Why I Support Saving our Sisters

This is an art piece I created as part of the Door to the Soul project at Shade Post in Fort Lauderdale.  Lets just say I learned an awful lot about the biological processes and effects on the body and MIND during pregnancy, labor, delivery and post partum in the process of blaming myself and taking responsibility for my actions.

Please consider giving Saving Our Sisters a like on Facebook.  You never know when you might have the opportunity to help.

 

Advertisements

Misc. Feelings – I Am Only Human

One of the hardest things I’ve faced in producing this show is my own feelings.  Feelings of fear, of judgment, of inadequacy, of being misunderstood……of being misunderstood, of being VERY misunderstood.Side a

This show is not about anger, hate, divide, bullying, who is right, who is wrong.  It is NOT an anti adoption show.  It IS an educational show, it IS a supportive show, it IS a show to help mothers who WANT TO raise their own flesh and blood babies be able too by putting some money in the hands of the organization Saving Our Sisters that helps mothers with the temporary life challenges they are facing while being pregnant.

Something I have noticed time and time again in discussion with friends, people I associate with through the arts world, people I talk to in random locations is that it feels like society thinks the proverbial birthmother is some type of whore, prostitute, drug addict, person who lives on the streets, in short, in someway less than the rest of us.  It is exceptionally painful to hear sometimes, they  think I am the exception , not the rule.

In connecting with other mothers who after giving birth to their own child and previously having considered adoption and now NOT wanting to go through with it I have learned alot, I have felt not so alone.  I have found others who are pretty much ordinary average american women like me being denied perhaps their most primal biological instinctual urge, to mother thier own flesh and blood child they recently gave birth too. Women who for whatever personal reason were struggling, scared and did nothing wrong but sign a contract, a legal and binding document that says their baby can be given to other people to raise, people who pay high fees to an agencies and/or attorneys to obtain that contract.

Mothers who are grieving a monumental loss are faced with trying to fight for their child back which is pretty hard to do in some states in this country, Florida is one of them. Its even harder to do in a society which judges, condemns and makes assumptions about mothers for considering adoption in the first place. A society that thinks we must all be pieces of shit and treats us as such.  A society that demands we now prove ourselves as capable of mothering ( why don’t other pregnant woman have to prove they are worthy of mothering?) as if somehow signing that paper makes all our primal instincts and the basic fact that we are here, alive on this planet and have made it this far,  null and void.  I can attest, signing a paper does not in fact make any of the biological processes associated with pregnancy, labor, delievry, child birth and motherhood stop.

It doesn’t. Not one bit.  I think about things sometimes, fairly deeply.  Things like it would still be pretty easy to judge, ridicule, berate, and make me appear less worthy.   Right now I’m not employed at an outside job earning a regular paycheck, I’m working on my goal of starting a business, and organizing the benefit show I Am Only Human to support Saving our Sisters.  I can do this because one of my sons is covering household expenses until I get through this show. Its a FAMILY choice. It is a tremendous blessing, I wouldn’t have gotten through any of this without my 2 oldest sons.  Yes, I was a teenage mother and now they are in their 20’s and we all live together. So you know what…. I guess I did ok.  I’m prone to beat myself up but I’ve learned that when I start to…….I look at my resume and realize that in spite of dealing with an unspeakable level of grief I’ve accomplished an awful lot in the past few years.  That I feel good about.

I think “would I be here in this position if I had never considered adoption?”  Probably not. Grief takes a long time, processing things, learning things, takes a long time, learning how to adapt and overcome a body that is desperately seeking to complete the task of motherhood its programmed to do is hard and takes time, I don’t feel like the feeling will ever go away.  Learning to cope with it and accept it as part of my daily life has been pretty rough, as has wondering if my son feels the same way and can’t express it to anyone.

