About Me

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I placed my daughter in an open adoption in 2002. I started this blog in 2004 as a place to journal and eventually I became part of a community. The community has moved on, but I have decided to come back.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

My Thoughts On The Primetime Special

I've been watching The Primetime Family Secrets series for a few weeks now. I should have guessed they'd eventually cover adoption, but I did not and so was a bit surprised when it began. Against my better judgement, I watched rather than deleting it from my TiVo.

For starters, I have to address how wrong it is to stick cameras in these places. The adults may have agreed, but the children had no choice. This kind of thing should not be televised. I think they could have been as effective (or even more) by interviewing people after the fact with personal photos and video to supplement. Speaking just for the women like me, having cameras there is itself coercion and the intrusiveness on these ladies overwhelming feelings was clear.

There were lots of negatives about this program. It reinforced some birthmother stereotypes. The language was atrocious and sugar-coated (um, describing the maternity home as similar to a sorority house!?!). The Gladney folks made me want to vomit. The folks who made the show tried too hard to make sure that no one from the birthfamilies felt regret.

I spent most of the show cringing at the language and coercion and screaming at the girls not to do it.

But.......

I can't help but think of some of the ways that this program helped:

1. It was one of the few times I've seen the decision painted in such a difficult and emotional light. The show tried to avoid it or gloss over it, but the emotional devastation came through loud and clear. I mean, watching Brookeanne's dad breakdown at the agency and the other girl's mom's later denial was just powerful. There was no question that these two teens and their families loved their children.

2. The coercion came through loud and clear, too. I'm not sure that the general population would immediately label it as coercion, but many women now have video proof of the tactics used. I could picture women sitting down with those who deny the coercion and using this show to point it all out. And just think, this was what they allowed on TV!

3. The show itself made a strong case against adoption. The whole process came off as incredibly unnatural. Personally, it hit me really hard- particularly the hospital scenes. I considered my hospital experience to be very positive, but watching someone else go through with what I did made it seem so horrible. You're watching these brand new moms hand trheir babies to strangers and take all these pictures with these so-called better parents and it's so clear that they are dying inside. Such a sacred moment was destroyed. All their reasons for placing fell flat, especially as we heard both sets of parents/grandparents say they would support their children no matter what. I couldn't find any good reason for these two girls to place, especially seeing all the devastation and heartache it caused them and their families. The placement room scenes were also tough. As the older of the two teens walked out of the room, she kept stopping and looking back as if every cell in her body was telling her it wasn't right.

4. The show made a case for open adoption. Although it reinforced some myths about open adoption, was there anyone out there who watched the follow-up interviews and thought, "Thank God these birthfamilies don't get to see those kids!"? Particularly when you looked at the adoptive family that was open about it (Personally, I didn't expect them to be so progressive about openness- they struck me as the type that would say anything for a baby- I'm glad I was wrong.), it was hard to justify the lack of contact and information sharing. These weren't scary birthfamilies, these were people that loved their children and grandchildren and just wanted to see them grow.

5. Cynthia McFadden was great. Yes, many of her questions were stereotypical and myth-based, but it was clear she was emotionally invested and actually curious about the answers. I think she asked a lot of the same questions the general public would and even though I didn't like all the answers, I'm glad she did. I also thought her comment about birthfathers was very truthful and enlightening. It appeared that she disagreed with the laws that deny birthfathers their rights.

Overall, it was horrible, I agree. It was incredibly offensive to most of the adoption community. It tried hard to reinforce the whole idea of adoptees being a gift and the idea that adoption is about getting a better life. Still, I don't think they realized all the other stuff that came through. I really wonder what effect it had on the general population.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gladney on Primetime

ABC's Primetime is running a limited series called Family Secrets. I suppose it was inevitable that they would cover adoption.

They went behind the scenes at a Gladney run maternity home in Texas following two teens as they placed and then following up with the teens three years later.

Before I share my thoughts, did anyone else see it?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Visit

I think this may be the longest I've waited before posting about a visit. Life was very busy when I got home. I'll try to remember everything.

They had some Saturday commitments so my beau and I didn't arrive until close to dinnertime. The weather was beautiful so everyone was in the backyard. My daughter was a little dismissive of me at first, but it was fine.

