Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lorraine says, See You Later

Some of you may have noticed that I have been not writing much of late, or that I mentioned upcoming surgery on my ankle--a replacement. Now I have learned that I may not be able to have a replacement, but may need a bone fusion instead, or some of both. But whatever the operation is--on August 8--I will be out of commission for a while. And as I build up to the surgery, my time is filling with the pre-op stuff that needs to be done (blood test, a dental exam, a physical exam) and endless appointments with a physical therapist to build up the muscles in my leg, as well as that magical "core" that exercise gurus talk about these days.

I am also polishing of my manuscript of hole in my heart, following the reading of it by fellow blogger Jane, as well as two other friends, and I
intend to finish that before surgery or I will go mad. I have been working on this book for five years, and, in a way, even before that, I interviewed my daughter for such a memoir years before she died.

A bit about the book: Twice I thought I had a publisher. One was a mainstream publisher, with a name most of you would recognize, but when hole in my heart got to the meeting where books are given the final nay or go, two young women editors complained bitterly about the blog and said it was "too STRIDENT." I don't know if they were adoptive mothers or adoptees themselves, or close to adoptive parents through blood or friendship, but the book at that publisher died that day. Of the young women editors, my husband said, "They probably always want to know that adoption will be available to them if they need it." 

Unfortunately I think he hit the nail on the head.
Jane and Lorraine, July 1983

The talk here sometimes does get heated. Both Jane and are outspoken about what we see as the fallacies of adoption. We do not mince words. We have made adoptees angry sometimes. We have infuriated adoptive parents. We have called out some writers for the narrow and unrealistic view of adoption we think they present in their books. We have pointed out the lasting sorrow that many mothers endure, and the angst some adoptees experience due to their being adopted. We are not fans of intercountry adoption. We believe all adopted people should have the unrestricted right to know the truth of their origins, that the "privacy" of the birth mother is a blatant violation of another's right to know. We do not think that women today ought to be pushed into giving up their babies. We are pro-contraception and pro-abortion. We are not apologizing for any of it, for it is our truth, and we believe, that of many. 

I know there are adoptive mothers and fathers who are understanding of the whole situation for both birth mothers and their children. We are thrilled when we hear from them. We are thrilled, also when we hear from people who are thinking about adopting an infant but change their minds after educating themselves. 

Other main stream publishers who were interested in my manuscript for hole in my heart said that they did not think there would be a big enough audience for it. One special-focus publisher wanted the book, but ultimately presented me with a contract that I could not sign, as it bought the rights to my story indefinitely. Regular publishing contracts are not like that, and in the end, they did not seem like a good fit. 

In any event, I have gone over the manuscript again, whittled it down to a manageable length, corrected typos, and am still responding to some of the notes, for which I am eminently grateful. I will publish hole in my heart one way or another. And I will have this one more refining of the manuscript done before surgery.

The recovery period of the upcoming surgery, and my focus on finishing the book, and the recovery time needed (several weeks before I can even put weight down on my ankle) means that for the next few months, I will not be writing any more here. Jane will take over although family matters will take precedence for a couple of weeks. Beginning very soon, she will start republishing some of the old posts (we have published more than 900) that date to 2008, when I started with blog and invited Jane and another first mother, Linda, to join. After a year, Linda wanted to move on, though we remain friends. It is a special sisterhood we first mothers have. I am not sure that I will be able to return to the level of publishing at the pace that Jane and I have kept up since 2008. 

Since I do not have a laptop, I am unable to connect to the internet from anywhere in my house except my office, where I have a cable connection. If anyone would like to help with the cost of a computer, ($350) please see the sidebar at the blog with my address. Thank you. 
Since I am not saying goodbye for ever, I will just close with see you later--à plus tard.--lorraine

56 comments :

  1. This blog has been a saving grace in all the years following finding my child (has it really been that long?) I don't know what I would have done without the wisdom and insight so many have offered here. Thank you so immensely for sharing here and allowing our voices to be heard. Here's to your health and happiness. You will be missed, Lorraine-

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  2. Wishing you speedy and complete healing, Lorraine. I'll miss you during your absence.

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  3. Speedy recovery to you Lorraine. Will miss reading you here, but will be thinking of you.

