Ever have one of those moments when you know exactly what you want to say, but when you try to speak the words which echoed so eloquently in your head get jumbled up and barely come out? One of the most frustrating experiences you can go through right? Writing this blog is often like that for me. Often times, I find myself mulling over topics in my head, thinking about my adoption journey and how my life was profoundly affected by a chain of events that often roll into one continuous memory. Sadly, the words in my head often times fail to translate into the computer screen and I leave many posts unfinished. Today is one of those days the words are flowing and making their way into something coherent.
The more I think about how my pregnancy unfolded, I realize that Open Adoption was still in its infancy and secrecy still prevailed in the waning years of the 1980s …despite all the so-called progress in society. I am not a victim of the Baby Scoop Era in so much that I was not forced into a maternity home, nor was my son taken from me against my will the moment he was born. My son was born and taken from me almost immediately because my health was in a bit of a crisis due to the fact I was bleeding out and needed immediate care. I was also in crisis thanks to the midwife wanting me to suffer and not handing me off to the physician for a much-needed cesarean section. However, what I realize now is that I am a victim of the Baby Scoop Era mentality when it comes to adoption and unplanned pregnancy. There was a raging attitude of the boy scores and the girl is a whore when it came to being pregnant. At some point someone actually said to me “well if you had not opened your legs this never would have happened”. Touche..very true, however the difference between me and many of my friends and peers..I got caught and they didn’t. So in reality I was no better and no worse that any of them..I simply carried the evidence of my “sin”for all the world to see and judge. At 44 years old I also realize that those who judge the harshest are the ones with the most to hide. People judge others for the same things they do or have done and just not gotten caught. ..(many who are “saved” feel they are entitled to this right.) all I can say is…Stop judging people and think of all the times you got away with speeding, you passed the test after not studying, or the pregnancy test was negative and be grateful because the difference between you and THAT person is an ounce of dumb luck.
As life unfolded and the baby went from being mine to theirs, people older and supposedly wiser than me told me that the adoption was a good idea. The best of both worlds was the initial agreement/thought… how blessed was I? I could walk away and get on with my life knowing my son was in a loving family that included a mother, father, 3 sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and dogs all things I could not give to him. I could go back to school, be 19…and unlike those poor girls before me I could visit my son, get pictures of him, know that he was alive and well. People told me what a lucky girl I was to have such generous people who cleaned up my mistake. The question I mull over now is was I really lucky? Or can I say I was just another girl who caved to societal pressure? Yeah I did what I believed to be the loving thing, I put aside my own needs and feelings and gave my child all those things I desired in childhood..stability, safety, family… Those sentiments are what got me through 17 years of separation..or so I thought. Problem was yes I was 19 but I no longer related to most of my peers. I lived a thousand years from the moment the pregnancy test was positive to the day I signed the final adoption papers.Time did not necessarily heal my wound as much as I prayed it would. I tried to get on with my life and I did things like any 19-year-old. I went to a few parties, went to college, acted stupid,went to the beach, wore a bikini. However, although I looked 19, unlike my friends my belly showcased where my baby once lived, I had stretch marks..my hips were rounder, my breasts were fuller there were scars not visible to the naked eye physically and emotionally. I longed to have a family..I longed to replace my empty arms , mend my broken heart and sooth my hurting soul. I was definitely not the same..different and changed forever. I fell into what I like to think of as a 25 year coma ..the world happened all around me but I was suspended, going through the motions. Not much changed until…
The day my son wrote me a message on facebook this past April I awoke from my 25 year adoption coma. I felt feelings once buried away in a grave filled with shame and fear resurfacing . At last I understood how delicately the pieces of me were patched together over the past 24 years. I FINALLY understood that the life I built..and it is a wonderful life for the most part that includes a loving family that my husband and I share with our children etc…teetered upon this secret remaining buried in its grave. The beast was out of its cage at last, and for a time threatened to undo everything that was done..but it didn’t. What surfaced along with all the other feelings and emotions was an opportunity to look back at how I came to lose my son. The woman (his adoptress) I once believed as my savior was resurfacing as less than savory and yet still I love and respect her for the love and care she bestowed upon my child. Not so sure how she feels about me but that is another post all to itself.
Once I woke from the coma..I saw things with a new set of eyes and a mature and wiser outlook of a woman who is no longer the terrified girl with a baby. I am no longer the girl who feared she would damage her child by her very presence …No I began to see as a woman who has won, lost, failed, made mistakes, done some good and is learning to forgive and accept herself for the imperfections that shaped her life. With just one message I connected with a part of my heart and soul shut off for the past 25 years. It feels good to be alive once again I must say.
The day I saw my son walk through the doors of the City West Hotel in Dublin, Ireland this past June was filled with intense anxiety. We had been talking daily for almost 3 months and yet I was terrified of losing myself in emotion, terrified that I would not live up to any expectations he had of me. He walked through the door and all I saw was the wonderful answer to my prayers.
I knew he is all kinds of wonderful in large part thanks to me…not because I allowed another woman to parent him and be called Mom..No the reason he is so many kinds of wonderful is due to all the wonderful traits he inherited from me. Standing before me in that moment was the missing piece of my soul reconnecting at last…I knew in that moment we were where we are meant to be..together at last at the start of a new journey ..I was lost and now I am found..once I was still and now I am wide awake ..