"It's always there somewhere," I answered, "but it moves into the background as your relationship evolves."
I thought of this as I was having lunch with Anne, a natural mother friend, the other day. I had known Anne since the early 70's through Oregon politics and the feminist movement. It was only after my reunion 18 years ago that I learned we had something else in common.
Both of us had given up a daughter in San Francisco in the 60's. We went on to marry and have three more daughters. We celebrated our 47th wedding anniversaries in December.
Shortly after my reunion, when I learned through a mutual friend that Anne had also lost a child, I called her, desperate to talk to others who could understand the pain of separation and the anxiety of connection.
|Chelsea's Wedding--Jane (in purple) over the bridegroom's shoulder|
Though there was no difference in our commitment to the children we raised and grandchildren we knew from birth and the children we met as adults and the grandchildren we met as children, adoption could not be ignored. "Did you meet members of your granddaughter's adoptive family?" she asked.
"Yes," I answered. "It was not awkward. Everyone was friendly and seemed comfortable meeting me."
"Is you daughter still in contact with her adoptive family," I asked Anne.
"She has a great connection to her adoptive mother given that they live in different towns. She also treasures her closeness to her siblings and thank goodness she loves her three additional sisters that I raised. We did not express any resentment that one of our daughters had another family. It was just a fact.
And of course we also talked about what first brought us together--politics and women's rights. We were pleased that Bernie Sanders was in the race, but ambivalent whether to vote for him.
Other mothers are still struggling with the overreaching pain of separation. Some are searching for their lost child. Others have found someone who wants no contact. Or they have been found themselves by someone who later cuts off contact--usually with no explanation. Or they have grandchildren whose faces they can only imagine, because they have never even received a picture. Some are in deep hiding, holding onto the secret so tightly they have never told their husbands, or any children they later had.
What I would tell these mothers is that while you cannot make someone else behave as you wish they would, but you can accept the things you cannot change. While you suffered trauma in your young life--irrational trauma caused not by natural forces like hurricanes or earthquakes, but by human failures--this loss paves the way for deeper understanding and compassion, It can give you the strength to work for a more just world--in my case for women's rights and adoption reform. The last of life for which the first is made. --jane
____________________"This was one of the first books I read as a newly discovered Late Discovery Adoptee and Lorraine Dusky's fearless candor gave me invaluable insight into the hard realities of the baby scoop era. In turns heartbreaking and joyful, the book hardened my resolve to connect with my birth mother. It is not only a beautifully written memoir but is also a strident call to action, laying bare the gross injustices practiced on the victims of the BSE that continue to echo and ripple through the individuals involved and society at large in both attitudes and legislation. Thank you so much for this book. Highly recommended."--Alyssa S. on Amazon
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