Sunday, December 24, 2006

Adoption Loss -- What's that?

Hmmm... another post that hasn't seen the light of day...

I have some work to do. What is it? Oh yeah, what is adoption loss? What is it that makes me want to run and hide when I hear someone walking towards me as I write? I'm an adult now. I've raised two awesome children. I've got people telling me I'm all kinds of cool on a regular basis. Why do I feel like I just got the rug pulled out from underneath me by a simple, "What's that?"

My mind arranges lots of information explaining it from the various points of view: adoptee, adoptor, and mine. Explaining is not what I want to do. I want to be free in my own skin, not to feel like I have to explain my feelings or my situation or me. Explaining my feelings is trying to carve out a niche for myself, to say it's ok for me to be.

I want to look at adoption loss and just see it. To see it without trying to fix it up or hide it or run from it -- without judging myself. My adoption loss in tied up in Joy's adoption loss, which is tied up in her aparents adoption loss.

Denying my own pain blocked me from acknowledging Joy's. I knew nothing worse than giving up my daughter was going to happen to me. I found cold comfort with all the "You did the right thing". Yet I clung to, "She's in a good family". She's being loved, nourished, nurtured, cherished by people who were devoted to providing for her growth and development. I may have been worthless as a mother, but at least I helped to provide some joy in their world. Seriously, I thought of surrogacy as a noble and charitable act, though I wouldn't consider myself a volunteer.

So adoption loss, what's that? Losing. Losing my baby, losing my self worth, losing touch with reality.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It's Christmas

IT'S CHRISTMAS!!! Actually it's December 23rd and I didn't bother to look on the internet until 5:30pm -- because I met Joy and TomTom for breakfast today. They stayed in a hotel just fifteen minutes from me on her way to visit the home she grew up in. We were a little self conscious exchanging gifts for the first time in years. But we did greet each other with a great big hug. I was reminded of a phrase on my younger daughter's blog, and I quote "really good non-wimpy bursting with love hugs". In contrast to our previous tentative physical relationship we moved in that direction in a big way. I even hugged TomTom when we said goodbye although I wasn't sure he was expecting it...

Hugging. Affection. I wanted to hold Joy when we first met. For the first few years I wanted to hold her, to comfort her. But she was very hesitant to let me touch her.

I don't recall any physical affection in my "family of origin". But once I got out of there I gravitated to very affectionate circles that expanded until when I was 28 my father said , well if everyone else can hug you I can too. So our big hug may have been the "best Christmas present ever".

Anyway breakfast was lovely. We could see the ocean and hear the waves. The waiter was a bit goofy but the sun was shining and we were in a small haven. Simple chatty breakfast. As I was leaving I found my camera! Joy said "oh no". But I promised I wouldn't post them on the internet and we got the hostess at the restaurant to take our picture. All three of us together.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I was found almost seventeen years ago. I never took the concrete physical steps to look.

Over a week ago I looked for the Childrens Home Society on the Internet. I found a listing near the city I "signed the papers" in. I wrote down the address and the phone number, thinking I'll probably have to write to make an official request for information. But it would be faster to phone. Joy told me the limited information she'd been able to retrieve about her early life was not what I'd been promised. She wondered why I didn't know what had happened. Reading about other's searches finally spurred me to ask myself what happened? For a long time I thought there was no reason to ask about the past. I know where she is now.

But maybe there is a reason to look into the past.

It took me at least a week to make the time to phone. I mean I meant to do it yesterday but just didn't get around to it. Today it was definitely on my to do list. As the day wore on it became apparent that I was procrastinating, avoiding it. It was a time to assert myself, to take care of my self-- the one that was powerless and had given up when no help was forthcoming. It's time for me to ask, to say what I want.

