Wednesday, May 31, 2006

COOKIE SPEAKS - HER REUNION STORY

Here is another birthmother story. She was found by her son. I asked her to write about it and her emotions behind it. At the time that this was written, I had just been told that my birthmother refused contact with me. I was pretty devastated. I needed to hear that there was hope out there. I needed to believe that she just might change her mind later. I mean no disrespect at the term "birthmother" because they are now mothers just mothers.

It has now been over four months and still no change. I believe that she might just be lurking out there. Hopefully she reads these women's courageous stories. Its funny when birthmothers come out of the closet. They come blasting out. I for one love them passionately for it. So enjoy and God willing heal. Here is Cookie's story. Her blog is http://cookiespeaks.blogspot.com/ If you want to read more of her stuff. She is a great read.


As we age, many of the events which we experienced in years past, meld and blur and if we remember them at all, they may be hazy, indistinct memories. However, some life-altering events stay crisp and clear and can be recalled in a flash with such exquisite clarity that as we allow ourselves to recall them we almost transport ourselves back to that place and time. Each detail is etched into our brains and even to begin to go back to that time can fill us with powerful emotions. The days surrounding my son's relinquishment, though quite distant in time, and most fairly fuzzy in my memory, evoke some very distinct memories. There is a also a great deal about that time, that perhaps mercifully is still buried, and may never surface. It was bar none the most painfully excruciating time in my life - nothing else comes close. For me, the night I heard that my son was searching for me was also one of those rare and powerful moments.One warm California evening, as I walked in the back door to our home, my husband shoved a phone into my hand announcing, "It's for you". From the second I took the phone, I had an unexplained, but uneasy feeling about the call. A soft, gentle matronly voice came on the phone and began with, "You don't know me, but, I am calling from _____(the city where the adoption agency my son was relinguished to was located)". I felt my chest constrict and I nearly gasped as I stiffened and fear began to pump through me. Next, she asked me if my maiden name was____. "Yes," I slowly replied with a question in my voice. Then, she told me why she was calling. "I am a social worker and your son is searching for you."Okay, I did say that I remembered the event with great clarity, but, I have to tell you I do not recall what I said after that. Actually, I don't think I said anything. I was so stunned, I hadn't a clue what to say. Sarah, the SW just kept talking I believe. "Write down my name and phone number" she instructed me. Then she told me that while he wanted to be in touch with me; it was my decision. She suggested that I take a few days to think about what I wanted to do and then call her back and let her know what I had decided. I finally found my voice and firmly said, "No, I will call you back tomorrow."As our phone call progressed, I walked into our bedroom and sat on the end of the bed so that we could talk privately. After our call was completed, I hung up the phone and just sat on the bed for a few minutes almost frozen and numb. This may be hard for Amy to hear, but, I had spent a lifetime worrying about someone "finding out" that I had another son, a son that I had given away and not raised. "Given away" is no longer the politically correct term, but, that was how I experienced it, that's how it felt to me. I was deeply ashamed that I had not kept my son and raised him. No one was ever supposed to know what I had done. In nearly 32 years, I had never told a solitary soul - children- husbands, no one. I toyed with the idea of telling a few people that I had become close to over the years, but, I couldn't bear to take the risk. The fear of how they would see me - with certain loathing and disgust - was such a scary proposition. So, I kept all my feeling buried about my son and his adoption. Allowed myself to think of him as seldom as possible. To survive his loss, it was the only way that I knew how, not to think of him.Until the night I was found.Still mute and resting nearly frozen on the end of our bed I sat, then suddenly, I had a desperate need to move, to do something, anything. Needed to somehow try to normalize my current situation. I jumped up and slowly plodded across the grass and walked up the steps to my garden. On my way out of the house, my husband caught a glance at my ashen face and asked me if everything was okay. I lied and said that it was. Once I reached the garden, I grabbed the hose and began watering, it was a "normal" nightly activity for me and I thought it might help bring me back to reality. I couldn't think, I was in shock and felt almost disoriented as in a trance. After about 2 minutes, my composure shattered and I knew this was not destined to be a "normal" summer evening for me. It was anything but "normal" or usual. And then, I knew that I couldn't hold all those years of buried love and longing for my son in for an instant longer. As I threw down the hose and headed back across the lawn, the tears were by now streaming down my cheeks in a torrent.I walked into the house and found my husband and told him that I had something to tell him and that he'd probably hate me after I told him. By now, I was sobbing, choking and barely coherent as I began to explain what the phone call had been all about. I blurted out, "I had another son many years ago and I gave up him for adoption". Still sobbing, my husband reached over and took me in his arms and told me that it was okay, that I was very young when it had happened and that we would get through this. Next, he asked me what I wanted to do and I said that I had to be in touch with my son. There was no question in my mind - I felt that I had failed him once so many years ago and now no matter what, if he wanted or needed to know me now, I could not refuse his request. And finally, I