Posts Tagged ‘ Mother ’

Switched at birth – to know or not to know?

I was deeply moved by the following story, recently published on parent24.com. While I am an avid proponent of a child’s right to know their biological roots, I can’t help wondering whether this is one instance where it would have been better for the parties involved not to know…

Switched at birth

Moms faced with terrible decision after babies switched at birth.
twin babies

Image: via Shutterstock

Two SA moms only found out after 18 months that their babies had been switched at birth, leaving them with an agonising decision- swap the babies they loved for the ones they gave birth to, or simply carry on as if nothing had happened, according to mamamia.com.au.

For many parents, the choice would be easy- who wants to bring up another mom’s child? But for Sandy Dawkins and Megs Clinton Parker, the 18 months of intense bonding with each other’s babies made them each choose to keep the ‘wrong’ baby.

How did it happen?

23 years ago, both moms gave birth in the same hospital – Sandy, a struggling single mom, and Megs, a wealthier and more secure mom were handed each other’s babies. A paternity test 18 months later showed that Greg wasn’t Meg’s son…

That was when the two moms were faced with the decision which has haunted them. In a Channel9 interview, in response to the question “should you have swapped the boys back, as you look back?” Sandy replies: “In retrospect, yes. Because in time to avoid them getting hurt – in time to avoid a lot of people getting hurt. We’ve actually – I personally feel we’ve done a lot more damage.”

The damage took years to appear: At first, the two moms spent lots of time together, the boys growing up as friends. It was only as a teen that Robyn began to notice that he was losing out, as he was living with Sandy, the less financially independent of the moms.

She was left “with no son at all”

Wealthier Megs realised that her biological son was struggling along, and, when he was 15, invited him to come and live with her. This meant that both sons now lived with her, and Sandy was left with no son at all.

The decision made so many years previously had effectively left Sandy childless – she now has no contact with either one of the boys, who are now 23.

An adoptee writes to the birth-mother he never met

I was so touched by this letter from Kevin to his birth-mother, who he never got to meet, that I had to share it. I am sure there are many adoptees who have not reunited with one or both of their birth-parents and can relate to the emotions he expresses…

30 Seconds

November 16, 2010

A year has passed since I found out my birth mother died in 2003.  I never got to meet her and talk to her and over this last year I have had mixed feelings about that.

Part of me was relieved that I didn’t have to bathe in the tub of emotions that that meeting would’ve stirred up, and part of me is saddened that I didn’t get to hear from her what she was thinking and feeling all these years.

Recently, I was watching the Dr. Phil show and there was a woman on the show who lost her parents at an early age and she was dealing with so much years and years later.  Dr. Phil suggested she write a letter to that parent and share her feelings both good and bad as a way to deal with the emotional powder keg that was contained behind her rib cage.

I sat there and wondered it that would help me.  I wondered if writing a letter to my biological mother would help sort out some things for me.  Below is that letter.

**************************

Dear Helen,

I call you Helen because calling you mom just doesn’t feel right.

On October 24, 2009, I found out from an adoption angel via a text message that you had died in 2003.  Sitting on the cold metal bleachers at our local high school watching a football game I found out you died in May of 2003.

I searched my heart to find the right emotion to feel and couldn’t find it.  To that point, you were a stranger to me and I wasn’t sure how I should mourn the death of a stranger.  I really didn’t feel sad.  I was more disappointed than anything.

Over the last year, I have had some time to sort things out,  but the right emotion still doesn’t register.  When I think of my wife or my boys, I immediately get powerful emotions that fill my heart.  When I think of you, it just goes blank.

Part of the reason I think I was so hesitant for many years to look for you was because I feared being rejected by you…again.  I think even in death I still feel that.  I feel rejected because you never spoke about me to ANYONE.  When I ask your daughter/my biological sister, or your best friend what you said about me, they both say the same thing.  You never talked about me.

It is my understanding, your death was not a sudden death.  I can’t help but wonder why in those last months, weeks, and days, you didn’t speak of me.  How come you didn’t leave a message for me or tuck away in a private place something that you wanted me and only me to have.  How come you didn’t take 30 seconds to tell someone that I mattered?

There are days when I think the separation from me was just too painful to talk about and I try to spin it in a positive light.  Then there are days when I think, that you just didn’t care.  As a father, I can’t understand that.  I can’t conceptualize how that is possible; how you can have a child roaming the earth somewhere and not care or think about them.  I have no evidence that you did and more evidence that you didn’t.

In this past year, I have struggled with telling myself over and over that I matter; that I am important; that I am worthy.  I artificially construct and build up my self esteem that could have been raised to an all-time high if you would’ve taken 30 seconds to whisper to someone your regret.  Instead, I am left to do as have always done from as far back as I can remember; fantasize.

