I didn’t name you.

I never named you. I literally never sat down and started trying to pick out names for you, that seemed too intimate. I detached myself from the very beginning, trying to be “tough” and “strong”. Wow.  Yeah, the tough girl who won’t even try to come up with a name for her baby because she’s so damaged and traumatized that she didn’t even realize that she was either of those things! I thought I was being “courteous” by not allowing myself to be emotionally involved in my pregnancy. I thought I was doing the adopters a solid. I was so ignorant, that I felt that was the proper thing to do. I wanted my baby to be a “clean slate” for these people. What an ignorant person I was. Trauma happens in the womb, but I wasn’t aware of any of these things.

Little did I know, everything I was doing and feeling, my baby was experiencing too. My baby knew that I was feeling anxious, sad, scared, confused, ashamed, angry, depressed, hopeless. She probably knew when I was promising her parents-to-be that she was going to be “their” baby, that I wasn’t going to change my mind and keep MY baby. Oh no, we can’t have that happening now, can we? They’ve already built a nursery, they were so looking forward to being parents, I could never do anything to disrupt their little dream! </s> Excuse my sarcasm, but my sympathy for adopters is GONE. Never again will I put the emotional well-being of two people I barely know ahead of my or my child’s well-being again.

I hate adoption and I despise the 23 year-old me.

I’m not selfless. I’m not an angel. I’m not a saint.

“Within the realm of Open Adoption, the mythology has changed in telling ways from that of the closed system. With an increased acceptance of single parenthood, rather than the promiscuous/sinner label that marked single mothers of the closed system, women who consider adoption now are often elevated to the status of saintly/selfless — at least until the papers are signed. With less social shame involved in an unplanned pregnancy, the industry has had to make adoption more culturally palatable – more apparently humane to such a “selfless” woman and her child.”

Long, but worth reading:

http://www.mercianeclectics.dsl.pipex.com/adoption/OpenAdoptionWall.htm

This too:

Under the current system, not only do adopters create the rules when it comes to contact between first mother and her placed child, they also make them regarding contact between the first mother’s placed child and her raised children. After years of seeing and hearing disturbing reports about sibling relationships in Open Adoption being controlled solely by the whim or comfort level of adoptive parents at a given time, I have come to view the first mother’s raised children as the forgotten children of open adoption. The plight of these kids remains virtually un-addressed in any meaningful way within the adoption community.

And this:

After the closure of what had been an Open Adoption, one birthmother who turned to counseling was surprised when her therapist used the model of parental abduction in treatment. The limbo grief, the perpetual wondering, the feeling that she must do whatever the adoptive parents requested to maintain scraps of information about her child, along with her conflicting feelings of compassion and rage toward her child’s adoptive family, were all elements shared by mothers and fathers who had lost children to family abduction. The type of grief experienced in adoption (closed or open in an unhealthy manner ) is so uniquely painful that it has also been compared to that experienced by the families of soldiers missing in action.

And this:

Still other original mothers are forced to present themselves as “aunts” or “step sisters” in order to see their children. Under the spell of an industry that deems them lucky to even glimpse their children, these women report that their children’s adoptions are open. Open at what price? In denying their very identity not only are they participating in a lie, such women must also repress and deny a myriad of conflicting messages and a Pandora’s Box of grief. Yet, it’s not hard for any mother to comprehend why these women continue to submit — when it is the only means of maintaining contact with their children.

And this:

Common themes accompany this sort of loss with regard to Open Adoption, with the primary theme being the birthparent’s silence. In order not to upset the chance contact will continue or may resume after a period of no contact, these mothers become bound and muted to varying degrees. The silence can manifest in fear of speaking out to the adoptive parents, the agency, or to anyone about the betrayal of the agreement, lest daring to do so make matters worse. The binding manifests in the inability to act on their children’s behalf, even when they witness family dynamics that are harmful to their child. Unfortunately, because of the power imbalance in an Open Adoption relationship, this fear is based on a reality which is often realized upon confrontation.

