the Agency got the ap's to agree to send pics once a year until he turned 18.
      And they did send pics again for a few years and stopped.
      So, it was a semi-closed adoption,
      that closed - at least as far as sending to me. I continued to send gifts/letters, etc to my son on Bdays and on Christmas. While I 'believe' they gave him at least some, if not all of what I sent - I know there is a chance they did not give it to him at all.
      But I will never know until he actually tells me himself.

  7. Thank god my open adoption has stayed open. I guess bc I don't bash the APs. I made the decision at the time for what was best for my child. All these support groups saying they'll help you. Well will they help you in 7 years with bills?! Will they help w rent payments after your child is born?! A book or baby bath tub is not going to cut it. My child deserves trips, a roof over his head, a vehicle. So glad I am involved in my child's life and don't have to worry. As far as I feel, it takes a village to raise a child. My child I placed is NOT depressed and is THRIVING.

    1. Thank you for commenting, DS
      For your and for your son, I too am glad your adoption stayed open. You both are in the lucky 20%.
      I am a little unclear about your comment of bashing the AP's? I don't 'bash' my son's ap's. They are his parents and regardless of the eggshells I walked on for years- they still broke their agreement with me. I have never said or written anything negative to my son about his ap's -and I plan to keep it that way.
      I do however state the truth of what happened. It is not bashing, it is warning expectant moms that it can - and it does happen - a lot, and I don't want any other mother to experience it.
      I sincerely hope you don't believe that adoptions close because the original mothers deserve it.
      You ask about support in 7 years [after a child is born]. The situation a mother is in when she is pregnant is temporary - so she should not make a permanent decision for a temporary situation. She will not always be teenager, she will not always be single, she will not always be a student or unemployed. It is very common for a woman with an unplanned pregnancy, that her situation DOES improve in a few years, and most likel won't need external support in seven years.
      We are probably going to disagree about what a baby 'NEEDS'. So, it would be better to talk to adoptees who are adults and ask which is more important to them? trips, fancy clothes, and material stuff ?
      It may take a village to raise a child... keep the child in the village and help mothers raise their children - i agree. That is what I support too.
      We should not have to send a child to a different villge to be raised by strangers.
      I would encourage you at some point to read about adoptees viewpoints - both positive and negative. Look for articles, papers, and research that has been done to see if there are any adverse affeects on the child who is adopted.
      But please do not speak FOR your chid. He may 'seem' ok to you and others, but only HE would know his inner thoughts and state of being.
      I hope you will look into this, so you are not inadvertently guilty of projecting your feelings onto him - which would cause him to hide his true feelings from you because he knows you would disapprove of them.
      Again, I thank you for responding. I am always open for an honest (non-attacking) conersation.

    2. I just wanted to add that when adoptive parents close adoptions, they rarely give a reason. If it was warraned, surely they would explain. I did nothing to intentionally offeend, hurt, or upset my son's ap's. They chose to break their promise, for no valid reason. My guess is that is because they are afraid of me. They wished I would have just gone away or disappeared years ago - perhaps that too is what the agency told the would happen.
      Read my entire blog of my journey - get to know me and my story.
      in your own words 'Thank God' your adoption is still open, but don't feel arrogant and accusatory toward those of us where it did not happen.
      Thank yu

    3. LOL! Right so because you told yourself your adoption will be different, that gives you the right to attack and be nasty??

      Actually what I think this post is done is make you feel darn uncomfortable because a piece of you recognises how right on it is.

      Adoption is NOT the village that is needed to raise a child. As so many adopters will say, behind their adopted child's back is how they wish the mother was no longer in the picture, they don't WANT them around. Definitely no village there so your argument goes right out the window... also the fact that adoption is all about who legally owns a child and not about who cares about a child - yeah, def no village community in that scenario!

      How do YOU know your child is not affected by their adoption? What makes you think if you are spouting out how wonderful adoption is they would feel free to tell you? I know far too many adoptees who had a great upbringing and were still troubled/affected negatively by adoption... because at the end of the day it is plain unnatural.

