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ElizabethAnn

Who Birthmoms Are

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This article from the New York Times discusses some of the hard history of adoption, but it also highlights how bad times must be for birthparents to relinquish. I find the notes that mothers left with their babies so precious. I'll include the full text here, but be sure to look at the slide show accompanying the article. Link is: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/03/nyregion/03foundling.html

Glimpses of Heartache, and Stories of Survival

By GLENN COLLINS

The letters, more than a hundred years later, are heartbreaking. Many are just rough notes, bearing pinholes where they had been attached to swaddling clothes. Here is a scribble that says, “My name is Rose — I am baptized — 1 year old.” Another mother has dashed off, “Guard this little one and if things turn out as I hope I shall repay you for your trouble.”

A more operatic missive dates from 1874: “I am a poor woman and have been deceived under the promise of marriage. I am without means and without relatives to nurse my baby. Therefore I beg you for God’s sake to take my child and keep it. I remain your humble servant.”

The notes arrived with abandoned infants, many of them left in a plain wicker basket at the entrance to what is now known as the New York Foundling, the 137-year-old family services agency in Manhattan. Now, the entire collection — a trove of documents, photographs and memorabilia that sheds new light on a dark chapter of the New York that was — is going public for the first time.

“The archive is teaching us about our past,” said Sister Carol Barnes, a director of the Foundling, sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of New York, which also co-sponsors St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers. But the collection, called the Foundling Archives, “is also telling us much about ourselves,” she said. “It is a heritage that is very much alive because the human needs remain the same.”

The New York Foundling Asylum was created in an era of minimal child welfare bureaucracies, when newborns were routinely abandoned on the mean streets, in church entrances or on the doorsteps of the wealthy. It was a time when an estimated 30,000 homeless children populated the city.

In 1870, a year after the Foundling began, the State Legislature deemed the agency’s work so crucial that it appropriated $100,000 for construction of a larger building. The Foundling began boarding babies with volunteer families almost immediately and initiated adoptions in 1873. For decades, it sheltered unmarried expectant mothers and their babies, and it established a pediatric hospital in 1881. By 1910, 27,779 children had passed through its doors.

The need has hardly evaporated. “At the turn of the century, the problem was poverty and, to a certain extent, alcohol,” said William F. Baccaglini, the Foundling’s executive director. “But now we are seeing children suffering from a complex of other problems as well — substance abuse, mental health issues, developmental disability.”

Research in the Foundling’s archives has been entrusted to Richard Reilly, 67, a retired management consultant and history maven. Since December, he has been reviewing and organizing the archive as a member of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, a Jesuit-run program dedicated to service and spirituality. The Foundling intends to create an archival center and put all of the materials on its Web site in time for its 140th anniversary in 2009.

Steven H. Jaffe, an independent historian and curator who incorporated some of the Foundling’s memorabilia in an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society four years ago, said the archive was important in tracing early child welfare reform efforts, when religious denominations took partial responsibility for orphans in the absence of a public safety net. Although the poorly coordinated system was later deemed Dickensian, it was a vast improvement over utter abandonment, he said.

On a recent afternoon, Mr. Reilly cracked open a ledger book that documented 2,457 babies who were dropped off at the Foundling from October 1869 to November 1871 — many of them left in the legendary cradle that was placed outside its brownstone on East 12th Street off Fifth Avenue. “Infanticide,” Mr. Reilly said, shaking his head, “was a widespread practice then.”

New discoveries in the collection include an 1869 leather-bound ledger, with entries in the spidery black penmanship of Sister Mary Irene Fitzgibbons, the founder of the institution. The ledger details the agency’s minutes, fund-raising and construction plans, including drawings. More mundane items, like an 1891 electric bill for $100.16, have also emerged.

The archive includes admissions registers, annual reports, newspaper clippings dating to 1869, dozens of scrapbooks and hundreds of books and videotapes.

Especially poignant is the collection of baby ledgers, in which abandoned children’s arrivals were noted in precise script. The Foundling’s first baby, Sarah Kinsley, was left with the sisters on Oct. 12, 1869.

But it is the notes and letters — scraps of paper and bits of cloth, many pinned to the babies’ blankets — that evoke the power of stories untold.

On a note from 1873 is written, “This child name is Marie John Dunn — 5 days old.” Penciled the same year is a cryptic message, haunting for its brevity, “Child of Mary E. Farmer.”

