We Should Have Rights Too

 

13 years ago I gave birth to a beautiful little boy. I kept him for a few months but seeing as I was only one month shy of being 20 years old, jobless, and in no position to raise a child, not to mention he was born sick, and his father had been killed in a car accident when I was just 6 months pregnant with him, I made the heart wrenching decision to place him with a family who was better capable of caring for him than I. My decision was made after he returned home from his last hospital stay. he was asleep in his crib as I watched him and started to sob realizing what I had to do in order to be a good mother to him. Since I was already so bonded with him I immediately knew that I DEFINATELY wanted an open adoption (meaning I would recieve photos and updates throughout his life).

The next day I went to the adoption agency. They promptly took me to a room where a counselor spoke for quite some time with me. I got her up to speed on my story and at that time I informed her that I would not consider placing him with any family that was not willing to send me pictures and updates. I expressed how important it was.

Finally after days of reading through biographical books of tons of perspective parents, I found the family I thought would be perfect for him. I was told by the counselor that the family was on an open adoption list and would not have any issues sending me pictures and updates. This is where the lies began. I of course being so young and niave, paired with the fact that it was supposed to be a "christian" agency, with "christian" parents (yeah right), I trusted them. I believed them.

The day came for me to go to court and fill out the paper work. That was the most miserable day of my life. I had never hurt that badly. My heart had never felt that much pain. I felt as though i had ripped my heart out and given it away, leaving in it's place a gaping empty wound that would never heal. My heart hurt so much that I literally wanted to die, and I really thought that I actually might die from a broken heart. 

The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and then one day the months turned into a whole year. A whole year and I was still heart broken. Not a day went by that I didn't think of him and long to be with him and wonder if I had done the right thing, wondered if I had made a huge mistake. It was his first birthday and I like everyday came home, went to my room and spent the rest of the day sobbing over my loss....until...I got a call from the agency. They had pictures and an update waiting for me at the office. I made my way to the office as fast as I could. I went in retrieved my package and drove straight home. I was sure not to open it until I got home, as I wasn't sure how I was going to react to seeing his picture. I went into my room, sat on my bed and slowly took his picture out of the package. One look at his smiling face with his parents and all my  fears were erased. After a whole year of torture in not knowing if he was okay or if he was with good people and finally my mind was put at ease. Then i read the update, and I was even more relieved and even more thrilled for him. From then on anytime I had doubts or second thoughts, or I got to missing him, I would pull out his pictures and updates and I would instantly feel better. 

Every Jan 4th (his birthday) I would become excited because i knew i had another package waiting for me with his brand new picture in it and updates of all his new adventures. It was his 4th birthday. I was now married and my husband had become excited about recieving these packages as well. We went to go retrieve our package, came home, sat in the floor together and pulled out the picture. He was SO beautiful. he just kept getting more and more beautiful. Then we read the update. We were thrilled when we read that he loved music, oreo cookies, and bath time. Then we got to the end of the letter and little did we know we were actually reading...the END. What we read next is why I am here. What we read next would turn my world upside down and leave it that way for the rest of my life. What i read next was..."We are so happy to have this child in our lives, he has been such a blessing and we thank you for that. Unfortunately we regret to inform you that this will be the last package you recieve. We will not be sending you anymore updates or pictures. It is making it too difficult for us to bond with him while you are in the picture in any way." 

Well, my first emotion was pain, or maybe shock, my next emotion was, panic (like when your child walks away from you in a crowded area for a second), then came rage, and finally after 13 years has come pure determination. I remember thinking...."Anyone who is incapable of bonding with their child just because it isn't their biological child and anyone who is incapable of giving that child unconditional parental love, has no business being a parent in the first place." I will admit, I also thought some pretty harsh thoughts as well...I thought.."Well, obviously God knew what he was doing when he made that woman barren in the first place, they couldn't have children of their own because they don't deserve to be parents." 

I immediately called the agency and told them of the letter. The woman on the other end sighed and said.."yes, we know. We tried and tried to make them listen to reason but they wouldn't hear of it. They had been on the closed adoption list for so many years and when they finally changed their mind and went on the open list we thought they were sincere. We thought they meant it and we believed them. I'm sorry for your pain. this doesn't usually happen, and again, we are sorry."  Of course my reply to this was..."This can't be! This is an outrage! They can't get away with this. You promised me they couldn't do this! You told me they couldn't get out of their contract! We had a contract. I'll sue them! I want him back! What kind of monsters have I given my child to that would take another person's child under false pretense like this without any regard to what damage they are causing?! What have I done?! Why didn't you tell me they had been on the closed adoption list for all those years. You and the parents both KNEW had I known that i would have NEVER chosen them! NEVER! They have stolen my child. They got him under false pretense and that is STEALING! this is abduction!" Their response...."Again, we are very sorry. You can't sue them. you can't do anything about it. they have every legal right to do what they are doing. There is no laws that make them follow through with their contract." Of course all i could say to this was..."You and those people lied through your teeth to get my child, you allowed these people to STEAL my child and I have no way to do anything about it and all you can say is....oops, SORRY?!?!"

