This is a story of a man. A truly great man, who without a doubt spent his whole life doing exactly what he should have been doing. A man who loved God and his family always. Who’s faith and love never wavered. Imagine never having any reason for regrets because you have done the absolute best thing you could do with your life without fail… This is a story of such a man.
On May 24, 1926, a child was born in the country home of Lonnie and Ida. A boy. He was their first child. Being a farmer, I can imagine that Lonnie was quite proud that his first child was a son…Having a son was very important during this time. But even so, Lonnie and Ida could not have been aware of how special this son was. They could have not known what kind of man this son would grow to be. Nor could they have known how many lives would be touched and made better by this child that must have been so tiny on that day.
They named their first child.. Their first son, Dencal Ray Cave. Ida grew to call him “Ray boy” and continued calling him that for all of her life. I can still hear her calling him, “Ray boy, will you come fix my thermostat, it’s too hot in this house..” As she called on him many times a day as she grew older and “Ray Boy” was always happily ready to drop what ever he may have been doing to go and turn his mother’s heat up or down…Open a window… Cook her a meal.. No task was too small or large for him as long as he was able to help his mother. But this was many many years after that day in 1926. Many years after he had spent his life time of dedication to not only his mother, but his whole family.
Now I don’t know what happened in his life before the age of 12, as I only know what I have been told about his younger days. I do know he went to school for only a few short years…And that the importance of school was very low on the list of things his parents found important for him. I can imagine, that he probably spent much of his very young childhood helping his mother with simple chores around the house and garden; until his body grew strong enough for the tougher chores his father needed him for. Attending school during the winter months as most children of that time did, when the farm work was lessened by the cold.
At the age of 12, “Ray Boy” became a man. He was quite proud that he had gotten his brand new social security number which I’m sure made him feel that he counted as a man in this country that he loved so much, these United States! But what made him a man was that it was then he got a job outside the family farm and started adding money’s to the family funds. He never even had any thoughts that he shouldn’t have to give his money to his parents… “It was his duty to help his parents in what ever way he could” is the only way he could think, being already the person that he would be for his life.
At age 18 when he was drafted, his father would have gladly protested the draft, as he was the only son.. But Ray could not allow this…Even though it was his terrible fear that he may indeed be forced to take another man’s life… He felt that it was his duty to answer the call his country had made to him. And off to war he went. While over seas, he had most of his pay sent home to his parents so they would have money to raise his youngest sister… Even then, he was still doing the best he could to help his family. It wasn’t an obligation to him, it was just what he did. That was just who he was. He couldn’t have done anything any differently.
Somehow, he did manage to get through the war without ever shooting or hurting anyone. He was quite proud of that. His love for God made his beliefs very strong that he had no right to take the life of another. He did his duty and what ever he was told to do.. Without ever shooting anyone. His life was often in great pearl however, as he was a front line solder. He and the others in his troupe had several very close calls. Some of these being so “close” that it can only be believed that God had made sure to keep him safe. And he praised God over and over again throughout the rest of his years.
After he had come home from the war, beaten and bruised he did not allow this horrible life experience to dampen his Love for God and family.
He soon married.. From this marriage he gained four children. And he worked hard and long hours to provide for his new family. He did what he thought was best for his family… He could not do anything else…Even still, some people in his life might not always see the good intentions, while they could only see the lonely nights and days without him there. If doing what he felt was what he was supposed to be doing helped his family .. It did not always help him. Living on God’s chosen path is not always a pleasant walk. But Ray did stay on that path… Through the good times and the bad…He was not perfect.. As no man is… He did stumble.. But always he managed to pick himself up before the fall was complete and continue on his path.
When his marriage ended.. Ray found himself a single father to his youngest two daughters. (His other two children were already grown.) A soon to be teenager and a six year old who were now totally his responsibility. Knowing that his girls would need supervision while he was working and also probably thinking they needed a woman in their lives… Ray moved back to his parents home, after being on his own for so many years. This must have been a hard choice for him to make, but he did what he felt he had to do for the sake of his daughters.
After a few years, when he felt he had the resources, he took his daughters and moved to a new state; to a new life. This move eventually led him to meet a woman who he fell in love with. The woman was indeed his second love, but she was his soul mate. After their marriage, as the years went by, it was easy to see they were soul mates. His daughter’s grew up and left home.. He continued to be the man he had always been. All anyone, family, friend or neighbor had to do was call out to him and he was there for them in whatever they needed.
When his youngest daughter came to him, broken hearted and soul bruised.. He took her into his arms and gave her comfort. Taking care of her again as he had when she was a child, until she could heal enough to care for herself again. He did this out of the free unconditional love he had. Never did he remind her that she had chosen the path that had led her to her own destruction even against his advise….He never said anything about anything that his daughter had done.. He simply loved her as he loved everyone. Free without a price.
When his wife became ill, he spent his days as her care taker. Even while by this time his age was advanced and his body was beginning to tire.. He never rested until his wife was resting. He took care of her until there was nothing he could no longer do for her, except love her and that never faltered. Even after she was gone.. His love for her remained strong and he would have it no other way.. Even though it caused him much pain.
Finally, he agreed to move in with his youngest daughter. He was lonely and he felt that she needed him. He was right! She did need him to be close to her. She was finally old enough to realize how important a man her father had always been to her and now she needed to be with him.
As he aged, he slowed… But he didn’t stop being the man he had always been. Many times in those two years after moving in with his daughter he answered calls for help from friends and family. All the while, hiding his own pain.. A pain that even his daughter didn’t understand for a long time because he would not allow her to see.
On May 24, 1926 a baby boy was born to a world who needed him greatly. On January 11, 2007 Heaven gained a new and wonderful Angel and the world lost a wonderful man.
I am that youngest daughter. On January 11 I lost my Dad. The only man who ever gave me totally free and unconditional love without ever asking for anything in return. How will I ever go on with life without him in it?
The nightmares have started again…. I was sure that dream was gone forever… I haven’t had it about 10 years…. It took me almost 10 years to get the last of that demon out of my sub-conscience. I was sure that I would never feel that fear again… Sat. Night, the dream demon visited me in my sleep, as he did last Sat… In anticipation for the Sunday to follow… And this morning, Sunday morning, while brushing my hair, I saw that old fear in the eyes that stared back at me from the mirror. Fear.. Terror! My stomach lurched when I recognized the terror in my eyes. How could I go there again on Sunday? I knew what would happen. I knew “he” would come into to the restaurant where I work and I knew what would happen… How could I go and face that again? I picked up the phone… What could I say? What lie could I use to get me the day off? What about next week.. The week after? How many weeks could I call out from work and not get fired? How long could I keep this job when I had to face this terror every Sunday?
It was asking these questions that made me realize I had to go today. This day would decide my future… I would ether face this fear head on or I’d run away screaming and allow this demon to destroy my life… Yet again!
My logical Brain argued with my fear… I’m 42 years old… I have built a new life for myself.. I’m not that young scared girl any more….But my fear countered my arguments with memories that are much harder to argue with….
I was 18, he was 30 when we got married. He had rescued me from possibly living on the streets just a few short months before. He gave me a place to stay when my step father and mother kicked me out….before my 18th birthday. He was my Knight… Bla bla….The age difference didn’t mean a thing to me, then… I felt that I was much more mature than most 18 year olds. (Don’t all 18 year olds feel that way?) But in truth, I was just a child… Emotionally, I was in no way ready for any type of marital relationship…And I was too emotionally immature to recognize the warning signs that were flashing above this man’s head.
In truth, the brain washing had already begun, even before the wedding. I had turned in my notice at work, at the job that I loved, because “my man” wanted to take care of me…..It made me feel important and protected. With the job, I also gave up my friends. I didn’t see anyone, because it was important to spend time with my new husband….and my new home….He wanted so much to be “everything” for me… To take care of me, forever.” I thought it was wonderful and never dreamed of what the future could hold for me when I was cut off from the rest of the outside world…
The other thing that I thought was so wonderful was his desire for children. He let it be known from the very beginning that he could hardly wait for me to have his child.. The first couple of months after our wedding, he told me this so often that many times I felt a twinge of guilt that I wasn’t already pregnant… That guilt didn’t last long, as he got his wish very early. R was born one month before our first wedding anniversary. Never in my life at this time would I have imagined what would come next! I was happier with life than I had ever been! I had a husband who “wanted to take care of me for always” and the most “beautiful” baby in the world! I felt that my life was complete at 19 years old!