I’m not ashamed of where I am. I am grateful to every person who has helped me a long the way. Those who have let me cry, those who have opened their homes to me to stay with them when I really just couldn’t be alone, those who have given me the strength and support to make it through, sometimes only to the next day like it was in the first 2 years.  Do you know…..I cried every time I saw or heard a baby for almost 2 years? Even at my job?  Finally that has subsided, but still my heart stirs.  I’m grateful to all my artist friends and acquaintances who have encouraged me to stay the course and do the benefit show I Am Only Human which took place on May 14th.

I hope that the time and effort helps raise  funds for Saving Our Sisters and educates the public that mothers of adopted children and people who are adopted have feelings and are in fact human beings too.  Human beings who deserve every opportunity to stay together as a family and if they can’t, not be denied their entire identity.

 

 

 

Book Burning

Ok, so maybe I didn’t exactly burn the whole book but in the interest of spring cleaning,

and preparing to take an artist summer sabatical working in another area of the country I invested some time tearing out the pages and burning the edges of various spiritual, religious and science texts including Sri Isponisad, The Bhagavad Gita, The Wisdom of No Escape, The Science of Mind, the Bible and a text book on the Universe laying them to create a jig saw puzzle effect for a new series of pieces. This piece is called:

Actions Speak Louder than Words here’s a short video of the creation process:

27 inches x 27 inches on board

$140.00

Shipping in USA Included

$40 dollars of the sale of this piece will be donated to Saving Our Sisters, a grassroots organization which helps support expectant mothers through emotionally and financially challenging pregnancies.

To inquire about purchasing this piece please email mswenderful@gmail.com with Actions Speak Louder than Words in the subject.

Thank you.

You can read my professional bio and cv here

On Twitter

On Facebook

On Instagram

On Youtube

 

Repost – Dear Hoping to Adopt

Copied and Shared from  http://musingsofabirthmom.com/2015/11/07/dear-hoping-to-adopt/

Dear Hoping to Adopt

I’m sure, by now, I’m loathed by most who have found themselves in my corner of the world wide Web via an innocent Google search about how to adopt a baby. That’s okay. I get it. My writing is blunt and I don’t mince words. I’d like to take some time, however, to speak directly to the aforementioned.

Dear Hoping to Adopt,

For you, achieving motherhood is not an easy row to hoe. For you, perhaps, attaining motherhood, in the traditional sense, is quite literally impossible. I can only imagine the heartbreak of learning that all of your dreams, that were most likely fostered from the time you were able to snuggle with your first baby doll, are now slipping from your grasp and there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it.

The countless negative pregnancy tests, maybe the loss of your children before they even had a chance to be a part of this world, the fertility treatments, the worry, the hope, the anxiety, the tears – I understand. I get it. I’m not heartless. I empathize, maybe sometimes too much, with the millions of hardships that we, as human beings, must face.

I think about the hurt you must face every time a friend or relative announces they are expecting or the pain you must feel watching others care for their little ones. I do understand that it must be lonely feeling like the odd man out while others have, what feels like, an exclusive club that only women who are mothers can join. We are women. Most of us, not all, are wired with a natural instinct and yearning to be a mother. I truly understand and empathize.

When you read through my writing you may not think it’s possible for me to empathize with you. But I do. It’s not that hard because I know what it feels like.

I know how deeply it hurts to dream of a child that will never be yours. I know how gut-wrenching it is to grieve a lost child. I have felt lonely as well – lonely when no one else could understand how much pain I was in – lonely when they were praising me for how selfless I was – lonely when I was told that I had given someone a beautiful gift and that I did the right thing. And for the rest of my life I will feel as though I don’t belong with all the other mommies. I surrendered my motherhood to my child and that’s something most don’t truly understand and most are certainly way off base about what that ultimately means.

I empathize because my loss is huge. There was no one there to help me or support me. No one to tell me that I could do it. I was told that adoption was the right choice which, to me, meant I was not the right choice. I was not good for my baby is the message I received and I will forever belong to that lonely club.

