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!

Advertisements

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

How to tear apart a family….

The day came to sign the papers. Someone from CPS picked me up, so I wouldn’t have to take the city bus. They were OH, so helpful.

I was told I would get to see Little R and L that day to say good bye. I was told that I should try hard not to cry in front of them. Not to let them know I was sad and to tell them that I couldn’t take care of them, so I was going to let some nice people take them and love them and they would have a new family to love. This was supposed to make it easier on them to adapt to their new family.

I was also promised that everything in their power would be done to make sure the girls were not separated. That they were sure that they could find them a great adoptive family that would accept both girls. This was a very important issue to me. They only had each other left now, they had to be allowed to stay together. Oh yes, promises were made!

 (I had no idea for years how they lied right then and there to my face. I didn’t know that the girls had already been separated in foster care, even though they did get to visit each other. Nor did I know that both sets of foster parents had already been told they could adopt each of my girls very soon! Nor did I know, that while it was suggested that the girls be allowed to have contact after adoption, it was not required and L’s new parents would severe her contact from her older sister shortly after the adoptions were finalized. I had no idea of any of this until I heard it from R’s adopted mother years later, when R was a teenager.)

I was taken into this room at the offices. I can’t remember much about it, except it was all one color. I can’t remember the color, but I remember it was all one color, the carpet, and the walls, same color. So strange. It contained a couple of straight back chairs and off to the side was some toys laying on the floor. Maybe the toys were blocks or something like that, I’m not sure.

I sat there in that room by myself for what seemed to be hours. I don’t really know how long it was. When the door opened, A woman entered with my girls on each side of her. Ruby hesitated for a second, as though she might not be sure it was me, then pulled her hand away from the woman and ran to my waiting arms. She started crying and so did I.

L was still standing in the doorway holding on to the woman’s hand. R looked back at her and said,” Look, Tishie, Mommy.”

I had to go get L. She came to me when I went to her and put out my arms. She hugged me and then she with drew and sat on the floor playing with the toys there. R and I sat on the floor with her. R sitting almost on top of me. But L was not the same little girl she had been when I last saw her.

 I couldn’t believe the change in her in such a short time. She wasn’t the happy, laughing baby any more. She didn’t even talk to R. And she had always jibbered at R before. I picked her up and sat her in my lap. She didn’t try to get down, but she didn’t acknowledge that she was even aware of my presence, or R’s presence. She didn’t smile, she didn’t cry, she had almost no emotion expression at all.

 So I talked to her and R and tried to pretend that she could understand. I told them first and for most that I loved them both more than they could ever know and that I would always always love them. R says, “we love you, mommy.” Tears again. Then Ruby said “go home now?” My heart was breaking. I had trouble just continuing any sort of communication, much less telling my precious babies the they would never come home with me again.

I’m not sure how I told them. I know I didn’t tell them that I wanted to give them to a new family as the social worker suggested I do. I know I did tell them that it was breaking my heart to let them go, even though I was told not to tell them that. And I told them that I would always love them and always miss them and would always always be somewhere that they could find me. I told them that one day when they were old enough to decide for themselves and if they wanted to they could find me and I’d love them still. That was of course, the last thing I was allowed to say before a social worker burst in to the room and said it was time to go. That created a scene that I will forever remember. R grabbed me around the neck and began screaming. Not using any words, just straight out hysterical screaming! That seem to startle L out of her non emotion state and she grabbed me and started crying.

So there it was, I was bawling, L was bawling, R was screaming bloody murder and the social worker lady was flapping her arms around like some big clumsy flightless bird trying to take flight, yelling for help. And help she got. Several people came in and ruthlessly pulled my baby girls away from me. They took the girls out kicking and screaming while a couple of them stood in front of me with stern looks. How could any human see this scene and not be touched by it at all? I ask you? But none of it seemed to have an effect on these people at all.

After I had calmed down to quiet tears, they took me to another room to sign the papers. They told me again the same things about how I was saving them from being moved around from home to home. How, by signing these papers, I was doing the ultimate deed of Love. How I should be proud of having such unselfish love for my children to think of them first….

(When I first started exploring other, first mother’s blogs and discovered that the words they used on me were the same that were used on many many unwed pregnant girls I was shocked! I guess that kind of coercion works in many different situations.)

The only thing that I could think of for the days, weeks to follow, was at least there was nothing else I could loose. I had lost the most important people in my life. My daughters and no one could ever hurt me more than that. And yes, even though the pain was always, always horrible, I did, at that time buy into the “I did what was best for my babies” theory.

