Another Birthmother: Getting Online, Finding My Voice

I have to thank my husband for getting me online and “into” adoption.

He is the computer geek and was constantly in front of “the box”. When we started living together, his Frankenputer came with him. I considered it nothing but an annoyance until he convinced me that we needed high speed internet. Once there was instant gratification, I started to see the appeal of the whole “web” thing.

The First Thing I Google was “Adoption”

Pretty quickly, my “lone” status as a Birthmother made me seek out others who shared the same experiences. I think I started out on AdoptionCafe, but soon found my way to MSN sights.

Still Drinking the Adoption KoolAide

Now at that time, about 14 years after the loss of my son, I was still a “Happy Birthmother”. I was still under the belief that adoption was a great option, my son was having a great life (though it was traditionally closed..so what did I really know), and it was all my supreme choice that cause the typical “no regrets“.

I had figured that everyone was just like me. My first shocker was to see the huge difference between us “willing” moms and the older ones from the Baby Scoop Era who had no choices and were forced. I was amazed and did the typical shock response at their rightful anger.

When I stumbled onto BEBA ( Birthmothers exploited by Adoption) my response was a guestbook posting of how great adoption was.

Then I was extremely angry when the Webmistress at the time ( Hi Bry!!!) discounted my happy post and called me out of denial. That inspired a huge internetphopa where I cross posted the BEBA sight and called for those happy in adoption to straighten out the bitter ones at BEBA. It’s pretty funny to look back on that now, but it was quite the little war then.

I’m Not in Denial!

I think my remembering my reaction is something that helps me when I see a “newbie” react in the same way.
The shock, the disbelief, the anger..that adoption could be anything else but wonderful. Thinking differently, seeing the “dark” side, often rocks the very foundation of who we are.

  • For us moms, it questions the rightness and goodness of our decisions, long after we have any power to change it.
  • For the adoptive parent, it also questions the goodness of their actions and makes them liable to the responsibility of causing pain to another human.
  • For the adoptee, I think it also makes their adoptive parents have some negative and selfish attributes as well as question their “life story”. There is a big difference between “she loved you so much that she wanted you to have everything and knew how much we had to offer and love you” to “she was cut off from everything she knew, drugged and forced to sign off while screaming that she wanted you and you were whisked off to your adoptive parents who had supplied a huge chunk of cash”.

Anyway, it took me a good year to be able to let myself really see what I had actually lost. I spent most of my time on the original MSN Adoption. The original sight is now gone and alas, all my earliest writing, but I do have my very first post from there saved on the also now gone AAI:

“Hi all..I’m totally new here to this whole message board business so I hope it goes well…I’m a birthmother who “gave up” ( how I hate that phrase…do we have one that is more PC or at least not so cold sounding??) my son 14 years ago when I was 19. I have to say that dispite the heartache from my own personal loss and the fustrations that I know others go through with the process, I think adoption is a wonderful, beautiful thing. I look forward to when my time comes and I really can’t believe it’s only 4 more years and the records can be opened if he wishes. Until then I know ( ok..I hope and pray and wonder) that Max ( my name for him…don’t know the real one) is fine and dandy with his folks (who I’m pretty sure are Liz and Gary) ( somewhere in Boston area)…..It’s kinda weird sometimes..I have another 10 year old boy and a 11 month old girl….She looks just like the baby pictures of Max….I keep on comparing the two and sometimes it feels like I have him here as a baby again….Then it was weird when my son went to this camp this past summer and it occured to me that Max could be going there too..at times like that I keep looking into the faces of these strange boys trying to find a resemblence to a face that I don’t really know and I suppose I just seem like a freak. Not that I’d know what to do if I did see him, but what a fantasy…Anyhow …the point-if there is one- is that I really don’t regret it at all and I hope that everyone can benefit from this . Thanks.”

There I talked to Carla another new mom with LOTS of anger. I thought I could help her “be happy”. HA!