I dedicated my whole life to my beautiful baby girl. She became my world. I found it so much fun and so rewarding that nothing could seem mundane or distasteful about taking care of a baby. I didn’t notice the lack of sleep… I woke up with a smile every time my baby woke up. Changing diapers even felt special to me… Tickling her little tummy and playing “this little piggy” with those cubby little toes. If R was awake, I was with her. Every thing else in my life took second place to my daughter. I believed that was the way it was supposed to be and I really couldn’t have done it any other way.
I did what I could to take care of our home, when ever the baby was asleep. But if it was messy… So be it. I didn’t notice. I started buying sandwich meat and t.v. Dinners instead of cooking elaborate meals that I had cooked before R was born. It is a balancing act to take care of a new born and still make time for one’s husband. One that I never learned. And my husband felt it. I think that his initial reaction was totally normal. He felt left out and alone and he told me so. In truth, I mostly just waved away his feelings. I figured when R got older she wouldn’t need me as much and he wouldn’t feel this way any longer.
That’s how the fights started…. As simple little arguments that I didn’t think were important. I did try to balance my time better. I didn’t give up any of the time I spent playing with my baby or taking care of her the way I felt I should.. But I spent less time resting when she was sleeping. Trying to fit in more time for the things that he complained about. I cleaned the house more.. I cooked meals again. The more I did the more he found that I wasn’t doing. I began to feel the pressure of lack of rest and lack of time for myself. And the arguments became more intense, as I found voice to argue back. I began to see my perfect little world start to crumble around me but I still had no idea how far this would go.
I don’t remember what the argument was about the first time my “hero” showed his true colors… Maybe there were dishes still unwashed in the sink… Or he didn’t have clean socks… Who knows how it started… The only thing I remember is that we were having a yelling match with each other and suddenly his eyes took on a new look… I swear, they seem to change colors… I had never seen a look like that in anyone’s eyes before.. I didn’t know what it meant, but I knew it scared me more than I had ever been in my life.
My reaction to this fear was to not let it show. So I took a step closer to him and yelled back at him with all my might. “Never let them see your fear!” I had heard that somewhere and was sure it applied here. That’s when I learned my first lesson on challenging my husband. I learned it on the floor. I didn’t see it coming. I barely had time to feel it. For a second, I wondered how I came to be laying on the floor… But only for a second, as then the burn set in on my face that now had a bright red hand print across it. And he was like a wild tiger, pouncing on my chest. His hands around my throat would leave finger size bruises that would serve as a reminder to me for weeks to come.
I began to fall into the darkness of unconsciousness before he released his hold on me. As quick as he had turned into this mad man, he seemed to change again… He sat on the floor next to my crumpled body and while I struggled to breath again, he talked calmly to me about his childhood. I couldn’t understand his words… It was like he was speaking another language to me for several minutes…
When I did regain my ability to breath normally, I couldn’t understand what had happened. Did anything happen? Did I have some sort of psychotic episode and imagined it all? There he was, just talking as if nothing had happened. While my face still felt the burn of his first hit and my throat would not let me speak. I was afraid to try to move. I didn’t know how he would react if I tried to move away from him, even though every fiber of my being was screaming at me to get away from this man…
As I fought back the sobs that were building inside me, he continued to tell me a story of his childhood as if nothing had happened. Then when his story was finished, he proclaimed that he was tired, kissed my throbbing cheek and left me on the floor and went to bed. When I heard the bedroom door close, I allowed the tears to flow, I laid on the floor in fetal position until I had sobbed myself to sleep. That strangely enough, was the first night that R slept through the night.
What woke me up was the noise of my husband in the kitchen, cooking breakfast. When he realized I was awake, he spoke of how tired I must be… “To sleep so late”. (Even though it was still quite early.) And told me how he was going to try to help me more with cooking and cleaning, because I was looking so worn from taking care of the baby. The whole thing could have easily been some kind of scene from a sweet romantic movie… Except for the bruises on my face and neck. It all had a strange dream like quality to it. I almost felt as if I was coming off of a drunk night or something.
Before he went to work, he apologized for the fight. He claimed that he could barely remember what happened but it wouldn’t happen again. Remembering what he said now is impossible, but I remember how I felt. Before he was finished, I felt sorry for him. I had pushed him into that violent moment, it was all my fault. It wouldn’t happen again.. I was so sure of that.
But the only thing that didn’t happen again was he never again left a bruise on my face. His “out of control” rage always seemed the same, when it came. It seemed as if he was not in control of himself and he always seem to “forget” after wards… But he never again put any bruises on me that could not be hidden. Some how I never realized how calculated his rage was…
Each out burst was worse than the last. The after wards was always the same.. He always did some grand gesture to show his undieing “Love” for me.. And bought me gifts and apologized and told me how he didn’t remember his outburst and couldn’t imagine what was happening. He eventually began adding promises to find help for himself. And he always found subtle ways of turning it around on me and I always fell for all of it.I always believed him when he said it would never happen again… I always felt that it was my own fault. After all, it was only me that he ever became violent with. The fact that he never drank or did drugs also in my mind proved that it had to be my fault… I’m not sure how this came to be my logic… but it is what I thought. If he had done drugs, or drank than I could blame that. I couldn’t find anything to blame. I didn’t know that he was the blame, that thought never accured to me. As I look back on myself then, I wonder who this young woman was.. I wonder why she couldn’t see reality that slapped her in the face! I still do not understand how I could excuse his violent out burst or the torture that he put me through. I alone was allowed to see that side of him, and yet I still fell for the act that he put on around other people. Around our child.
As R became older and less dependant on her mother for everything in her world, I watched her form a close bond with her father. He was so good with her. He would sit on the floor with her and play with her for as long as she wanted. He seemed to have unending patience for her. He was so gentle and happy with her. He took such pleasure in watching her learn new things, things that he taught her… She learned his schedule and would always become excited as time approached for him to come home from work. She was never exposed to anything but love and happiness. He was two people… One was loving and kind and patient… And the other person didn’t come out until R was safely asleep at night. I began to dread R’s bedtime because I knew I wasn’t safe if she was asleep.
There was never a warning to tell me ahead of time when he would go off. He would be a perfect gentleman full of smiles and kisses and soft touches… Then he would make a check on R to see if she was sleeping and come back and just snap on me. Suddenly he’d be abolishing me for some slight indiscretion I had done or he had perceived that I had done during the day. It always ended the same.. With me crumbled on the floor with bruises on my arms or legs or chest..Or knots on the back of my head where he slammed my head against a table… Sometimes leaving me with bruised or broken ribs.. (He even broke both my little toes once. Amazing how I still couldn’t see how calculated his punishments were. He purposely chose things like my little toes, because I could still function without anyone knowing how broken and bruised I was…but I still believed him when he said he didn’t have control over his actions.) His all time favorite thing to do was choking me. His hands around my neck, his thumbs pressing into my throat, cutting of my ability to breath until I would see the blackness start to envelope me, only then would he let go… And he always told me then that he didn’t have to stop.. I couldn’t stop him.. He only stopped because he wanted to. But if I ever tried to leave him, he wouldn’t stop until I was dead. And I believed him. I still believe that he meant it. That he would have gladly killed me if he could have… Years later… When I did leave him, he tried to do just that and if he hadn’t been stopped by other people, I still firmly believe he would have killed me that day.
But I didn’t leave him, for five long years after the torture began. How I lived through some of the things he did to “punish” me, I do not know to this day. Some of his torture was so horrible and so elaborate that I know now that he must have planned them out well in advance. Some of it was so horrible that I still to this day can not bring my self to say it out loud… Or write it as the case may be… But I began to believe that I had indeed married Satan himself and nothing short of death could save me from him.
