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  • brittain sobey

i am not just a stranger


a week ago bina had a random day of nursing only once. she nursed in the morning, skipped nap, and then we were out on a date over bedtime so i didn't nurse her then either. when i originally went to see the lactation consultant, bina was nursing a minimum of three times a day, usually five, and sometimes even more. my pumping plan was to start off pumping twice a day, then add a third and fourth pump as we get closer to approval to be licensed to adopt. i checked in with the lactation consultant on how i might need to adapt the plan if bina cut back her nursing. she suggested increasing to pumping six times a day, and then upping it to eight times two weeks before placement. it's one thing for me to nurse bina multiple times a day and be on the go. it's a whole other thing to be chained to my pump for six to eight sessions (which, by the way, take about 30 minutes a piece from start to finish, including hand expressing and getting all the goods out and put away). pumping six to eight times a day did not seem sustainable.

i was disappointed. given, bina had only done the once-a-day-nursing once. this week we're back into a normal routine with nap and nursing, which i kind of expected. but i wasn't sure if that was going to happen. for a bit there it looked like maybe she was going to drop her nap. which, was waaaaay to early for her to drop her nap. for my sanity AND hers. i was coming to grips with the reality that i just didn't think it was best for me to be chained to my pump in my house for the weeks (months??) leading up to our adoption. i'm an extrovert. we haven't even been approved yet, and even though we're anticipating quick placement because of our preferences, you never know for sure! there is so much uncertainty in all this. also we have our trip to boston coming up over labor day. how in the world would i manage to pump so much on the go and while sharing a room with bina at night and during nap (if she takes naps at all). so i started settling into being okay with pumping three to four times a day, and then planning on supplementing with formula. (side note: there is nothing wrong with this plan, or formula only. fed is best.)

and then. i read a page from the book adopted for life and temporarily lost my mind in rage. ​little backstory: i had just read about eugenics in the book no one cares about crazy people and how it was used to justify getting rid of or sterilizing the insane, among others deemed counterproductive to the progression of humanity. different figures contributed to thought on this, including charles darwin, thomas malthus, and francis galton. even theodore roosevelt "thought eugenics was a damned good means of getting rid of all those damned degenerates who were just interested in producing more degenerates" (p. 92). eugenics in this case being sterilization, to prevent the "degenerates" from reproducing. hitler and nazi germany took this to the extreme. hitler's euthanasia program first targeted "disabled, diseased, and mentally incapacitated CHILDREN" (p. 97, emphasis mine). deemed by the nazis as "lives unworthy of life" (p. 97). then they continued with adult mental patients. "by the time hitler ended the program in 1941, it had 'granted mercy' to nearly one hundred thousand people" (p. 98). ONE. HUNDRED. THOUSAND. PEOPLE. which is a drop in the bucket compared to the ALMOST. SIX. MILLION. jews that were exterminated "in the name of aryan purity" (p. 98). so i had just had a little history lesson on eugenics to refresh my memory on how it all started and the extremes it was taken to.

so. eugenics has a horrifying connotation, and is now a trigger word for me. then i read this page from adopted for life:


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this gets political. and after doing some research into planned parenthood and the founder and her grandson, it seems everyone is at odds. one side of the argument sees them as saviors, the other as satan himself. given, russell moore, who wrote the book, is a baptist minister. obviously he's speaking from the conservative perspective. i looked up the book he quoted in this section. i'm assuming he's not taking things out of context. he's a bit too high profile for that nonsense. but i could always double check myself. david and i looked up margaret sanger and some of her original writings, some of which have been taken out of context to make her say things she didn't say in context. it's crazy to me how there can be such different perspectives working with the same material. maybe there is some middle ground. i don't know. but regardless. what i read in this page made. me. FURIOUS.

in particular, these parts:

"planned parenthood was started by a woman named margaret sanger, who defended abortion rights on the basis of EUGENICS" (emphasis mine)

"sanger's grandson, alexander, continues her viewpoint, updated with the contemporary notions of sociobiology, in virulent opposition to the viability of adoption culture--on darwinist grounds. 'adoption is counter-intuitive from an evolutionary vantage point of both the biological mother and the adoptive parents... adoption also puts the future of a child in the control of a STRANGER.' it's EASIER for a woman to have an abortion... or for a family to refuse to think about adoption, because evolution and biology 'conspire to thwart adoption" (emphasis mine)

it's funny. because i was totally like well, oh well. i'll just pump what i can and be ok with it. i'm not willing to make the sacrifices it would take to pump six to eight times a day. or even five. and then. this just lit me up inside. abortion rights on the basis of EUGENICS?!?! are you EFFING KIDDING ME?!?! sanger is SATAN. who else would show such little regard for life and call it in the interest of preserving good genes?!?! and then her grandson--virulently opposed to adoption because it's COUNTER-INTUITIVE. because it puts the future of a child in the control of a stranger. a STRANGER?!?! not a loving family who WANTS them, just a STRANGER.

