Right! I was thinking, no matter the story told to adoptees, somewhere is this huge mountain of rejection and abandonment they have to get over, if they can. I mostly doubt it is possible.
"I thought I was doing what was right for you..."Cate responds, adding that at the time she was
sixteen herself, with a mother who was drinking herself into her next divorce and a father whose whereabouts she did not know, and had no one to turn to herself at the time--including Lux's father, Baze, who did not even know he was a father. I do wish that Cate had said that once you sign those surrender papers, the state sees you as gone for good. For god-knows-what-reasons, the state--or any agency I have ever heard of--does not follow up and tell you that your child needs help, or was never adopted, all of which so many of us so fervently wish had happened. We have heard many stories of trouble that came later and first/birth mothers who should have been contacted, but the state never does that. Instead, children are shuttled from one foster home to another--or shipped off to boarding school if the adoptive family can afford that--and no one ever thinks, Gee, maybe the mother is in a different place and can step up now and offer this child what he needs.
In my own case, even when my daughter's doctor was writing to the agency for medical information, and I was writing to the agency offering it (about the birth control pills I took during the first trimester), the agency sat on the letters. I got one telling me she was happy with her new family, and I should get on with my life; her doctor's letter went unanswered, though we know the agency received it.
Back to the story: Things continue to go badly between the angry Lux and Cate, daughter and mother. Lux will not forgive her for not taking in one of her foster-care friends; but in the end, the three (Cate, Baze and Lux) decide that they do not wish to jeopardize the arrangement that they have now: that Cate and Baze share joint custody as foster parents. They try to present a united happy front to the social worker, who can have Lux removed and sent to another foster home, but the social worker sees through the facade.
That's when the script got awfully real and the line above is said in hurt and anger. However, the social worker says, Aha! reality here, not maybe you can work this out as a family. As the story progresses, Lux does want to come back to live with Cate (she had been temporarily living with Baze, above the bar he owns, and staying with her boyfriend, who is not exactly college material, or even high school, for that matter). And back at Cate's house, here's where Lux says:
"I can't promise that this is going to work out. Or that I won't get upset and I'll want to take it out on you. I know I seem like I'm okay but I'm more messed up inside than you realize. The truth is, I don't forgive you. I don't know if I'm ever going to forgive you."Wow, I was thinking. That was my daughter speaking to me, no matter how many years went by. She never really forgave me.
"Lux, you don't have to. You don't ever have to forgive me. I'm never going to be able to forgive me. I just want a chance with you. What do I have to do to make it right?"
Lux: "Let me come home."Pass the hanky, I'm tearing up writing this.
What was I reminded of? The day my sixteen-year-old daughter--the daughter I gave up for adoption shortly after birth--and I decided to play act how she felt about...being adopted. She was guiding the action and we two characters ended up in a cemetery looking at some ancestor's grave, which is where my daughter moved the plot line. Ancestor's grave. Her ancestor, and mine--just like in Who Do You Think You Are? And my daughter turns to me and says: Why did you give me up? And a minute later, she's got her hands around my neck shaking me, saying: Why did you give me up?
Does anyone ever truly forgive her birth/first mother for being given up? I don't know. I have heard so few stories about reunions that do not go south that I sometimes wonder if real forgiveness, in your ordinary, run-of-the-mill surrender and reunion, is ever possible.--lorraine
You can watch whole episodes at the website of Life Unexpected. I love this show and hope it plays for several seasons. It is the baby of Liz Tigelaar, who was adopted herself. We previously wrote about Life Unexpected here and here. Personally, it's one of the best things I've ever seen about the issues adoptees face on television. Even though the main character, Lux, was never officially adopted. Well, now she just might be....