Thursday, August 30, 2012

The What If's ARE Killing Me!!!

The what if's ARE killing me!!

I lost my daughter to adoption 24 years ago and I can't stand by quietly and allow it to keep us separated.

Yes, a friend of mine reached out to her when she was 18.  It freaked her out and I still feel guilty about that, but the silver lining...she knew about the MySpace I had once just for here.

She (and her friends) visited the MySpace page often before I had to shut it down.  Ashley once posted about reading my stories and she really liked them...and she really liked me!!

People she knew would cross my path over the years.  I'm not talking about one friend, I'm talking about several people!!  One of them use to be my HR Manager when I worked in Corporate America.  The HR Manager had told me about how open Ashley was about being adopted and then she would tell me the Adoptive Mom's reaction.  The Adoptive Mom would say mean, nasty things about Ashley's Birth Mother...Me.

I sent Ashley a message on facebook, no response.  I sent a follow up a couple of months later, no response.  I can deal with her saying "piss off" or "I'm not ready", but it is being ignored that is killing me!!  My personality is a little too big to be ignored, which is probably why my friends and family are shocked that I haven't done anything more.

Until yesterday...

I had decided I was going to send her a handwritten letter.  I got a hold of my girlfriend Jennifer who plays my devil's advocate when it comes to Ashley.  I wanted to use a legitimate search company online to provide me the mailing address for Ashley in California.  Jennifer told me to give her a couple of hours, she was going to check the databases she has subscriptions for.  So I waited...

Jennifer asked for a few more pieces of info.  I gave it to her along with the parents, their biological daughter's name and their address.  So again, I wait...

A couple of hours later I get a text from Jennifer to call her, so I did.

We decided it would be best to send a letter FedEx (with a paid return FedEx envelope) to Ashley's work.  Since everything leads to the Adoptive Parents home address it would be less "creepy" to send it to her work, if I were to send it to her home she will probably freak out since her Adoptive Parents have gone to great lengths to show that Ashley "still lives" in her childhood home.  Ashley's work info was super easy to locate, and the info is publicly available, so after the initial shock wears off then she would see how she got the letter at her work.

Jennifer found the Adoptive Dad on facebook.  I went through his very public page and found tons of pictures of Ashley, even her college graduation pictures.  I started to get concerned, everything was about Ashley.  To any unknown person it would look like she was a true Daddy's Girl, but to me it looks like she was a great piece of property he had purchased.  It made my stomach turn.  Is she some piece of property they own?  I wanted to hurl!!!

I have been told by the people who have crossed my path that Ashley and I were so much alike, right down to our speech and personality.  If this is true then I really am concerned.  If we are so much alike then how is she handling not being her true self?  Or have they been conditioning her since the "gotcha day" that they own her and any thoughts of being who she really is won't be allowed.  These thoughts made me sick.  I can't think about that right now...I need to focus on the letter.  That concern can be pushed aside until that bridge has been crossed.  No need to put the cart in front of the horse.

Jennifer also found the Adoptive Mom on facebook, her profile was somewhat private so there wasn't much info on Ashley to get.  I told Jennifer I wasn't going to focus on what the Adoptive Mom had said to me, I was going to go forward telling myself that she is afraid I will try to take her place...which I am not.  She raised Ashley, the title of Mom belongs to her.  Jennifer said the woman appears crazy, and not a fun crazy either.  Yes, from the things I have heard about the Adoptive Mom I am led to believe that something might be off with her.  I told Jennifer that before I ever crossed paths with HR Manager I held Ashley's parents in my heart.  I will still hold them in my heart, I will embrace them...because that's just how I am.  If the Adoptive Mom really is "off" then I will corner her and give her a big squishy hug.  If she is insecure then that is not my fault, I will be the bigger person.

Jennifer agrees with my gut feeling on all of this.  The Adoptive Parents are my roadblocks.  It is a huge possibility that the Adoptive Mom is placing ginormous "Jewish Mom" guilt trips on her.  I will proceed, I will go around the roadblocks.  I will not be the one to make Ashley feel guilty, I will not make her feel like she has to choose.  Ashley has a right to know her history, know where she came from, she has a right to know her true self.

No, guilt trips are not my style. 

After searching all of the social media and internet search engines I was able to get enough information for my next step.

What leaves me feeling sad is Ashley's Adoptive Parent's biological daughter.  It looks like she grew up in Ashley's shadow.  Almost like the parents view her as "not as good" as Ashley.  I hope I am wrong with this one, no one deserves to be compared to someone else.  Their daughter is her own person and she should be loved for who she is.