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  4. I will miss your posts tremendously, but of course you need to concentrate on your healing. Best of luck to you.

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  5. Wishing you all the best, Lorraine. This adult adoptee appreciates all the work and effort on your part to stop the needless seperation of mothers and their children.

    ~Jamie Buday

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  6. Golly, Lorraine, I miss you already. I am with you and Jane 100% (except perhaps re. abortion; I'm pro-choice but not pro-abortion, if you allow me to make that distinction), and with every day that passes I become more committed to doing all I can to end adoption as we know it. I've been watching some of the speeches to the Irish legislature about the Magdalene Laundries and Mother and Baby homes and all the forced adoptions, and I have hopes (slight, I admit) that our government might someday hold inquiries into the BSE and the myths of "open adoption." We need your voice, so get well soon and return to us.

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    1. The comments are acting funny so please pardon me, Lorraine and Jane, and feel free to delete this one if it is a duplicate, but I'm trying again.

      Re: the pro-abortion comment: I think the only people I ever run into who are pro-abortion are those who are stridently against the idea of their own reproduction. Marley Greiner (an adoptee blogger) is one of those. I've heard her say things that make me think she would probably call herself pro-abortion. But these people are the EXCEPTION, not the rule. Simply wanting abortion to remain as widely legal as possible is not the same as being pro-abortion.

      It's like with heart surgery. No one WANTS to get heart surgery; ergo, no one is PRO-heart surgery. But we all want to know it will be available and accessible if we should ever need it.

      That's how most of us pro-choicers view abortion, too.

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  7. Wishing you the best for your recovery and for your manuscript. It seems quite difficult to get anything published. I hope you get your book out into the world soon.

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  8. I want to reply to "Sister Wish" and the account of the author's reunion with her birth mother after her open adoption. This is the first blog I've read by an adoptee from an open adoption, despite her quoting someone else as saying, "This has already been discussed." I'm a birth mother and an adoptive mother, and, while open adoption is a concept that bothers me greatly, I hadn't heard from someone who was directly involved in such an arrangement until now. Open adoption obviously has an appeal to a birth mother who doesn't want to relinquish her child completely and forever. It's probably less appealing to adoptive parents, but they're willing to go along if it will get them the child they want. The one who gets no say in the matter is the baby/child who goes where it's put. I can't imagine being in that position. How must it feel to be suspended between two mothers, like someone with one foot on the dock and the other on the boat? It's natural for a mother to love more than one child, but for a child to feel attached to more than one mother? How hard must that be? And if the child feels more of a connection to the birth mother because of shared genes, how strange must it be to be told, even indirectly and by suggestion, that the adoptive mother is the one who is really in charge. No. I can't see how open adoption benefits anyone. Not the adoptive parents who must share a child, not the birth mother who remains on the other side of a glass wall, not the child who doesn't know where she belongs or to whom. Adoption is an unfortunate development in human history, and we should do all we can to eliminate it. International adoption is human trafficking, and infant adoption is a tragedy. Children who are truly alone in the world (with NO family, no friends), who are older and in foster care, or whose parents have been proved unfit should be adopted if good families can be found, but the vast majority of adoptions don't need to happen. I lost my son because of shame it would bring my parents. Young girls today are persuaded to give up their babies because they are too young or lack education or are unemployed, but the real reason is that someone else wants their baby. We need to preserve families, help mothers in need, and do all we can to make sure babies remain with the women who birth them.

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    1. Pam, you clearly got to the heart of the matter on adoption--open and closed. I know from the outside it sounds like a better option, but--? Really? It must have it's heart-breaking moments for all the parties concerned.

      I suppose you could say that after I found my daughter, when she was 15, I had an open adoption. It wasn't easy and all of the conflicts you mention for her were clearly there. She once said: I feel like a magnet, the closer I get to one (mother/family) the more I have to pull away from the other.

