Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Much Needed Distraction

About a year ago I received word that a childhood friend of mine I have known since 1st grade committed suicide.  I let some of my friends know from Junior High.  A bunch of us got together and went to the Memorial Service.  After the Memorial Service some of us agreed...we should not be reuniting at a funeral or memorial service or High School Reunions.  It was decided then and there that we would get together every time Katie came to town.

Last July was our first get together, it was a small group.  At some point I opened up about Ashley.  I didn't care what any one thought...we were all adults here and this was no longer Junior High and damn it...I refuse to stay swept under a rug!  Their reaction had surprised me.  They weren't negative at all, they wanted to help bring us together!!

Katie was coming to town again for Christmas.  We planned to meet again, this time inviting more people from Junior High...a girls only kind of thing.  I was getting excited, this was my much needed distraction from the painful reminder that my child who was lost to adoption was not with me...again.

The Junior High we went to was small, the other Junior Highs funneling into the High School we went to were much larger.  What makes our gatherings so interesting is that we knew each other because our school was so small, but we all belonged to different groups.  If you would have asked any of us back in '82-'85 if we would ever hang out in the future we would have laughed saying Hell No!  So here we are, years later, gathering together, laughing, sharing we have been close all of these years.  It took a death to make us realize we needed each other.  And so with each gathering we get closer and closer, bonding like sisters.

We met up the other night, added four new people to the gathering.  We had it at Rachel's house, I was glad because it was super close to home since we would be drinking.  We were having a wonderful time, it was like we had all been together all these years.  For a few hours I was able to actually be thoughts of adoption crossing my mind.  After several hours 3 of the girls needed to head home, the rest of us stayed.  We sat around the table in the kitchen still talking.  

Jennifer was sitting next to me.  Jennifer was never shy, she would ask whatever questions she needed to ask and she would say whatever she needed to say.  If she didn't get the answers she wanted she would go dig up the information.  She should have been some Private Investigator or something...she had this unbelievable knack for getting information.  I told Jennifer about Ashley after the Memorial Service the year before.  She was horrified that I went through that.  After 9th grade Jennifer went to a different High School and we never kept in touch.  Jennifer had her son a few months after I had Ashley.  She kept her son, she refused to let anyone talk her out of raising him.  Sometimes...I wish Jennifer and I would have stayed in touch...

Anyways, Jennifer turned to me and asked "What's the latest with Ashley?  Last I heard you were driving down the street behind her Adoptive Mother".  So I filled her in on what has happened lately.  Most of the people at the table know about Ashley.  Jennifer turned and looked behind her shoulder to see Kathy and Lisa with surprised looks on their faces.  Jennifer gave them the super condensed version of what has happened.  Lisa responded with "I gathered that when she said 'July 23, 1988'".

Penny got up to start putting some of the food away.  She asked what a Search Angel was and Jennifer and I explained.  Penny started freaking out.  Penny is an adoptee, she found her First Mother when she was 23 and had managed to balance her relationships with her adoptive and first families.  After about 15 years of having her First family in her life they abruptly cut off contact with no explanations.  Penny and I have been there for each other for the past 4 years, she gives me the Adoptee side and I give her the First Mother side, but I have to remind her that she was born during the BSE and my experiences don't come close to what her First Mother went through.

As we were explaining the Search Angel Penny started to panic.  She said there was no way a search angel could get her info because she was born in 1970.  Jennifer told her it is possible, so Jennifer explained the different ways it can be done.  Seeing the panic in Penny I quickly understood how Ashley could have been completely freaked out when she found out I knew who she was.

After Penny calmed down and understood Kathy asked me "Why are you telling us this now?  Why didn't you tell us before?"  I told her that 1) we weren't in contact, 2) I was told not to talk about it, and 3) I was afraid of y'all judging me.  She gave me a funny look and said "but you are talking about it now" and I told her that I had to get off that adoption kool-aid first, once I did and I started seeing things for what they are and realized how I was manipulated, I couldn't keep quiet anymore.  I refused to let the Adoption Machine win...I jumped out of that closet and I have been talking every since.