knew too that being in touch with him was also what I wanted and needed.After my husband had been told, I explained to him that I needed some time to think. Then, I began to allow all those feelings that had been so buried for so many years to surface. Actually, I didn't really have much control, no control really, the emotions just all began to bubble up. Like a shaken champagne bottle suddenly uncorked - my buried feelings then spewed out. Comparing my emotions to an erupting volcano is also appropriate. On that night, my son suddenly became "real" to me - "my son" - I hadn't even allowed myself to think of him in that way. He was someone else's son - I thought he had been delivered to them as a blank slate - and would take on their traits and personality - and be theirs, exclusively, not mine in any way. I believed that - needed to. I knew nothing about his life from the time I left the hospital when he was days old. And now, nearly 32 years later, a stranger pronounced that he was "my son". I began to go back in time and all the corresponding feelings came back too - the good and the bad. First, I recalled how deliriously happy I had been when I was pregnant with him and how much I loved my son as he grew inside my expanding stomach. I remembered how excited and eager I was to be a mother again and how much I was looking forward to my baby being born. All babies have always been dear to me, but, none more so than my own. I looked forward to cuddling and rocking and enjoying my new little one. It was not to be.Next, I remembered being in the hospital and being afraid to even see my son, worried that I wouldn't be able to go through with giving him up. And last, I remembered being back at home after my son was born - without him. So, on the night I was found, all those feelings came rushing back - the love I had felt for my son - the eagerness to be his mother and care for him - the devastation of leaving the hospital without him - and all the dark days afterwards when I knew that I did not have my baby with me and would probably never see him again. My son is 36 years old now and the tears still flow when I remember that time. Tears are falling even now as I type and remember. That is just how significant losing a baby is - we don't forget, get over it or ever completely heal - our loss is too profound - like none other. We can and do go on and some of us manage to lead full and happy lives - but there is always something that lingers to remind us from time to time - and it is dark, horrible and exceedingly painful beyond belief when it comes to us.Never in one night have I had a wider range of varying emotions to deal with - and in the days to follow, there was more of the same and other new emotions erupted as well. As that evening continued, I was taken aback by the love for my son that came flowing back into my consciousness. I thought I had snuffed it out - I wanted to, it hurt too much to acknowledge it or that he was really my son. One phone call undid all my efforts to sever our bond and pretend that it did not matter. And then, I "got it" - I finally understood what losing my son really meant - how significant it was - and I knew it mattered more than I had ever been able to admit to myself. The hardest part of the whole evening was when it finally hit me - he was my beloved son - I gave him away - and I loved him so much that I should have found a way to have kept him. I finally understood that the bond between a mother and child is so sacred, strong and everlasting - that it should never be broken unless it is an absolute necessity. That overwhelming revelation finally sank it and all that I have discovered from other mothers who have lost children to adoption only cements my opinion about the harm that severing that bond causes. That maternal bond matters and yet we dismiss it way too easily and allow it to be severed and disregarded. And for what? To fill the hole another woman has. Makes no sense to me any longer.As that solitary night wore on, with the stunning guilt and grief also came excitement and joy at the thought of finally getting to know my son. After I began to believe and accept that he was my son - and always had been, I became eager and joyous at the thought of being in touch with him. What did he look like? Where was he? Was he happy? Was he married? What would he think of me? What would be be like. Most of all, I hoped that he had his father's heart.On that first night, when I was told that my son was searching, I felt bountiful joy, profound sadness, deep regret, self-loathing, high excitement, powerful fear, terror, numbness, confusion, love, longing - and I am certain that there are probably others I have missed. Enough conflicting feelings to dramatically affect even the strongest of people. That entire night was surreal to me. Everything else that had occurred in my life up to that point paled in comparision - that single night was nearly as dramatic as originally losing my son had been.It began my healing though - and as hard as that night was - and the first few years of my healing as we reconnected - finally getting to know my son has been one of the best experiences of my life. Ever since he found me, I wake up thankful that I can finally love and know him and let him know that I love him - always have and always will.I needed to be found and luckily my son was courageous enough and wise enough to find me and let me into his life and heart. Too many women do not understand how much peace reunion can add to their hearts and lives. They see only the disruption to their lives and the chore that building a relationship may be. Reunion is not for the weak; it is an enormous challenge. However, I feel grave sadness for women unable to take the risk. A life without the burden of all those lies and secrets is so much lighter. Releasing your demons is freeing. And above all else, living a life build on truth is a real life, not a facade of a life which masks pain, sadness and regret. Reunion is no magic panacea, but, it is a good beginning and I feel the best way for someone in a closed adoption to begin to heal and find some peace.
Thursday, January 26, 2006




