23 November 2009

Slice, Cut, Stab... the warmth of blood, an indication my heart is still beating.

Why can’t I feel it?

Cold, so cold inside... yet I can feel the pain creeping up into every fibre of my being.

I wish I could turn these feelings off, shove them into the bottom of a drawer, turn the key and never revisit.

But... there is no way to flick the switch on this. It comes unexpectantly whenever it chooses. And I cannot stop the overwhelming desire to curl up in a ball and stay hidden away from the world.

09 November 2009

Adoption and hypocrisy

It strikes me adoption is on a ledge all of its own. It contradicts Nature and our whole way of life and yet we, as a society embrace adoption without question.

For a while now, I have felt adoption is completely hypocritical.

In situations where “usual” emotions are applied and expected, with adoption, these normal reactions are completely disregarded and not only that, they are ridiculed.

For example, a baby whose mother dies at birth or a person who loses their parents in infancy is allowed to be given support for this loss. When they are older and should they act out, excuses are made for their behaviours such as "well she never knew her parents you know, they died when she was just a baby" or "its to be expected when one loses their parents so young".

How many times have I heard stories on the news where a child has lost one or both parents and the reaction from the community is an outpouring of grief and support. However, when an infant loses his mother through adoption everything changes. He/she is expected to be grateful and this means accepting their adoption without hesitation. They are not respected as the baby who loses their mother through death is. No, instead of excuses, if this adoptee grows up and dares to speak out against adoption and their feelings of being adopted, they are labelled angry, ungrateful and bitter. Even babies whose mothers die are still given care by either a family relative or some other carer but their grief at losing their mother is not labelled anything else other than what it is: heartbreak at losing one's world. Do Adoptees receive the support, love and understanding the other child gets? No, and yet they should for their loss is exactly the same.

There is no difference to the little baby in the way a mother is lost. To a tiny person who has known no one but his or her mother for the length of pregnancy and however long they were able to spend with her outside the womb, losing their world is still traumatising. But why does society give those babies whose mothers or parents die more respect? Why are they allowed to mourn their loss and an adoptee is not? Adoptees are people...they are the same as every individual on the face of this earth and yet they are discriminated against in so many ways. It is hypocritical to say the very least.

Then there are mothers who say and claim they lost their babies to adoption, as I did. Yet, are told we did not lose our babies. We are told, even if our babies were taken from us through government agencies, lawyers, dodgy practises or wrongfully removed by child services, that it was our choice.

Does a mother choose for her child to be kidnapped? No, of course she doesn’t and she is given support and permission to grieve her loss. Mothers, like myself, who lost their child against their will, are shunned by society. We are told it was our choice or our fault. We are told to take responsibility for our choices and not to blame anyone else because it is convenient. Yet mothers who are victims of kidnappers and even mothers who lose their children in death are not treated thus. We have no services to assist us with our grief and it is not even recognised as a need. When our babies are taken, we are literally kicked to the curb to rot. No one wants to know about us or that we even exist after that moment.

Adoption taints everything it touches. It skews the way life is perceived. In every normal situation, a baby and mother are expected to stay together. As soon as adoption is whispered near a pregnant woman who may or may not be in an unplanned situation, all of a sudden, she becomes a villain if she decides to do what nature intended her to do... keep and raise her child herself. She is torn down, mocked, scorned, told she is ruining her child’s life, she is selfish, her child was not intended for her. All because she was doing what she is supposed to do. And she receives this treatment courtesy of adoption and its thugs.

Mothers who dare to speak up about their grief and speak out against adoption, are labelled bitter and angry. We are not accorded the same respect as a normal human being; our grief is scorned and we are branded with a scarlet letter all for the sake of giving birth and wanting to keep our own children. We are not even given our correct title of "mother" something even women who have suffered the loss of a child get to hold onto (and rightly so). How hypocritical can society get?

Somehow, mothers who lose their children to adoption are cold, unfeeling and heartless. I cannot count the number of times I have been told by other women they could not cope if they parted with their babies. That it would destroy them, they wouldn't be able to live. So, because I get out of bed each day and survive, somehow I am a cold, unfeeling bitch? Who says I cope? I still have days when the world feel like it will cave in on me but in this world to which I have been cast, I have no choice. It is either die or survive here and I choose to survive. That does not mean I love my daughter less and I am so over that insinuation.

Imagine if a mother whose child was killed or kidnapped was treated in this way? Or a child who lost their parents? The outcry would be enormous yet this behaviour, this cruelty is what many of us mothers and adoptees face EVERY SINGLE DAY.

The hypocrisy in adoption is shameful. It is an excuse to treat another human being as a sewer rat. It is the same lack of respect rapists and murderers accord their victims: N.O.N.E.

I will not be quiet about this crime against me and my child. Label me bitter and angry, that doesn’t mean you are right. It is easy to box someone who makes you feel uncomfortable and that is what society does with mothers and adoptees who do not do what they are apparently supposed to do and that is stay quiet about what their feelings are of what was done to them.

It is time to challenge every thread that holds adoption together and show how rotten it really is. Ignorant, hypocritical, cruel and criminal. We as humans have a responsibility to each other to rid systems and institutions that cause more harm than good. Again, hypocritically, adoption has been not only allowed to stay, but it has been encouraged and pushed because without it, many would not get what they desire.

Adoption embodies the spirit of hypocrisy and this needs to be eradicated.

13 October 2009

Memories...

My last blog post took me for an unexpected stroll through memory lane... memories I thought had long since gone; or lost behind a wall of pain.

However, they peeked out as I walked through the vaults and demanded to be heard and so as I lay in the darkness last night I allowed them to wash over me; to re-experience them again. They are not awful. They are not entirely unwelcome or all that significant. They are the gaps between time; the memories of other things that occurred whilst I was living my nightmare of trying to figure out what was going on.

They are little daily things I went through while pregnant with my first born.

Last night, they replayed through my head like an old video.

The first three months I hibernated mostly due to being so nauseous; no one knew where I was.

My craving that pregnancy was McChicken burgers; mostly the mayonnaise on the burger. I couldn't stand red meat, loved lettuce, milkshakes and mayo... on just about anything! I recall going through my wallet just before pay day to gather as many small silver coins so I could buy McChicken burgers.

I recall watching movies with my best friends and when my sister came to visit, with her. One movie stands out in particular: Mrs Winterbourne. I became addicted to Days of Our Lives as the part we were up to was about a kidnapped baby being sold for adoption... even then I could relate although my child was not yet born.

I remember warm days at the beach, nightclubbing with my friends (and no, I wasn't drinking), nannying for different families, crying over boys (well actually guys and only two in particular), going for midnight drives, going to the movies, and spending time day dreaming about my own small family.

This in the midst of a hell I was trying to escape.

I was very fit, walking everywhere and hardly looked pregnant until I reached 28 weeks and then my beautiful belly popped. Often I would walk through the gorgeous gardens Christchurch has to offer and just daydream.

Other times I recall sitting on my bed and just talking to my baby... rubbing my belly, singing to her, reading to her, telling her what I liked, what was going on.

My favourite movie at the time was Titanic. My favourite CD was Savage Garden, Aqua and the soundtrack to Titanic. I loved other music, especially Dance/club music and my fave radio staions were 91ZM and 92MoreFM. I adored the Pretender on TV; justice was always an important part of my life. I was a human rights activist, an AMnesty International volunteer and during Candle Day that year, I stood with my pregnant belly on a corner of a busy street selling pins and telling others about abuses of Human Rights. Little did I know I was to face my own situation in less than 3 months of that day.

I was a real person then. Lost, maybe, but still real. Squashed and unheard but I existed. I was not an incubator. I was not created to be raped and bear a child for another person. I had feelings, dreams and desires. And that was okay. That girl who I once was wants to breathe again, feel life through her veins after being so dead for so long. She is still broken but no longer will she be held back. Reuniting her with me, and merging her into my life is hard... so much time has passed and I feel like I am sleeping beauty waking up and my life has been lived for me and now I want it back.

Maybe this is why these memories are breaking through... it is my core choosing to do more than survive, more than get up in the morning and get through each day. I want to leave this life knowing there are happy memories; not those of just being a survivor, a victim.

Memories... powerful and fragile all at the same time.

10 October 2009

What's in name? Everything...

Part of being a blogger means you read the blogs by others... and the associated comments.

Recently I read a couple of blogs written by authors who are participating in a carnival known as "Grown in my Heart Carnival" (And yes, I gagged when I saw the title).

The theme of this carnival is Names and adoption... naming an adopted person.

Curious, I followed a link posted on one of these blogs and discovered a list of other blogs written by more participants and so I had a sticky beak at these as well.

I read until my blood was boiling and my heart felt it would break all over again with the painful reminders of what adoption does to a person.

A name is such an important part of a person. As a child, I can recall receiving parcels for my birthday from my grandparents and seeing MY name on the parcel used to thrill me. I cannot explain it, I just remember feeling important enough for a parcel to be in MY name and looking at my name, I felt a sense of who I am in this world. It was MY name and it came with a story of how it was chosen making it more special to me.