Slowly, my fears were going away.  I was in a safe place, with safe people, it was safe to talk about Ashley.

Katie was sitting across from me, on the verge of tears.  Katie wants Ashley and I reunited as much as I do and from the looks on the faces at the table it looked like they wanted the same thing.  Katie asked if it were okay to discuss this with her prayer group when she gets back home and I told her it was okay.  Sometimes I wonder if Katie has a direct line to God, every time her prayer group gets together and prays for any of us it seems to work.

So there you much needed distraction from the painful reminder that Ashley was not with me at Christmas and the much needed support and love from my friends/acquaintances from Junior High.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's A Freakishly Small World

I was hoping with it getting so close to Christmas that things wouldn't throw me off, I was hoping to survive Christmas like I always do...quietly wishing Ashley was with me during the holidays.  But it looks like this year that won't happen because it is a freakishly small world.

I have written before about my former HR Manager who knew Ashley and about seeing the yearbooks from 7th grade to her Senior year and scanning those pictures.  I don't know why fate brought us together, but it did.

There are two blogs whereI wrote about Ashley's friend coming to see me.  She put two and two together.  Needless to say, I was in complete shock when that happened.  After that Spring Break I never heard from that girl again, which is okay I suppose.  There was a reason we were brought together, but I am still not exactly sure...maybe it was so she could tell Ashley she had met me...maybe she was suppose to be there to support Ashley if she decided to make contact, reassure her her it was okay.  I don't know.  I was working in their neighborhood so chances were high that I would run into someone who knew Ashley.

I have also written about driving home from work one day and being behind the truck that belonged to Ashley's Adoptive Father, then pulling up so I could get a quick look then continue driving off.  I think that was a sign telling me someone was in the way of Ashley and I reconnecting.  I don't know.  I was close to their neighborhood so that was sure to happen, but why then after all of these years?  Anyways...

On Facebook I sent Ashley a message in August.  Told my kept daughter about Ashley.  Sent a follow up message on Facebook in October.  Still no word.  I don't know if she ever read them.  She might of deleted them, I don't know.  Not knowing is driving me up the wall!!

A little over a week ago I wrote about my husband dropping me off at work and seeing the car with the school dance tickets being advertised in the back window and the unrelated high school girl who walked in wearing a letter jacket from the High School Ashley went to.  I took it as fate slapping me in the face, because I was letting go just enough so I could survive the upcoming favorite Holiday...the Holiday I wished every year that Ashley could spend with me.  So that little cruel twist of fate left me asking why I was still being punished.

Yesterday I was fine, I was at work.  I didn't feel like curling my hair or put on any make-up.  I just wanted to hurry and be done with the day so I could get home and start getting ready for my family to invade my house this Saturday.  Until fate decided to step in again....

A new client came to me because of a Living Social deal my Salon/Spa had out there.  With the Living Socials I get people from all over the DFW area and some who live about 3 hours away...they come from all over, no biggie.  This girl had me cracking up, I knew we would get along just fine.  I noticed her address, she is from the same neighborhood has Ashley.  I asked her if she went to P***** High School, she said she did and graduated in '06.  For a brief second I think my heart stopped beating.  This time I asked her if she knew Ashley, after the first friend/client I wasn't going to be caught off guard...nope...I was finally open about Ashley after so many years of hiding that secret.  Adoption wasn't going to control me like that again!

To my surprise she knew her, they have known each other since Junior High.  She looked at me and asked if I were her sister, I told her to look again and then it clicked.  I didn't freak out like the last time.  This time I let the fear and excitement rush through me.  During my time with this client I was able to find the answers to the little questions about Ashley that I had wondered about for so many years.  She asked if it were okay if she told Ashley about meeting me, I told her it was her choice to tell her, not mine.  I did ask her to let her know her half sister knows about her now and she is not a secret in my part of the world.  The client told me it now makes since why Ashley didn't look Jewish, she knew she was adopted because Ashley had always been open about that, but know the client knows it is because I am not Jewish.  I told the client that Christmas and the month of July are always very hard on me because I never wanted to let Ashley go.  This girl pulled up her facebook and showed me pictures.  I didn't freak out, instead I was filled with this warmth.  How I wish Ashley would reach out!!  The client hugged me and told me Ashley and I were built the same, except she was taller.  Ashley is taller than me!  A wish I had since the moment I felt her first kick!!