And this:

Boss recognizes that “because ambiguous loss is a loss that goes on and on, those who experience it become physically and emotionally exhausted from the relentless uncertainty.” In this way, ambiguous loss can resemble Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in that the lack of resolution “traumatizes.” However, with ambiguous loss, Boss notes that the trauma continues to exist in the present. “It is not post anything,” writes Boss. Survivors of ambiguous loss describe the trauma as “a roller coaster ride, during which they alternate between hope and hopelessness. A loved one is missing, then sighted, then lost again.”

And this:

So it is with all the love and the rage and the gut instinct of any mother, our sights become set, our energy poised on seeing The Wall come down. Our heads throbbing from beating against it, our fingers bloodied from trying to pry that last hole open, our tongues thick with unspoken outrage, The Wall has driven some of us to our knees. Yet, here we may be lifted by a truth greater than The Wall. A staggering truth that no piece of paper, no human being, no mere brick-and-mortar facade can take from us — the truth of our motherhood.

 

I don’t even have a copy of the adoption contract that I signed. I just realized how screwed up that is. It was a private adoption, so I have no agency to go through. To think that I was that far gone mentally, that I wouldn’t even request a copy of the adoption papers where I signed my parental rights away… Well, that just blows my mind. Everything about this situation feels so fragile. It’s so heavy.

How do I forget about you?

Tell me. Because unfortunately, I want to. It would make life easier to live. Besides, it doesn’t seem like you really care from our last few interactions.

I’m tired of thinking of you. I’m tired of the grief and regret. I’m tired of not being able to talk to you. I’m tired of feeling like a stranger to my own daughter. I’m tired of feeling lesser-than. I’m tired of looking at your social media and wondering if you would be the same had you been with me. I don’t want to wish your current life away, however, I wish you had grown up with me. I know you have a different life now, and I understand that. It still doesn’t change the fact that I want you with me, that I wish I had made a different choice.

To be brutally honest, I don’t like how you’ve been raised, I don’t respect the people who have raised you. I know you love them, I know they are your parents since they raised you, but I still don’t respect them. The manipulative and jealous behavior, mixed with the ignorance is just too much for me. I’m not even sure that you can see it. It’s such a crazy feeling to know that ultimately, I placed my daughter with people that I would eventually regret ever meeting, people that stand for the total opposite of what I stand for. It really sucks to feel that way. I wish I could feel happy for you. The thought of you makes me feel crushing misery, guilt, disappointment, and hopelessness. Unfortunately, I feel these feelings far too often, so they just become intensified, because I can’t escape them. It’s a pretty heavy thing to carry around. I want it off of my back. Out of my heart, deleted from my mind.

I was actually considering avoiding you from here on out, that includes looking at your social media. Outside of seeing your photos and evolving beauty, it brings me little joy, and lots of anguish. I don’t know why I even torture myself, it’s like I can’t control it. I desire to see how you are doing, even though in my mind, I don’t want to hurt myself even further. I was thinking, perhaps I should just cut it right here and now, even if you eventually decide that you would like to meet me again. I never thought I would say that. I never thought I would feel that. I would prefer this ship of memories to sail off into the sunset, and sink to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, never to be seen again. I don’t want to think of you any longer. I’m tired. I want to give up. This soul-crushing grief is just too much to handle. I thought it would get easier, I sure did fool myself. It only seems to get worse with time, certainly not easier. There are some days I would prefer to just exit life in order to escape the torment in my mind.

If only there were a way to delete memories… I love you dearly, but the thought of you is too painful. Even though we aren’t together, you haunt me daily.

My Mother’s Mother

*Names have been changed for anonymity*

My mother (Mae) was abandoned by her mother (Dee) as a baby. Her and her 3 siblings, merely babies and toddlers. Dee’s new husband didn’t want the kids that came with the package; So Dee left them with her parents to raise.  Mae didn’t have a good life with her grandparents, it was quite the opposite. She was unwanted by her own mother, abused, and subjected to domestic violence in the home she was placed in with her own grandparents. Her own grandfather sexually abused her for the entirety of her life there, she even admitted to getting pregnant with me at 17, so she could move out and escape that house. Oddly enough, she still continued to visit them and even take me there as a child. It was so weird to picture my “pap” that used to give me quarters to go to the corner store to buy penny candy, as a child abuser.

