Archive | August 2013

Please, Don’t Be My Neighbor.

I’ve heard that a woman should never make an important decision while she’s pregnant.

That makes total sense.

When you’re pregnant, your mind is all over the place. You experience a whirlwind of emotions, your sleep and even your dreams change. If you make a decision and  your actions don’t match your decision, something is wrong. When you’re crying at the drop-of-a-hat one minute and  feeling like laughing yourself silly the next, that is not the time to make any decisions. Especially ones that are not only life-altering, but earth-shattering.

A great example, “deciding” on adoption when you’re pregnant is not the time. Also a note to people like Lupita, when someone “decides” on adoption and they do NOTHING to set it into motion, it’s probably not something they truly want. That means you should back off and buy your own jewelry and plane tickets, and let’s not forget the fancy dinner that my sister lasted minutes at.

I think women are the most vulnerable when they’re pregnant. They’re literally helping to create life, not an easy thing to get through. It takes support and love from people close to you. Bringing a child into the world both changes and challenges you. “It takes a village….”… Yes it sure does. Even under the best of circumstances, it takes everything out of you.

Lupita knew, and  still knows  full well that had any of us known about my sister and her pregnancy, we would have been right there to help her. Just like they were to help me after they found out from an aunt that I confided in. Bare in mind, I was seven months pregnant, scared out of my mind.

Lupita saw our family help everyone over the years, why on earth would we not help my sister with her child? A child we have never given up and restlessly await for.  Our blood. The little princess of our hearts.

She and her family TO THIS DAY live across the street from one of my parent’s houses. At the time Lupita set up the adoption, she had known our family for over ten years. During that time, she saw many friends and relatives coming for visits, she saw us going on vacations. Saw us having celebrations and regular barbeques. My parents went to work during the week and on the weekends we enjoyed music in the garage and tending the yard, house, and garden. My dad was rebuilding a classic Camaro and my mom was decorating and making delicious food. We’re crazy in a funny way,  the average Christian family, kids in school, parents working. We take care our own and everyone else’s too. Minding our own business unless we were asked for help.

Our family, Judy’s family, and Lupita’s family got along and interacted regularly.

Everyone except Lupita.

I never saw much of her unless I was talking to her before I was going to babysit her sons. I was never close with her like I was with Judy. Lupita was kind of a snob and always acted as if she was better than she was. She ruled over her family, including her husband who had to hide drinking a beer in the garage. As far as I knew, she was estranged from her family and we never saw anyone over their house. They are Jehovah’s Witnesses and don’t celebrate holidays and special occasions.  

We trusted each other.  We weren’t the ” hi and goodbye” neighbors. When you live across the street from people, build a relationship with them over many years, watch each other’s children and homes for nighttime burglars, you trust them. You consider them friends. And like I’ve mentioned before, when Lupita and her husband borrowed money from my parents for a bulk payment on their house, she sure did consider them friends then. I hope she remains thankful that she and her family weren’t thrown out on the street, like she did to my sister after her baby was gone. Evidently she has forgotten about that.

All these years later, the million dollar question had yet to have been asked….  

Who did Lupita think she was to do something like this? Honestly, what would possess her to do such a thing? 

 

Why did SHE make the decision that we weren’t a good enough family to raise my niece? When she went from her housekeeping job to her job as a clerk in the justice court, she really had her nose in the air and all that power at her ticket window must have given her the idea that she was capable or legally able to set up an adoption. Because that’s what she did. There’s no, “maybe she didn’t.” Every document points to her, every phone call points to her, every gift was given to her…. I mean really, drawing a line between A and B should not be this difficult. And since Lupita likes recognition, I’m glad to oblige.

 

I want Lupita to know personally everything she took from my sister, my niece, and my family. The God she doesn’t believe in will show her every tear we all cried one day. She can’t escape final judgment despite her success in never being questioned and held accountable in court. She stepped in, made decisions, made arrangements, smiled, got her plane ticket and jewelry, and literally never spoke to my sister again. Lupita said she felt “maternal” toward my sister. Why then did she leave her abandoned and alone after she “cared so much about her” during her pregnancy?  

I want her to know that we will never get back what we lost and everything she has taken from us. All so she could be a big hero and “get someone a baby.” What a snake in the grass she was. It’s horrible that since I lived across the street from her for so long, I have the most vivid nightmares about being in that cul-de-sac. Only in the dreams, I’m at present day, with present knowledge, and it’s her from way back when.

