First, I’d like to congratulate you. A big huge “congratulations” coming your way. Why? You should feel special. It’s because of you this blog exists. It’s because of you that other adoptive parents and hopeful adoptive parents have changed the way they think about adoption. It’s because of you that countless moms have decided NOT to relinquish their babies for adoption and it’s because of you that I am part of a network of people who aim to end domestic infant adoption as it exists today – and we’ve made great progress.
Maybe you already knew about my “secret life” and maybe you didn’t. Either way, you’re probably reading this right now, as I fully intend to share it on Facebook where you are my “friend,” and becoming very angry. Maybe you are cursing the day you met me. Maybe you are embarrassed. You may even be scrambling to figure out how to shut me up like so many others before you. What I’m sure you’re NOT doing is hearing the message this blog has been broadcasting the past almost 6 years. But I truly hope you’ll take the time to educate yourself as I have been doing all these years.
You see, I gave birth to a beautiful, innocent, perfect, little girl. Then I made her an adoptee. I fully believe it is my moral obligation to educate myself on what it’s like to be an adoptee seeing as I am the mother to one. You, on the other hand, felt no such obligation. Your education began and ended with the social worker at the adoption agency. Then you lived your life pretending that she was born to you never acknowledging that she may have unique needs that you couldn’t possibly understand because of how she came to be in your family – the youngest child of three and the only one not biologically related. I’m still trying to understand how you couldn’t possibly think that may cause some issues that you would need to handle differently. I was just a kid with zero resources when I gave you my daughter but you were a grown woman. Old enough to be my own mother. In fact you are less than a year younger than my own mother. You had endless amounts of opportunity and resources to prepare yourself to raise an adopted child. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not shirking my responsibility in all of this. I DID give her away. I handed her to complete strangers based on some smiles in a photo book, a few meetings, and some phone calls.
You were great actors. Your performance was stellar and I believed every word. Visions of the beautiful life she was going to have dancing through my head. The yearly visits and the relationship she’d grow to have with us all over the years so there would never be an awkward reunion. The reality, however, was far from the fantasy I was led to believe.
Let’s get back to that “better life.” I’ve heard you tell me repeatedly over the past year everything that is wrong with her. How everything is her fault. More times than I can count, over the span of her life, I have read between the lines and it’s become painfully obvious you believe she was born bad.
I have parented her for the past year. Her last year of childhood before stepping onto that bridge into the transition of adulthood wasn’t an easy one. She was uprooted to a totally different culture and family than the one she’d grown up with. I guess that’s something she was used to anyway seeing as you saw fit to send her away to group homes and residential treatment facilities throughout her life – the longest one being TWO YEARS because “something was wrong with HER.” I’ve come to realize there isn’t anything wrong with her. She’s had a totally normal reaction to the circumstances in her life and the environment in which she was raised in. I had no bearing on that aside from choosing you as her parents. And you failed her miserably.
I’ve watched you gaslight and attempt to manipulate her. I’ve watched you bring her into adult matters that she shouldn’t have to worry about time and time again. I asked you to stop countless times. The judge even told US not to talk to her about it, as if we would be the likely party – I wonder where he got that idea. He should have been addressing you. When she asserted how it was hurting her and asked you to stop herself, you continued. When she became angry because you would not stop you asked “is she still in therapy?” implying that her reaction was somehow because she needs therapy and not because you, as her parent, should know better than to discuss court cases and child support with her.
I watched her beg to come home to you and visit and I watched you tell her she couldn’t. She wasn’t behaving in a manner worthy enough of the honor to visit home. In the past year I’ve seen you come here to visit her once, and let’s face it, if you weren’t already traveling this way to buy a puppy from a breeder that number would be zero. I watched you ask if she’d like to come back and live in her home state only after it became obvious the court would be ordering you to pay child support. You assume she doesn’t know what you’re doing. You assume she doesn’t see through it. You didn’t want her then, you didn’t even want her to visit, but now, to avoid paying a monetary sum for her caretaking, you want her back. She gets the message loud and clear. She knows what’s most important to you.
You tell me how much you love her. But you don’t. You love the idea of someone who doesn’t exist. Someone who isn’t her, and you keep trying to make her be that person. When she doesn’t you give her the memo that she’s failed you and that your love is contingent on her success. You tell her to “get better” so she can come home without any measure of what “getting better” is.
Does she scream at you? Swear at you? Rage at you? Yes. Have you ever asked yourself why? Have you ever taken any of the responsibility? Have you ever pointed the finger at yourself?
To her mother: Every time you deny her abuse by her father you are abusing her again, victimizing her again. When she told you how she was abused in the last group home you dismissed her. You called her a liar. You believed her abusers over her. You didn’t even think to check and see if it was true. I’ve spoken to several girls there. They corroborate her story.
To her father: Every time you raised your hand in anger to her you broke her. Every time you told her to go overdose on drugs or kill her self you set the bar on how she would measure every man in her life. But this letter is mostly for her mother as you’ve not been a part of her life for sometime by your own choice. You’ve made no strides to make amends for the things you’ve done and, from the outside looking in, one word could be used to describe your feelings for her – apathy.