By the end of that marriage, he had almost total control over me and my every movement or thought, even when he wasn’t around. Except for one thing. There was only one aspect of my life that he could not control, one part of my personality that refused to bend to his will. My motherhood! My children were always put first in my mind. I did what ever I saw as best for them even if that was against his wishes. OH, yes, it made me live in constant fear of what punishment I would receive, but I still took care of my daughters in what ever way I thought was right.
My refusal to allow him to change me as a mother was indeed what saved me from death by his hands, I believe….The only reason I ever had that was strong enough to get me to run from him was the love of my children and my desire to protect them.
But even after I exscaped the physical punishments of this man…Even when he was no longer in my life, he still had control over me for so many many years…. I had nightmares every night in the beginning in which he would excape from the prison he was in and find me and slowly torture and kill me.
The dreams so vivid that would leave me shaking for most of the next day in my waking hours…. Even after I moved to another state, I watched for him every where. If I saw a man with his hair color, or his height and basic build I would have a panic attack. I do mean I would totally freak! This went on for several years… Slowly, the dreams came less often and I learned not to panic when I saw someone who couldn’t posibly be him who just happened to be about the same height. Even though I had a set back when the year came that I knew he would be eligible for parolle.
but now! after 19 years, I thought I had beat this! I thought this man was finally out of my head and no longer had control over me. Sadly I was wrong! About a month ago, while working I learned that this man, who I haven’t even seen in 19 years can still send me into uncontrolled terror. When a man came into the resteraunt where I work, as a costomer. This man for what ever reason, caught my eye imediatly. And I cringed and held my breath and felt again like that small 19 year old girl lying on the floor wondering what had happened. This man looked exactly like what I would expect my ex husband to look after 19 years.
Now imagine this.. I have no real knowledge that this man is indeed my ex husband… no rational reason to believe that he was and that he had somehow found me and came into my work with his wife and child in tow?! But I couldn’t think rationally! Logic had nothing to do with how I reacted! I spent the rest of the time that he was there in hiding from him. That was just the beginning. As it turned out, this man, his wife and young son came in every Sunday after. Each time my fear grew stronger and I spent more energy hiding from his sight. Two Saterdays ago, the night mare came back. Two Sat. nights in a row I’ve had that same night mare that I used to have when I first left my ex husband. Sunday morning I would be sick with fear….
Which brings us to this most resent Sunday… When someone I know saw this man, who had no idea of my thoughts or fears. A friend of mine was the answer without even knowing the question. He knew the man. When I saw them talking, I managed to get my friend by himself and asked him how he knew him. Come to find out that he worked with him, years ago and his name was not the name of my ex! Glory of Glories! This man is not my ex husband and I no longer have to fear Sundays at work.
But the truth is I have a much larger problem! This only brought out that problem into the light of day. I am a 42 year old woman who now knows how to take care of herself. I know now that I don’t need a “man” to take care of me! I now know that I did not then, nor do I ever deserve to be abused by anyone in anyway! I know all this and yet, I can not beat this fear! How can I win over this demon of the past when I can’t even face someone who looks like him???
If by some wild stretch of the imagination, this man did seek me out after all these years and seek revenge on me… I do believe that I could find a way to defend myself against him… If I was not frozen in fear! But as I see by my reaction to a slight posibility that I might have to face him, that I would indeed be Frozen with Fear!
As I see it, there is no need for him to ever seek revenge as he still controls me without any sort of contact what so ever! How do I beat this control? How can I get this demon out of my head?
When I started this blog, I began a journey. A journey of self discovery. I did it with a purpose. I knew what I was doing and I knew it needed to be done. I had closed off my anger, and pain many years ago….Locked away in a closet and threw away the key were all the bad feelings that I couldn’t deal with any more.
I had allowed myself to live with the pain and anger for two years, when it all happened. When I lost my children, I lost my family, I lost myself. Those first two years were the hardest years of my life.. I was sure they were the hardest years of anyone’s life. I begged God on a daily basis to let me die and end the torment. If I was alone at all, for any time, I was curled into the fetal position, sobbing and pleading with God to stop the pain. For two years this went on…behind closed doors… I couldn’t let anyone see it but it was always there. Over and over, I kept remembering something my step mother had said many times during my life;
“God will never put more on you than you can handle.”
But it was of no comfort, because I was not handling this pain at all. I knew I couldn’t keep it up… I felt …. Forgotten. God had forgotten me… The pain just got worse and worse and God had forgot to turn it off and soon I would implode because it was indeed more than “I” could handle! At some point I decided that I must have been so evil that I was sentenced to hell. I was sure that my life was the “hell” that everyone warned about. So this was how it was. You didn’t die to go to hell… You lived.
And I laid in secret, in my fetal position and begged God to forgive my evilness and release me from this hell. Everyday, every night, for two years, I begged, I cried, I screamed for escape from my own hell.
Then one day, I just accepted it. I “knew” that there was no release for me. I could find no way out. This was all I had, my hell.. It was all I would ever have again. I stopped begging for relief from the pain. I accepted that I was evil and I had to pay for it… Forever.
A strange thing happened when I accepted the pain. Somehow, when I stopped fighting for relief, I was able to shut out the pain. I shut out the pain that was always there in my chest. I didn’t dwell on it, because I accepted as part of my normal life…Some how, this made it possible to forget the pain… The anger… I simply shoved it into that “closet” and closed the door. And I lived again. I can’t say that it was like freedom from the pain, because it was if the pain had never existed. I had completely eradicated it… Or so I thought…
What I didn’t know, all those years, was that when I locked away the “hurt” I had to lock away the memories…and a part of myself. The only way I could forget the bad parts, was to forget the good parts as well. I couldn’t lock away the pain of loosing my children, if I didn’t lock away the memories of being a mother.
Becoming a mother shaped who I was…loosing my children was tearing away part of myself… Forgetting the pain of that was loosing myself. I had to start over. I had to rebuild who I was… I became a different person. In truth, I never liked this new person I had become… But I had to do it to survive.
When I began to remember… I found that closet door and found a tiny crack and tried to peak into it. What I discovered was that I had not locked away all my pain in that closet after all. I had locked myself into the closet and everything else was out side….The person I was… Life… And yes all the pain that goes with it is just outside that closet door. And so my journey began.
The first time I had a “revelation” I thought wow, look at me, I’m out in the real world again! I felt elated that I had beaten down the denial so easily. I had found myself again and I was so proud. Then I bumped into a wall. Bam! What was that?! A wall? How could there be a wall out here? Sure enough though, I bared the bruises from that wall.
Finally, I realize the truth. I have begun the journey, but only just.. I haven’t stepped out of that closet yet… I haven’t even found the door knob yet… I managed to build a window and let some light in.. But it is still to easy to shut the curtains on the light, when I feel the pain…The pain is so bad. It is just as bad as I remember. It’s too much some times and I can’t take it, I can’t relive this…But I have to. I know that. And so I peak past the curtains, even open them a bit again… Until the pain is too much and I close them again.
How long is this journey? How long will it take to tear down the curtains… When will I find the lock? Can I turn that door knob? With each new discovery, I hope I gain strength, strength enough to make it out all the way.
I can’t go back… I know that… But I have to learn to go forward. I can’t go forward until I am completely able to face my past…How long is this Journey?
Someone called me strong. Imagine that! When I read those words I thought of throwing up….What she said was she couldn’t imagine how I or other mother’s of loss had survived loosing our children, that we must be very strong.
I can’t speak for any other mother on this. I only know myself. I have spent the last year examining my life and the choices that I made and the ones that were made for me. I have came to a lot of different conclusions about myself back in those days 18 years ago and the years that followed… But never, never have I been strong! In fact, had I some how managed to be strong back then, maybe I would have never become “a mother of loss”.
Had I not let fear freeze me into inaction, maybe I could have fought for myself, my rights as a human being and for the rights of my children to stay with the mother who loved them more than life itself. Yes, I did love them more than anything. But not even that love could stand up to my fear.
My story is slightly different than other “first” mothers, and yet a lot a like for others. There are not many women who have been through what I went through that are as out in the open about it as me, but there are plenty of women who have suffered the same hell. It’s just that most of them are still suffering in silence, because of the fear of what people will think….