During my pregnancies with all my three children, I have always set out with names I would love to use. Over the course of the pregnancy as I have bonded and come to know my children INTRICATELY and in a way NO OTHER HUMAN HAS KNOWN MY CHILDREN, I came to see MY names might not be the ones for these little people developing inside of me and so I felt from them, their names. For ALL three of my children I have envisioned the type of people they are whilst they were growing in my womb. I have felt their core personalities, felt their amazing minds. To know these things so intimately about someone is more powerful than I could ever describe.

Their names reflected these feelings and all three of them have lived up to their names, including my daughter who I lost. But the name she lives up to is her real name, the name she was born with, not the name she has since been lumped with.

I do not use her adopted name unless I speak to her. I never have. Since I was pregnant I have known her only as the child I carried and the name I gave her took me some time to come to. That it was changed as if she were a new puppy or doll incenses me. It proves to me how much of a possession she is; not a human being with an identity already firmly in place.

She once indicated to me how much she didn't like her first name (her new name) and she was being teased at school for it. I couldn't say anything, I had to bite my lip!

I recall the day her adopters told me they were going to change her name and what it would be. I can recall her female adopter telling me what MY daughter would grow up to be like and how much her new name would reflect her life. I wanted to vomit. Instead I sat there looking at her in horror. Again, I saw how little my child meant to these people... she was merely a means, a shell to purge all their desires into. They didn't see my daughter as an already existing person with her own personality and feelings.

So yes names are more important than one can imagine. The name I gave to my daughter means: "Like a Jewel, cherished one and Symbol of Love, God's gracious gift". To have this taken from her was not necessary. Children are not puppies in need of a name. Children are not dolls, playthings. Adoption takes away a human element from a child that is really a form of abuse.

To answer some of the wonderings I read on a blog: I did rub my belly while I carried my daughter. I did speak to her, whisper to her through my tears in the dark. I did what any mother does who carries and raises her own child. I bonded with my child. Her adoption was unnecessary. The pain in her eyes is unnecessary and so is my broken heart and soul.

29 September 2009

What a day!

Alot has been going on in my life of late. I am a very busy woman! I have two jobs and have just started my own business and I still get calls about my old business!

However, despite the hectic, chaotic pace my life leads, I still have room to think about my daughter. I think I had been hoping the chaos in my life would numb me just a little, but it never works that way.

Since the last visit I had with Amber, I have struggled with what to do next. The 1-2 visits a year have not been enough and I have never had a chance to get to know her. Recently I emailed her adoptive parents and arranged a meeting to get together so we could discuss the contact as I did not feel it was working.

We met on a Sunday afternoon 2 weeks ago. My parents came with me for support as did my husband. Whilst sleep overs were immediately ruled out (no surprises there), we have been able to increase the visits up to 4 times a year PLUS a special event. It was going to be only 3 but thanks to the extra weight of my parents support behind me, we were able to convince them, well more the adoptive father, to have four. It helps Amber has been asking to see us as well!

So while we were all together, we arranged the next visist with plans to go to the beach. This took place just the other day, Sunday 27 September.

Thanks to the weather (which I was really happy about, I am not fond of sand in my eyes) we couldn't go to the beach and opted to go to the National Park at the end of my parent's road.

After much begging on Noodle's and Amber's part, she was allowed to travel in our car - a short 10 minute drive - to the park!! I cannot put into mere words how ecstatic I felt looking into our back seat and seeing my ENTIRE family as it should be! It really was surreal but also felt so natural... perfect!

We arrived and went for a walk through the bush for about 45 minutes... I returned earlier as I have been sick but they continued on. As they returned the wind picked up, stronger, and being so cold we decided to take the pcinic back to my parent's place for lunch.

It is amazing how food works to bring people together. A basic human need that works to bring people together even if only for a short time. Anyway, we were all hungry and we enjoyed a great lunch consisting of offerings made by everyone.

Following lunch, we moved inside courtesy of the cold wind and Noodle relunctantly went to a birthday party. Dude and I stayed with Amber and the next hour and a half tuned out to be the most amazing time we have ever spent together. Dude just potted around as he does and Amber and I retreated to our own little bubble where we spent time just getting to know each other.

On this windy afternoon, I was given the chance to find out what her favourite past times are, the books she loves, her favourite movies, music and songs. It is impossible to put into words the feelings I had after learning all this about her. How can one describe getting to know a little about their child despite seeing her over the past 8 years and never knowing anything? When I got home, I went straight onto iTunes to locate a song I had tried once before to find and couldn't... one that she told me she DID find and is now one of her favourites. It has been played non-stop...

The thread that had thinned so much over the past 11 years just started glowing again and gained some thickness that day. The bond we developed as she grew inside me, as we formed our own little method of communicating, the bond that we had when she would feed and hold onto my hair while studying my face out of the corner of her eye, THAT bond is reigniting... and just writing about this is giving me chills with the absolute delight of it all.

When it was finally time to go, I walked with her to their car and she stood there, staring into my eyes, reluctant to say good bye. She is now slightly taller than me so we were fairly level. She hugged me, let me go and hugged me again. She repeated this a couple of times. Fortunately, we have a date for when we see her again and that will be her graduation. I can't wait!

The funny thing is, in reality, the visit was not much different to previous times yet something inside ME chnaged and I was determined to get to know her regardless of the fact I was being watched closely the whole time.

I have come down a bit from my huge high on Sunday but it has been a gradual coming down, not a crash as I normally have. I know when I am to see her next and I have something I can share with her in the time I am waiting to see her: a song. The song is from the end of 'Stardust', a fantasy movie, something we both have in common. Funny thing is, the main guy character in the story is separated from his mother at birth by a witch and raised by his father. At the end, the mother and son are reunited and the mother and father are reunited and everyone lives happily ever after. I often wonder what is going through her head when she watches this movie... and if she realises the parallels in our lives. Anyway, that is where the song comes from.

So that is my news... and I can only hope and pray this is the beginning of something amazing. I only wish for my friends who have not been so blessed, they too can one day get a chance to know their children as well.

Love to all of you, I am so lucky to have you.

Myst xxx

25 September 2009

New Zealand Adoption Act 1955

I thought it was about time I posted about this archaic and barbaric piece of legislation which almost annihilated my life and separated my daughter from her true family.

Over the past few years, I have come across many statements about adoption in New Zealand that have left me absolutely shocked and quite concerned with the lack of knowledge the general public have about the true nature of the laws in NZ and how ancient they are.

A couple of friends have kept me up to date with what is going on over in NZ and one friend told me about a talk back on radio a few years back which has had me very concerned about the reality of adoption and how the public view it.

I have come across statements about how open adoption is in New Zealand and how advanced they are in the adoption world.

I would like to set the record straight.

For a country that prides itself in doing the “right” thing and keeping up with or surpassing other major countries in the west in important issues, Adoption is one area New Zealand is literally stuck in the dark ages.

You see, the law still operates under the New Zealand Adoption Act of 1955. Yes, that’s right, 1955!! The same Act that saw babies stolen at birth, mothers drugged and forced to sign while still under the influence of these drugs. In reality, nothing in the legal system has changed.... and when you look at what happened in my case, the practise of the Act hasn’t changed.

Open Adoption is nonexistent despite the adopters I have heard of claiming all adoptions are open today. As yet, while there is talk of making open adoption a legal agreement, there is NO SUCH THING AS OPEN ADOPTION IN THE LAW. It simply does not exist so just like in the good old US of A, adopters can promise the earth to a child’s mother and slam the door shut in her face the minute the ink is dry on the final order. Again, something that happens all too often.

Sadly, adoptive parents, whilst knowing the truth of this, have been making claims about all adoptions in New Zealand being open and that closed adoptions no longer exist. This is just not true. The Act ONLY provides for a CLOSED adoption: Open Adoptions are merely word of mouth agreements completely at the whim of the adoptive parents. Whilst some might honour their agreements, there are more that DON’T and thus the adoption is closed as the LAW provides for this.

The Act as it currently stands provides room for private adoptions, a dangerous practise given there is no compulsory counselling for an expectant mother. In fact, while we are on that subject, there is NO protection for an expectant mother other than she cannot sign before her baby is ten days old. Long enough for those lusting after her baby to wear her down to a point she cannot think for herself, especially so soon after childbirth.

The whole issue surrounding consent is another huge cause for alarm. As I have already mentioned, there is no room in the Act for counselling to be given to the natural parents. In fact there is no protection in the Act to ensure a mother is fully aware of the implications and law of adoption for her and her child, no protection from being coerced and bullied into signing a consent when it is clearly against her will.

In my case, I was wrongly informed if I didn't sign the consent, the Attorney General could sign on my behalf. Whilst this does happen in some cases, it is rare and only in the case of a child being abused. However, when you are not given unbiased information and are isolated and unsupported, this sort of information does much damage. The Act in providing NO counselling for expectant and new mothers, allows for coercion and fraudulent practises to obtain an adoption consent. To ensure an adoption consent is obtained without Fraud or coercion, one would expect madatory counselling to be introduced immediately and by persons who understand the complexity of what it really means to sign such a consent.