WHAT. THE. EFF. alright, satan. stop this POOP right there. what heinous lies. WHAT. HEINUS. LIES. listen. i am all for healthcare for women. i do understand that woman will seek out abortions in safe or unsafe conditions. i do watch "call the midwife" and episodes with women going to kooks who shove tools up them or women who cannot afford that so they inflict wounds on themselves with a coat hanger to avoid their pregnant fate, almost dying themselves in the process. i do not pretend to know that kind of desperation and i do not judge those women. i am not the judge. and god knows i am the chief of all sinners. this is not judgement and i do not picket in front of abortion clinics and hurl insults at women obtaining services from them. what i am NOT ok with is LIES. lies straight from the pit of hell targeting vulnerable women at so called clinics of women's health. telling desperate women that the life growing inside of them would be better off DEAD than with STRANGERS. strangers like ME. THIS stranger, who WANTS a baby. who is PUMPING now FIVE TIMES a day (thanks to the motivation this page gave me). who is STORING milk, nourishment from MY BODY to feed an infant that was NOT grown in my body. but i will give of my body to care for this baby, just as i did for the baby that DID grow in my body. i am COMPLETELY and UTTERLY OFFENDED by the characterization of "stranger." as if i and any other prospective adoptive parent are just uncaring fill ins that can't possibly legitimately meet the needs of a baby or child. WHAT. THE. EFF.

a friend of mine mentioned a forum that she viewed while completing adoption education credit for their second adoption. this forum had birth mothers confessing that they wish that they had just aborted their babies. at least then they would know they were in heaven, and not with strangers. maybe they came up with that line of thought on their own. i don't pretend to know what it's like to carry a baby and then be separated from that baby. but part of me wonders: was that seed of poison, that a life is better off dead, planted by planned parenthood? by the infamous alexander sanger?

i can imagine that abortion IS easier, in some ways. not having to carry a baby to term. avoiding uncomfortable pregnancy and childbirth, avoiding the pain of placing your child with a family and having to trust that the child will be ok when there is no way to assure that (biological or adoptive!). adoption IS risky. it's hard. for both parties. it's not natural. i'm using a machine to tell my boobs to produce more milk. it's not natural. it also wasn't natural for god to make himself flesh and hang out with humanity on earth for 30 years. just because it's not natural doesn't mean it's not worth doing.

i've been listening to some adoptees on podcasts. one of them covered the trauma of adoption, of a baby being separated from the birth mama. the baby doesn't have language processing ability yet, but they feel the separation in their brains. their cortisone levels shoot up. it's a trauma. i've also read about how loving touch fosters brain development. there is nothing that can be done to eliminate the trauma of the separation once it has taken place. but love and care can mitigate it. can build positive associations. can breathe new life and foster attachment. i find myself asking, IS abortion easier? IS it better for the birth and prospective adoptive families as alexander sanger suggests? how do we define "easier"? is that what is worth doing, the easy thing? doesn't suffering produce perseverance, perseverance produce character, and character hope? anything worth doing is not "easy." having children, biological or adopted, isn't easy. for shame, alexander sanger. for shame, planned parenthood.

moore concludes that page with a charge for christians. maybe we better back off trying to prove science wrong and just LIVE. THE. LIFE. show the world what a culture of loving adoption looks like.

so after reading that page. i mapped out a schedule for pumping that looks like this:

6am - pump

7am - nurse bina

9:30am - pump

1pm - nurse bina

3pm - pump

4pm - nurse bina

6pm - pump

7:30pm - nurse bina

9:30pm - pump

five pumps a day. because I AM NOT JUST A STRANGER. i am painstakingly preparing my body for the arrival of a new babe. a babe not grown by my body. i know not every adoptive mom is able to or wants to do this. this is not a judgment on anyone else and their decisions. this is just how i feel about my decision for me and my family. i've got 76 ounces of frozen breastmilk in my freezer. i was pumping just two to three ounces a day, and now i'm up to seven ounces a day with five pumping/hand expressing sessions. i have seven ounces of milk in the fridge just waiting for one more to fill an eight ounce tray. it's not something i have to do, it's not convenient. but i am grateful that it's something that i GET to do. that i HAVE a milk supply. that i'm still lactating because my two year old is still nursing. that i have a pump and a house with electricity to power it. a fridge to store it. a deep freeze to store it long term. i am now motivated to MAKE. THIS. WORK. because i want to have that breastfeeding relationship that i enjoyed with bina, with our adopted babe. it won't be the same simply because they are different babies. but i want them both to have that unique bonding experience. and i want it for me too.

I. AM. NOT. JUST. A. STRANGER. i am a daughter of god. adopted into HIS family by the sacrifice of HIS son, jesus. this adoption we are pursuing is not about us. we are adopting to model the love of god to a child, just as we are doing with our biological child sabina. it's not about me, it's not about my needs. it's about the child. my goal is to give our children a safe, loving, warm home full of laughter, creativity, and adventure. to foster in them a love of learning. because god is the creator of all things, and there is so much to learn and enjoy. my children are not responsible for my emotional stability. i will not put that burden on them. only jesus can provide that. i will point them to him, the only unchanging constant in our lives. i will love each of my children with the love god has shown me. i won't do it perfectly, because i am a broken, sinful human being. and when i fail, i will repent and ask for their forgiveness. so that they learn that it's okay to mess up, to repent, and try again. if i get a "you're not my real mom! i wish you had never adopted me!" i will not take it personally. it's not about me. i won't make it about me. i will love. i will love. i will seek help if i am unable to troubleshoot with my own resources and knowledge. i am in this for the long haul with any and all children god may entrust to us by birth or adoption, to love as god loves me.

so no, i don't accept that abortion is natural and adoption unnatural. and don't ever call me a stranger. or you will hear this mama bear ROAR.


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