In August, Rosie O'Donnell's daughter went missing. She was found and returned; drugs are rumored to have been involved. And then on her 18th birthday, Chelsea O'Donnell left Florida with her birth mother. O'Donnell is said to have cut her daughter off financially and is holding her daughter's birth certificate and social security card.
The adoption world is in an uproar. An adoptee! Returned! To her birth mother! Whoa.
It could get crowded in my dining room with those three other women, the mothers of my adopted children. It made things tight bringing food out and clearing the table, struggling to inch past them, the skinny and stout, all with black hair and brown eyes, and the wide cheekbones that are the national trademark of Nicaragua.
It used to bother me a lot -- their silent clucking at what was for dinner, the suspicious eyes cast on the siblings. The slight head shakes wondering why I went all the way to another country to find children for my family. It bothered me. They just wouldn’t quit....more
I recently found out my birth son was likely never told he was adopted, and has been publicly speaking out about an ancestral heritage that, genetically, isn't entirely true. And I'm worried -- nay, freaked out -- about how he might feel, if he discovers his adoptive cultural background and biological background don't match....more
After a baby is adopted, a birth mother doesn’t just go home and pick up where she left off. Everything is different then. Nothing is “normal” anymore. The bed where you slept so comfortably is now the place where you spent your first few minutes of labor. The porch where you like to sit on summer days is now the place where you took all of your maternity pictures. All of your Facebook friends with babies seem like they’re rubbing your face in their motherhood. The sun streaming in through the kitchen windows doesn’t make you smile anymore. Everything feels…off....more
Nine years ago today, I pushed my daughter into this world with one last mighty push. Nine years ago today, I became a mother. Nine years ago today, a brand new resident doctor stitched me up while my daughter's mom held her for the first time, my arms empty. The pain of the inexperienced stitching didn't compare to the burning hot pain in my heart as I lived through that first experience of almost but not quite, the life-long journey of birth motherhood....more
Although I am comfortable with my own spirituality and my relationship with God, I am not so comfortable with the fact that I have evidently broken my promise to my daughter’s birth mother. Twenty two years ago when this precious baby girl was placed in my arms, I was given the most amazing gift. Her birth mother trusted me to raise her child, provide for her, protect her and love her unconditionally. She asked for just one single thing in return… That I raise her child as a Catholic....more
In her book Journey of the Adopted Self, Betty Jean Lifton addresses the sticky issue of the word "real" in adoptive families: "The adoptive mother believes she is the real mother because she is the one who got up in the middle of the night and was there for the child in sickness and health....more
It stings the most when I run into friends who have daughters her age.
It happens more and more as technology brings people back together. Or, in a totally anti-technology way, when people end up coming back to our beloved camp after years away for whatever reason. Life, work, aforementioned children. In tow, they introduce me to their little girl. Nearly eight, they say. My breath catches. I tell her hello. I hate myself a little bit more. I smile. I cry inside....more
When I tell people that I have developed a good relationship with my daughter’s biological mother and am feeling very positive about the efforts my husband and I have been making to include her more in our lives as an extended family member, they almost always respond with some version of the following: “Wow, that’s great! But aren’t you afraid …” This is followed by the expression of various concerns that naturally arise....more