brother

All posts tagged brother

She Should Have Been Proud

Published November 16, 2017 by maryleesdream

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My dear departed mother should have been proud of me.

I’m getting ready to go to work this morning.  I’m a supervisor in a busy government office.  I’ve raised 4 wonderful people into adulthood.  I own my own home and have been married to my sweetie for 34 years.

But she hated me.  My family shuns me.  It breaks my heart.  No matter what I do, it is never good enough.  I am tainted.  I am tainted by their rejection.

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Another Letter

Published September 30, 2017 by maryleesdream

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I like the letter format.  It helps me organize my thoughts.  This one I probably will not send, but you never know.

Dear Dad,

 

I should say I hope this letter finds you well, but I really don’t.  Your health means nothing to me.  Let’s start again then.

Hi Dad.  How are you?

I don’t even know if you’re still alive, or if you can speak or read.  I don’t know if you still live in your own home, or are in an institution.  I know nothing about your day to day life.  Do you still drive?  The last communication I got from you, I think 4 years or more ago said that you were ill and not able to leave the house much.  I don’t know if you have recovered, or if the illness has gotten worse.  I hope it’s not a heredity illness, but you have chosen to keep that a secret.  Maybe it’s a result of your past drug use, like the liver disease that killed my mother.

Our little family is well. A’s 20 now and in Copenhagen, doing a semester abroad.  I can’t imagine living her life.  I did not go to college, and have never been to Europe.  I’m proud that I can provide this experience for my child.

C is 25, and in graduate school, getting her teaching degree.  She lives at home with us.  K is 30, and a practicing court reporter.  She travels around with her machine, taking depositions for several court reporting agencies.  She goes all over, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.  She’s living at home for now too, but saving up to get her own place.

Your oldest grandchild, P is 31 and still working for the county.  He’s been there for 10 years, and is a supervisor.  He has his own place a few miles away.

I just got promoted to supervisor at the DMV!  It’s scary and exciting.

I write letters to you all the time in my head, so I decided to write one down.  There is so much I must say, but no one really wants to hear it.

Being an adopted adult is a very strange experience.  There are not that many of us out there.  Closed infant adoption is rare.  Everyone knows someone who is adopted, but not many people know how it feels to be one of us.

We are told how to feel, by everyone.  Our bio and adopted families both see us as “different”.  We do not fit anywhere.  We face things every day, that most people have no idea about.  We seem normal on the outside, but we suffer on the inside.

I am part of a dying breed.  Infant adoption is not as popular as it used to be.  Women are keeping their babies.  It’s not as shameful as it was in the old days.  Closed adoption is rare now.  Society has seen the pain and problems that it caused, and the trend is for more openness in infant adoption.

I, personally think all types of adoption are abusive to children.  Babies need their mothers, not strangers, and every effort should be made to keep children and their mothers together.  If that’s not possible, family care should always be considered next.  Stranger adoption should be an absolute last resort.

Growing up with strangers is a bewildering experience.  I knew that I was adopted from before I could speak or understand.  I cannot remember the terrible moment when I learned the truth about my sad beginnings.  It was always there.  I always knew that my own mother gave me away, and I could never understand why.  Even after we met, her reasons were never clear.

She blamed you, but she had to sign those papers too.  I know she wanted me to have a better life than she did, but why she thought giving me to random strangers was the way to do that confuses me.  How can you be sure your child has a good life, if you have no idea where they are, or what’s happening to them?

I faced many harsh realities as a child.  I could never be the biological child my adoptive parents wanted, and I could never go back to my real family.  I was stuck in a nightmare world, with no way out.

When I found my family, I was dismayed to find that you had a stable upbringing.  I was upset, because it went against what the agency told my adoptive parents, that you were too poor to take care of me.  You were not.

I quickly realized that there was a reason that you did not want your family to help raise me.  I’m still not sure what that reason is.  I can only suspect that it had to do with my mother’s race.  I feel strongly that your father knew what was going on, and he was aware of the adoption.  I think other family members knew too.

When my mother had her third pregnancy, she called my brother’s grandmother, and told her that she had my brother.  My brother’s father’s family helped my mother raise her son.  She finally got to keep one of her children.

So, why couldn’t your family do the same?  Why did I have to be given to strangers?  I don’t think there is an answer that will make sense to me.

 

Well, that’s it for now.

 

Sincerely,

 

/Marylee

A Letter to My Father

Published September 14, 2017 by maryleesdream

 

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September 13, 2017

 

Dear Dad,

 

I can’t believe it’s almost 7 years since I found my family.  It hurts so much to know that you are all out there, and I am so alone.

