Do You See My Family?

I circle back to this picture quite often. The very moment my daughter and I became legal strangers to one another. My mom said it was a blessing and God’s will. Somehow she managed to look through the lens of a camera and see a hopeful future rather than the destruction of her own daughter and first grandchild. I guess it truly is in the eye of the beholder.

When I look at this picture- I see a family.

I see my family.

I see a young woman and her infant who had spent months sharing one body. I see a dyad. Two people as one.

I see a young woman who had every intention to remain a family with her infant. A young woman who had suffered torturous months of being shamed, neglected, ignored, invalidated, misled, and then flattered for her “strength” when she finally broke.

I see a family in this picture and I always thought one day I would understand the adults and authorities in my life. I thought one day I would understand their wisdom in the urgent need to separate my little family. One day it would all make sense.

It all makes sense now, but not in the way that I thought.

No one else, but me, saw my daughter and me as a family.

They saw a non-family, a sinner, a saint, a whore, a welfare recipient, a future drop-out, a baby with a baby, a dreaded single mom, an answered prayer, a paycheck, a political agenda, propaganda, a prolife message, a dodged bullet, shame, redemption, a problem, a solution, an incubator, a punishment, another family, an order filled.

When people see the very moment a birth mom and adoptee are made- those, like me, who see a family may flinch in pain. Those who don’t see a family see so many other things…except a family. It all makes sense now. Just not in the way I imagined it would.

5 thoughts on “Do You See My Family?

  1. I see you and your daughter .. I see the years of unrecognised pain, loss, grief.

    I hate that mothers like you were given no options nor support and pushed into relinquishing and again, given no support. I’m also one of those babies .. given up probably because my mum was told it was the “right thing”.

    It’s taken a lifetime of work to learn to live with the ongoing pain that severing us causes.

    I hear you. Thankyou for speaking your truth.

    There are many of us who walk this path. You are not alone.


    1. Thank you, Lynelle. I have referenced ICAV in one of my posts and I’m so thankful for adopted people, like yourself, who are speaking out. I have been in reunion with my daughter (from an “open” adoption) the past few years and adoptee voices have been invaluable in helping me navigate our relationship. I am indebted to the amazing work adoptees are doing. Your voices matter more than you could ever know.


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