Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Thoughts... #4

As I have explained before, my first adoption was what now would be considered a semi-open adoption. When I placed all those years ago, what I asked for was a break through approached to adoption. I was asking to just know who my child was, and that was not so popular. In the late 80's there was a movement that started and pregnant women considering adoption were thinking more about the future, more about their role as the child grew. I was one of those revolutionaries that knew that I would be able to heal and get on with my life much better if I could see pictures of my child, hear how she was doing. Let me make a very clear point here, this was NOT how adoptions were done in those days. The system (and when I say that I refer to whole lot of them: the agency, the government, the courts, the lawyers, the social workers for the foster care & the State of Missouri) would have nothing like that. If they had it there way I would not know where they lived, who they were and God forbid ... who she was. It was a really horrible way to treat someone who is taking such a leap of faith in themselves that they are doing the right thing. It was a slap in the face and a degrading position to put me in. It was something that affected me and is the reason why I am trying my darndest to make a change in the after care for birth mothers. See there I go again, getting off track with my passion!

So, I fought to place with the a family that I had found all on my own and they understood my need to know my daughter and they were VERY supportive of that. All her life, they sent me pictures and a letter twice a year. I recieprocated with a grateful letter and once in a while a picture of me. When she was a year and a half, I met them at a neutral place and I spent about an hour with her and her family. It was wonderful, but I was recovering for a month after that. It was hard on my heart, I just wanted to hold her and tell her that I loved her all the time. When she was a little older I spent time with her again and we had a wonderful time.(See Happy Thought...#2 on this blog). Then came the call that she wanted to be in my wedding (that will be a future Happy Thought) and that was a glorious day! So, so, so proud I was that day. Then I saw her at a family wedding several years ago, after she had become a young woman and was fully starting to appriciate the concept of being adopted. She was so beautiful, such a wonderful, amazing soul. There was not a dry eye around us as we embraced for what seemed to be five minutes, more like two. It was like looking in a mirror, her eyes sparkled, her smile was brilliant and in that moment I felt truly happy. I could see that all the struggles, all the hours of heartache in missing her were validated. She looked at me with such admiration, such appreciation. My heart as well as my face was smiling that night. These were the only times that I physically saw her in her life, but I would always send her a birthday card and flowers, one rose for every year, to tell her that I was always thinking of her on her birthday...always.

So with only limited contact (but meaningfull contact) and a great set of parents who supported the idea that an adopted child should know where they came from (and they continued to supported me with their words of gratitude in every letter), this wonderful girl was allowed to form her own thoughts from the very begining of her life. How does she feel about me, about being adopted, about who she is? The following is an article that she wrote for her high school paper some years ago, so let's hear it in her words. All of the names have been changed so let's call my daughter Jordan.

Adoption: By Jordan Razzi and Julia Tellew

Have you ever wondered what it's like to be adopted? Some students here know for a fact what it's like. An unwanted prgnancy can be a miracle for a couple who are unable to have their won children. 4.5 million couples experience infertility each year. These couples are waiting to become parents and are wishing that their names would come up on the adoption lists. Most couples wait 2-3 years to adopt. Costs vary from an estimated $14,3000 to $28,000 depending on the country or agency. China and South Korea are the most popular choice for overseas adoptions. Although only one student at this school was adopted outside of the country. I caught up with a few students who have been adopted and asked them some interesting questions.

One student asked for their name to reamin anonymous, but still ansered the questions to the best of their ability. They said that "It made me feel good that someone would care that much about me to give me a happy life. I found out that I was adopted when my parents thought I was old enough. I appreciate all that my parents have done for me. It leaves no doubt in my mind what my life would be like if I was never adopted. I never even wanted to know who my birth parents were."

Another student that was adopted was JJ. He said that  "It does not make me feel any different toweards my parents. I found out that I was adopted through my grandma and then my mom told me. I do not know my birth parents and I have never wondered what my life would have been life if I was never adopted. I appreciate what my parents have done for me."

Senior LD was adopted from overseas. "I was 3 years old. I found out that I was adopted when I was seven. I was put up for adoption because my mom couldn't afford to live there. I know my birth mom. We talk about once every two weeks. She married my birth father. She says she would like to attend my graduation. I have two other adopted siblings. Adoption is a good thing and I am glad I came to America."

"As for me, I have known that I was adopted ever since I could remember. I have known my birth mom since I was little and was even in her wedding. She put me up for adoption because she grew up without a father figure and she wasn't married at the time, and didn't wnat that for me. We talk periodically and last year I had the chance to see her for the first time in seven years. I can't even begin to explain the feelings I felt when I saw her. It is very cool to have another set of family members that live in different areas. Being adopted makes me feel so blessed, I have a family that loves and supports me in everyting that I do" says Jordan Razzi.

WOW! I was floored when I received this. What a great attitude she has. What a wonderful thing for her to say about adoption. What an amazing soul she is. She gets it, she knows that I loved her enough to let her go and live without me. I let my heart walk without me, and my heart was soaring. Once I finished my book, I sent her one as a gift and she absolutely loved it! She encouraged me to share it with the world and tell everyone of how great our relationship has been. She even used my book as the subject of the first speech she had in school this year. She is so proud of me, so proud to be adopted. How can I not be proud that what I fought for has such a happy ending? How can I NOT share this story with all of you? How can I NOT advocate for the birth parents out there, to make a change in the system so that everyone who is considering placing their child for adoption will have a chance of a good outcome like I have? How can I NOT use my voice to speak out for so many who want to place for adoption and are left to wonder ... "Can I have an adoption that is open and honest?" You bet you can! You most certainly can.

I am beyond proud, I am at peace.


MrsPerrbear said... have me crying now! Thank you so much for sharing these little parts of your journey. They are so honest, revealing, and inspirational! Thank you Kelsey.

Kelsey Stewart, Author said...

Thank you for reading lovey! Know that there is hope that you too will hear words like this. You are a strong, wonderful mother and I so appreciate your support and saying such wonderful words about this story!

Us Bravehearts have to give each other support from time to time, I hope you know that there is someone out here that knows the woes, and amazing joys, of letting your heart walk without you!

All my best to you Mrs. Perrbear!!!