Archives

All posts for the month August, 2013

I Travelled to Meet More Family

Published August 25, 2013 by maryleesdream

Image

 

My husband and I were on vacation from our jobs last week.  We used the time off to travel to a southern state to meet my oldest living relatives, my Grandfather’s sisters.  They are 97 and 93 years old.  I may never get another chance to see them, so I went.  My husband loves me enough to come with me.  

I don’t know how many people would be willing to travel 7 hours just to meet some old ladies, but I did.  It helped me a lot.

Growing up as an orphan, I always dreamed of a family of my own.  Sometimes I didn’t believe they existed.  I thought I was created in a lab, or I came from outer space, or I was a robot.  I never felt like a real flesh and blood human being.  My mind couldn’t imagine a beginning to my story.  

When I found my parents I finally knew that I was a real girl.  I felt like pinocchio when the blue fairy turns him into a real boy.  I belonged to the human race, just like everyone else.  I didn’t know there was going to be a problem.  I didn’t know that my parents weren’t so thrilled with being found after so much time.  They had made peace with what they had done.  They were convinced that it was good for me to have been given away.  They never imagined that I wouldn’t be happy with their decision to leave me alone at 5 days old.  

When they found out that I didn’t love being given up, and that I didn’t have a happy, magical childhood they didn’t want to know that.  They didn’t want to look at me.  They said I was cruel, abusive and bitter.  I was too damaged to deal with.  They had to protect themselves from me, their own child.  The best way for them to deal with me was to push me away.  Ignore me and hope I finally got the hint.  I did.  I got it loud and clear.  Family is for other people, but not for me.

So I branched out.  I found family on Ancestry.com.  Family that didn’t resent me.  Family that was happy to know me.  They may not be my parents, but they are kin, and they actually care for me.  I know it, because I feel it.  They are not guilty.  They are good.  They think I am nice.  

I also go to cemeteries and visit my dead ancestors.  They don’t reject me.  They listen, they don’t say a word.  They are thankful for the visits, and the flowers.  They don’t reject me because I’m not happy.  

 

How My Blog Got It’s Name

Published August 14, 2013 by maryleesdream

Image

I had sent a letter to my Aunt Matriarch, asking for photos of my natural family, and asking why no one sent me Christmas cards.  I was feeling pretty hurt and angry, and it showed.

I got a letter back from a different Aunt, Aunt Troll.  She informed me that I was way out of line, and that the family heirlooms were split evenly between my grandparents 5 children.  She told me if I wanted anything I could ask my father, if I had a better relationship with him.

This letter cut me deep, but I guess I cut them deep too.  Once children are discarded, they have no rights to anything that belongs to their original family.  It’s the law.  I forgot about that in all the excitement of seeing my relatives for the first time.

So….I called Aunt Matriarch, and she gave my phone number to Aunt Troll.  Aunt Troll called and proceeded to tell me just how things were.  She started off with this gem, “I wish I was adopted”.

She went on to tell me how bad her childhood was, living in the big house with her family.  Her mother wasn’t very loving, she didn’t always have a new winter coat.  She told me how messed up my parents were, and that they would have killed me within a year if they had kept me.

She told me she would willingly give up her own children if she didn’t “have enough”.  For someone who had never been adopted, she was pretty sure how much she would have enjoyed it!  She ended this all by telling me that her sister was her best friend.

So, she wishes she was adopted, but she loves her sister?  I’m not sure she understands just what she’s saying.

Then she told me that no one wanted me around because I was “just not nice”.  I asked her what she was talking about, because I had been nothing but nice to this woman.  I’d seen her two times in my life, and we barely spoke.  I didn’t understand.  She told me, I read what you sent to your father, we all did.

My heart dropped, but I kept going.  We talked for awhile longer, then we hung up.  I sat down to try and digest what happened.  WE ALL READ WHAT YOU SENT TO YOUR FATHER.  Those words kept echoing in my ears.  I began to piece things together.  I had said some pretty mean things to my father.  I was so hurt that my own father would turn his back on me and my mother, and give me up for adoption.  I hated him for doing that to me, and I let him know.  What I didn’t know was that he was telling his sister, Aunt Matriarch, everything I said to him, and she was telling the entire family!

No wonder they were so cold to me, they hated me.  I was attacking their beloved brother.  It didn’t matter that he was my father, I was not one of them, but he was.  I had lost the battle before it even began.  I was so embarrassed and humiliated to know that my innermost feelings were broadcast throughout my family, and that no one shared my outrage.  They were all content with what their brother had done, and they supported him wholeheartedly.  I was devastated.

