Damn Her

Posted · 40 Comments


A while back I had Billy into the local clinic for a sports physical.  The doctor scanned his chart, did some quick work with his stethoscope, and said, “How long has it been since he has seen the heart specialist?”

“A few years,” I said.  “They told me it was nothing to worry about.”

“You should take him again,” he advised.  “Just as a precaution.  I can hear it pretty strong.”

Billy has two separate heart murmurs.  No big deal, they say.  Lots of people have heart murmurs.

“It won’t affect him now, at 17, because he’s young.  But when he is thirty or forty, it’s going to slow him down,” the doctor warned.

See, there is a valve that doesn’t quite work right in the left side of his heart.  When the blood is supposed to pump down, into the body, a good portion of it goes in reverse and squirts back up into the top of his heart.  This lack of circulation makes him have to rise from a seating position a little more slowly than others…or he blacks out. He’s been known to fall down stairs…hit the floor as he rises from the couch…and face plant in the snow after a long car ride.

His hands and feet go dead when they get cold…turn completely white.  Like this page.  And they hurt.  Once when he was about twelve, while playing outside, he lost circulation to his head without knowing it.  When he came back into the house and stood near the woodstove, the blood came back with a rush…as near as we can tell…and for forty-five minutes…he screamed.  He clutched my arm and screamed, “Mom…help me…”  for forty-five long minutes.   An ambulance ride later the pain subsided.

Other than that the heart condition has not really been an issue. He’s always been cleared to play sports.  And he sometimes tires easily…but he pushes through it because that’s who he is.

The frustrating part is…all of this is caused by a birth mother who chose to drink alcohol and use methamphetamine drugs while she was pregnant.

Most of my children’s lives are forever affected by some form of substance abuse.  Their brains…damaged. Their bodies, ill-formed.  Their quality of life, their futures, their potential in this world, permanently changed because of a birth mother who made bad choices…who delegated these children’s paths, forever, out of her own selfishness… before they were even born.

It won’t affect him now…they say…and yet it does.  At three.  At seventeen. At thirty. Every single day.

We look at each other across the doctor’s office and our eyes meet.  Billy kind of smiles slightly and shakes his head.  I return the look, knowing that we are once again thinking the same thing about his “mom”…as we have many times before.

Something all of my adopted kids have thought at one time or another. When she calls drunk.  When she never calls at all.  When she lies.  When she makes excuses.  When she doesn’t come to see them.  When she disappears from their lives as if they never existed.  When she drank…or smoked…or shot up and destroyed their chances at “normal”…when she walked away.

Damn her, we’re thinking.  Damn her for breaking his heart.

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40 Responses to "Damn Her"
  1. Laurajoem says:

    my 2 sons haven’t seen thier birth parents in over 5 yrs. The “mom” is my bio sister! She comes to my parents house every week but has not shown intrest in her kids that I am raising, in over five years and neglected them in the short time she actually had custody!  Damn her!

  2. ABCMommy says:

    Damn her.  I can’t wait until mine are old enough to understand why it has been taken away from them.  To watch a 7 year boy cry because he has to work harder than anyone else in the class just to get keep up.  I hold him close and tell him how proud I am of his hard work, that he is brave for not giving up or quiting.  One day it will pay off and that is our reason for working hard, giving up is not an option.

    But dam her for making him hurt and feel less of himself

  3. Genni says:

    I will say, I am raising “one” of those children, born with syphalis (spelling), afs (just discovered), severe adhd, and possible bi-polar…and he’s only 4!  He is my grandson, and I get very angry, his mother is my daughter.  He is better off with me, as are his sister, and brother…she is my daughter though and I love her…hate her choices (hate the sin-love the sinner), hate what she did to him, hate when she calls and says what did I do to deserve this!  What did “HE” do to deserve this, that is the real question!  I am amazed by you!  You are living my dream…from the place to the kids…Praying for you and for your family!

  4. Pence says:

    I am one of those mothers who has hurt her child, possibly beyond repair. I used to damn myself everyday. And some days I still do. I have to believe though, that there is more to me than the mistakes I have made. On the days that I damn myself, I slip back into old patterns, old ways of being, and old ways of expressing myself.  It was only through the kindness of others, just a few folks who looked at me like I was a real human being, that I was able to crawl my way out of the sh** holes that I slipped into early in life. Bless them who saw beyond the ugly that I presented to the world. Bless them that did not damn me further.
      I hear you, I hear what you are saying and I know it is just one part of a larger view. But still.  

