Before I get into this post I want to say a couple of things. First I want to say to one person in particular who may be reading this: Nothing you are about to read is aimed at you. You have never been anything but kind and thoughtful. You have been loving and supportive and more wonderful than I can ever tell you. Please do not think for a moment that I believe you minimize me or trivialize my feelings or importance. I have been lucky in the extreme. Our's is the example all others should follow. There would never be another bad experience if everyone took the time you have.

Second: I want to say that I acknowledge and understand the very real pain, frustration and depression that parents trying to adopt go through. I have seen it in the eyes of women I know. I am not trying to downplay that. I am not trying to minimialize that. That is not what I want to talk about right now.

Recently I overheard a slice of conversation. It is not the first such slice of conversation I have heard and I do not kid myself by thinking it will be the last. Two women were discussing a family member who had recently had an adoption fall through. One of them fairly hissed the word "birthmother" like it was dirty in her mouth. They spoke about the woman who had changed her mind as if she were vile and loathsome, full of evil, cunning and hate. It made my stomach roil. I actually felt as if I were about to vomit.

Because I understood the pain they were feeling on behalf of their loved one I kept my mouth shut. On the inside I was screaming. Crying out on behalf of the woman they were scorning so casually. They were talking about her as if she had no right to the child she gave birth to. As if by simply considering adoption she had lost all rights to call that child her own. I wanted to lash out.

Any of you who read here regularly will know that I have placed three children for adoption in my lifetime. One at the age of nineteen and two in the last two years. None of the adoptions were easy for me and I have in my possesion journals filled with page after page of anger, self loathing, jealousy, hatred, self doubt, self pity, bitterness, depression and venom soaked words aimed at a world I could not understand. All the pages are dotted by my own tears.

The thing I wanted most to tell these women was that simply because a woman considers or even goes through with an adoption does not make her any less a mother. What makes a woman a mother isn't a piece of legal documentation. You can't snatch up a baby, holler, "Mine!" like it was a baby doll on a playground and run off expecting that the other person, the one who gave birth to the child, will have no further feelings. And yet I see it over and over again. I see adoptive families that talk about birthparents like an afterthought. They talk about them like they did some huge favor and, "Oh wasn't that nice of them...but their gone now." I don't know that it's intentional, which is why I never say anything, but it's insulting, to say the least.

I'm sure that someone will point out to me that there are situations where the birthmothers don't care. That some children are taken from their natural parents. That's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about women like me. Women who, for one reason or another know that we can not provide the best home for our children. For me it was knowing that without access to consistent medical care for my Bipolar Disorder the stress of having three children under age three in the house would likely push me into a state where I would end up dead or permenantly hospitalized. I had to weigh the welfare of not just the two infants, but the two already at home.

When I signed those papers, I didn't stop loving my children. I stopped being their parent, but I will never stop being their mother. That never stops. That love never goes away. Every day I think about them. Every day I wonder how they are. Every day I thank God for finding a safe and loving home for them. Signing those papers took away my legal right to have a say in how they are raised and to obtain information about them. It didn't take away my right to love them.

When a woman who has said she will place a child for adoption changes her mind it is often because she can not face that very thing. There is a terror there. How can I be sure? If I don't have the legal right to know that these people are treating my child well, that my child is safe and healthy, how do I know? What will I do if I find out later that something happened? What if they turn out to be abusive? What happens if they die and my child ends up with someone I don't even know? Can you even imagine that terror? Or the guilt that goes with it?

Its hard enough trying to find the words to explain to this precious little life why you couldn't keep it. Why you gave it to someone else to love, protect, cherish and watch grow. How do you find those words? Where do you even begin to look for them? For some women, there are no words and trying to contemplate finding them hurts so badly, they simply stop the process. It becomes easier to deal with the unwanted pregnancy than to deal with the aftermath of placing a child.

The after effect of placing a child for adoption is just like losing a child to death. You go through the same grief process.

Yet when a woman changes her mind she is viewed as a hideous monster. Lower than low. How could she hurt someone that way? How could she cause such pain and torment?