A lawyer taking a mother's consent can leave out all important facts such as once signed there is no revocation period and then state in an affidavit, that he laid out the law and his word is upheld over hers. The lawyer who took my consent had a huge conflict of interest given he was an adoptive parent advocating for more adoptions. Working in conjunction with my so called "crisis counsellor", I was easy prey for their games.

The Act itself is written with such ambiguous language, it is difficult to decipher at exactly what point a consent becomes irrevocable. While trying to reclaim my daughter barely days after being FORCED to sign, I was told I could reclaim my daughter for up to 6 months. I was also told this BEFORE I signed. However, the reality is that once signed, that piece of paper, regardless of how the signature is obtained, is irrevocable. Criminal. In my own interpretation of the Act, I would say there is room for revocation before an interim order has been made AFTER the application has been processed... however the ambiguity of this section in the Act makes it difficult to know exactly. Again, to protect from undue pressure being allowed to bully her into signing a consent, the consent should not be made irrevocable; indeed, a mother should be able to reclaim her child, HER FAMILY at any time before a final adoption order is made or six months as that is usually how long it would take for a mother suffering from depression, under the influence of others or with Post Natal Depression may need to allow all her hormones and post birth physical and meotional condition to settle down. Undertaking to separate a mother and her child is such a huge task it shouldn't be dealt with lightly however, the Adoption Act of 1955 places ALL the power and choices into the hands of the adopting family and depsite its so called bid to see the best interests and welfare of the child are taken into account, these are usually neglected in favour of approving the adoption, as mentioned below.

There is no protection for the child being placed for adoption and while an Adoption order can only be finalised once it is deemed to be in the best interests and welfare of the child, this is just a formality and not really taken in consideration as if it were, most of the adoptions would NOT take place as a guillotine approach to a child’s life can never be in his/her best interests OR welfare.

This ancient and archaic piece of legislation breaches the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights; in particular Article 25 part (ii) which states:

“(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.”

While New Zealand has the Domestic Purposes Benefit, it is not encouraged and in my experience and that of other mothers I have spoken to in New Zealand, being a single mother is NOT given special care and assistance.

The Adoption Act also breaches Article 7:

“All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”

The Act denies a mother to any legal standing before the court should she try to fight an order being made. Home owners have more rights in New Zealand than a mother trying to reclaim her own child. Considering we are dealing with people's lives here and not a piece of land or property, this is incredibly disturbing.

This Act also breaches the Convention of the Rights of the Child, in particular Articles 7, 8 and 9 which state:

“Article 7
1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents. (While children are give a name with adoption, it is usually not the name they were given at birth)

2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.

Article 8
1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference. (Adoption by its guillotine effect completely denies this depsite a child being given a new name and family. A child has the right to the family they are born to.)

2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.

Article 9
1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child's place of residence. (In other words, children should not be separated from their families where there is NO evidence of abuse or neglect! Not to mention the fact when an adoption takes place, the CHILD has no say in the matter so "against their will" can never be really determined. The decision is all based on the court and usually in favourof the adopters.)

2. In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article, all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings and make their views known.

3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best interests.

4. Where such separation results from any action initiated by a State Party, such as the detention, imprisonment, exile, deportation or death (including death arising from any cause while the person is in the custody of the State) of one or both parents or of the child, that State Party shall, upon request, provide the parents, the child or, if appropriate, another member of the family with the essential information concerning the whereabouts of the absent member(s) of the family unless the provision of the information would be detrimental to the well-being of the child. States Parties shall further ensure that the submission of such a request shall of itself entail no adverse consequences for the person(s) concerned.”

The Act as it stands, cuts a child off from their natural heritage completely, changes their name, falsifies their birth certificate and basically makes their life into a lie. The Act does not allow for children to voice their own views and they are not given a platform on which to be heard.

The sections I have highlighted were in my case completely breached. The Act allows for this by not giving any protection to prevent this from happening.

Further to the Articles above, the Act breaches Articles 10, 12, 13, 14 and 16. Adoption has well known detrimental mental health effects on the child and yet the Act completely disregards these in favour of family separation. This principle undermines the Family Court’s role to keep families together where possible. Adoption in this legislation is about providing a family with a child and is not focussed on the important role of finding a home for a child who NEEDS one. Children who have families already do not need homes. Their families need the right tools and assistance to help raise this child.

Adoption with its “clean start” mentality, breaches a child’s right to live the life they were born too. Even in cases of abuse where a child is forcibly removed (and quite rightly so), adoption should not be the answer.

If New Zealand wants to uphold its duty to its people and more importantly its children, they will abolish the Adoption Act of 1955 and replace it with legislation that upholds the fundamentals of a child’s basic rights to their family. Australia leads the way when it comes to adoption. It is by no means perfect but at least it has a giant leap of a start over the other western countries who refuse to acknowledge the damage adoption causes.

It is time a National Inquiry was called into the Adoption Act 1955 and its practises over the last 54 years. Until those in government stand up and take responsibility for this barbaric piece of legislation, New Zealand cannot move forward and be seen as a country looking after her people. I love my country but thanks to the laws of my own home land, I lost my child. And I want something to be done about it so no other mother or child EVER has to needlessly suffer what I and my daughter have been through again.

22 July 2009

Choking

Choking. Suffocating. There is no other way to describe these overwhelming emotions threatening to take over my grip on reality. The word ‘pain’ feels overused... it is almost too basic now. There are no words to describe how I really feel.

Every day, I wake up, get up, go about my daily life but at the back of my mind, this monster lurks. Threatening me menacingly... trying to take control of the reigns, but still, I fight back, try to keep my control.

I close my eyes at night and fill my head with daily nonsense; the latest books I have read, my work stresses etc... but she is always there as I let go into slumber. I can see her eyes burning me as she asks why, why, why? I cannot answer her... I cannot connect, my protective shield has gone up and all I have energy to do is hide myself from her, so she cannot see the broken shards left over from my heart.

This, all this from one hug. One hug and one look that has held me captive ever since... accentuating the helplessness in my situation; the fact I cannot be there for my own flesh and blood when she needs me. How can I describe this even remotely close to what I truly feel when I think of my eldest daughter?

In February, I blogged about my last visit with Amber. Since then I have been unable to write to her, unable to email her captors for another visit, unable to let myself think of her as I usually do. It has been unbelievably difficult to try and keep her out... but when I have allowed the thoughts to come, I feel like I could be crushed by their weight; it really has been so traumatising.

Her actions in clinging to me, in not wanting to let go, the look in her eyes... it was all so raw; her pain so clear for all to see and yet I had to stop myself from screaming as she was yet again taken away, taken to a place she calls home with strangers she calls ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ who have forced her to live this pain and are purposely oblivious to her pain so they can fulfil their own desires. As a mother, this incenses me to a point I want to hurt someone. Not that I would... but oh to be a mother lioness who has the right to defend her own young in her own environment. There is no justice in our world.

So, here I sit in a new plain of trauma. It comes with the territory of being in an “Open Adoption”. Someone from hell must have been giving out free lessons on how to cause a new brand of evil and torture that day because it really is above any other torture I have suffered yet. Sexual abuse, assault, terrorism... yes they were all bad but nothing on the losing of one’s own child over and over and over and over.... again.

I’m sorry Amber, so sorry, Mama’s hurting really badly right now that I can’t keep my head above the current... please know how much I love you and wish I could bring you home right now. Peace beautiful girl....

21 June 2009

The Case Against Adoption: Part 3: Alternatives to Adoption

As promised in my last post in this series, I am following it up with what I feel are sufficient alternatives to adoption.

Before I begin, I want to say I do get there are needs in our world to provide homes for children that are stable because a child has suffered abuse of all sorts, been orphaned, in some cases abandoned or for whatever other reason not mentioned, removed from their parents care. It saddens me to see and hear about these cases. Not because of the separation necessarily but because of what led to this separation. I feel in these cases, children have lost twice over. First, they have lost the normal relationship between a child and their parent. They have been hurt, abused or neglected. This has then become so bad they have then lost their family... but their whole family, not just their parents. Sometimes they are separated from siblings so they lose this relationship, the loss of grandparents they might have known. It is a huge tragedy and I grieve for these innocent little souls who have had to grow up so quickly; in such a cruel and hurtful way.

I acknowledge there are fabulous people in our world with an amazing capacity to love and nurture children who are not theirs biologically. I have had the privilege to meet a handful of these people and it is heart warming to know there are people like this in our world of pain, evil and greed. These are not the sort of people who need titles, recognition of being the only parents who matter etc. These are the people who know what love really and honestly means and will give without expecting in return.

These are the kind of people this world needs more of. These are the kind of people children like those I mentioned above need.