    • Here’s the difference….you KNOW you did the damage. You accept responsibility and you wish you could change things. Not all mothers are like that. I wish my kids parents were more like you…
      I don’t make judgement lightly….I’ve held the hand of several birth moms…struggling to get back on their feet. I’ve cared for their children even after the state gave them back…and tried to help these moms through it. I sat on the floor with one mom late into the night, chain smoking with her though I didn’t smoke…while she cried and rocked back and forth and said over and over that she couldn’t handle her kids. I tucked her kids in…they clung to me…and I walked out because she needed to sink or swim. And she sank. I am not asympathetic to her plight…because she tried. And I tried to help her…and failed.
      Billy’s mom never made an effort. She walked out one day during a visit without even a hug or a reason…and never came back. She chose her path and never looked back. I have a hard time comparing her to moms like you. It’s not the same thing…you know?

  5. Joe Aley says:

    You are a special person Keri!  21 years post High School, you have my vote for the person who has “Bettered the World the Most” from the Class of ’89!

  6. Rebecca W. says:

    You have to remember that she has a disease. Does that excuse what she did, no but do you blame her or the drug? Or the people who sold it to her?

    • Suzannah says:

      The people who sold it to her? Sure, just shift the blame as far away as you can from the person who chose not to get help.

  7. Jlshepherd says:

    I would like to comment on the heart issue, aside from the wayward parent issue.  I have borne two children with heart defects (one living).  My youngest was born with a cleft mitral valve and atrial-septal defect (small hole connected to the mitral valve defect) which was discovered at age three when the pediatrician, during routine exam, looked up at me and said “Has anyone talked to you about the heart murmur?”  You can imagine my heart sank since our first child died at 6 weeks from hypoplastic left heart syndrome.  Well, after consults with 2 cardiologists we were told they would keep an eye on it as there were no adverse symptoms.  Just before 2nd grade the checkup result shocked me as the Dr. wanted to consult with others and decide whether to operate before school or wait until after the school year.  Very active child on blood pressure meds for the school year, started showing signs of fatigueand pain in her legs at night in the weeks prior to surgery, and surgeon said it was worse than they had thought but she came through very well.  Ok, long story I know, but I am wondering why your doctors are allowing Billy to suffer.  Heart surgery is much harder to recover from as an adult.  Our daughter has had great checkups and was cleared to play soccer, run track and cross country, do gymnastics and dance, etc., and has had no problems. There have been great advances in treating heart defects – I hope Billy can get whatever he needs to alleviate his suffering.

    By the way, neither I nor my husband did drugs, drank alcohol, or used tobacco or coffee.  The doctors made a point to say that it wasn’t our fault.  It’s just genetic and we just happened to both carry the genes to create these genetic anomalies.  (Now why did both our girls have to fall in love with, and marry, guys who also have heart defects?  So I can worry about my grandchildren I suppose.)

    Ok, sorry for hijacking your blog.  My heart goes out to you and Billy.

  8. jc says:

    God knew Billys journey before he was in the womb –with God there is no “why me?’ on “what a testimony!” — you, you r hubby and your family are sharing your testiomony…your victories, your  struggles, the good , the bad , they ugly –it is a blessing , all of it!   

    I have a chld with chronic illness , God just designed him a lil broken —we share his testiomny so that others realize the ill , dont really” look” ill, the flesh covers so much — so that others learn compassion, so that we hopefully can bless others facing chronic illness and most of so that when God does the incredible it is glorified!  

    Billy is a glorios testimony to what God can do, restoration of a soul, who should be angry but isn’t, who is ill but take life at full speed and more !  I will be praying for him, the dr’s wisdom and the strength to endure the painful moments and for you Momma who want to revoke from him that pain and cannot.  ((hugs))

  9. Lara Rogers-Mcginnis says:

    Papa Boris – it is healthy to say Damn her.  They are not cursing her, but expressing their frustration and hurt at her choices.  They are not judging her or holding back forgiveness they are expressing the pain that comes from her consequences.  They embrace who they are and acknowledged her roll in that journey.  This story doesn’t hold bitterness, it is the plain truth and until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, please do not accuse them of holding a grudge of of not having forgiveness in their heart for her, for they do.

  10. nuts4knits says:

    The anger is understandable.  I’d feel exactly the same way.  Further on, though, I start to think about the pregnant woman who made those awful, selfish, hurtful choices.  How did she get that way?  What terrible things were done to her by unthinking, foolish people, possibly parents?  None of us come out unscathed.  I’m just so glad that she did right by giving him life — and that God put you in his life as his mom. 

  11. Jbost says:

    All I can say is, be sure you hug them all  a little tighter.  Thank God for sending them to you, a woman that will love them and care for them to the end of her life. AND DAMN HER!!!!

