Gotcha Day

Everyone’s adoption journey and search is different. Everyone has different feelings towards things. And this is mine. Gotcha Day is a something that I don’t like, agree with, or would ever celebrate for myself. And I’m so glad and thankful that my parents never tried to make that a thing in our house.

Gotcha Day is the day of ‘celebration’ when a new child enters a family, whether the day the new family got the child, or the adoption was finalized. It can be called “adoption day” or “family day”. All depends on the family that chooses to do this.

Well yes I am incredibly grateful that I was adopted into a loving family, a good family. I got to experience things I wouldn’t have other wise, like I got to live in Kenya. Those choices that were made for me before I was born put me on a completely different path, but that path lead me to my ex, and my husband, which gave me my children. And I can’t imagine life without them. But lets get something straight; I got all of that because my life was traded for another.

I lost my name, who I was, the chance to know my heritage, my story, my family, knowing who I belonged to, and where I came from. My name was changed, I was handed to another family, and got sent down a completely different path in life. A new family may have got me, but that day is a day I lost myself.

Adoption loss is the only trauma in the world where everyone expects the victims (adoptees) to be nothing but grateful and appreciative.
And I am grateful and appreciative, but I also suffered a great loss. A loss that I’ve been trying to figure out, process and deal with my entire life. And just when I thought I had, I got thrown a curve ball.

Adoption is so much more than one family building their own family. There is so much loss behind the scenes. As one family is being built, another family is forever apart. The loss of adoption is felt by the adoptee and birth mother and father and their families. As an adoptee I’ve had to grow up missing people I didn’t know, wondering about them constantly. After I actually found my birth parents, I found myself grieving a life I never knew.

I’m in a unique position. I am both an Adoptee and a Birth Mother. I have experienced loss from both sides of this.

I placed my son for adoption, and I did it in an open adoption so I could know him, be there for him in whatever capacity he needed me to be, and so I could answer any and all questions he ever had, and so he wouldn’t be left alone and wondering like I was. I wanted him to have the life he deserved, but to still know where he came from, his story and to know without a doubt that he was loved, wanted, and that I will always be there for him. He knows who I am and he knows who his siblings are, and he gets to have a relationship with us all. It doesn’t take away from his loss at all, he has his own loss from the choices I made for him before he was born. And I can only hope he sees and knows that I do it all for him, and that I did it out of love for him.

The day my son got placed with his new family, his ‘gotcha day’ so to speak, the day his parents hearts swelled with pride and love as they took home their new son. The day their family was completed. That was the day my heart and soul forever broke and would be missing a piece from that moment on. The day their family was put together, was the day that my world and chance at a family together forever fell apart.

As an adoptee with a closed adoption I felt the loss of people and a life I never knew. I was left feeling ever so slightly like I never belonged. Just ever so slight out of place. Always searching the crowed for someone that looked like me. Always missing a piece of myself. Always wondering where I came from. Always wondering why.

As a Birth Mother, my heart and soul forever broken and missing a piece, enduring a pain so deep and raw, that it still hurts to this day. The day my son went to a home that was my home, was the day my heart didn’t just break, it shattered. It’s a day that I will forever remember, for far different reasons than his family will remember that day for.

There is so much more behind each and every adoption story. There is so much more behind the happy new growing family. There is so much more to all of this.

~ Michelle

Lets Talk About Adoption Terms

There seems to always be a heated debate going on these days. Usually it is brought about by a news story that people seem the feel the need to completely pull apart and attack. Then attack each others views and opinions. Oh the joy of the Internet. Where you can insult and hurt people without ever seeing the true effect of your words.

adoption

The latest debate I have been reading about has to do with Adoption. Actually not so much about Adoption, but about Adoption terms.

Adoption terms such as: “I placed my child for adoption” compared to “I gave up my child for adoption.”
I think these terms are used based on personal preference.

Now as an Adoptee and a Birth Mother I think I have a unique view on this subject.

I was given up for adoption. My birth mother was in no way forced into placing me for adoption. She went into it willing. My birth mother gave up her rights to parent me. As soon as I was released from the hospital I was given to my new forever family.

I grew up with the term “given up for adoption”. I have never once viewed it in a negative light. My parents have never once used it in a negative way. I have never once felt sad about it. I never even felt different about myself because I was “given up for adoption”. It is a fact. She signed papers and gave up her right to parent me, to be my mother, to take care of me and raise me. She gave up her daughter, me. She gave up her chance at motherhood so I could have a better chance.

When I was 16 I got pregnant. I made plans to give up my son for adoption and place him into a family.

I gave my son up for adoption. I placed my son for adoption.
At the end of the day it means the same thing, but does it really?

I gave up the chance to be a mother.
I gave up the chance to comfort my child.
I gave up the right to be called a mother.
I gave up the right to be the one to raise my child.
I gave up the right to stay up all night with my new-born baby.
I gave up the right to kiss my son’s boo-boos better.
I gave up the chance to hold his hands as he took his first steps.
I gave up the chance to hear my sons first words.
I gave up the chance to experience all the joys motherhood brings.
I gave up the chance to experience all the struggles motherhood brings.
I gave up a part of my heart to someone else.
I gave up a part of me.
I gave up the right to have my name on his birth certificate.
I gave up what my life could have been.
I gave all of that, and more, up because my love for my son outweighed all of that.
I gave up all of that so that my son could have a better life. A life I could never give him myself.
I gave up my hopes and dreams because he deserved more.
I did NOT give up on my son. I gave him a chance a better life.
I gave my son up for adoption, which placed him into a loving family.

By saying I ‘gave up my child for adoption’ does not in any way, shape, or form, or mean that I gave up ON my son! I loved my son from the moment I knew I was pregnant, and my love for him has only continued to grow. I have only ever wanted what was best for my child.

Adoption is a very sensitive topic. Adoption touches people differently. Some people have good experiences, some have bad.
If you are a birth mom and you prefer to say that you placed your child for adoption. Then I will respect your preference.
However for me, in my life, in my situations, I am comfortable with myself, my choices, and the words gave up for adoption.

To label something as negative, that is what makes it negative.
Do not just throw a blanket of negativity out over a term, and thus over people who use it.
Words and terms mean different things to different people, respect that.

Adoption is about love. Creating an adoption plan. Placing a child for adoption. Giving up a child for adoption. Placing for adoption. Which ever term you use, a great sacrifice was made in the name of love.

But of course this is just my personal opinion on it all.

~ Michelle