So what does this have to do with adoption? Over the past 11 years since I have been unwillingly submerged in the world of adoption where I have lived, breathed, tasted it every single day, I have learnt one major thing: Adoption is not, has never been and can never be, about love. Love for a child does not need a title. We can nurture without one. Love doesn’t need to eradicate a child’s past or dismiss a child’s heritage to care for a child. We can only truly love a child if we learn to accept and love a child’s family... with all their faults.

If adoption was non-existent, what could we place in its stead? How could we see children are given what they need? How could we see a child be kept in a stable environment? I don’t have complete answers but what I do have are ideas and alternatives that I believe could work, if we all bothered to step outside our cosy little boxes and saw past our adult needs and into the eyes of the child who needs us to be responsible, mature and there for THEM in THEIR time of need.


Guardianship

This already exists in today’s law. It is when a parent relinquishes custody but not parental rights and they still get varying amounts of contact and say in their child’s life. I am only going off what I know about guardianship in my country so if you want to know for sure the ins and outs in your own, contact a lawyer for more details.

This option I think needs to be changed a little. If I was to be a child’s guardian, I would want to make sure I did have custody and from what I understand currently, custody is always able to be challenged. I like this option because there is no guillotine to a child’s previous life and the parent gets a say in their child’s life. I would promote this option in cases where it would be possible for a child to return to their parents.

Foster Care

Currently this is an overworked system with not enough carers. There seems to be much competition between some carers and parents which I feel needs to be worked on. If a child is in care for any reason, where possible, parents and carers need to work together to do what is best for the child. This means taking special steps to recognise each situation is unique and not applying a generalised ‘solution’ i.e. one size fits all kind of mentality.,

Permanent Care
Out of all actual current legal alternatives to adoption, this one appears to be the best. Apparently it is also only available in Australia at this time but is a step in the right direction. It is for children who have been permanently removed from their parent’s care and there is no option for them to return due to mental health issues, abuse, neglect and other issues. From what I understand and I am not totally clear on this but the child is not adopted therefore does not have a new birth certificate issued and the order expires once the child reaches 18. This is a brilliant step in the right direction as it recognises children need permanency without the need to wipe out their past, name, identity and family of birth.

My Alternative
Personally, I would like to see the removal of all adoption agencies. Take the money making out of the equation. Profit should NEVER be made from a person’s pain and suffering and usually right from the start there are two people suffering: mother and baby. To make money off what is happening to them is cruel.

Women facing crisis pregnancies should be counselled about their options; and parenting should be their FIRST option, not the last as it is currently presented. If they are struggling, they need to be given support, ways to combat their struggles and not manipulators who want to benefit from their struggles. We sponsor children we don't know in other countries to be given basic needs (and in some cases they get those needs met in others the only way of knowing is by going to see for yourelf) so why can't we sponsor a mother and her child in our own country to stay together? A way for her to have a future?

If, right at the very end, once they had baby and are convinced they cannot parent then wider family is the first option before permanent care options are sought. Whilst permanent care orders are currently not voluntary from a parent’s perspective, in the small number of cases where a child is sadly unwanted, then there needs to be an option for a child to go to a family who wants to love a child without removing from them their past.

I think we need to start with the prevention of crisis pregnancies... more information in schools of how to protect themselves and what to do once it happens. There is still a huge stigma attached to teen pregnancies... I have seen it firsthand. There is an assumption that once you have a child, your life has ended. This needs to be changed and facts put in place to dispel the myths, even the cold hard facts. I am not talking about glamming-up single parenthood... but I don't feel demonising it helps either.

In stuations where a child goes into care, a child would be issued with only one birth certificate; the one with all their natural parents details. Names given at birth would be kept and only changed should the CHILD desire it. Where possible, visits would be set up according to each situation; and the parents would have a varying degree of input in the child’s life where it BENEFITS the CHILD. All paperwork issued would recognise the previous life and natural family of a child whist also giving recognition to the guardians and carers of the child.

At the end of the day though, I would like to see more people parenting; more families rallying together to support their family member in need. Any care options should be reserved for children who are in true dire need. We need to inform people; arm them with knowledge to help them live their lives in the best possible way without causing hurt in another's life. The world as a whole needs to embrace their fellow human being and instead of being in the wings waiting for them to trip up, step up and be actively supportive. We need to identify those who are in trouble early on, to help, wherever possible, prevent the issues that lead to foster and permanent care. I have noticed a trend of people saying they don't want to become involved so they sit back and do nothing. People appear to be content to watch their fellow human beings suffer instead. This needs to change. Heroes today are defined when people do normal human things like stepping in to assist rather than standing back. If normal reactions are so extraordinary today, it shows how far we have sunk as a human race.

Of course not all alternatives are fool proof and not all situations would work perfectly... but any system that is wide open, that is completely honest and built on a foundation completely dedicated to doing what is really best for the child has to be better than what we currently have in adoption. You just cannot have a bright prospect for an institution that is solely purpose built for an adults need when you are dealing with children and family separation. It can’t work. History shows us it hasn’t. And won’t.

So whilst some may think these alternatives are idealistic, simplistic etc, I have yet to see anyone else trying to put together an alternative. I have yet to see anyone put forward a new picture, a new idea to stop the pain and suffering that occurs every day an adoption takes place. Maybe my solutions are not the best... but at least I am willing to stick my neck out and try. I am not happy to sit with the status quo. It is said that all that is needed for evil to prosper in this world is for good people to stay silent. I will not be silent. And if all of us out there advocating for a better world, a happier place for our children and the children of tomorrow, then we would all be trying harder to come up with ideas. You can call me idealistic and unrealistic. But what can you offer? Anything?

From an early age, children have fascinated me. That is why I went into early childhood education. They are our future. And this is how we have thus far treated them... by ripping them from their families. Any wonder our world is so screwed up?


Useful links:

Permanent Care

More permanent care info


Foster Care in Australia

11 June 2009

The ongoing legacy of adoption: PAIN

It has been three weeks since I have been on my blog and posted anything. In that time I have drafted in my head and on my laptop the next instalment to my series against adoption. But I don't feel quite ready to post it yet.

Because there are other things I need to say. Different yet still important issues that need to be highlighted.

In the past three weeks, things here at home have been hard with our eldest daughter Noodle (my second daughter). She has been going through a difficult time and we now have to seek help for her. Some of it is related to the fact she is supposedly in the group of gifted and talented; how we are not quite sure as yet because she is yet to be tested but she is most certainly there as we keep being told by anyone who meets her, her school etc. (Follow up note 2011: we did seek help; guy said she was fine - some exaggeration by the school as to what her difficulties were and she was just expressing herself in a different way. Still haven't tested as we now think she is not "gifted" in the label sense but she is apparently very bright.)

But the other difficulty, the private pain she lives with and does not understand is the monster of adoption. My beautiful girl is also being effected by its cruel tentacles and I want people to see how damaging the effects can be on the INNOCENT lives of those who were not even present at the time of an adoption taking place.

It started when I was pregnant with her. I was ecstatic. Over the moon. And then Fear became my best friend. A crippling, illogical fear that haunted me every moment of every day. Fear first visited me in my first 12 weeks. Paranoia would grip me wih every spot of blood, every twinge or cramp. I'm not talking about the normal fear every pregnant woman goes through either. I am talking about full on panic attacks which would have me sobbing all day about the impending loss I believed was about to happen. I got through that stage. During the second trimester my nightmares began. Nightmares with my first child trying to murder my newborn baby; nightmares about my first born's adopters taking me to court to take her away. During the day I KNEW there was no way it could actually happen... but it had happened bfore despite I had been proven as a fit mother so why couldn't it happen again? By the third timester, I was convinced somehow, I was going to lose my precious baby. By now I was rational enough to know my eldest daughter's adopters could not take her from me so I had convinced myself one of us would die, during delivery. And I thought that would be me. I picked out my funeral song and started writing letters for my child so she would know me.

My labour was quick and she was born bruised all over her head due to her quick delivery. My first words as she engtered the world were 'is she alive, oh my god she's dead' as she started crying. When they laid her in my arms I was overwhelmed. Over the next six months I was in a state of panic. I never slept at night, rather I sat in my bed with her crib beside me and my hand was always on her chest. If I drifted off I would wake fully expecting to see her blue and dead. At six months I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression, Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (this was the 4th time I had been dagnosed with PTSD). I didn't believe I was a safe mother and told the psych team I hadn't bonded with her to which they replied I was more bonded to her than anyone could ever be bonded.

Now, now it is apparent, as Thomas Verny states in his book "Secret Life of the Unborn Child" how much of the emotional trauma I suffered whilst pregnant with her has transmitted through the placenta and hooked deep into her core. Her teachers at school remark she acts as if she is the victim of a great trauma and yet she has had a blessed childhood.

But, yes, she IS the victim of a great trauma... because her mother and sister were and are: ADOPTION. Six years before her birth events unfolded I had no idea would have a continuing effect on any further children I bought into this world. Six years ago, the person I was, had been, was taken away, never to return. The confident, easy going, child loving person I was died and in my place a fearful, doubting and timid woman was born.