Loss is subjective. Some may say the loss of a pregnancy is the same as the loss of a child through adoption. I will always disagree. The path I walk in life, as a first mother, has many layers. I’m sure those who have suffered a miscarriage know what it’s like to blame themselves. The fact is, though, that really there was nothing you willfully did to cause the loss of your unborn baby. As a first mom, however, a good portion of society, as I’m reminded of more and more often, continues to act as if surrendering my child, the loss of my child, was a willful act. Yes, I signed relinquishment papers but there was nothing willful about it. My circumstances forced that hand just as your physical circumstances have forced yours in your journey through infertility.

See, we aren’t all that much different, you and I. We’ve both suffered. We’ve both lost. We’ve both grieved and we’ve both gone through trauma and emotional anguish.

If you ever find yourself asking, “Why is she so angry and bitter?” please think back to everything you’ve gone though in your journey to achieve motherhood. Then ask yourself how you’d feel if the whole of society celebrated it and asked you to be grateful for it, asked you to accept others purposely facilitating it. This is what that feels like to me.

Yes, I have empathy for you, but my empathy stops where your willful ignorance begins. My empathy stops when there are hundreds and thousands of children truly in need of a family but you insist on getting a brand new baby. My empathy stops when I see you begging others for donations to take another mother’s child when the donations that you have rolling in would enable that mother to keep her baby. My empathy ends there. I simply cannot do it anymore. To me, it’s the equivalent of you asking for donations to assure the loss of pregnancy in another woman because, for some odd reason, that’s the only way to ensure your own motherhood.

Facilitating the loss of another’s motherhood so that you may attain your own is where my empathy ends.

It is only a few thousand dollars, usually, to give a home to a child genuinely in need of a family, to become a mother. You seem great at fundraising and that money could be used to help another mother be saved from this life of pain.

I empathize with your loss. Will you empathize with mine? Or will you refuse to because my loss stands in the way of your selfish desires? Look at yourself in the mirror. What does that make you?

Below are my personal thoughts and feelings in regards to relating to the above article.

I feel very much the same, if I had written this I would not agree that I am angry and bitter.  I am disgusted with the inhumane and unethical treatment of human beings, of mothers and newborn babies and the marketing and propaganda that fuels the beliefs of society allowing a highly profitable adoption industry to dig deep into hopeful adoptive parents pockets.  I am a mother of loss who believed she had a choice. I believed I had atleast 2 days after my son was born to make a choice. I was denied that time, I was blindsided just 7 hours after giving birth, I was bullied into signing a paper, told not to joke when I said I felt out of it, I don’t even remember much if anything after that, its all a surreal blur.  At the time I wasn’t even alert and awake enough to realize I was being bullied.  It took about 4 weeks as the hormones cleared and along with that my brain cleared of the hormonal fog and I began asking myself How did I let this Happen?  Please stop the madness and abuse and allow mothers time to choose AFTER they give birth. 

Fuel for opening minds…

Just this morning I was thinking about catalysts and egos.  Where do they fit in with the adoption issues which I feel compelled to educate about, although scared to  do so sometimes.   Am I the ego or am I standing up to the combined ego of societies beliefs, adoption propoganda and archaic laws?  It’s a continuous struggle with in, all I can do is follow my heart and my heart says….. assist, educate, speak my truth, let go of fear. Where do your beliefs about adoption come from?

Are you adopted or a father or mother who is separated from her child by adoption?  Do you know only what you hear in advertisements? Give a better life to the baby, its a loving choice, get crisis pregnancy help, which by the way,  no pregnancy is a crisis unless you treat it as one,  please stop doing that to women, regardless of thier age whether it be 16 or 39, its hard enough being pregnant in a supportive environment, creating a crisis environment is unfair and emotionally abusive so cut it out.

If you want to learn more about adoption from people who have experienced its long term effects directly please visit the pages below.  Be prepared you might hear some personal accounts, thoughts and feelings not generally associated with the traditional marketing materials. Is adoption a loving choice or a form living genocide?

