Communication Anxiety

I wonder if you know how my stomach drops, my pulse quickens, and my chest tightens with each letter I type to you? I get so incredibly nervous when I attempt to reach out to you. It’s like a fragile keepsake, that I will shatter if I say one wrong word. Since I don’t want to cause damage, I sit here, trying to figure out how to navigate this through this chaos. My personality doesn’t mesh well with this mess I’ve created. I am far too bold and aggressive to sit in the shadows, bowing to the will of another person. Yet, this has forced me to be patient, because I know I have to be. It’s very difficult. A lot of days, I want to give up, and walk away forever. Some days I want to share a piece of mind with those who are making this situation more difficult. However, I won’t. Because I know that I might create more damage, so I sit here in silence. Hoping that you’ll eventually decide that I’m worth knowing.

I want so badly to be able to talk to you, get to know you more. But it’s just… Silence. I wonder if my years of silence when you were young ruined everything… Should I have tried to stay in your life, even though I felt incredibly unwanted? Probably, yes. It was so incredibly difficult though, I will never forget how low I felt during those times. I truly believed that I was NOTHING.

You don’t talk to me because you don’t want someone else to get upset. The fact that you have to feel forced to choose is really sad to me.

I wonder what you feel when you hear from me?

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Like Clockwork…

Between the hours of 3AM-5AM… It never fails. Every. Single. Day. I wake up thinking of her and this hellish, soul-sucking reality.

It doesn’t matter what I do, that’s what happens. It’s exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want to think of her, but this is not healthy and it’s taken over my entire existence at this point. It’s almost like I can’t find any grounding. Since I really started facing my grief from her adoption, things have just gotten worse. I don’t know how I kept everything at bay for so long.  Especially since now she treats me like I don’t exist, or like my existence is bothersome to her and her life. At least before this, I was a peasant who was given a few breadcrumbs of hope, and now I am left with nothing but thoughts.

FUCK THIS ADOPTION. I HATE IT.

Dreams vs. Reality in this “Open” Adoption

In my mind, I was going to get to see her often. It would be okay, maybe tough, but okay? Since I wouldn’t be with her, I wouldn’t bond with her, it would be like she was someone else’s baby, it would be okay, right?

Remember, you already committed to this. You don’t want to let anyone down now, plus, you don’t need another baby right now, how are you going to afford it? You’re living in a broken trailer, you’re a poor single mom stripper who struggles to raise the child you have. You don’t need another baby right now, you’re just not ready… Let her go.

I would visit with her, and she would know who I was. She would love me, we would get along. We might have an odd or complicated relationship, but in my mind, at least it would have been something… Well, that’s not how it turned out, at all.

I was foolish and ignorant to even think that way in the first place. I betrayed my daughter, I gave her away, I gave away a member of my tribe, my small, unique tribe. Meanwhile, on the exterior, I’m thinking I’m doing a good thing, but deep down, I think I knew it wasn’t right. That experienced really traumatized me, and it was ongoing, so I didn’t even realize how bad it was. It was merely an extension of my already dysfunctional life experience. Always on survival mode. Something very wrong in my psyche drove me to go against my natural motherly instincts. I abandoned my child, I destroyed our bond. And it’s my fault. I don’t understand the person I was at that time. How in the hell did I do that?

So… The first year, visits felt alien, forced, I always felt like her new mom didn’t like my presence any longer, now that she had my baby. Her first birthday party was the end of my visits, the end of direct communication.

Turns out, it wasn’t so easy. It was TOO hard. I COULDN’T handle seeing another woman raising my child, I COULDN’T accept that she didn’t know who I was, my only defense at that point was to simply shut down. I gave up. I mean, I already gave up on her anyway, right? What was she losing? This little “blank slate” baby that I gave away. I was such an ignorant asshole, that I really thought that’s how it worked. I thought my public school education was okay, but looking back, I was so very ignorant when it came to SO many things. I had zero education or support when it came to adoption and the reality of it. I was “selfless” and doing “what’s best for her”. I had no idea what the future held. And I had no idea that my daughter wasn’t just a “blank slate” and that she came with her own unique DNA that connected her to me, that our bond grew while I was pregnant with her, that she knew my scent, my voice, she felt my emotions, she would remember things from me even after she left the womb. How could I be such a fool? I was 23! I should’ve known that we are born pre-wired with some things. I should have known that our connection to mother is one of the most important bonds you can have. I know about it, because my connection to mother is gone, our relationship is over, and even though it’s probably for the best due to dysfunction, I will say that IT SUCKS! And I miss having my mom everyday. Even if she wasn’t that great of one, I miss having her!

Eventually, on the rare occasion when I would see her new mom in passing, it always felt tense and unnatural. I didn’t know what to say or how to feel. Seeing my little girl in the backseat of her car, jumping around. She had no idea who I was. When she walked up to me one day and said “Hi” at her a-grandparents house, I about lost it. That was such a crazy feeling, so depressing, heartbreaking. She didn’t know I was her mother.

That’s my little girl, why is she with someone else? What did I do? Just bury it… just tuck those emotions away… What’s done is done… You aren’t her mom now… Shhhhh….