Aunt Matriarch’s 70th birthday was coming up, and I had bought her a card that said what a kind, loving person she was.  I didn’t feel that was the case at all.  I felt that she was trying to sabotage any relationship I had with my family by spreading all those things around.  She smiled in my face, and talked behind my back.

I sent Aunt Matriarch the card, but I wrote inside how betrayed and hurt I felt by her actions.  I added that I would never contact her or her family again.

Welcome Back, Baby Girl

Published August 12, 2013 by maryleesdream

Image

 

It started with a letter I wrote to my Aunt.  I asked for pictures.  I guess I didn’t ask right, because I never got the pictures.  My Aunt has family memorabilia all over her neat home.  She is my father’s sister, and the keeper of family records, and secrets as well.  

When I found my parents, she welcomed me with open arms, but a closed smile.  She said, “we’re so glad you found us!” but her eyes said something else.  

I was invited to a luncheon with my father’s family, in a restaurant all my relatives had been in many times.  It was my first time there.  

I sat next to my father, and a photo album was brought out, with pictures of my father as a young man, and pictures of him with his young children.  His daughter looked so much like mine.  Even the clothes were the same, because my daughter and my sister are only 1 year apart in age.  

I was happy to see so many members of my father’s family, but I was nervous too.  Whenever my natural family is around something happens in my mind.  Everything is tilted and far away.  I can’t quite understand what’s going on.  They all seem like they are underwater.  It’s not a good feeling.  

After they met me, and the novelty wore off they began talking amongst themselves, about people and places that were unfamiliar to me.  It was so painful.  

The photo album disappeared.  I can’t remember now what the pictures looked like, it was 2 1/2 years ago .  They had a cake for my youngest daughter’s birthday.  I was happy.  That was a good thing.  

After the luncheon, some of us walked over to my aunts house, where they showed me home movies they had converted to DVD.  There were my grandparents, dead now, in the flesh.  They looked so unfamiliar.  I couldn’t understand how I could be related to them.  

Then they showed my parents wedding.  There was my mother and father, young and beautiful.  And I was there, inside my mother, in my grandparents house.  A house I would never get to see, with people I would never get to meet.  I felt as if I were losing my mind.  I had to get out of there!  

My aunt promised to send me a copy of the DVD, and some pictures too.  I waited and waited, but nothing came.  

Soon I found out that my aunt was getting remarried, and her reception was in the same restaurant, but I wasn’t invited.  The luncheon was in april, and the wedding in June.  They never spoke a word about the wedding.  They didn’t want me to know.  

That was when I realized that actions speak louder than words, and the hugs and smiles weren’t always sincere.  My heart was broken, again.

I grew angry, how dare they slight me! I was the first grandchild, I was part of the family.  Why would they leave me out of such an important occasion, and only 6 months after we reunited?  I would have gotten to meet other relatives, and been included in family pictures for the first time, but I was not.  

I realized that I was given nothing.  Not 1 picture, or heirloom, not even a bouquet of flowers.  Hell, my father didn’t even get up from the table the first time I met him.  Something was very wrong.  

 

The Dead Baby Story

Published August 8, 2013 by maryleesdream

My parents faked my death.

empty-crib2

My father asked my mother to marry him when he learned she was pregnant.  They had been keeping company since she was 14 and he was 17.  Mom got pregnant when she was 16, and her mother knew the name of a good, illegal abortionist.  My Grandmother had had her own abortion a few months earlier.  They pulled twin boys out of Grandma, and it was probably for the best, because Grandma was not a very maternal woman.  She was a fertile woman though, having 7 children with 7 different men, not counting the doomed twins.

Mom had an abortion, and Dear Old Dad worked hard, all summer to pay for it.

Well, Mom fell pregnant again 4 years later, and this time Dear Old Dad  asked her to marry him.  They had the wedding reception in my Dad’s parent’s house.  They showed me home movies of the party, all the relatives there, and me, just a little bump in Mom’s belly, as she twisted the night away.

Mom and Dad began fixing up a little apartment attached to my grandparents large farmhouse.  Everything was going great until…Something Happened!

This is where things get murky.  This is where I lose my family.

According to Mom, she went to a church with a sign out front promising help for women with problem pregnancies.  She was having problems with my father, and problems all around so she went in to get advice.  It was a front for an adoption agency, and they told my mother, a troubled young married woman that she should give away her baby.

Mom went home and told my Dad what happened at the church.  She was expecting him to react with horror to the suggestion of giving me up, but instead he loved the idea.

