When I relinquished my baby to adoption, my adopted cousin was my chief reference point.He was coddled and adored by his parents and my grandparents.As far as I could tell he was my grandparents’ favorite.they seemed to feel sorry for him because something was wrong, something was off – something was lost.So he got extra care and attention.
We were 2000 miles apart.
My brother and I treated our cousin with consideration and kindness at all times and a tad of disinterest. he seemed to ignore us which gave us freedom to ignore him.I never saw him with any other kids.As he grew up I heard stories of his failed marriage, lack of ambition and a foreclosure.
In 2004 my brother and I visited again our aunt and uncle. Those old folks were still doing their damndest to love and care for him.They tolerated behaviors that contradicted their beliefs and teaching with a familiar acceptance that surprised me
I try to reach out to this seemingly lonely cousin after my aunt died.I send funny friendly emails occasionally and ask about his dad.I indulge in worrying about him and my uncle.They live together since my aunt died. He caes for his afather, insuring he takes his meds and eats. He does his laundry and shopping for the past three years without a break.He asked me to take over for a couple weeks so he could go away.Loyalty and concern for my father’s brother urged me to go check up on him while my cousin was away.
Our first day together, Uncle D, pulls out his home movies.There is cousin R walking around a tree.There he is on a swing.Now he’s looking at the trash can.This went on for two hours as he grew from 2 years old to 3 years old. They really doted on him. Looking at cousin R when he was a toddler gave a fresh perspective on adoption.This poor kid had been taken from his mother at less than a week old.Suddenly the oddity in his manner and expression made sense.No wonder he was dragging that stuffed animal around at 7 years old.Yes something was wrong, something was off.He’d lost his mother and nobody ever said ‘boo’ about it.They just welcomed him with open arms into a completely strange environment, because “the young woman was in no position to provide for the baby.”
Uncle D provides his version of the adoption repeatedly.My guess is that he’s still baffled by the whole thing.He suspects the adoption was orchestrated by his mother in collusion with his aunt who was the attending physician at the baby’s birth.All he knows is Aunt J called his wife up and asked if she’d like to drive down and pick up a baby in a week?All his wife’s friends already had babies of their own and she wanted one too.Ok, let’s go.It’s a three hour drive crossing the state line.They drove down and back in a single day.Only took one day off from work.The story broke down a little when he tried to tell me he didn’t even have to take off from work because he’d been forced into early retirement.
No, Uncle D.Cousin was born in 1957.You didn’t retire until 1974.
Anyway it was a one day trip.He doesn’t remember any legal documents.But Aunt J(long dead) knew all about that.
He made a couple references to women he knew that had “gotten themselves pregnant before they were married”.One was “even a nurse and should have known better”.When he told me another story of a young woman that “managed to get herself pregnant”, I responded.
“It’s pretty easy to do.I did it myself.”
I was facing him, less than two feet away.He didn’t hear me. (?) He was so caught up in telling his story.I didn’t get any more unmarried pregnancy stories though.
His father told him not to get involved with a woman until you can provide for one.He provided.He even got her a baby.I don’t believe he ever went on a second date prior to meeting my aunt.He talks of selecting a wife like going shopping.He met her at church.His father met his wife at church.His brother met his wife at church.That’s where you go to get a wife.
If your wife doesn’t get pregnant and wants a baby, your ‘sawbones aunt’ can get you one.He lived a life of privilege.
Now he’s dependent on his ason.He’s vulnerable.He and his ason simply don’t talk about their differences.
Cousin R is “in love” with a woman he met on nicebridedotcom.
A change is going to come.Oh yes it will.