From the brief time I spent with this girl I was able to find out Ashley and I look almost identical, we are built the same.  Even though she was extremely popular in school she was friends with everyone, not just her crowd.  She was quirky, very smart and talented.  She talks just as fast as me and is always laughing and smiling.  The apple apparently did not fall far from this tree.  This girl said she now believes that personalities are genetic...because Ashley and I are so much alike.

I was told that Ashley was probably scared to reach out to me.  She said "you never know what her parents said".  I understood this and this validated my fear.  It sounded as if the parents are the ones standing in the middle, preventing us from meeting.  I told the friend I understood this and baby steps can be taken, communicating on facebook at first is completely fine.  The last thing I want is for Ashley to get hurt.  The client had left, given me another hug and told me she would tell Ashley.

After the client left, I walked through the back towards the salon side.  One of my co-workers was getting her hair shampooed.  She asked if I was okay, I told her I felt a little nauseous and told her what had just happened.  She jumped up with a big smile on her face and said this was a sign.  I don't know if this was a sign, but I do hope this will give Ashley some reassurance, let her know I am matter what.

After I got home I spoke with a Birth Mother friend of mine who lives close by to me and told her what happened.  She told me she now believes the parents are talking crap about me to keep Ashley away.  I agreed with her.  She told me Ashley would become resentful when she realizes what they said about me wasn't true.  I told her I know.  She reminded me that I was a better person and I told her if and when I ever come face to face with them I was going to give them a big, squishy hug and a kiss on the cheek.  My friend said that would make them uncomfortable and I told her I know, but that is the kind of person I am...I am a bigger person, I am a better person, and just because they may say nasty things about me doesn't mean I will stoop to that level.  I have a heart full of love, and because of my love for Ashley I will stand tall, with my head held high.

Sometimes...this world is just a little too small for my comfort!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Have A Little Dreidel

About four years ago I went to the daycare to pick my kept daughter up.  When I stepped out of my car my foot hit something, I looked down and saw a little wooded dreidel laying on the ground.  I reached down and picked it up.  First thing that came to my mind was "Happy Hanuka Ashley".  Then I remembered my best friend in elementary school who lived across the street from me, she was Jewish.  Her mother would let me come over to help get things ready for their holiday.  I was always amazed by it (like my friend was amazed by Christmas).

I gently squeezed the dreidel in my hand and I could hear:

I have a little dreidel
I made it out of clay
And when it's dry and ready
Then dreidel I shall play

Oh dreidel dreidel dreidel
I made it out of clay
And when it's dry and ready
Then dreidel I shall play
It has a lovely body
With legs so short and thin
And when it is so tired
It drops and then I win!

Oh dreidel dreidel dreidel
I made it out of clay
And when it's dry and ready
Then dreidel I shall play
My dreidel's always playful
It loves to dance and spin
A happy game of dreidel
Come play now, let's begin!

Oh dreidel dreidel dreidel
I made it out of clay
And when it's dry and ready
Then dreidel I shall play
I still have the dreidel, I don't know why, but I do.  Yesterday I was rummaging through my desk drawer and I came across the dreidel I found lying in a parking lot many years ago.  I held it in my hand and again, I could hear the Dreidel Song my elementary best friend taught me.

My dearest Ashley, I hope one day you can find it in your heart to reach out to me.  There is so much for me to tell you and teach you and there is so much I need to hear and learn from you.  Until then, Happy Hanuka.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why Am I Being Punished?

"The Salem Martyr"by Thomas Slatterwhite Noble, 1869
Why am I still being punished?  Why do I have to continue feeling pain?  Society keeps telling me I was selfless, when in reality I was taken advantage of.  I did everything I was told to do.  So why am I still so empty?