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    2. My son's adopters, if asked, would make it sound like they got to raise him because I was unfit. The truth is that they were my in-laws, the husband was my ex-husband's stepfather, and while they had each had their own son in a previous relationship, they had tried to have babies between the two of them without success. I had not been privy to this fact til about four and a half years after my son's adoption. I'm not sure how much it would have changed had I known in time to be faced with relinquishment, as I was still drinking the Kool-Aid at the time--but no social worker ever talked to me, no court ever deemed me unfit (when they got custody it was so they could take care of my son, supposedly--even though they had a legal document that allowed this--not because I was a bad parent), no judge ever asked to speak to me. And yet because they adopted a grandchild under adversarial circumstances and he was an older child to boot (he was four when it was finalized), everyone automatically assumes they were saving him from something.

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  9. All best to you through your yucky ordeal as well as the heartlifting news! I'll be in touch.

    xxMrsTBB

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  10. I will miss reading your posts, I've always enjoyed your p.o.v. We are actually from the same home state, and my first exposure to adoption issues was as a 20 year old adoptee in NYC at an ALMA meeting headed by Florence Fisher in a church basement on the UES. I wonder if our paths have ever crossed...

    I'm sorry to hear about your unpublished book. For years I have been told by others that I ought to write a book about my reunion with my mother, but I never thought anyone would want to read it because--ultimately--the story is a downer. But these are stories that need to be told! I have wanted to read 'Birthmark' for years--I guess now is the time! ;-)

    I hope your surgery goes well, and that you make your way back here soon!

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    1. Sunny--Fellow Michigander who ends up at ALMA meetings. I first started going to them in 1972, but not in a basement--I remember upstairs at some church on Fifth Avenue--Fifth Avenue Presbyterian, I believe. I will have to ask Florence, as I am still in touch with her. What is the UES?

      I hope you enjoy Birthmark,! if you do read it, but I have not given up on hole. If nothing else, I will publish it myself. But as of yesterday, I have a new agent, and maybe the times have changed enough (after the reception of Philomena) so that our story will be read by more than the choir. Birthmark was extremely controversial when it came out. At least my publisher (M. Evans, a small independent, the big houses sniffed and passed) had more guts. One Jewish man took a chance on a Catholic girl's story of falling into sin and sorrow!

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    2. Upper East Side. So Fifth Avenue Presbyterian makes sense. I'm probably wrong about the basement. This was in the late 80s. I remember being thunderstruck by Florence, and quickly reduced to tears by her adoption talk. I met Joe Soll there, who ultimately gave me a search tip that helped me find my mother quickly, and I'm certain he bought me extra years in reunion with her.

      Very exciting about the new agent! You're right, the success of Philomena ought to help getting 'hole' published. I look forward to reading it, *and* Birthmark.

      Get well soon.

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  11. Pam: I agree with everything you have stated. And I also agree that somehow, adoption as practiced today, open or closed, either has to be completely overhauled or abolished. End of story.

    Lorraine: Good luck with your surgery! I will miss your posts, and I am looking forward to Hole in My Heart. As soon as I hear it is published, I will be all over it!

    Thank you for letting me get numerous things off my chest here on your blog. As an adoptee whose first mother was never treated as a human being....this blog has helped me put the whole sordid mess into perspective and move forward like I never have before. Look at all I have accomplished since I came here:

    I obtained my amended BC, which I never had.
    I learned my actual birthdate.
    I approached my AP's regarding documents for obtaining a passport. I didn't get any documents, but at least we kind of spoke about it.
    I obtained non-id and discovered a connection with my first mother through art.
    I learned her name. And the names of some family members.
    I submitted DNA to a testing site. Still waiting for results.

    Without the push of certain people here on this blog, I never would have done any of this. Thank you!

    I don't have a laptop, but I wonder if hubby or my daughter still has an old one. I will ask and post again later to let you know.

    Best of luck with the surgery and a speedy recovery!!

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  12. Ah Lorraine, I wish you the very best for everything ahead. I have no way of telling you and Jane how much I appreciate your blog, and the great effort I know it takes to produce it and to provide such a rich space for our discussions (with all the varied perspectives involved). Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I will be thinking of you over the next few months.

    x

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  13. Best of luck to you You have contributed much to my understanding(speaking as a firstmother) of why I was feeling so much turmoil after giving up my son and knowing that many others feel the same. I will miss your posts and hope you return after a speedy recovery

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  14. Sorry, Lorraine.... My daughter got rid of her old laptop and my husband uses his at work. Wish I could help more. Good luck!

