Interesting Email

Monday, September 14, 2009

I received an interesting email a few months ago. I meant to respond to it, but I actually forgot about the email until I began cleaning out my inbox this week.  So here's the gist of what it said (most sentences have been edited for grammar purposes):

"I was following your blog you sound so brave and full of life. I am glad that everything turned out well for you and your daughter.  But one thing strikes me. I did not find any answers to "why " you chose adoption. Was it not possible for you to keep your daughter?  Don't you have any regrets?   If the choice is between closed adoption or open adoption, open adoption seems best, but I think you will get many messages from birthmothers which will tell you you make things sound too rosey, too pinkish.  I know two women who committed suicide after their promised open adoption was closed by the adoptive mother; they felt betrayed.  I know someone who was hospitalized after having her second child for depression. There are so many not allowed to form a bond with their children and they visit like distant relatives. So that is the thing adoption is about loss first. Yes, you save a baby, but sometimes you give up the mother.  And I think you underestimate this. In a way, you advertise adoption. And that is what I do not like about your site.  This is the rosey open adoption story forums or Bethany adoption tells.  I think instead of helping women to give up their children to adoption, many more things should be done to help them raise their kids.  I think that some cases of adoption are not necessary, but women do not trust themselves and their maternal instincts.  They buy into what they are told until it is too late.  I think adoption is one of the worst things that can happen to a woman and to a baby."

I have chosen to respond publicly to this email because I think that it will help other people who feel similarly to understand where I'm coming from. 

First and foremost, thank you for reading my blog and for taking the time to contact me.  I believe I have addressed the issue of why I chose adoption many times throughout my blog.  I'll explain it again.  Ultimately, it all comes down to the fact that I could not provide the means (emotional, psychological, financial, you name it) to support a child at the age of 18.  Of course that wasn't an easy decision. In fact, it took me nine stressful months to figure it out and a long time afterwards to fully accept it.  Fortunately, I was mature enough to realize that my daughter needed more than Robbie and I could provide for her.  If love was all it takes to raise a child, then I'm pretty sure that we would have been the best parents ever.  But it does take a whole lot more than that.  After meeting Don and De, we realized that open adoption would provide Deanna with the absolute best chance at living a happy and successful life.  And with the added benefit of maintaining our relationship?  Priceless.  Open adoption has been amazing, to say the least.  Difficult at times, but amazing nonetheless.  

I completely agree that more needs to be done to assist women who choose to parent.  In fact, that's why I devoted four years of my undergraduate degree at NC State to establishing and leading a student organization that advocates resources for pregnant, parenting, and post-abortive students.  As the former president of Real Choices, I worked to set up a network of student moms, to provide free childcare services to student moms, and to meet with NC State administrators to help make student moms' lives easier.  I fully support these women, and I think what they have had the courage and ability to do it amazing; but I also believe that parenting is not always feasible and/or realistic. That's why I support adoption.  I want to make it clear that I do not advocate adoption before parenting.  I believe that open adoption can be a wonderful alternative for women who are unable to parent.

My heart truly does go out to any woman who has chosen adoption and regretted it.  I cannot fathom that type of regret.  But contrary to your prediction, I have not received "many messages from birthmothers" who have regretted their decisions or who think my blog is too "rosey or pinkish."  I have received so many messages from birthmothers, adoptive mothers, and adoptees across the country who have been so positively affected by open adoption that they want to share it with me!  And that is amazing.  By sharing my experience with open adoption, I have found that there are so many others out there who have experienced the greatness that open adoption has to offer.  So why don't we hear about the positive stories as often as the negative ones?  Because the people who are experiencing the positives of adoption aren't sitting around on their computers, sharing their amazing stories; they don't have time to!  These people are out living their lives and experiencing the goodness that open adoption has presented in their lives.  The people who have been negatively affected by adoption are the ones who are looking for some type of comfort and choose to share their stories online, in hopes of connecting with someone, anyone who has gone through the same difficult experience. I don't think there's anything wrong with that; it's just a simple fact that people are more likely to react to a negative experience than to a positive one.