Who cries for her? Who heals her broken heart? No one.

As birthmothers we sign a piece of paper and we leave the hospital and that is that. We are expected to walk away from a living breathing child and never look back. There is no counseling offered, no support. Even what is called "open adoption" isn't really open. Most often it amounts to a letter and some pictures once or twice a year. We are cut out of the childs life forever. We have no place in that world.

The next time you read a story or hear about a birthmother who has changed her mind, think about this story before you judge her harshly. Think about your own feelings as a parent and what you would do if someone asked you to simply walk away from one or all of your children without looking back. How easy would it be for you?
I covet. Not just one thing. There are several things I covet. I have found that in my dark corners I have secret yearnings. I feel I must confess this sin.

Furniture from IKEA. The funky chairs. The oddly shaped couches. The sleak-lined beds. The endless supply of storage boxes. I want it all.

Books. The feel of them. The smell of the ink on the pages. I don't want e-books or audio books. I want the real thing. Hard bound. Soft bound. Trade size. Mass market paper back. Childrens books. Young Adult. Science Fiction. Non-fiction. I read it all.

Disney World Vacations. Odd? Yes, I know. I sit and day dream about spending a week in this magical place. It calls to me. The brightly colored commercialism. The sureity that I won't have to do anything. The laughter. The fun. I want it.

You may be thinking that I have used the wrong word to describe my feelings for these things.

To Covet:

cov·et /ˈkʌvɪt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kuhv-it] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–verb (used with object) 1. to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others: to covet another's property.
2. to wish for, esp. eagerly: He won the prize they all coveted.
–verb (used without object) 3. to have an inordinate or wrongful desire.

I lust for these things. Against all my better judgement. I practically drool when I think of them. I am jealous of those I know that have the them.

I am a sad, sad shell of a human being.


Because when you're rich "Crazy" becomes "Eccentric"

Let's face it, if you went to pick up one of your friends for a night out on the town and she was dressed in a white bikini, Jedi cape and Velvet Muk-Luks, you would have her checked for drug usage.

I give a big thumbs up to Bia Ling. She's either crazy as the day is long or she just doesn't give a shit! Either way, I love her!

Debtor's Prison....An Idea whose Time has come Again?

As I was reading the news this morning, there was an article about the Fed slashing the rate charged to the nation's "least credit worthy commercial banks". Apparently this was done in response to pressure received from Wall Street and the White House and was supposed to help the Economy. The consensus seems to be, however, that it will have the opposite effect.

About half-way through the article there's a link that says:

Talk back: Time to bring back debtors prison?

I stared at this for a moment, stunned. Was the person that wrote this serious? Surely no one could think this would be a good idea. Curious now, I clicked the link. Sadly, there were actually people who thought it might be a good idea. They were limiting it to the housing area, but seemed oblivious to the larger picture.

Walk with me down this twisted path, won't you?

Tomorrow the United States Government reinstates "debtor's prison" making it a criminal offense to renege on a debt. This offense is punishable by time in a federal prison. It is meant to keep people from taking on debt they can not realistically hope to sustain. (Because we all know how good Americans are at preventing crime....that's why there are NO drunk drivers in this country, right? Because people KNOW it's illegal.)

Now, the law goes into effect and suddenly Joe down the street is being arrested. You look at your spouse and you say, "I didn't know Joe was behind on his mortgage payment." Your spouse replies, "Oh he wasn't. Last year Little Sally got sick and they had some medical bills they couldn't pay. That's what he got arrested for."

Two days later your at work and Tammy, the girl in the next cubicle, doesn't come back from lunch. You inquire about what happened to her. Your coworker says to you in hushed tones, "Oh, didn't you hear? Last winter she ran up a huge gas bill that she hasn't paid off. She got arrested for it."

How about that movie you forgot to return? The library fine you forgot you had? The teenager that writes a bad check? Let's not even get started on credit card debt....

Meanwhile, you start to notice that there aren't any wealthy people being arrested, even that guy down the street that you KNOW hasn't made his house payment in six months because he's paying alimony to three wives. Why? Because he can pay an attorney.