Yes, I was still a teenager, too young to realize that I had the strength to raise a child.  I was still being told what to do, I believed in those who told me this was best.  At the time I knew it was important for my child to have a mother AND a father, but I never knew the damage it would cause having my child removed from her roots, her heritage, her true self.

If this was a “noble”, “selfless” act then why am I still paying for this?  Does society not realize that when a child is lost to adoption it causes a great wound that can never be healed?  Who are these sick people who think they have the right to take a child away from its mother?

Yes, my First Daughter was given everything by the people who the State of Texas calls her parents.  She received a college education from a very exclusive private college.  These people still take care of her, provide for her, still tell her what to do and not do.  These people are treating this 23 year old human being like she is an object, a possession, a pet.  Are they doing this because they paid so much money for her?  Honestly, it doesn’t matter how much you sugar coat it, they paid a lot of money to an Agency for a white infant girl...they bought my daughter.

Why does Society still keep telling me I need to be grateful? 

Yes, I am grateful she was given every opportunity I could not provide.  I am not grateful that my own flesh and blood was raised to not think for herself and was raised to look down on her own heritage.  This child has no clue as to what she is capable of, she has no idea that this apple did not fall far from this tree.  It breaks my heart to know her wings have been clipped; she will never spread them and fly on her own.

I did what they told me to do; I drank their toxic kool-aid for the first 18 years.  In their eyes I was a “Good Birth Mother”…I was silent and hidden away like they told me to be.  They never expected me to reappear years later, with a fire in my eyes.  That primal maternal need to protect and love my child never went away because of some court document.  We bonded when she was in-utero and that bond was sealed the moment I held her.

So why am I still being punished?  Why do I keep getting slapped in the face with signs letting me know she is still out there?  Why won’t my wounds heal?  I try to let go, but something in the very depths of my being refuses to let me do that.

Losing my child to adoption has given me a life sentence.  A life feeling incomplete, a life of longing, a life loving a child who shares my genetic make-up…a life of not hearing her voice, seeing her smile, listening to her laughter…a life of never hearing her call me “Mom”.

All this because some wealthy woman who was trying so hard to get pregnant couldn’t conceive, she finally gave birth to her own child after she had my daughter in her arms.  This woman who treats my First Daughter has a pet and has convinced her that I am nothing but some piece of insignificant trash.  A woman’s need for a child caused me to lose my first born; a woman’s insecurity is keeping us separated.  

Because this woman had an urgent need for an infant has caused me to lose my daughter through manipulation and coercion and I am the one who was given a life sentence of pain, heartache and longing.   

Why must I still be punished?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Is it a sign, or is fate messing with me?

My car was in the shop for the last few days, I had been driving my husband's truck to work in the meantime.  Yesterday my husband needed the truck so he had to take me to work.  The Salon I work at is in one of those "outdoor" shopping malls where there are little streets lined with stores and can be a pain driving through them because of all of the shoppers.  It wasn't even 9 am yet, the little roads were still fairly empty.  My husband pulled up front (I usually come in the back way and park in the back).  A jeep got my attention.

I slid out of the truck...staring at the back of that little black jeep.  Interesting...

I get inside and get my room ready then I go to sit up front with our receptionist.  Bored out of my mind I sit there and stare at that jeep.  The back window has "Chan***** 2012, get your tickets" written in the back window. and on the tailgate is a magnetic emblem of Ashley's college mascot.  The stylists who are employed by are salon were not there yet, I'm the only Aesthetician so I knew this vehicle didn't belong to any client of our Salon, this person must be a client of one of the stylists who leases a room...but which one, they were all busy.

The Receptionist laughed and asked "What are you staring at?"  So I told her, the black jeep.  She looked at it asked why was it so interesting....

Ashley drives a dark SUV, a different one, not a least she use to.  She went to P***** HS and they have this dance every spring called Chan***** and there is the emblem for the College she went to.  I know this is not her, or anyone in her family, but this is weird.  I see the mascot emblem everywhere so that's not a big deal.  It is very strange that a dark, small SUV is parked in front of the salon advertising a school dance that is located about 15-20 miles from this Salon.  Ashley went to P***** HS so I'm sure she attended the Chan***** dance and she went to that college.  Is this a sign or something?  Is fate screwing with me?