Unfortunately for Mae, she didn’t break the cycle. She only continued it. Due to her poor choices, she ultimately subjected us children to massive amounts of dysfunction, mental and physical abuse, as well as sexual abuse by family and friends. I’m sure her intentions were to be different, but she was too far gone. She struggled with mental issues for as long as I can remember, including severe depression and bi-polar. I remember long periods of depression where she would do nothing but sleep on the couch because that was her only escape from her reality. There were also periods of alcohol and drug abuse. She often wished herself dead, she also wished that she had aborted us. To top it off, Mae stayed with a man who treated her like a punching bag for 17 years.

I always thought her story was so sad. Although I had a tumultuous life, at least I had my Mom there. She wasn’t the best Mom by any means, and our life was very crazy, but she was mine. I was accustomed to the dysfunction. I eventually broke the cycle. I didn’t just break it, I destroyed it. I eventually destroyed those bonds. After many mistakes and some time, I did it.

However, I feel terrible that my son had to experience my growing and learning period. Having him at 19, he was exposed to my earlier dysfunctional life with my family. He knew my Mom and some of my relatives. I’m not saying that they were all terrible, all of the time, but it certainly isn’t the life or individuals I would have chosen to be around. As a child, I often felt shame about my life and the people who I am related to. I never felt like I fit in. I always felt like an outsider. My children will not be subjected to these people; I have severed the cord. Later in life, they can seek them out if they choose, but I don’t want them in my life. Sadly, I understand the reason for my mother’s dysfunction. However, I can’t personally allow my life to be directly influenced by her any longer.

When I think of my Mom being abandoned by her own mother, it makes me feel like I’m really no better than Dee. I essentially abandoned my daughter by placing her for adoption. In my heart, I don’t want to see it that way, but my mind tells me otherwise. Like my grandmother and my mother, I went on to have 3 children. My grandmother didn’t keep any of her children, my mother kept hers but struggled greatly with being a good mother; And lastly, I went on to have my first child at 19, then placing my second for adoption at 23 because I was heading down the same hopeless, dysfunctional path as my mother. My third child will hopefully grow up to be a very healthy human, she seems good so far…

It’s hard living without your Mom… I feel it daily. I know that the absence of the family I grew up with is the best for my personal journey, but it still hurts. I want those random phone calls just to chat, I desire that motherly support and love. I often see other people with their mothers and I sometimes feel a tinge of jealousy and envy, but overall extreme sadness. However, if I’m being real with myself, I never really had the mother-daughter bond that I admire and desire. It’s always been muddied with ugliness and dysfunction. But again, I understand. My mother wasn’t strong enough to make things different; She is more comfortable in her misery. I guess I can’t blame her, life is very hard, especially when you are raised without true love and kindness. Life kinda sucks when you feel unwanted and unloved.

I will always love my mother, she carried me in her womb, she gave me life, I am part of her. Nothing or no one will ever replace that. She will always be a part of my life, because she lives in my heart, my mind and my blood. We may not be physically connected any longer, but the good parts of her will live through me. I will always cherish the handful of truly good memories that I have. I will always appreciate those moments where her true self was able to come out of the muck and shine through. I know deep down that my mother’s heart is beautiful, it is just very tainted and broken. She is a beautiful, creative and talented woman who just didn’t get the proper nurturing and love. I only wish she would see that and try to help herself.

My first birthday.

My first birthday

I forgive you, Mom. I forgive you for the life you put us through. I understand that you were broken, possibly beyond repair. I want so badly to have a relationship with you, but I know it won’t be any different this time than it was in the past. I don’t want the chaos and uncertainty. I don’t want the dysfunction in my life any longer, I also don’t want it in my children’s lives. I have to deal with my own due to what I was subjected to in my own childhood. I know all of these things to be true, yet I still long for you. I long for that relationship, the woman I can call when no one else will understand me. The woman I can call when I need to tell her exciting news about something awesome that’s happened in my life. I still look at your photographs, your smile, and I see your pain. I wish it were different. I wish there were a way for us to really move forward and have a strong and loving bond. I just don’t ever see it happening because I refuse to accept your unwillingness to change and improve yourself as a human. But, I just want you to know that I do still love you. I only wish it could be different.