Debtor's prisons punish the poor simply for being poor. It's why they were done away with in the first place. Instead of even entertaining a discussion about bringing back such an arcahic and useless system, we should be discussing the real problems. Credit card companies that extend credit to people when they know those people can not possibly make the amount of money required to pay off the balances in a realistic amount of time. Mortgage companies that will offer finance rates that suddenly change, thus making a home look affordable when it really isn't.

And the most important factor? Teaching people to live with in their means. Sure you might be able to afford a $3800.00 house payment, but can you still afford a $3800.00 house payment when you add in the actual cost of the home? The electricity, gas, water and upkeep on a home that size? Does your family really NEED a home that size? Do you need five credit cards? Why not save up for what you need?

Most banks offer pre-paid Visa or MasterCard that can be used to shop online or take on vacation. Keep one that you use for emergencies or hotel reservations and car rentals if needed.

It's called Common Sense.

I am hereby forming the Citizens Coalition for Common Sense. If you join, it will be your job to scoff openly at the idiotic lack of common sense in society today. When you see someone doing something blatantly stupid it will be your job to laugh openly, but not explain why your laughing. More importantly, it will be your job to work for the implementation of Common Sense in everyday life.

They say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Well it's broke...we need to fix it. FAST.


Who do we blame?

I was talking to a friend of mine this weekend and we ended up discussing the topic of the culture of excess that thrives in our nation. As a country was have come to rely on things that are not actually necessary to our everyday survival and that self entitlement thought pattern is passing into our younger generations.

We treat luxury items like they are everyday necessities and worse a vast majority of people don't stop to think about how what they buy and the price they pay for it effects the overall picture.

Stay with me on this for a moment. I've had this discussion before, most memorably with a co-worker who wanted to buy a Rolex. I asked why. His answer? "Well, because it's a Rolex." He was confused that I didn't understand his desire for this item. I asked him if a Rolex told better time than a $24.99 Timex. He looked at me like I was stupid,"No, but it's a Rolex." Then I asked him if perhaps magical elves were making the watches and that's what made them special. He snorted at me and said, "Now you're just being stupid." I shrugged and said, "Well, if you're wanting to spend 10,000 on a watch I don't know that that makes me the stupid one." He didn't talk to me for about a week.

I hear people talk all the time about how hard they work for their money and how they deserve to have the nice things in life, but I often wonder what that means. Does spending $100 on a pair of jeans make them better or more special? Does having a particular name stiched into the back of your shirt make you a better person?

Most of these same people talk about the good works they do. The charities they support. I can't help thinking that if they weren't spending $200 on a single shirt, they could have helped more. I will never make a good rich person. I just don't understand the mind-set.

The only reason stores like Abercrombie and Fitch or Banana Republic can charge what they do is because people pay the prices. If no one shopped there, you can damn well bet the prices would be much lower.

How does this effect the big picture? Think about it for a minute. Why do you suppose so many young people are looking for a way to make money quickly? Why do you think teenagers look down their noses at jobs that pay minimum wage? There's a culture in our society now that says that to be successful you must wear Item A and own Item B. To fit in with the people who matter you have to look one way, act one way, smell one way.....and the majority of people don't even question it.

My husband has three pairs of Doc Martin boots, several designer lable shirts and jeans and I have a few myself. You want to know where I got them? At the used clothing store. I paid no more than $5.00 for each piece in the closet.

We talk a lot in todays world about how to make things better for the people who don't make that much. How about simply making it so that everyone can afford to live? Stop paying for the $300 shoes and the $40,000 cars. If no one bought them....

The next time you go shopping and you reach for something, stop a moment and think about what you're buying and how much you're paying for it. Think about why you're buying that particular brand. Maybe if more of us start thinking about the little things we do everyday we can bring a larger sense of social conscieness back into our world.


The Mayo Clinic and You: What Are You and Your Family Dying of Today?

The Mayo Clinic Website has this handy little symptom checker so you can go online and find out if the symptoms you, your spouse or your children are suffering from are serious.