The receptionist looked at me confused, she asked who Ashley was.  I gave her the "Reader Digest Condensed Version".  All she could say was "Oh my God, how could you forgive your Mother?"  I told her  I have always been able to forgive, I just don't forget.

I am still focusing on this jeep when the front door opens, in walks a high school girl and her Mom.  They were heading towards one of the Independent Stylists.  This High School girl was wearing a P***** letter jacket.  "WHAT THE HELL?"

I sat there shocked.  Now this is getting weird.  The Receptionist's eyes got really big.  She said this was getting weird...we were too far away from that neighborhood for just a haircut. I agreed with her.  The last two places I worked it would be common seeing people from that school because I was over there.  Now I'm working 10 minutes from home, my town is still considered "The Sticks" even though it is growing.  The Receptionist and I agreed that the Mother and Daughter belonged to that Jeep...they had too.

About 15 or so minutes later I saw a woman getting into that Jeep.  The Receptionist and I watched her.  It wasn't the Mother and Daughter, it was someone else!  Seriously?  Two random people come in here to get their done and both are from the same area.  What was all this about?

Was this a sign?  What does this mean?  I told the Receptionist that just last night I posted about it being Christmas Time.  I had already accepted the fact that Ashley wants nothing to do with me, why was this being thrown in my face?  Is fate screwing with me?  Is someone sitting there laughing knowing we are two weeks away from Christmas and it will be another Christmas with my heart filled with emptiness?  This is cruel!!
The Receptionist looked at me and asked "Well, what do you want it to be?"  I want it to mean that I will finally have contact soon, but I know this isn't it.  This isn't fair!  I am being punished emotionally again!   A carrot is being dangled in front of me and no matter how patient and understanding I am I will never be able to catch that carrot.  Ashley wants nothing to do with me...her adoptive parents had made sure of that.  I don't blame Ashley, it was never her fault.  They had spent 23 years brainwashing her, filling her with guilt.

I checked facebook real message from her.  I checked her twitter...nothing mentioning this.  I checked her cute little blog...nothing posted that was adoption related.  Nothing...not one single little bit of a hint about adoption.

No, I don't think this a sign...I want it to be, but I don't think it is.  I think it's Fate screwing with me...throwing reminders of Ashley in my face, knowing Ashley won't come time for Christmas.

Or is something telling me to not give up?

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Christmas Time...Does She Know?

Does Ashley know....

Does she know what time of year this is?

Does she know there is a Christmas Tree up decorated with ornaments, some made by my mom when I was a small child, some made by me.  Does she know there's room for ornaments if she chooses to make one?

Does she know what it feels like to be filled with love and excitement from her family on Christmas Eve and morning?  (I'm sure she feels this with her adoptive family during Hanuka...but I'm talking Christmas here)

Does she know I would still whip up a batch of magical reindeer food and we can set it out front on Christmas Eve night?

Does she know she could also join us in making the christmas cookies from scratch and decorate them?  A tradition my Mom started when I was itty bitty.

Does she know I would make her a stocking, with my hands...stitched together with love...for her too?

Does she know what it is like at my house on Christmas Eve when my home is filled with family?  Kids running through the house sock skating, laughter, hugs and the excitement when presents are opened?

Does she know that my sister would tuck her into bed after everyone leaves on Christmas eve and read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to her...if she wanted...even though she is 23 now?

Does she know what the Dala Horses on my mantle mean?  Does she know the story behind them?  She'd get a Dala Horse too you know...if she came around.

Does she know what it is like to wake up on Christmas morning to find her stocking filled and presents under the tree from Santa?  (Santa still delivers to adults)

Does she know in my home on Christmas Day we spend the entire day in our pajamas watching movies and grazing on left overs from the night before?

Does she know how much I have missed her every Christmas?  Does she know I wish I was able to give her these special Christmas memories for the last 23 years?

Does she know she would be welcomed with open arms when we celebrate Christmas?

Does she know she has blood relatives who would love to have her around?

Does she know every year I silently wish she was with me at Christmas?  (I also wish for anytime of year)

Does she know how much love I have for her?