He moved Mom to another part of town, where they didn’t know anyone.  As mom’s belly grew larger, Dad started to work on her, telling her I would have a horrible life if they kept me.  He told her I would have a worse life than she did, and she had a horrific childhood.  She began to believe him,and she finally agreed to give me up.

According to Dad, they planned to give me up before they got married.  They got married because people in those days didn’t have babies unless they were married.  They planned to give me up and get divorced from the start.

Then he told me that they got married, then he realized that it wasn’t going to work.  My mother and father were heroin addicts who had sex with multiple partners, and Mom wasn’t willing to give up that lifestyle, so he thought it was best if they gave me away.

They decided to keep my birth a secret, then tell their families that I was stillborn.  And, that is what they did.

According to Dad, everyone believed the story and no one asked any questions.  No one asked where my body was, and there was no funeral.

My Adoptive Mom told me that story before I could speak.  It was part of my adoption story, “your parents told their parents that you died at birth”.  And in a way, I did.  Family life went on without me, and now I’m like a ghost to them.  It’s all very gothic.

My mother says she never said I died, except for one time, when her mother came to my parents apartment to see the new baby, and there was no baby to be seen.  She asked where I was and my mother screamed, “She died Mom, she’s dead”.  My grandmother never spoke of me again.

The dead baby story has haunted me my entire life.  When I was younger I imagined I had a grave out there somewhere, and a tombstone with my true name on it.  Little girls should be dreaming of growing up and having a wonderful fulfilling career and family, not wondering where their grave is, or why their mother left them, for goodness sakes.

When I found my parents, my cousin told me that the death story was true.  My dear cousin also told me there was no reason for anyone to question my death.  I think that the fact that I continue to draw breath, is a very valid reason to question my death as a newborn, but maybe I’m just screwed up. I had hoped it was a lie told by the adoption agency, but alas, it was not.  I began to wonder about that story, and wonder what happened to stillborn babies back in 1962.

I did some research online, and found out that unclaimed babies are buried in mass graves of 1000 tiny coffins in a municipal cemetery, on a lonely island in the middle of a large river.  Prisoners from a nearby prison bury the bodies.  They are the only attendants at those sad funerals, for the unclaimed dead of the big city where I was born.  And that’s what my parents did to me, and no one asked any questions.

I skipped my brother’s birthday

Published August 6, 2013 by maryleesdream

I skipped my brother’s birthday for the first time since I’ve known him.  I feel bad about it, but I don’t want to be a sucker anymore.

Last year, Brother turned 45, and I turned 50.  I made a big deal about how everyones ages ended in 5 last year.  My Oldest Daughter (OD) turned 25 also.  I sent him a card and a gift, and wished him Happy Birthday on facebook and in a text.  His birthday is early August.  Mine is mid November, and I was turning 50.  I know I keep repeating that, but it is a pretty big milestone birthday, for people who celebrate birthdays.

Brother thanked me for his gift, which was modest.  He also said, “you shouldn’t have”.  That irked me a little, because why on earth shouldn’t I send my dear little brother, who I was separated from for 48 years a birthday present?  I told him he was my favorite brother, and I enjoyed sending him things.

Mid November rolled around, and nothing from Brother.  No card, no gift, no text, no facebook birthday wish.  Silence.  Nothing from Mother or Father either.  I only got 1 birthday message, from My Dear Auntie, Mother’s half sister.

It hurt so much!  I couldn’t understand how my parents could do that to me.  I still can’t understand it.  Why do only kept children deserve birthday wishes?  Is it because my birthday was such a horrible time for everyone?  Is it because I wasn’t supposed to be born at all?

I can’t bear to think about these things for too long.  I’ve discovered a way to live with these things.  I put my family behind a frosted glass wall in my mind.  I can see shadows and shapes of them, but I can’t see them too closely.  This is the only way I can get through the days.

It’s time to put them back again, so I can go make dinner.

Why couldn’t I be a kept child?  Why did they do this to me? Image

A letter I did not send

Published August 5, 2013 by maryleesdream

So I didn’t send this letter.  I did send some like this though, and now I guess I know why my family wants nothing to do with me.  There is a lot of anger in here, and a lot of pain too.  I’ve given up trying to connect, everything I do is wrong.  I will never get any family pictures.  I am just not a good fit for my family

My Dear Aunt Matriarch,

I hope you and your family are well. I’m writing today to follow up on a letter I sent some time ago, maybe a year or so. I’m begging once again for any family photos or heirlooms which you think I deserve. I am the first grandchild of your parents and I am again reduced to begging for scraps from my families table.

This time I have enclosed payment. I can only assume this is what has been holding you back. I have come to realize that my very existence causes pain and embarrassment for my family. The dead baby story was a lot easier on everyone. The pity is, I did survive.