I married at 18 not for love, but because this guy gave me a place to stay when no one else would. I married him, because I was afraid to face life on my own. That wasn’t the first time I let fear rule my life, but it was the first major life changing time. It wouldn’t be the last time. Fear had found a wedge into my life and it wasn’t going to give up it’s hold on me easily.
He turned into Satan shortly after our marriage. But I had my first child before our first year anniversary and stayed with him because he was good financial support. Well, I managed to get through several years in that marriage by walking on egg shells around my abusive husband. But the truth was, for all the unhappiness my marriage brought me, my daughter brought more happiness to my life. She was my world! When she was three years old, I had my second child, another girl. Again, I felt like I was privileged enough to see a part of heaven in my children.
Still, I was being subjected to more and more abuse at the hand of my husband. But still I didn’t leave. I was so afraid of being alone… I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to support my kids on my own. When my oldest daughter turned 4 years old, I got a job. My husband and I worked opposite shifts so that we didn’t have to hire baby sitters. This was all my husband’s idea. Everything came crashing down when one day my sweet angel, still not even 5 years old, came to me one day and told me that her daddy was doing “things” to her that she didn’t like. Being as young as she was, she didn’t have words for the “things” that he had done to her, but she did make me understand. Of course, I took my two babies and ran. There was no more time for fear of being alone.
When I reported my husband to the police, they told me to go to child protective services to get help for my daughter. They told me that CPS would help me get therapy for her. They didn’t help! Instead they took my beautiful babies from me with some made up charges! (Maybe in the beginning they were afraid that I would give into my husband and go back to him. I had left him once and went to a woman’s shelter, but I went back to him… That was before he abused my daughter.)
But it turned out that the foster homes that they put my daughters into wanted to adopt them. So CPS pressured me into signing away my rights as their mother. OK, so there’s a lot to that story, but the basic of it is, they convinced me that they could prove me unfit because I didn’t have any money to support my kids and that if I didn’t sign the papers my kids would be bounced around in foster homes and children’s homes until they were 18. It wasn’t hard for them to convince me that I wasn’t good enough to be their only parent. I was already totally convinced in the idea that I was worth less. I gave up without a fight. Yes, I wanted my daughters to have a stable loving home. But I should have fought for them. I didn’t. Strong, no! I was scared out of my mind about everything!
I almost died several times over, during the next few years. When I found out I was pregnant with my third child, the fear grew inside me to a point of self destruction. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t think. I thought about running. I thought if I could just run to my Dad’s home in another state, they wouldn’t be able to take this baby from me… But my fear had taken over. “What if” became my mantra. What if my dad wouldn’t let me stay with him. What if they came for my baby even over the state lines. What if I couldn’t take care of this baby…What if this pain inside me killed me???
Again, I let Fear rule me. It was my master! I gave up my son. I gave up the last of myself out of fear! How did I live through it?! That too was fear. OH, yes, many times I thought of the promise I made to my girls that I would be there for them, when they chose to seek me out… But many other times, when the pain got so bad that I couldn’t remember that promise, I tried… I really tried to kill myself. I tried to stop the pain, but again, fear took over! As bad as the pain was, I was more afraid of dying. I was afraid that if I took my own life, I’d burn forever in Hell. How could anyone be forgive for killing themselves, because they’d be dead then and couldn’t ask for forgiveness.
Even at the times when I had nothing, Nothing to live for; I still had my Fear! My only companion, my master, my Fear.
Strong?! No! I was always weak with fear! Even now. After 18 years, I still allow fear to rule at times. I’ve joined many, many search sites with the info on my kids. In hopes that someday one or all of them will find me.. Hoping against hope that they will be searching for me and just happen to hit the same sites as I have… But I have not gotten into really full blown search. Last week, I finally registered with http://www.isrr.net/ . This was a major step for me. Because every turn I have made has led me back to this one “group”. They seem to be the be all of search organizations.
There is only one problem. After I put in my information, I received an email from them stating that someone would be in touch with me soon to tell me what to do next. But the letter went on to say that they receive many request every day for searches and I was now on a “list”. I can bump myself up on that list, by calling them…I haven’t called yet.
Why? Yep, you guessed it. Fear! What if these people can’t find my kids? What if something happened to one of my children…. What if my children don’t want me to find them? What if I do find them and they reject me? I have been standing up and speaking out against the fear. I have been fighting a raging battle with it and I thought I was winning…. But suddenly I feel as if Fear has slapped me back down to “my place” yet once again.
Oh how I wish I had been “strong”. I wish I could be “strong” now. The name of this blog, Facing my own demons, seems ironic to me right now. It seems that Fear is my demon and I am trying to face it, but each time I look it in the face, I run away screaming in terror.
Normally, when I write a new post, I wait until the post is complete to name it. Why? Because when I start writing, I have a thought of what I want to say, but I never know for sure where it will end up. My ideas start out as small little thoughts and become “complete” during the writing of a post. As I write, I learn more about what is truly in my head. This is the way my mind works. I’m sure that it is the way many writers minds’ work.
This time however, I do know where I want to end up at. I have a beginning and I have an ending… Or perhaps the ending is the beginning… I’m hoping for that anyway. What will come in the middle is what we shall see….
In my last few post, I’ve been trying to find some alternatives to adoption and to find a way to make the act of adoption … More human… So to speak. Some of my thoughts were to utilize programs that are already in place with in the our government. (Ok, here I must stress that I am talking about the U.S. Government, because truly I don’t have enough knowledge to speak of any other country, even though this is a world problem that needs to be addressed everywhere, I am only able to talk about what I know.)
Thanks to Harlow’s Monkey, we know that at least in some states, the family foster system does indeed already exist. Unfortunately, many of the women do not know about the existence of such programs that could mean the difference between being able to keep their child, or loosing that child to adoption.
In my last post, I talked about the need for government regulations on the adoption process. There needs to be a requirement that any woman who is considering adoption must be told about the programs that she could access to help her raise her baby. We need to stop telling women that they can’t give a child what another couple could, just because she is poor or under educated or doesn’t have job skills that could land her a good paying job.
Instead, we need to have programs that are readily available to her, that will provide day care, and skill education so she can learn how to support herself and her child. I’m not talking about putting yet another family in the “welfare” system, so that they will be trapped in that government controlled life without hope of making it on their own, EVER. I’m talking about our government using the programs that they already have created to help these people to gain control over their own lives.
So if the government suddenly, today, starts telling everyone about the programs that exist that could help them… What then? Well, I am sure that a lot of women would suddenly realize that adoption isn’t their last hope for the child they love so much. Suddenly the increase in women who are asking for government help could be astronomical. Who will pay for all this?
Well, first off, if it was done correctly, the cost would be temporary. The benefit would be that people wouldn’t remain on Welfare all their lives. They would go to school and learn skills to get careers and they would become productive members of society that would increase the taxes paid in to fund these programs.
But also, I’m a bit angry that I am sure the government officials would be asking this question. I see public, government supported schools that have books that are outdated, and doesn’t have enough supplies for all the teachers without help from donations from citizens in the community. I drive on roads and even interstate freeways that are in such disrepair that you could easily damage your car if you do not avoid the potholes and cracks.
And then I see people working two and three jobs just to make ends meet, because the government is taking so much of their hard earned money in taxes! And then they go to the stores to buy supplies for their lives and pay more taxes. And the people like my dad, who worked all their lives, paying into the social security program for fifty years or more and now they don’t even get enough back to pay rent on a house! Who’s going to pay for it? We are! We already are paying for it! Everyday! We are paying and now the government needs to step up and use that money that we’ve paid with blood, sweat and tears to save these families.
You would think that this would be the end of this post. As I have said in my past post it is important for us to make our voices heard. We have to speak up, yell out for the rights of those who can’t or don’t know how to speak up for themselves. But is that enough? NO! It’s not nearly enough!
Should we stand here on these self proclaimed pedestals and demand that the government fix this all themselves? No! While I truly believe that the government has the power to fix this broken system, we need to realize that we are all here, now, together on this lovely planet we call earth.