My imagination fills in the holes created by you that you were meant to fill.  My creative mind tells me you suffered in silence and thought about me on my birthday, and on Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, The 4th of July, and again on my birthday in August.  Reality tells me I have nothing to support this fantasy.

Like a child on Christmas looking for that one special gift that isn’t there, I still wait and hope in some chest, some book, in your personal belongings somewhere, someone will find a letter written to me that kills reality and awakens fantasy.

These are the feelings, that surround me today and guilt drips from my fingers as I type these words.  As an adoptee, I have learned really well to protect others around me often at the expense of my own feelings and thoughts.  So I wrestle with guilt and push it into the nearest closet so I can express what I need to to protect me.  I needed only 30 seconds and I have a right to those 30 seconds.

Kevin

Kevin’s blog can be found at: http://mymindonpaper.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/30-seconds/

Rina Bowes – A Virtuous Woman

A tribute to my beloved mother-in-law, who passed away peacefully on 26 August 2010, after suffering a severe stroke on 3 August 2010.

Who can find a virtuous woman whose worth is far more than rubies?

Her name is Catharina Cornelia Bowes; Rina to her family and friends, Ouma to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and to her children and their spouses – Mommy.

She will be remembered as a faithful and devoted wife to her husband, and a joyful mother of seven children, to whom she not only gave life, but lovingly and tenderly moulded each one’s individual personality, instilling in them all a good measure of the humanitarian and Christian principles by which she lived.

Never needing to adorn herself with the latest fashions or trendy cosmetics, Mommy glowed with an inner beauty that personified the attributes of love she radiated – patience, kindness, humility, peace, gentleness, unselfishness, forgiveness and compassion.

Consequently, people were drawn to Mommy’s loving temperament and generous nature. To anyone in need she was always prepared to listen and provide a word of encouragement and not surprisingly, she had many friends. Some turned out not to be friends at all, but abusers of Mommy’s kind-heartedness, yet she never rejected one of them or turned them away when they were in need. Without a malicious, spiteful or vengeful bone in her body she shied away from all forms of conflict and in her humble, submissive way would do everything in her power to bring about peace, even if it meant sacrificing her own dignity and wellbeing.

Her husband trusted her completely with the affairs of their household and as a full time wife and mother, Mommy’s hands were never idle. She rose early each morning to tend to her family’s needs and with such a large one to take care of, there were many. Seldom during the day did she have a moment to herself.

Because she loved her children so much, Mommy was not afraid to mete out discipline when it was necessary. Woe to the child who tried to borrow a few pennies from her purse without asking to buy sweets, secretly sneak out of the house to visit a friend, or feign an illness in an attempt to get out of going to school. But no one could ever argue that she wasn’t fair.

Raising seven children on a single income was not without its challenges, but not once did they suffer physically or mentally during their growing years.  Mommy sacrificed much for them, never hesitating to give up her own pleasures to ensure their comfort. Indeed, at meal times, after serving her family supper, it was not unusual for Mommy to retreat quietly to the kitchen to eat her own meal – a slice of bread and a cup of coffee.

Later in the evening, when the children were asleep, Mommy would spend the quiet time mending clothes, darning socks and knitting – never for herself, always for her family and often, even for others.

As her children entered adulthood and chose marriage partners, Mommy welcomed each one into her family without reservation, freely giving them her love and making them her own. She was always there to nurture and support their dreams, or give a gentle push when they ran out of steam.

After her husband died and she had seen her youngest child comfortably settled in his own home, Mommy, for the first time, sat down to rest. To her family she had become more than just a mother, mother-in-law and ouma, but an integral part of everyone’s lives.  She had taken care of so many for so long, and now it was her turn to be spoiled.

Treating Mommy was just as much fun for the one doing the treating as it was for her because she indulged in each experience with childlike delight, finding great joy in the simplest pleasures.

But nothing made Mommy happier than having all her children gathered around her. Getting the whole family together for a special occasion was no mean feat, and if someone was unable to make it for some reason Mommy would never fail to mention how much she missed them.

Now it will be Mommy’s place that is empty and we will be the ones talking about how much we miss her. But she has left us with a beautiful gift. All the love we shared and all the fun we had with Mommy have been replaced with wonderful, happy memories – of lappies and bonks, blokkiesraaisels and television soapies, Dream chocolates, Liquorice Allsorts and lazagne, trails of crumpled tissues, gentle admonishments of “Ag, jy’s laf” and exclamations of “Ek kry die piep”.

Along with these beautiful memories, we have the assurance that even though Mommy’s life on earth is over, today her spirit lives anew with God, where she has gone home to share in His glory for eternity, and is waiting to meet up again one day with her children in Christ.

Today and always, Mommy, your children rise up and call you blessed. Many women have done virtuously, but you surpass them all.

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