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Silence

I just served on a jury. It was a murder trial, and we deliberated for 6 days. I found the process painful.

I enjoyed the trial itself. Being in the courtroom was exciting. I wanted to serve on the jury. I volunteered. When we deliberated, it was just 12 people in a room talking. And, I had nothing to say. I spoke when I had too, but most people spoke a lot. I heard stories, sometimes twice. I didn’t tell any stories. I figured no one needed to hear about my life. I really didn’t want to hear about their lives either.

I wondered why I reacted that way, why I had little to say. I think maybe it’s because I had to keep quiet so much when I was little. I couldn’t talk about being adopted. I learned early on that it was just easier if I didn’t say anything. I wonder if that’s still what’s going on.

I never had trauma therapy. No one wants to hear anything negative about adoption. It wasn’t just my adoptive family, it was everyone. I couldn’t say a word. So I didn’t. I just didn’t say anything.

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Daddy

Dear Auntie,

I am writing because my mother-in-law passed away on April 1st.  My adoptive mother passed on February 4th, 2021. 

This leaves my children with no living grandparents, unless my father is still alive. 

I’m writing to ask if my father is still alive. 

Are all his siblings still alive?

I want to tell my children if they have living relatives.  Thank you for this

Marylee

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Reflections

It’s been one year since A-mom passed. A year without my mother. I’m different now. I am no one’s child. There is no one who cares about me the way my mother did. She wasn’t perfect, but no one is.

Losing someone close to you changes you forever. I knew this abstractly, but never really felt it until now.

I lost her family too. She was the last of her siblings. Mom was close to her niece, and her niece’s son. I was not. I don’t think I’ll see them again. They were such a big part of my childhood. I don’t know if I pushed them away, or if there was always a disconnect because of my adoption. Sometimes the extended family accept you, for your adoptive parent’s sake, until the adoptive parent dies. Maybe this happened to me.

I was an only child in my adoptive family. I am in touch with a few family members on my natural mother’s side, but I have no close family. Except my Dear Hubby, four children and my granddaughter. I’m referring to family from my generation and back.

In my natural family, I have aunts, uncles and cousins living, but they may as well be dead. I do not know them.

I remember A-mom saying that she thought I would have problems growing up, because of my adoption. I did, but so did she. Did she ever consider that she would have problems, because of my adoption? Why were the problems my fault? If only we could have spoken about these things, without fear and blame. If only I had felt my feelings were valid, and heard. I think my relationship with A-mom might have been better.

For me, the adoptee life has been a lonely life. Reunion did not fix anything.

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My Adoptive Mother has Died

My adoptive mother died of Covid on February 4, 2021. She was 91 years old.

It hurt much more than I ever imagined it would. I felt so alone and lost without her. I realized that I always counted on her. She cared for me and supported me all my life.

I wished I had never searched for my family. I wished I had been a better daughter. I wished I had been kinder.

She died in a nursing home, that she hated. No one could visit. I tried so hard to help her, but I couldn’t.

It was nothing like losing my natural mother. I felt bad then, but N-Mom was not a part of my day to day life. Her loss did not cause a gaping hole in my reality.

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Always There

It’s always been there. It’s like a shadow, always following me. I don’t think about it all the time, but when things get quiet, it comes to the front of my mind. It’s my adoption.

When I was growing up, I was told that it was of no consequence. Just a different way of forming a family. Nothing to even think or talk about, because it was just so normal.

If it bothered me, well that was my fault, because see above, just so normal.

That was how it was. I rarely spoke of it. I didn’t know what to think of it. I tried to believe what I was told. When you’re very young, you don’t know that adults can be wrong. You believe everything they say.

Dealing with the suppression of my reality was exhausting. No one seemed to notice or care that I was struggling. Maybe I just hid it well. I know my adoptive parents did not want to hear about it. No one did.

Not that it’s much different today. Most people don’t want to hear that adoption causes pain. They don’t want to know what it does to people. People prefer the happy story.

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FREE AT LAST?

I went on vacation a few weeks ago.  We rented a trailer at the beach for 7 days.  My husband, myself , our 4 adult children, one boyfriend and one granddaughter were there. One daughter left after 5 days to attend a wedding, and the one with the baby only stayed for 3 days, at the end of the week.  It was a wonderful, sun filled week, where I could forget the problems at home for awhile.  It was all possible because of my natural family!

My adoptive mother has been on a downward spiral.  She fell at the end of May and fractured her shoulder.  This required a hospital stay, followed by 2 months of rehab at a nursing home.  A-mom is 90, and lived in an apartment in my home.  She’s lived with us for 23 years, since my youngest was a baby. 

She was a widow, living alone and did not drive.  We had just had our 4th child, and money was tight, so we combined households.  She paid for the renovations to expand our home, and build an apartment for her.  She used the proceeds from the sale of her coop apartment to fund the project.  She was working full time then.  Neither of us were really happy with the idea, because we really don’t like each other, but we did it anyway. Both of us got something out of the deal, but we both lost something too.  