You say that I am "too rosey, too pinkish" in presenting open adoption to my readers.  I must disagree.  I do not claim to be representative of every birthmother's journey.  This is my journey as a birthmother, and this is my documentation of how our open adoption is working.  And no, it hasn't always been easy.  It has been extremely challenging and difficult at times.  I suffered from severe post-postpartum depression for nearly two years after my daughter was born, and I had more than enough challenges to overcome when coping with the lasting impact of my decision.  My uncle died from a massive heart attack two weeks before Deanna was born, and I had to live with the guilt of not being able to attend the funeral and feeling like I caused more stress than my family should have had to handle at one time. I felt so alone, so scared, and so vulnerable.  There were times when I simply wanted to give up...but those were the moments that I truly learned to rely on my faith to make it through. 

I think the most important lesson I've learned throughout this entire crazy experience is that God has a plan for each of us, no matter what circumstances we are given.  I refuse to let these circumstances define who I am and what will become of my life.  Instead of wallowing in depression and living with a lifetime of regret, God has given me the strength to rise above it all, to grow even closer to Him, and to share my story in hopes of preventing abortion.  I can only hope that others will follow my lead and use their own difficult experiences as an opportunity to grow closer to Christ and to stand up for what they believe in.

And now for the million dollar question...do I have any regrets?  
That's probably the easiest question to answer.  Absolutely not.

17 comments:

Leah said...

Amen, amen, amen! Perfectly responded :-)

Kayla said...

Amy, I can't tell you how well you responded to that question. Great Response!

Anonymous said...

Amy,

Your posts always amaze and inspire me. I can completely see God using your life to impact others. I have been following your blog for a while now as well, and it was clear to me why you chose adoption and I also think that you do not "mislead" or make adoption look "rosey". You are completely honest regarding YOUR journey. The fact that it comes of as "rosey" and "pinkish" to blog readers is a testament to how well open adoption is working out for YOU! How wonderful that people are able to see the good that has come out of your decision. You have shared the difficult times you have had throughout your journey with all of us. The last sentence in the e-mail is really hurtful and ugly. "I think adoption is one of the worst things that can happen to a woman and to a baby." WOW!! Some people just don't get it and they never will. I think what you and Robbie chose for Deanna is the ultimate selfless act. And I think that the fact that it has turned out SO well for everyone involved is proof that this is what God intended for Deanna. You have been able to reach so many people that you would not have otherwise crossed paths with. You are such an intelligent woman and I know you are going to continue to do amazing things and reach countless women. I pray for you, Robbie, Deanna, the Dollars, the Leonards, and the Hutton family (did I leave anyone out?!!). May God continue to use you and give you strength and protection from Satan who tries SO hard to sneak in and bring you down. Keep up your hard, diligent work. I LOVE your blog!!

Casey in Texas

CFree _in_FL said...

This blog convinced me to get sterilized.

Anonymous said...

Amy I know how hard your journey was, and your beautiful writing is a blessing to us all. Don't stop what your doing...It will always be difficult to understnd people who make such dark comments. Keep up your writing that gives us all LIGHT!
Love Always..
Mary Beth / BeBe

Anonymous said...

hi amy!
your blog is amazing and i always enjoy reading it. keep writing and i miss you.
~allie

Anonymous said...

Amy!
Your blog honestly inspires me and amazes me each and every day. I couldn't be more proud to know an amazing person like you.
Love,
Julia

openadoptionmommy said...

Hi there! I'm new to the open adoption bloggers as an adoptive mom and have really enjoyed reading your blog! it's totally a breath of fresh air, realistic, but fresh! I've shared your blog with our birthmother and she loves reading it! I'm glad you aren't taking crap from people :)

Jacq Jacq said...

Amy,
You blog is not only amazing, but inspirational to so many. I honestly do not think you realize how many people your story reaches out to. When I read negative responses such as this my only conclusion is that in order to truly appreciate and understand your story, you had to not only be there from the beginning, but be able to see the Lords hand in the beauty of the happiness he has created today. Even though so many of us may not be able to relate to your personal situation first hand, there is not doubt a level of respect, appreciation, admiration, and love for what you have done. It is easy to criticize another when you have not walked in their shoes. What you did was one of the least selfish things that any human being could have done for another. You made the ultimate sacrifice, and there is no debate about that. You gave a lifer for the greater good than your own, and there is no disputing that. It is easy to say that love conquers all, but the realities of the world we live in today sometime do not allow that. There is absolutely regarding the boundless love that you and Robbie have for the beautiful child that you created. Not only do I know this is the truth, but the Lord himself knows how much you and Robbie care for the wonderful human being that you created. Deanna is an unfathomable gift to the world. Sometimes the time is not right for certain situations, and the Lord will always point us in the right direction. His never failing grace directed you towards Don and De. Although sometimes it hard to let go, seeing everyone in their place today never fails to reassure that this is the work of the Jesus Christ himself. I truly believe that everyone is where they were meant to be. My dear Amy, your story and what you went through is one of the most courageous things I have ever witnessed in my entire life. I am truly honored to have you in my life and as a part of my family. Your faith and trust in the Lord only reassures me that your time will come, and when it does you will become one of the most prodigious mothers and wife....along with one of the most honorable people I have ever had to privilege of knowing. I love you will all my heart.
Jacq Jacq

Anonymous said...