You and yours have hardened your hearts to me, and there is nothing I can do to change that. What I thought family was ,was an illusion, thought up by an orphan girl to try and make sense out of why she was cast out of her only home. I truly believed that blood was thicker than water, and that my family would embrace me when I returned. You did embrace me at first, but I’ve discovered the hard way that actions speak louder than words, and I’ve been excluded from most family events from the start. I will never understand how my own parents could give me away at 5 days old, and how no one stepped up to save me, even those who knew that I lived.

I’ve been told that because my father is your brother, nothing he can do is wrong. If he aborted and abandoned any children, it was for their own good, as my father is always blameless in all things. If I say he was at fault, I’m guilty of saying bad things about your brother, so I must be wrong. This kind of family loyalty is impossible to fight against. I’m dismayed that this loyalty does not extend to me. It must be a wonderful feeling to have such support.

I wonder if your parents would have shunned me also. I’m so sorry that I never got to meet any of my grandparents. I feel cheated by life.

I never became the child of Sassie and Man , a Russian/polish couple. I remained Girlie McIrish, even thought I had to live my life pretending to be someone else. I’m proud of who I am, even if I bring shame to my blood relatives.

I’ve been told that your grandfather, my great grandfather, used to throw rocks at helpless babies. I think the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Maybe that’s how your family stays strong, by shunning outsiders who try and get too close. What tortures me is that I’m an outsider to you, despite being your oldest niece, firstborn on both sides of my family, but welcomed by neither.

I’m just begging for family photos, so my children can know where they came from. Even though my birth certificate has been altered, I want them to know the truth about who they are. Don’t we deserve that much?

I know you’re a Christian woman, can you really be so hard hearted to your orphaned niece, orphaned at the hands of her own parents?

Yes Matriarch,, I was an orphan. The state became my mother and father when my own parents walked away from me. Imagine a life with no family. Never seeing a soul on this earth who shares your blood. It’s a horrible thing to do to a human being. It’s too much to ask a child to live with. Yes, I was adopted, but they were no substitute for my own true family and, they could never take the place of my parents.

Do you really just want me to go away again, so you can pretend I never existed? Do you have no feeling for me, your brothers firstborn? I can’t help it if I was conceived and born during hard times. I was my parents second conception. No one really knows how many children my father abandoned or had aborted. All I know is I’m the only one who survived to come back.

I beg you once again, to have compassion for the creature that I have become, and ease my pain by granting me this one wish, to have family pictures, and maybe something that belonged to my grandparents, even a teaspoon to help ease my pain. You all have each other, I am the one left out in the cold.

Please don’t throw anymore rocks at me, and have pity. I beg you, don’t call out your dogs on me again to put me in my place, and don’t go running to my poor mother to torture her anymore. I’m afraid that when you invited my mother over, and showed her the birthday card I sent to you where I expressed my pain and feeling of betrayal to you, the relationship I had with my mother was destroyed. She hates and fears me now. I’m fairly sure that may have been your intention.

Love, your niece,

Girlie

Family is for other people, but not for me.

Published August 4, 2013 by maryleesdream

My therapist says there is no way I will ever be accepted by my real family. Maybe he’s right, maybe it’s just an impossible dream. Either way, I’d like to try and explain my side of things.

Finding my family opened up feelings I never knew I had. Suddenly I realized how much I had missed out on in life. Seeing my own mother for the first time when I was 48 years old did something to me. I realized that I lost my whole world when I was 5 days old, and I was never going to be able to get it back.

Growing up without any family is a strange and terrible thing. Imagine eating Thanksgiving dinner with your family, and looking around the table and knowing that all the people around you are strangers. They are related to each other. You can see the resemblance in their faces, and hear it in their voices. They all have the same laugh, so different from yours.

I knew I had a mother and father out there somewhere, but I wasn’t allowed to see them. I wasn’t even allowed to know who they were, or what their names were. I wasn’t allowed to know my real last name, I guess because my adoptive mother was afraid I would find my family, and love them more than I did her. I wasn’t even allowed to ask questions about my family. My a-mother would scream, “I’m your only mother, you don’t have another mother”. After a while I learned there was something wrong about what happened to me. I learned not to bring it up anymore.

I was brought into the home of an infertile woman who had been trying to have her own baby for years. She did everything she could to have a baby, and when everything failed she resorted to adoption. My a parents had been married for 10 years and had a loveless marriage. My a-mom had endometriosis, which caused painful periods, She was practically bedridden at least 1 week every month. She was much too sick to adopt another child, so I was raised alone. My family was poor, and could only afford a 1 bedroom apartment. I had no backyard, not even a room of my own. I shared with my a-mom while dad slept on the sofa in the living room. I wondered why this was happening to me, but I knew I was an orphan who was lucky to even have a home, so I never complained, or asked why.