So I called the number and got a menu for child care referrals. I hung up instead of pressing 1 or 2. I wasn't prepared to tell someone processing requests for childcare that I want to know what really happened to the baby girl they took so many years ago. I'll have to look around for a better phone number. This is harder than it looks.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Patience and Peace

Patience: It's over sixteen years into reunion. Reunion is a very good word for me. Torn asunder and now stitching, mending and reuniting ourselves. It's taken quite awhile to learn to hold steady for myself, for Joy, for our recovering what we lost of ourselves and our identities. It has seemed horrific at times, facing the loss and pain. For a long time I barely hung on, running over circular anguish in fear that I could lose even more. Now I am finding my place in this world. I am finding Joy's place in my world, getting comfortable and familiar, including her in my general and casual conversations. It all comes from accepting my loss and taking time. I don't have to go anywhere or meet any time limits. I am trusting that each step I take towards our loving open relating is building a foundation together. Being able to check her blog several times a day, getting email messages, sending email messages is such a relief. Looking back at relinquishing I think I would have been a stalker if I'd had a clue to her whereabouts. Now I cruise by whenever I pass a computer and it's OK! I'm just checking, the way one might check a baby sleeping. Yep, she's there. She's breathing, yelling, laughing, crying, creating beautiful images. She is well. I am well. We are discovering ourselves.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Nine Weird Things

Nine Weird Things: After giving this tag a great deal of consideration, including some discussion with someone close to me, I've only come up with 4 weird things.
1. I'm devoted to large Thanksgiving Dinners, preferably in my own home. I made cranberry chutney and fresh cranberry orange relish, roasted a turkey with herbs and a grilled turkey with lime and oregano, two types of sweet potatoes in additon to mash potatoes, special green salad, roasted green beans with pine nuts, cornbread and chile stuffing, two types of rolls. Actually my kids make the mash potatoes and a jello concoction. The guests bring pies and wine. If we do end up going to someone else's house, the next day, Friday, I make my own at home, with only one turkey and one kind of sweet potatoes, and I make the pies too.
2. I think skirts are way more comfortable than pants. I hate any clothing that grabs my crotch.
3. It's fun for me when Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormon missionaries come to the door. I take it as an invitation to share MY point of view and on rare occasion make a convert.
4. I frequently give into the impulse to run or skip in public even at my age.
5. Oh! Another one is that I really don't care about drinking wine even though I live in "wine country".
6. Now I'm getting on a roll. I don't eat garlic or onions which makes going out to eat these days an interesting dialogue with the wait staff...
7. I have very wide feet. I was very happy to learn that the native women in Oaxaca had feet like mine and made beautiful sandals to fit them.

That's all I can come up with for now.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Oh God

Let's be friends. I just read Suz's post about religion which aroused some unfinished business here in me. When my boyfriend's mom found out I was pregnant, she pulled us over for some advice. She had been overtly hostile to me before I was pregnant. Now she was insisting that we must be wed, in the (Catholic) church, so that "the baby" would be legitimate. Immediately after the birth, we'd get an annulment. That was the last time I saw her.

Months later at the adoption agency I was asked about my religious preference. Anything but Catholic. My baby was not going to have to put up with the kind of mothering I'd seen from boyfriend's mother.

Decades later I was told that boyfriend's sister wanted to adopt our baby but wasn't allowed to due to my no Catholics restriction. Ironic twist of honoring my wishes, eh? IF that's true, why couldn't they have talked to me, say before I signed the papers?

So there's still anger here. There's still hurt. I want to come to acceptance. I want to know they were doing their best without judging their best as pathetic. I want to accept how much it hurt --That their best, doing what they thought was right, was so wrong to me. I felt so alone -- wrong and wronged.

Misunderstanding. I forgive myself for judging myself for being hurt.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Dancing with Abandon...

This past week on two occasions, I saw people wearing a green t shirt saying "Everybody lies. Nobody cares."

I do. I care. I lie and I care. I try to catch my lies and come to the truth. I love to watch the TV program House, where the main character, Dr. House is chronically pointing out how much people lie and how it does or doesn't serve them. He is shameless and consciously purposeful with his lies and I love that. And when he discovers his lies are not serving him he investigates to find out how that works.

I want to be ruthless, to root out lies and self deception.

In my early morning reverie that connected somehow to abandonment, justification and control issues. A post formed in my mind that seems to have evaporated this evening. I'll go on anyway.

