Whoever wrote the Miranda Lambert song, “I Just Really Miss You”, must have had experience with adoption.
It is a perfect illustration of adoption, but the most poignant line to the song is, “It’s ten steps in, and a hundred miles back out.”
No one told me it would be this hard. No one told me that nearly 17 years later, I would sob on a regular basis as vigorously as I did the day I let her go.
My mother was the driving force in the relinquishment of my daughter. Suffice it to say, we have had a turbulent relationship over the last almost two decades. I fight between the natural emotions of wanting to love my mother, but simultaneously hating every fiber of her being. I have to be truthful. Its my “blog”.
Hate is a strong word. But realization mixed with unresolved emotions is where I currently reside. I began to chip away at the realization of the manipulation when my daughter was around 7 years old. I had lived so long in “crisis” mode, that it took a while to sink in. My pregnancy was made a crisis by those around me. I was on scholarship in college. I was a Dean’s List performing, working, law-abiding, addiction-free new adult.
The boyfriend, after talk of marriage, bailed early on. The marriage talk was fine with my parents, but the single-mother talk was unacceptable. I was told very early on that if I planned on keeping my baby outside of marriage, I would not have a place to call home. Words that have resonated over the years. Words that I hope never dream of leaving my mouth in the direction of my own children.
For the remaining 8 months I tried every which way my naïve 19 year old self could do to indeed keep my baby. If I had only come across a large bag of unmarked bills, my daughter would be sleeping in her own room tonight under my roof. She’d be pissed at me because I wouldn’t let her go to a Beyoncé concert and neither of us would know the pain of adoption. We would be oblivious to The Great Suck. We’d both know the pain of something else; maybe single motherhood, maybe lower living standards, maybe a deadbeat dad. In my honest ignorance, none of those scenarios seems comparable to my reality. But she is thousands of miles away with strangers because I had no leverage and my mother was a steamroller.
I lament lost motherhood. I have two precious angels sleeping in the bed with my husband tonight as I face another night of insomnia on the couch. If an adoptee were to read this, from this birth mother’s experience, there is no forgetting. There is no true letting go. I think of my daughter daily. I dread the night because I know that’s when she visits me with her accusations, her rage, or even worse her silence. I play it over in my mind, if I had only had one ally back then. Just one person to offer me hope. Yet, I had none and I had nowhere to live. How could I have left a hospital with a baby and nowhere to live?
I was preyed upon by all those around me; my parents, the agency, my pastor (who gave me a sales pitch for his own childless brother), and a “counselor” who happened to be associated with an agency. What could have been a manageable situation with a 19 year old adult, was turned into a “crisis” that would define the rest of mine and my daughter’s lives. She would be sent to another country, coordinated by my mother, and I would go back to college with a new pool installed a month after her birth. My mother’s materialistic fix-all.
The only thing I demanded, as I felt I was in such a position of weakness, was that the adoption had to be open. I must say, getting pictures over the years does seem much pain “less?” than not at all, but it remains a deep, primal pain nonetheless.
My daughter contacted me of her own volition when she was 15. We kept in touch frequently at first, but I noticed that her messages would get shorter and more impersonal as time went on. I felt like I had been a passing curiosity that had lost her interest. It hurt, but I was willing to take the table scraps of her life. Just having the open connection worked wonders for my well-being. Then, two months ago, she told me she “needed space”. I felt like I was in some Twilight Zone Parallel Universe break-up scene. I obliged and sent one last package to her including some items I had hoped to give her in person and a long letter pouring my heart out. I’m sure her adopted parents, whom I’ve always had a respectful relationship with, think I’ve gone rogue as I haven’t heard a peep out of anyone.
But she is nearly an adult herself now. It can’t remain a secret that adoption was never my plan. And if I was going to get one last word in our relationship I wanted it to be the truth.
So how do I move on without her? Again?
I’ll be listening to a lot of Miranda. I’ll be listening to some John Mayer as I “dream” with my “broken heart”. Throw in some Coldplay Scientists admitting that “no one ever said it would be this hard.” Maybe a dash of Cam as I “try to take what’s lost and broke and make it right.”
I didn’t plan on blogging about adoption. I wanted to blog about gardening and books. As always, The Great Suck commands its presence be known.