Facing my own demons

adoption, adoption loss, life,

I want my lost years back!

  I’ve been in and out of depression all month. R’s birthday has been really hard on me this year. Yesterday I broke down at work..I never do that. But yesterday I did. It was this family. The cutest family a mother and three kids. The oldest was a girl who looked to be about 5 years old. And another girl who was probably 2 or 3 and a baby. And I thought, yep, that was my family before I lost them. And I had to run to the office and cry.

I’m glad that I worked Tuesday so that I can be off today. I just don’t think I could function at work today.

My husband went to Florida on a business trip yesterday. I had to take him to the airport and wait for him to be searched to make sure they let him take his lap top. He is only going to be gone for one day, he’ll be back tonight. So to tell you the truth, I was feeling that this was best for me. I really need to be alone today and having him out of town seemed like the best thing.

But his flight was planned by someone else at work and he didn’t have much info. In fact, when we went to the airport, all he knew was the flight no. And the time the plane was leaving. He knows he will be back tonight at 7 something.. So I left the airport without knowing what time he would arrive in Florida, but with the promise from him that he would call when he did.

Well, 4 hours later, still no call. I called him several times and his phone was still turned off. I was desperately trying to stay calm and finally told Dad that I was going to bed. I sat in the middle of the bed with the phone in my lap trying to remember what the flight no. Was on the plane that I had so casually put my husband on. I was even flipping through the news stations to make sure that I would hear of any terrible flight tragedies. My thoughts were that if I lost my husband on the day before R’s birthday I would totally loose my mind. I was in tears by the time the phone rang.

He had, of course, had a lay over. Somewhere… He told me, but I didn’t hear his words, just the sound of his voice. That is all I needed to hear. He called me as soon as he was off the plane. He said he knew I was worried. He knows me too well, I guess.

After I talked to him, I laid down and cried myself to sleep. When I woke this morning, I, for just a second, thought that I was still dreaming. I thought that what if the last 18 years had been just a dream.. All of it….and somewhere out there in the “real” world were my two little girls waiting for mommie to get up.. I really wanted it to be so.

But of course, that was only a second. Then I realized that it wasn’t a dream. And it had been 18 years since I’ve seen all three of my kids. That the baby boy I had, really was born 18 years ago after I had lost my two precious girls and I had lost him also. And today my R is 23 years old. 23! And maybe she still lives in Texas somewhere and is on her own. She’s a grown woman now and I’m still stuck in the past…

 It really hasn’t been 18 years since I’ve seen R. I got to see her when she was 16. I met her adoptive mother and her new adoptive sisters. And she even called me for a while when she went home to Texas.

But then, it stopped. When she was 17 it all stopped. And I haven’t heard from her since. I have no way of knowing what happened to her after that. I know she was fighting with her adoptive mom and dad. She moved out of their house the last time she called. I wonder if she made up with them. I wonder if she had to be alone in that huge world. The world is too big for a 17 year old to be alone. I wonder if she made it to college. I wonder if she’s ok??

All I can do now, is what I did when I finally figured out that I was really awake in my own “world” That was to say “Happy Birthday, R” to the empty bedroom.

Last year wasn’t this hard. Or the year before. Not even the last few years. Why is this year so hard?! I want to meet my kids again! But more than that, I want the impossible, I want all those lost years back! I want the last 18 years to be erased. I want memories of my kids growing up! I want to have R and her sister and brother here for her birthday today! With cake and ice cream and presents! And happy memories of them all growing up together, with me!

August 24, 2006 Posted by | Adoption, if only, my angels | 4 Comments

A letter to R.

Dearest R.

Happy Birthday my sweet daughter. I so wish I could be in your life this year as you embark on another year of your life. I’ve missed so many of your birthdays. I missed being with you on each and every one of them. I miss you so much. I want you to know that. I miss you! I love you!

For your birthday this year, I wish I could give you something that you’ve expressed a great desire for. But of course, if there is anything that you have wanted greatly, I do not know what it might be and I have no way of getting anything to you. So I write this letter, in hopes that someday you will receive it.