A dear friend said, "Control is the master addiction". I see my efforts to control boil down to fear of abandonment, fear of being alone.

Lee Michaels' song Heidi hi -- Don't be afraid if you're all alone. That's how you started. It's how you're going to go.

We're all afraid of being alone sometimes. That's abandonment. It spreads out to everyone. It's a function of our egos, our minds and emotions. Part of trying to control it is having a good reason for it. Some of us have very good reasons, elaborate stories, really valid reasons, justification for being scared. Sometimes we don't even know the story. We don't have a reason. But you know, when you're afraid of being alone, you don't always need a reason.

I love feeling like I belong, being a loved member of a family or community. It buoys me up. It's fun. I love connecting. But when I lie in order to insure my connection, it becomes false and desperate, dissatisfying. That's why I want to be ruthless. It takes time & courage to go inside and find out what I'm lying about, but it's very satisfying.

I have two people in my life that have "abandonment issues" including issues with my insensitivity to their abandonment issues. But sometimes I think all issues are "abandonment issues". We just try to maintain our control by pretending they're something else. It takes time and courage to be still and hold to our connection.

God Bless you. I love you. Peace, be still.

Friday, November 03, 2006


I would pick her up and carry her away. We'd fly to another realm where she would be bathed in a crystal fountain and all vestiges of separation would be transmuted into free energy.

MY Daughter in My Life

WE come and we go. Except I keep coming over and over. I don't really care about adoption in general that much. I come to see what's going on in Joy's life, mind and heart. How is she feeling? What is she thinking about? She is so clever.

Most of the time I turn to the links on her page to see what she may have been reading -- reading others' thoughts and feelings.

I've been looking at a pattern I've had of trying to fix things/people up. I've not been very successful with that. It's gotten a bit crazy in fact -- Trying to fix things up. It's very much like that Joni song she quoted, plus sputtering and sparking emotions.

My "productivity" has really fallen off, as I sit reading and wondering and checking again. (Is this properly taking care of myself? I think so actually.) I've discovered an addiction to information. I google the things she refers to because I want to know what she knows. I want to keep up with her, to understand what she has to say, what she thinks.

Reading about "open" adoption tripped some thoughts. If I had known of open adoption -- If it had been mentioned as an option -- I can't imagine taking it. If I'd considered it, I think it would have led me to not relinquish. Given the opportunity to consider actually being any part of her life, the possibility of contact -- I don't think I could have taken just one sip. If I had known where she was I don't think I would have left them alone.

Even though I'm not getting much done lately out in the world, I'm expanding inside. I'm realizing I'm not going to fix it up at all. That's not an option. I am learning to watch and listen to myself. I'm learning to sit with the things that set me off balance.

And I'm talking again. Right after relinquishing I talked about her to everyone, looking for a way to cope with the loss. I learned there was not help for me that way. It's different now, because she is in my life. Grieving still goes on. There is also growth in our relationship going on.

Learning that my experience is similar to others has given me validation and confidence to communicate my experience, my reality, to people who had no idea that I have another daughter. I'm finding that people love to hear about her. They feel honored when I share my feelings and experience and love for her. It's another way of including her in my life. It's indirect. But I can do it anytime, anywhere.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Where am I going here?

This blogging world draws me back and back. Sometimes I feel quite sick of it. But then I have to check my daughter's site. I want to know more about her, what she thinks and feels, what she's doing. And then I read a few of her (and my) favorites.

Where am I going with it?

I found tremendous relief in learning others' adoption stories. Finding similarities has assisted me to honor my own story. I've written it here both as a process of self examination and in hopes that I can share -- give some of what I've gained.

I've expanded my knowledge. I've expanded my awareness of the greater world of adoption. I am overcoming awe of women who have been on this search and made great contributions for people like me to read and grow with.

Facing the underbelly of my adoption story, squeezing it and pushing it, poking around to see what's been hidden has given me courage. I love courage, like a bloody gushing energy turning to a full clear fountain of everything. Right now I feel good about my life and confident in reunion despite our ups and downs/ins and outs.

