|Our Christmas tabletop "tree"|
We had a Christmas lunch at our house yesterday--friends came by for Champagne punch and sustenance. Two guys my husband made sure to introduce to each other were both Vietnam vets. One was a journalist who was captured and briefly imprisoned; the other was a Naval officer who had spent two years in combat. After my husband made the introduction, they spent a long time talking. Later my husband said: It's the most intense experience of their lives--no one who hasn't been through it can quite understand. My husband was in the Army between conflicts, and after ROTC, only spent six months on active duty. But he understood immediately why these two men would bond.
I thought: That's what being a birth/first mother is like. No one who hasn't been there can understand the immense loss and grieving that comes with relinquishment--except another first mother. And yet, most of us don't go around talking openly about our experiences so that it's unlikely that I'm going to end up at a party one day and the host will introduce me to another person and pass on what we so deeply share: that we both lost a child to adoption.
|It's a cotton pillow cover.|
We first/birth mothers are a sisterhood bonded by the sorrow of loss.
I miss my daughter. We had a glorious reunion, a lengthy relationship that spanned more than a quarter of a century, and naturally we had our ups and downs. Sadly she died nine years ago a few weeks before Christmas. By this time in 2007, Tony and I were returning from her funeral in Wisconsin.
|My daughter and me, 1982,|
But of course, Christmas is a time when you remember your loved ones who are gone, and this year will be no different. I am thinking of all the parents of Claire Davis, the 17-year-old who was killed by a fellow students at Araphahoe High School in Colorado. Claire was adopted. I haven't been able to find out if it was a closed adoption and if her first mother knows of her death.
I'm also thinking of Carol-King Eckersley of Portland, Oregon, a first mother whose son died in Pan Am Flight 103 when a bomb in the plane went off over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988. She didn't search for him until it was too late.
I'm thinking about Veronica Brown now Capobianco who was taken from her natural father and given back to the adoptive parents by court order in 2013. And I'm wondering how Adam Crapser, the Korean adoptee who was deported back to his homeland earlier this month, and his mother, who was waiting for him, are doing.
I'm thinking about the mothers who relinquished their children in the last few months because they couldn't find a way to keep them.
I'm thinking what those holidays were like for me when I didn't know where my daughter was. I couldn't get through hearing Silent Night, with it's simple but haunting melody, without tears, and my late mother next to me as mass wondering why. Today I can't get through the first verse without remembering...everything. Our separation, our reunion, our relationship, her death.
For so many of us Christmas is a time of special sadness when everyone is supposedly over-dosing on joy and yule cheer but we, we miss our children. We miss them whether or not they are still unknown to us, whether we have been in reunion, good or not, whether we will be able to spend time with them this holiday season. We know what we missed, and there is no going back. There is only going forward.
To those who have yet to find their children or reconnect, and want to, do not wait. Time is not on our side. Eighteen is not a magic age and eighteen-year-olds are notoriously hard to find if they are not living at home. I found and contacted my daughter's adoptive parents when she was fifteen. I--and they--wished I had done it sooner.
To those--adoptee or first mother--who have reconnected and found true communion with your children, enjoy the time you do have, do not spend too much time with each other expressing the sorrow of what it is lost. Focus on what you have.
To those whose reunions are broken, remember this: the people who want to be in your life will be. You don't have to go chasing after them. Surround yourself as much as possible with people who do love you.
To those who feel they would like to call or send words or flowers to someone you have not been in touch with, just do it--especially if you are the one who shut down contact, the one who needed "space."
And to those who will feel alone no matter what happens on Christmas, no matter how many friends and family you are amidst, no matter how busy you are, remind yourself that Christmas is a day, one day. The day after Christmas is a new day. Life does go on.--lorraine
*If anybody is reading who might know this person contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org: A daughter was given up some sixty years ago in Westfield, New Jersey to people who knew the doctor. The adoptive parents later donated to my husband's brother's political campaign--in Westfield--so they may have known he was "family." And the woman's sister is looking for her lost sibling.
LAST MINUTE GIFTS
YOUR SMILE LOVE Cotton Linen Square Decorative Throw Pillow Case Cushion Cover
Who couldn't use this?
Hole In My Heart 3" CD
BE A SUPPORTER. ORDER ANYTHING THROUGH FMF TO SUPPORT US. The title link and jacket art will take you to Amazon. Thank you!
Love by Vanni (illustrator) and story by Lowell A. Siff
"Its sweet, heartbreaking story is told on pages of vibrant colors and uneven widths, pages with cut-outs and strip-ins, pages with peepholes—pages of all shapes and colorful varieties. This story is a simple one about a little girl. She has parents, naturally, but they went away when she was nine. And as she has no relatives to care for her, she is taken in by an orphanage. Lonely and a bit unusual, she stares at people with her big eyes. She often does things that aren't very nice, and people aren't very nice to her. In fact, they want to send her away. Until, one day..."--Amazon
I totally love this book. I have bought several copies for friends as gifts, and oddly enough, I found it in a book store in Saginaw, Michigan long before I knew adoption would be a part of my life. It's a little late to order for Christmas, but this is a great gift book. Order it for yourself.