 

Inescapable

I only wish others could understand this pain, this loss. It’s a daily thing. I’m constantly wondering what she’s feeling, how she’s doing, if I’ll ever see her again… It’s an inescapable thing. I only wish that I could forget it. Put it away, pack it up, ship it off to another land. It’s all consuming, my every day, so many times she invades my thoughts. It’s torture. I just want it to stop. I feel like it’s over. I feel hope slipping away, each day. And I sit in my mind, in agony. Wishing I didn’t have to feel this. Wishing that it would just go away. I live in a ocean of regret. I can’t stop this feeling. It’s pretty shitty.

For me, this is adoption. I don’t have any happy, sunny views on it. I think sometimes adoption is a good thing, yes. There are children who are truly in dire need of a loving family. In cases where a child is in danger, being neglected, abused, malnourished, etc… I completely agree that they should be cared for by other capable, kind, humans. In cases of financial situations though, looking back, it wasn’t the right choice for me. I had two main concerns for her, my lack of financial stability at the time, as well as the fear that her father would not have been there for her. I allowed those fears to overrule even my most basic instinct of mothering my child. I really did play some mind tricks on myself. I had myself convinced that I was doing the right thing. It’s so crazy how powerful our thoughts can be. They can influence so much in our lives.

The “not-so-secret” Secret

The man who signed the papers for my daughter’s adoption wasn’t actually her father. Yeah, I know… That’s screwed up. I know it is. I don’t feel good about it. Looking back, it’s just another item on my list of regrets.

When I told her father that I was pregnant, he wanted me to get an abortion. I told him that I was not doing that. That day was the end of our “relationship”. I saw him once or twice after the announcement of my pregnancy. I ran into him in public one evening and he started to question me about the baby. I told him that I miscarried and that it wasn’t his. Obviously, he didn’t believe me, nobody with common sense would have. But he didn’t push it, I walked away from him and that was that… The last time I physically saw him.

At that point, I had already started dating another person. I was not very comfortable being alone in my younger years, I will openly admit it. I was dysfunctional, always searching for the right person to love me. I’ve dated a lot of different people in my lifetime. It was nothing for me to move on to the next person. I had this gift/curse of turning most of my feelings on and off, like a lightswitch. I would get upset for a little bit, then move right on. I think I just buried everything and tried to mend it by finding that exciting “fresh love” feeling again. This most likely stems from my childhood (we’ll talk about that another time). This person I started dating ended up being the person who signed her adoption papers with me, we were together for close to 6 years. He was with me through my entire pregnancy and saw me through all of the heartache after. He was good to my son. And during my pregnancy, he even offered to help me raise my daughter, because he knew I was struggling with my decision. I only wish I would have taken him up on his offer. I didn’t though, because I let myself believe that I wasn’t enough. Him and I eventually parted, but at least I would still have my daughter with me today if I would have allowed him to help me.

Now back to the man that was actually her father…

I always wondered all of those years if he actually cared or not. I knew he had to know that I lied to him. But perhaps, that was just an easy way to not have to deal with it for him. We were both still young-minded, he also had another small child, so a new baby may have been an intimidating responsibility in his mind. I understand his hesitations, but I still have some underlying anger about it. Had he been supportive and just helped me, I would have my daughter with me today.

Not too long ago, I finally contacted him and told him everything. It felt good to let it out. Come to find out, he already knew, he just didn’t push the issue. He claimed to have regrets as well. It was good to talk to him about everything. It was so bizarre. And after a few conversations, I disappeared back into the shadows. I only wanted to let him know about her and let him see who he helped create. For me, that chapter was now over and I could put him to rest in my mind. He wants to know our daughter eventually, but I’m not sure if she’ll be up to it. From the sounds of it, she’s not really interested in meeting him at this point. That may change eventually, but who knows? Right now, she doesn’t even want to talk to me, so who knows what the future holds…

Topsy-Turvy

As I write this post today, so much has changed since the one I originally wrote almost 2 years ago. At the time I first started posting, I had contact with my daughter. And now, unfortunately, I do not. She chose to end contact, and I don’t know for how long.