Still, I find myself disturbed easily. I want to gather up all the sorrowing mothers and children and tuck them under my feathers. But I'm more likely to find myself pecking away in wild defense. I go from Mother Hen to chickens are not very nice to each other sometimes are they?

I want to reach out to Joy and hold her and hug her and tell her everything is going to be ok. Time. Separation. Physical. In spite of all that. We are ok. We are in fact fantastic, although we sometimes find ourselves in the valley of the shadow... In my heart we are free.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

getting air

Just found this as I'm reviewing my first entries and think it's worth including.

I am amazed. I am feeling free. Feeling -- what's that? Is my "feeling" an illusion or a lie? Or just ephemeral? Probably -- or a part of a cycle.

Over the past few months I've been excavating, uncovering my past and telling stories. My stories of loss and shame. It feels good to quit hiding. Although it is still habitual. Writing, putting it out in words, checking to see if the words fit, how others respond to them or interpret them. Then checking again to see my response. Externalizing these experiences I see myself as larger than them rather than cowed by them.

It's been so good. Exposing myself.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

How Did It Happen?

I've been reading so much about adoption. Terminology. Conditions. Back when I "surrendered" Joy I felt that I was surrendering, giving up.

I started feeling different in second grade. Before that I wasn't really aware of separateness, just of Being Me, an enthusiastic idealistic introvert. Giving up Joy was defeat and confirmed that I was not right for the world. In the '70s fantasies of becoming a "hill hippie" living in some kind of idealized community attracted me. I quickly discovered that was just fantasy. Recently reading how other first mothers responded to their loss by becoming high achievers startled me. Perhaps they were already high achievers. I remember I was always working "below my potential", an "underachiever". I just could not connect. I wanted to escape. My escape was to her father. We were desperate for and dependent on each other for comfort and love. The first time I got pregnant I miscarried. But my parents found out. They also found some contraband in my purse and sent me to a social worker friend. She said she could tell I was pregnant by looking in my eyes.

She lived with another woman and they were pretty high up in the county social services. They and the minister were the resources my parents felt they could turn to. All that was said was I could never see him again. That ought to fix the problem, right? So I kept seeing him almost every day. He loved me. He wanted me. We didn't have much money or resources, but he did have a van... And It was easy to lie to my folks. They didn't really ask. I didn't tell. I miscarried.

I just wanted out. My folks supported that. They probably thought it was worth it just to get me away from my boyfriend. So I was moved 450 miles away. Two weeks later he was there too. I got pregnant and gonorrhea that week. Then he was gone again. When I discovered I was pregnant I told him I never wanted to see him again. I was going to go on welfare. I was scared, lonely but facing forward. He came back wanting to marry me. I knew that wasn't going to happen. But I went with him. We got a hotplate and a cooler from my folks and started camping out in a cheap hotel room. We both got jobs. I pretended to be married. We both got laid off. I was five months along and he drove towards my parents house. He was taking me back. I jumped out of the car and ran. He came back and talked me into going "home". I had a nice room there where I started sewing maternity clothes and got a factory job sewing swim suits. I was throwing up several times a day. When my mom figured it out they started family counseling, except they decided not to go. So I went alone and sat there in silence. I listened and learned a little bit.

The counselor asked where I was going to get loving? It wasn't from my boyfriend or my parents. Boyfriend didn't go to job interview set up by counselor. Counselor explained parents position that they would not let me back home with child. Minister advised me to give baby to a "good home". I had to admit I didn't have a good home. Looking back it's hard to believe that we did this all without ever really discussing it. I went to live with a girlfriend 90 miles away. Boyfriend never came to see me. I finally caved. Alright. I'll give the baby to the good family. As due date approached I was lodged with a young family only 15 miles away. No one to talk to. Soap operas and oreos. Grandpa wrote me letters every week. Grandma sent me a fruit basket at Easter. It was nice to have those gestures, even if no one wanted to actually see me. Suddenly there was water rushing between my legs. What's that? OMG I've peed all over the floor!? The young couple reassured me. Someone took me to the hospital. 15 hours later my dad showed up and rubbed my back as I transitioned. Her actual birth is a highlight of my life. It was transcendent. The doctor placed her on my belly as though she belonged there. I passed out.