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  15. Heal quickly, follow instructions and remember that it is all temporary! I will miss you.

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  16. Dear Lorraine,

    I have already sent you my good wishes by e-mail. What I want to add here is my optimistic feeling that, despite there being a long road ahead in regards to fixing adoptions being carried out willy-nilly, with no thought to ramifications on familes torn apart, I believe there has been some progress. You mentioned the movie "Philomena." I have also seen other TV programs that have highlighted awareness of biological family ties, of keeping those intact. I am hoping this is indicative of a tide that is turning since the time when those two young women thought your memoir was "strident."

    "Strident?" Hardly. Passionate? Absolutely, but you also listen and foster discussion on this forum. I feel as if the vast majority of people in this country regard all adopters as benefactors and all biological parents placing children in adoptive homes as somehow less worthy. This same majority tends to be strongly pro-adoption, regardless of the avenue by which adoption is pursued.

    You have a powerful story to tell, darkness and all. I wonder if some publishers think there won't be enough of an audience? I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case, but I do believe the social climate has changed some since your encounter with those two misled young women editors. I am writing this in support of your important voice being heard. Do get well soon - you will always be a trailblazer and an inspiration!

    Jay

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  17. I always enjoy everything you write. I will keep you in my prayers. God speed.

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  18. Dare I hope we'll still see you on Facebook when you need a break? Ha ha... Oh what the hell, I'll hope it. :) Hang in there lady. Surgery is no fun.

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  19. Hello Lorraine,

    You are the second person this week that has said they need surgery.
    I am wishing you the best and glad that you have such a wonderful husband to be with you in your time of need.
    I have appreciated your kind to responses to some of the not so nice responders. You have a way of explaining and getting your point across to make others see the other side. I am going to keep reading here as I like Jane's posts...she is great.
    I hope you finish your book and I will look forward to seeing it in print hopefully soon. If the publishers don't think there is an audience they are clueless. I would venture to say that most every family has been affected by adoption in America. Everybody, has somebody they know or some relative that has adopted.
    Gale

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  20. Lorraine, do you have a fund where people could pay in a contribution towards you getting a new laptop? I want to contribute.

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  21. Others have suggested the same thing--so I might as well just do that here. I can get an inexpensive computer for around $350 with taxes and shipping. Kickstarter of course takes a fee, and if I need to do that to publish hole in my heart that is what I will do.

    I will accept contributions towards the price of a computer. Checks should be made out to Lorraine Dusky, and sent to me at Box 968, Sag Harbor, NY 11963.

    I will put this up as a sidebar also.

    Thanks Cherry and the others who have suggested it for pushing me to do this.

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  22. Computer fund is a great idea! A contribution is on it's way as we speak. Wish I could do more....

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  23. Lorraine,

    I just wanted to say best of luck and a speedy recovery with your upcoming surgery! I am disheartened to read about your troubles finding the right publisher for your book but I have absolute faith that the right one will come along whose vision matches your own and it will be fabulous! Your voice means so much to me and so many other people and we will miss you while you're on hiatus.

    (((Hugs)))),

    2nd Mom

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  24. Lorraine, you are in my heart and thoughts. Publish this book yourself!

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  25. Wishing you a quick, painless recovery with a great outcome, Lorraine!

    This forum has been one of the only places I've felt comfortable expressing myself freely - I feel safe here. Even though I mostly lurk (I hate that word - so creepy!), I find this forum essential in keeping my mental health balanced, as it relates to my adoption trauma.

    I anxiously await your return!

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  26. Just heard from Robin you were taking an indefinite leave. So, I had to come over and read why. Sorry to hear about the upcoming surgery, but I am happy you've found an agent! I've dropped out of the scene for a bit myself due to illness. I hope to get back in, though. I found FMF a little late in the game. You don't know how many times I wished I'd found you all sooner, but I will always be thankful you were, and are, here. I will always be thankful for the time you have dedicated to this site. I hope to see you here again and at least around FB. Good luck with your book and your surgery.

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  27. Wishing you a speedy recovery and offering endless thanks for your tireless activism!