 

I moved back to California when I was a teenager and since my parents had purchased another house and were renting out the property across the street from Lupita’s house, I never saw her again. She wasn’t someone I inquired about or ever went to visit, although we remained close to Judy and her family. Judy’s daughter had a bunch of furniture stored on my parent’s property in a storage barn at the time we found out about the adoption. Again, we were entrusted.

 

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I hadn’t seen Lupita for years and I had to go help my family clean out our house because the woman staying there had completely torn apart our beautiful home. I was so upset about what this woman did to our home and Lupita kept saying over and over again, “she was in a depression.” She said it so many times that it stuck out in my memory. Since she was such an expert in depression, she should have recognized  the signs my sister was exhibiting while she was under her care like sleeping excessively, crying; the basics.

I didn’t know it at the time, but this was mere WEEKS after my sister had given birth and the baby was adopted out from Lupita’s arrangement.

I felt it burning in my gut that something was wrong. Lupita was acting so strange, overly nice. Very talkative. She came over, met my kids, bought them pizza. I remember her saying numerous times deliberately pointing out, “I can’t give legal advice” when we were talking about the former tenant; although she was already moved out and we didn’t mention how we were going to handle the renter situation at all we were just cleaning up and surveying the damage. I was upstairs and I told the person who was with me, “what is she doing here, why won’t she go home?” I don’t think she had ever spent that much time total in my parent’s house in the ten years they had lived there. Her heavy and lingering presence was something I could not ignore and I specifically pointed out.

 

This day that I’m describing was the first day that Lupita had seen my sister after she arranged the signing of necessary adoption paperwork. The moment I found out what had happened with my sister and her baby, one of the first things I said was, ” that’s why she was acting like that.”

Lupita made this personal and I won’t rest until she is held accountable for this crime;  which is exactly what it was. The last time I checked, it was illegal to profit from the adoption of a child.

I want Lupita to know she ruined lives. She left massive destruction that is still being dealt with minute by minute, hour by hour. She took dreams and put nightmares in their place. She sold my niece away, the first niece I have. The one I dreamed of and waited for. It was my place to give my sister a baby shower, to be there next to her when she gave birth, and to be there to paint the baby’s toes and have story time. It was my place to tell my sister everything would be okay. It was my place to hold her when she cried and help her get excited about the gift she was about to receive. My sister’s fruit of her womb was not meant for Lupita to sell away under the guise of “good intentions.”  

After this adoption which was set up in 28 days, my sister’s job was done. Lupita didn’t so much as call her, Janelle from Adoption Alliance was a distant memory, and the adoptive couple and their attorney that cared so deeply for my sister, now glared at her when she looked at her very own child. A bunch of sick individuals taking advantage of a young girl.

I particularly love the lineup of characters in this situation. I also love the place of this setup. A town called Elliot County, a place I’ve always called “the meth capital of the world, also known as “STD Central.” A place where everyone knows everyone and the options for fun are severely limited. One movie theater, one McDonald’s, and if you’ve landed a job at the local dive casinos, you’ve made it. A place no one’s ever heard of even though it’s not even 30 minutes from Lake Tahoe. If you drive down Kingsbury grade you land in this little valley. A little valley with a lot of big scandals in it. Scandals that are hidden very well in plain sight.

Now, some of the main players.

My sister: The pregnant victim.

Lupita The facilitator and profiteer.

Janelle. The woman who prepared the paperwork on behalf of Adoption Alliance, which she had my sister sign at a Denny’s and at a Starbucks.

The adoptive couple. Adoption Alliance stated my sister chose the couple from a stack of profiles, but the paperwork said they came “already matched.” Which is it, because this is extremely important. The wife, a teacher with a Master’s in Psychology; the husband, a banker.

Molly. Lupita’s attorney friend who handled the case. Her job must have been a breeze, a girl with no lawyer signing where she’s told. A simple paycheck. Handle unethical cases, much?

The judges involved, they all know each other. The attorneys involved, they all know each other.

They have all worked together for many years.

I just keep thinking “how can this be?” How can someone who works at the courthouse get away with such a thing?

The answer is simple.

She got away with it BECAUSE she works at the courthouse, all her little friends are the ones we complained to. They are the very ones protecting her.

I mean really, how would it look in the newspaper, ” COURT CLERK SELLS BABY?” I consider it a fitting title.

 

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There is something very important I have to say about Lupita that I wanted at the end of this particular post.

On the day we found out about my sister having a baby and that Lupita “helped” by setting up an adoption behind our backs, I called her immediately after I hung up with my mother.

I couldn’t hold back the emotions I felt.