I didn't see her again for two weeks, my waiting period. It was another transcendent experience, holding her, looking into her eyes, just the most amazing experience of adoration and peace. It is still precious to me.

I signed the papers sobbing. But a "good family" was waiting for her and I didn't want her to be alone, like I was.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

My Grandson

How do I write bout TomTom? Is it the sickness of regret and loss that I don’t want to look at? I can’t let go. I can let go. I won’t let go. Willfullness. Won’tfullness. I don’t want to be sorry, sad, grieving. OK. I want him in my life. Inside me he lives his beautiful life. I’ve spent a bit of time with him. I’ve delighted in wonderful stories about him from his mother. Beyond the usual ravings of grandmothers, TomTom really is a most remarkable child/young man. I know this even though I hardly know him.

I’m of the age that my peers are starting to have grandchildren. They are so proud. They ask if I have any yet, knowing Buster & Ezzy are out in the world somewhere. I don’t answer quickly. It’s too much information for someone asking casually. Recently someone who’s known about TomTom all his life forgot. She asked me if I was looking forward to having grandchildren, showing how she is looking forward to it. I reminded her, oh yes, I already have one. He’s turning sixteen now.

That sets some people back on their rear ends.

It’s hard to talk about because the relationship doesn’t manifest in the world the way we’d like. So much time went by struggling to come to terms with unifying my families. I was fearful of meeting him. I wanted to come to peace with Joy first. She and I seemed so unstable I feared involving this innocent. I didn’t want him to share the pain. In trying to keep that to myself, I kept everything to myself, a sad, sick selfishness that meant I was holding onto pain instead of letting go and going forward.

So now he’s near grown. He doesn’t want much to do with me. He’s got more than four grandparents that have demonstrated their caring throughout his life. He knows his own mother has hurt terribly in finding ways to connect with me.

He knows that more definitely than either Buster or Ezzy could. And I know how they try to protect and defend me. Even Joy protects and defends me, the childish mother she found.

Now he’s growing up and I’m wondering. Is he able to share with people? Is he trusting to share his pains and triumphs and wishes? Is he living his life fully – my vicarious wish? Am I? I know he is in good hands. And I am keeping him in my prayers, just as I kept Joy in my prayers throughout her life. I see how I’ve repeated with him, the loss experience. Not wanting to intrude seems so useless in retrospect. That’s an important lesson, learning to show up and trust in life, in God, that I can contribute something good to a situation or relationship in spite of the pain.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

OK. Time for a real UPdate -- current. Joy is a joy to me. That we are in reunion is as perfect as it gets in this life. The most marvelous thing is that it all keeps changing. My favorite season is that they change. Thank God! I change. You change. Watch how that happens. And keep moving on...
Blogging is teaching me to keep listening to my heart. Reunion is teaching me to listen to my heart, to look for the loving action in each moment, taking in new information, others points of view. Resist not evil.

Holding onto self judgments in fear is resistance. So far my experience is that stirring through my fears and secrets has not been pretty, but it makes for change, movement. And that's so much better than being stuck holding onto my poor pathetic fears.

Right now I'm listening to People Will Be People by Irma Thomas. I wish I knew how to add music to my page. "Right or wrong, Mr. or Ms, you know the long and the short of it is, people will be people."

So something new. I talked about my feelings with (spouse). He listened. He offered to listen longer than I wanted to talk. It was awesome, going through this stuff and just going on. And thanks to Suz I sent him the website she mentioned a little while ago. Benevolent Society, Post Adoption Resource Center, PARC. (OK I don't know anything about posting links but that will help you find it, if you're persistant, I think) Anyway, all he said about it was, oh ok. For weeks I've been sitting in front of the computer till I'm stiff and when I show my face again, he asks how I'm doing. Or shares something that's going on with him. Yeah, he's another fallible man. He's a good man too.

