Many adult adoptees struggle with the how's and the why's of their adoption.
This is her shocking story:
So, it's Mother's Day...again.
This will be my ninth one.
This will be the one I can enjoy, I tell myself the night before.
Maybe. I love my daughter. She's my whole heart. I never knew that I could have the capacity to love a person as much as I love her.
For all this to make sense, I have to go back. I hate going back. Every year around this time I have to go back.
I was the firstborn child for Deborah and Walter*. In the pictures in my first baby album, I can see that I was a decent looking baby. Cute, even. Bald, chubby, squishy legs and arms, just the kind you love to get your hands on and squeeze like toilet paper.
I don't have memories of being a baby, of course. My earliest memory is of my grandmother buying me a teddy bear with a wind-up key on the back and being driven to the airport in Raleigh, NC.
I'd been placed alone, at the age of five, on a airplane with instructions to the flight crew and pilot that I'd be picked up at JFK by a certain Catholic boarding school.
And that is exactly what happened.
I arrived in New York and was handed off by a flight crew member to a very intimidating nun waiting for me and my little brown teddy bear.
So, off I went.
I'm sure anyone reading this is already asking why? Guess what? Me too.
Thirty-five years later, I still don't have the answer. I was placed in a room with three other little girls about my age. It felt like camp, for awhile. We had chores and school time.
I started to notice the difference between myself and the other kids during the holidays. Most of them left for home or visited their extended families. I never left. I never went home.
In fact, I never talked to Deborah and Walter again. Ever. The summer of my twelfth year on this planet, I learned that the money being paid for me to attend this boarding school had run out.
My biological parents were deciding whether or not to bring me back into their life or put me up for adoption in the Catholic home.
Panic swept through me. Part of me wanted to run. Out, away, gone.
I was approached by my favorite nun who told me what was happening. She told me that she was going to try to get me out of the school for the summer. She was good friends with a college professor from a very prestigious university in New Haven. My nun asked the professor if she'd let me come stay with her until the decision was made: would I go home or would I be put up for adoption.
She said, without hesitation, YES. Off I went to New Haven to live with a lady college professor and her partner, a real estate lawyer.
At that time, I had no idea what homosexuality was. But damn did those two women give me the sex talk. I learned everything. More than I needed to know. But they were open and wanted me to be comfortable with them and, to be honest, I didn't care. They were so nice to me. I had my own room. I had pets (cats and dogs). I could eat kinds of different foods. They took me clothes shopping and let me pick out my first pair of jeans (Gloria Vanderbilts).
It was a pretty good summer.
The call came three weeks before the school year was to start: I was going to be placed up for adoption. My nun, Claire, explained that due to my age, it would be hard for me to get adopted right away - people wanted to adopt babies and young children. She told me not to give up hope.
The two women I'd been staying with were helping me pack when they asked how I liked it there with them. I told them I liked it fine. They told me they wanted to have me stay permanently if I felt like I wanted to. I did! Six months later, I was legally adopted by the college professor.
I had a decent life.
A good one by most standards. I was loved, educated, and I wanted for nothing. But like most children who are adopted will tell you, we long for answers. I never really spoke about it.
My parents were good people and they were very, VERY vocal about what they thought of my biological parents. As I neared college, I followed in their footsteps and went to the same university they did. I even majored in English, like my mother, to make her proud.
But my past haunted me.
After graduation from college I told my parents that I'd be traveling a bit before taking a job. They agreed that was a fine idea. I didn't tell them I was heading straight for North Carolina.
I wanted answers. I wanted to find the people who left me behind. I didn't want them, just a reason.
Quickly, I learned that it's harder than you think to track people down. I needed to stay longer, so I lied to my parents, told them I'd received a job. What I really did was go through police training. I figured then I'd have access to this information and finally locate these people. It was tough, it took a over a year but I completed the training and got a job.
I realized I loved being a police officer. I came forward with the truth to my parents and they were pissed. My mother still says that her greatest sadness is that I didn't use my education to its full potential.
I found my biological mother. I tried to make contact with her but she wouldn't have any part of it. After multiple attempts, I was contacted by a woman I learned was my sister. My full biological sister!
She was sending a message to me that the past was the past, and I needed to let go and move on because "her" mother had no desire to know me. That was the last I ever heard from them. I let them be. I tried to move on with my life.
He had two boys from his first marriage. They were six and three when we married.
My girl was born. What a beauty! I couldn't put her down! I didn't want anyone else to hold her. She was all mine. Motherhood was rough and I felt unprepared. I went back to get some support through therapy. Things evened out and we thrived.
Then, she turned five. I looked in her face one day and saw myself. Same little eyes, same curly hair. And I broke down.
How? How could someone send me away? Even if I was atrocious, how? Or, was it to save me from something? I still don't know.
I have moved on. My daughter is nine. I've made it through. I'm in a weekly therapy group. My daughter is my heart and a delight - I love her more everyday. I would never waste a moment's time with her.
For me, Mother's Day isn't about having children, it's a anniversary, of sorts. I survived having more than my share of mothers. I love mine; I do. However, every year, I celebrate this holiday with a little bit of bittersweetness.
*Some names have been changed to protect privacy.12 Comments