Some messages, like one from 1879, suggest life-threatening abandonment. “This infant was found on the sidewalk between 50th and 51st Streets,” it said.

And stark tragedy marked an 1882 note accompanying a quartet of babies conveyed to the Foundling by the commissioners of emigration on Wards Island, “The mothers of three of these children died of puerperal fever, and the fourth mother is hopelessly insane.”

Another adornment of the collection is a replica of the long-disintegrated 1869 wicker cradle where mothers left their babies.

On May 30, 1870, an article in The New York Times described the cradle “standing from morning to night and from night to morning to receive its human burdens.” It added, “A bell nearby gives warning to the attendant nurse when the cradle has an occupant.”

The Foundling continued the cradle tradition when it relocated to 3 Washington Square North. In 1873, the agency moved to a red-brick building (partially financed by the Legislature) that filled the block from 68th to 69th Streets between Lexington and Third Avenues. In 1958, it moved to 1175 Third Avenue, where the Foundling stayed for 30 years before moving to its current headquarters at 590 Avenue of the Americas, at 17th Street.

In the late 19th century and into the 20th century, the Foundling was a pediatric and maternity hospital and participated in the “orphan trains.” Starting in the mid-19th century, and continuing for 75 years, the trains shipped as many as 200,000 city children to do farm and domestic labor out west. Many city welfare agencies, including the Foundling, lauded the practice as wholesome rural salvation. Some of the children were trained in the trades, others were adopted.

Ultimately the child-protection system of which the Foundling was a part was assailed by child-development researchers, who said that institutional care deprived children of maternal care, and by reformers who saw rampant inequities in assigning children to religious-based agencies.

There was increasing pressure to place foster children in permanent homes through adoption. And the legalization of abortion caused a reduction in the number of babies, “so we had no need for large nurseries in a big building,” Sister Barnes said.

These days, the Foundling is the city’s second-largest foster home provider and the third-largest child welfare agency. Under city contracts, it has 13,000 children in foster care in 44 programs in the five boroughs. It also has programs for children and developmentally disabled adults in Rockland and Westchester Counties and in Puerto Rico.

The Foundling also runs a pediatric center for children with severe birth defects and neurological disorders, and it has a maternity residence, a respite care unit and a family crisis unit.

Most of the Foundling’s $88 million budget comes from private contributions, bequests and contracts for welfare services with government agencies. It gets a grant of $5,000 a year from the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.

Now, the Foundling is renovating a former industrial building at 170 Brown Place at 136th Street, in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, hoping to transform it into a $26 million charter elementary school. It would combine academics and welfare services for 90 children.

“In these neighborhoods, we need a holistic approach,” Mr. Baccaglini, the director, said of the school, which could open as early as 2008.

To the orphans of another era, the archives are “our story,” said Mabel Anne Gruele Harrison, who is 98 and lives in Lincoln, Neb.

She did not know that she had been adopted until she was 27, when she learned she had been shipped from the Foundling on an orphan train to Colorado Springs at the age of 2 years and 4 months. She was adopted there and raised as a Catholic by a childless couple, John and Anna Gruele.

Long after Mrs. Harrison married, had two children and became a speech pathologist, she found the names of her birth parents in Brooklyn — Jenny Rubin and Mo Cohan — and learned that they were Jewish; her birth name was Mabel Rubin.

Although the orphan trains have been criticized for high-handedness in consigning some children to what critics described as indentured servitude, Mrs. Harrison termed the system “a wonderful thing.”

She added: “I got a good upbringing and landed on two feet. Why should I complain? It was good the Foundling was there to take me.”

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On a recent afternoon, Mr. Reilly cracked open a ledger book that documented 2,457 babies who were dropped off at the Foundling from October 1869 to November 1871 — many of them left in the legendary cradle that was placed outside its brownstone on East 12th Street off Fifth Avenue.

Dear Lord, when will we learn not to repeat the mistakes of our history?! I am so struck by the correlation between this "old" method of child abandonment and the innovative "new" concept of safe haven, in which we urge desperate mothers to leave their young not at orphanages but fire stations?!?! Why don't lawmakers realize that there have to be better ways to help than perpetuating problem and facilitating the secrecy that invariably results in closed adoptions and human beings deprived of access to the first chapters of their own life stories?

My heart goes out to these women, past and present, and their precious babies.

Great article, Kay. Thanks for sharing it!

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Here's a TV news station's interview with the birthmom of baby Max, whose adoption was overturned when a judge ruled that the adoptive father's weight restricted him from being a suitable parent: Why Penny's Mad at the Judge.