It’s not good enough. I know that there is no way the written words in this letter can be good enough to be the present that I want to give you. But it is all I have right now. I assure you, my whole heart goes into this letter, in hopes that you could somehow feel my love for you, through the words.

My dear sweet oldest daughter. I’m sorry for not being there for you all these years. If I could take back all these years and change it!!! Oh how I would fight for you, if I had known then, what I know now. R I never, never wanted to “give you up” Never! I didn’t know how to fight.

You have to understand, I was raised to believe that people in “authority” are always on the side of right. I believed that if anyone like me, just an average every day person, were to try to fight those people on “high” the average person would always loose! I believed the social worker when she told me I’d never get you and your sister back. I believed all the lies she told me. I thought if I tried to fight “them” I would loose and just make life harder on you and L. There was even a time, when I thought “they” must be right. I did, for a minute, believe that I was not good enough to be your mother. I did, for a minute, believe that you’d never have a happy life with me. I did. I’m sorry for that also!

In the end, I chose what I believed to be the lesser of two evils. I thought there were only two options for you and L. One was to be in foster care, shuffled from one home to the next until you were 18 or I could give you a chance at being adopted into one home where you’d be loved and taken care of. Ether way, I was lost. I believed that. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life! To sign those papers, giving up my rights as your mother, almost killed me. I want you to know that, because I want you to know that you were never, never unwanted. Never unloved. Never did I believe that I would have a better life without you. Never!

I love you more than you’ll ever know. I want you to know, I am still here, for you. Always. I don’t have all the answers, but I think I have some of the answers you may need and I want to give them to you. I hope some day we can be… Together… In some way. In what ever way that would help you.

I wish I could say something profound that would make everything all make sense. But I can’t. All I can say is Happy Birthday, R, I love you.

Love mom.

There is more to this letter, but I edited it out because it was just too personal to share with the world. I hope someday I can share it with my daughter. I miss her so much. The pain is like the beginning and I can’t handle it any better now than I could 18 years ago. Are birthdays easier when you are in reunion? Maybe I’ll be in reunion before R’s next birthday. If I am, will it be easier? Will I still feel this crushing weight on my heart? Will I still want to drive into the brick wall in hopes of ending that pain?

Or will I finally be able to celebrate R’s birthday with her?

August 19, 2006 Posted by | if only, my angels, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

All I have of my daughter… Memories…..

As I said in previous post, this year, birth months have been particularly hard on me. With R’s birthday rapidly approaching, I find my memories of her penetrating my every waking and sleeping moment. The bitter sweet memories of the child I had and lost seem to be somehow tangible. As if I could reach out and hold her in my arms again. Sometimes, like last night, I do reach out in my sleep for her, only to find the motions of my physical body wakes me from my sleep and R is no longer there, reaching for Mommy.

So this morning, I would like to write some of those memories of the brief time that I had this wonderful child in my life. She is no longer a child, I know, 23.. Wow, it’s hard to comprehend that my daughter is going to be 23 years old this very month. While I am forever locked in her childhood, because she was so violently ripped out of my embrace and I was never allowed to see her grow into womanhood.

Even though I did get to see her once as a teen, my dreams are always of that five year old girl who I so long to hold again and make it all better. I wonder how this will play out when (I no longer allow myself to say if, it is when) I do finally get to meet her as an adult. Will the five year old girl grow up in my dreams? How will this happen, when I never got to see the process of that growth? Maybe my dreams will just suddenly change from five to adult.

But as for now, my memories are all I have. My memories of that beautiful baby growing so quickly into such a beautiful child, inside and out. I was always amazed, with both of my girls, how quickly their personalities seem to start forming. When they were just babies, they started showing their own unique personality that grew with their physical and mental growth.