What I did get the most out of it was the ability to really “hear” the adult adoptees. Jen and Kali were also new to the boards and we kinda went though the trial by fires together. Lots of good conversations with them on how they felt being adopted and I realized that they were the ones who were able to speak for my Max. Being able to really hear their pain ( and many others adoptees also helped) was the first thing that really started to question my thoughts on adoption in general. The kids were suppose to be uber happy..and yet, here were real people telling me otherwise.

Getting my Ass Kicked at Adoption Insights

Soon after finding a “home” on MSN Adoption, I learned about its “sister” sight, Adoption Insights. Oh goody, I thought another place, not realizing what exactly the insight was to.

My first taste of AI was to pop myself into chat one night with my still happy and proud birthmother ideals. If you don’t know AI, let me tell you that it minces no words and it is a shadow now of its former self. ( ETA: like all MSN groups sites, this one is now gone too) Back then, the place was hopping with a huge membership of constant regulars who posted all day, every day. It is not, nor every will be adoption friendly and I got my happy little momma ass handed to me on a silver platter. It started as just the benign questions about his placement with my happy bubbly answers. And then they rolled out the big guns.
So my education was more important than my son’s happiness? And how would he feel knowing that I gave him up to go to school? Concerts? concerts and parties were more important? Wow, hope you never say that to your son’s face.

It was the first time anyone had really questioned my reasons and I was hopping mad. I ended up crying and not sleeping much that night, hating AI and all that were there, but like so many others, I was intrigued.

Coming Out of the Adoption Fog

While I didn’t go back to chat nor even post there for a very long time, I began to read daily. In time the hostility abated and I could begin to really understand it all. I could get past their anger and see the messages.

Somehow, I started realizing that I agreed.

The biggest change happened when I was speaking once of having “no regrets” and an adoptee pointed out to me, really she begged me, to never, please, ever say that to my child. She explained how hurtful it was to be told that I was OK with losing his childhood, that it was OK to not know him.

It was the first time that I realized that what I thought and felt, while it might work OK for me, would be hurtful and harmful for my son.

Changing my Views on Adoption

I knew then, as a mother, that I had to change my point of view so that I would never contribute more to his pain. That opened the door that the decision for his adoption could have very well caused him pain which, of course, was horrifying. I mean, we do this thing because we feel it is best, we are told it is best, and then, way after the fact, we find out that it could very well have a heck of a huge amount of issues that would not be there if we hadn’t done this “best” thing to begin with. The whole “best” concept started to fall down like a house of cards.

The final clincher was one a young woman named Sarah found her way to Adoption. She was pregnant and 16 and her parents were making her place. Suddenly, I was on the other side of the fence and I used every possible part of my soul to convince her that she had the will and strength to stand up for herself and fight it. Phoebe, a marvelous natural mom, and I worked for weeks to buck up poor Sarah. Phoebe ended up speaking to her mother on the phone and somewhere in it, the family relented. Sarah married her sweetie and they had their daughter on my birthday. And I became the me who tries to talk moms out of placing their children.

Now somewhere during this time, I did become comfortable on AI. Also somewhere in this AI had a huge membership split. What happened in detail, I don’t know as I somehow missed it. But the fallout was that many of the regular members left and went into a private group while a bunch, like myself, who missed the info on the new private group stayed on AI. In the four years that I have been on these boards, I have seen a lot of people come and go. People join, work though their issues, and fade away. People get mad, leave in a huff. Fights break out, feelings get hurt, all the drama and insanity of high school at times. Plus, I think that sometimes people just need a break and then real life also demands ones real attentions. I have had my “quiet” times, but I have consistently read all “my” boards, everyday. And I have never cancelled any of my memberships to any of them. I guess I am a lifer.

the Birth of Anti-Adoption Insights

About two years ago, a young pregnant woman came to AI with the intention of placing her child and quite angry at the typical AI attitude. AI was pretty dern harsh. There was no sugar coating, no gentle approach, a spade was a spade. And often, things got ugly. A few days of Jordon, the soon to be mom, and the AI crowd going round and round about the horrors of adoption vs the perfection of adoption and something very interesting happened. AAI was born.