It’s been over 2 years since my mother died, and I haven’t heard a word from my family.  I don’t think anyone can imagine how bad that feels.  It’s a terrible curse to have a family, but not be part of it.

The last family member I heard from was my cousin W.  She told me that the entire family decided that it was best not to have any contact with me.  Best for who? I asked, but there was no answer.  It’s not best for me, so I guess it must be best for the rest of you.

It was best to give me away as a newborn, and best to shun me as an adult.  But, never, ever best for me.  Best for me would have been to live and grow up with my family, and best for me would have my family accept and love me as I am.  I will never get that.  What’s best for me is not very important to my family.

I still live with the pain of being cast out.  It does not get better.

I did not attend my mother’s memorial.  My brother kicked me out of hospice on her last day.  He asked when he got to be alone with his mother.  I guess his whole life was not enough for him.

My mother and her friends hated me, so I thought it best to stay away from the memorial.  I never saw my brother, John after he kicked me out of hospice.

You are the one with the mystery illness, but my mother was the one who died.  Life’s funny like that.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know how much being abandoned, and shunned hurts.  I’m pretty sure you don’t care, since you always do what’s best for you.  And never, ever what’s best for me.

 

Marylee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two years ago…

Published September 2, 2017 by maryleesdream

1271912_160367034164261_1997061723_oMy dear mother died 2 years ago today.

I was not there.  My auntie was, I made sure Mom was not alone.  I gave her her sister.  Aunt Ginny was in jail when I told her Mom was sick.  She was in a bad way.  I bought her a bus ticket, from Michigan to NYC, so she could be with my mother.  I couldn’t do it, because I was a stranger to my own mother.

Mom was not comfortable with me.  I guess it was because she gave me away, and because she was mentally ill.

I don’t understand mental illness.  I never had experience with it, before I found my mother.  I did not know how cruel mental illness was.  It allows a person to do terrible things.  They don’t want to do those things, but their mind bends in a way that makes them think what they are doing in OK.

I still have a lot to learn.  I’m still so angry, at my mother, at the world.  At whoever made me what I am.

I never got to know my mother.  Oh God, why did you do this to me?  Are you to blame?

Another Dead Mother

Published May 17, 2017 by maryleesdream

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy co worker’s mother died a few days ago.  Some of us from work went to the wake.  Jill’s mother looked beautiful, laid out in the casket, in a smart red suit.  Her beloved Jelly beans and a deck of cards were tucked in beside her.

Jill’s mother was 95 when she died, in Jill’s house, where they had been living together for years.  Jill was by her side when she passed.  Jill’s daughter was there too.  It was a “good death”, if such a thing can be good.

Of course, seeing Jill and her mother brought back a lot of feelings about my own mother’s death.

I was there near the end, with Mom, but not at the end.  Mom was in hospice.  I was not really a welcome visitor in my mother’s room.  I did not go to Mom’s memorial service.  I did not view her body.  She was cremated immediately.  I longed for one last look, but it was not to be.

I had no choices regarding Mom’s care, her service or her remains.  I am her firstborn, and natural next of kin, but adoption erased all that.  I was merely an unwelcome stranger.

Someday I may bury my adoptive mother.  I’ll be the next of kin.  As an only child, I’ll make all the decisions.  But, she is not my mother.  My mother is dead.

The Shunning

Published January 2, 2017 by maryleesdream

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I had some trouble sleeping tonight, so I decided to come downstairs and write a little.  It always happens at night.  The thoughts get to be too much.  I still don’t know how to quiet them.

I think of my mother’s death.  The way it happened.  The way I was treated.  My mother died, and I had to mourn alone.  I did not attend my mother’s memorial service.  She has not been buried, to my knowledge, so I have nowhere to go and pay my respects.

My eldest daughter read something that said Christians must be buried, so that other Christians can visit the graves.  This is something else that’s been taken from me, against my will.

My Mother Has Died

grave

I also think about the Shunning.  My father’s family has shunned me.  I found out a few months ago, from a younger cousin.  I had always hoped that my cousins would not hold the same views regarding infant adoption as the older generation.  I had hoped that they would not be ruled by shame, as much as their parents were.  I was wrong.  This young woman told me that I deserved the shunning, for reasons she was not sure of, but she was sure that they were justified.

It’s interesting how each side of my family reacts differently to me.  My mother’s family was not traditional.  There are many half siblings, and non-traditional family structures.  This side has been more accepting of me.  My father’s family is very traditional, considered a model family by some, and they shun completely.  Not one family member will break the ban.

I did some research into the psychology of shunning.

Shunning

It’s a cruel form of psychological torture.