We sat at the table in the backyard catching up over drinks. As usual, my daughter was mostly interested in playing with my beau. He spent a good deal of the night pushing her on the swings and being silly with her. This works for me because I get all the joy of connecting with her with none of the anxiety.

I played on the swings, too, and it was fun. My daughter still copies me a lot.

We had a nice meal outside (my daughter insisted that she sit next to my beau), played some more, and then went in to get ready for bed.

When we got inside, she excitedly gave me a bead necklace she had made for me. It was wonderful.

She wanted us to sleep in her room again, but settled for a few minutes of movie watching with us (Dora, of course, and she hopped into my lap) and then doing her bedtime routine with me. It was very comfortable. I'm feeling more comfortable with her and her family, and having my beau there helps a lot.

She showed me things and picked out animals and then I snuggled into her bed with her to read for a bit. A little ways in, her dad came in to take over, but it was good.

She was excited the next day, too. We had breakfast, played some more, and headed out for a morning at the pool. Nothing really stood out at the pool this time. Usually those are my favorite visits. It was very relaxing, but not particularly as full of quality moments as usual.

Two things did strike me though. One was looking around at the other kids and realizing what a strong little girl my daughter is. There is nothing dainty about her. The second was when I finished my shower and found her sitting on the bench waiting for her mom to finish hers. She immediately asked me if I'd help her get dressed. Once we let her mom know, I took her to get dressed (and comb her hair with my comb at her insistence) and then we headed to the playground for a few minutes. It really struck me how quickly she asked for my help- no hesitation, no awkwardness- I am another caregiver in her eyes.

We then went to spend the rest of the day at an amusement park. My daughter loves the wildest rides. I didn't actually go on much with her, but it was fun.

And last, the dinner I already wrote about.

Her folks said she was really well behaved this visit. I enjoyed the time.

Because we stayed so much later on Sunday it was a very late night with work for both of us the next day, but it was worth it.

I'm not sure if I'll end up with another summer visit this year, but I do have her birthday party to look forward to in September.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Encounters

To the woman at the Coyote Mexican Place:

My daughter and I stepped out of the restaurant.

I asked for my daughter's hand.

She went straight for the bench and we sat.

You were on another, newer bench that rocked. You offered to switch, but I declined.

My daughter began chatting you up.

You leaned in close to talk to her.

"Would you like to sit on this bench with your mom?"

I waited for her to correct you, but she just watched you and nodded.

We switched places and I swear I saw tears in your eyes.

My daughter examined the rocking mechanism, excitedly exclaiming that she knew how it worked.

A car pulled up with two women inside: your friends. They commented on your new haircut. You still seemed off somehow as if our brief exchange had rattled you.

My beau started walking toward us and my daughter got up to greet him.

We went back inside to get the rest of the family.

As we walked to our cars, you were walking in with your friends. I looked at you- trying to place your face- wondering if I know you somehow from these blogs.

There was still something in the air-something bigger than just a kind gesture.

You tried to avoid my eye. We both walked away.

Today, I'm feeling off.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Anxiety, Perhaps?

Last night, I dreamed I had a baby.

The details were reminiscent of the BSE. I hid her. I was alone. There were paperwork issues.

It was a weird dream.

I named the baby Aila, a name I don't recall hearing until my dream though I discovered is an alternate spelling of the main character in Clan of the Cave Bear.

I woke up really early, fresh from my baby dream.

I must be anxious about the visit.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Upcoming Visit

I'm visiting my daughter this weekend.

I talked to her earlier this week. She told me lots of stories.

She asked if I had been to the pool, I told her that we don't have a town pool. "Well, you could go to the beach then." she responded. Too cute.

It's been awhile.

I can't wait to see her.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Dear B

Dear B,

You knew me way back when. You know my family. You know quite a bit about me.

I see you every so often. We usually exchange minor pleasantries and go back to our business.

This time, I found myself with you for a bit longer.

I talked about my daughter. You knew about her already and about my choice. You've always asked about her.

The conversation was longer this time. You were wonderful.

It's been my experience that people who know nothing about adoption going in understand it the best when it hits them in the face. A couple times you caught yourself saying some typical adoption remark and I could see it sinking in that it didn't really make sense.

You didn't coddle me. You didn't put me on a pedestal or in a sewer. You listened. You asked questions. You said all the right things without ever making the conversation seem weird.

I just want to thank you for that. It was wonderful.

Much love,
Poor_Statue