I survived, and left home as soon as I could. I was 19 when I moved in with Honey, and had a happy life with him. Honey and I had a nice wedding, but I wasn’t happy. I didn’t know why, but now I do. There was no one from my family at my wedding. Honey’s family was there, and my a-parents family, but not one member of my family was there. I couldn’t wait until the whole mess was over.

I don’t think I can ever properly express the lost feeling of being all alone in the world that I felt until I had my son, Lil Honey. The first relative I had ever seen, and he looked just like me! For the first time I felt that magical pull of blood that I had dreamed so much about. I was real, part of the real world. My past was still a great black hole that sometimes threatened to suck me down into it, but I had a family. I wasn’t all alone anymore. I was the happiest I had ever been in my life.

Life went on, but the longing to find my family grew stronger. I was afraid, afraid of what I would find. I wanted to be the one searched for, the one sought out. Years passed, and no one ever came looking for me. After 48 years I began to fear that my parents were growing old and might die before I could see them. I desperately wanted to see my mothers face in this lifetime, so I pushed my fears aside and found my parents.

Everything seemed good at first, but there was definitely something going on underneath the surface that didn’t feel very good. As I learned the story surrounding my relinquishment I began to feel cheated. I realized my father had a great, supportive family and I wondered why my parents chose to give me away instead of asking for help raising me. I learned that I wasn’t my parents first pregnancy, and my mother had aborted her first child, and my father paid for it. I couldn’t believe my parents had been legally married, but still chose to give their child up. I still don’t understand that, it just doesn’t fit the usual adoption story, girl gets pregnant, boy won’t marry her so she gives up her baby. My story just doesn’t make sense, and I hear different thing from my mother and my father.

I wish I could know what really happened.

I guess I reacted badly, but I was very angry, mostly at my father, because he seems a lot better off than my mother. My mother seems to be very damaged by life, both before and after my birth. She got pregnant, got married, had a baby, gave her baby away and had her marriage annulled within 16 months, when she was 18-19 years old. I can’t imagine how horrible that must have been for her. And yes, I blame my father. No one has been able to tell my why I shouldn’t. He started with my mother, a poor desperate mentally ill girl from the wrong side of the tracks when she was only 14 years old. She ended up with nothing, no husband, no baby, no money. I don’t think my father suffered as much as she did.

Maybe you can tell me someday that I’m wrong about all this, but until that day I guess I’ll just have to draw my own conclusions, with the little information that I have.

I always thought of family as a magical thing. I really thought that blood was thicker than water. I still think it is, but once your parents give you away some people think that you’re just not part of the family anymore. I didn’t choose to leave my family. I never signed away my rights. I know there is no way to get back the lost years that would make me part of my family. I will always be an outsider , even to the woman who gave me life.

All my grandparents have died, and I never got to meet any of them. I’ll never look into their eyes, or hear their voices. I have no pictures of me and my mother together when I was a baby, or little girl. All that is gone, and I can never get it back. I wake in the night, and toss and turn.

I guess what’s gone is gone, and I will never really be part of your family. When we get together it’s awkward and painful, and I don’t know if it’ll ever be any better. If anyone ever wants to talk to me or see me, I’ll always come running. I’m not ready for a big gathering. The July 4th picnic was wonderful, but it just showed me how much I’ve missed. I don’t have an extended family. It’s just me and my a-mom. We never had wonderful gatherings like you have. You all have each other, but I am still without a family. My parents both went on to keep other children, and that is very painful.

My birth certificate was altered, and the real one sealed forever. They changed the facts on my birth record, but they couldn’t change my body, or my feelings. I am still the same person I was when I was born. If future generations try and trace their ancestry, they will be deceived into thinking that I’m Girl Russack, child of Russian and Polish immigrants, not Girlie McIrish, who can trace her ancestry back to the revolutionary war. It’s just legalized lies.

I still would love to have pictures of my family. I’ve never seen my father as a child, or young man. I have no pictures of my parents together, I think Mom destroyed all of hers. I’m as proud of my heritage and family as you are, I just don’t know much about it. I would have been so proud to see my grandparents as grand marshals of the parade. How I wish I could have been raised in my true family, as the first grandchild on both sides of my family. I lost my birthright, my name and my identity.

Please try not to judge me so harshly, I’m not a monster, just a hurt and damaged person.