I’ve become accustomed to Joy’s and my reunion, as I’ve become more accustomed to me. The swirling emotions are not so dominating. Despite advice to the contrary I was continually wracked with guilt for years, for anything that appeared out of order in Joy’s life. I was her mother. I relinquished her. I should have done better. I was the source and the symbol of her original/primal wound. I ‘knew’ or felt that before I’d ever heard of Nancy Verrier. I felt an urgency to ‘fix’ her. Any time anything was ‘wrong’, it was my fault. As much as we are “of the same body”, there were huge gaps in our understanding of each other.
Though we think and express similarly, we had different experiences, different reference points, and sometimes different understandings of the same words. For the past two years I’ve read blogs and forums about adoption and reunion almost obsessively. People that know me laugh to discover what a computer addict I have become. But my inner demand to suck up all I can about relinquishment/abandonment/ adoption has decreased recently. I’m still interested. I’m finding myself rolling over and settling back down when emotions flare up. I not only know more about adoption. I know more about me and about her.
I have a lot more to learn about both of us. Sometimes it takes a while to settle down enough to listen.
How do we reconcile coming from people that give their children away? It’s not like Abraham, willing to sacrifice Isaac completely, to death. Abraham was following God’s instructions. God being the source of all life with the authority to take life. Where did the instructions to relinquish my daughter come from? What fear was that based on? It wasn’t fear of God.
Where did the idea come from? It’s been so many years ago. I don’t remember who first suggested adoption. Who did that? Whose idea was it? I no longer trust my memory. Was it the counselor or the pastor or my parents? Most likely it was the social worker. It seems like a very social worker solution to the dilemma of what to do with a pregnant teenager. Social workers knew about these sort of problems. They knew about girls that had “made a mistake”, about boys that weren’t ready to accept responsibility.
I feel sick thinking about my parents casting around, looking for advice. Proud people sincerely trying to do “right”. They both had a significant list of good works behind them, in the early ’70s with a daughter that just wouldn’t listen. A daughter that seemed to flout their teachings in my search for love and understanding. As far as they could tell, I’d cut off my nose to spite my face. I clung to a guy that lost interest in me, not out of love for him. It was false hope that he’d help me and our baby.
They tried to protect me. They’d forbidden me to see him after a miscarriage. It might have worked out better to help me get birth control. Live and learn. A shame we never talked about that, never discussed what was going on. Decrees were handed down to a daughter that refused to be told what to do. What were they thinking? They weren’t the kind of people that did what they were told either. They did what they thought was right.
I wonder now what they said to each other. Did they even consider helping me keep my baby? that it was their grandchild they were losing? I never saw any crack in their united front. If I intended to keep my baby it would be on my own.
A couple of months of factory work showed I didn’t have the resources to support myself even without a child.
It burns when I read or hear Joy express her experience that she was rejected, that her grandparents didn’t care about her, or what happened to her. She thinks they were protecting me in preference to her, my child.
I don’t agree with their reasoning or their choices. But I don’t agree that they didn’t care what happened to her either. They showed they cared about her when they met her. She knows that. They showed it clumsily and incompletely and awkwardly and ignorantly. Still she recognized it.
I grew up with them. So I have some understanding of them. They held to what they believed was right. They were misguided and ignorant and fell for the “common knowledge” or popular “wisdom” that a healthy white infant would be much better off with a responsible, successful, two parent family than with an immature, uneducated, underage female that had “managed to get herself pregnant”. Funny how some phrases stick in one’s mind.
They believed growing up as a bastard was a curse that could be avoided by ‘placing’ my daughter in a ‘better’ home than any I could provide. I couldn’t provide a home or a father or security or stability. The material representations of loving were beyond me. Their choice represents a lack of confidence in me and in God. What would people think? Not only of me, but of the poor bastard? Why should a child be forced to grow up under that shadow? Because they believed people’s judgments could be avoided. They could turn a blind eye to reality and call on fantasy to avoid incurring damage to their grandchild. Their loyalty went to the god of opinion.
Looking at my family heritage, what it’s been, what I’ve incorporated in my own behavior and the way I’ve seen myself, I’m sick of it. I am done with not being good enough. I am pretty damn good.
Anyone who thinks I’m not good enough, in any way– at any time, has every right to their opinion.
I’ve learned something absolutely fabulous. Resist not evil! *Matthew 5:39* I’ve been practicing. When the emotions seem to approach with a force that tempted me to resist, to defend myself, I have been practicing letting them wash over me like a wave of free energy, looking for the energy, receiving the energy. It’s nothing more than free energy. Hmmmm…
Practicing. Practice makes perfect, hah! I’m not practicing to be perfect, unless perfection is constant movement.