How about you tie the tubes in your mouth?

5 Sep

I need to step outside of my comfort zone for a minute.  I’m typically not one to cause friction or publicly call somebody out, but I’m feeling like it is warranted and necessary.  Consider this both a public service and a preemptive strike.

As you may recall, we are in the process of adopting a baby girl born two weeks ago.  This little girl is the biological half-sister of our adopted son.  In simpler terms, our two youngest have the same birth mom, but different birth dads.

Given this information, and the relatively small gap between their births (a little over 17 months), we have had to field some uncomfortable questions from friends, family, co-workers, and others.

You can probably guess some of the things we’re hearing.  Things like “She knows what causes that right?” or suggestions that we should take the birth mom a box of condoms.  When we shared that our daughter was born via C-section, more people than I care to think about have asked “Did they tie her tubes while they were in there?”.

My wife and I struggle to process how rude and insensitive these comments are.  It is disappointing, insulting (and rather infuriating) to hear them from people we care about.

I honestly believe that these things are said with good, honest intentions.  We simply do not have people in our lives who are intentionally rude and insulting to us.  It’s likely these things are said jokingly, or in reaction to the sudden nature of this placement, or any number of other reasons.

But trust me, we do not appreciate these comments.

First and foremost, you’re talking about the birth mother of two of our children.  I’m going to defend her like I would my own mom, my wife, or our children.  Mess with the birth mama and you’re messing with me.

It may be hard for non-adoptive parents to understand the protective loyalty I have for someone I’ve never met (as is the case with both of our birth moms), but you need to understand:  without these women, without the sacrifices they made, the pain they endured, and the other things you and I cannot fully appreciate, I have no children.  No family.  Nothing.  The gratitude – the eternal, never-ending thankfulness I have cannot be underestimated.

It is very easy for those on the outside to look at the choices birth moms make and judge.  Why did they get “knocked up”?  Why do they have babies they “cannot keep”?  How could they possibly “give up*” a child for adoption?  Again?

*Seriously, if you’re still saying “give up”, please stop.  Switch to “placed for adoption” or “chose to place for adoption”.  Yeah it’s a little more work for your brain, but those extra words don’t sting nearly as bad.

I look at this two ways:

1) Look at your life.  What choices have you made that others have judged?  How did that feel?  I know I’m not perfect.  My family and friends love me in spite of many of the things I’ve done and said.

2) Instead of focusing on the negative, celebrate these women.  Instead of choosing abortion, they chose to give life to these wonderful, beautiful children – all while enduring a difficult social stigma.  The greatest days of our lives – the days we took custody of our children – were the worst days in the lives of their birth moms.  We try to never forget that.

But mostly, I think about the birth mom of our son and baby girl.  She is a beautiful young woman (early 30s) with lots of life to live.  Who knows what her situation will be in six months or six years?  Quite simply, she has done absolutely nothing to warrant losing her ability to have children.

Nobody has the right to suggest that her ability to reproduce be taken away solely because she blessed us with two beautiful children.  Not me.  Not you.  Nobody.

I can’t tell you what to think or how to feel about the choices our birth moms have made.  But I am asking you – politely, yet very, very firmly – to keep those opinions to yourself.  My children will be raised to honor and celebrate their mom and birth mom, and they do not need to hear any rude or disparaging comments about them.

Thank you.

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19 Responses to “How about you tie the tubes in your mouth?”

  1. Mary Anne September 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    Dave, you’ve stated very clearly what, I’m sure, many of the mothers in this situation would like to say. I’m so happy for your family and the wonderful gift you’ve received, and at the same time feel for the young women who gave you these beautiful children. May God bless all of you!

  2. Grell September 5, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Nicely put, my friend.

  3. Roy Gibbons September 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    While I understand what you are saying, I have to disagree on some things. I don’t think anyone’s comments are a reflection on you or the children but on the irresponsibility of the mothers who continue to practice unsafe sex and then give up (and yes I will use that word because being “PC” clouds the hard reality of it) their children as a means of birth control. Second to that would be the irresponsible people out there breeding themselves as a way to gain more free ride from the govt. Which you and I pay for. To even think for a minute that it is “fair” (I use that word only for people who really believe there is such a thing as fair) to the rest of humanity to support and promote irresponsibility is irresponsible in itself. In closing, I am very happy for your family Dave and that you have the opportunity to bring them together and help another human being (the child). I just wish it would have been under more responsible circumstances.