A-mom’s insurance decided she was ready to be released.  My heart sank.  It had been so nice while she was at the nursing home.  There was no visiting, because of COVID.  My family and I were perfectly happy not to see her at all.  Of course, this makes me feel like a monster, because what kind of person doesn’t want to see their mother, ever?  She’s done so much for me! Raised me. I guess I’m that kind of person.  It’s not just me.  My kids don’t like her either.  She did a lot for me, but there was always a price.  I guess I’m just ungrateful, but I never asked for any of it.  I’ve always wished she had never adopted me at all.  

A-mom was released on August 1.  Our weeks vacation was scheduled for August 16.  There was no way we could take off for a week and leave A-mom here alone.  She’s very hard of hearing.   There were aides and nurses coming and going.  She was unable to make her own meals.  We also have 2 dogs and 2 cats who needed care.  I was scrambling for ideas.  

My own natural family came to my rescue.  My dear Auntie S, Mom’s youngest sister volunteered to come help. If you’ve read my blog, you’ve met Aunt S before.  She came to take care of my mother when Mom passed in 2015.  I haven’t seen Aunt S since we put her on the bus back to her home state nearly 5 years ago.  

We paid for her plane ticket.  She came a few days before we left.  The dogs and cats loved her.  She took care of A-mom with kindness. She had to clean up bad messes with both animals and humans.  While we were gone, A-mom soiled herself, stepped in it and tracked it throughout the apartment.  My family, whom I was never supposed to know, ended up helping take care of my adopted mother!  I cannot get over this fact.  A-mom has a niece and some nephews, but none of them could help, or even called while we were gone.  I could never have imagined this would happen.  

We came home, tan happy and refreshed.  A-mom and the animals were doing great.  Aunt S was glad to see us.  It had been a hard week alone with A-mom.  We came home on Saturday, and Aunt S’s flight back was the following Friday, so we got to spend some time together.  I took a 6 week leave of absence at half pay from my government job to take care of A-mom, so I was home all day with Aunt S and A-mom.  

The nursing home had suggested we get a transfer bench, in order to get A-mom in and out of the tub,  It’s a long bench, and one set of legs goes inside the tub, and the other outside.  You sit on one side, then while seated, lift your legs one at t time and get them in the tub.  Then you slide your bottom over, and you can bathe, while seated.  It’s a great system.  

Since A-mom hadn’t been washed for weeks, Aunt S and I decided we should get A-mom in the tub.  The bath aide had tried to bathe A-mom while we were gone, and it was a disaster.  The physical therapist was supposed to work with A-mom and teach her to safely get in the tub, but A-mom refused physical therapy. We were on our own. Aunt S did a dry run.  A-mom used the transfer bench while fully clothed.  Then she took off her clothes.  When she got her pants down, Aunt S saw what had been going on.  A-mom was not cleaning herself, at all.  There was caked mess all over.  The small was awful.  Somehow, she had been hiding this from everyone.  

I stayed out of the bathroom, at first.  A-mom responds better to Aunt S than to me.  I could hear them in the bathroom.  I started hearing banging noises after about 20 minutes, and I realized things were not going smoothly, so I went in.

“What is that smell?” I exclaimed when I went into the bathroom.  “It’s her!” said aunt S.  A-mom was naked, in the tub on the transfer bench.  Her back was pressed against the bench, her arms were gripping the bars she has in her tub, and the banging I heard were her feet, rhythmically going up and down.  Her body was stiff and she was flailing around.  She was in danger of sliding off the bench and hurting herself.  We tried to get her to calm down, and get her feet out of the tub, but she was unable to control her body.  We’re in a tiny bathroom, 8 X 5 feet, tub included, and it’s hot, and smelly.  Aunt S, who is 62 years old, and on disability for a bad back, gets in the tub by A-mom’s feet, and I grab her under the arms, and we get her out of the tub and onto the floor.  

Now, A-mom’s on the floor, naked and still unable to control her body.  Her legs are splayed out, on either side of the toilet bowl, and we can’t get her out.  We try for a time, covered in sweat, then realize we’d better call EMS.  This happened once before, 3 weeks prior.  She had one of these attacks in my living room.  She was fully dressed then, and we had to call EMS.  When she got to the hospital, both times they can’t find anything wrong.  When it happened the first time, my daughter said don’t take her back home, but I did.  I thought we could take care of her.  I now realize we cannot.  

A-mom is still in the hospital. I got her into an assisted living nearby, and we’re waiting for the paperwork to be processed.  I don’t want to bring her home, even for a day, because I’m afraid she won’t leave.  I really think she’ll be happy there.  She’s not happy or safe here with us.  

Aunt S went back home, and I miss her.  She would tell us stories about her mother, and my mother.  They’re both gone, and she’s the only person we can talk to about our family.  On the day of the bathroom incident, there were 7 women in the house, 6 of us related! My daughter and her daughter were visiting, myself, Aunt S, and my two younger daughters and A-mom. My youngest said when she came down the stairs, the police officers eyes bugged out.  She thought he was thinking, another one? Where are they all coming from! 