Funny thing is the more accepting I am of any one of us, the more accepting I am of all the rest. It starts with accepting myself. Joy and I are doing quite well. We definitely have our ups and downs. It's a mother/daughter thing, with extenuating circumstances you know. But the truth is, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree... We're both hypersensitive sometimes. We're both loving. We're both strong. We surprise ourselves and each other. We don't have the blessing of having gone through the teen years together in the usual sequence. Things are all balled up crazily and inappropriately. My other daughter had the opportunity to scream I hate you and storm off, only to show up ten minutes later for a hug. As I watched Ezzy grow into herself it helped me understand Joy better. And myself. We're all a part of each other inside me.

That may begin to express what I want to say. My life is good. I love Joy. Joy loves me. That may not be obvious sometimes, but it is our basis. I just want to spell it out for anyone that might be wondering.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Losing fear

I'm still figuring out how it is. In a way I have her back now. When she first called me I shook while talking to her. That lasted most of the next 13-14 years. And a lot of that time I had a fear of losing her again. I wasn't prepared to meet her needs. I expected her to have had a happy fulfilled doted on childhood.

I thought of my adopted cousin, an only child and doted on by his adopted parents and his (our) grandparents in Michigan. He seemed happy enough to be in the family he was raised in. My brother and I were very aware that he was completely different than the rest of the family, foreign. By not talking about it we convinced ourselves that he was unaware of it. I felt like we were wrong for noticing. And I thought my aunt and uncle were remarkably accepting and tolerant about the differences. I didn't realize the loss involved in the adoptive parents regarding their infertility. I blocked out the loss my cousin had experienced in being taken from his first family.

Anyway it wasn't what I had expected. She was not happy and hadn't been for a long time. The weird thing was we both went back to the state we were in when we'd parted. I was a teenage emotional betrayed grieving "mom" and she was an abandoned infant emotionally. There were now seventeen intervening years and family members that had needs, complications. I had thought finding each other would be only good. I would love her and she would feel loved. Not that simple.

The way the fear of loss seems to have motivated me is still being revealed. I was afraid of losing her again and tried to fulfill her needs to prevent that. I felt horrible that I was unable to do that, that I was failing her. I was equally fearful of endangering my marriage and B&G in any way. And I wanted to protect my parents who were trying to protect me. I felt that I didn't have any right to be her mother. When I signed the adoption papers, I believed I was freeing her from me, from failure, from disgrace. I wanted her life to be good. When she found me I was torn between desire and feeling unworthy. No right to contact with her, no right to disturb my  husband or raised children with my desire and confusion. And then out of her grief she was asking me how I could be so cold as to give my own flesh and blood away. Pretty messy. I was withholding myself from my spouse because I didn't have the right to be so fucked up. I withheld myself from Joy because I wanted to hold myself "together". I withheld B&G from their elder sister because it would be messy. All this time it was chewing inside me.

About 18+ months ago I just let go and said forget it. I'm not going to keep trying to be a good mother to her. I quit trying to fix her or myself. Things have been steadily improving. I recently considered that maybe what she really wants is me, the way I am, not the way I think I should be for her. I mean she'd probably like an upgraded version, but what-who I am, her mother, is what's most important. Acceptance. So she can stop trying to be a good adoptee too.

There's always been a kind of melting happiness in knowing her, talking to her, hearing her voice. Her sense of humor and wit and intelligence scare me when I try to live up to my fantasy, to be the mom I think she deserves. And the part of her that reminds me of her father is still a bit raw. But she is part of my life now and I love that. So the grief part is different. I'd like to integrate her into my family, to spend time together, for her brother and sister to get to know her. But the years of hesitation on my part, the lingering fears, have created a gulf that others have less interest in bridging. It's weird. Another thing I feel is my “fault”. I've got a lot more to learn here obviously.

A lot of my behavior around the issues has been unconscious. I just couldn't face the conflicts for fear of losing anything more.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Still getting over the self consciousness, what if somebody sees me. I keep reminding myself that no one really knows who I am, except Joy. And I don't want to hide myself from her. So it's ok. It was a shock to see a picture of her father today. I'm only partially settled with him. A part of me is still raging. He used to call me on her birthday, for about 4-5 years, till I told him to stop. We had nothing else to do with each other. I just couldn't slip into a sweet sad reminisce with him. There was too much anger and anguish in me.