This blogging group, that I consider myself a member of is a diverse little group. There are people in it from all walks of life. Adopted Adults, First mothers and fathers, and Adoptive Parents. We “come together” here on this thing we call the Internet and our differences fall away. We are here for one thing.. We seek out information, answers to our questions… And we share our own answers with each other.
One thing I am sure of, we all work hard, in one way or another, for what we now have. What ever that may be. But I’ve also seen the hearts of this “group”. And it amazes me! These are people who know what love is. They know how to love and how to care for others. They share that love in small ways with other members of this “group” even though most of us have never met in “real life”
So when this woman: http://awrungsponge.blogspot.com/ showed her heart in this post, http://awrungsponge.blogspot.com/2006/09/teddy-bear.html
I was not surprised of the love she projected. But I was a bit taken back, because here she was being proactive in trying to start in some small way to help the people that I was sitting here shouting out for someone else to save them. Suddenly I realized that having a voice, was a good start, but it is not enough! I have to jump in and take action to help those faceless women that I write about with such passion. I have to use that passion to help them get started in a new life.
So I wrote to Cloudscome, and told her that not only did I want to make baby blankets for these women, but I wanted to help her form a group that could grow into something wonderful. We could be mentors for women who love their unborn babies but don’t have anyone to tell them that they can keep their babies. We can help them get a foot up so that they can start out on the right road to the wonderful world of parenthood.
And she wrote back with enthusiasm for this. So now we begin.. for now, we begin with an idea and we present it to you, our “internet blog friends” for your approval. Who among you will reach out and take our hands and help us help someone else?
Of course this group will start small. We don’t have resources to just jump in and start a huge charity. And of course, there is life, that tends to demand attention from us, so we will have to find ways to juggle our jobs and children and family and this new adventure. But it is my dream that someday it will grow with the help of other’s who know the need of this.
For now, we want to start with, using the words of Cloudscome, a closet of hope. My next post will be about my dreams of what this can and I hope someday will become. I will go into how the differences among us will be a great help in this project. Each of us bringing their own talent and resources to the group.
While you are waiting for my dreams for the future, be sure to check out Cloudscomes latest entry on this: http://awrungsponge.blogspot.com/2006/09/this-little-nagging-idea-that-wont-go_25.html
It will give you more of an idea of her wonderful idea that will hopefully some day grow into a real Answer!
Margie, from http://thirdmom.blogspot.com/ recently left this comment on my blog:
Sheri, I’ve recently come to your blog and have commented a few times. I just wanted to let you know that I think you have some extremely logical views of what’s broken with the way adoption is conducted in this country.
I would really like to hear your thoughts on how we could garner the attention of the lawmakers who have raised adoption to such a positive level that criticism is seldom tolerated. In my opinion, that’s the hurdle that needs to be cleared in order to give first mothers the voice needed to jumpstart change.
My response is Wow! What a deep question! And also, I think that she has given me much more credit then is due… I really don’t know how to do this. The problem I see is that most people don’t have a clue what really happens in adoptions!
I, myself, did not have a clue what was and still is going on until just a few months ago and I am a mother of loss. I had no clue that there were other mothers and fathers like me, that went through the same or similar situation as mine. I had no clue about the other side of adoption.. I didn’t know about agencies and what they did/ and still do to make sure that adoptions happen…And really, I didn’t have a clue how many adoptive parents were/ are totally clueless as well.
My eye opening came purely by accident. I wasn’t looking for information about adoption, or adoption loss. I stumbled onto a first mother’s blog purely by accident. I spent several days reading that blog, from beginning to present in amazement. The situation was totally different. But the feelings… Were the same. I could have wrote that blog! From there I started the “search” for more like me… And I began my education on the real world of adoption.
My point is, how many people are there that will not stumble onto one of our blogs? How many people who do not know anything “real” about adoption? All they know is what the media tells them, which is usually so far from reality that it doesn’t even look like a relative of the truth.
As for the agencies, or the people who work in the adoption field or related fields… I wonder how many of these people really even know the truth? They have had their training and have been essentially “brainwashed” into believing what they are doing is right. They go through their day thinking “I have the greatest job in the world. I get to do this wonderful thing that creates a family for people who couldn’t have a family without me and I get paid to do it!” I doubt that many of them, if any, ever see what happens after their job is finished. And if they do meet an adopted adult who has major problems that stem from this “wonderful” world of adoption, they are told and convinced that this is not normal. These so called angry adoptees are exceptions. And so for the angry first parents…”Oh, they are just the birthparents. They made their choice and now they want to take it back. Too bad for them.”
Suddenly, it is forgotten how that choice was made. It is forgotten how the parent was told they were doing a wonderful hero type thing by giving that child a chance at a wonderful life. So the mother was never told that she could have had help in raising that child herself, so what, that wasn’t the responsibility of the agency was it? Their job was to find wonderful homes and parents for children who were so unfortunate to be born to single, poor or uneducated parents.
Now, there are some social workers who learn the truth, and become aware of the truths and the lies that surround adoptions… But what happens when they do? I think that these people ether refuse to believe it, because the truth would inconvenience themselves or they simply get out of the business and are easily replaced by another “blind” save the children type person. So yes, the answer has to be at the top, not the bottom. We have to find a way to stop producing more blind social workers.
Now, this is a new territory type thing for me. Normally, I believe in less government. I think that the government has to much control over us in our every day lives. However, if we are to move forward with adoption reform, I think we must appeal to the “law makers” of our land/S. There must be some legal regulations.
First of all, is it the job of the agencies or lawyers to council the mothers to be? They are doing that already. And we see where that leads! They are counseling these mothers right out of their children! This must be stopped. I think that there must be regulations that force these agencies to be only the facilitators. They should not be there to help with the decision process… Only to be the middle man, between the parties involved and the courts. There should be required counseling for the mother’s to be and the potential adoptive parents from outside sources. From people who are trained in truth counseling and have no interest in the outcome.
The mothers and father’s to be should be given all the facts. They should be told of all the resources available to them to help them to raise their child. They should be taught of the possible and provable repercussions if they do relinquish their child not only for themselves, but for their child.
The potential adoptive parents should also be told the truth about these issues and also the issues that may happen in their own homes. They should be told that this child may grow to be radically different from them, not only in looks but in personality. That if they choose not to nurture those difference, they may end up with very negative results that could put a rift in their family. And emotionally scar the child. They need to be made aware that adoption is not always “best for the child” They need to be given options. Such as the option to be the foster family for a young mother and her child, or a mentor.
Another thought that just occurred to me: perhaps a fostering of the mother and baby with the potential adoptive parents should be required for a time after the birth of the baby before the mother is allowed to legally make this decision. The fact that the woman is not truly mentally capable of making an informed decision after child birth should be taken into consideration. She should be allowed time to heal emotionally from the trauma of childbirth.
I can almost hear some people screaming in frustration at this thought. I can hear their protest that the woman would get attached to the child if they were required to care for the baby for an amount of time to heal from the birth. Yes! That is my point! This woman, who thinks she can not care for her child properly should be given the chance to learn that she can! What are you afraid of? That she’ll change her mind?! Well, if she changes her mind about adoption, than I say it was never meant to be!
Alas, I think I have created more questions, at least for myself, than answers. Sorry, Margie, I’m not sure that I am qualified to have those answers. How do we make our voices heard? How do we get the people who have the power to change things, to listen?
I personally do not know. I think we have to keep fighting to be heard. We have to tell our own stories over and over again to anyone who will listen. Write letters, sign petitions, rally, fight!
I feel that we are on the cusp of a new awareness about adoption. The Internet has given many voice who did not have voice before. How many years have there been people teaching other’s about the truth in adoption? I’m not sure, but it doesn’t matter, because this is indeed the beginning. It is, therefore a very important time! It is up to us, the small force that is forming to keep our voices and push to be heard by not only the ones who are just now hearing, but also by those who have not heard yet. We have to spread the word! There are many places to start.
Some examples of where to start would be http://www.originsusa.org/
http://www.eriksmith.org/- a sight for unwed dads who lost their children to adoption.