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Here's a fascinating honor thesis by a Stanford honors student that examines the influences that support a Mexican mother's whether decision to parent or place her baby for adoption: Determinants for Latinas on Parenting vs. Adoption

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An inspiring report of a New Orleans adoptee, who found herself in a hurricane of hardship and gave her own child the gift of a stable family, through her decision for adoption: First Mom Keeps In Touch.

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KETV in Omaha aired this recent story on an open adoption there:

Open Adoption Arrangement Builds Unique Families

POSTED: 3:41 pm CDT June 3, 2008

UPDATED: 1:34 pm CDT June 4, 2008

OMAHA, Neb. -- Calvin Spencer Harter chews on plastic farm animals and eats applesauce from a tiny jar. At 11 months old, his life is a constant flurry of demands. When he fusses, he gets a binky and a blanket, and always the attention of someone who loves him.

"It comes from all sides. You can't have too many people to love this guy," said mother, Nancy Harter.

Harter and her husband Brian adopted Calvin through the Nebraska Children's Home Society last fall.

They have an arrangement called an open adoption, which means the birth parents share information and can even choose to visit the child and stay in touch as the baby grows.

Mo Kiteley and her former boyfriend decided to place the child for adoption. Both are college students and said they didn't plan to stay together.

"It was really hard. There were a lot of decisions I had to make really fast," Kiteley said.

Because of complications with her pregnancy, Kiteley gave birth to Calvin three months early. She and the adoptive parents spent several weeks in the hospital caring for the child together.

The birth mother works two part time jobs and attends college. She said an open adoption arrangement means she can still be a part of Calvin's life. She visits the Harter family, who lives in Lincoln, twice a month.

Nancy said an open adoption relationship makes sense.

"Being open, there's not going to be anyone saying, I wonder what happened to that baby I had. Or, I wonder what happened to that grandson of mine that's out there," she said.

Kiteley said she doesn't tell people she "gave up" Calvin for adoption. She prefers to say she placed him for adoption because it reflects a carefully thought out decision.

"I placed him for adoption with parents who would love him and give him what he deserved," said Kiteley.

Kiteley and the Harters recently met at an Omaha's Elmwood Park to catch up and visit. All three took turns tending to the baby and passing him around. Mo shared lots of kisses with him. They also showed off a handmade quilted keepsake that will forever remind Calvin of his unique family.

Brian, Calvin's adoptive mother, and Mo, his birth mother, worked on the project together.

The baby's name is appliquéd in the middle, with a quilted family tree and fabric pieces outlining the states where his birth parents and adoptive parents grew up. There are quotes about adoption and the logo of the Nebraska Children's Home Society.

Four fabric hearts fill one block near the top.

"The four hearts are myself, Brian, Mo, and Sean, the birth dad," said Nancy.

Red apples are stitched in one corner, reminiscent of the trips the couple takes to Nebraska City each fall, to pick apples.

Brian said it's a tradition they'll share with Calvin.

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Dale and I are starting to really struggle with comments that people in the girls' lives are making about birthparents. It hasn't been directly about either of theirs, but I am sure that now that Arianna is really beginning to grasp things, once she really gets that she and Nichole have moms other than me, she may project those thoughts onto her situation and take them to heart.

Has anyone come up with a statement or a way to handle these types of situations? Our girls have to deal with enough without adding unnecessary comments from those that love them. We were thinking of maybe sending a letter to our families letting them know what our decisions are regarding open adoption and what we want for the girls through it. We thought that maybe letting people know in advance that disparaging remarks even about a birthparent from a news story or someone else they know will be dealt with because they don't know the situation and are basing their remarks on assumptions.

Does this even make sense? I feel like I know what I am trying to say but I may not be communicating it effectively.

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Great article, Elizabeth.

I understand what you are saying Amanda. Recently someone was asking me about Nathan's birthmom. She said, "She just didn't care." I explained that that was not the case at all. I went on to support my belief that Nathan's first mom cared deeply and that is why she chose to carry him to term and deliver him in a hospital where she could connect with professionals who would help her place him in a loving home. People just have these ingrained, preconcieved ideas and it's terribly hard to dispell them. I don't think I convinced the person who made the statement at all. I think she believes her original statement. Fortunately, this conversation did not take place when Nathan was with me. I think perhaps it's more important for your girls to see your reaction and hear your response rather than to worry about the inital unfounded statement. Just my opinion.