Noodle talks incessantly about her older sister. Asks when we are going to see her, why we can't have her stay. She has been told only bare minimum facts about adoption and yet she hates it with a passion. If we see a Policeman, I have to do everyting I can to prevent her from going up to him and asking him to return her sister to us. And then, there are the nightmares. The nightmares she had EVERY single night for the first 3 years about someone stealing her from me - and before she even knew Amber existed.

This is just a tiny portion of Adoption's legacy. I have opened a little of my world to show you the damaging effects it has on future siblings and children. Yes, my daughter is more intuitive than some and her intellectual ability to understand concepts beyond her peers puts her at a higher risk for mental health issues. But mostly, the pain I suffered has passed on to her and that is wrong, unfair and downright cruel. She wasn't even born yet when all this took place, she never had a part in it but by the very fact she was born to me and is my firstborn's sister, she is also made to suffer. How can anyone think this is okay? How can anyone feel adoption is right when it reverberates its poison through generations?

People are truly sick. Adoption is child abuse... and the fact this has not yet been identified is more proof how sick our society has become. Children are people too, with rights, feelings, personalities they are born with. They are NOT blank slates and to write them off this way is to further abuse them and disrespect them.

So now, two of my daughters and I daresay the same for my son, have been grasped by the cruel, far reaching tentacles of adoption. If only I could saw, hack, those tentacles off and kill the Beast as it deserves before more innocent victims fall prey to its unending, unsatisfiable hunger. How many more need to suffer before we end this pain? How much longer must I watch my beautiful children be tortured by pain that should never have been placed on their tender shoulders to begin with?

It is torture knowing my little girl suffers because of adoption. I have seen the pain spread throughout my whole family but seeing Noodle so devastated by a loss that cannot be fully explained, a loss that has no logic to it, is truly heartbreaking.

My little girl, this innocent little life who should be carefree and not be afraid to go to bed at night... Isn't it enough Amber suffers daily? But no, it wouldn't be adoption without ensuring there are more casualties along the way...

... and they said I could go on and have more babies and it would be all forgotten...

17 May 2009

The Case against Adoption: Part 2 - The dark side aka the truth of adoption

I have been working on this next instalment for a while now. It was supposed to be about the Bible and the way adoption is presented in the Bible vs the way people like to interpret it and twist it around.

But, to be honest, I found the whole thing boring, lost interest and the post was stalled. Indefinitely. Personally, I feel anyone with the ability to read comprehensively can see the blatant fact God does NOT condone adoption practises as they are today... and from what the Bible does say about God, I would even suggest He actually does not approve of adoption at all. Why do I say this?... hmmm, Moses led his own people (i.e. natural family and tribe) with his natural brother Aaron out of Egypt at God's behest... which also meant turning against his adoptive family, also at God's command. God does not recognise Ishmael, Hagar's son, as Abraham's heir and provides Abraham and Sarah with Issac; God decides to choose an UNMARRIED woman to be the Mother of Jesus (being God, Jesus could have suddenly appeared and been taken in as an adoptive child but God doesn't take THAT route) and then there is the biggest one of them all: when God is talking about adopting us as His sons/daughters, it is more along the lines of adopting us BACK.

You see, God is our natural Father already as He created us in His image. Unlike adoptive parents, He actually created us to begin with and then through the act of sinning we turned away. To bring us back into His Kingdom, we are re-adopted again, as adults where we have the CHOICE to do this... not as helpless infants who have no voice.

To be honest, I can't see how adoption as we use it in present day even has any reference in God's adopting us. Our situation is described more aptly by Jesus in the parable of the Prodigal son but seeing as so many church based agencies like to use the reference to adoption in Romans as God ordaining adoption because supposedly we are adopted, I'll go there. Just a pity they are using it all out of context as what they say it means and want it clearly means are entirely different.

Anyway, as this is well known by those who truly know their Bible and don't have the need to warp its message to justify committing a heinous crime, I decided to move onto a more interesting post... the truth of adoption; its dark underbelly which is all too often hidden under wraps.

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So where to start? Well, as I pointed out in my previous post on ancient adoptions, adoption hasn't exactly had a rosy start and has only worsened as time progressed.

As I don't have enough time or space on this blog to cover all adoption's nasties since the dawn of time, I will stick to the 20th century as it pertains more to us today.

The Baby Scoop Era/Stolen Generations/60's Scoop
Many have heard these terms and some know what this refers to. For those who don't, the 'Baby Scoop Era' (BSE) is a term used to describe the era of 'mass relinquishment' of newborns in the United States starting in the early 50's and following through to the mid/late 70's. It however was not isolated to the USA. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland and Scotland all had their own 'scoop' eras. In Australia there was the Stolen Generation, the stealing of aboriginal children from their families by the Government which started in 1910 and lasted until the 1970's. Many were then fostered or adopted by white people. In Australia there was also another stolen generation which some call the white stolen generation which refers to the systematic stealing of white babies by the medical profession and social workers for the sole purpose of adoption which occurred at the same time as the BSE.

The stories that have come out of this period of time are truly horrific and show a mass violation of human rights in both the mother and child. Society seems to think and chooses to believe, mothers who place their children for adoption do so because they are poor, uneducated, addicted to alcohol, drugs and prostitution or are criminals. Their babies are seen as being abandoned, unwanted therefore in need of being rescued. Adoption has been made out the saviour.

But what really happened in those decades and why were more infants 'relinquished' in this time of history than any other period? Was it just because there was a lack of resources? Was it due to the fact it was supposedly 'the done thing'?

I have read and heard many theories and explanations. I suggest for an in depth look into this issue all readers pop over to Dian's website and read the truth behind this era. It is truly disturbing and scary.

The method of procuring newborns from mothers who were anything but drug addicted, prostituting criminals and actually came from decent homes either with middle or upper class backgrounds, can only be described as barbaric. Many women were sent packing to 'maternity' home or other such places (In Ireland, many mothers ended up in Institutions known as Magdalene Laundries) to toil and labour in secret whilst they awaited the arrival of their baby. Cut off from their previous world, it was an isolating experience for many; not allowed to know full names and in some cases they had to change their first name to prevent the 'shame' to follow them once they left the home. During labor, mothers were left to their own devices. No pain killers, no comfort, just the searing pain and tremendous fear of what was happening to them. Birth was worse. In the hospital it was common for doctors and nurses to treat them as poorly as possible, to 'punish' them for their 'sins'. During the birth itself, mothers were often restrained; some chained to their beds, others held down by nurses and doctors while pillows were placed on their faces or chests to prevent them from catching glimpse at their own child. Following childbirth, the drugs were administered. These drugs were a potent cocktail of strong barbiturates and sedatives which rendered the mother so sleepy and unaware of the events happening around her it was common for her to lose days and weeks of her life. During this time, under the guise of release papers or other sorts of things, mothers were made to sign papers. Many don't even recall ever having signed courtesy of the drugs going through their system.

Incidentally, thanks to medical records. we do know this actually happened with the drugs. This mass crime of human rights is in black and white on many mothers' hospital records.

Once the papers were signed, mothers were shipped back to the home for a short recovery time before being expelled to the world to carry on with their lives as if all was normal. Most mothers I know of and have met, didn't get to even glimpse their babies before they were adopted. In some homes, mothers not only got to see their babies but were made to care for them, breastfeed them before they were taken away and adopted out.

Really, there was and is nothing good about any of this and adoption, in its supposed 'hey day' was nothing but a cruel misuse of power, a gross abuse of human rights and in many cases unnecessary.

Abductions for Adoption
Whilst this is not a much researched or discussed issue, it does occur. One abduction of a little boy is suspected to be for this reason and with the amount of missing children world wide where family members are not involved and there is no sign of foul play, this is a very likely scenario... besides the sick world of child trafficking. I strongly suspect there are many cases out there where children were targeted for the purpose of adoption and then abducted. While there is little evidence to support this theory readily available, it is a topic that has been the subject of novels and movies for many years... some with tag lines that say they are inspired by true events. Either way, I feel it occurs and needs to be researched further.

Open Adoption
Ahhhh... the more recent adoption scam. The fraudulent practise of 'open' adoption. In this scam, a vulnerable mother is inundated by agencies telling her how wonderful she is for choosing adoption. While she is still pregnant and in the eyes of normal, rational society as an expectant mother, in the adoption world, she is swiftly demoted to birthmother, a title she has to wear for the rest of her pregnancy, drumming it into her head she is not a mother and this baby is not hers. Pre-birth matching is common with agencies giving an expectant mother profiles of hopeful couples and she gets to choose, all the while being promised the world of contact and the fact she won't be really losing her child.

Throughout her pregnancy a mother will be coddled, adored, told how fabulous she is for doing the 'right' thing... too bad at this stage she has no idea she will be dumped cruelly once her baby is removed from her. The 'counselling' is provided in a way to make the mother believe it is in fact her own choice. She is told it is a big decision and therefore she must choose wisely; of course she is also told the wise choice is to place... and thus the manipulation, brainwashing and in more sinsiter cases, coercion begins. These same counsellors do not tell her the truth, her rights, do not inform her of the damage adoption is known to cause both mother and child, this is all conveniently left out. And they never tell her 'open' adoption is actually non-existent.