Ah, the open adoption. How bittersweet…

That’s the one thing that I can’t decide if it’s better or worse to have… contact. It was almost easier not knowing what she looked like, not knowing how her life is going. It was almost easier being curious, but keeping my distance. But now, the box is open. I can’t close it again. I WANT TO for my own sanity. But, I can’t. Sadly, some days I wish I could erase her from my mind. Thoughts of her bring nothing but pain, regret and sorrow. It’s soul-crushing.

It’s always been a roller coaster ride, but for awhile, things were looking good. We were texting, following each other on social media and I was able to send her packages. It was nice to have that contact. I would inquire about her days, sometimes she was super talkative, and then cold and distant at other times. I made her things and sent them to her, and sent her letters. I attempted to treat our relationship like a friend, I didn’t try to act motherly. I would always be open about my feelings, but I didn’t try to mother her. Perhaps my interest in her life and desire to communicate with her often, came across as being motherly? Or since she was exposed to me on a personal level now, perhaps she couldn’t handle that kind of attention from me? Who knows? It’s all very confusing to me. I was always honest, while at the same time not fully expressing my real emotions in fear of scaring her away. Perhaps my desire to know her pushed her away? Maybe I’m just too much for her? Was it my honesty? Was it too overwhelming for her? Did I ask too many questions? My only desire was to have a decent relationship with her. Now, I wonder if it will ever happen…

Some days it felt so promising… Like when she would leave sweet comments on my photos, or when she sent me a text out of the blue one day that said “You’re so beautiful!”.  The most uplifting was the day that she told me that she can’t wait to turn 18 so she can meet me. That was such a beautiful day. I’ll never forget it. I even have a photo to remember that day. All of the little things were so big to me. Gargantuan. They gave me hope. However, it seemed like every time we made some progress, it would only take a step or two backwards…

Throughout our contact, she claimed that her adoptive mom was getting upset with her for wanting to know me. Now, I never outright disrespected her parents, but I didn’t sugarcoat things either. She even expressed frustration with the situation, and when I told her that I agreed, and find that to be manipulative behavior, she would go silent and then would come back later and tell me how she’s happy that I gave her life, but those are her parents and it’s not their fault. This to me was quite confusing. It’s hard to say if those were her own thoughts, or the words of the adults around her. She claimed that her mom “treated her differently” when she knew she was in contact with me. She also said that she didn’t want to “ruin her relationship with her mom”. Why would someone want to guilt-trip a child for wanting to know the person who gave them life?

Lastly, she told me that she feels like I’m trying to squeeze in and take the place of her mom. That was the last conversation I had with her. She said she “couldn’t do this any longer, it’s taking her focus from her family and that’s not fair”. So, needless to say, I was quite devastated. I felt my heart sink into my stomach. I just wanted to fade away. I often wonder if she was honest about her mom, or if she was using that as an excuse to pull away from me. I guess I’ll never know. I know that there can certainly be jealously and possessiveness from adoptive parents, but this brought me great anger. I already have strong feelings about her adoptive parents, but this situation made them worse. Considering that she is still young, I know that she is experiencing the pains of being a teenager and all of the fun stuff that comes with it. I’ve been trying to not be upset by her deciding to not have contact with me, but it’s hard not to be crushed.

I’ve learned a huge lesson from this loss. Adoption may be good for some situations, but it was the worst choice I’ve ever made in my life. I regret it, it’s certainly my biggest regret. I should have parented my daughter. She should be with me today.

I Never Knew

Looking back, I never thought it would be this way. I knew it would affect me in one way or the other throughout my life, but I never knew I could feel this much emptiness.

I have read stories from other mothers and some are hopeful and happy, some are bad, some are crazy, some are extremely sad, but the thing is… We all have different stories. And that’s what makes this situation so difficult to understand from an outside point of view.