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An interesting look at three of the mothers who got caught up in a recent adoption scandal out of the Rio Grande Valley, in which a man was charged with luring women from Mexico to Texas to place illegally: click here.

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Now, I know I haven't placed yet, and I don't know if that makes this post somewhat invalid? But I know in my heart that I am going to place........ I have no other option, and I desire no other option. I want this baby to go to the parents I know are absolutely perfect for him. So anyway.

Who is a birthmother? I only know who this birth mother is, and I don't know what kind of portrayal I can give you of birthmoms in general, but this is my particular story.

I'm Ellen. I'm 18, a freshman in college, and I don't talk to the father anymore. I grew up in a 1-parent household, first with my mother and then with my dad. Then with my grandma and dad. I never considered abortion, because I don't think it's fair for us to decide when life begins and when it should be taken away. That was never an option for me. I am smart, funny, nice and friendly. I am going to be a teacher. I like green and I'm allergic to guinea pigs. I tell the most random stories and I laugh very easily. And I love this little baby more than anything I ever thought possible. I would love to be able to raise him myself, but that is just not a possibility. I mean, I'm 18 for crying out loud. I don't even know how to take care of myself. I don't have a car, I don't have a real job, I don't want to be on food stamps, I wouldn't have anywhere to live, I would never be able to give the baby everything he deserves, we would be on Medicaid, I don't think I would finish school, and I would be a single mom. There are so many things preventing me from being a mother, and God is telling me "Adoption is the only thing for you, and you know it, Ellen Marie". I am willingly giving my baby up (I feel strange calling him my baby. It just doesn't feel right). I want the best possible home for him. And I am going to give it to him. I can't raise a baby- it's just that simple. One day in the future I may be ready to, but not now. No way.

I am sensitive, and I mostly try to calm myself by knowing that I am doing what is right for this here little child. He is going to be so happy in his little life time, which will, in turn, hopefully give me peace of mind that I did the right thing. Of course I haven't experienced the adoption thing, and I know it's going to hurt when I do go through it, but I'm going to try to take it head on and let myself feel everything. I can't say for sure how much it's going to hurt, but I can say for sure it's going to hurt. And I know I'm doing the right thing, so I'm willing to sacrifice my heart to make a good decision. I will post a blog later, after placement. This is just now, about 20 days away from giving birth.

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Now, I know I haven't placed yet, and I don't know if that makes this post somewhat invalid? But I know in my heart that I am going to place........ I have no other option, and I desire no other option. I want this baby to go to the parents I know are absolutely perfect for him. So anyway.

Who is a birthmother? I only know who this birth mother is, and I don't know what kind of portrayal I can give you of birthmoms in general, but this is my particular story.

I'm Ellen. I'm 18, a freshman in college, and I don't talk to the father anymore. I grew up in a 1-parent household, first with my mother and then with my dad. Then with my grandma and dad. I never considered abortion, because I don't think it's fair for us to decide when life begins and when it should be taken away. That was never an option for me. I am smart, funny, nice and friendly. I am going to be a teacher. I like green and I'm allergic to guinea pigs. I tell the most random stories and I laugh very easily. And I love this little baby more than anything I ever thought possible. I would love to be able to raise him myself, but that is just not a possibility. I mean, I'm 18 for crying out loud. I don't even know how to take care of myself. I don't have a car, I don't have a real job, I don't want to be on food stamps, I wouldn't have anywhere to live, I would never be able to give the baby everything he deserves, we would be on Medicaid, I don't think I would finish school, and I would be a single mom. There are so many things preventing me from being a mother, and God is telling me "Adoption is the only thing for you, and you know it, Ellen Marie". I am willingly giving my baby up (I feel strange calling him my baby. It just doesn't feel right). I want the best possible home for him. And I am going to give it to him. I can't raise a baby- it's just that simple. One day in the future I may be ready to, but not now. No way.

I am sensitive, and I mostly try to calm myself by knowing that I am doing what is right for this here little child. He is going to be so happy in his little life time, which will, in turn, hopefully give me peace of mind that I did the right thing. Of course I haven't experienced the adoption thing, and I know it's going to hurt when I do go through it, but I'm going to try to take it head on and let myself feel everything. I can't say for sure how much it's going to hurt, but I can say for sure it's going to hurt. And I know I'm doing the right thing, so I'm willing to sacrifice my heart to make a good decision. I will post a blog later, after placement. This is just now, about 20 days away from giving birth.

