BIO: Katherine S. is a Mom of Twins, Writer, Artist, and Advocate living on the shore of Lake Erie in Ohio.
I’m Katherine, born Michele Athena and I’m 37.
My Natural Mother found me at 34. I didn’t even believe it at first. She knew the Super Secret Squirrel question and then there was a plethora of tears and joy.
I had always known I was different. I had dark hair and eyes with light olive skin and round face and my Adopted Mother had blonde hair and blue eyes. Even my Brother, adopted from another woman, looked like he could be her kid.
My Adopted Mother was truly desperate to have kids. The Doctor took full advantage of this and charged more than what people made in a year in 1978. The total cost of my adoption was $35,000 around $130,000 in today’s money.
They were able to adopt twice. Quite staggering to me, even now and I never wanted for anything.
There’s quite a few people who would say I should be grateful.
And I am. There’s a but, and a big one.I was bought. I was a commodity. Even my Adopted Mother must have sensed how wrong things were in my adoption. She never worried once about my Brother’s Natural Mother coming for him.
More than once she expected her to be there to take me back.
My story starts with lies.
My Natural Mother, M had just graduated from a Columbus Catholic High School, was living on her own and was swept off her feet by an alumni of Franklin Heights High School.
Michael Anthony Miller. I’m using his full name because I still have not found him. With such a common name it’s been
difficult to track much about him. He was living with only one parent, his Mother at the time of my birth.I don’t know his age, address or any family members. Just a guess and that’s it
Her version of what happened is that he wore down her Catholic upbringing with one goal- to get some. He said they were going to get married. He finally succeeded and sometime after that was confronted by a woman who was pregnant with his twins from his last conquest.
M was already pregnant with me. After 6 months she couldn’t hide me anymore and her family took control, arranged the adoption (with no knowledge of the amount of money being produced) and sent M away till she was in labor.
She had no choice in her pregnancy. Her family swore that they would disown her if she tried to keep me. That I would die on the streets and she would be responsible. She signed the papers without a choice.
As soon as the last push was done, they knocked her out and took me away. It was only after she begged and pleaded with a nurse that she was able to hold me. Her Mother discovered us, yelled for the Doctor, unwilling to hold me least her confidence waver. She left the room as he came for me, tearing me from my Natural Mother.
She didn’t take my loss well. She tried to kill herself, multiple times. She suffered mentally and physically. She blamed herself and when she had more kids, the nagging voice was always there tearing her down and making her feel terrible.
Listening to this tale, knowing my existence spawned attempts at suicide and mental distress gutted me. It made me question who I was, a third through my life span. It changed me.
My issues with Adoption became even worse when I found out about the process of my adoption. All the money. Discovering I was like a car or a house with inspections and loans. It made me doubt so much.
Finding out even thirty plus years later people are still making money off babies. Pushing for adoptions. Makes me sick. Makes me move to speak out and work to be an advocate for Choice and Natural Mothers, in a way that mine never had.
Adoption is not natural. It’s an unnatural separation that leaves two parties with wounds that never heal. That’s why I use the term Natural Mother, because that’s who she is.
No woman should ever be forced into deciding what to do while pregnant or deciding to parent.
Sharing this is hard because I have the realization, the searing truth that I really do have two Mothers now. It’s a blessing and it’s a burden. I know that my Adopted Mother is always worried I’ll abandon her. I won’t, but she still worries.
On the other hand, it’s such a blessing to know who I am, to see people that look like me.
I know my aMom blames herself for her desperation in the part of the pain she caused M for her desire to have a baby. She maybe isn’t fully conscience of it but I can see it in her word choices.
My Natural Mother walks on egg shells, trying hard to gauge where she can fit in my life that is already pretty full with kids of my own. Even harder is she lives far away, leaving us with not just an emotional distance but a physical one as well. Balancing them both is the hardest part.
Adoption is hard to really get your head around because of how society wants Adoptees to be so bloody grateful for privilege and benefits that some of us get.
We shouldn’t have to be EXTRA grateful. That’s wrong to force on anyone. Adoption isn’t always the best choice. Even when poverty is a factor.All the toys and privilege does not make up for what we lose.
I felt a loss all my life. I felt alone. I felt different. I also know I am not alone in this feeling.
Adoption isn’t all bad. There are truly some people who can’t be parents, who can tolerate the sacrifice needed in adoption. There are so many kids out there who need someone who loves them. I fully support anything that means a home and love for kids who would not have it without adoption.
Thank you to all the Adoptees that have spoken out.
We need to flip the script, speak our truth, affirm our identities and be a community that helps.