  12. My three year old just qualified for early preschool, and looking over the fat stacks of evaluations that read delayed, deficient, below normal, I have been thinking the same thing. I try to focus on my kids, and not let myself be angry. But this post brought tears to my eyes, because it resonates with me so clearly. Whatever awaits my children’s mother in this life or the next, I am just glad it is not for me to decide, because there would never be punishment sufficient for what she stole from these babies.
    I guess it’s just good to know that I am not alone. Thanks again.

  13. Iiicrazycats says:

    I have a “her” in my life also (not one of MY parents, thank goodness) and it is so frustrating watching from the sidelines as she continues to steal any chance of “normal” my niece has. While she was pregnant, while taking care of a newborn, and today as my niece approaches her fifth birthday. I can only hope that the courts will finally see what we’ve known all along; she has no business being a custodial parent to any child. At least not in her current state of being.

    I hope that Billy’s murmurs stay relatively quiet. Get him check over to be safe.

  14. Melissa says:

    <3 You are such a powerful writer. 

  15. Lynnea says:

    So powerful. The selfishness of the people who were blessed with a child yet never could step up to care for them or put them first. Lucky for your kids God intended for you to be their Mom.

  16. Linda says:

    and it is because of people like her that God made you. Made someone who could, would CHOOSE to be the best mother these children could ever have. They need you. Anyone can have kids, but not everyone can be a mom. Your kids are special, just as you are! Blessings!

  17. Lysa says:

    Mind you, she gave him life and life gave him you.  Pretty good results, heart murmur and all.

  18. Papa Boris says:

    Do not curse her, Leave that to God to do. Instead look at the blessing that came from that.  A very special person who loves you has come to you because of her. Forgive her,forget her …do not burden yourself with thoughts of her. God has blessed you with those who have come to love and depend on you.

    • Donna says:

      Amen, so true.  We have four adopted children with the same disabilities, but that is why we got them and they are truly a blessing in our lives, then and now.  It would have been such a burden to feel like I had to damn a mother when these beautiful children came into our lives, and thirty years of being blessed by them, is many blessings that continue to multiply.  Thank you Lord for allowing us to be their mother and father here on earth.  We are truly blessed.  Bless you Papa Boris for your wisdom and the strength to share it.

      • No doubt, I agree…in some ways I am thrilled that their mothers screwed up and they came to me.  If you want to look at it that way…  But really…I’d give ALL my kids back to their birth parents if it meant their parents weren’t drug users…if it meant they did not have to suffer the physical effects of Fetal Alcohol…if it meant they did not have to feel the abandonment and rejection of a birth parent who cared more about their own needs than their unborn child. I would give all my children back if it meant they could experience the normalcy of having birth parents who loved and cared for them…and raised them.  Does that mean I am not thankful to have my children?  Of course not…but adoption, for me, is about finding families for children…not about finding children for me.  

        • I too am an adoptive mother of special needs children. So I do completely get what you are saying. There were many times years ago when I wanted to curse their birth parents for robbing them of certain abilities that they may have had if not born fetal alcohol or on drugs etc…. but there are children out there that are born to parents that did everything right and still gave birth to children with disabilities. So I had to ask the Lord to forgive me.  Not because what their birth parents did wasn’t wrong, but because it is not my place to judge.  Each of my children are special gifts that were given to us by the Lord.  I wouldn’t change one thing about any of them. They are who they are.  Children aren’t born with disabilities just because of bad birth parents, but because of the Prince of the Air, the dark one that rules this world. He comes to rob, kill, and destroy. Only the Lord loves, forgives, strengthens, provides and supports us.  God’s mercy is great and helps us through when times get tough. 

  19. Bobbyspain1 says:

    it may sound harsh , especially for him , but maybe its better that she just stays away. i guess i cant really judge her . my dad was drunk almost all his life, but he was good to me, just embarrassing sometimes. billy will be fine. i cant see you allowing it to be any other way. your strength of will will see to that.

  20. Eleni Drinks Tea says:

    You are so strong, such an inspiration!

  21. Mrobin6389 says:

    feel ur anger but so glad that he has u!  did u every find out what was causing ur son’s hair loss?

  22. Akglitterqueen says:

    “We look at each other across the doctor’s office and our eyes meet.  Billy kind of smiles slightly and shakes his head.  I return the look, knowing that we are once again thinking the same thing about his “mom”…as we have many times before.”…………………………………But you are looking at EACH OTHER and really thats all that matters……. IT SUCKS that she sucked… but you are there for him and it will be OK! he might not be what he could have been but he will be WHO HE CAN BE because YOU ! be angry !!be pissed!! (i would be!!) but know he is in a GRAND PLACE  where eye rolling and shaking heads are allowed and understood!! ……………………………….. 

