Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Alone In The Desert (cont'd.)

Hello again! This is a great place to journal and so glad I can blog my adoption story here. Actually by telling my own story, I hope I can help other’s too while still going through the journey myself. I also just lost my father (my a-father, who I consider my "real" father) in January of this year. I'm missing him and going through some grief/sorrow about that too. He was the closest parent I've had. I was his daughter in that we bonded, even though he wasn't my blood. I truly love him. Thanks Dad for being there and for being my dad, my pal, my friend!! I truly want to thank those who wrote in and are supporting my journey. I also support you! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing too. It makes me feel like I belong somewhere in your life too.

Ok, to continue with the story (deep breath):

My CI put L and I in touch through letters after L signed the necessary papers for the court to see she was accepting contact from me. Can you believe the court has to see the signed paper by her and then approve our contact first before we could actually start receiving letters from each other? Isn’t this country the “Land of the Free”? I guess not for adoptees.

The first letter from her was very factual, no emotion whatsoever. When I received it, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t hear something like; “Hello Sweetheart, I have missed you very much and I’m so glad you contacted me!”

Dang, no such luck!! (Well, later after I "suggested" to her that's what I needed to hear, she did tell me she missed me and everything was good, for awhile anyway. But that's in another post.) Yes, yes, I know, those dang “HIGH” expectations that I had.

My life and future were put in the hands of a Catholic Charities closed adoption, never to know my family, my roots, my heritage. My birthright was taken away from me before I was even born, and on top of that, I'm told I shouldn’t have expectations of having warm or kind words from my birth mother 37 years later? I'm told I should just be happy that she excepted contact.

I wanted more!! I WANTED more than facts. I wanted to be loved! I wanted to know I was loved. I wanted to know I was never forgotten/always remembered, always in my mom's heart.

Whoever is reading this blog and if you were not adopted, I would recommend you don’t judge me for having expectations. I LONGED FOR MY MOTHER for so many years. Perhaps you always knew yours, so you take it for granted, as well as your heritage, your identity, the fact that you never had to search or look in the mirror and say, “Who the hell am I and where did I come from. Where are my people?” Also, there are adoptees who are in reunion that see their "people" as strangers and want and need to take it slow knowing them. Well, I was one of those who gave myself away too soon, too quickly. I didn't protect myself.

So, back to her initial letter. She did give me facts as she remembered them to be. My letter to her was more on the emotional level, but that’s me. I wear my heart on my sleeve usually, letting my good de"fences" down. But I’m learning in therapy that “good fences, make good neighbors”. Not walls, but good and clear boundaries which keep you in a better place with yourself and others. Well, I just didn’t have those tools or that knowledge at the time. All I had was, my dream came true (my fantasy), I met my birth family that I had pined for, for so many years.

We had our first phone conversation after I had sent her my first letter. I gave her all of my identifying info, (real name, address, phone number, etc.). I even sent her a phone card. The day she received my letter, I got a phone call from her. We spoke for 4 hours that evening. It just so happened that her husband had taken their grandson on a camping trip and she had the entire evening to herself. We talked about sooooooooooooooo many things, and I actually liked her. I really enjoyed hearing her voice. It was calm and soothing. I kept thinking I was the luckiest person, like had won the lotto. I could finally hear my mother's voice. Ah hell, I'm waaaaay too sentimental, but that's me!!! Anyway, that was on a Monday night that we talked. By Tues. night she called me and said she TOLD HER HUSBAND and her son! OMG!!!!! I freaked. I wasn't ready for that, and mostly, I was concerned if she was ready for it. At least I had a year to think about things and different scenerios. She didn't.

Ugh, this is so hard. I need to say goodnight. There is always manana!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Alone In The Desert

Thanks for dropping in here and reading my blog. I'm still on my journey, I feel that journaling here and sharing my story will help me sort things out and continue my healing process.

I found my birth mother 8 grueling years ago. I say grueling because my life since then has not been a bowl of cherries. It's been reallllllly challenging to my confidence, self-worth, self-esteem and to my very being. Those adoptees that are in acceptable to great reunions, all I can say is "I am sooooooo very happy for you! Congratulations, and may you find all the love, respect and healing that you deserve!!" I wish the same joy and healing for all birth family members who have embraced "their lost one."

I was adopted 17 days after my birth in the late 50's. I was never told I was adopted by my adoptive parents, but I knew at age 6 because the kids at school would tease me that I was adopted. I remember going home from school, asking my mom if it were true and she always denied it. When I was 12 I got the courage to ask my brother who was 9 years older than me. He reluctantly told me the truth. I was pissed that my adoptive parents never told me. I don't think they were trying to protect me from the truth, but to pretend that "I was their's and that's all that mattered". I guess in that era, a-parents were told it would be best to keep it a secret, so my adoption was a taboo subject, never to be talked about. Although at the age of 15, I did mention it to my mom that I knew. She did not acknowledge my knowing. Once again, I found that talking about it was shut down faster than a run-away train.

When I was a little girl, I remember many times day-dreaming of the day my mother would come for me. You see, I was abused (mentally/emotionally by my a-mother) and also experienced domestic violence, my parents fought with each other violently and frequently. Please let me clarify that I am not a victim anymore. It's made me a better person and it's given me many lesson's learned I will have with me for the rest of my life.

As I grew into my teens, I felt I had accepted the fact that my birth mother was never going to find me and I had no way of finding her, I didn't even have a name to go by. I became indifferent towards my adoption, not really thinking about her or where I came from. I was so proud that I had survived my childhood. I grew up just fine without her, thank you very much!

I married at the age of 19, and the feelings of wanting to know my birth mother came back again as I was contemplating having children of my own. I deperately wanted a child, but never became pregnant. As I faced my infertility, I considered adoption, but could never adopt a child as I felt I could not help him/her face the loss, hell, I never even faced my own loss. As a child or even a young adult, I was never allowed to talk about or work through my grief and TREMENDOUS loss I felt for my identity and birth family.

In my late twenties, shortly after my divorce, I searched again with no luck in locating my birth family, so I dropped it. Once again in my late 30's, the desire came back even stronger to search with resolve that I WOULD find them this time. When I was 36, my a-father (bless his soul), without my a-mother knowing, gave me my adoption decree and it had my "original" last name. That started it all. I searched relentlessly for a year, hitting dead end after dead end, finally deciding to hire a CI (confidential intermediary).

Now to 1998, I was 37 at the time. My CI phoned me after about two weeks into her search. She said: "I found your mother, I'm going to make the phone call. Are you ready? If I do reach her, I will call you back in 30 minutes or less".

After telling her I was ready for her to make contact and hanging up with her, I immediately went to my knees, thanking God that my mother was found and also praying that she would want contact with me. 30 minutes turned into 31 minutes, then 32,33,34,35 minutes. Finally after 45 minutes, the phone rang. It was my CI. My birth mother (I will call her "L" from now on), answered the phone and told my CI that she was most likely the woman we were looking for. It turned out that she wanted to exchange letters with me, but wanted to remain anonymous because she had not told her husband and children, she had told no one, not one single soul in her immediate or extended family or any of her friends. Anyway, she felt she owed me at least my heritage and medical info.

I'm glad she felt that way, needless to say, my hopes and dreams were coming true. My MOTHER was found, she's alive!! And of what the CI told me, she said my mother sounded quite LOVELY!! Wow!!! I was on cloud nine...................oh happy day!!! I felt beautiful, I felt whole, I felt relieved that my search had ended. Well, the search might have ended, but the story is just beginning.