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How I Came to Be

Published December 31, 2019 by maryleesdream
baby holding human finger

Photo by Wayne Evans on Pexels.com

 

Everyone has an origin story.  All the superheros do. Even supervillans do.  I have a few.

According to Mom  (I consider my mother to be my natural mother)

Mom was a tortured soul.  She was sexually abused from before she could speak.  Her first memory was of her mother, holding a shotgun on her grandfather, after catching him molesting Mom while he held Mom on his lap.  Later on, when she was 5, Grandma sent Mom to live with her father.  He put her in informal foster care, with a pedophile who molested her for the 6 years Mom lived with him.

Mom returned home to her mother. Grandma had had a bunch of other kids while Mom was away, and their care often fell to Mom.  Mom was poor and ragged.  She was ashamed to go to school. Dad was a rich guy from the neighborhood. Grandma told Mom to “go for him”. Grandma thought he would be a good catch. She didn’t sleep with him right away, and this kept him interested.  Eventually she did, and she became pregnant.  

Dad arranged for an abortion, using the same abortionist Grandma used.  Mom was 16, and abortion was still illegal.  It was another traumatizing experience for Mom.  Mom and Dad continued to bang.  Mom got pregnant again.  This time, Dad offered to marry her.  They got married, and were going to live in an apartment off his parents big house, when something happened.  

Mom saw a sign outside a church, offering help with unexpected pregnancies.  She went in and asked about it, and was introduced to the idea of adoption.  She went home and told Dad, thinking he would reject the idea, but instead he embraced it.  They moved a few towns away, and Mom waited out her pregnancy away from the family.  Dad worked on her every day as her belly grew, telling her I would have a terrible life if they kept me.  A life even worse than hers.  She didn’t want to give me up, but she began to believe him, and agreed to the adoption. 

I was born. No one was told.  Mom took care of me in the hospital and held me on the ride to the agency.  I stared at her the whole way.  She cried at the agency.  She cried for days afterward.  She cried everyday for 10 years.  It would overtake her suddenly.  While on line at the bank, when buying groceries.  Then she stopped crying.  She waited for me to find her. She didn’t want to look for me, because she thought my adoption might be a secret to me, and she didn’t want to be the one to tell me.  

According to Dad

Mom got pregnant.  They had relationship problems.  They liked group sex and drugs, and Mom wouldn’t give those things up, so Dad decided the only solution was to give me away, so I could have a better life.  

According to A-Mom

My parents were too poor to keep me.  Mom had to raise her younger siblings and didn’t want to raise any more kids.  My parents told their parents that I died at birth. My parents were married, and A-mom could not understand how a married woman could give her baby away.  No one held a gun to her head.  She was a cold heartless woman who did not want me. A-mom knew my name at birth, but would only tell me the first name.  A-mom lived in terror that I would be taken away.  

 

The Holidays

Published December 7, 2019 by maryleesdream
christmas tree with decors under the staircase

 

The holidays are upon us again.  It’s a time of joy, but also a time for sadness for many.  All of the positive images of family and love can make people long for what they don’t have.  I’m one of those people.

I have a wonderful family.  Husband and 4 grown children.  My eldest daughter is expecting a daughter in April.  This makes me so happy!  I cannot wait to meet the little one.  K, my daughter is 32, and not married to the father.  In fact, she only knew him for 4 moths before she fell pregnant.  In the old days, she’d be a great candidate for adoption.  Not in my house though.  Never, never ever. We will love that baby, and my daughter and do everything we can to help and support them.  Granddaughter! What a beautiful word.

I was born November 13, and relinquished on November 18.  This is always a trying time of year for me.  I was in a foster home, somewhere for my first Thanksgiving.  I don’t know who I was with, or what name they called me.  Was I Marylee, what my mother named me, or did they just call me another name they made up?

 

I arrived at my adoptive parents house on December 13.  Just in time for my first, terrifying Christmas.  Why terrifying?  I didn’t know these people, and my A-mom was always rather terrifying to me.

I have no idea what my natural family does for the holidays.  Do they still gather as a large group, or do my aunts and uncles celebrate with their own growing families of children and grandchildren?  I will never know, because I will never be allowed into that family.  They say it’s because of the way I behave, but I think it’s because I was relinquished.  I think they can forgive one of their own, if they behave badly, but I must be shunned if I do.  And, the extent of my bad behavior has been my anguish over my adoption.