Elly Mae,

You are an incredible young woman. Thats you. I pray for a birthmother that can feel as assured that she is doing what is good and right. I thank God that I have found this adoption agency, and that I hve people like you to affirm my descision that open adoption is the BEST! I pray for peace for you and your adoptive family.

oxox, Lori

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Ellen,

You are an incredible sweet young lady. Full of honesty and a wonderful heart. I appreciate all your honesty and expressing your feelings. I am a PIW and your blog and posts are amazing. I'm sure the adoptive parents in waiting you have chosen feel truly blessed. You are amazing. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

Hugs to you,

Tracey

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Ellen,

What a wonderful post. You truly want the best for your baby and isn't that what counts? Your baby will have that happy life you want for him with his adoptive parents and YOU. With that head on your shoulders you will also be a good teacher.

Jan

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Elly Mae,

I wish you much peace and strength in your decision to place your baby for adoption. It's only now, that both my son's Birthmother and I can truly reflect on this journey we have all embarked on together... open adoption. We look back with tears, laughter and praise to God that he brought us in union with oneanother when we all needed eachother most. It was all for one reason "our" son Dante. He will always be the center and core of our relationship, but since then we realize and know very well that we were meant to be "family". Wishing and praying for what you need most now and tomorrow for your child who will enter this world with the peace from the love only you can give him or her.

Thinking of you,

Claudia

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Out of tiny Lancaster, PA (of all places!) comes this great feature article about who birthmoms are, why they place and why it's so crucial that adoptive parents keep their promises to stay in touch: A Promise for Life.

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I'm resurrecting this topic because some recent posts on the "Positive Adoption Language" thread gave rise to questions about why adoptions happen at all; if most birthparents place merely due to economic limitations, and whether every child would truly be 'better off' growing up with their family of origin?

In my experience, after counseling more than a thousand women who placed their children for adoption, I believe that money (the lack of it, on a birthparent's part or the availability of it in adoptive homes) is rarely a true motivating factor in most placement decisions.

That's not to say that birthparents aren't painfully aware of the costs of raising a child, nor are they immune to suggestions that an adoptive family may be able to provide their child more "advantages" in life due to income. But when it comes right down to it, very rarely does anyone decide to place a child for adoption only because having kids is expensive.

Often, I find that expectant parents considering adoption feel their reasoning for placing seems more "justified" (to themselves or anyone else) if they say they can't afford to raise a child, because people are less prone to argue with that line of reasoning (or judge them for it) than if they say "I don't want a baby at this point in my life, I can't get ahead as it is and having a child will just make it that much harder for both of us."

So why would adoption ever be a better choice for a child's future than remaining in the family of origin? For what other reasons do birthparents place?

Not every biological parent is capable of nurturing a child; having the capacity for reproduction does not automatically instill in one the ability to bond and attach adequately. Those who grow up in non-nurturing homes don't have such parental skills modeled for them and sometimes become parents who cannot nurture their own kids. And children who grow up lacking adequate bonding and attachment and nurture are, absolutely, worse off than those who get such necessities from parents that did not give birth to them.

Not every biological parent who is capable of nurture is able to provide their child with a safe homelife. Some of the most extraordinary parents I've known made the greatest sacrifices, placing children they loved dearly, because they knew they could not otherwise protect their child from the abuse of their partner or from their own addictions or from a family history of psychiatric problems. Some were incarcerated. Some placed to keep their child from being taken by the State. Some wanted to spare their child from being constantly torn between two parents constantly battling over custody rights, or being brought up constantly reminded they were the result of an affair, or the product of incest or rape.

Not every biological parent who can provide a nurturing and safe home feels ready to make a lifetime commitment to the needs of a child-- or another child. This is probably one of the most difficult admissions a biological parent can make, because it opens them up to all sorts of character judgements from those who see this perspective as selfish. But the healthiest parents are generally those who have had the opportunity to build their lives and achieve their goals and meet their own needs before they take on the challenge of raising a child to do so. The Bible tells us to "love one another as you love yourself." That suggests one's own needs should be on the same level as those of others, and counters the theory that good parents must always forfeit their own needs and dreams to devote their all to their children.

Is there any "family of origin" magic that automatically predestines children who are not adopted to grow up happier or more whole than those who are adopted? I don't believe so.