I’m not sure that I came up with any answers, or questions that haven’t already been thought of before but it has raised many new thoughts in my own mind, which I will try to explore in the coming posts. Thank you, Margie, for asking this question. We need to ask questions! We need to question authority so that we can come up with answers. For now, we need to keep on plugging. Keep your voice loud and strong for what ever you believe in. Sometimes it may seem that no one is listening. But somewhere some how, someone new may hear you and learn something they didn’t know before. And then they will tell someone they know… Well you all know where I’m going with that thought….
Sept 11, 2001… A day that went down in history. Life in these United States paused if not but for just a moment on that day, as we all watched in horror that terrible history being created.
I remember that day as if it were yesterday. And then it seems fuzzy. Did I eat? Did I sleep? Did I leave the couch or the T.V. That I was glued to for three days? I’m not sure. I am sure that the mundane task of the day were preformed without thought, while I kept one eye on the nightmare that was shown over and over on that television set. When I did return to “life as normal” going to work the first day after this.. I watched the same reports before work that I had watched for the last three days and when I returned home from work, I watched again. I was an emotional wreak but it never accured to me to stop watching. I watched the twin towers crumbling to the ground, over and over, with wide tear filled eyes. Afraid to blink in case something changed on these tapes that I had seen so many times. I’m sure I shared that zombie stare with thousands of others. Until one day, I’m not sure how long it had been by then, finally told me, it was enough. I needed to turn off the T.V for a while. I needed to rest my heart.
I cried, I cried with the rest of America that day and the days to follow. I didn’t know anyone who was lost that day… But my heart felt their loss…Never in my life had I felt the loss of strangers as I did on 9/11. America felt the loss of these lives. People of my generation, and the younger generation have never had to bare witness to such devastation. Our lives had been coddled with a good economy and nothing of significance that would ever make us feel unsafe in our lives. Most of America had grown with, if not a silver spoon, at least a feeling of well being. Those who were suffering in our country were mostly ignored because the majority of this country had never seen any devastation in life. We grew up with the belief that we were invincible. No one could hurt us, we were AMERICA.
We got a rude awaking on that day five years ago. It took a while the shock to give way to the pain and the pain give way to fear. But indeed, we all learned a terrible lesson. We learned that we are not as a country, total invincible. We learned that we are not safe from harm, just because we live in America. What a horrible lesson we learned.
The lives that were lost that day… Such a horrible nightmare that we each hope to wake from.. But we don’t because it was all too real. For the first time in our generation, we were touched by terror, loss and fear that we couldn’t just blink away. It wasn’t something that happened across the ocean that we could point at and say ” oh how sad for them…” For this time it was us… And this time, we finally got it. Even for those of us who lost no one they knew, could feel it. We felt the loss of those people. We hurt for them, we hurt for their family… We realize that it could have been any of us…
We will remember! That is what we say about 9/11 and it is true. We do remember. It is heartbreaking and we can not forget. But Now, after 5 years, I wonder… Do we remember the danger? Of course, we can’t live our lives in daily fear.. No one should live that way… But are we once again so over confident as we were 5 years ago?
As for the pain: Today I watched those tapes again. The ones I spent days and days, more than a week watching over and over, five years ago. Today, I watched them again… And I cried…..
For everyone who’s life was touched by the tragedy of that day.. For everyone who lost friends and loved ones… For everyone who’s lives changed forever on Sept. 11, 2001. I think of you today. My heart goes out to you.
One of my ideas for alternative to adoption, I admit I got from someone else. (I can not remember where I first heard about this, or I’d give that person credit. )
It was something I read months ago and it made me think… And think and think…
I’m not sure if it is a program that still exist today, but there used to be a little known government program that allowed teen mothers to live in a “foster home” with their child. Unfortunately, the teens that went to agencies because they had no support to keep the child, were never told about this program or the possibility that it may give them to keep their child.
It is my suggestion that there is not, in most cases, a need to change the parentage of the baby to full fill this need to share your love that you have in your heart. Not only can you give that love to the baby, but also to the baby’s mother. Instead of encouraging the teen mother to give up her legal rights as a mother, encourage her to go into a foster family type program. She could live with another family, older and more established in life and have a mentor type support while she learns to be a mother.
Of course, now you will have people ask, how can you have a childless woman or couple be a mentor to a young new mother. They don’t know any more about being a mother than she does. The point here is this would be the same woman, or couple that the agency would have handed the baby over to if there was an adoption.
In today’s normal adoptions, the woman, mother to be, has the right to choose the adoptive parents for her child, right? Well, I would say that most women in this situation would want to choose a person or couple who are more established then she is herself in life. Perhaps older than she is having more life experience. She would probably choose someone who already was well grounded in a career, so they would have more time to spend with her child.
These are the people who would be right for the “mentoring” foster care program. Perhaps they would be required to take some parenting classes as well… Even better, they could take the classes with the mother to be. They would become the emotional and mental support that the young scared mother would not other wise have. It would be a foster home for both the mother and the baby. The fostering couple perhaps could also provide some arrangement for child care while the young mother took some classes to learn a skill to gain her a better paying job.
Of course, the main goal of this program would be to teach the young mother how to stand on her own two feet and raise her child. To give her skills and confidence that she needs to be a mother on her own. It may only be a couple of years. If she stayed with the foster family during school that she and the child would remain, but it could be very rewarding, not only to this young woman and her baby, but to the fostering family who would see this woman grow as a mother because of their help and love and nurture. And they could build a life long friendship with the woman and baby if they so chose.
And each time a person or couple became a foster family to a new young woman, they’d feel a sense of accomplishment that they were able to help someone to make her own life better. And from each young woman they helped, they would also learn. Making them even more effective in helping a new woman and her child.
Do you really believe that a woman can love her baby so much that she is willing to loose that baby so that she will have a better life would not keep that baby if someone would just show her how she could be the one to give her a better life?!
As for children who end up in foster care because of abuse… First of all, lets get this straight, being poor is not being an abusive parent! Making your child wear second hand clothing because you can’t afford to by retail is not abuse, it is not detrimental to their physical or emotional well being! Asking the government for help, such as food stamps or welfare so you can afford child care while you work two jobs, is not! Abuse! Not having finished high school does not make you an abusive parent! And taking your kids and leaving the only life you know, because your spouse is a danger to your kids, does not mean that you are not able to raise those kids alone! If one parent, father, or mother, is abusive, it doesn’t mean that both parents are. And if the non-abusive parent is willing to risk her life, or loose everything he has to save his children from abuse, than the so called Child Protective Services needs to get off their Butts and protect that parent, there by protecting the kids! (oh, while I’m added, a child that has been playing outside is going to be dirty! This is not a sign of abuse!!!!) And ripping children away from loving parents who have never hurt their children is not protecting the child, it is destroying that child! Some one needs to protect these kids from CPS!
Ok, so am I clear on this?! Good. Then what is to be done when a child really is being abuse? Well, of course, the first thing that must be done is to make the child safe. It must be established first that the child is being abused. The federal Government has got to stop putting a bounty http://WWW.dailynews.Com/news/ci_4308721 on the heads of children as to encourage CPS to tear apart families! First of all, there are so so many programs, far too many to count, that were created to help people change destructive behavior. Why are these programs not being used by the CPS to keep families together?!
When CPS becomes involved in the lives of a family, they demand that the parent or parents do certain things to prove they are worthy of parenthood. Join this group. Go to this class, get a job, stop drinking, stop drugs, Join AA, Join NA, take parenting classes, clean your house, clean behind your ears… jump this rope… While some of the things they ask of the parent/s are neccesary, when the parent does these things.. they jump through all the hoops because they’ve had a wake up call. They don’t want to loose their children and they clean up their lives and follow the program that is set up for them…. And then CPS says, it’s not enough, because of the past, we can’t trust you any more. You look good now… but someday you’ll go back to your old ways.
Suddenly, CPS is now “seeing” the future. They believe that they are on the side of right. They do not believe that anyone can change. They send these people to the help groups so that they can change their lives, but they don’t really beleave that it will do any good. OK, lets get a grip here! People make mistakes, all people! And people can learn from their mistakes and people can change!