I placed my child after I was already a mother, I had my first child at 19. I’m not sure how I did it. I really think I had trained my mind to block out anything that hurt. I blocked it out for YEARS. Now, I feel it all. It’s been coming in violent waves.

I realized that I spent so long trying to shove those feelings deep down inside. I spent a lot of time hanging out with friends, partying, drinking, basically escaping my reality. Don’t get me wrong, of course I still took care of my son and my responsibilities. I went to college after my daughter’s birth, I was working 3 jobs and going to school at one point. But in my free time, I let loose. I was reckless at times. I didn’t realize until the past few years that I did all of that as an escape. I thought I was just living the life of a dysfunctional woman in her 20’s. Wild and crazy. I have always been a bit dysfunctional due to my childhood and the family I was born into. But, at this point, I didn’t know that it was stemming from something far deeper.

It was the loss of her. I didn’t even speak of her often, it’s almost as the trauma was so great, that my brain was trying to forget her. At times, a thought of her would creep out of the locked box in my mind. When this happened, I felt great shame; I felt shame that I was able to distract myself enough, that I literally locked her away in my mind.

I won’t lie, it brings me great depression and despair. I long to know and hug the child that I carried in my womb, that I held in my arms, that I placed into the arms of another woman. I will never forgive myself for that. Never. Even if I wanted to, I don’t think I could. I severed a bond that didn’t have to be broken. I deprived my daughter of the chance to grow up with her original family. We’re good people, we were enough. I only wish I would have seen that back then.

It Never Gets Easier

It’s been over 13 years.

I get it now. It will only get harder. I will only feel more pain as I watch my little girl grow into a woman. I have to sit by and watch her from afar as she goes on her journey through all of her life experiences. I will never be the shoulder she cries on when those boys break her heart, I will never be the woman she confides in when she gets in a fight with her best friend. I will never be the woman she calls when she finds out she’s going to be a mother, or if the love of her life proposes to her, or if she lands that dream job and moves off to another place.

I should have been that woman. I may never get the chance to be that woman. I can only sit back and hope that I get to eventually get a taste of what it’s like to be part of her life.

Edit: I wrote this post on February 1st, 2015. I never published it. Since then, 2 more birthdays have passed. There have been so many changes in our relationship since this. But, I figured since it’s already written, I’m going to post it. This will be my place to just let all of these feelings out.

I’m a Natural Mother

I am a natural mother to a beautiful girl. She was conceived in the year of 2000. This is part of my story.

I truly felt that adoption was the best choice at that point in my life. Looking back at myself from the current version of me, I know that I was always scared, torn and confused. I had so many reasons to doubt myself… I was scared of being a failure and I thought I was doing the right thing for her. The couple who were adopting my daughter were family of my mother’s boyfriend at the time, I felt like she would be close by and it would be easier since I knew them. I didn’t want to change my mind and upset them when they wanted a child so badly and couldn’t have their own, I didn’t want to go back on my word, I didn’t want to have a second child without a good father, I was alone, 23 and already had a small child and was struggling taking care of him and I. I definitely wanted her to have more than I could give her on a financial level. I felt like a loser. What was I going to be able to give this little girl? I could give her my love and my “best”, but I just didn’t feel like my “best” at the time was good enough. There seemed to be so many reasons to go through with it. She came from a short-lived “relationship” that ended the day that I told him I was pregnant and he told me that I needed to have an abortion. I told him that I wasn’t doing that and kicked him out and was left on my own to figure it out.

I had made quite a few bad choices when it comes to men, so I am aware that I put myself in this situation. Unfortunately, it’s taken a lot of living and mistakes to know what I know today. I had the displeasure of living the abused child life; the regularly scheduled domestic violence, the severely traumatized mother, the lack of my real father and presence of a terrible stepfather, drugs, alcohol, social services, being molested, the mental and emotional abuse, moving around, the unsavory type of trailer-living, the judgmental, homophobic, religious and hateful racist ignorant family and stepfamily. In other words, the textbook recipe to create a dysfunctional and/or damaged human being. It took me until I was in my late 20’s before I finally realized that no part of that family was good for me, even my own mother. It’s a lot of work to try to fix you as an adult, and I’m still working on it. Along that road I realized that I never dealt with the loss of my daughter from my life, it went with the rest of my negative experiences, I locked them in the trauma chest.