What strikes me the most is how sad this person really must be. On the other hand, your soul is filled with peace and hope. I think that says a lot.

I really hope and pray that people will respect your decision to place your child in an open adoption situation as the BEST decision for your child. I don't understand why people would want to be so negative and hurtful in their comments. In the end, I guess it matters not what others thing about your decision because YOU know it is best for Deanna. It hasn't been easy, but sometimes doing the best or right thing hurts a tad (or a lot).

I am so thankful you have shared your adoption story. It has affected me and P on so many levels and I have no doubt that you are reaching a LOT of people on this blog.

Thanks for posting the pics of your time at the beach over Labor Day, I love the pics of ya'll doing the splits! ha ha!!!

Sincerely,
Dorothy and Patrick

jerimiahmommy said...

Amy,

I have been following your blog for over a month now and I have to say that I am completly in awe of you and what you have done for Deanna and for the Dollars. That has to be the most unselfish thing I have possibly ever heard. You gave your child, your nine month companion, to them for them to care for and love. That is above amazing in my book! I feel such a connection with you that I have never felt with anyone before through your posts. I love to see pics of Deanna and hear of your journey through open adoption. I guess you could say that we do have some things in common. I have a son Jerimiah who is almost 4. I became pregnant at the young age of 15, just a freshman in Highschool. I chose to keep him for myself, and it has been the best and most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. It has put a strain on things in many aspects but I still feel that was the best decision for me. I know we both chose two different paths but we both chose what we KNEW was best for our children. And its for sure that we both give them something the same...LOVE, never ending love. And in my book that is the best thing anyone could ever give a child is love and support and let me tell you sister, Deanna looks like she has plenty of that! You are inspiring and I look forward to continue reading your posts! =)

Anonymous said...

I <3 you Amy! You are such an inspiration to girls and women. Your outlook on life is amazing. Keep on truckin' girlfriend. Miss ya!

~Lewis

@juniandpip said...

I think you did a good job responding here, but your emailer brought up an interesting point that you didn't address -- if your options had been to keep your baby or to choose a closed adoption, do you think you would still have chosen the adoption? Was the fact that it was open that made it a viable option for you?

birthmothertalks said...

I just found your blog. Thanks for following mine. I agree for me that adoption has been one of the worst things that has happened in my life. However, I really didn't make the choice on my own and also I was lied to and stuff so I can't even begin to compare stories. Lastly, even though not raisin my daughter has been very hard, I have never once regretted choosing life and that is what really counts for me. Sometimes, I wonder if I would carry so much grief if I had an open adoption.

Lavender Luz said...

I'm glad you are telling your story. Other people can tell theirs.

Sounds like you have delved into your feelings and that all the hues (not just "rose") are coming through.

Queen Mama said...

I liked your answer. And again, this is YOUR blog. I understand "points" they are making, but thats not the purpose of YOUR blog. Some people feel the need to share their opinions when not needed. It is our constitutional right for freedom of speech, so however you discuss YOUR story on YOUR blog, feel free. I am new and I think that your story (that I have read) is inspirational. I got pregnant my senior year and chose to parent. I am now married with twins, but I struggled so much and sometimes I didn't even know how her or I was going to eat. She is now 9 and I wonder sometimes if her life would have been better if I chose adoption. It was a choice I had, and I thought hard about it, but my heart wouldn't let me. But again that's MY story, not YOURS. Keep doing what you are doing.

BTW - She is just gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Amy, keep up the amazing work. Do not be distracted by Satan; God needs you. Although I cannot personally relate to your story, you have shown me that with the Lord's help, all things are possible. He will only put obstacles in our lives that He knows we can overcome. You provide hope and encouragement to so many.

Psalm 5:11-12
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield

Love and God Bless,
Rebekah Z

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