I was asking her questions, yelling at her, asking her how she could do such a thing. I have no reason to lie about the fact that I was cussing like a sailor. I never once threatened her. There was no time to be proper or respectful of my elders. Give me a break. I had just found out my niece was sold away.

Somewhere in the conversation, I got my words jumbled up and I said something that finished with the words, “my sister’s f****** baby.”

She immediately and very sternly said, “it’s not a f****** baby.”

She knows completely well that it was the heat of the argument. I love my niece so much I would literally give my life for her. I would sacrifice my life so that she could live out her dreams. I never meant to say that and the fact that she capitalized on it is disgusting. Even though she knew the word was momentarily misplaced, she said something as if I said it on purpose. Anything to take focus off of her and what she did.

This emotional burden is the heaviest I’ve ever carried. It cost me my marriage and a baby I lost to miscarriage ten days after I found out about the adoption. It cost me my job because the depression was so bad I would help patients, go in the back and cry, go back to the front desk and smile. It was, and still is, hard for me to get out of bed each day. It’s hard to eat when your inner emotions make it hard for you to hold food down. It cost me my home, once the divorce was final, so was my stay there. It cost me my friends, who wants to hang out with someone who is crying all the time and only talks about things people can’t relate to? It cost me lightheartedness. One day, things were normal, the next they weren’t. Where is the battle plan and survival guide for “when your niece is sold away?” What is the proper way to behave? What are the proper words to say?

I will never forget the way those particular words were exchanged. This conversation has bothered me since it happened and that is not an over exaggeration. She is manipulative. Evil doesn’t look like a green monster with two heads. Evil is pleasing to the eye, smiling in your face while they cross their fingers with one hand and stab you in the back with the other. She had the audacity to correct me.

I want Lupita to know that she is wrong. She is so wrong on so many levels. Forgiveness, as I’ve said, is not an option at this point. You can’t forgive someone who thinks they did nothing wrong and will never apologize. A woman who literally laughs in our faces and walks around like she deserves a metal.  I have prayed and given it to God that I can’t forgive her and I know He will heal my heart and protect it accordingly.

Lupita blind-sided us with something so detrimental. She would have been fine keeping this secret and smiling to our faces for the rest of her life had we not found out by accident. I absolutely believe she committed a crime and she should have been fired immediately and put in an orange jumpsuit.

The Adoptive “Mother”

Up until this point I have hardly mentioned the adoptive mother, Kate.

Today that changes.

I am going to be very candid and honest about the woman who has seen it in her best interest to take my sister’s child under such circumstances.

Keep in mind, at the time the adoption took place, my sister was barely 18. She was scared, pregnant, and keeping an enormous secret. The adoption was set up in a miraculous 28 days, how lucky for the people who have her. A brand new baby with Norwegian decent. They choose to forget that she is almost full blooded Latina, Puerto Rican and Mexican.  She is not the Italian child they are passing her off to be. They gave her a name that has absolutely nothing to do with her heritage.

Here’s what I know:

*  Kate has a Master’s degree in Psychology

*  Her husband Fred works for a prominent bank.

*  Kate wore a hot pink bow in her hair during the trial, as if to appear as naïve and innocent as my sister.

*  She is very materialistic, bragging that there were 13 0r 14 bridesmaids at her wedding.

*  She smiled at me across the court, and did it in a calculated and sneaky way.

*  She had made it impossible to maintain a relationship with my niece, she watches her as if she is a child that is not hers and can be taken at any time.

*  Obviously coaching my niece into saying what her name is  since my niece refers to herself not as “me” or “my”, she calls herself by her name only.

*  On one or our visits, Kate wrote a note and put it in my niece’s lunchbox, saying, “mommy loves you.” So obviously on purpose.

*  During each visit, she and her husband had our family pay a monitor $75 dollars an hour to “watch us” as if WE’RE the ones who have done something wrong. In a public park, that was freezing, with her and her husband sitting in a parked car, glaring at us from across the grass.

* We were given a paper on one of our visits that said we could not photograph or take video of my niece, tell her who we were, and could call her no pet names, we could only call her the name they gave her. Does that mean that they don’t call her any terms of endearment, or are we the only ones exempt from calling her sweet nicknames?

* She and her husband prohibited myself and my family to enter the courtroom when we were going through trial, she obviously wanted my sister alone and frightened, once again.

* She is infertile, having had a surgery related to the infertility while were in Los Angeles.

*  She had the Tiffany bracelet she gave to Lupita engraved. My sister’s had no inscription and she did not accept it anyway.