My pregnancy was easy, but sad. The closer it got, the harder it got. I just wanted it to be over. It started to hit me that my child who was growing inside me was going to be leaving me. I almost changed my mind, but again, I started to compare myself to her adoptive parents to be, I didn’t have a room for her, still struggling to make ends meet, basically made myself feel like I wasn’t good enough and that they would give her a better life. I knew that I am a good mom; I just couldn’t give her what they could.

In 2001, less than two weeks after my own birthday, she was born. Her labor was short and her delivery smooth. I feel like that time all passed so quickly! I held her in my arms; I looked at her beautiful little face. I just wanted to keep her but I knew that they wanted her and were waiting for her too. They built a room for her; they had all of the supplies. They were ready to be parents to her. That’s all I could think about. I shut my own feelings out to try to kill the pain. I just kept telling myself how much better she would be with them. I don’t remember every moment of that experience, I remember making sure to keep up with the meds to keep my feelings drowned. I was an absolute mess. I remember leaving most of the care up to her new mom. I wanted to pick her up and love her and cuddle her, I wanted to care for her… but I kept it to a minimum. Looking back, I now realize that I was trying to detach myself. The social services even came in and offered to help me if I didn’t want to do it. I really didn’t want to give my baby away; I think other people felt it as well. I couldn’t do it though, I looked at her new parents-to-be and felt this fear that I was going to change my mind. I didn’t change my mind, I kept my word. I was miserable inside, I have never experienced that kind of sadness before. The day they dropped me off from the hospital and I watched my baby drive away with someone else was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. I went numb. I cried. I was depressed. I had to use sleeping pills at first just to sleep at night after her birth. I then tried to bury it as fast as possible. I wanted to feel like life was normal again. Naturally, that never happened, life just became different.

After the first year of the open adoption, I had to pull myself away; it was far too hard to deal with. Honestly, I don’t even remember much of that first year. All I have is some photos of a couple of different moments. I remember the limited visits, then her first birthday party. That party was an emotional nightmare for me, I left in tears. I felt so out of place and alien, like my presence was not really desired. After that is when contact ceased on both ends. By chance, I have seen her on two different occasions in passing at one of her family member’s homes. The one time I remember clearly is when she stopped right in front of me and looked up at me and said “hi!” and I will never forget that moment. It was like being stabbed in the heart. My flesh and blood was standing right in front of me and had no idea who I was. That was devastating. In order to deal with the loss of my daughter, I had to shut it out, I shut it out for years and rarely even spoke of her. I remember people being shocked when I would tell them I had another child. I kept it buried, where it couldn’t hurt me, where I didn’t have thoughts of her invading my thoughts throughout the day and night…

In 2006, my son and I moved and started new. I left my relationship of 6 years and wanted to make my life better. This is when my life started to change. I got a job that I really liked, I was having fun, and things were going well. Not long after, I met the man that I am with still today. In 2007 we gave birth to our little girl. This experience brought all of those feelings about my first daughter back. I remember wondering what she is going to think when she finds out that I had another child, but yet, I didn’t keep her.

The positive thing was, I was finally at a good point in life. I had my small family and we had everything we needed, we weren’t rich, but I was doing better than I ever had before that. I knew things were only going to get better. I was keeping my distance and trying not to interfere out of respect and my own insecurities, but I realized that is not how I wanted her to remember me. I did want to be part of her life. Even if she didn’t want contact with me yet, I want her to know that I am here.

