Over at Birth Mother, First Mother Forum they’ve been talking about “coming out of the closet”. That has been a lot of what blogging has been about for me the past few years, airing my thoughts and feelings.
The first year after Joy was born I talked about losing her all the time. Everyone got to hear my story. I was looking for someone to help me figure out how to go on after the most traumatic event of my lifetime. I don’t remember much response at all, from the wandering crowd I met. Almost exactly a year later, a young man looked at me and said “You should never have left your daughter. She needs you.” That slammed me back on my heels.
I started being more circumspect about who I told my story to. It was still the major event of my life and more important than anyone or anything else. So if you were going to be a friend of mine, you heard it. As time went by it moved to the background behind years of new events. When most of my new contacts were moms in my raised kid’s playgroups, sharing my history of giving up my firstborn was no longer an intro. Only those that got close to me knew about Joy. But yeah, I always included her birth in my answers to medical personnel.
A couple years ago an old acquaintance of my husband’s came to visit. DH suggested that I’d have a lot to share with this guy because he is an adoption worker. He travels all over placing children for adoption. This was the first time I was really dumbstruck. I could not speak of my loss to this stranger. I was hosting the enemy for dinner but I wasn’t going to let him know. I just watched him. He effectively ran the conversation that evening and on his agenda of their childhood memories. So I really don’t know exactly what he does. Maybe he is working with older children in foster care? IDK. I don’t think so.
I don’t plan to invite him back to find out. But he is on the fringe of family events. If I do run across him in the future, I feel more prepared to find out what he’s doing.
Perhaps that’s the good news in my response to the movie Juno and the Kitchen commercial Nicole blogged about, and most of all being able to read and write here in the blogosphere. In the ’60s and earlier, adoption was a secret, shameful thing. In this new presentation it’s an option, like whether to drive a minivan or an SUV, a style preference. There’s no shame. It’s just whether you like red socks or blue socks.
Talking to a friend about open records legislation she was puzzled as to who would oppose it and why. I told her imo adoptive parents feel as though they’ve paid good money for their adopted child and don’t want their title questioned. She took that in with little surprise. It wasn’t until later that I realized I had put it in terms of human trafficking.
I’m still unpacking the language and the standards and the inconsistencies of my experience of surrendering my own child to adoption. My inner wolves are still fighting.