Even as a tiny baby, when R was first learning to focus on objects other than mommy, showed signs of amazement of the world around her. That “amazement” never went away, it only grew into a wonderment for all the beauty she saw in almost everything and everyone. Seeing the world a new, through her eyes, helped me see beauty that I had forgotten.  With nature, R saw beauty to be equal in a fresh new rose bloom as she did with a weed that had popped up through the cracks in the sidewalk. All of God’s earth was beautiful in her eyes. “Look mommy, pretty!” was a statement I heard from her many times a day.

It was no different for her with the people and animals she saw ether. I had a hard time teaching that child about the danger of stray animals and strange people, because all she saw was the beauty of life. On any of our outings, when a stranger would stop to talk to her, as people often do to young children, R would stare at them intently, drinking in every nuance of their physical appearance and their mannerisms. No matter what they appeared like to others, to R they were “pretty” just because they were alive.

When someone said, “My aren’t you just the prettiest little girl.”

She would reply, ” No,You pretty.” and some would engage her in a mock debate over who was the prettiest. She’d always win, as most adults are busy with life and can’t out argue a toddler. LOL

 R also had some of my personality traits, that she took and happily bent to suit her own personal beliefs. She had my sensitivity. She would just as easily cry for the poor spider that was stepped on as she did the stray dog that got ran over by a car. She got her feelings hurt easily as well, like me. That was unfortunate because of the way she saw the world. If someone dared to disagree with her about the weed being “pretty” she would be heart broken that they couldn’t see it’s beauty.

She was only four years old the first time she ever saw a homeless person. We were grocery shopping and he was laying on a broken down box in front of the store, sleeping. She asked me why he was sleeping there, why didn’t he go home to sleep?

I told her, in the best way I could explain to a four year old, that he didn’t have a home. She cried. I cried. We cried all the way through the grocery store. I let her pick out a few things to give to him to eat in the store and along with the pre made sandwiches, which was something she loved so naturally she picked them, she chose some candy bars and a teddy bear. She said the teddy bear would help him feel safer.

She often, even as a baby, would try to mock me in motherhood. Even before her little sister was born, R seemed to be the “older” sister. She would love on her dolls and toys and feed her toy cars when “they were hungry” and teach them things that I had taught her. Like the alphabet song. Even though she had trouble with the proununciation, I would catch her teaching her stuffed animals and correcting them if “they missed a part” with so much patience. That patience was not reserved for her imaginary friends. When her sister came into her life, she showed the same patience with her. She never lost her temper with her baby sister, never. It was amazing to me how they never seemed to disagree at all. Maybe because they were so young, or maybe because it wasn’t in R’s nature to disagree. She couldn’t stand to see other’s hurt.

R was not, however, a good child to learn from in the sence that she was the first and I had no clue how to teach her some things. When her little sister was born, it was like I was still a first time mother. Because most of what R had to learn in the early days of childhood, she learned almost on her own, with little help from me.

Not that I didn’t want to help her, she just didn’t need that much help. As in winging her from the bottle. When the time came that I thought she was ready, apparently, she thought so too. I put away all her bottles and she never cried for one, she would just gladly except her sippy cup. I didn’t know that you could wing them slowly by only allowing a bottle at bed time for a while. And R never complained about it at all. Never had trouble going to sleep. It really was just that easy.

Or potty training, Just before I lost my girls, I was struggling with ‘Tish to potty train, because I had learned nothing about it from R.

When R became able to follow me, that is exactly what she did. She followed me. I no longer had to put her in her crib while I went to the bathroom because she followed me. I learned quickly that going to the bathroom alone was a luxury not afforded to mothers. I didn’t care. I loved it. I loved spending every minute with R. Sometimes at night when she was sleeping, I was very lonely without her.

So from the very beginning of her life, I always gave her names of objects and events. These names evolved as she learned more understanding of words. “Whea we go?” she’d always ask when I started somewhere, “Mommy’s got to go potty.” I’d answer. Evenually, I purchased a potty chair, R had just started walking at the time. I put it on display in the bathroom, right across from “mommy’s potty” I did this, knowing that she was too young to potty train, but it was my introduction to her. And I talked about it. I talked about someday she’d wear pretty big girl panties and use the potty instead of using a diaper.