Forward to 2011, I emailed her mom to see if I could get a photo of her and asked how she was. I wanted to know more about her and that interaction ended up being frustrating and I expressed my frustration to her mom. They talked and were letting my daughter read my emails I sent to her mom. Apparently, they didn’t tell her that she was adopted, she found out from a family member, so now they don’t hide anything from her. She was supposed to know that she was adopted. In the end, I finally got a photo of her with her family and after that I didn’t try to contact them again for awhile. In the past year, I found her on the internet. I tried to cautiously interact with her, there were some hot and cold interactions and then she said that if I want to communicate with her to send it in the mail. So I did. Nervously, I made her a birthday card and wrote a letter and sent it. I was honest in my letter to her, I explained my feelings and my side in the least overbearing way that I could. To my surprise, she actually called me. My heart dropped to the floor when I asked who it was and she said her name. I remember I felt shaky and overwhelmed with emotion, I was stuttering, I couldn’t believe that she called me! She loved her card and told me that the letter helped her understand things a little more. We talked about life stuff and school. I don’t remember everything we spoke of, I was so overwhelmed with emotion, but we talked for a little over an hour. She said a couple of things to me that I didn’t know how to take, she brought up me referring to her as my child in an email, she said that her mom went to the doctor’s appointments with me and everything, so she thanks her mom for her birth just as much as me. (I didn’t understand the need for that to be established) And she also stated that her whole family had talked about the situation and that some of her relatives were saying that she would want to go with me now… so I feel like some of them don’t want her to get to know me if they are saying things like that. She doesn’t even know me, why would anyone say that to her? But the call ended with a surprise, she actually said “Love you” to me, and of course I said it in return, but, I was shocked. I didn’t expect that.

She doesn’t write back to my letters, I’ve sent a few so far. I recently deleted my account, but until then we followed each other on IG and she’d occasionally like my photos. I feel so pathetic for saying just wishing for someone to acknowledge me, but it’s real. I just want her to see that I’m here and I don’t want to take the place of anyone. I just want to be another person that loves her. I can’t help but love her. She’s my flesh and blood, I’m a mother, I love my children. I feel the loss of her in my life. It’s very real, it’s very sad, it’s a heavy thing I carry with me. I know it was my choice to give her to someone else to raise, that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. I also think of her, deep down, I wonder how she feels? Does she have any underlying issues now because I gave her to another family but yet I have my first and third child? She sounds healthy and sane, I just hope that my choice didn’t damage her. Some days I want to give up, I feel like she’ll never want to meet me. But something keeps me going.

The older, wiser, stable me regrets my decision. This may not be the feeling that all birth mothers may feel, but this is mine. The more time passes, that’s what I feel about my decision. I hate the way I feel. I hate that I gave my baby away because I was scared and I didn’t feel like I was good enough and I hate that I was more concerned about the feelings of others. I look back and think about where I was and where I am now, it turned out okay, things worked out. My kids are awesome people, they are good and intelligent, kind and creative, and they are unique and cool. They are taken care of, always were. They have way more than I had growing up, they are loved and encouraged. She would have been okay with me. I should have taken the chance and tried to make it work. I would have struggled, but I did that any way. My life might be totally different now, I know this. I know I can’t change it and it’s going to have to go on its natural course. I have to talk about it though. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the life she’s been given, she seems to be very loved, happy and well taken care of. Her life is different than it would be if she was with me, but different doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I now have to deal with the blow-back of my decision and it’s in full force. Every day I think of this beautiful little girl sitting in a few towns away that looks so much like me and used to live in my belly and would be here with me had I made one different decision, but I can’t have her in my life until she’s ready to have me, if she ever will.

I know she has conflicting emotions about it. I’m just hoping that she eventually talks to me about it. I know she has her own side and I don’t overlook that, I try not to be pushy in my interactions and if she asks that I do something, I will respect her wishes. I love her. I don’t even get the pleasure of being around her, but I already know she’s awesome. I don’t know when I’m going to leave this world, I just hope that I get the pleasure of hanging out with her and talking before I leave though.

I recently talked with one of my friends that was also a natural birthmother, her daughter is grown now and she has contact and visits when they get the chance, she told me that for her it’s harder now and at no point is it easy. I figured as much. This is a very permanent and sad situation, I would certainly do it different if I could go back and choose.

That’s my story so far.

Side note: One good thing that came from the situation was that I actually went to college not long after I had her. The sadness of not having her motivated me to try to start improving myself so I can do better in life and not end up going down the path of my family members. I ended up getting a degree and that has led to some cool opportunities for me.