Saving our Sisters

Is Adoption Trauma

Attorneys Against Unlawful Adoptions

Mothers of  Loss (to adoption)

International Association of Survivors of Adoption Loss

Search Angel Priscilla Sharp  (helps reunite people separated by adoption)

Concerned United Birthparents

Musings of a Birthmom

Mommas House (helps young women succeed as mothers)

How Does it Feel to be Adopted

Adopted.com 

 

 

 

 

Innovation Starts Here

This piece for me represents a turning point, a spot, a point a place in time in which I started to feel released from grief long enough to think of ideas on how to approve the adoption system.  I have seen several examples of the system being flawed and not allowing mothers the option to not go through with, or change their minds about, placing their children for adoption due to doing nothing wrong, just because they signed a paper, a contract that is irrevocable, under stressful conditions, many times without time or consideration to think, feel, process or have legal representation.  This has the capacity to cause tremendous trauma, pain, stress for all sides of the adoption equation. To me its not very fair to adoptive parents either, being handed newborns to take home and call their own when mothers aren’t really making clear, conscious, fully informed decisions.  It’s not particularity fair to the babies, who grow into children, teenagers and adults either.  It’s certainly not fair to the mothers fathers. Doesn’t everyone deserve to give and receive a true gift, not to be forced to play a game with their lives?

In observing much adoption debate and discussion on social media of mothers begging and fighting for their own children to not be adopted by strangers,  it seems one thing stands out in particular.  It seems like almost all the mothers fighting, hoping, praying, to get their children back in their life, whether getting them back to raise as their own or reopen adoptions that were supposed to be open and then got closed…..it seems almost all of the mothers made adoption choices at nearly the last minute, with practically no warning, under stressful, adverse, and at times down right manipulative conditions.

Read about Baby Elliot, Baby Grayson, and Baby Camden  These are just a few.

So that being said, it seems that a fairly simple solution is available.  Change the adoption laws so that no irrevocable document concerning placing ones own child for adoption should be executed prior to 6 weeks after giving birth.    Time for the mothers mind, soul and body begin to heal, to begin to return to pre-pregnancy state, time for the entire biological process to take place. The time a new mother is usually released from Post Partum Care, 6 weeks.  To this artist it seems like it would be a great dose of preventative maintenance in preventing chaotic adoptions for newborn babies, mothers, fathers and adoptive parents which affect everyone well into the future.

 

DSCN2039
Innovation Starts Here

Innovation Starts Here is 24″ x 18″on canvas hand glued with tidbits of information about the Universe. Cosmic characters from past, present and future in black & white and various shades of pink highlight the nature of light and matter.

This piece is part of the Collection Putting the Pieces Together  shown as part of a group exhibition at World and Eye in Fort Lauderdale,  January 2015

Artist Ramblings & a Thank You

Something that is very hard to convey to those who don’t understand (but perhaps want to) about being an artist, attempting to make your own dreams come true,  earning a living is there is a whole heck of a lot of work involved that goes on behind the scenes.  Much, much more than having fun making art.

First of all, not all art is fun to make, at times is can be healing and excrutingly painful simultaneously.  Some artist process thier own life experiences through thier preferred medium or various mediums.

Secondly, there are what I like to call PLENTY of Office Hours.   Time spent on the computer, researching places to submit ones work that relate to ones own subject matter, medium and style.  Building our own websites, lets face it…..you’ve heard the term starving artist before, so many of us are not paying someone big bucks to handle that kind of stuff, so we teach ourselves, figure it out step by step, and stay in charge of it. Photographing works, titling, writing descriptions that somehow convey feelings, loading the car, unloading car, installing show, being at show, interacting with miscelleneous people, collaborations, organizing events, performers, details……yes there is an awful lot to do. Some artists do a lot of this stuff for no money because they love it.