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  28. FMF changed my life. I still remember finding the blog when I was researching Catelynn and Tyler from Teen Mom and their decision to give their daughter Carly up for adoption. Everywhere I turned it seemed, people were singing their praises for being so selfless, brave and heroic. I, on the other hand, felt sick in the pit of my stomach at another child becoming an adoptee, and that seemed so unnecessary in the 21st century.

    When I stumbled across FMF, I was so relieved to find that there were people, and so many of them, who saw adoption the way I did, and who were willing to look adoption square in the face and talk about the enormous pain and loss that it causes.

    I will miss you terribly, Lo, while you are recuperating and I wish you a speedy and easy recovery. Your voice is a powerful one and a UNIFYING one. I hope you get the computer you need to keep in touch with us and that you will come back stronger and renewed. And, as always, best of luck with your memoir.

    Your Bachelor watching buddy,

    Robin

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    1. 21st century birthmotherJuly 24, 2014 at 12:03 AM

      ''and that seemed so unnecessary in the 21st century.'' help me here, are you saying adoption is unnecessary in the 21st century?

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    2. America among industrialized nations appears to have the highest rate of adoption in the world. It is almost unheard of in countries where social services and birth control are more readily available. Compared to England and Wales, we have an adoption rate 25 times higher.

      Yes, adoption should be unnecessary in the 21st century except in the most dire of circumstances. Instead it is a 12 billion dollar business greased by adoption agencies who push adoption as "gift" to a needy couple, while they collect fees, and keep the business model alive and well.

      And mothers and children pay the true price.

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    3. 21st century birthmotherJuly 24, 2014 at 4:08 PM

      Oh, then I can't relate to this, in my country it is all free and no agencies tell you or force you to give your baby up or not. But thanks for the information.

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  29. Speedy recovery Lo. Just re-read Birthmark for the 35th (?) time. Still makes me cry - so powerful - raw honesty. We all love you and await your return.

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  30. Wishing you all the very best for your health! Thank you so much for sharing such a large part of yourself. I hope to see you return.

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  31. I just have one question I wish any member could answer. Is this blog anti adoption? I -want- to give my baby up for adoption and I was looking for information online and found this page but apparently I'm doing a mistake?

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    1. Do everything you can to keep your baby. I speak as someone who relinquished under pressure, found my daughter when she was 15, and had a 26-year relationship with her until she committed suicide.

      You deserve to have your baby, and your baby deserves to be raised by his natural mother. Unless you are an addict or in jail, keep you baby. Use whatever social services you can find, ask for support from your family. On the sidebar you will see a link under :Making an Adoption Plan? Check out the information there, and do read the page on the side that is titled Response to The Adoption Option.

      And good luck!

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    2. Anonymous, I would give everything I have, I would give anything, to be able to turn back time and prevent my son's adoption. It hurt him terribly that I - his own mother - gave him away. That it was to strangers makes it even more incomprehensible to him, and to me too, now. I hurt my son to his core, by having him adopted. I hope you will learn from my mistake.

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    3. I'm sorry it happened to you and your son, but it's very different in my country. I'm just in the wrong page.

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  32. Anon: I am glad you found this blog. Please read everything you can here from first mothers and adoptees about how adoption is NOT a blissful, win-win situation. Relinquishing a baby is a painful thing that I don't believe you can come to terms with. And the baby who is adopted out will grow into an adult that will have issues no one should have to deal with. It all sounds harsh, but it is the truth of adoption, and I beg you to keep reading before you do anything you will regret later.

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    1. I know it is hard and that I will prob. regret this later but I am not a mother, I am not ready and most importantly I WANT to give this baby up for a couple who wants to raise, no matter how much it will hurt me. But thank you.

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    2. No, Anonymous, you DON'T know how hard it is - on you and your baby, for the rest of your lives. You cannot know, you can only imagine, and whatever your imagination comes up with won't even come close to how intolerably painful it is.

      There is nothing heroic about giving your baby up for adoption. Your baby is built to need and want you. Couples split and become singles.

      My advice to you is to get whatever help you need to raise your baby. And read the advice of those who know here, both the mothers who are really forever without their children, and the adult children who describe how painful it is to be given up.

