My Position on Adoption

I am pretty vocal. Well, most of the time. I can more readily point out the negatives of adoption versus the positives. Presumably this is because I am a first mom. A victim of adoption. I did not gain from it. I lost. So I can easily see the negatives.

I am also assumed to be anti-adoption, a bitter birthmother, a slut or nut, whatever you want to call it. I dont agree with any of those labels.

Labels are for cans.

I do however have a position on adoption. My gifted friend Bernadette Wright says it best. I use her words below. Know that I support them completely.

"At the same time, I do believe that there are times when it is best for a baby to be cared for by someone other than his natural mother (or father). However, I do not believe that adoption, as it currently exists, is the answer. Even when a mother does not want to or is unable to care for her baby, there is no reason why the child has to be denied the right to know his original name, to see his real birth certificate, and to know who his natural parents, siblings, and grandparents are. There is no reason why natural parents should not be allowed to know whether their child was indeed adopted or not, how their child is doing, what their child’s name is, who is caring for their child, and even if their child is alive or dead.

Although it is sometimes necessary for children to be raised by people other than their natural parents, it is never necessary to have the secrecy and lies that we have in the adoption system today. The closed adoption system wasn’t created until around the 1950s. It’s time to end this awful experiment.

Also, in many of the situations where a mother feels that she cannot raise her child and it would be best to surrender her child for adoption, it is because of a lack of financial and social support. If our country really valued families and provided decent social welfare to help parents in need (as other developed nations do), many of these separations could be prevented." – bernadette wright

I think it was in Clauds blog that I recently read about the devils advocate question she poses to mothers considering placement "If you won the lottery today, would you surrender?" The answr is almost always no. Mine would have been no. My surrender was due to poverty. Due to a lack of options for housing and food and income. If I won the lottery I would have surely kept my daughter. Shit, if I had a place to live, food to eat, clothing to dress her in, I would have kept her.

Yes, in my case, adoption was a permanent solution to a temporary situation.

Unlike others who say they "chose not to parent", I did not make such a choice. I surrendered my daughter with an enormous amount of pain and regret that has affected every area of my life since. Morally, pyschologically, ethically, the surrender of my daughter was wrong. Criminal. Crimes of the heart and soul. I am guilty. Just like my poem says.

Oh, sure, we can dress it up in all the pretty adoption words, "the best thing", the "right thing", a selfless act. Maybe for you. Maybe you can tell yourself and believe it. But I cannot. Its bullshit to me. I always knew it was wrong. But I had no idea what else to do. No support. No direction. Just a babybroker named Kurtz and his minions salivating over my child and how much they could sell her for.  They are disgusting. I am disgusting. I should have been smarter. I should not have trusted them. I should not have believed their lies. I should have questioned why total strangers treated me more nicely than my own family, the babys father.

But I didnt. I needed a hand to hold. They held that hand. And then they chopped it off. The wound bled for nearly 20 years. Until I found her. Scabs began to form. The scar will forever be there.

My darling friend K says you can only make a choice when you have more than one option. She is right. I did not make a choice. But I still struggle with the guilt. It was wrong. I should have had a choice. I should have been smarter, looked harder, demanded help, I dont know.

Crying now. Must stop writing.

POEM: Growing Days

After I surrendered my daughter, I lived in Chicago. I did return home after surrendering her but well, that did not work out for a number of reasons. I left home again. I stayed with an older couple that I was friendly with and was their nanny for a few weeks. I got myself a temp job and I began the process of enrolling myself in college. It still astounds me to this day that I had such a will to survive. I think I was fueled by anger and grief and sadness. I could not acknowledge what had happened to me yet I had to do somethign with the rage and I used it to get my life together (sort of). Oddly, its kind of saddnes me now to look back and see how resourcesful I was, how I survived. Could I have done that if i kept her? Or did losing her give me that strength and that will?

A close friend of mine, another first mom, was still in the maternity home. I waited for her to give birth and surrender her child and then we were going to live together in an apartment on the North Side of Chicago. We did. It was cool. Tough, but cool.

About the time we moved into our apartment, I started having horrible nightmares. Night terrors. I would hear a baby crying. Loudly. Over and over and and for hours. I would get up and search the apartment. Frantically, trying to find the baby.  My roomate would usually find me in the morning sleeping in the fetal position under the kitchen table. I would be thoroughly exhausted, not really having slept. I was in some sort of fugue state I guess. I know now it was reacting to the trauma of my daughter. Who knows, its possible she was really crying and through some metaphysical altered state I actually heard her.

At any rate, this poem was a product of those times. I remember going to therapy (I seriously needed some help) and my therapist had suggested writing about it.

Growing Days
dedicated to my daughter, I pray shes happy
by S. Bednarz, 1986

The pain is subsiding
Yes it is still there,
My daughter is crying
Yet she is not here.

I gave her away.
For someone to raise,
I gave up my rights,
To her growing up days.

I won’t see her crawl.
I won’t hear her talk.
I won’t see her stumble,
As she tries to walk.

I can’t kiss her wounds,
Or wipe away tears,
I gave up my rights,
To her growing up years.

I can’t tell her stories,
As she lays in her bed,
I won’t ever know,
The thoughts in her head.

I hope she’ll be happy,
I hope she”ll be bright.
And she doesn’t cry,
When they shut off the light.

I can’t teach her words,
When she goes to school,
I can’t soothe her heart,
When life is so cruel.

I can’t cheer her up,
Or fill her with praise,
I gave up my rights,
To her growing up days.

I hope she will know,
Inside of her heart.
That I never wanted,
For us two to part.

But I had to do,
What I thought was best,
I had to put her,
Ahead of the rest.

My ears hear the cry,
My eyes see the tear,
My daughter is crying,
Yet she is not here.

She is gone from me now,
I am lost in a maze.
Because I gave up my rights,
To her growing up days

POEM: Guilty

I wrote this poem when I was nearly 9 months pregnant with my daughter. She has seen it and I have published it elsewhere so I am comfortable putting it here. I am rather proud of it. Not that it is any masterpiece of prose, but I think it shows the emotion and pain of a lonely unwed mother. Thats what I was. I can still see myself sitting in the office where I worked typing this out on an old IBM Selectric. My typing was horrible then. Truly horrible.

by S. Bednarz 03/05/1986

Lost and alone,
In a city, so strange,
Walking the streets,
Feeling the change.

Eighteen and pregnant,
A mother, unwed
Crying inside her
Too many tears shed.

Left home months alone,
To bear child alone.
Brought shame upon family,
Yet still yearning for home.

The days passing by,
Her body expanding,
Inside she cringes,
The world, so demanding.

Nine months of pain,
Nine months of hell.
What purpose it serves,
The Lord will not tell.

The child inside her,
She will not keep near.
She will pass it onto,
Someone else, out of fear.

She cannot support it,
She has no degree.
And things for the child,
Just aren’t free.

She knows what its like,
To grow up sad and cold.
Shes felt the pain,
And the tears of the old.

She’s not ready for children,
Not ready for life,
Not ready for motherhood,
So tired of strife.

The pain thats inside her,
Will not go away,
It will be buried and dealt with,
Some other day.

Her child will go,
To the parents, unknown
By giving it up,
Her love has been shown.

She prays that the Lord,
Will forgive her, her sin.
And allow her to laugh,
Her life to begin.

She prays that the Lord.
Will appear from above,
And tell her she’s guilty,
Of nothing by love.