The Counselor told me I could have pictures of my baby if I wanted. I would only be allowed to have the pictures taken during the 6 weeks my precious baby would be with the Agency's Foster Mother until the Adoption was finalized. I didn't know I was allowed to even ask for such things, pictures were never mentioned. I jumped on the picture offer like there was no tomorrow.
Sometime in September of 1988 I received a envelope with snapshots taken of my sweet, precious baby. I held onto those pictures for dear life, nothing was going to separate me from them. For two years I carried them with me in my purse, I was afraid if I left them at home the house would burn down or the house would get robbed and my pictures would be gone. At least being in my purse I felt they were safer, no one was going to take my purse without a fight.
When "Ashley" was about two years old I finally broke down and bought a little frame. I chose the picture that was taken up close so it was just her angelic face and big, beautiful dark blue eyes. The picture was a little dark, almost like it was taken at night or early morning. At the time the darkness of the picture represented how dark my life seemed without her. This picture sat on my nightstand every since.
Sometimes I would pick up the picture and touch her little round cheek, sometimes I would cry, sometimes I would tell the picture I miss you and I love you. There were times I'd wake up in the morning hugging that frame. Every year on her birthday you would find me at some point holding onto the picture for dear life, I might be crying, I might be talking to it, I might be begging the picture to make contact with me. It was bittersweet having that picture on my nightstand.
On my First Daughter's 18th Birthday I had copies made of the pictures I was given years ago. A girlfriend of mine had suggested I make a scrapbook for her. This is what I did, my girlfriend helped me get it started. The first part of the scrapbook held the pictures of her, my hospital bracelets and little stories about our brief time together. The second part were pictures of her Birthfather and I and little (positive) stories about our relationship. The third part included pictures of me growing up and little bit about my childhood. The fourth part was her Birthfather. For some reason I still had his pictures from when he was a child, maybe this scrapbook was the reason. Her Birthfather refused to tell me anything for this scrapbook, he kept saying "It's none of her F***ing business", I told him he had no right to deny her the history of where she comes from, so I put in what I could remember. Then I added pictures I had of my Birthfather with his story, then my Mother and her story and my Paternal grandparents and great grandparents and their stories...and that is where I stopped...for now.
So much time and energy went into this scrapbook, I wanted it to be something special for her, I wanted her to have pictures and stories so she could see pieces of her...I wanted her to know her story. The scrapbook still sits in my house, waiting, waiting to be completed, waiting for her...