Where did open adoption come from? Once mothers started arming themselves with information and protecting themselves from adoption predators, help was readily available etc, adoption advocates were faced with a sharp decline in the 'supply' whilst the 'demand' was still high. 'Open' adoption was coined to ensure the future of adoption; suggesting a mother will not lose her child with the promise of ongoing contact, visits etc.

Why do I call it 'Fraudulent'? The Oxford dictionary defines 'Fraudulent' as being done by or involving fraud; deceitful or dishonest. This is exactly what 'Open' Adoption is. Many websites I have viewed about open adoption conveniently leave out the cold, hard fact that open adoption is NOT enforceable; meaning there is no such thing as an open adoption recognised by the law. It is merely a term and relies on the good will of the prospective adoptive couple keeping their promise. And in most cases, not only the agencies are in on this scam, so are the adopters. They are told to promise the world of contact without the need to honour that promise. It is all part and parcel of obtaining a mother's consent to an adoption with little regard for her OR her unborn child. Little does the mother suspect or know until the ink is dry on the finalisation that it was a scam and she is cut off from her child and the adoption is in fact closed. To my knowledge, the only country in the world where any form of open adoption is in fact a legal arrangement is Australia. Interestingly, the rates for local adoption here are also very low.

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Okay, so this is getting way long now. I have touched on a few of adoptions horrors, however there are more. For example: The Magdalene Laundries in Ireland; the Black Market adoption scams i.e. the Cole, Seymour Kurtz, Butterbox, Hope, Georgia and Tann babies; the 'rapid' adoptions whereby a mother would be told her very much alive baby was dead and then it would be placed for adoption or swapped for an actual dead baby born to a married woman so the married mother would still get to take a baby home from the hospital. There are the 'Orphan Train' adoptions where children were illegally transported from the UK to Australia and New Zealand and then there is the atrocious story of the Argentinian 'Orphan' adoptions where often the adopters were responsible for the murder of their adopted child's natural family. On top of this, there are the International adoption scams, several which have been in the current news headlines.

The more one delves into adoption's sordid past, the more one can find. It is not pretty and is far removed from the front presented to society as being a loving way to form a family. This is just a glossy exterior... like being told you have won a holiday to a paradise location only to arrive and find 'paradise' is infested with roaches, falling apart and one big fat scam.

One of the biggest issues I have with adoption today is the blind, narrow-mindedness to see adoption as anything but 'beautiful' and 'loving'. Despite the truth about the damage caused solely by adoption coming to light, this is blindly dismissed in order to advocate it.

My question then, is if adoption was so good, so fabulous as the advocates would have us think it is, why then is there so much pain involved? Why so much controversy? Why, if it is so loving, does more anguish, more destruction result from it? Personally, I believe people have so much invested in adoption for their own needs they haven't stopped to look at the real truth, the hard facts about what it actually does.

I cannot comprehend the desire to erase a child's history, heritage, cultural identity to fulfil one's own lustful desire. I cannot comprehend how a guillotine effect to separate a mother and child cannot be seen as anything but cruel and unnecessary. It is beyond me to understand how causing MORE suffering, MORE pain, MORE loss is actually beneficial to anyone involved in adoption.

For the couple whose dreams have been shattered by the news they cannot ever bear their own children, I cannot see how offering a band-aid and invalidating their LOSS is helpful. Too often I hear and see couples faced with this devastating news only to be told its not the end of the world as they can always adopt. I'm sorry but these two issues need to be completely separated. This news is a LOSS all of its own. Most girls I knew growing up, like myself, had dreams about our future children and to be suddenly told they will never be realised is traumatic. These people need to be given the love, support and recognition they deserve, not to be thrown into the pit of creating pain for another family to ease their own. There is an old saying, "Two wrongs can never make it right" and I say this is true of adoption: LOSS plus LOSS plus LOSS does NOT equal happiness and gain. I'm not sure about you but according to my old basic mathematical equations we learnt at school, I would say all this loss can only equate to MORE loss, not less.

Loss for the couple who have lost the children who will never be born, loss for the mother of her own child and loss for the child of his/her own mother, family, heritage, family roots, identity etc.

So how does trading one loss for another do any good? It doesn't, it only makes matters worse.

Adoption is really NOT good. What is that famous saying in the Medical world? "First do no harm..." What the? I guess this was and is conveniently forgotten and dismissed of when it comes to the separation of mother and child for the purpose of adoption. Not only is it well known today adoption and mother/child separation causes harm, this has been well known since the 1940's. Yet when it comes to filling a demand where the dollar has become a god, this well researched knowledge is thrown out in favour of worshipping this 'god' and lining the pockets of the agencies and filling the desires of people wanting a child to call their 'own'. What a truly disturbing world we live in!

I have often heard if we lived in a perfect world adoption wouldn't need to exist. Separating out the issues of abuse, neglect etc, I really do not see the need for the world to be perfect before we rid it of adoption. If adoption was truly a success where all three main parties reported they were truly happy about their situation then perhaps there would be a need for adoption. But in 9/10 cases I know of, have heard of and researched, it is more likely 1-2 parties are unhappy which to me equates to adoption overall being one giant failure.

In concluding this post, I want to clearly state adoption has well and truly past its expiry date. There really is no use for it any longer. I challenge every person who reads this to find a really solid, valid, logical, intellectual reason for adoption to continue. And by this I mean without mentioning children who are abused, abandoned etc because this post is not about the alternatives to adoption; that one is yet to come. I am talking about the validity of adoption itself where it serves any real purpose; besides a personal desire to have a child. I want a valid reason as to why you think it is okay to continue a practise that is founded on loss, pain, scams, damage and destruction. If you cannot find one then I guess you would have to conclude for yourself that there is no point to continue with adoption.

Adoption needs to be abolished. Period. In a world where we are supposed to be more aware, more open with no secrets and no room for lies, we have no need for it.

10 May 2009

Beloved

The following post contains the lyrics of the song I have listened to most during my past 11 agonising years. It portrays who and what I am to my daughter.... merely a ghost...

BELOVED - Wendy Matthews

Here I am, I'm right here
Oh I wish you could feel me
Standing so close
I'm right beside you dear

I fly around this old man house
I float through our walls
I scream and I call
While I watch you without me

All I feel, all I am now
Is this love I have for you
Each night it's you
You I lay beside

Close my eyes, never to sleep
I tell you all the things I should have said
But you'll never know

How could I act such a part
As to love the one who breaks my heart
I had to go...

So put your hands here round my waist
Though you cannot feel my touch dear
And dance with me as you did before

I'm bound forever to this house
I can never go beyond that door
I dance alone

So when you think of me, smile
It's the only way that I can see
That you still care for me

Close my eyes, never to sleep
I tell you all the things I should have said
But you'll never know

How could I act such a part
As to love the one who breaks my heart
I had to go

Here I am, I'm right here
How I wish you could see me dear
Oh my dear...


Earlier this week I had to painfully recount the sordid details of my story and it has really hurt. To top this off, I have read some of the most ignorant and sick comments by adoptive parents who actually think it is okay and right to coerce a young mother to place as only two parents are okay.

What a warped view. Truly warped. There are mothers that are actually better than married mothers; wearing a gold band on one's finger does NOT make you into a mother and the sense of entitlement oozing from these people is purely revolting.

Like I needed another reason to want the end of adoption. How can they truly LOVE the child they are adopting when the view of the child's mother, whom the child is from, is one of feeling superior and that she wasn't deserving of HER OWN CHILD?

Everywhere I read about adoption being all about building a family and love. What the? How can causing destruction, devastation, everlasting pain, agony, torment and a myriad of other emotions possibly be about love and building one's family?

Why does one family have to be torn apart to satisfy the forming of another's family? How can treading on a struggling young woman, preying on her in her time of need, causing her to doubt her self to the point she will question herself for the REST OF HER LIFE be about love?

It isn't and it can NEVER be about love. All it is, is about the sick need to fulfil one's desire to have what they want. To 'keep up with the Jones'. Goes like this: Husband: check. House: check. Career: check. Child: "... um well we can't have one... lets adopt! We can pretend the child is our own, heck we even get a birth certificate saying they are, just like playing with our freshly purchased Cabbage Patch kids from the toy store when we were kids. Shouldn't be a problem and then we will be the same as XYZ..." Its enough to make you want to vomit all over them.

And you know what? When you have been devoured, chewed up and spat up by these people who love you when you have the goods they want and then hate you once the legalities are done with, when they hear you speak up, they are the first to make sure they try to trample on you again, try to make you feel like that vulnerable woman who they abused.