Every holiday, I still foolishly hope I’ll get something from my family.  I never do.  I never will.

 

 

 

 

 

Surrogacy

Published October 12, 2018 by maryleesdream

rent

 

Nate Berkus and his partner have commissioned another child.  They paid another woman, or women, if a separate egg donor was used, to sell her body in order for them to raise another child.  They purposefully, and willfully separated a human being from their mother, and half of their natural family, simply to satisfy their own desires.

And the world loves it!  So progressive! How brave, you deserve it.  Don’t the children these men are raising deserve to know their own mother?  How can anyone deny a child that, and then say they love that child?  Are these men so blinded by their wants that they cannot see what they have done?

I guess the answer is yes.  And most of society seems to agree.  “Biology means nothing”, they cry.  “Love makes a family”.  But not their family.  They want their own children, and their own parents, thank you very much.  Biology matters to them, it just isn’t supposed to matter to those created to fulfill desire.  Or those bought to create a family.  We are the exceptions to the rule.

If biology really didn’t matter, why do they bother to identify babies born in the hospital?  Why not just mix em up, and hand them out to parents randomly.  It really shouldn’t matter, right?

I’ll bet it would matter a lot.  As it should.  Buying or selling human beings, or the materials used to create human beings is wrong.  It is wrong because it dishonors the child.  It takes something from the child that should never be taken.  It takes the child’s parent and heritage, and the child is powerless to stop it.

Say anything against this and you’ll be called old fashioned, misogynistic and anti LGBT.  How else can these people raise a family?  Maybe, sometimes, they can’t.  Or, they have to find a way that honors the child’s heritage, and includes all of their biological family in the child’s life.  It’s the least you can do, for a child you love so much.

 

Kidnapped?

Published September 30, 2018 by maryleesdream

missing-child-585881

 

Lately, I’ve been comparing being adopted to being kidnapped.  I read a book, “The Real Lolita, The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World”.  It was a good book.

The girl who was kidnapped was abused by the kidnapper, and I was not abused by my adoptive parents, but the same sense of being taken against my will has been with me all of my life.  I have always felt like I was not where I was supposed to be.

I was the 6th generation born in my little corner of NYC, but I have no ties to the place where my ancestors lived.  Their bones are buried there, but I’m a stranger to that place.

Like the young girl in the book, I had to comply with my kidnappers , in order to survive.  Unlike Sally, my family was not looking for me. There was no joyful reunion, when I finally was reunited with them.  Their lives were fine without me in them.

I am the only one who felt I was kidnapped.  The rest of the world thinks everything is fine.

 

Positive Adoption Language

Published September 3, 2018 by maryleesdream
POSITIVE LANGUAGE NEGATIVE LANGUAGE
Birth parent Real parent
Biological parent Natural parent
Birth child Own child
My child Adopted child
Born to unmarried parents Illegitimate
Terminate parental rights Give up
Make an adoption plan Give away
To parent To keep
Waiting child Adoptable child
Making contact with Reunion
Parent Adoptive parent
Search Track down parents
Child placed for adoption Unwanted child
Court termination Child taken away
Child with special needs Handicapped child
Was adopted Is adopted
Two years behind in development Retarded (or other descriptive language)
Spinabifida, cleft lip, or other specific condition Deformed
Has disability or is physically challenged Handicapped
Describe specifics–intelligence Normal or grade level
Divorced Broken marriage
Separated from parents or rejected Deserted or abandoned
Is taking Ritalin Hyperactive
Neurological impairment Brain damaged

I can’t stand positive adoption language, or PAL.

It is a tool used by the adoption industry to normalize the act of giving you child away to strangers.  That sounds horrible, because it is!

How much nicer to think a loving mother made an adoption plan, and lovingly placed her newborn in another’s arms, then went on to live a happy, carefree life, sans baby.  What could be better?

Who want to hear of a desperate woman, convinced she will never be good enough for her own child.  Who wants to hear her cries as she walks away from her newborn, breasts still leaking milk, body still battered by childbirth?  The months and years of grief, for both mother and baby?

Much better to use PAL.  No pain in that story!  Whitewashed by new, better language.

How about changing murder to involuntary termination of respiration? Rape:  Unplanned sexual intercourse.  We can make anything palatable, if the language is right.

I was given away, surrendered, relinquished.  It was cruel, brutal and very ugly.  My language reflects that.  Real adoption language reflects the truth.  The horror.