There were times, many times that I wished for death. I wasn’t sure how I could be still alive and hurt that bad any way. I even thought about taking my own life. What stopped me? I had made a promise to my girls that I would be waiting for them always. I couldn’t break that promise. So I would just say it again, at least no one could ever hurt me again because there was nothing left. That was what I thought, until I found yet one more thing I had to loose.

________________________________________________

During all this, I had been very physically sick. I chalked this sickness up to the stress and depression. Because I had been eating very little during the last month or more and because when I did eat, I usually threw it up, I had lost a lot of weight. And I was already a small person before all this.

 I remember in August. around R’s birthday which was terrible for me I suddenly relized that I couldn’t remember the last time I had had a period. But at first, I didn’t think about it more than a minute or two, because one time I had heard, or saw on t.v. that if you loose weight down to a point you would stop having periods.

but evenually, I had to go to a dr. Yes, it was confirmed in late August that I was pregnant. After another appointment, (I couldn’t remember when my last period was) so I had to be tested to determine my due date, which was said by the dr to be Feb 14. This pregnancy I knew would not be a happy one, like the two before. I couldn’t think of anything worse at this time than to be pregnant. I was sure that CPS would be knocking on my door the day I brought my baby home to take it away. When I told T and Mrs. H about it, they agreed that CPs would never let me keep the baby and the best thing I could do would be to hire a lawyer and do a private adoption.

All I could think of was I couldn’t live through having another child taken away from me. I decided the only way to defend myself against these people was to do as Mrs. H suggested. I asked her to find a lawyer for me. She picked a name out of the phone book and my hell continued. ……..

June 26, 2006 Posted by | Adoption, my angels, past | 5 Comments

A Time to die, and die again…..

This will be the hardest post for me yet. It's all been leading to this…

If I can get through this…. Maybe just maybe …. I don't know… I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish by writing all this down, any more. I first thought that it would help me heal… I'm not sure that healing is possible any more. Then, as I posted each time, I thought, maybe someone else will stumble on this and be helped by it…. Do I really think that I can help anyone? And a new thought has crept it's way into my brain. What if, somehow, someday, one of my daughters were to stumble on to this site… I have no idea what they were told about me…. Even though I have reunited once with R years ago. I didn't know that it was "reunion" then. I never heard of that term before. I just knew that I got to see my daughter. I got to talk to her. I got to hug her and tell her I loved her and then it was all gone. Maybe she was too young at the time? Maybe she was told things… I wanted to tell her my story then, but I didn't know how to tell her. She didn't ask me anything. I always thought I should wait for her to ask… But this is another subject, for another post… Now I am stalling. I know this… I am not sure why I need to write all of this, nor why I am doing it so publicly. I just know that I need to do this and so…..

For reasons that will reveal themselves later.. Time line is kind of important. So I have been diligently counting on my fingers, adding and subtracting each event in relation to the age of Little R or L. The time line is only accountable to me by the relationship to their ages. Somehow, I thought the time was much longer that everything had happened. I always thought in my mind that everything happened over a long period of time, but in following the time line so carefully, I've discovered that it all happened rather quickly. In some ways, it seems that all of this happened last year or last month. In other ways it seemed it happened a life time ago, in someone else's life. But the time from when I took my two little girls and ran away from their abusive father to the time I lost my girls seems to have been years. But it wasn't. I am surprised, it didn't take long at all for my life to be totally destroyed.

So, Little R was still four years old, L was almost two when they came home to live with me again. We hadn't been separated very long at all. And I had called them every day and visited them on my days off. But it seemed as though we had been apart for a life time. Not just to me, to them also. They clinged to me and would not let me out of their site. Following me to the bathroom, where they stood in the doorway watching me intently so I wouldn't slip out the tiny 4 inch window. The three of us shared a bedroom and I had to lay in bed with them until they were both sound asleep. But I didn't mind… I had suffered separation anxiety just as they had. (I had taken a leave of absence from work so that I could stay off work as long as I needed.)

Soon after R and L had come home, T's mother told us that the apartment next door to her was open for rent. (She lived in one side of a duplex) This seemed like a great hand of fate for us. We moved into that apartment so that when I did get ready to go back to work, T's mother could baby sit the girls. This move also seemed to help the girls. I would sit on the porch with T's mom and the girls would play close to me. Each day they were able to get a tiny bit further away from me as long as I didn't get up from my seat. (Of course, Little R's movements dictated what L would do. She followed her big sister's cue.) As Little R became a little braver, so did L. Very soon, the girls were playing in the yard while I stayed on the porch.