They don't want the truth, they don't want to be educated as they love living in their darkness. Shine the big old torch of truth on them and you will see their true colours. This reminds me of the dwarfs in the final book in the series by C.S. Lewis, "The Last Battle". All they care about is themselves, they refuse to see the light or the truth. And they will attack and fight anyone who stands against what they want. In the same way, the adoption agencies, some prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents, social workers and those with a vested interest in adoption remaining the status quo will fight against anyone who challenges the view they like to convey to the world about adoption; that it is a beautiful (translation: rainbows, fairies, fantasy, anything but reality) way to form a family. Challenge this and you will be trodden down, abused, have derogatory names made about you even if you are calm, have more logic and intellect than they. In short, they will throw one big tantrum with devastating effects. Sadly, because their view is still popular opinion, it makes it all the harder to fight the good fight and get the truth out there.

I will end this here. Because of the likes of people mentioned above, my child and I live in separate homes. We live separate lives. We go separate ways every day. We are ghosts to each other... and that is the biggest crime and heartbreak of all.

25 April 2009

For Amber

If I could be where you are... by Enya

Where are you this moment?
Only in my dreams.
You're missing, but you're always
A heartbeat from me.

I'm lost now without you,
I don't know where you are.
I keep watching,
I keep hoping,
But time keeps us apart

Is there a way I can find you,
Is there a sign I should know,
Is there a road I could follow
To bring you back home?

Winter lies before me
Now you're so far away.
In the darkness of my dreaming
The light of you will stay

If I could be close beside you
If I could be where you are
If I could reach out and touch you
And bring you back home

Is there a way I can find you
Is there a sign I should know
Is there a road I can follow
To bring you back home.... to me


Dearest Amber... always know how often you are thought of, how close you are kept in my heart. Know I wait for the day you can come home, if that is what you want. Love always, Mama xxx

16 April 2009

Blessings

So I have a life outside of adoption.

Today was a glorious sunny Autumn day. The sky was a bright, beautiful blue. The sun warm but not to hot. Everything was just gorgeous. I love this time of year. Last year, it was exactly the same. I can recall packing up Noodle and Dude (who was only a few months old) and taking them to our local park where we would lie in the shade of the trees and look through the branches at the beautiful clear blue sky. Noodle would run and laugh while tossing her ball around and I would tickle Dude and stare into his eyes, just wondering what it was like to be so small again.

Today reminded me of this. We packed up and took off to the park this afternoon and it was just nice to be outside... in the warm.

I haven't really said much about my other two children in my blog because it is mostly about Amber, but they are as much a part of my life as she is... and vice versa.

Noodle is 5 and has a beautiful nature. We often get stopped as people want to talk to her. She has a zest for life that stands out a mile compared to other children of her age. She is not a quiet one. She embraces everyone and everything she encounters; she expresses every emotion in an animated way. We often get asked if we have considered acting classes... but I am not one to push, I want her to explore what she wants to do for herself because she wants to do it, not because she is pushed into it. She has a compassionate nature and gets genuinely upset about people who are not as forunate as her. Noodle is my first child since I lost Amber.

Dude is 18 months. Completely different to his sister in that he is quieter in some ways, yet he too embraces life and is just gorgeous. He is not yet talking much but has the most beautiful way of communicating with his hands. He also loves to sing!

I feel blessed. I AM blessed.

Sometimes, I like to break away from all the pain and anguish I feel and concentrate on the amazing people in my life. I am fortunate to have my husband and children, my parents, my extended family, my friends. Life is not always terrible. Sometimes, I need to remember to give myself permission to enjoy what I have. And to share this with others.

These are my blessings...

31 March 2009

The Case Against Adoption: Part 1 - Ancient Adoptions

In my post introducing the case against adoption, I briefly (and I mean briefly!) skimmed the surface of ancient adoptions in a generalised sense.

Shortly after I published this post, it was pointed out to me by a dear friend that one of my statements regarding ancient adoption was not entirely accurate and so prompted me to look further into ancient adoption practises. What I discovered in some instances surprised me greatly.

This post then is about my findings. It is not written to be absolute fact, it is based on the information available to me and my own conclusions based on these facts.

One thing I did get right is that Adoption has been around for thousands of years. Whilst doing my research, the earliest legal references to adoption I could find, outside of the Bible, are The Code of Hammurabi aka Codex Hammurabi (written during the reign of Hammurabi, a ruler of Babylon from 1795-1750 BC) and The Justinian Code aka Codex Justinianus (circa 529 AD).

In both of these legal manuscripts, Adoption is well documented and both outline in some detail who can be adopted, who can adopt, any consents needed and how these are to be obtained and in what instances adoption can and cannot be revoked.

It appears Adoption was, in these early days, merely for the benefit of adults, the adopters, as it was commonly used to ensure the continuation of a family blood line, for inheritance purposes, political alliances and to care for elderly parents. It appears adoption was common for boys and young men for inheritance and procession purposes whilst adoption of females seemed kept to purposes of becoming a caregiver. For the most part, only men could adopt in Ancient Rome until around 291 AD when under special circumstances a woman was allowed to adopt eg the loss of a biological child.

According to the Code of Hammurabi (as translated by the Rev. Claude Hermann Walter Johns, M.A. Litt.D):
“Adoption was very common, especially where the father (or mother) was childless or had seen all his children grow up and marry away. The child was then adopted to care for the parents' old age. This was done by contract, which usually specified what the parent had to leave and what maintenance was expected. The real children, if any, were usually consenting parties to an arrangement which cut off their expectations. They even, in some cases, found the estate for the adopted child who was to relieve them of a care. If the adopted child failed to carry out the filial duty the contract was annulled in the law courts. Slaves were often adopted and if they proved unfilial were reduced to slavery again.

A craftsman often adopted a son to learn the craft. He profited by the son's labour. If he failed to teach his son the craft, that son could prosecute him and get the contract annulled. This was a form of apprenticeship, and it is not clear that the apprentice had any filial relation.

A man who adopted a son, and afterwards married and had a family of his own, could dissolve the contract but must give the adopted child one-third of a child's share in goods, but no real estate. That could only descend in the family to which he had ceased to belong. Vestals frequently adopted daughters, usually other vestals, to care for their old age.”


The Code of Hammurabi continues: “Adoption had to be with consent of the real parents, who usually executed a deed making over the child, who thus ceased to have any claim upon them. But vestals, hierodules, certain palace officials and slaves had no rights over their children and could raise no obstacle. Foundlings and illegitimate children had no parents to object. If the adopted child discovered his true parents and wanted to return to them, his eye or tongue was torn out.”

This is in contrast to another source which comments: “Adoption was not secretive or considered shameful, nor was the adopted boy expected to cut ties to his original family. Like a marriage contract, adoption was a way to reinforce inter-family ties and political alliances. The adopted child was often in a privileged situation, enjoying both original and adoptive family connections. Almost every politically famous Roman family used it.”

Indeed, Adoption was very common amongst well known and famous Romans, for example Augustus Caesar who was adopted by Julius Caesar, his great-uncle.

Adoption features strongly throughout the royal bloodlines of Rome. It is interesting to note however that not all were stranger adoptions; involving more kinship adoptions and most seemed to be of young children and not infants. It also appears that adoption within families was more of what we today see as a Guardianship arrangement. Apparently, during this time of History, infant adoption was rare. Abandoned children were sold into slavery rather than adopted.

Ancient Rome had two different forms of Adoption; one known as Adrogation which was when a free person consented to be adopted by another and usually this was the adoption of an adult male. The other type of adoption was Arrogation which is when one claims another for oneself without the right. The form of adoption Codex Justinianus refers to is arrogatio.

Interestingly, stranger adoption is not given the same rights as inter-family adoption.

The Codex Justinianus states: “....when a filiusfamilias is given in adoption by his natural father to a stranger, the power of the natural father is not dissolved; no right passes to the adoptive father, nor is the adopted son in his power, although we allow such son the right of succession to his adoptive father dying intestate. But if a natural father should give his son in adoption, not to a stranger, but to the son's maternal grandfather; or, supposing the natural father has been emancipated, if he gives the son in adoption to the son's paternal grandfather, or to the son's maternal great-grandfather, in this case, as the rights of nature and adoption concur in the same person, the power of the adoptive father, knit by natural ties and strengthened by the legal bond of adoption, is preserved undiminished, so that the adopted son is not only in the family, but in the power of his adoptive father.”

While trying to find research into adoptions in ancient Egypt, I found references to be rather generalised and vague. Fertility was extremely important and sacred to the ancient Egyptians and children considered as a blessing. The few references to adoption I did find mention orphans and not children out of other families. Due to the times, illness and disease often left children orphaned and so these children were adopted by those who could not have their own.

This seems to contrast greatly with the adoption practises of the ancient Romans who appeared to view children as merely a way of getting ahead politically or financially or who used adopted children as their caregivers. Orphaned and abandoned children were more likely to become a slave than be adopted; adoption was more common amongst the well-born.

Forms of adoption were also used in other ancient civilisations such as the ancient Japanese Shinto religion and Hindu.


So, I have established the fact adoption has been around for thousands of years. One would think therefore, this means as it is based on early civilisations, it is an acceptable institution and how could any of its history possibly aid a case against adoption?