My Adoptive Mother

Published August 30, 2018 by maryleesdream

IAPA-adoption-mother-daughter

 

 

It’s a hell of a thing, being brought up in a strangers family.  It’s thankfully rare.  It should be rare.  Children should not have to deal with that kind of pain.

No one needs to be cut off from their roots like that.  Every human being deserves to know who their parents are.

When I found my family, it changed everything.  Not in my day to day life so much, but in my internal life.  I was not the same as I was before.  I had finally seen the monster in the closet, and I did not die.

After I found my family, I had some hard conversations with my adoptive mother.  I was outraged that she had gone along with the whole closed adoption thing.  Suddenly, my whole life up to then had been a lie.  I knew I was adopted, but I did not know why.  My mother had been abstract, unknown and feared.  By me, and my adoptive mother.  We had that in common, but not anymore.

My adoptive mother clung to the belief that she did nothing wrong.  She followed the social workers advice.  If I had a problem with being adopted, it was not her fault.  She did as she was told.

That unfortunately, was not good enough.

I can’t remember when I stopped loving her, but I was very young.  Maybe it was when she said she was my only mother.  Maybe it was when she dropped me off at her sisters for the summer.  Somewhere along the line, I realized I was alone.

I hated when she said she loved me.  I wanted to scream in her face, “then why aren’t you helping me find my mother?’.  But, of course I never did.  There would be no point.  She was doing everything right, just as she was told.

She wanted her own baby, not me.

I was so dumb, I didn’t know that when I was growing up.  I thought I was the only one in pain.  Now I know that’s not true.  She was hurting just as much.  We could not help each other.

The difference is, she chose to adopt.  She chose to bring a helpless little person into her messed up world of pain.  I chose nothing.

I guess she thought I would fix her.  I did not.  It should not have been my job to fix a strange grown up woman.  I wish we had never crossed paths.

 

The Past

Published August 5, 2018 by maryleesdream

lonely

 

Last night, I woke in the middle of the night, and I felt such fear and dread.  I sought the root of the feeling, and could not find it.  I remembered that I have always felt this, and that the feeling has no name.  I also remembered that it will pass.  It will return, and it will go away again.  I think we all have these feelings.  It’s the human condition.

When I think back on my childhood, I cannot find any happy memories.  None.  The whole thing is colored a dark grey, by my adoption.  Losing my mother, and never being allowed to even speak of it, colored my life.

No family. No one. Nothing. Every day, all day.

I could not wait to escape from my adoptive parents house.  I met my husband when I was 16.  Someone who could save me, and make me whole.

“But, your adoptive parents loved you.  They did not abuse you! They raised you!”.

I know. I was there.  They tried, but I was so hurt.  I could not feel their love.  Their love was spoiled for me, because it came at the expense of my real family.  I should not have been put in such an impossible position.  I could not accept the love of the ones who I felt were responsible for my loss.

Did they really love me?  I suppose so.  I was a good enough child.  But, I was not, and could never be their child.  They had to maintain the illusion that I was.  They did not tell anyone that I was adopted.  It was a hidden family secret, one that I dared not speak of.

How I hated the phrase, “when we got you”.  Got me? I wanted “when you were born”.  I wanted my mother to tell the story, of my birth, not the story of these  strangers who somehow, “got me”.

Even as a young child, I felt this way.

It was a lost cause, from the start.  I was broken, unable to be fixed.  On my own, from the start.  I had to turn my heart to stone.

I remember, being at my Auntie Irene’s house, during the long hot summers when I was 6 & 7.  There were 4 older kids there, my adoptive cousins.  They did not like me much.  The feeling was mutual, but I was at a disadvantage.  I was all alone, and they had each other, as well as their real parents, and I was an unwelcome guest in their home.  My adoptive parents sent me there so they could both work full time during the summer.

I used to lie awake in my borrowed bed, listening to my adoptive uncle’s snores and will my heart to be hard, like a stone so I would not feel the pain of being left alone, again.  I locked my self in the bathroom, and said every curse word I knew.

I went home on weekends, and never told my adoptive mother any of it.  I never told her the sex games my cousins would play either.  I finally told her when I was an adult, and she said, “why didn’t you tell me”.  Sigh.

Would I have sadness if I hadn’t been adopted?  I’m sure.  My real mother had issues.  I still loved and needed her.