I went home this weekend to hopefully find some more clues hidden in my adoption paperwork. What I found wasn’t a clue to lead me closer to what I was looking for. What I found instead broke my heart.
I’ve been reading and watching a lot about adoption since I began this process. Things from other adoptees, birth mothers/first mothers, adopted parents and psychologists. This process has become more than just finding out who gave me life; it is now a full on healing process, from things I didn’t even know I needed healing from.
You see adoption, especially as an infant, has always been treated as a positive in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to change that, I’m not wishing I wasn’t adopted, but I think we need to begin treating it differently. We need to acknowledge that as wonderful as adoption can be, the only reason it is happening is because a terrible thing happened: a mother relinquished her child (often because someone made her). It’s a traumatic event for both mother and child.
Think about this: there are multiple studies that show how newborns immediately and instinctively know their mothers. They can pick out their mother’s breast milk out of multiple choices. They recognize their mother’s voice. That baby longs to be held by its mother, and that mother longs to hold that baby. When I had my girls, I remember the nurses bringing them to me and stating: “we tried to keep her so you could get come rest, BUT SHE JUST WANTED YOU.” In other words: this baby won’t stop crying no matter what we do: she needs her mother to soothe her.
When a newborn is taken from their mother, there is a serious trauma that occurs. One that I’m now realizing has sunk in to my subconscious. It’s easy to say, Oh you were adopted as a baby so you don’t remember anything so you’re fine. On the surface it can appear that way, but deep down it affects us, even if we don’t realize it.
So what were the words that broke my heart? On several of the evaluations of my newborn self the doctors felt the need to include that I was a “fussy baby.” When I read those words, all I could think was, “well what do you expect?”
If adoption is part of your life or you want to know more check out these resources:::
If you like psychology and have an hour to kill watch this lecture by Paul Sutherland: he explains this newborn/mother separation as a developmental PTSD.
Or if you prefer to read check out this book the Primal Wound, : which I still need to pick up
If you want to know more but only have a few minutes: check out this link that I’ve shared once before:
Harbor @ Grenada
3 weeks ago I shared my decision to begin a search for my birth parents. Since then I have been working with a search angel. (A search angel is someone who uses their knowledge of the search process- often an adoptee themselves- to help adoptees in their search. They offer their help for free which makes the term angel so appropriate!) The search angel I am working with has helped me ask the right questions, see the value of the clues I already had, and provided resources and emotional support to help me along the way. I’m so thankful already.
I’m actually so surprised when I look back and see it has only been 3 weeks! After many phone calls, emails, and internet searches, we have actually come a long way! The biggest clue that I had was a club my birth mother belonged to in college. After a few dead ends, I wasn’t sure this would get us anywhere. Once I found the right person to contact I sent them an email, not sure if they would ever respond.
Two days later I received an email that had group pictures with first and last names of the club from the year my birth mother would have been there! I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. My expectations had been exceeded!!
I’ve pulled out all of the women’s names, so now I have a list of 60 names with a face to match!! Somewhere in that picture, in that crowd of people, is very likely the face of the woman who gave me life! It’s overwhelming. It’s exciting.
So now we play the game process of elimination! I have a physical description and some facts about her family that will get me started! For the ones who have Facebook and have a somewhat public profile I’m grateful! I have no idea how people searched before the internet!! It must have been much more cumbersome with many more defeats.
I am heading to my parents this weekend to hopefully find my original adoption paperwork. There will be lots of digging through boxes!! My search angel is certain there will be some more clues there so I’m crossing my fingers that I find it.
I imagine in the near future I will be reaching out making some contact with some of the people on my list. Even if I can’t narrow it down all the way, the other people on the list may remember her.
Thank you to all of you have been supportive of me. It means a lot. There are a lot of mixed emotions and feelings I never knew I had. It was not an easy decision to search, and I do not know what the future holds. Whatever comes of this, I know that I need to do it. For me.
A great post about letting go of stuff. Just in time for Spring Cleaning!
My wife and I are always looking for ways to simplify our lives. Recently, she heard about a project called “40 Bags in 40 Days.” In this challenge, you commit to de-cluttering a single area of your house every day for six weeks. All excess items are placed in bags for donation or dumping. It’s like a Lenten purge.
“Doesn’t it sounds like fun?!” she exclaimed.
“You and I have very different definitions of the word ‘fun,’” I answered.
The first few days, she attacked trouble spots like a human sieve, sifting through years of family knick-knacks. I helped by sitting on the couch and watching reruns of Deadliest Catch.
Gabby unearthed a treasure trove of random items. A VCR recording of an episode of Seinfeld. A twelve- year-old package of funnel cake mix, stashed in a box with a funnel cake maker we have never used. …
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Library in Ancient Ephesus