Religion, racism, blind obedience to authority, military worship, killing animals for fun, all of the things I am the opposite of. I’m so pissed that my child was raised with these things that it makes me want to scream. I didn’t even know these people were the least bit religious or racist. I’m absolutely 100% opposed to religion and racism. And what happens… My daughter went to a christian elementary school and indoctrinated with bullshit, she’s also told that she’s not allowed to date black people, when her bio-half brother is mixed race. So infuriating! I cringe now every time I see her talk about “god” this or that. Even more infuriating is lack of education, she sent me a text one day a few years back that asked if atheists think we came from monkeys!? I guess she didn’t want to ask her a-parents, probably didn’t want to disappoint them by questioning religion! To which I sent her a short explanation of what atheists believe, and that we actually share DNA with monkeys, and bananas for that matter, and that the great world of science and biology is something to embrace. Let’s just say that the way she’s been raised is very disappointing to me and makes the regret 1000% stronger.

I thought her a-parents and I would have an okay relationship. I thought they would want to share her life with me. But it’s the total opposite.

Maybe adoption is the answer for some children, but not this one. This was a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I hate this adoption. I ruined everything and now I can’t fix it.

Birth Day Story

I will never forget that day. I remember waking up with contractions in the middle of the night. If my memory serves me correctly, I was sleeping on the couch, because I was so uncomfortable. I was so anxious, I didn’t know what to expect since you weren’t going to be coming home with me. I woke my partner up once I knew it was definitely time, and he helped me time my contractions. It all happened so fast. I remember feeling so conflicted about that moment, because on one hand I was relieved to not have to be pregnant any longer (me and pregnancy were never a good mix, I basically turn into megabitch who can’t tolerate most things and typically didn’t feel the greatest physically either, it happened with all of 3 of my pregnancies); however, most importantly, it meant you would no longer be physically connected to me. I was about to lose you. You would be gone. That was a lot to process while I was in labor with you.

At the time, my partner didn’t have a license. He was so nervous about driving (hence why he didn’t have a license), but he was able to get me to the hospital safely. I think we called your parents-to-be before we left, that part is kind of hazy, but I do recall them being in the room. My labor with you was actually quite fast. Too fast, I was about ready to push by the time the midwife got there. The whole situation was awkward.

After you came out is where it starts to blur. I’m guessing my mind couldn’t handle what was happening. It was so odd having other people who weren’t my family or hospital staff in the room as I went through what is supposed to be such a sacred experience. The whole experience felt rushed, or like I was observing it from the outside. I remember feeling like I didn’t even have a right to hold you, although all I wanted to do is cradle you in my arms and never let go. You were going to be someone else’s baby, I started withdrawing myself. When you cried, I wanted to be the one to care for you, but I was so defeated, I pretended like I was trying to allow your new parents to bond with you, instead of me. I would let them pick you up instead, I made sure to stay medicated to numb my emotions. When the social worker came in to offer me assistance, I rejected it. I was not worthy. I already made my choice. I wouldn’t allow myself to let my emotions have control of this situation. I had to make myself stone. I had to be unfeeling, despite my hormones going out of control. I was a MESS.

The first time I walked outside after your birth, it was like something had shifted. I remember feeling so alien, like life would never be the same again. It was such a powerful feeling. Looking back, I now know why. At the time, I had NO clue about adoption trauma and it’s effects. But something did change that day, and life was never the same again.

The day we were released was a dark day for me. I remember riding in the back seat with you for our short ride to my home, just watching you sleep. When I had to get out, that was one of the harshest realities that I ever had to face. I took photos of you, said my goodbyes and closed the door. You, my baby, drove off with another family because of one life-altering choice I made. I replay these moments in my mind constantly. They never go away.

Today, I write this 2 days before your 16th birthday. I just want you to know that you matter to me, despite your lack of interest in me. I can’t make you feel any certain way, but if you ever have any doubts, please know that I love you. Always have, always will, no matter how far, how much time passes, etc… You will always be a part of me, and hopefully one day you’ll be able to accept me in your life. If not, at least I tried. I didn’t try to parent you, so I failed you in that way. I can’t take it back. But I’m here today to tell you that I fully regret not raising you. I’m sorry for choosing to give you away. I have to say that, because that’s what I did. I’m not going to use fluffy adoption language any longer. I gave up on one of my children, and you didn’t deserve that. You deserved to be in your original family, who you were born to, we weren’t dangerous or bad. We are good people, and we are enough. Money isn’t everything. I only wish I could have seen that long ago.

I know that you are glad to be part of your adoptive family, but I’m speaking from my perspective, so I see it from a different angle. Please know that I am not trying to offend you with anything I say, I try to phrase things in a thoughtful and polite manner, but at the same time, I will always be honest and straightforward.

I know that I did this. This is my fault. I made my bed.

I know that you don’t love me the way that I love you, and that’s okay.

I know that you’ll always call me by my first name, and that’s okay.

I know that I will always be on the sidelines of your life, and that’s okay.

I know that I did this. This is my fault. I made my bed. And now I lie in it.

Happy almost Birthday, beautiful.

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 mine 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.

 

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 she will always live in me, and I in her. 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…