Rankine, who is black and was born in Jamaica, was talking about race, but when I read her words I thought how they applied to mothers who relinquished children and the children who so relinquished. We trail our history behind us like a veil that never leaves us, and instead becomes part of us.
I was thinking about this in terms of my daughter, whom I had relinquished to adoption, giving up a daughter herself in a closed adoption. The year was 1986, 20 years after I gave my daughter up, and I could not convince my daughter to do otherwise. We had not spoken for a while--she was angry at me for a reason I cannot remember--but we spoke a few days after her baby was born, early in April. I had called her on her birthday, April 5. She would not let the natural father and his mother raise the girl, as they wanted; she would respond with silence when I talked about an "open adoption." Ultimately I had to shut up if I wanted to continue talking to my daughter at all, because she would shut down with the slightest provocation. All I could think was: she has to repeat history.
How very sad. She needed to understand what I felt.
Fortunately my social worker did not tell me that I would forget my baby. That I would make a new life without her. She did not tell me, as a priest told a friend of mine, that she had to think of her daughter as dead. In fact my social worker said, you will never forget but you will go on.
We mothers are often weary with the troubles that giving up a child vested upon us. It appears that some of us suffer more than others. But ache we do. We ache in our hearts, we ache in our bones, we ache and long for the missing child. No matter what relationship we forge after reunion, the past--the missed years not shared--is always a part of the present, whether one is the mother or the adoptee. The best we--both mothers who relinquished and the children we bore--can do is live on, move forward, and let the past be a part of our strength today. We overcame the worst. And we survived.--lorraine
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
"... bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV—everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship." --Amazon
Birthright: The Guide to Search and Reunion for Adoptees, Birthparents,and Adoptive...
by Jean Strauss
"Anticipating my own reunion as an adoptee, I devoured this book in about 2 days. It confirmed many of my personal feelings and gave voice to my own experience as an adoptee. It has also taught me to understand and be sensitive to issues my birth parents are/might be dealing with that I could not have anticipated. Two things about this book for which I am most grateful to the author: 1) the conglomeration of experiences of 70 different people representing all three sides of the adoption triad. This helped me to understand what issues are common to the adoption/adoption reunion process and to feel better prepared to (hopefully) handle my own reunion with "informed" grace. 2) a very clear, easy to understand outline of the five emotional stages of the adoption reunion process.
I didn't realize it would be a process or how involved this could be emotionally for all concerned, but how much sense it makes! I have learned from this book that all parties concerned should allow themselves and each other the time they need to heal and adjust to each other. That the process will hurt but bring healing to all involved. That there will be a blessing through the pain. I am grateful for the way this book has equipped me to begin to handle this process. I am buying copies for all involved in my reunion. Thank you, Ms. Strauss, for you labor of love!"--Amazon reviewer
THANK YOU FOR ORDERING ANYTHING THROUGH FMF--EITHER AT AMAZON OR THE AD ON THE RIGHT. Merci!