My fathers family is a cruel family.  They support and approve of my abandonment as a helpless infant, and have shunned me.

Social rejection occurs when a person or group deliberately avoids association with, and habitually keeps away from an individual or group. This can be a formal decision by a group, or a less formal group action which will spread to all members of the group as a form of solidarity. It is a sanction against association, often associated with religious groups and other tightly knit organizations and communities. Targets of shunning can include persons who have been labeled as apostates, whistleblowers, dissidents, strikebreakers, or anyone the group perceives as a threat or source of conflict. Social rejection has been established to cause psychological damage and has been categorized as torture[1] or punishment.[2] Mental rejection is a more individual action, where a person subconsciously or willfully ignores an idea, or a set of information related to a particular viewpoint. Some groups are made up of people who shun the same ideas.[3

Shunning causes pain to the shunned, as it is supposed to:

Shunning is often used as a pejorative term to describe any organizationally mandated disassociation, and has acquired a connotation of abuse and relational aggression. This is due to the sometimes extreme damage caused by its disruption to normal relationships between individuals, such as friendships and family relations. Disruption of established relationships certainly causes pain, which is at least an unintended consequence of the practices described here, though it may also in many cases be an intended, coercive consequence. This pain, especially when seen as unjustly inflicted, can have secondary general psychological effects on self-worth and self-confidence, trust and trustworthiness, and can, as with other types of trauma, impair psychological function.

Why so much pain and injustice in my life?  Sometimes I joke that I must have done something awful in a previous life, but it’s really not very funny.

I wake at night, and all this runs through my mind, and I can’t stop it.  I think about my mother, how much I loved her, how she betrayed me.  I have not seen nor spoken to my brother since he kicked me out of hospice.

At my job, when someone’s parent dies, they post an obituary on the company website.  When my mother died, they did not, because in society’s eyes, she was not my mother.  She was not my mother.  She was not my mother.  That makes no sense.  Why is it only in adoption that the woman who gives birth to you is not your mother?

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Shunning and victim blaming happen a lot in Adoptionland.  How did something that’s supposed to be for the good of a child, turn into the hell that I’m living in?

The Trouble With Christmas

Published December 8, 2016 by maryleesdream

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It’s almost here, again.  Christmas.  The most dreaded time of the year.

Another year of nothing from my natural family.  Another year of dealing with Ramona.  I shouldn’t complain.  I’ve been told by many people that my mother is the one who raised me.  I wonder why I just can’t go along with the script and believe it.

I can’t stand Ramona.  I never could.  The worst part is, she lives with me, and I don’t know how to get away.

Some background:  My adoptive father died in 1990. I am an only adopted child. Ramona was much too sickly to ever adopt again.   Ramona owned an apartment, and lived alone.  She never drove a car and was dependent on A dad for all her transportation.  In 1997, I gave birth to my 4th child.  My dear husband did not have a high paying job, and we were struggling.  Our house was in desperate need of repairs, the taxes were overdue, you get the picture.

Ramona sold her place and moved in with us.  I was reluctant, but my husband said, “keep your eye on the prize”.  I wanted my children to grow up in a nice house, so I gave in.  Ramona invested the money in the house, and we added an apartment for her,  more bedrooms and a bigger kitchen.  The house is great.

Cut to 20 years later.  My kids are grown, but three of them still live at home.  Ramona is still here.  In fact she’s hovering over me right now.  I took the day off from work, and promised to take her to the store, so she’s checking to see what time I’m going.  Once she starts a conversation, it’s very hard to stop her.  She asks question after question, until you want to tear your hair out.

She is 87 now, and in good health.  I wish for her death everyday.  My heart sinks when I hear the noises she makes when she gets up in the morning, because I know she lived through the night.  Once she did not answers her phone, and I hoped for the worst, but she was alive.  I feel like a monster.

She drives my daughters and husband crazy too.  This morning I had to lead her out of the kitchen where my 29 year old daughter was making herself breakfast before heading out for the day.  She just hovered, asking question after question, about Christmas gifts for her sister.  I felt bad for DD, so I stepped in and took Ramona out.

Giving Christmas gifts is very important to Ramona.  It’s one of the ways she earns her place.  She pays rent, and buys some groceries also.  We could live without her rent, but I can’t kick her out.  She has no place else to go.  We could sell the house, and move, but it would be expensive to find a place big enough for me and my family.  If my girls ever move out, I would love to get a smaller place with just me and my husband.  I wish Ramona would die already!

I left home at 19, because I could not stand Ramona, but I ended up back with her.  Between this,  my natural mother’s death, and my father’s family shunning me, my heart is in tatters.

I  shouldn’t complain……