February 20, 1980

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… a seventeen year old with no-one to talk to and no-one who would listen to me.

… parents are 62 and 61 years old … small town Prairie mentality and Fundamentalist beliefs.

… internment in a wage home once I began “showing,” hiding my growing belly to protect my parents from the shame of “what would the neighbours and relatives say?”

… being shamed by my parents into wearing my grandma’s wedding ring to hide my shameful “unwed” status from the world.

… a week of false labour.

… my parents dropping me off at the hospital slightly past midnight, and the nurses telling them to leave. Being put on a gurney and given a sleeping pill to sleep, then put into a closet for the night. Lights on. The pain was strong and the sleeping pill did nothing for me. Awake all night. Alone.

… strapped down to a bed with a fetal monitor wrapped around my stomach. Another one screwed into his scalp.

… my mother coming in the afternoon to sit with me, acting ashamed, never showing concern or affection.

… screaming in pain … and being told by nurses to shut up.

… nauseated and disoriented from the straight Demerol injections that did nothing for the pain

… a doctor telling the intern that he had given me too much Demerol.

… 18 hours of labour with no food or water

… wheeled down the hallway

… climbing  onto the narrow delivery table,  as flat as an ironing board, my arms strapped down with leather straps, feet up in stirrups.

… trying to push out a baby  against gravity, not having slept for 36 hours … not having eaten for 24 hours … overwhelming pain.

… episiotomy sliced down with a deep 4-inch-long cut, without anaesthesia … sewn up again without adequate anaesthesia.  Permanent nerve damage.

… sheet put up in front of my face to prevent me from seeing him as he was born and whisked from the room, abducted.

… given a shot and waking up 18 hours later in a ward far far from the maternity ward and nursery, other end of the hospital, different floor.

… a huge huge sense of loss.

… my breasts bound up to prevent lactation.

… unable to walk for 2 days after.

… not allowed to see or hold my baby. Never being told I had the right to. No lawyers to explain to me that i had *any* rights at all. No nurse brought him to me

… finally allowed to look at him for about 5 minutes  in the nursery several days later, watched over by hawk-like nurses to prevent me from picking him up. I was not welcome there.  Seeing him confirmed for me what I already knew: that I loved him beyond all measure. I wanted to keep him.

….  a woman who had surrendered a baby 2 months prior being sent in to convince me to “do the right thing.”

… forbidden by parents from taking my baby home.

… never told about welfare or any other way to keep him.  At age 17 from a small farming town and a sheltered upbringing, I had no idea even what ‘welfare’ was.

… the social wrecker telling  me to sign or he’d be in foster care until I ‘decided’ to. Telling me that the children of unwed mothers grow up to be criminals.  Lying to me that I would “move on.” No informed consent, no other options, no choice.

I wanted to keep my baby. I was capable. I was never given the chance or the choice.

This is adoption. This was coercion.  I was nothing more than a convenient uterus to them, to take away another baby for adoption.This was done to thousands of unwed mothers across Canada for thirty years, until about 1988. There is nothing “voluntary” about “voluntary surrender.” A coerced “decision” is not a decision at all.

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17 thoughts on “February 20, 1980

    Sandy said:
    February 22, 2009 at 5:28 am

    (((((Cedar))))). I know. I am sorry. I wish it weren’t so.

    Celeste Billhartz said:
    February 23, 2009 at 2:06 am

    Oh, my God …. how I hate what happened to our mothers … to you, dear Cedar .. and to others … how i hate it to the depths of my soul.

    Gershom said:
    February 24, 2009 at 6:55 am

    oh shit. goosebumps. OMG. shit.

    Unicorn said:
    February 24, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Dear Cedar – the UN agrees with you.

    What they did to us was an outright abuse of human rights. I am still angry about it all.

    Thankfully, I have reunited with my son and he knows the truth of what happened. He is appalled.
    This truth has actually brought us closer together.

    Unicorn said:
    February 24, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    I didn’t even sign adoption papers – they just took my son straight out of the hospital and told me to sign a temporary, non-ward, foster care agreement if I wanted to see my son again.

    I had been mutilated in my private parts, drugged and taken to a room by the social wrecker. Despite being in this state, I still remember asking for a lawyer before signing papers but she refused. Apparently by doing that, she made the agreement null and void

    (sadly, I did not realise this as I was not allowed a copy of the agreement until 25 years later and the social wrecker refused to let me read what I was signing at the time – all I wanted was to see my son again. )

    The social worker only allowed me to see my son one more time when he was 6 weeks old at their offices. When I complained about severe diaper rash on his bottom (which needed the attention of a doctor it was so bad) they told me to go away. I tried desperately to see him again but they wouldn’t let me.

    I didn’t get to see my son for another 25 years.

    To my horror, I have recently found out that his foster mother may have been that horrible convicted child abuser who killed Jeffrey Baldwin by neglect and starvation. I think they took my son from me to hide what they had done to him.

    I can’t believe the CCAS hired a convicted child abuser to be a foster mother – it was the CCAS who had her convicted in the first place just a couple of years earlier!!

    A younger social worker did some non-id for me and in it the CCAS admitted that they did indeed have to take my son to a doctor about severe diaper rash. They must have left him soaking in his own waste for it to get that bad.

    I go crazy just thinking what my poor son endured and how helpless I was to help him.

    Mention social worker or foster mother and the police don’t want to know.

    If they had done something back then (1970’s), Jeffrey Baldwin might be alive today.

