Adapting to Mother's Day, After Adoption
- US senator hopeful Vietnam adoptions will restart soon following ban over baby-selling
- Supernatural adoptions, and the depression that follows
- Two arrested in Vietnam for baby trafficking: report
- Children trapped between supply and demand
- Report: Baby trade in Philippine hospitals
- Babies are not the only children worth adopting
- Adoption, paper pregnancies, and the anti-abortion message
- The woman who sold children
- Guatemala: a baby factory no longer?
- The Baby Market
I had the pleasure/displeasure of experiencing more than 40 MD's in my life, thus far. Almost all (but 15) had to be shared with "other women"...mothers who were not from my blood-line.
Mother's Day, in my mind, is very much like my own birthday. I am forced to celebrate a life I don't really know. I am forced to celebrate a role, a persona, a phantom wish/memory I never got to keep for more than a day or two.
In my present-situation, Mother's Day is flanked by two significant birth dates. Three out of four of my children were born mere weeks apart. My oldest was born late April; my youngest were born early May. Spring tends to be a very busy season for me.
This weekend also happens to mark my twins 10th anniversary of life.
I have a confession.
I didn't want twins.
Never did. In fact, I always feared having twins, for reasons I cannot explain. [The fear just lingered inside of me, ever since I got married.]
I remember the summer of 1999 like it was a few days ago. I remember that August I announced to my doctor, "I want one more baby'. I announced this once I received the clean bill of health, after I had a lumpectomy. 11 o'clock, left breast. [Location means a lot, when discussing "lumps".]
I was in my early thirties when my world turned upside down for the Nth time. After that surgery, and after the required follow-up visits, I felt lost... empty.... ungrounded. I was without any anchor in this world, all because I was adopted, and I knew nothing about my own genetics, DNA, and health risks, like breast/ovarian cancer. I had no one to go to, to look at, to turn to.... I was the orphan, fearing an early death-sentence. I wasn't ready. I was only in my early 30's, with two babies. I wasn't ready to say good-bye to life and health, yet.
Years prior, I had worked on an oncology unit. I had worked on a floor with new AIDS patients (circa early 1990's). I though I saw the worst. I learned I was wrong.
There is nothing worse than being the youngest patient waiting for the rushed mammography/ultra-sound. Wait... there is. The worst is being the young pretty mom, with two healthy babies, and no other adult, in the waiting room at the oncology outpatient center. I still feel that sickness inside when all eyes would turn on me, when the nurse would announce my name and say, "The doctor is ready to see you now."
After I got my clean bill of health in early August, 1999, I asked my surgeon if it was possible to get pregnant and breastfeed again. She said, "Statistically speaking, it's unlikely you will get pregnant right away, but pregnancy itself poses no risk to your health". She also assured me, IF I did get pregnant, the baby would be safe, too.
Safety has always been a huge issue for me. Physical safety, for me and my babies has always been a very difficult trauma-based issue for me. I think much of that has to do with the fact that my childhood was not what most assumed it was. Most people do not link child abuse with adopted family as quickly and as easily as I do.... and most people do not want to discuss my childhood with me. It's too uncomfortable, for others.
I don't like Mother's Day. I don't like the many sad reality-based reminders MD brings to me. For instance, I regret forcing the "one last pregnancy" issue with my spouse. He warned me finances would be tight if we did as I wanted. He warned me I was acting on emotion and desperation. He warned me he never wanted more than one child with me, in the first place. [He reminded me our marriage was based on necessity.... tradition... expectation... not love.]
How was I to know God would see to it I got pregnant after one attempt with the man I agreed to marry? How was I to know twins ran in my blood-line? How was I to know a twin pregnancy would be so damaging to a family and marriage? I had no sister or mom-figure to warn me. I had no one... I had me, and my phantom dad-in-heaven... God.
<black and blank>
And yet... years later.... MD is one of those days where I take the time to look at these little faces, at various stages of development, and I see parts of me in and on them. They ARE miracles, and they ARE amazing to watch and study. They are extensions of me, and the start of the family tree I never got to have, thanks to many adoption blessings.
Years ago, a friend told me, "We are cursed with our blessings", and I believe this is true. While adoption issues have almost killed me and my desire to live, my need to understand motherhood has given me a reason to live, and as a result, made me whole (in sad broken ways).
In my case, becoming a mom has made me a better, more loving, understanding, compassionate person.... and having twins has taught me what I wish and want for myself has nothing to do with what's best for me, as a human being capable of learning, and transforming. Evolution is such a crazy freaky thing.... especially if one is lost and forced to adapt to the adoption-option imposed upon you, the child with no anchor.
This Mother's Day Weekend will be spent celebrating my twins' 10 Anniversary of life on earth, and my own version of Mother's Day. [In my house/family, I am the only "woman of the house" , so it's my job to provide the meals we eat. This is the role I accepted back when I was 23. MD rule is I get to choose what I prepare, because it's what I want, for myself. If other's don't like what I prepare for Mom, that's too bad, because Mom is not serving special meals for anyone else.] While I am known for my pissing and moaning, and a weepy moment or two, I consider myself much luckier than other mothers on this earth.
<sad, deep cleansing breath>
This Mother's Day, I want others to remember women like Norma Cruz, and the women she represents, through Fundación Sobrevivientes (Survivor's Foundation)
Norma had this to say, on behalf of mothers who have, for FIVE years have protested, done hunger strikes and have petitioned their government to do something about their loss (as today, American Amother's celebrate their Mother's Day). The following statement came two days after my first-born's birthday. [I mention this reference-point because I want other mothers to imagine being the mom who lost her baby, so soon after birth/delivery]
“Es importante que las niñas sepan que sus mamás no las vendieron, no las abandonaron. Sus mamás han estado luchando año tras año. Tres humildes mujeres están enfrentando a todo un sistema que lo que hace es proteger el mercado de seres humanos en el mundo. Los niños y niñas guatemaltecos no están a la venta. No se venden. Pueden ser familias pobres, pero el ser pobres no les quita el derecho de tener a sus hijos con ellos. El sistema de justicia guatemalteco y las autoridades en general tienen que sumar esfuerzos para esclarecer todos estos hechos. Lamentablemente esto se sigue dando, por eso nosotras hemos planteado que hasta que no se esclarezca estos hechos no se le dé salida a un niño más.”
[ROUGH TRANSLATION] “It’s important that the girls know that their mothers did not sell them, they were not abandoned. Their mothers have been struggling year after year. Three humble women are facing a whole system that acts to protect an international market of human beings. The boys and girls of Guatemala are not for sale. They are not sold. They may be poor families, but being poor does not take away the right to have their children with them. The Guatemalan justice system and the authorities generally have to join efforts to clarify all of the facts. Regrettably, this is still going on, so we argue that until there is a investigation of these facts not one child more should leave.”
To those who insist of keeping the children they purchased through ICA services... if you know a mother is looking for her child, and you know you have the child that mother is looking for, please do the right thing, speak-up, and bring that child home. Return the child with the promise, "I love you, and I will never leave you, permanantly." [You will always be around if/when the loved child wants contact].
Returning an adopted child may not be the easiest thing to do, but as all good mothers know, being a good mom means making painful sacrifices, for the sake of the child who wants little more than the touch and feel... the smell... of Mom, as God had intended her to be.
This may not be the adoption-plan any one person expects (or buys into), but sometimes God Works in mysterious ways, making the greatest blessings a horrible curse, and the worst of all curses the most beautifully profound blessing of all.