How indeed?

I don’t know about you reader, but my revelations into ancient adoption have only solidified my resolve to see this institution abolished. Adoption, from what I have read (and I have read a lot more than what is represented above; there is just not enough time or space in a blog to go into all the details) has never, ever been about a child’s needs but only ever about an adults need. It is what adoption has been founded on... its whole existence is about exploitation and using children to secure what an adult wants.

What is so very tragic about this, is that this is seen as acceptable. So much so it has encouraged the rise of the Black Market adoption scandals, baby farming, child trafficking, exploitation of young and vulnerable women, money hungry agencies who see children for the number of dollars they can place on their heads and so on. How can anyone, with a clean conscience truly support such an institution? Adoption has only worsened really - records were not always sealed; this was a practise that began between the 1930's - 1950's (depending what country you originate from). To see how adoption has worsened, just look at the Baby Scoop Era in the USA and Canada, the Stolen Generations; both white and Aboriginal in Australia, the money making agencies using effective marketing tools to convince women they are not good enough to parent and therefore need to relinquish their as yet unborn babies. The list of adoption atrocities goes on and then there is International adoption and the scandals associated there.

Adoption as it has always been practised and continues to be practised contravenes the United Nations Charter of Human Rights and the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Surely if adoption breaches a person's basic right to know who they are that says something about it?

So okay, you say, what then? What if adoption is gone and no longer exists? What about all those children who are abandoned (although this number is greatly exaggerated), abused, neglected etc? What do we do with them?

From what I gather, adoption as it is right now appears to be more about infant adoption than adoption for those children who are in need of a stable home. Cute newborns who are supposedly (according to some uninformed individuals) blank slates, are in the highest demand. Children languishing in our foster care systems are the biggest proof that adoption is about the adults and not the children. If more people were interested in caring for children, less children would fall into the foster care system.

If, as a society, we truly were compassionate about the needs and best interests of a child, we would be bending over backwards to get these children out of unstable situations such as temporary foster homes and be offering permanent solutions. Instead, more and more children languish in the system and still more infants are in demand to be adopted.

Okay, getting back to what we could have instead of adoption. PERMANENT CARE orders where PERMANENT means just that. A child who needs to be in the care of another family does not need to have their identity erased. Adoption does that for the adults sake, not the child’s. Sealing records and hiding birth certificates benefits nobody in the long run. Contact with the family of Origin would not need to be a threat if it was conducted in the best interests of the child.

As intelligent human beings (at least I hope we are), there is no reason ethically and morally why we cannot work out another alternative to adoption. There is no real reason we cannot abolish adoption and yet still provide care for these precious children who truly need it.

As for the teenage pregnancy rate. We need to investigate the cause as to why this happens. Is there a lack of proper education? A lack of self worth? Morality issues? Society needs to look at itself with its eyes wide open and face the truth of what it has have become today.

Our children are crying out for our attention and we do nothing. The family values so important not so long ago seem to have vanished into thin air.

Society appears to favour applying quick fixes and band aids to issues that are complex. Adoption is just one area. Getting rid of it and finding new alternatives that delve deeper into the issues that cause children to be in these situations would be a good start.

Its time to change the thinking about adoption. Look past the popular view, past the personal ideals and desires and really see the stark, naked truth that is adoption. An institution with a foundation based on an adults needs with resounding and devastating consequences. An archaic law with a guillotine approach that severs a child's past with their natural family; taking away name, culture, heritage and replacing it with a stranger's. Legislation that allows a document that belongs to the individual it represents to be hidden away; sealed for all time.... replaced with another that is effectively based on a lie.

Back in ancient times, little was known about the damages adoption would cause. It is obvious adoptees back then tried to return to their families which is why the Code of Hammurabi includes a law that states an adopted person will have their eye cut out or their tongue cut off if they sought out their origins.

One thing as a modern society we have done, is look into the pain adoption has caused. Knowing what we do now, it is time to make the last step and end adoption once and for all.



Sources:
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

- Convention on the Rights of The Child

- The Code of Hammurabi - information used from the Avalon Project, Yale Law School

- Codex Justinianus - information used from Medieval Sourcebook: The Institutes, 535 CE

- Wikipedia which cited references from John Boswell "The Kindness of Strangers" and Brodzinsky and Schecter "The Psychology of Adoption"

- Numerous websites and articles

27 February 2009

The case against Adoption: an Introduction

For the past decade, I have often been asked why anyone would be against adoption. Why would anyone seek to put an end to a 'beautiful way to form a family'? Why would anyone want to prevent infertile couples from having the children they so desire?

Indeed, why would they? Has anyone, in their rush to defend adoption and its so called 'virtues', stopped and asked themselves why there is a growing number of people across the globe who are against adoption? If it was so 'beautiful' and loving, why would intelligent people seek to eradicate it? Why? There is always a reason.

Once, eons ago, Adoption had its place in society. It is not a new law. It has been around since Biblical times. However, in Biblical times, adoption was not used for infants to be placed into a stranger's home. Adoption was used primarily for adults in order to pass on inheritances or for succession purposes. Then, in later eras, adoption was seen as a way for orphans to have a home, a family and a chance of inheritance. It was about providing a family to those who had NONE, not to replace a family that already existed.

The adoption of infants is relatively new. This came about when Society deemed a child born out of wedlock was an embarrassment, a family shame, a child of no one and given no rights. Adoption in this era meant that a child could, supposedly, erase this 'stain' and become a 'normal' member of society with all the same rights and privileges of a non-adopted person.

Over the last century however, somewhere along the line, Adoption ceased to be about the children. The truth about Adoption and its hidden realities is being revealed and what is emerging is not a pretty picture.

While on the surface, Adoption poses as a loving option for so called 'abandoned' children, the reality is that adoption, particularly infant adoption, is about providing children for couples who cannot have them naturally.

What is wrong with that you say? What do I have against infertile couples?

Okay, one thing I need to make very clear, I have nothing against people who are unable to have children. In fact, I feel very sad for those who are infertile. It is a tragedy and a massive loss, one which needs time to grieve.

However, I do not see how creating MORE loss helps this first loss. I cannot see how taking a mother's baby and transferring that child to a woman who is really just a stranger, can solve anything. What I DO see, is more pain being created, more anguish and a tragedy of monumental proportions.

Adoption as it is practised today has become about lies and secrets. Pain. Loss. Misplaced families of which the effect travels down through the generations. Why does an adopted person need two birth certificates? Why does a baby with a name need a new name? Why does a mother need to lose her baby when all she needs is some support? Why does a child need to lose their family to fill the needs of a stranger's family? This is not a pet or a doll we are talking about but a real human being who has feelings, a personality they are born with, a bond to the mother in whom they grew inside for 40 weeks.

Adoption devalues a person's basic right to their family of origin. It has become, in some countries, a mere business venture where a baby is not seen as a person but a product. Prices are attached to a child's head based on their sex, race, skin colour and dressed to look as if the prices are merely fees. Some places offer education, the chance to further one's career in exchange for a child. To the general public, these situations might seem innocent but please do not be fooled. It is all to further the mighty advancement of one's wealth and there is nothing compassionate or loving in selling a child.

Open Adoption is another lie. It promises contact and updates of a child's life to the mother but is not bound by law meaning it is frequently a broken promise and in some cases a bold faced lie. Open Adoption is a new lure to coerce mothers to place their babies for adoption. In some places this is known as 'assisting a mother to make an adoption plan'. And the worst thing? Those who encourage 'Open' adoption KNOW it is a farce and that it can never be enforced.

The need for adoption in an age where secrecy and lies are seen as no longer acceptable, has come to an end. As humans, are we not creative or intelligent enough to come up with a plan that offers stability to a child who needs care outside of their family of Origin? I believe we are, we just need to cease looking at what children can do for the adults and see what we can do for the children. After all, whose needs are we supposed to be looking out for? Whose best interests and welfare are we serving when a young mother is pressured to part with her baby simply to fulfil another's desires? It certainly isn't the child's or mother's.

Research into the effects of severing a child from their mother have shown the lifelong damage it causes to both child and mother. The sad thing is this research and its knowledge was known as far back as 1943 and has been ignored.

Whilst I have merely skimmed the surface in this post about the need to eradicate adoption, there is much, much more to it than this. I have simplified and generalised a very controversial and emotive topic. But given the fact it is so very controversial and the fact there are serious doubts and misgivings as to how adoption actually helps in today's world, that in itself suggests at the very least it needs to be completely overhauled, or better still abolished. As all things in life come to an end, it is time the era of Adoption did as well and we put the focus back on doing what is right for the child and family. It is time the needs and wants of adults were put aside and as a global community we work on building what we have, the families Nature has created. Where it is sadly necessary for children to be cared for by others, lets not apply the guillotine of adoption but find a kinder, nurturing way to keep as much of a child's identity intact.

In short, let us practise what we preach about love, compassion, human rights, dignity, honour etc. Instead of tearing families apart, we need to join these families and be the village that is needed to raise a child.