See, now AAI lives up to its name..Anti-Adoption Insights. It is known for being an anti-adoption board, but then…the first page said..ahem “Adoption Rocks” because Jordon, madder than a hornet at being called an idiot for wanting to place her baby, applied the ANTI to AI. It was basically a huge fuck you.

Jordon’s Anti-Adoption Baby

She was quickly joined by some adoptive moms who were supportive in “whatever decision was best for her” and a few suckers who followed her over. Guess who was in that group? Yup. She didn’t post much, but she listened. I didn’t think so at first. It felt like talking to a wall, but I didn’t stop. I couldn’t. It was just something I had to do..keep talking to Jordon. I was relentless. Other people talked to her too. And even the adoptive moms were good. You could tell that they had a much easier time at supporting the adoption. because they could see good coming from it.

But no relinquishing mother really can say that it was “good”…..We say things like “best” and “loving decision”. We couple those words with “hard and painful”. We give each other hope by saying “you learn to live with it” and “you do the best you can, time helps”. No one really says “Go for it! Woohoo!”

This did cause some friction as many who did come over were from the AI spinoff group, and so, at first the posts were abrasive at times. There was even a vote to see if it was ok to keep the “antis” on board. Final decision was that the antis could stay, but everyone had to behave.

And so we all talked. We talked about how she could still excel in life with her baby. We talked about her mom. We talked about the potential adoptive parents and watch when that fell through.

She couldn’t sleep and would post, up alone, late at night. I talked to her on the phone..a sweet beautiful girl really..blond, smart, 16/17? Rye used to get mad at me. It would be four in the morning and I would talk to her for hours on the phone. She couldn’t sleep, she was alone and I didn’t want her to be. I remember one night, I had such a cold and had to keep blowing my nose. I was hiding in the attic, talking to her, so I didn’t wake anyone up. It was so cold and I was so tired, but I could never be the first one to hang up on Jordon. It was so hard. She didn’t talk about how she felt so going into labor, no one knew what would happen.

By then, we all wanted her to parent. And the miracle happened. Jordon kept her daughter.

Continue reading….A Brief History of Anti-Adoption Insights

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

6 Comments on "Another Birthmother: Getting Online, Finding My Voice"

  1. I love reading your posts. I don’t know what else to say, just that I love reading your posts.

  2. While I stay “happy” and make things work in our adoption, I do sometimes wish I had a reliable internet connection when I was pregnant… so that someone could have talked to me. I can’t change the past so I won’t dwell too much. But keep it up.

    • Yes, exactly! I feel like I did what I thought was best but I only had a tiny bit of information. That’s my regret: not having the slightest clue of what I was getting myself into.

  3. Anti-adoption Insights can indeed be an angry,confrontive place, but sometimes that is necessary to counter the sugary rhetoric that abounds in all of the agency-sponsored webpages (which have purchased every domain name with the word, “adoption,” rendering silent those who would offer pregnant mothers opposing experiences and viewpoints.)

    It is fascinating to read of your “awakening,” and I think it will inform some. It is unfortunate that anyone who insists upon real efforts toward family preservation gets the anti-adoption label. Obviously, some kids cannot safely be raised in natural families, but that isn’t what adoption, especially infant adoption, is about.

    How can adoption continue to be called a choice when all of the information is (intentionally) not provided in the decision making process?

    Keep writing. It is important that varied perspectives get out there.

  4. Its funny…when people try to dismiss my viewpoint with the “oh, sorry you had a bad experience, but they are all not like that” and I want to shout: It wasn’t BAD..and I felt just like you!!

    And while I know that not everyone will see it, or be able to allow themselves to see it..I can’t help but think that there will be a time in every moms life where the truth might just come out. Took me over 14 years…I don’t beleive that anyone can be Ok with losing their child forever. Time will tell, I always think, tell me how you feel in another ten years. You might be like me..surprised at yourself.
    I do think that family preservation is the “better” way to get the message out. And I know that I do better with a more civilized, neutral approach. But, then again..I dislike all forms of anger..real life, on baord..it just makes me uncomfortable.

  5. I’m seeking for any information about [b]XRUMER program[/b].
    Can you help me? Or give me a link to the official site of this program.

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