As the girls became braver, T and I became closer. Eventually, the girls were ok with me sitting in a chair close to their bed until they fell asleep and I moved into T's bed with him. I know that seems out of place, but I really don't remember when I became romantically involved with T. It is something that happened and I'm not sure when or how it came to be.

As time passed and the girls, at least little R, became more confident, I slowly began preparing them for my return to work. At first, I went into the house while T's mom stayed outside with the girls while they played. Then I would go to the store, assuring them I'd be back quickly and they'd be safe with Mrs. H. It was a gradual process that seemed to take a lot longer than it really did. But eventually, I was able to return to work for a few hours a day. I was still only working a very few hours a day when Hell came to my life. Oh sure, I thought I had already been through hell and that I was making a come back… But I was wrong… Oh so wrong…

It was summer time.  It was hot, I remember that so clearly. The day was dry and oh so hot. (by my time line calculations it must have been June.) I was sitting on the porch watching Little R teach her baby sister how to build a doll house out of dirt and sticks. Toys were scattered all over the yard, but they were playing with dirt and sticks and their favorite baby dolls of course. Little R with her imagination had decided the dolls needed a pool and had instructed L on how to dig it out. I was laughing at them both because R was trying to teach L to dig in only one spot to make the "pool" deep enough, but L would babble something in baby talk and then proceed to fill the freshly dug hole with the loose dirt that R had taken out. Amazingly enough, Little R was being Oh so patient with her little sister. "no no, tishie, this way" She would say and show her again and again. I don't know what L was saying but her hand movements and expressions seem to be saying, "Oh, yeah, I get it now" And then she'd throw more dirt in the hole. ( I have often remembered that time, recalling it over and over so that I will never forget it. My girls playing together….)

That's when a car pulled up in front of the house. I immediately stood up and was off the porch and in front of the girls. I had an immediate sense of dread. For one thing, this was a really nice car. It was so out of place in this neighborhood. But there was something else, that I couldn't put my finger on. I just knew that my stomach was churning with a deep fear and protectiveness for my girls.

Two women got out of that car. I remember the car was dark. Black? Maybe it was a dark blue, but it was dark. Another darkness to my life. The two women identified themselves as CPS social workers. For a second, only a second, I thought they were finally going to help me get Little R into some sort of council. But they started rapid firing questions at me. I didn't know what was going on. They asked me how often I left the girls alone with T. "Never." which I had not. Not because I didn't trust him, but because I didn't want to leave Little R alone with any man after what she had been through. I didn't think it would be good for her at that time. "Who, then, baby sat while I was working" I pointed to Mrs. H, T's mom and said "she does, but I'm never gone more than three or four hours at a time." 

"Why didn't I have Ruby in therapy?" was their next line of questions. And I told them that I was trying to get her some help but they were not helping me… And there were more questions, most of them made no sense at all. Then they took Little R into the house and talked to her alone. Then one of the women made a phone call and they stood around staring at us all while we waited for what I didn't know. T was at work when all this started. But he arrived home, just as a police car pulled up in front of our house. They asked him if he was T.H. And he said yes and they proceeded to search him and put cuffs on him and put him in the police car. Without even saying why!

Then in front of me, in the house, they took Little R and L and the police and the social women proceeded to take off all the girls clothing. I was hysterical by this time, trying to get them to leave my babies alone. The girls were terrified. They were in tears begging for me to make them stop. The amazing thing was, that while both the girls were… Dirty, from playing in the dirt, there was a bruise or a scratch on them. They didn't even have the normal scratches or bumps that children get from normal child's play. Nothing!

After the girls were dressed again, one of the social workers took them to another room and the other social worker told me that there had been a report that T was abusing the girls. I told them they were crazy. That I never let him be by himself with my girls and I would know if he ever tried to hurt them, which he hadn't. That seemed to be a confession to them. They told me to talk to the girls and make it ok for them to go with them. To make it easier on them because they were going to take them temporarily while the investigation was ongoing and I needed to make the girls not afraid.

I hugged my girls and told them I loved them so much  and never forget I loved them and I would be with them again soon. Then they took my babies and drove away with them. Then they arrested me! The charge? Failure to report Child abuse! I was in jail for three days! Three days before they allowed me to call my Dad. He bonded me out on the same day I called him.

