|Jane and Lorraine, 1983|
She and I speak frequently, send each other presents, and appear to have found a comfortable plateau in our relationship. Our closeness, even with the disruption of adoption, reminds me of my relationship with my mother after I left home—we talked about once a week, everyday chitchat, and now Jane and I do the same: Here’s a recipe for a canapé we call Memphis cheesies, made with Rice Crispies and cheddar. How’s Bill? He’s now working full time as a post man? Great. What’s Brittney up to? You got a steamer to “steam clean” your house? Whoa! Tony thinks I’m a clean freak, wait til he hears about this. Arthur is going to China to visit his daughter—you do remember she lives there? With Lulu, the girl she adopted from China? I’m painting the deck chairs white. You’re painting your bench yellow? You wanted that recipe for the turkey brine? Half apple juice, half water, cup of brandy, one and a half cups of salt.
One Thanksgiving Day she is a part of the event at our house, even though she is halfway across the country: She calls in the morning as my pumpkin pies are baking, she calls later when both our turkeys are roasting, she calls back later to chat with Evan [my husband's son] for nearly an hour before dinner, she calls again that evening to say her turkey came out great, using my brine recipe in her parent’s roaster. The symbolism us not lost on either of us—my recipe, their cooker, her turkey—and we joke about it. Christmas, January, early February, and all is well.
Jane calls me crying one afternoon, seemingly moments after she heard Matt, the oldest of the two biological children of the Rhymers, has died in a skiing accident. A day or two later she is distraught as she tells me her parents are only planning on taking Tim, their natural son, and not her, to the memorial in a western state. I urge her to tell them that she wants to go; she does, and they buy her, and Britt, her daughter, tickets also. We speak a couple of times after she gets back. We have no fight, not even a whisper of an argument.
But then suddenly, a few weeks later, in early March, it is Wham Bam, thank you Ma’am, I’m outta here. First, she stops calling, second, she is cold and barely responsive the one time I manage to speak to her. Then I only get the machine. I call and listen to her husband's even voice on the answering machine, Please leave a message.
It obviously isn’t meant for me. I rack my brain trying to figure out what I might have said—after everything had been going so well—but come up with nothing. Her computer is dialup and she does not have email yet. Or email that I know about.
What did I say, or do?
All I can think is that for some reason she is going to show me how it feels to be abandoned, to have a relationship cut off without an explanation. It matters not that she found some psychic relief in my having searched for her, rather than having to find me, it matters not that we’ve been on cruise control for years now, she is punishing me in kind: She survived being abandoned, now it’s my turn. She would walk away and not look back.
God, it hurt.
Jane had pulled away before without a word, and then we’d resume relations as if there had been no break, but we’d been so close now for a couple of years and I mistakenly assumed that kind of inexplicable behavior was over. If she were an ordinary friend, I would have walked away long ago, not gone back into a relationship that made me crazy, that has so much power to hurt, that stops and starts seemingly without reason, that is so irrational.
But Jane is my daughter.
At the time, I do not know how common this is, but the blogs and the books are littered with stories like this: advance; retreat, advance, retreat, sometimes for good. B.J.’s [Lifton] mother sent her a printed card, Betty Jean cut off for a decade. There were other reasons—her mother was unwilling to tell the rest of the family about Betty Jean—but it was the printed card that stuck in her craw, and my memory. In the last few days, I’ve been in frequent contact with a woman who is in the process of mending a relationship with her natural mother, after cutting her off nine years earlier. Why? Because placating her adoptive parents who were freaking out over her new relationship with that woman—her other mother—and the adoptee found that balancing between the two, as well as managing her own family, was ultimately too much to handle. Understandable, right? But she had not bothered to tell her other mother that staying in touch was too emotionally fraught as long as her adoptive parents were so unhappy about it.
What is so maddening is that when this kind of elimination from one’s life occurs, it happens without warning, without a clue why, without an explanation, and you are left there standing in the road wondering what the hell just happened. And that’s where I was.--lorraine
TO BE CONTINUED.
|Dusten Brown and Veronica|
Update on Veronica Brown. From the Charleston Post and Courier we learned that a Family Court judge on Monday ordered the immediate transfer of Veronica, who turns four next month, to her adoptive parents, and called for assistance from state and federal authorities after the girl’s father, Dusten Brown, failed to appear with his daughter for a court-ordered visit the day before.
|The Capobianco's home on James Island|
Baby Veronica's biological family: Court fight will move to Oklahoma
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Judge orders Veronica’s prompt transfer, asks for prosecutors’ help after father misses visit
Adoptive father John Roberts: Not impartial in the Baby Veronica case
'Baby Veronica' adoption will go forward
Adoptive parent shares thoughts on having returned a girl to her mother