Thirdly, I notice there seem to be artists focused on getting their name out there, and there seem to be artist who aren’t nearly as interested in getting thier name out there as they are getting thier message out there and lots of styles inbetween. There are artists dedicated to all sorts of charities and causes.  HIV Awareness, Domestic Violence Awareness, Child Abuse and Insest, Feeding Hungry Children, Ecological Awareness, Helping Children have access to Arts and Music, Gay Rights, Black Rights, Consciouness, Enlightment, and a host of other great philanthopic missions.  My mission has evolved its way into creating Awareness about Adoption Practices, helping mothers by supporting Saving Our Sisters, and ideas for ammending newborn adoption laws.

Fourth, not all artists are trying to be rich and famous or are even that comfortable with public attention.  For me, as previously mentioned I started humbly trying to sell my photography on line as a way to earn extra money to be able to afford to go see my children.  Well its 5 years later, five long, wild, weird, and actually when I look at my artist resume, include great accomplishments.  Yet, still I have not been able to save to see my children.

Art is a lifestyle, an honor to create, to share, a tool to communication, yes, it’s lovely when someone connects with a piece and wants to give you some money and take it home, but art keeps me alive, money in my life seems to come and go for various expenses (sometimes before I even feel it in my hands) I’m pretty used to it, some people say I’ve had a hard life, I just figure its life, I have had some fun along the way. I don’t always have the best attitude, I don’t always have the worst,  I do my best to keep my chin up…..and putting my chin up, with the encouragement of some friends I decided to make a GoFundMe page to raise some money to change my own situation and cross one very imporant thing off my to do list, which has been on the to do list way to long.  Go see my children in Virginia and maybe solve a few other tiny details that could enhance my life experience.    You can always help directly by buying my art.  One of the most imporant things to me when I first began this little dream was to have affordable art for everybody.  We all deserve pretty things to enhance our lives. Affordable art by Ms. Wenderful is found here.

I put the gofundme up yesterday and have already had my first donor. Thank you dear friend Tracey.  Thank you for being number one donor and being a friend who encourages and supports me in what I wish to accomplish.  Your art piece Sony U-Matic (OMG the Instruction video for it  is Brilliant, Epic and soooo Hilarious watch it) shall be delievered in person this Sunday at Yellow Green Farmers Market where hopefully I will be setting my own shop up soon!

Tracys art pic

 

Women Not Machines

Women Not a Machines is part of the series “Putting the Pieces Together”.  I find it challenging to discuss issues that women face and have feelings and or concerns about without being labeled a feminist.  Why does it seem at times that we must always try to shove people into boxes and put labels on them?  Isn’t compassionate human being good enough?

Women Not Machines was inspired through my  own independent research via internet and in face to face discussions with people about general perceptions of adoption. Sometimes it seems those perceptions are all over the place…..and many incorrect.  I find it encouraging that people seem shocked that mothers can sign away their rights mere hours after giving birth (hope for the human race yet?) .   I also find it encouraging that some people are quite surprised that in some states there is no grace period, signatures are irrevocable and permanent the moment they are executed under any condition. Consents can be executed from hospital beds, in parking lots and over the telephone. The laws on the books seem pretty darn old, pretty inhumane and perhaps, in need of an update.

I also find that when I share my personal experience, people sometimes want to believe I am the exception, I am one of the few nice ones who surrendered and subsequently lost their baby unecessarily, who did not feel they made a clear, conscious choice.  I find it somewhat disappointing that some of society has a view of mothers who place their babies for adoption as homeless, drug addicts, incapable, or unworthy of, straight up don’t want to even try being a mother, already have enough children therefore have “one to spare” or worse yet that it was Gods plan for them.