Does she know?

Does Ashley know?  

Does she even care?

Oh Ashley...dear, dear Ashley...I'm trying so hard to be patient...but this is tearing me up.  If only you would give me some sort of acknowledgment....  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Where Are You Christmas?

Christmas is fast approaching.  For some reason I just can't get into the Christmas mood.  This holiday is a painful reminder of what is missing in my life, my heart.  I just hope one day Ashley will be Christmas...and every other time in my life...

Where Are You Christmas? 
Faith Hill

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play

My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too

Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time

I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love 

Things to do: Wear pointy hats

My 4th Birthday.  Does this picture scream 1974 or what?
Still no word on the message I sent to my First Daughter on August 17th...or the follow up message I sent on October 10th.  I am stubborn enough to not give up hope and I have a quirky enough personality to come up with a random list of things to do to help pass the time.  I know as long as I can keep my sense of humor then I should be able to keep from climbing the walls!!

Things to do while you patiently wait for some sort of response from your First Child...

Wear Pointy Birthday Hats

Why wait for a birthday party?  Wear pointy birthday hats all year round.  Sure, you will get funny looks from people at first, but they would end up smiling!  Those pointy paper hats usually bring up those happy, warm memories of birthdays past...well...maybe for my generation.

So go ahead.  Put that silly pointy birthday hat on, make a random person smile.

***Thank you Jenn for the suggestion.***

Monday, December 5, 2011

Frame By Frame

Yesterday I brought my daughter to Church for her Confirmation Class.  Confirmation is every other Sunday after Church...we have been skipping the Church services, just getting there for her classes.  It is annoying that it is after Church instead of before, but it works better for our new Minister.  Since Confirmation starts at 12:30 I'm stuck with being polite by acknowledging people who are still at "Coffee Hour".  I usually dread this, I know I shouldn't, but I do.  I went in yesterday and gave hugs and kisses to the people I had known my entire life and to my delight there was the Minister I had growing up.  I have always adored him.  He never judged me, never looked down on me, he just let me be me.

We'll call him Steve...

I snuck up behind Steve and gave him a big hug.  He asked if my kept daughter was there and I pointed her out to him.  He couldn't believe how much she had grown since he last saw her.  She came over to say hi and then she went off to her class.  After she walked away Steve asked how I was doing, I told him fine.  He gave me a serious look and asked "Ashley?"  My eyes welled up with tears.  He gave me another hug.  I told him how this emptiness I have carried has sucked, I wanted her to be in my life.  I caught him up to where I was today...where Ashley is today.

"Frame by frame."  That's what he said.  I was confused.  Steve had to explain.

Frame one:  You find her, contact was attempted.  She now knows who you are.  Once all of the information is gathered you wait patiently while she goes off to College.  You process Frame One.

Frame Two:  She talks about you, her friends check you out.  You randomly meet one of her childhood friends.  She processes Frame Two.

Frame Three:  You start to understand what happened.  You realized they played on your fears.  You now know what I wanted to tell you back then, the Agency lied to you, they took advantage of you.  You are now seeing what kind of people they are.  You process Frame Three.

Frame Four:  She spreads her wings, she graduates College and moves away.  She is finding her path.  She is processing Frame Four.

Frame Five:  You no longer keep the secret.  You don't hide the pain you carry.  You realize you have nothing to fear so you speak out, you speak your truth.  You are still processing Frame Five.

This is God's plan. (I shot him a dirty look)  God never wanted you separated from your child.  God is helping you two find your way back to one another.  God knows what they did to the two of you was wrong, so God is giving you frames to process, to help you grow, help keep you from being overwhelmed.  This is God's plan, to bring Mother and Child back together.  God wants for the two of you to have a healthy relationship and this is his way of making it happen.  Be patient, it is in God's hands.

All I could do was look at Steve and say "Damn it!  When am I going to get to the final frame?  This crap is making me crazy!"  He hugged me again, kissed me on the forehead and said, "Have faith, your time will come".

This still does not help me feel any better about not having Ashley around for Christmas this year!