Back to my previous story. The plan I came up with was to wait until she was 12 years old. That seemed like an appropriate age. And I would contact the adoption agency, tell them to let her know, or her parents know, that I was available, if she ever needed me for anything. In the meantime I got interested in trying to heal the earth, children in general. And trying to figure out how to have, when to have children I could keep. I got married. Coincidentally (?) my second born arrived months before Joy's 12 birthday. I was completely involved with my baby boy. I didn't even leave the house for three weeks. I didn't leave his side for six months. I didn't do anything that I sensed could in any way jeopardize my connection with him. It was a rare person that had the audacity to ask to hold him. They were lucky to be able to watch me hold him.

I forgot about contacting the adoption agency. It was too risky. This is where I anticipate the rush of hate mail and being castigated. Maybe stoning. I abandoned her again. I chickened out. I did it over and over, trying to protect what I had. Avoiding the pain.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

my first

Where to start? With all of me, shifting nervousness to excitement, moving towards freedom, to be who I am and express that for no other reason than I am. Exhilarating.

Hello. I am Such a Joy's first mom. Mom is a short, abbreviated word. It feels impersonal. I am Such a Joy's. She is my daughter. I can say that and feel like I'm really being heard here.

Heard invisibly, but heard. I started out telling everyone that would listen about the baby girl I gave away. And no one knew anything to say that would help me. I didn't feel shame at first, just grief. Gradually the "You did the best thing". "It was the right thing." "You did what was best for the baby. That's very brave." comments got the point across that everyone else was just as helpless as I was and it would be nicer if I would just "get on with my life". Funny to think now, that I never even tried to talk to my parents about my feelings. I never had talked to them about feelings. It's just recently that I began to imagine that they were in pain (and denial too) doing "the right thing" for their child. At the time I didn't even know my father had feelings.

Two weeks after her birth I went to the agency to sign the papers. I insisted on holding her first. It was the most heavenly experience I could imagine. She was perfect. I'd asked my mom to take pictures of her. They got a new polaroid camera, so they wouldn't have to take the film to be developed and no one else would know. They were trying to protect me, as if other people's judgment of me was the worst that could happen. All the pictures showed the back of my head, long brown hair, looking down at the precious little baby in a pink sleep suit. No one else would know who we were. My mom said we were together for about 30 minutes. It seemed more like 5, but time was suspended. Then I went into the office and cried and signed papers.

I gave one of the best pictures to her father. He put it up with a thumb tack. I went to a party and he was there with his new, younger, slimmer girl friend. Trying to take comfort from a puppy, my milk let down.

I remember the first time I woke up and realized that I didn't have any choice but to "get on with my life", meaning I'd better get up out of this depression and go do something, because waiting for things to get better wasn't working. She was only about 6 weeks old then. My fantasies about driving to her adoptive home and taking her away were thwarted by not having a car or a place to take her.

Seventeen years later she called me on the phone. I had a five year old and an eight year old. The closest thing to maternal I could do was pray that they wouldn't be afraid I could give them away too. I was caught up in my own pain and the accretions from burying it. I scared myself. How could I tell my children I had given my first one away? They came from a mother that had been rejected by society and had then brought them into that same society. Putting that into words threatens my equilibrium.

I botched it up pretty good. I told the kids while we were in the car. They didn't ask any questions. My husband was bewildered by my sudden lability. . Dealing with my parents was more than he'd bargained for and he was not comfortable with this expanding well of confusion I was magnetically attracted to. I couldn't explain my desire. He knew the dry facts of the adoption, but not about the reverberating reality. The kids are 21 and 24 now and don't express interest in Joy and me. Reunion has been very much on my own. I feel like I'm starting to come out of the woods, to find my balance with this loss and reunion.

Reading these posts and Journey of the Adopted Self has been very healing and expanding. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the journey, knowing it involves some looking back as well.