Thursday, September 1, 2011

Frank talk about adoption with my relinquished daughter, Part 2

Continuing my conversation with Jane about adoption matters, in the fall of 1998 or 1999, at her adoptive parents' home, where she was living with her daughter at the time. How I wish I had taken more pictures--or could find the ones I must have taken that trip. But here is one of her and her husband, Bob, on their last visit to Long Island, in 2007. She would die a few weeks before Christmas that year.
Jane and her husband, Bob, in February, 2007 near Montauk on Long Island. It was a bitterly cold day.

Jane and I are serious most of the time on the tapes, but we found plenty to amuse us. We were ironic, reflective, bawdy. The conversation flows from the serious to the mundane:

What kind of music did I listen to when I was pregnant? Mozart or the blues?
Billie Holiday, the Beatles, Herbie Hancock, the Rolling Stones, Joan Baez, Dinah Washington, Bob Dylan. And Peggy Lee.He gave me one of his albums. I still have all the records he gave me.
Herbie Hancock? She shrugs, asking, who’s he?
Jazz pianist. Patrick took me to hear him in New York when we were there, and later he gave me an album of his. Your father loved jazz, you know, and great ballads, the great American songs and musicians from the Forties, the Fifties. He wasn't into folk music.
 Tell me about your apartment. When you were in Rochester. 
A third-floor walk-up with burlap on the walls, a sunny western window where I hung pieces of colored glass. It was over a dentist’s office. It was like a garret, you would have liked it. My mother didn’t. She drove with me to Rochester (NY) when I moved there, and we checked out apartments together. She wanted me to rent something less—funky.   
Was Patrick nice to you, open doors and take you to dinner in public?
Yes, yes, and yes. What she wants to hear is that we had been in love. In every way I can, I tell her that we were.
           She told me that she understands how my life had been when she came into it, how I had not been able to keep her. She says she does not see how I could have coped with her epilepsy by myself, and that she is thankful to have the parents she has. “I was real lucky and I know it—I wound up with pretty damn good parents and I was lucky and I know it,” she says, quite animatedly.
She was silent for a half minute before adding: “My parents could have returned me. They could have sent me back.” In that bald statement of fact she’s compressed every seizure, every trip to the emergency room, every accident, every anxious moment, every dollar spent—and there have been so many of all the above—that her parents have known. 
Could have sent me back, like goods in a consignment store that nobody wants. If Jane was “chosen” like a pair of shoes, she could be returned. Could have sent me back—what non-adopted person ever thinks that? There’s nowhere to send one’s biological child. Could have sent me back. The concept is a particular demon of the adopted. 
Ouch, I thought, that’s where the relinquishment of my daughter landed her. I had a daughter who grew up thinking, I could be sent back. That’s some hell of an ending to an “adoption plan.” --lorraine
(copyright Lorraine Dusky 2011)
for the first part of the conversation see: My (relinquished) daughter talks about adoption


*Peach* said...

"ouch" moments for adoptees & first mom's who have been "touched" (run over) by adoption. (((hugs)))

Lori said...

I know that my daughter was told the opposite - to reinforce that she had no one to go to when the abuse was very bad. I think that is something that ignorant people do to the vulnerable. I know that I am still learning.