* She and her husband were on the television show “House Hunters”.

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**** ( I had a very rough night last night and had to write before I step out for the afternoon. As this woman and her despicable actions are burning on my mind today, this post will be continued.

I just can’t keep quiet any longer. )

 

 

 

PS…    TO THOSE READING AND FOLLOWING MY BLOG, I AM GRATEFUL THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN ME THE PLACE TO BE HEARD. I AM HUMBLED, AND THANKFUL THERE ARE STILL GOOD PEOPLE IN THE WORLD….THANK YOU FOR HELPING ME GET THROUGH THIS….

Sincerely,

Elizabeth

A Broken Heart

I feel so sad, so heartbroken.

This experience has made me fall to my knees, made me cry day and night, even through the night. I wake up with dried tears on my face. It hurts. Time, what is that? One day rolls into the next. I wake up, and don’t know how I’ll get through the day; I go to sleep wondering how did I get through the day.

Is it so wrong for me to want a niece that is rightfully mine? I’m made to feel like “how dare I love her, how dare I want her.”

Is it so horrible that I just can’t seem to get it together after my heart was ripped out with cold, bare hands?

I think people really can die from a broken heart. The anguish and the raw emotion that losing a child brings is something I don’t recognize and hardly know how to explain. Only those that have lost a child can truly understand the emptiness, the sand falling one grain at a time through the hourglass. Each moment no less painful than the previous.

How do you make sense of seeing yourself do things you never would, not doing things you always did? I’ve changed so dramatically. So permanently. I used to love people, now I don’t want anyone I don’t know near me, I just don’t trust anyone. People are capable of terrible things, and they do them with smiles on their faces. They laugh when you cry.

A broken heart changes a person. I’ve developed severe fibromyalgia and can literally feel the pain and worry manifest with extreme body pain the worse my anxiety gets.

All day, I’m super-mom, super-wife and super-teacher.

All night, I’m hurt, I’m worried, I’m absolutely heartbroken.

A daily roller-coaster of comedy and tragedy.

Where Does The Time Go ?..

Another day we missed out on, so much I want to share with you.

So much has been taken from us, but still all I can think of is when our baby girl will be coming home.

She won’t be a baby anymore, and she’s not a baby now. She’s 9, and she has no idea that she has a family that she belongs to, she’s surrounded by strangers playing house.

They have stolen memories, and are raising my nice in a glass house full of lies.

Needless to say, I can’t sleep at night. It’s impossible to rest when there is a knot in your stomach and the nightmares get so bad that I’ve literally tried to jump out of a window after waking up screaming, not knowing what I was doing, and very thankful to have been sleeping on the ground floor.

I’m stuck between anger, bitterness, and confusion and the very word “adoption” makes my blood pressure hit the roof.  I see all these stories of people buying children around the world, people so desperate for a child they’re willing to do anything and take them away from their “real” family who loves them.

I haven’t been able to write for the past few weeks, I’ve just been stuck in heartache. It hurts to think about my niece so far from home, looking into unfamiliar faces that have no business being in her life.

I want to tell her, I want to show her allllllllll the paperwork that she deserves to see. I want her to know that we are waiting for her patiently because the “people” who have her will keep her from us until they no longer can. Nine more years to wait, but halfway there.

I’ll be waiting for my beloved niece. Nine years or nine hundred years, I’ll be right here waiting for her.

With love….

Goodnight, Love

Praying for you to come home, I know in my heart that someday you will.

Before I go to sleep, you are my last thought.

One more day crossed off on the calendar.

We’re one more day closer.

Sweet baby girl, auntie loves you….

 

On The Menu

It’s really important to me that my niece have the recipes that are unique to our family.

Dishes that I should be personally showing her how to make. I practically live in the kitchen, and each moment I’m in there, I miss her. I want her there.

So along with photos of our family, she’ll have recipes.

One day, we’ll be able to meet around the table and celebrate over food and Shirley Temple drinks in beautiful crystal glasses and all will be right in the world….

Coming from one of the best cooks in the family, I present to her a menu.

They say the way to a person’s heart is through their tummy ..I agree!

Your Heart Will Tell You So ….

When you feel in your heart that something is wrong, you will see to it that it is made right, even if it is years later. No matter how tired you are, how beaten down you feel, you have to get up, pray, and take a stand.

I realize that it will be about 9 more years until I can hold her, I have to choke down the lump in my throat, tears come down my face. I close my eyes tight.

Nine years of feeling like this, nine more to go.

Only God can give one the strength to endure something so amazingly painful.