Hopefully, this will be the end of my 23 year sentence with A-mom.  I’m 58, and maybe I can finally be free! 

adoptee, adoption, anger, birthfather, birthmother, family, father, mother, orphan, pain, parenting, rejection, Uncategorized

Summer

 

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I was always sent away for the summer. Mom and Dad had to work. There was no one to take care of me, so I had to go. It was so scary living with other families. I never knew what to expect.

I was 6 the first time, sent to Mom’s sister’s house. I remember the fear. What would my cousins do to me? Why was I alone, with no one to love me? What did I do to deserve this?

I never said a word. Next year, back to Aunties. I guess i finally said something, because the next years, off to Dad’s sister’s. That was better. The cousins there were not cruel. Still living with a strange family, but a lot less fear.

Eventually I was sent to summer camp, for 4 summers. I know summer camp is supposed to be fun, but I hated it. Hated sports. It was a kosher camp, with Friday night services, and I wasn’t Jewish. I had trouble fitting in.

It was 50 years ago, but I still feel for that little girl. I don’t know why they bothered to adopt.

 

adoptee, adoption, anger, birthfather, birthmother, family, father, grandfather, grandmother, hospital, mother, orphan, parenting, pregnancy, reunion, senior, shunning, Uncategorized

So much big stuff

 

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So much big stuff has happened. It took me awhile to sort it all out.

First, the pandemic. Everyone is all scared and upset, but for me, it’s been like a little slice of heaven. Best of all, I didn’t have to go to work, for 73 days. I got my full pay for all of them. I work for the state. My husband worked from home for much of that time. I deep cleaned the entire house. I planted a garden. I loved being home so much. I’ve had the deep blues since I’ve had to go back.

My adult daughters, who live at home have been getting unemployment. It’s more than they’ve ever made in their lives.

I had a granddaughter. My first. It’s so powerful to see my line carrying on. This little girl will be alive long after I’m gone. It’s a very comforting thing for me to know this.

The bad part of the pandemic, for me, was not being able to be with my daughter during her labor and delivery, and not being allowed to visit my granddaughter in the hospital at all. My DD suffered a great deal. She had a long and hard labor, and maybe I could have made it a bit easier for her. My knowledge could have helped her.

But, mother and baby are home, and doing well. I haven’t told anyone in my father’s family, because, why should I? They never share anything with me. It’s pretty clear to me they do not care at all about me, or my children, or grandchildren. I’m tired of trying to matter. It’s never going to work. Dad’s going to be 80 this month. Maybe he’ll have a party. Who knows?

A-mom fell. She lives with us, and we heard a crash. We went in and Hubby found her lying on the floor. She had been walking around holding onto the furniture for awhile. We told her, over and over again that it wasn’t safe. We begged her to use her walker, but she wouldn’t listen. She tried to get up from the sofa using a rickety folding table, and it toppled over. SHe was dazed and bleeding on her arm. Hubby got her up, and gave her her walker and she toddled off to the bathroom.

She didn’t come out for awhile, and I finally went in and saw she had soiled herself, and the whole room. It was very bad. I cleaned her, and we let her lie down for awhile, hoping she was just in shock, and would feel better with some rest.

She woke up a few hours later, and couldn’t get out of bed, so we called the ambulance. She didn’t want to go with them, but the EMT talked her into it. As they were wheeling her away she said, “I guess you want to get rid of me”, and “I guess I won’t be seeing any of you again”.

It’s all true. I’m very happy that she’s gone. I haven’t seen her again. There is no visiting in the hospital, or the nursing home where she’s gone to recover from her fractured shoulder. When she fell, her walker and other assistive devices were only a few feet away, but she choose not to use them.

We cleaned her whole apartment, and it was very dirty. I’m so happy that she’s not here, and dread the day she comes back. I even think of moving away, and not telling the home. I feel guilty for these thoughts.

I was adopted to do a job. I am supposed to be a loving daughter. If I’m not, there is something wrong with me. It is not supposed to matter that she’s not really my mother. I’m not supposed to even notice that.

I hope she never comes back, but I don’t think I’m strong enough to keep her away. I know I’ll cave in and take her back, and I’ll hate every minute of it. Non adopted people don’t understand. They tell me she’s my mother, but I know she’s not. I’ve been trying to escape for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never been able to.

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I'd like to be able to use you

I have 4 weeks off, due to the corona virus. My adoptive Mom said, “I’d like to be able to use you”. I don’t want to be used, by her, or anyone. Just because I’m home, it does not mean I’m now an inanimate object, to be used by anyone.

I will help her, but I’d like to be asked. Maybe this has always been the dynamic between us, and the reason we’ve always been at odds. She thinks I’m a thing, to be used, and I think I’m an autonomous person, with free will, and needs and desires of my own, apart from her.

Stay safe, everyone. Draw close to the ones you love.