      I'm sorry to be so absolute about this, but I don't think any mother here knew how agonising and damaging giving a baby up to adoption would be, for us and for our children, until it was just too late. I don't ever want you or anyone else to feel what I feel and what my son feels.

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    3. ...and just so you know, the word 'regret' just doesn't fit here.

      Regret suggests that your thoughts have changed.

      That's not what happens.

      What happens is that your entire self changes in order to accomodate your child, and your child won't be there. But you will have changed, and you will forever be a mother without her child.

      I am saying this from my own experience.
      Others may differ. I doubt they do.

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    4. Anon,
      You're not a mother because you haven't delivered yet. You will feel differently after your baby is born but then it may be too late to keep him.

      You baby may end up in an institution. The couple adopting him may be adopting only to please their parents who a want grandchild. They may be abusive to him.

      The adoptive parents may decide your baby is too much trouble and turn him over to a nanny to raise. The adoptive parents may be celebrities and adopt just for publicity. The adoptive couple may have "their own" baby within a year or two of taking your child and treat him as an outsider. He will be compared unfavorably to the wanted child. All these things happen in adoption.

      Delete
  33. Please listen to what Lorraine just said. She knows what she is talking about.

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  34. Anon of 8:21: This blog is largely populated by birth mothers and adoptees. The birth mothers, in most cases, very much regretted the loss of their children, and it affected the rest of their lives. The adoptees were often not better off, as the moms had been convinced they would be. Adoption is a multi-billion dollar, for-profit industry, and the agencies and lawyers will say what they have to in order to get you to relinquish. Furthermore, promises of an open adoption are often broken...real fast. Once the papers are signed, you have no more rights.

    Perhaps you can put aside the issue of adoption until later. Don't consider it during your pregnancy, or the immediate aftermath. First try to parent for 60 days, and then reconsider the issue at a later date, if you still feel it is a good idea. You can't truly make this decision until after the baby is born, and you know how you feel from the standpoint of actually being a mother. And it is not really possible to make a decision right after the birth, when you are exhausted, possibly drugged or taking painkillers, perhaps you have just had a c-section, and hormones are racing like crazy. If adoption is truly what is right for you and your child, then it will still be right 2 months later.

    And I PROMISE you--there will be no shortage of people lining up to take your baby when the time comes. Any one who tells you otherwise is a liar. If they try to make that claim, then it means that they are scared that you won't go through with it unless you commit right away, and therefore they won't make their profits.

    Here is a website worth checking out: http://www.origins-usa.org/

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    1. Thank you, I think I understand what you and other women here are saying but I'm not from USA and in my country adoption is very different. I'm just looking for others who do believe in adoption like me. But thanks your concern.

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    2. Anonymous, I am not from the USA either. I am from a country which, at least 30 years ago, didn't appear to do adoptions for profit, that provides a six week period for a mother to decide whether to keep her child or not, and that doesn't seal the original birth certificate.

      IT DOESN'T MATTER.

      It is still separating a child from his or her mother and family. No matter what the set up, that is what is going to happen, and no arrangement of the details surrounding it is going to change the core pain of that.

      Delete
  35. Cherry: very well said. I hope Anon listens to you, Lorraine, myself and all the others. Until it is experienced, adoption does look pretty good. I hope we can convince and help her. I am so sad to read her posts.

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  36. @anonymous, please look in the mirror. Unless you are a child abuser or addicted to drugs, YOU are the best mother for your child. If you want to settle for ok, then maybe adoption will work. If, on the other hand, you love your child, care about his/her future, and want what is truly BEST, then choose YOU!

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  37. I have learned a lot from this blog. I will continue to read and learn for myself and for my daughter. Wishing you all the best with your surgery.

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We welcome comments from all, and appreciate letting us know how you relate to adoption when you leave your first comment.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED. Our blog, our decision whether to publish or not. We are trying to find a way to end the endless anonymous comments, which drive many of us crazy. Pick a name! Any name. Choose the NAME/URL selection. You do not need a URL. Your name does not have to be your name IRL though we appreciate those who do, and we understand due to the sensitive nature of our subject, many will prefer to use a nom de plume. Okay with us, but the endless Anons are tiresome for everyone. If you post as "anonymous" you run the risk of not being posted.

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