A little information is a dangerous thing my friends. Go play with this thing for a while. Pick a symptom, any symptom and then chose some things. It gives you a list of matching illnesses ranging from the mundane to the OH MY GOD I'M DYING!!!

Here's the problem with this thing. There are a lot of people out there that aren't going to notice that the list of accompanying symptoms that go with the illnesses listed are MANY and that the ones you choose are in bold face type. If only one or two of these is in bold, chances are you don't have that...if all of them are in bold, well then, okay you can panic.

Seriously fun though. Go ahead and see how many different ways you can kill off you and yours. So far I've had about fifteen serious life threatening illnesses. Good times!!!

Whine Whine Whine

I was watching television the other day when all of a sudden I was looking at the face of this little bald headed girl. There was a voice over begging me to send money to help keep her alive. Cancer, of course.

I'm so tired of all the articles I see and the non-profits begging for my money. I mean seriously, who cares if you have cancer or diabetes or lupus or any of the other fifty thousand "life threatening" illness that seem to plague our country.

I don't know these people, but someone really needs to tell them that everyone has problems and we really don't give a damn about theirs. I don't want to have to look at any more coffee cans in convenience stores with badly photocopied pictures taped to them, a sob story scrawled out in some family members shaky handwriting, "Bob is dying. He has three kids. Won't you help?"

Who cares? Jesus, suck it up. Move on with your life. Get over yourself.

By this point I'm sure that anyone reading this is either waiting for the punchline or so pissed off they can't see straight. Furiously composing scathing replies to my callous treatment of those in our society afflicted with life threatening illnesses.

I would never speak that way to or about someone with any of those illnesses. Yet I receive that same treatment from society on a regular basis. I have Bipolar Disorder and because my illness doesn't come with a tumor, a disfiguring surgery or a string of sympathy inducing commercials I hear, "Well it's not really that big a deal, is it?" or "Just get over it. It's all in your head anyway."

I can't get health insurance that will cover the cost of treatment or medications. I'm not eligible for protection under FMLA should I have a serious episode that causes missed work. My medications cost over $400 a month out of pocket so I have to buy a month, ration it to make it last for three and then buy it again. This means I can't function the way I would if I were treated properly, but because I have the medication I don't qualify for benefits like disability.

I wish that mental illness came with some hideous physical side effect, something that would make it obvious to those of you in society that don't live with it what it is and that it's real. I wish I could find the words to describe what real depression is like.

Everyone gets funked out sometimes. We all have crappy days at work or fights with our families and friends and sometimes the stress of life just weighs on us and we feel down. That passes. I'm talking about being trapped inside your own mind. Hearing your own voice in your head telling you to get up...move...do something..anything....and not being able to respond. I'm talking about staring down at a bottle of pills and thinking, for even a brief moment, that if you swallowed them you'd just drift off to sleep and never have to feel this way again.

I watch the news and I see the stories about mothers killing their own children and I feel a terror grip my heart. I know what it feels like to be so mired in darkness that the world seems hopeless. I know how it feels to want to die because you can't see a clear path through. And I know that if those women had access to reliable and affordable care for their problems and support from society, the tragedies could have been avoided.

With Bipolar you get the upswings too and everyone thinks you're the life of the party. They don't see the other side of it. Days without sleep. Outbursts of irrational and uncontrolled anger. Impulse control issues that can lead to risky behavior. Embarrassment because when it's all over you know you've said or done something that has upset or hurt someone else and they expect you to apologize. So you apologize and you feel humiliated. And you know it won't be the last time.

And the whole time you're watching yourself, like a bad movie you can't shut off. You're screaming inside because you want it to stop, but you can't make it go away. So you look at that bottle of pills again and you pray. You pray for the strength to get up tomorrow. You pray for the strength to take that next breath. You pray that tomorrow will be a "good" day.

And you smile. You smile so the people around you won't have to struggle to find something to say to you. You smile so no one will look at you like your defective. You smile so everyone will think your "normal"...because, after all.....it's only in your head, right?