I went home, to my empty apartment. The truth is, I would have went to my dad's that time, but he lived in another county and the judge wouldn't give me permission to stay with Dad before my case came up. It didn't really mater to me, though. I just went home and went to bed and didn't get up… I was so sick, with depression and fear… I don't remember how long I stayed in bed. I didn't eat… Except when Mrs. H would bring over something and force me to eat a few bites or feed me water, which I would have to run to the bathroom and throw up most of the time. How long did that go on? I can't remember. I know eventually rent time came and I had no money so I moved in with Mrs. H, T's mother. He was still in jail, on child abuse charges, waiting for a court date because we had no money to get him out.

I did go back to working, full time now, there was no reason for me not to work full time. I walked several miles to the jail downtown once a week to visit T. And I waited. There was nothing else I could do. "They" had all the power, as far as I could see and I had no resources. Time stopped. I did what I had to do. I worked, I helped Mrs. H with the housework. I ate food when she forced me too. I was sick all the time. And so tired. I wanted nothing more than to just lay down and die. But I was so sure that "they" would see what a terrible mistake they had made and return my girls to me any day now. So I waited.

________________________________________________

I called "my social worker" constantly. Badgering her about "the investigation" and when I could have my girls back. Or at least when I could see them. Couldn't I even see my babies?! The answers were always pretty much the same. It would not be good for the girls to visit me at this time, it would only confuse them when we had to be separated again. The "investigation" was on going and they had no information to give me at this time. I heard that statement so many times it was burned into my brain like a cattle brand.

The other thing that they said over and over, was there was a high possibility that I would never again get my girls back and they could be stuck in foster care for their entire child hood. They were preparing  me so to speak. I know that now. Then I was just terrified. I had seen the movies with the poor kids that were thrown from one bad foster care home to another. Or the kids that lived in Children's homes under horrible conditions. Not my girls! All I could do was pray that God would keep my girls out of that horrible life.

Maybe a month went by, maybe less and I guess they decided I was ready. The social work came to my house one day and said she needed to "talk" to me. This all seems so fussy now. The memory has a dream like quality to it. I can't remember the whole conversation but the jest of it was, this woman said that Little R had told them about the "abuse" and I would never be allowed to have my girls back again. They would, of course, seek the court to severe my parental rights, but the court system was so over clogged and full that this might take years. Meanwhile my girls would have to live in a children's home or foster care if it could be found for them. And they were getting older and by the time the courts caught up to them, they'd be too old to be able to find an adoptable home for them. They would probably have to be separated, and no one wants that.. And they'd live in group homes or foster homes until they turned 18. Never being able to have a stable home life again… The one sentence I remember the woman saying verbatim, was… "If you are selfish, you will cause them to have that life, but you can be sure, no mater what you will never get your girls back."

I remember the pain. OH the pain. My chest really hurt. I felt sure my heart would stop beating. The pain was physical. I also got sick and had to run to the bathroom at one point to throw up.

Sign relinquish papers, giving up my rights to parent my girls and they would find them a home together where they would be loved and taken care of. That's what was told to me that day. I asked about their father, would his rights be terminated? They couldn't possibly ever let him see them after what he did. No No, his rights had already been terminated by the courts. It didn't occur to me to ask how that was done so quickly when she had just said the courts were backed up by years. When I couldn't talk any more because I was crying too hard, when I couldn't catch my breath and my chest hurt so bad that I was doubled over, the woman put her hand on my shoulder, I think her touch burned my skin, and told me to think about it. And she left. She could have stabbed me in the heart and walked away smiling, it would have been the same.

____________________________________________

Mrs. H was dead set against my signing the papers. Not because she thought I should or could fight for my children. She agreed with the social worker in that once the government gets involved, you pretty much can't fight them. She didn't want me to sign the papers until T went to court, because she figured they would use that as an admission of guilt.

So I went to visit T on that Sunday. I told him everything that had happened. I told him my fears. He pretty much said the same thing as his mother about the girls. I couldn't fight them. They were the government, they would lie, cheat and do what ever it took to win and I would loose. I also told T what the lady had said about Little R's age. She was almost five years old, almost too old to be adoptable. I didn't want her to be shuffled from one place to another, each place being worse than before…. T told me to sign the papers. He didn't care if they used it against him. He didn't want me to have to worry about Little R that way.

And thus the decision was made…. I decided to give my children a chance to have a good life. I decided to make a deal with the devil and give him my very heart, in exchange, my daughters would have a "good" life. It was over that day… The days that followed were just paperwork of sorts. They meant nothing… The day my heart died was on the day I decided. I didn't know then that I still had a little more to live for. I didn't know then that I still had more to loose. I didn't know that there could be more pain…. But there was…..more pain to come…..

June 26, 2006 Posted by | Adoption, life, my angels, past | 3 Comments