To my amazement, shortly after I began the “talking” phase and without actually showing her the “pretty big girl panties” of which I spoke. One day when she was “helping” me fold laundry. (which really means she was grabbing my folder laundry and wadding it up. ha.) She picked up a pair of my underwear and said, “pretty panties. I wear!” Oh man, I can remember that as if it were yesterday. I can see her in my mind, her face all full of exitement.

I think I explained to her that she would have to use the potty to wear panties… What exactly I said or she said after that is a little fuzzy. But it ended with me pulling out her “pretty big girl panties” that I had already bought and put away and she never wore diapers again, except at bed time. And truly, she had very few accidents. Most of those few accidents were my fault. Because she would cry if I tried to put a diaper on her when we went out and I would always give in to her. Then I sometimes couldn’t find a bathroom in time, when she “nee to go potty”

 I know that all parents tend to exagerate how smart their child is. But honestly, I don’t have to exagerate about R. She was that Amazing. Of course, this my memories of her, and it’s bound to be a little bias. Of course, she did, like all children must, struggle at times to learn new things. Sometimes she stumbled and might even fall, but she always, as they say; “Got right back up” and kept trying at whatever her task of learning was until she had it down pat. She was so eager to learn new things. And when she did learn them, she never forgot. She would hang on to her new knowledge tight, even as she forge ahead to find a new knowledge to gain.

Oh how my heart aches for her now. I didn’t see that in her when we reunited while she was a teen. Did being ripped away from her mother rob her of her desire to learn or her love for beauty…Or perhaps, I wasn’t with her long enough to see those traits. Are they still there? Does she still see beauty in a weed? Does she still feel compation for a stranger? Does she still know how much I love her?! I want to know that more than any thing else. My sweet R. I love you still! I ache for you to be in my life. My heart, my soul cries for the loss that we both had to endure.

August 6, 2006 Posted by | past, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Who is She?

I am the woman who hides her tearful eyes behind the sunglasses.

I am the woman who offers on a weak smile to the stranger’s greetings in passing.

I am the woman who walks in the shadows to be unnoticed.

I am the woman you bump into because you didn’t know she was there.

I am the woman who watches her feet, for she fears the passers by

Might see the stamp of shame on her forehead that isn’t there.

I am the woman who has been judged by society,

Without trial or truths and found to be unworthy.

I am also the woman who is your nurse, that always smiles and greets you by name.

I am also the woman who sits next to you in art class.

Who is working two jobs and going to school.

You know, the one you brag about at your lunches with the “girls”

Because “she’s trying so hard to better herself and I encouraged her, so surely if she succeeds it will be from my thoughtful words…”

The one that if you knew the secrets she held in her heart, you would be talking bad about her to your friends instead of good.

Yes, I am that woman.

I am your neighbor who never attends your Tupperware parties,

Who never stops to gossip and offers a slight nod and retreat into

Her home if you try to speak to her.

I am the manager of your local fast food joint,

You know the one you yelled at today,

Because one of “her” employees fixed your order wrong.

Yes, I am that woman, who still smiled a sympathetic smile,

While you screamed at how incompetent she and “her” staff were.

I am the one who apologized to you sincerely, after you cussed her

And made your food right.

Did you notice that her eyes were filling with tears?

Did it give you pleasure that you made her sorry for

Such a horrendous mistake?

Oh, Yes, I am that woman,

Who went to the back to hide after you left,

Who cried because once again she had been judged,

For the mistake of another and found to be unworthy.

I am the woman who hides from the shame,

That should never be…

Because society has found her guilty.

For surely, if the government said it to be,

Than it must be true.

I am the woman who committed the crime

Of loving her children while being poor.

I am the woman who lost her children

Because she didn’t know how to fight.

I am the woman among you.

I am everywhere.

The tears I shed,

You shall never see.

 I am the woman who suffers

A life time of pain, in silence, so that you

May be comfortable in your life.

August 2, 2006 Posted by | Adoption | 7 Comments