    The whole thing just makes me want to weep.

    Pip (aka Ezel) said:
    February 25, 2009 at 12:16 am

    I thought how I was treated by my parents and adoption agency was bad enough but at least I was shown some compassion by the nurses nor was I drugged.

    What others including you went through was horrendous ….. ((((hugs))))

    kitta said:
    February 28, 2009 at 3:44 am

    ((((cedar))))

    what terrible barbaric treatment…. all in the name of some nonsense about giving children a ‘better life”..which wasn’t even true.

    It is nothing but trafficking.

    Scarab said:
    March 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Dear Cedar,

    My heart breaks for you and for all the INNOCENT young women who were deliberately and systematically subjected to such extreme sexually violence, culminating in ‘medical’ torture.

    The perpetrator motives blurr between the en masse extermination of unmanned mothers and the genocidal transfer of children from an oppressed group of fertile women to an elite group – namely the White, (usually) Christian, Married, manned-but-Infertile.

    There can be no statute of limitations on such crimes, especially this crime against humanity. Are Womankind not human?

    Your newborn son was abducted. You were subjected to unlawful confinement and torture within a conspiracy to commit genocide. All persons who failed to come to your assistance are also guilty.

    Both you and your son were INNOCENT MINOR PERSONS which made you both subject to an even higher standard of care.

    At the very least you both deserve Victim Compensation, if not a thorough investigation by the Dept of Justice.

    Thank you for your bravery in looking back and for your courage to document the details of this nightmare. Your voice gives us hope to look forward to Justice for us all.

    heatherrainbow said:
    March 3, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    I’m sorry (((Cedar)))

    What was done with you and continues to be done is a crime against humanity. It’s a genocide. It’s disgusting and horrendous.

    It just plain sucks.

    abandonedabandoner said:
    March 4, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    I encountered the same mentality from the hospital professionals when I gave birth in 1994. The stigma of being young and pregnant is far from being gone. While I was able to keep my son I was treated like dirt for doing so. It is time for us to have a voice and yours is loud, clear and beautiful. Thank you for being you.

    Inkeri said:
    March 5, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    So many girls suffered such trauma (not to mention the babies)

    I, too went through similar nightmare. I was 16 years old, far away from home, family and friends, tucked away in an “unwed mothers’ home” with strict nuns telling us that the best thing we can do is to give our babies a chance at a good life by giving them up for adoption. No one offered any help, support – any solutions as to how to keep our babies and look after them.

    Nuns told us to just put it behind us and get on with our lives. No one understood that this decision would impact on the lives of the mothers and the lives of the babies the rest of their lives as they carried deep wounds and hurts and guilts and shames.

    Unwed mothers were treated like dogs where people can just come and pick out their new “puppy” and no one would be affected.

    Did anyone think about the mother’s feelings? Did anyone think about how fundamentally wrong the adopted mother’s arms, the adopted mother’s smell – everything about the adopted mother felt to the baby? Imagine starting life with the most profound sense that something is absolutely wrong?

    Anyway, the author and expert, Nancy Verier speaks about the birth trauma in great detail in her book.

    Yes, I’m looking forward to soon seeing a class-action suit against the “system” for treating young girls and their babies in such a shoddy, insensitive way.

    All because the baby didn’t have a man’s name attached to it.

    JaneInOz said:
    March 26, 2009 at 5:01 am

    Cedar (((((((hugs))))))))
    Unicorn (((((((((Hugs))))))))
    I sit here reading this gasping through the tears trying to breathe as I am sobbing for you.
    I have had 2 babies. I can not comprehend having that sort of treatment sorry – rather – ABUSE of a pregnant woman in labour, of a mother and her child
    😦
    Im so so sorry, if it hurts me this much to read your words I can not magine how much it hurts you 😦

    lissa said:
    August 11, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    omg ((((Cedar))))
    WHY was this allowed to happen to you? I feel absolutely sick…

    The Improper Adoptee said:
    February 18, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Jesus Christ ceder, I had no idea you went through all that hell, and I am SO sorry-the part about the episiotomy really freaks me out-I had one too, but after an epidural-and I was in pain from it for many years after-I don’t even understand how you could handle getting cut like that with out any anaesthesia, and how they could do something so evil to you-they treated you like an animal in a factory farm and it makes me sick. I more I hear about the underhanded methods and the brutal treatment of women like you, the more my blood boils every day. I had read about a totally sane women who was given thorazine to lower her will to keep her baby so she would sign relequishment papers after the birth of her child-I wish you could sue all involved who made the birth of your son such a nightmare, because despite the fact, that they had no right to “punish” you for conceiving out of wedlock at all, what they did,including your parents goes beyond that-into torture.

    nzrose05 said:
    October 1, 2010 at 1:25 am

    My emotional reaction, following reading this post of your experiences, is one of absolute horror.

    Yet what makes it worse within myself is that it is entirely believable reflecting on my own adoption experiences. I am sure some people that are ignorant to the social structures and realities around adoption would not believe this situation to be possible – oh what a blissful life it would be to be ignorant and unaffected by adoption.

    Alana said:
    October 1, 2010 at 4:54 am

    What happened to you was wrong.
    What happened to my Grandmother was wrong.
    What happened to my friend was wrong.

    What happens around the world to this day when we take away the decision making from the women concerned is horrendous and needs to be stopped.

    Adoption is not the option if adoption was never the choice.

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