  23. Jessica says:

    In a perfect world, everything works out perfectly. Billy’s biological mother chose not to have an abortion for some reason. This has given your son a chance to live life. Everyone has problems beyond their control. The way you ate able to cope with them will affect the quality of the life you live.

  24. Teresa says:

    Breaks my heart for them but what a amazing mother they have!!!!!

  25. Shellypg says:

    Dam Her yes BUT yea for the family you have created!  I also have an adopted son.  He is 2 1/2 and the most beautiful little boy ever…. He is however hyper hyper hyper… and repeatedly I am told not to worry, to keep him focused to let him be 2… but when you watch him and he can’t sit, can’t stop moving, can’t control his little body … you just want someone to hold you both!  But at this moment, I am at home with him (or keeping us both physically active) he swims & ice skates 3-5 times a week, and I love him unconditionally… and the rest I will worry about later… because he is happy…. just can’t stop moving!

    • islandgirl says:

      My 13 year old was a very busy, hyper little boy at that age too. I went to bed exhausted most nights. When he was about 4 and a half he calmed down. I didn’t notice it at first. Its funny how we don’t always notice when things get easier… At 13 he is tall and handsome and a true athlete. He can focus and he excels at all things sports. Don’t worry about your son, just enjoy him.

  26. Stina says:

    I will never understand how some people (these woman who gave birth to your children) can be so selfish and inconsiderate.  Your children are lucky to have you for their mom as you are lucky to have such wonderful children who love you.  I understand some of what your children go through when they call occasionaly or not at all, and hardly ever show up.  My ex husband does that to my boys and it pisses me off that he can just dismiss these miracles from heaven.  He doesn’t see the disappointment in their eyes or hear it in their voices the way I do.  How do you keep from choking these people?!!!

  27. Nancy says:

    Ditto Ditto Ditto. Got one of those births moms for my two little ones. My 9 year old son is OK – some dyslexia and ADD, but my 6 year old daughter suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. (she was born while birth mom was serving mandatory 6 month stint in a drug rehab center) Her development and behavior will NEVER be “normal”. She may never learn to read, or drive a car, or go to the prom, or get married and have children… all because of the choices of one woman. We are grateful she ultimately chose her lifestyle over her children, or we wouldn’t have those children, but an innocent little girl is the one who will suffer the consequences of those choices. We do the best we can to give them the best life we know how to provide and just hope it is enough, don’t we??? 

  28. Missy Kenny-Corron says:

    I sometimes say the same thing… about my children’s birth mothers/fathers. I don’t know if she did any of the things you mention.. though 2 of mine do have birth defects that will always be with them… but their abandonment… at birth, at 5 days or 2 days.. is painful to them. To know… that the woman who gave them life..  left them walked away from their tiny vulnerable baby selves..  I too say Damn her (them) and I recognize the irony – that but for that one act – I would be childless… and missing the three most amazing human beings ever.

    • Adaptamama says:

      Missy…my wonderful, loving, beautiful, magnificent son too was abandoned minutes after birth.  He is still too young to know the details, but I could sure use some guidance on how to or not to approach this with him.  Would you do what you did again or make changes?  Any suggestions would be great!

  29. Lynnguys says:

    My heart aches for Billy. Years ago, I watched a little boy that suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome and had the misfortune of being in the custody of his father, who knew nothing about child rearing and was abused a child. It broke my heart to see a child who was a virtual prisoner of a body and mind that never had a chance due to a mother’s selfishness. Billy is so fortunate to have such unconditional empathy….he knows that you feel what he feels.

    • Friday says:

      Thank you for being outraged. I am adult survivor of a mother who was that selfish. I know she did lsd, pot and speed as well as drank when she was pregnant wiht me. I wasn’t taken away and I have taught myself and had the help of others to learn to live with the repurcussions of her choices. i have no short term memory. I am super smart but fight to live not only with the physcial ramifications, but the mental ones as well. PTSD, DID, accute anxiety, major depression, obesity,

      I fight every day to do what needs to be done. I have a life, children, an associates and a BA. My kids are amazing and I made sure they had the professional mental help and therapy I knew they would need some day. I fight every day to leave my house, to walk and interact with the world.

      I remember wishing so desperately as a child to have a family that would take care of me and not cause me harm. Thank you for being outraged and for being able to give your chidren the skills they will need to save themselves when the nights get deep with memories.

  30. Sarah says:

    Damn her indeed! Selfish, inconsiderate, irresponsible. I’m sorry your babies had to be brought to the world by a woman like that, but they are very lucky to have you now. 

  31. Chelsie says:

    Gave me chills. They’re lucky to have you as their mama now.

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