I repeatedly tried to get them to change their minds but my pleas fell on deaf ears. The people I had trusted to raise my child, the people who would not even have their happy family had it not been for me had now thrown me out like last weeks rubbish, with obviously little to no remorse. I talked to several attorneys and the agency was correct. there was nothing I could do. At least in the state of Tn and in most all other states the birthmothers have absolutely no rights. Adoptive parents can lie and cheat to get the child they want by signing contracts promising to send photos and letters and even sometimes promising that the birthparent can see the child, but the adoptive parent does not have to live up to the written, signed, and notarized contract.

I am writing my story because this is not right. Something needs to be done. there needs to be laws that enforce adoptive parents to uphold their end of their contract, and if they don't there should be very harsh legal reprocussions. This is people's hearts and lives they are toying with. This is someone's CHILD they are taking.

To me this is no different than a person going off to war and suffering horrible physical and emotional trauma to give others a chance at happiness, only to come home and be treated like dog crap on the bottom of someone's shoe by their local V.A hospital. It shouldn't happen. It should NOT be allowed!

I am hoping someone can maybe tell me what I need to do to try and make these laws a reality, or at very least point me in the right direction.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

 

 

hopetohelp hopetohelp
31-35, F
7 Responses Feb 9, 2009

Your story is honestly heartbreaking. I gave my daughter up when I was 15, and chose a closed adoption because I wanted to try and forget (her conception was less than ideal and I am not a very strong person, clearly) and every day she haunts me. The last time I saw her, holding out her tiny, minutes-old arms and crying along with me. We were both just scared children at that moment. I wanted her back as soon as the door closed. I know that in the future I will see girls around her age and always wonder if it could be her. I so sincerely hope your luck changes with this terrible couple, and I totally agree: we deserve rights. I was convinced by the pressures of family to make it a closed adoption, and being 15 I wasn't a legal adult and couldn't technically decide for myself. I wish I had fought harder for an open adoption or even to keep my baby, because my life has been basically ruined by this experience. Good luck.

I'm so sorry. I have had similar experience. I was told that she "can't feel like a mother" without the distance from me. Even at 18, she has a hold on my twins. She told them in no uncertain terms that their being "curious" about me, hurt her terribly. They refuse to get close to me because of her selfishness, and I can't say anything about it because that is their "mother." Recently, one of my twins posted on the net that her "parents" were driving under the influence" LOL! I give them my daughters and they DRIVE DRUNK with them in the car! They are even buying the girls alcohol and drinking with them now that they are "18" even though they are still under the drinking age! It makes me so angry, because hearing this has made me question my decision 18 years ago. I trusted them, and they abused that trust and now I can do nothing about it. I can't even voice my anger because my birth daughters will never speak to me again if I hurt their "prescious mommy." I can't believe an adult who is now 49 can be so immature, selfish and wicked. It kills me. <br />
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I can't say that it gets easier, because it doesn't, but you aren't alone. There are a lot of us out there who were lied to. I can't come up with a sweet response to your situation, but I'd sure like to hear the light at the end of the tunnel, so I am curious to see if anyone can put a positive spin on this, because my mind too is reeling! Seething with anger!

i understand that feeling of betrayal. i wake up everyday feeling as if part of my heart is actually missingmy situation was a bit different i was suddenly a single parent, jobless,young and about to be homeless with 3beautiful little people now 14 13 and 11. i trusted the wrong poeple. they promised an open adoption i have recieved every babrie doll trucks and cars and clothes and all the letters my hand to write only to have it all returned back to me without even an answer as to why or what had happened. i count down the days til they are 18 and i can legally hold them in my arms. i first prayer when i wake is for them as well as my last for the night

Thank you so much for this information, and I agree with you. Adoption contracts should be enforced by law and punishable by jail time if broken. <br />
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You have been such a big help to me. Thank you so much. I wish nothing but happiness for you.

I thought origins had a chapter in the US but I can't find it - not that I know what country you are in. Origins has a support forum:<br />
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http://www.originscanada.org/<br />
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Concerned United Birthparents:<br />
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http://www.cubirthparents.org/<br />
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Ungrateful Little Bastard is a blog that has a ton of resources including a long list of blogs by first parents:<br />
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http://ungratefullittlebastard.blogspot.com/<br />
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Those that have not been through it, whether that be relinquishment or being adopted will never understand - they can't - all they have heard are the myths about how wonderful adoption is and what a great sacrifice the birthmother makes. Society LOVES adoption, but many of those who live it feel otherwise. <br />
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Open adoption should be made legally enforceable with a jail sentence if the contract is broken. Adoption is supposed to be about the best thing for the child - well that best thing includes contact with his/her natural parents. <br />
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I would have given my right arm to have had just ONE letter from my mother when I was a child. It took me until I was 36 to find the courage to search for her. I regret not doing it sooner - she's my mother and I love her.

No...I haven't checked out anything for any kind of support or help. I've actually had a lot of trouble finding any. What are they? I would love to find some type of support system. I try talking with my best friend about this and to some of my family but my best friend doesn't understand, she's never even had children, and although my family tries to help me, they just don't know what to say and I can tell it makes them so uncomfortable.

I am so sorry this happened to you. The agency said "this usually doesn't happen" - that is an all out lie - I hear this story too many times. Open adoption is dangled in front of a pregnant woman in crisis as a way to entice her - it is not legally enforceable and no agency is going to tell a pregnant woman that. They only care about making money. <br />
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I hope you have a support system - have you checked out CUB or Origins?