    • Feit Can Write September 5, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      Lots to respond to…
      –I’ll freely admit that not saying “give up” is quite PC, but the last thing I EVER want my kids to think is that their birth mother “gave up” on them. Every adoption is different, but the number of cases where the birth parent truly “gives up” (i.e. quits) on the child are exception and not the rule. Regardless, being told that somebody “gave up” on you is some heavy baggage to grow up with.
      –So since some women are “irresponsible” and don’t practice safe sex, their tubes should be tied? Since I know you are a big 2nd Amendment supporter, let me offer this analogy: If I’m irresponsible with my gun (say I fire it up into the air in town or leave it somewhere that a child or criminal could get it) should I no longer be allowed to own a gun? Because that’s pretty much what you’re saying.
      –I don’t deny that there are “welfare moms”, but birth moms of adopted children are not in it for the money or any government hand-outs. Even if there was money to be made from legal, agency-assisted adoption (which there absolutely is not), the physical and emotional stress of pregnancy and permanently terminating parental rights would far out-weigh any supposed “free ride”.
      –I appreciate your comments, and your support for my family, but keep in mind that if 100% of the sex that a man and woman have is “responsible” (a premise so laughable that I’d be shocked if more than 5% of all adults could even claim it), I, and millions of people like me, would have no children.

      • Lisa Kay September 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

        There is a part of this conversation that really bothers me: Unless my understanding of human reproduction is off, she wasn’t alone in this and not the only one responsible for practicing safe sex. There was a man involved who walked away leaving her to make some very hard decisions. Yet we only hear that the mother be held accountable, not that the father should have something of his medically altered.

        • Feit Can Write September 10, 2013 at 9:32 am #

          Exactly. There is a certain sick irony to men lecturing women about responsibility, when men don’t/won’t do the same to other men.

    • leenilee October 16, 2013 at 10:43 am #

      Hi Roy,

      I commented directly to the author but I wanted to also comment on your response. I am a birth mother and yes, I absolutely gave up my oldest son. More aptly, I gave up on him when he was adopted.

      Birth control is a means of preventing BIRTH so I am not sure how you can equate a woman giving her baby (that she gave BIRTH to) up for adoption to a means of birth control. I certainly do not think of my adoption experience as some form of birth control. It seems you are a presuming that birth mothers have a flippant attitude about adoption and children and for the most part, that could not be further from the truth. The adoption of my son has been thus far the single most painful, never ending event in my life. To compare it to birth control is hurtful and an oversimplification of the lifelong consequences of adoption for a birth parent.

      I am not an adoptive parent, however, I have yet to come across any adoptive parent who feels put upon by a birth parent who has chosen them to raise their child. Quite the opposite. If not for the birth parents’ (and let’s not forget, there are 2 people, a man and a woman who engage in procreation) so called irresponsiblity, the adoptive parents would not be parents at all.

      I am a birth mother who is in full favor of biological family preservation whenever possible. It is not promoting irresponsible behavior to provide a hand up to families so that they can temporarily make it through a tough financial time. You seem to believe that people are out there breeding for the sole purpose of living off the taxpayers. I have never met a single person who relishes needing financial help. The welfare mother living the high life on the taxpayer dime is pure myth.

      I would also like to point out that your tax dollars are hard at work helping adoptive families get some of their money back in the form of the adoption tax credit. Using your logic, is it not irresponsible to ask the taxpayers to help fund one’s adoption? Or is that acceptable because we are usually talking about a different class of citizen (in your eyes)?

      You close your comment with this statement regarding the author’s adoption, “I just wish it would have been under more responsible circumstances.” Could you elaborate on this thought. I am unsure what you feel would be a responsible way for a parent to give their baby up for adoption.

  4. ryan gillespie September 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    You go boy! Its such a shame that we have a society full of self righteous, bigoted, hypocrites. I have so much respect and love for what you and your lovely wife are doing. You children are so precious and beautiful and I’m so happy that they were born for you to cherish. You are a solid dude Mr Felt. I love seeing some fire outta you!