5 comments:

Sara said...

Amy:

I have been reading your blog for about a month now. I like you am an adoptee who found my birth family - Bmom and 2 sibs - but they have not shown any interest in correspondence of any kind. It was interesting and painful to read Cookies story. I wonder if my Bmom felt any of those emotions when she found out about my search. I guess I'll never know.

AMYADOPTEE said...

Be patient and continue to write cards and letters. Eventually they will all come around. There is a great deal of emotions in the reunion process. Keep on doing it.

Cookie said...

Sara, my reunion is nearly 5 years old now. I have worked through many of the painful times I experienced in the first year or so of reunion. Not all birth moms have such a difficult time in early reunion - those of us who'd hidden it all and not dealt with it though maybe have a harder time.

I have never regretted being found - my pain was from the past, not reunion. Reunion has helped me heal and given me some peace.

Amy's right - keep hoping - I hate that birth moms refuse contact- it's wrong. Many do change their minds eventually though - timing is so crucial.

Mia said...

Ouch. If I were not such a chicken I would copy this and send it to my E.

sara said...

Thanks for your input. I am totally new to the blogging world so if this is a wrong forum please let me know. My story in a nutshell is this:

I was born in 1960. Adopted at 6 weeks from Children's Home Society. Biomom was a 34 year old divorcee with 2 children 2&3 yrs old when I was born. She remarried in 1965 and moved at some point with her family to a neighborhood very near to where I grew up. Literally blocks away. I didn't know this until recently. The kids went to my rival high school and we probably attended the same church - trip!

In March I sent a certified letter which was picked up in April by bio-bro. The letter was the standard "want to get to know you" kind of letter but in it I stated that I would not pursue contact unless I heard from her...I'm really regreting that now, but what's done is done.

Anyhow, after reading all these blogs I am wondering what I should do next, if anything.

The woman is 80 years old and from what I can tell living. I have driven by the house and it seems like no-one lives there. The neighborbood is upscale which suprises me that the house so run down.

My questions are many. Is she in a resthome? Does she have Alzheimers? Does she simply not want to deal with me? Did bio-bro even give her the letter? (I sent a non-certified copy a few weeks later just in case). I guess these are all questions that are typical for adoptees.

Anyhow, there is much more info but I don't want to bore anyone at this time.

If anyone has advice feel free to write it here or email me.

Thanks,

Sara
saramarcipan@sbcglobal.net