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.


Joy said...


I remember this story, but not the puppy part.

hugs to you

suz said...

Wanted to drop by and say hi. Your "Joy" shared your blog with me. She is a Joy, isnt she? What a perfect name for her.

Your story is somewhat similiar to mine (though you are slightly older). If I can help with anything, feel free to write or comment.

Mia said...

Welcome Joy's mom. It's very nice to meet you!

It's sad that your other children are not taking an interest in Joy. They are truly missing out. She is a wonderful person. I hope they realize the gift they have before them and take more interest in getting to know her.

It takes a lot of courage to open up like this! I hope you find healing here. I look forward to hearing more of your journey.

Miss Keeks said...

Thank you for posting this and for sharing your story.

Third Mom said...

Hi, I found your blog from Joy. She is amazing, and after one post I can see you are amazing, too. Glad you meet you.

MaeDay said...


Ran across your blog from reading Joy's.

((((Hugs))) on sharing your story.

Ungrateful Little Bastard said...

I know this is an old post but sometimes I like to go back to the beginning of what people write. I hope you know how much stories like this give hope and resolve to people like me who are so scared to make that first contact - if I ever get a chance to that is.