  5. Lesa Bulin September 6, 2013 at 12:35 am #

    First Dave & Michelle, congrats!!! You are both amazing people who are so loving and so deserving of the babies you have, and yes, they are your own.

    Next, I DO understand…..trust me. Your loyalty to the birth mother of the beautiful children you have been blessed with is paramount. If only all adoptive parents could be as appreciative and loyal. I get exactly the opposite from those who enjoy my children today. It breaks my heart to know they think I’m dirt, and likely pass that on to my girls. They have made no effort to know anything about me. They don’t get it…not even a little bit, Unfortunately, I am afraid for them as in the end I believe they will pay a price for that and I pray for them all the time.

    I am sure there have been many comments as such directed at me. But, those comments mean nothing to me. They don’t hurt my feelings and they don’t make me go sit and think. Really, all it does is tell the world about the character of the person with the voice. Inconsiderate, uneducated, and blatantly rude. Except for those who blurt out the occasional idiot phrase from nerves or awkward and uncomfortable silence, the people who talk the smack have not the ability to have introspect or empathy, For that, in the end, there will be a price. I will pray for them too.

    Taking the time to tell the world how you feel in a well written, intelligent and tasteful letter shows that you have earned your place in the world as a husband, a father, and a friend. God has given you treasures to show He approves. Really, is there anything else?

    • Feit Can Write September 10, 2013 at 9:34 am #

      Great points. I appreciate having a birth mom’s opinion, and I wish things were different for you.

  6. bokbabe September 6, 2013 at 5:05 am #

    I understand all your sentiments completely and feel like I could have actually written this post! Our beautiful Birth Mom placed her daughter, 16 months before placing our gorgeous boy with us (the daughters parents broke their promise to send her updates) and we had exactly the same comments from those close to us. We are so grateful to her and our boy will grow up loving her as well as us.

    People shouldn’t comment on that which they don’t understand.

    Bok

    • Feit Can Write September 10, 2013 at 9:36 am #

      I agree. Congrats on your family and thanks for reading!

  7. Anna September 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    First of all, congratulations on the new baby. I know I’m behind in commenting but I’m so happy for you.

    Second of all, I just don’t understand what it is about adoption that makes people think that they can make these types of comments? If I went up to everyone I knew that had kids very close together and said, “hey, you know what causes that right?” I would be smacked in the face. If you wouldn’t say it to a pregnant person, don’t say it to someone who is adopting!

  8. leenilee October 15, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    Hi there, finally getting a chance to read your blog after you commented on mine (out of the first mom closet).

    I think what people fail to realize when making comments like that about your children’s original mother is that by disparaging her they are disparaging your children.

    I can imagine that people have a hard time wrapping their brains around a woman feeling like she could not raise her child not once, but twice. Birth control does fail and some of us are what I like to call “hyper fertile”. Strictly anecdotal of course, but I gave up my oldest son up for adoption. Years later, after having a depo shot a month earlier, my husband and I conceived our oldest child. It happens, folks. I also have many close friends who conceived while taking the pill. There are women walking around who conceived after having a tubal ligation and men who conceived after vasectomies. Of course, abstinence is 100 % effective (except in cases of rape) but geez, sex IS a natural thing and not something we need to be punished and judged for.
    Also, as it relates to birthmothers in particular, I can completely understand how a woman can find herself in the same position again. Whatever reasons a woman has for choosing adoption, the agency, lawyers, and adoptive parents do go out of their way to make the woman feel brave, selfless, and saint-like in her choice. After the adoption, a mother is left empty handed so to speak and it does feel psychologically good to have others hold her in high esteem for choosing adoption. I can see how a second adoption can happen, given those types of feelings. This is just my arm chair psychology, basically just posing what could be a reason besides just ineffective birth control.

    • leenilee October 15, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

      Adding: on the other side of the psychological coin I can also relate to a sort of self fulling prophecy. I gave up my child, I am a bad person and should be punished. I will punish myself more by putting myself in that position again. Again, total armchair psychology.

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