      As for in 7 years time... you are assuming the reasons someone places is $ which means you expect a mother to be held in her bad financial situation the whole time. What utter rubbish! Seven years is enough time to get one's life in order. There have been plenty of single mothers who have done well and have gone on to get married, degrees while raising a baby. Adoption is permanent unlike a rough couple of years. Besides, adoption doesn't guarantee a mother of making a life for herself either or even her child. Adopters are humans who are just as prone to bad life experiences or bad personal choices catching up to them. Adoption guarantees only a different life and never a better life because adoption destroys so much of a person, often a mother is unable to move forward and her potential is wasted BECAUSE of adoption.

      So go and be happy for your adoption but don't feel like you hold all the card because you hold nothing at the end of the day and just pray your adoption doesn't slam shut one day because it can happen at any point.

      Oh and children are happy with very little - they only need the basics in life and there are plenty of people who are amazing adults who started out as dirt poor raised in their own families. Trips etc are not important at the end of the day, nice but not necessary unless one is a materialistic person and those sorts of things are what matters in life.

  8. Well, I am sure the ap's read the letter. A lot of them are brutal control freaks. Mine were. So maybe they did not give it to him. This is why I said before you have to go talk to him away from them. How did you find out the name of his ap's? I need to say to that I see foreign adoptees around here all the time with some mean looking American adoptive mother and they do not look happy. The mother is always walking ahead of them and they are following her looking upset. And the "mother" looks so arrogant and angry. Deja vu for me. I never know what to do. I want to tell them I know how they feel. Ask them if they are being abused. Adoption is really a candy coated turd placed in a pink box with a ribbon. It hurts everyone but ap's and agencies I guess.

    1. Anon, I'm sorry you grew up in such an environment. This truly saddens me.

    2. "A lot of them are brutal control freaks" You're referring to ap's, but ANY parent(s)can be a "brutal control freak."

    3. thanks for taking the time to comment 'justanothermom'
      while what you say is true, the problem is that statements like this are dismissive to adoptees who live with this experience.
      It makes it sound like 'well that can happen to anyone, so your point doesn't count' - when indeed it does count, and their voice needs to be heard.
      The extreme control issues - is different for a child who is brought into a house of strangers. How much of that control is about "ownership"? I bought you now you're MINE and you'll do what I want, when I want, and how I want it?
      That completely scraps the idea that the adoption was "in the best interest of the child."
      Being a control freak is not healthy to a child. It puts an adopted person in a different situation than biological children.

    4. Another to consider, Justanothermom - and others who use that arguement along the lines "but ANY parent(s)can be a "brutal control freak."
      Then why are we separating families to start with. That just goes to 'prove' that ap's are not better than original parents.

  9. Cheerio thank you for this blog..I so need it..I too am a mom who was tricked. I was 16 and everyone told me adoption was best. My mom was abusive to me and she was calling the shots. The day she made me sign those papers was the day our relationship began on its downward spiral. My daughter found me this past summer and after a 2 month honeymoon she left it. I have not healed from the adoption then this. I long for her to come back. Her last message to me after she got the Christmas card i sent her was i am not her mom and to leave her alone. I wish i had the strength to stand up to my mother all those years ago. But i cant so i suffer, again,still.

    1. Dear Jeanette, my heart is very heavy and I am so sad to read this piece of your story. There are just so many things in the short bit you shared here, it is plain to see you are still hurting so much - and not just from the 'invisible' pain.
      As much as I am longing for my son to reply or respond, I am honestly terrified of reunion. I have heard so many painful accounts, like yours that after the honeymoon period the contact changes. I really cannot speak from personal experience, just what I've read and heard from others. Since she just found you this summer, it is still early... and I have heard that withdrawl is one of the stages of reunion. Please do not give up yet. Darn it hurts, yes, but do not give up.I hope you have a good support group. If you haven't found a support group, please e-mail me and I'll see if I can help you find something.
      Sending you hugs, just big hugs.