Children who get adopted grow up with a different set of challenges in life, but they also often glean benefits (non-economic as well as economic) that would not have been available to them, had they remained with their biological parents. There are always compensatory losses, regardless of whether one grows up in a home built by biology or a home built by adoption. But in my opinion, children adopted through open adoptions, whose parents are all committed to maintaining contact and providing access and information, potentially gain the best of both worlds. They're doubly blessed.

What more could any conscientious parent want for their beloved son or daughter?

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Thanks Elizabeth!

I appreciate the clarification on this topic. I was beginning to wonder based on other comments that I had seen throughout the forum that this was the reason why adoption occurred. This helps me to understand things better though.

Donna

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I know something I wrote else where caused you to wonder so I did want to clarify. Was money a reason I chose adoption for my son? Yes. Was money the only reason? No. Did not having money make me have to find a way for him to be properly cared for? Yes. If I had had money would I have placed? Probably not. Would parenting, at that point in my life, have been in Colbys best interest? I can't say it would have been, which was why I did place him.

Not having the money to care for Colby put me in a situation where I had to start looking at other options. Although I desperately wanted to parent I realized just how much I'd be putting on that little boy if I chose to. I didn't think it was fair to Colby when I was so uncertain about how things would go for me for me to put Colby through that.

So I guess money lead me to adoption but once I was there I was able to accept that there were other reasons I was incapable of parenting Colby at that time.

Edited by kristal

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Kristal,

Thanks for clairifying your reasons as to why you placed Colby. I know that money is nice to have and you can make a lot more happen when money is readily available but it isn't everything. Life shouldn't revolve around material possessions (a lesson that I have recently had to learn the hard way), but around the people we love.

Donna

Edited by dbernados

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Hello everyone,

I am not a teenager, nor am I pregnant. I am placing my 3 year old son for adoption. I am over 35. I am going to meet with Abrazo today to explore this adoption more carefully. I have a heartwrenching decision to make. To be quite honest I have agonized over this for a year.

This is not easy. I am not happy or excited about the idea. I have to do what is best for my son. I am distraught about how this will effect my 9 year old daughter. She loves her little brother unconditionally and how he is is all she knows. I explained the adoption the best way I could on a 9 year olds terms. I feel like my insides are being ripped out. My son @ the same time has disrupted and ruined many of her activities and simple things we take for granted she does everyday. I am not close to him and never will be. I just want to make sure my daughter knows she is not going to be adopted and my feelings for her are completely different. I love my son and always will because I am his birthmom. I am hoping to find him the right fit as far as a family. He deserves to have every advantage in life and so does the rest of our family.

I am not taking this lightly. To be completely honest I am not sure what is best for my son. I just know I am not best for him. I do not have the tools to unwind his behavior and emotions to make this work. I also know adopyion is not the only option. Adoption is the best option for us. I do not want to just put him away somewhere. He is not an object. I do not want to bounce him around in the foster care system because I know what the foster care system is. I went to 9 high schools my freshman year. I know just how unpleasant this decision is. I love my son and his best interest is what I have @ heart.

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Mary-

May God place the "right" family your way as you journey through Abrazo. Blessings to Zachary & future family :)

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Mary, my heart goes out to you, your daughter and son as you consider adoption. As Dyna says, I pray that God places the right family in your path.

Blessings,

Erika

Edited by KeithandErika

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Mary,

May you find peace and comfort in your decisions! I pray that God will bring the right family forward and that your daughter will understand your act of love for your son and your family!

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Hello Everyone,

I met with Elizabeth and Ashley from Abrazo today. My husband, Son, and daughter were there as well. The luncheon was informative and interesting. Zachery was "good" as far as good goes for him. He seemed to take to Elizabeth easily. I am more comfortable with my decision to place him for adoption now. He will do fine as long as it is not with me. I do not understand why his behavior is the way it is. I just except it and deal with it. I know it will be difficult to "hand him over" to another family to parent after I have parented him for 3 years. However, my parenting techniques are not working. He just lives in my house in his room. I feel like he is more of a guest then my son. I don't know where I went wrong with him. My daughters are "normal" children and I treat them the same. Maybe he is just wired differently.

Iam trying to feed my 2 month old a bottle as I type. I think I am more ready then I thought to do Zach's adoption. I think I just needed affirmation. I now feel more strongly I am doing this for all the right reasons.

My 9 year old daughter told me today she understands why I am doing this. She wants to meet Elizabeth to satisfy her curiousity. She told me she will be alright with Zachery living some place else. I will be alright with it too. I kind of feel at peace with my decision. I hope this will work out for the best for all the persons involved.

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