But where should the children go when they can’t safely live at home with their parents? Their lives have already been turned upside down and back wards. They already have emotional scars that may never heal. Do we really think that the answer to their emotional and physical well being is to put them in a home of strangers? “Sally Sue, this is Mr and Mrs Person you’ve never Met, they are going to be your new Mommy and Daddy.” Does anyone else besides me see how insane this is?
How about relatives? Why can’t these children live with blood relatives? Do you think that just because one person in a family is abusive that everyone in that blood line family is tanted by a “bad” gene? Grandparents, Sibblings of the parents, or even cousins… So many posibilities of keeping the children in their own family. Why do we insist on taking a child’s family away from them?! And while we are at it, why do we take their name away?! What is the purpose of this?! How does changing the child’s name and teaching the child to call strangers mom and dad help the child?
The idea of legal guardingship should be the answer to this quandry. http://motherhooddeleted.blogspot.com/2006/09/what-is-anti-adoptionist.html is a good article that helps explain how legal guardingship could be the answer for these kids.
While we’re at this site, be sure to check out her most recent post explaining how adoption does not always make a child safe from abuse. http://motherhooddeleted.blogspot.com/
While there is an exstensive screening process for potential adoptive parents… And I believe, (want to believe) that the rules of this screening process are much tougher now than they used to be. Once the adoption is final the a-parents are on their own. There is no one that remains to make sure this newly adoption made family are bonding and having no problems. No one actually looks to see if these total strangers really do learn how to “be a family”
Because I can not control my dark days…. here is another post that is not the one I have promise…..
“You need to make it ok for them.”
The words of that so called well meaning social worker will forever reverberate in my head, slashing away at any sanity that I might have thought I had left.
Reminded me of the day I said goodbye to my precious daughters forever. These so called “handing over ceremonies” remind me of that day that the social worker at CPS “allowed” me to say goodbye to my girls. Before I was allowed to see my children, I was told what I should or should not say to them. “You need to make it ok for them.” … Just as this agency seem to script what the mother should do or say at the “handing over ceremony”, I was given a verbal script to follow. So that it would “make it ok” for my kids to be saying goodbye to their mother and going to a stranger and suddenly calling her mother. What could one do or say to make such an unnatural thing, “OK”? Just as what could the mother of that new born baby do or say to make it ok for her to hand her baby to some other woman and call herself…. Arrr “Birthmother”??
How could telling a five and a three year old that I couldn’t take good care of them any more and that I wanted them to be happy, so I am giving them to someone who could take care of them, do anything to make this OK?! How could saying something that horrible not cause my children pain and guilt?! Children almost always feel guilt when there is a divorce of the parents… How could me saying such horrid things about them leaving me and going to live with strangers not make them think that they had been bad, so bad that mommy couldn’t care for them any more. But this is indeed what the social worker wanted me to say. Repeating the sentence several times so that I would remember the words… How could I say that horrid lie to my children? What more damage would that statement caused on top of the damage that was already being done to them!
Just as the “handing over ceremony” is suggested being done in a controlled environment, such as the adoption agency. My goodbye was carefully planned and controlled at all times by the CPS workers. When I was left alone, in that sparsely furnished room…I broke free from their control… But only for a moment. I told my children that I loved them and wanted to keep them more than anything else in life. I told them the truth, that I wasn’t given a choice, that I had to let them go. I told them how wonderful they were and that no matter what I wanted only their happiness, but I was not in control of this now. I told them that someday they would be able to look for me and I would never be far. And that I would always be waiting for them. I told them they were good girls and none of this was ever their fault… When did “It” happen?! I don’t know… I was talking as fast as I could, I was holding my children as close as I could and telling them of my love as much as I could before “they” came back.
Suddenly, the door burst open, as if the swat team themselves had come to break down the door! So many men and women in suits came bursting into the room! Some time during the fast and ferrous speech of love that I was giving my daughters, these suit people physically tore my children from my arms as they had already emotionally had done weeks before. My daughters’ screams mixed together with the screams of another, who I was surprised to learn was me.
Just like the controlled environment that is suggested for the “handing over ceremony”; they had their controls ready and quickly removed the threat that I might make my children understand that it was them, the horrid government agency that was supposed to protect them, the same government agency that I had went to for help in protecting my girls, that were tearing their lives apart. I had broken their rule, thou shall not let the CPS look bad, even if thou has to take the blame, thou must not let the CPS look bad. And they punished me by stripping me of my final goodbye to my children. What emotional scars did they give those two girls when they literally ripped them, kicking and screaming from my arms? …
Just as I am sure the adoption agencies employees would put a quick end to any good byes the mother may have if she showed signs of changing her mind.
And the video tape or pictures they suggest?! What is that?! Because they know, they even say it. That the mother will not remember some things! What they don’t say is why she won’t remember some things. Because she is so emotionally traumatized that her brain is not capable of holding all her memories. that her HUMAN brain could not handle that much pain, so it will repress some memories, and may even dump some memories forever.
That year for me has many holes in my memories. I see that year of my life in a serious of images, as if there were photos on the screen of my brain, flashing one after the other in no perticular order and none of them fit together. Some of these images even seem foreign to me, as if I had retrieved someone else’s photos at the shop.
I remember some things all too clearly. I remember the day I said goodbye to my girls as clear as if it were yesterday. I remember what it felt like to hold them to me and smell their sweet hair and kiss their soft face… I remember the pain, I can still feel the pain in my chest as I watched my girls being carried away…. I don’t remember ever leaving that room…… Do I want pictures or video of that day to remind me? OHHHHHH God No! I couldn’t stand to see it in real world, when I can see it so clearly in my head.
Do I want some of my lost memories back… I think yes… In point, that last day of seeing my girls, I was then, unknown to me yet, pregnant with their brother…. I do remember finally figuring out I was pregnant, I do remember being sick the whole time, I do remember working right on up until the day I went into labor… I can’t see it though. I can’t feel my son moving inside my womb in my memories. I can’t see myself with large belly wobbling around. I can’t remember the special details of that pregnancy as I can remember the pregnancies of my daughters. I want to! I want to be able to pull those memories out of what ever lock box they are in. I want to remember my son’s first kick. I want to remember how it felt to have him wiggling inside my womb.
And you know, I would really like to leave that horrid room that was my torcher chamber. I wish I could leave the room that I said goodbye to my girls in…….
As far as I know, I only have four faithful readers here. One of them is an adoptive mother who I respect and admire because of her honesty and her heart, I consider her my friend. Two are women who truly know my pain and have been here for me so much and they are very special friends to me. And the fourth reader is my lovely sister, who would probably never read this blog if it was written by anyone else, but she loves me and she reads everything I write out of that love. I love her for that.
Oh, I know that sometimes other’s stop by and peak, but don’t leave a trace of who they are. And I know I’ve had some who have come to my blog by the way of searches. A small fraction of which were actually related to the contents of my blog. (I hope that those who are in search of answers find some here.) But most of these searches are what I consider very strange and some of them are even sick. I’m sure that some of these people are quite disappointed that their search leads them to my blog. (ha!)
So when I received a couple of comments from people who usually do not comment on my writing, I view that as a small success. Someone actually read what I had to say and found it worthy of comment. Yea.
Ok, it’s not really that I just have to have comments. That’s not the purpose of my writing this blog. First this is my place to vent what is in my heart and my mind that I can not vent in public life, second it is hopefully something that will someday help others, ether tell them things they didn’t know before they make a decision that will change them forever, or help someone who is suffering pain like mine to know that they are not freaks, and they are not alone. And my true dream is that some day, somehow, by some miracle one of my children might find this blog and recognize me and know how much I love them and contact me because of this very blog. (I know that is very far fetched dream, but it is indeed my dream.
