(Been kind of a nutty past couple weeks .. and I haven’t had a good chance to sit to write like I’d like. Such good intentions last week, especially. SO playing catch up yet on the final two posts from my week of talking about my Moms.)
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know that I was adopted ..
I just always knew. From the time I was a very little girl. My parents wanted me to know that someone loved me enough to have me – and at the same time, know that it was in my best interest someone else raise me, because it wasn’t the right time or place for them to have that job.
At a very young age, I believe I came to realize just how fortunate I was, that I found the family I did, that I was even on this earth, and how painful a decision that had to have been to make.
I knew at some point, I would want to meet her.
If nothing else, to say thank you for the life I have been blessed with.
“I’m ready to look,” I said to a friend who worked for the State Adoption Agency. It was probably 11 years ago. And my own mother was dying of cancer.
It wasn’t long, I got a call back.
“They’ve been waiting for you,” my friend says .. “Her parents still live in the same home they did then. It didn’t take much to find them.”
I wasn’t ready at that point for many reasons, to make the call.
So I wrote a letter. I told her I would be in touch when the time was right.
I wanted so much for the two of them to meet, my two mothers. The one who gave me life. The other who gave me a life .. and if I was ever to meet my birth mother, I wanted her to know my mother-mother, the woman who had raised me ..
My mom-mom .. wasn’t sure it was what she wanted. In fact, I know it wasn’t what she wanted. I still remember one of the only conversations we had about it. The two of us had just left one of her chemo appointments. Things weren’t going well. And we were sitting in front of Babcock Hall about to go in for an ice cream cone.
“I just don’t want to do it,” she told me through tears.
I never brought it up again.
While I am sad there never was that connection, I feel even worse about what I believe the reason why … out of fear she would lose a piece of me or perhaps even all of me, if I ever made that other connection.
I knew that would never be the case. No one could ever come close to replacing my mom-mom. But I also knew, nothing at that time, or perhaps ever, would ease her mind.
My mother passed.
My birth mother stood in the back of the church and cried.
We have since spent some wonderful time together. Talking. Crying. Getting to know each other. Reminiscing about my life and hers .. since that day she let someone take me from her arms and put me into someone else’s. I stood up in her wedding. I have met her siblings (my aunts and uncles). Spent time with her kids (my siblings). Her parents (my grandparents). Seen a couple births. Deaths. Dropped my daughter off with her for a sleepover with her cousin who she adores and is the exact same age as ..
Had some regrets I haven’t had more time with her. But most importantly, appreciation for the time we have had.
I love her dearly for the incredibly tough choices she (and her mother) made. Choice or perhaps better said, what was expected of her. Life since then, I know, has been tough on her. And she, tough on herself I believe for having let me go. I know she never wanted to. But when you are 16 .. and at that time in our society, the early 1970’s .. keeping a child wasn’t something many looked upon favorably. I was told out of several other pregnancies in her school and class at the time, I was the only child born that year.
There are no words I can ever say that will fully encompass how grateful to my b-mom for my life. And the life I’ve been given because of her sacrifices. But I try. With thank you’s and I love you’s, as often as possible.
And I know deep down, even though they never met, the woman I will always know as my mother, the woman who raised me.. most likely feels the same.