That one, Gods Plan,  always make me just want to shake me head and say…..Did it ever occur to you that whatever it is that you believe God is judging the woman for and forcing her to surrender her baby for (according to the Gods plan perspective) is actually a set beliefs you are trying to force on her?  Ever considered the possiblity that God put you in the expectant mothers path not to discourage her but to encourage and help her and her baby along the way?  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but giving a new mother time to choose and not be rushed seems like a good idea to me.  I figure if it is Gods Plan she will make the choice God wants her to make whether rushed in mere hours (potentially causing shock and trauma)  or given time to begin to heal, process her own feelings and thought, and begin to recover from childbirth, say 6 weeks after birth, the time a mother is released from Post Partum care (time to feel things out, heal, ask questions, get answers, go through the biological process and make informed choices) Right?

Here’s some interesting information on the  Endocrine system and hormonal shifts that may also help those who have never been through pregnancy, labor, childbirth and post partum understand the process better.

“After giving birth, estrogen and progesterone, which are released by the endocrine system, significantly lower. During pregnancy, the body produces these hormones in abundance. It takes around three days for hormonal levels to return to their pre-pregnancy state. The body experiences a shock with the sudden change in hormones, impacting the mother’s mood, body functions, digestion, and ability to sleep” ….Read More of Article Here…. 

Women Not Machines
Women Not Machines 2014

 

How Did I Let this Happen

While doing this research I began to realize that not only was I accepting responsibilty for my actions, I was accepting responsibility for others actions as well.  It seems to be the way the great american adoption system is set up, blame the mother, blame the mother, blame the mother even if she was no where near her right mental capacities when making life altering choices and those around her may have known it.

I researched the effects of pregancy and hormones on the body during pregnancy, labor, birth and post partum and discovered that oxytocin (known as the love hormone) can also create feelings of trust and along with that, trusting people you ordinarily wouldn’t.  Oxytocin can also cause feelings of fear.

I researched natural endorphins and discovered they have morphine like effects on the body.   I researched sleep deprivation, (“Judgment is affected, memory is impaired, there is deterioration in decision making, and a decline in eye-hand coordination,” Cralle said. “You’re more emotional, attention is decreased, hearing is impaired, and there is an increase in your risk of death from a fatal accident.” )  stress hormones (Levels of cortisol and norepinephrine increase in response to stress; these hormones also influence thought processes) and  adrenaline and its fight or flight response and started coming to the realization that being filled with oxytocin, natural endorphins, being sleep deprived, physically exhausted from giving birth and pumped full of adrenaline doesn’t leave much room for fleeing or fighting or even realizing that one might need to fight or to flee.

This research led to me doing an artshow with 6 mixed media works created during my healing process, to bring awareness about pregnancy, labor, childbirth and adoption practices titled Putting the Pieces Together with this artist statement:
“Putting the Pieces Together explores a mothers love and bond with her children. This show was inspired by the artists own personal experience with adoption and has led the artist to shed light on the way we think about adoption in this country.

Over the past several years she has taken the time to research the effects of pregnancy and hormones on the body and discovered that Oxytocin, known as the love hormone also creates feelings of trust, and along with that allows for trusting people one ordinarily wouldn’t. It can also cause feelings of fear.
She researched natural endorphins and found out they can have similar effects on the body as morphine and heroin. She read about adrenaline and its fight or flight response. It would seem obvious being sleep deprived, filled with oxytocin and natural endorphins doesn’t leave much room for fighting or fleeing or even realizing that one might need too. She looked up information on stress hormones and found out this ” “Levels of cortisol and norephinephrine increase in response to stress; these hormones also influence thought processes”. In the State of Florida a woman can sign away her maternal rights in as little as 7 hours after giving birth ( as experienced by the artist) The artist asks, “If those who stand to profit financially or emotionally through gaining a newborn baby to call their own are so sure the mother has made a choice then What is the Rush?

The First Piece created in the Putting the Pieces Together series is titled “Stargazing One” a cosmic interpretation of myself, his father and our biological son.  It is NOT FOR SALE. It belongs to our son when we are reunited in the future.  God speed little one.

Stargazing One