So receiving comments is not what I do this for. If I never received another comment, I would still continue. But I can’t help myself. It feels good to have someone comment on something I write. The truth is, they wouldn’t even have to agree with me, I just find it comforting to know that something I wrote, this, that I put my heart and soul into can cause other’s to think of comment. It is for this reason I can say that I have never censored any comments. (oh, except for the one time when someone left just a series of letters that meant nothing. Very strange.) And if anyone ever sends me spam through my comment section, I will have no problem deleting those. If someone disagrees with me and chooses to voice their opinion and their reason for the disagreements, they are welcome here. (although I might add that this is a public site, there for one might consider acting in a respectful way that you would in public)
Why has this come up? Why did I stop what I was writing on to write this drivel about comments? How can I write such a boring post and say that I am inviting all to comment? Well, if you are still here reading this, ( thank you), I will tell you. I did receive one more comment than what you can see. A very special comment, from a very special person. She chose not to leave the comment on this site, because she disagreed with some of what I said and didn’t want to publicly tell me that. Because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings. Because this woman would never knowingly hurt anyone, Never! Because this woman has a heart made of pure gold, she censored herself rather than risk hurting me. But the truth is, what she had to say was very thought worthy. And I’d like to share some of it with you now.
Is it ok to say I don’t agree with everything you said? I know a lot of it is because how you were treated very unfairly and they should have never taken the children away from you. However, there are mothers who will never be good mothers. How many chances should she get if she is abusing her children? If no one else is allowed to adopt them, does that mean that they either get passed from foster home to foster home or stay with the mother who might eventually even kill them?……Just because a woman can have a baby doesn’t mean she should. Some women will never be a good mother. And does that mean that women who can’t have children are bad people?…….I do agree that they need to do a major overhaul on CPS. It makes me angry to think of Cps taking R & L away from you and I know there are a lot of innocent women who should never have lost custody of their children. Cps was designed for the children who really needs their help for whatever reason, not for the purposes they decided to make it for. We just can’t ignore the needs of the children who are being abused by their parents. If the abuser is the Dad, then Cps needs to offer the Mother help in getting away from him and help with learning how to raise her children without the Dad……Well anyway, something to think about when you are writing the rest of your article. I don’t want you to lose sight of the children who are in danger if they stay with their parents in an abusive home.
The funny thing is, I really don’t disagree with anything she said here. I do understand that sometimes life being messy and all, sometimes there is no other option. I know some people who lived their entire childhood with abusive parents that should have never had to live with such terrors. No one saved them. No one cared or seem to care about these children. It is still happening today. So many children that need help and are not getting it. And don’t think that it is because no one knows, because they do know! The people that could help these children who live in fear and pain know they are there and know they need help. But these are the children who have been labeled as “not adoptable” Most due to age. So a blind eye is turned from these children because the people that could help them, see them as already lost. And they, these so called non-adoptable children have nothing to offer the “authorities” They can gain nothing from helping these children.
While other parents loose their children to CPS for the crime of being poor. Or the mother looses her children because she reports her husband as an abuser. Even though she doesn’t live with the man any longer. Or even the other way around, when the husband takes the kids away from an abusive mother and still looses his children. (He is, after all, just a man… how could he raise these kids alone?)
And even if there is no way to keep the children with the parents, ether one of them, why are they given over to strangers? Why doesn’t the “social workers” try to find a family member who is able to care for them? Grandparents, Aunts or Uncles, cousins even? At least they should try to keep the kids with family. But they don’t. They don’t even try.
And then there are the countless new born babies that are taken from the mother and placed into the arms of another woman who is found to be more deserving of the child. What abuse did these women inflict on their babies? To cause them to be coerced into relinquishing their rights as legal mother? Being too young while pregnant? Being unmarried? Being poor or lack of education? And we excuse all this by saying things such as; “She signed the papers.” Yes, indeed she did. But under what kind of pressure? How many times was she told that she could not be a good parent to her child? How many times does it take to tell someone they can’t possibly be a parent to their child before they believe it?
But does this mean that women who can not have children of their own deserve to be childless? Are they somehow bad? NO! Of course not. But does their pain of not having a child make them more worthy of motherhood than the young, single, poor woman who is now pregnant? Is this woman unworthy of this child because her pregnancy was unplanned? Should we continue to allow the agencies to take this baby out of her mother’s arms and place her into the arms of another so that this woman suffering from infertility can have a chance to be a mother?
Now understand and try to remember that I did say that adoption can not be totally eradicated. I believe there are times when nothing else will be possible to save a child and adoption must take place. And then, these women who have the love of a mother, but not the capability to have a baby can indeed become a mother. To those children with no other hope. Those who someone on their behalf has tried everything else possible and have been left with only the option of adoption.
And if the pregnant woman, who will soon be a mother, is given true and all details to her options. How she can find support to help her so that she can raise her own child. If she is told the truth about how life would be for her after adoption… Then there would be considerably less infant adoptions, I’m sure. Does this matter? If adoption is supposed to be about the kids, (which it isn’t now as it stands) then those who are adopting or who want to adopt, should be wanting to adopt a child that needs them, not adopt because they need a child. So if the child is older, does that matter. Would you love the child less if she was older when she came into your life, rather than a new born?
One more example before I stop rambling. This time in the form of a story. This story is made up in my head. The people are not real, despite an resemblance there may be to real people. If you think you find something in this story that sounds similar to another story you heard or read about, perhaps on the news? That is only because even though I made up the players in this story, stuff like this really does happen. Sometimes fiction is too close to the truth. …
So there is a child, his name is Tony. He’s not quite a teenager, but too old to play cowboy any more. In fact, he doesn’t play any games. He has been severely abused by his own parents for more years than he can remember. He’s been tossed into foster care and back to his parents so many times he feels like a rubber ball.
Tony doesn’t allow himself to get close to anyone. He’s been placed in your care now and you see his pain. His emotional scars show like a flag on a pole. He is sullen and withdrawn most of the time, and then suddenly without warning he turns violent and angry. You understand that his emotional scars run so deep that it might not be possible to help him completely over come this. But he has taken your heart. You can’t help it, you love him and you try hard to reach his heart with yours.
Time and time again you reach out to him with love, trying to gain his trust, only to be rejected by him over and over again. Until one day you see a small glimmer in his eyes. He slowly reaches out to you, his tiny hand shaking in fear. A tiny gesture of hope that someday, he might trust you, someday he might even except your love. Your heart sings at the thought that this child might be able to be saved.
And finally, after trying everything possible, the “social workers” have realized that there is no hope for reforming Tony’s parents. Finally, the courts are in agreement. And since Tony has stayed with you for longer than anyone else in the past year or so; and he has begun to show some progress with you. It seems logical that you would be given option to adopt him, yes?
There is just one problem now. He’s not cute. NO not at all. In fact, some might even call him….ugly. And for a child in the system, he is old, too! So of course, given the circumstances, the social worker begins the paper work to place him in a children’s home until he is old enough to release from state custody. Because of course, you wouldn’t want to adopt this older child, who isn’t at all cute and has a lot of emotional baggage. What would your friends say when you said “this is Tony my son.”?
Now be honest here, how do you feel about this story?! Do you feel angry that I could say such a terrible word like “ugly” about a child? Or do you feel anger that it was suggested that his looks would have ever been a factor? And lord knows if you’ve already bonded with this boy in foster care, you wouldn’t be thinking of anyone who thought bad of you because your son wasn’t “cute”
Well, be aware, that government agencies believe this is exactly how you would react. Any of us. They think that when they have the older less attractive children in their care that no one! NO ONE, would ever want to adopt that child! Isn’t it time that we showed these government agencies that we are not that Shallow???
Let me just say there are some obvious times when adoption would have to be an option. Such as an accidental death of the parents with no known family members. But that seems that it should go without saying.
Also, I’d like to clarify that I do not blame the adoptive parents for any of the injustice that happens in the name of adoption. I think, it is my belief, that in a way, the adopting parents are just as misinformed and in some ways yes, I think they are coerced into believing that they are doing the right thing. They are told that they are saving not only a child, but the mother of that child. This point of view is the only point of view that many of them ever hear before the adoption. They are never told how the mother is “convinced” to sign those papers, and they are never told how bad the effects will be on the mother. In most adoptions, I think, that the adoptive parents are told the same things as the mothers so much that they too believe the lies and truly do believe they are doing a wonderful thing.
Ok, so part 3 will come in a few days. In part three I hope to complete this line of my thoughts by giving you some of my ideas for alternitive to adoptions in some cases.