    2. I live in constant pain. I long for my daughter daily.. I am so mad at her aparents because it is their lies that have caused her so much pain... Hell I could have lied to her too... I will never give up on her. She will always be welcome. I just want her to get the support she needs and comes back. I fear though it will be several years for her to do that...
      hugs back at ya

    3. :(
      please don't ever give up on her --- and I hope you will find ways to deal with your anger toward her ap's ... when she is able to stat up the reunion again, she will pick up on that anger - and it may become an obstacle or hinderance in the relationship.
      I hope with you that she'll get the support she needs....{{hugs}}

  10. Great post Cheerio... invisible describes exactly what it is like to be a mother of adoption loss. The empty photo frames are a great idea and capture the meaning of invisibility so well... of course this is what the adoption industry want; actually I think they wish we didn't exist at all once they have their hands on OUR children.

    And so many mothers are willing to believe the lies of open adoption (like above); wonder what they will do down the track when the fog finally lifts and the real effects of adoption get through? So many start out on that track of "well MY adoption will be fine and not one of those ones" and they pander to the adopters and for a while, even years everything looks rosy. But one day, it will get through and perhaps then they will understand what these blogs are about and will not be content with being so invisible anymore.

    Sometimes these mothers tell themselves their adoptions will be fine and different because they desperately want to believe they have done the right thing because although not talked about much, nearly every mother knows giving away their own baby is NOT right, no matter what the adoption industry say.

    Again, great post :) xxx

  11. My daughter (I refuse to call her my birth-daughter though some demand that separation) turned 8 just a few days ago. Her mom and i went from weekly phone calls, to monthly phone calls, to no phone calls during her first year. Then they bought a digital camera and the photos started coming in. Weekly, then monthly, then sporadic as hell. When she started kindergarten she began exhibiting intense behavior issues. The teachers and family had her tested for Autism, AD(H)D, juvenile bi-polar, everything under the son. That was two years ago and I haven't been told about a Dx yet. All I know is she takes meds. Your 7 yearold is on psych meds and you don't know what they are? I call Bullshit! Of course though, being her real mom, I knew exactly what's going on with her the whole time and it doesn't take meds to deal with it. But they wont let me tell them. All I know is that her child-therapist convinced the parents to cut me out of the picture because having a loving relationship with your natural family is such a hardship.

    I used to keep a little "shrine" to her, photos mostly, the bottle I fed her with the one time I got to and hospital bracelets. In 2012 all reminders of her broke my heart and I packed them away. I got a tattoo in her honor on her 7th birthday. It's placed behind my ear. I can't see it without some contorting and a mirror but it's on me for good. I can't see "it" but it's part of me for good.

    I know that placing her when I was 19 was the right thing to do for her. I don't doubt it or regret it. What I didn't know was how wrong it would be at 28, and I want her back every single day.

    1. Dear Mouse,
      thank you for replying and sharing.
      It is ridiculous to call her 'birthdaughter' - blech. She is your daughter, please feel free to call her that here!
      It is so hard to be nice to other mothers who praise open adoption and talk about how wonderful it is. I did that too, until the ap's stoped communicating, then it was like I lost him a second time. It is excruciatingly painful. I relate to puting away pictures or reminders.. it is no that we stop loving our child, but at that time we cannot change the situation and have to put it out of sight, just to survive. Before Christmas last year I took down all my son's pictures at work. So I hear you no that.
      There was a time I used to say that giving him away was the "right" thing to do, and I too said I did not regret it. Interstingly enough I said that even after ap's closed the door - for me, I stopped saying that when I saw adoption from a different perspective... when I found out how much money they make to resell babies, and when studied and found their disgusting 'counseling' guides. Those guides were fulls of ways to manipulate women into giving them their baby. THAT is when I had stepped back and realized - that it was the worst decision of my life! I was manipulated so someone could have a nicer paycheck. My husband will never have children because of the adoption, and he would have been THE BEST DAD IN THE WORLD! I was manipulated, it was EXTORTION! It was unnecessary. For me it was not a matter of right or wrong, his life is NOT better.
      So, I acknowledge that I made the best decision I could at that time WITH the information I had available, but I regret it entirely.

      I can see why you 'want her back every single day.' I think about my son every single day too, and hope and pray that some day he will allow me to have maybe a small part in his life.

      Again, thank you for sharing!