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 memories...like 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 me...no 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.