She’s told me how you’ve talked of us over the years, the message she’s received. She got to know us for herself – first behind your back and then with your very phony “blessing” because what else could you do? Your relationship with her was already struggling and maybe you were hoping this would help. Or maybe you were hoping she’d hate us, that she’d be appalled by our meager means. I think it’s the latter. Because you do truly believe we are less than you. I see how you see us through your eyes. That much is obvious when we were accused of using her as a meal ticket. You don’t know us at all. You don’t know ME at all. It would be comical if it wasn’t so sad – the way you think I am versus the way I really am.
Yes, you clothed her, put a roof over head, food in her belly, took her on vacations and gave her the basics. You’ve made it abundantly clear how many gold stars you think you should receive for that. As if she dropped out of the sky with no one to love her and you were burdened with the task of caring for her. As if you didn’t spend tens and thousands of dollars actively pursuing to get her. She speaks of how you tell the story – how you supposedly “saved” her from us. Her family. Her mother, father, siblings. I’m just not sure exactly what she’s been saved from. We have four other children and they are generally happy people, good kids, we receive compliments about them all the time. Surely they didn’t need to be saved from us. So that leads us back to “the blaming.” You blame our daughter for her life and how it’s turned out. Her bad genes. Yet there are two other people walking around on this earth created from the same two people who created her and there is nothing at all wrong with them. There’s nothing at all wrong with her.
The promises. Oh the promises you made. To love her. To keep her safe. Yet you still defend her abuser and you didn’t protect her from him. He’s even betrayed you on every front a man can betray and somehow you still have his back at her expense. All she was seeking was an acknowledgment and apology. Without excuse. Own it. She was a child, you were the mother, and you failed. Emotional wounds are just as bad, if not worse, as physical ones.
Speaking of failing, I failed her too. You said you never should have allowed her to come live here but I can do you one better on the regret front. I should have never allowed her to leave my arms or my breast. Especially to be given to you. It was always be my deepest regret. See, she ended up exactly where she would have been had I kept her, except with layers and layers of trauma added to her life. Separation, guilt, loneliness, dissociation. You aren’t the one that has your door flung open in the middle of the night while she cries asking why her mother can’t just love her unconditionally. You aren’t the one who hears her hate herself for loving you despite the fact that you don’t deserve it. You don’t want to see that. You don’t want to see any truth. You want to live in your Stepford life with your fake persona. But I know you hurt too. I know they didn’t prepare you for what adoption really is. Isn’t all it was cracked up to be was it, eh?
And the you sit in judgment of me. In judgment of me asking you to contribute to her financially. It is the LEAST you can do for my daughter. For the baby I gave you. For the life that died to be replaced with the life you wanted her to live. For the person who died so that she could be the person who was your daughter but still not the person you wanted her to be. Instead she is and forever will be stuck in some weird “in-between” in which she has one foot in each world yet never completely belongs to either. I think what I’ve asked is but a speck of dust in what she is owed. My baby, my daughter, that I carried for 9 months. Flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone. I broke my heart into a million pieces, and subsequently broke hers, based on promises that turned into lies yet YOU play the victim. How ironic. Or maybe you are so self-obsessed and narcissistic you’re incapable of seeing it the way I do. Maybe your judgment of me is because you know what YOU would do.
Well I’m not you, and I don’t operate that way. I will always allow my daughter to be who she is without judgment. I will love her always and forever no matter what. I will not make her feel less than, I will not make her feel insignificant. I will make sure she knows how loved she is – not with my words, like you – but with my actions. I will always put her feelings ahead of mine. Always. I will sacrifice because that’s what a mother does. But do you want to know the saddest part of this all? It doesn’t matter what I do. I’m not the person she considers mother. You are. The saddest part of this all is she needs that from YOU, but she will never get it. I can give it all day long every day but it doesn’t matter. The one thing that you can give but I can’t is that – her past, her memories – I’m not in them. You took that away too. You made sure I was out of the picture. You stole our memories.
Please save your disingenuous quips and conversations. Until you’ve really worked on your role in all of this I have no desire to have anything more than a functional relationship with you. Nothing more than I’m court ordered to have. For 18 years I have bit my tongue and towed the line as the happy birthmom to appease you and your fragile feelings. I don’t have to anymore. She will make her own choices and you have no control over that. I am choosing to support her choice to avoid toxic people in her life. Right now you are one of them.
I do sincerely hope that you take a good long hard look in the mirror and make what changes are necessary to be the person our daughter needs you to be. I’m not going to hold my breath but I’m forever the optimist. Maybe you’ll find some kind of courage within you to confront who you are and the things you’ve done – the family you destroyed – hers and mine. I won’t even get into the trauma her siblings grew up with because of your removal of her from our lives. Suffice to say your carelessness and selfishness had a ripple effect that will continue for generations.
So congratulations! I dedicate this all to you. My little empire in adoption-land is all in your honor. You are the inspiration for Musings of a Birthmom. Maybe you’d like to step forward with your identity and let my readers know who you are? I’ll understand if you’re not comfortable with that, though.
Because of you I managed to thwart a bill Andre Jacque, our state representative tried pushing through doing away with the required court date in Wisconsin to terminate parental rights, thus making it easier for people to adopt babies.
Because of you I have written a book called “Whispers of Grace.”
Because of you I am an activist for adoptee rights and unregulated access to their original birth certificates.
Because of you I am aware of how adoption really works in this country.
Because of you I found my tribe – a group of people like me who suffered loss from adoption.
Because of you my voice is heard.
But mostly, because of you, my daughter will never be the same. She will succeed and she will overcome and she will prove you wrong – but she will never be the same. So, because of you, I wish I never met you.