I can not think about the Adoptive Parents right now, or the sister, or anything else that will cloud my thoughts with sadness and heartache.  I will only focus on reaching out one more time, showing nothing but love, acceptance, understanding, and respect.

So now I must start writing out my draft letter...

Friday, August 17, 2012


Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in the Maltese Falcon
After reading all of the comments from "Ignored" I'm starting to wonder...

Was sending the message too impersonal?  I know she shouldn't have any doubts as to who I am if she looked at my profile picture, we look to much alike for there to be any denial.

Is it possible her Adoptive Parents still have access to her facebook account?  Did they go in and delete it to prevent her from ever finding out the real reason why she was lost to adoption?

I thought about sending her a friend request, but the things I have heard about her adoptive parents I know it would be a bad idea...a very bad idea.  The last thing I want is for Ashley to be put into a position to where she feels guilty or where she feels she has to choose.  No Adoptee should ever have to have that kind of guilt placed on them and I would never risk putting her that position.

Will a hand written letter get her to respond to me?  This "not knowing" is driving me absolutely batty!!

I've searched and searched for an address for her.  I came across her resume last summer with her address listed, but she moved to California a few days before I found it.  Any other address that comes up belongs to her Adoptive Parents.  It appears her parents are still providing for her, and it looks like they are only leaving a trail to their house.  I know sending something to the parents house will not work, it will be intercepted, possibly every little token, letter, card I sent through the Agency.

A part of me wants to leave it as it is...

Another part of me wants to actually utilize intelius or peoplefinder to locate a physical address for her in California.  I'm hesitant because I don't know if it will be a waste of money.

Yes, Ashley rejecting me terrifies me, but would I be pushing too much?  She's only 24 years old now, she's still young.

Or has she been told so many lies about me that she has washed her hands of any possible communication?

I really don't like all of this waiting and not knowing...

I am tempted to send a letter FedEx, signature required, if I can only locate a physical address.  I'd also include a returned paid FedEx envelope for her to make it easier. 

So tempted, so, so tempted...

Thursday, August 16, 2012


It has been about a year since I "jumped the roadblock".

August of last year I sent Ashley a message on facebook.  As terrified of her rejection as I am I went ahead, bit the bullet and reached out.

The thought of making direct contact like that scared the daylights out of me.  For so many years I wished, dreamed, and hoped for a reunion.  I have spent her entire life trying to convince myself she is in a better place.  Even though I never wanted to lose her to adoption I tried my best to look ahead in a positive light.  In my heart I was (am) willing to embrace those she loves.  

Deep down inside, even though I was (am) hopeful of a positive outcome I was beside myself with fear...fear of Ashley's rejection.

My heart was screaming "send the message", but my head was screaming "No!  She'll reject you".  I was conflicted.  A friend of mine, who I found in that super secret First Mother closet, encouraged me to send that message.  After I sent it I felt nauseous.  It was too late, the message is out there.  My heart was exposed to Ashley to do as she wished.

For those who are not First Mothers probably don't understand the depth of fear I felt.  The emotions I felt when I was pregnant with her, delivering her, the emotions from holding her in the hospital and losing her to adoption hit me like a tsunami.  As the days moved on after sending the message I started to realize that I was being ignored.


Not necessarily a rejection, and not really an acceptance.


Frustrated at the lack of communication I tried my best to push it aside and continue on with life.  To be totally honest, it makes me sad knowing what Ashley had missed out on in the last year here in her First Family world.

Her half sister started Middle School and had survived 7th grade.  She missed her track meets, missed a first boyfriend, missed out on the heart to heart talks a little sister would have about figuring out how do deal with being a 7th grader.  She missed out on a little half sister officially turning into a teenager.

Ashley missed out on her super awesome kick ass step-grandfather.  We lost him last September, so she will never experience the constant laughter he brought into our lives.

Of course, she missed out on the holidays and family gatherings.

I had changed jobs since I sent her that message, I am now working closer to home...trying to patiently rebuild my clientele.  She also missed out on the crazy, random client I had...a former classmate of hers.

I never received a response from Ashley.  Maybe she deleted it?  Maybe she is still waiting to figure what to say in a response?  Maybe she has a overbearing Adoptive Mother (God I hope not!) who is making her feel guilty about even considering responding?

Who knows what happened to my message.

What I do know is that I laid my heart out there, left myself vulnerable to her, and I have never received a response.

Instead, I am ignored.

The woman who conceived her, carried her in her womb, protected her, love her unconditionally.  The woman whose heart has been ripped to shreds because she lost her to adoption is ignored.


Like I am some random telemarketer.


Monday, August 13, 2012

High School Sweetheart

1985, it was the beginning of my Sophomore year in High School.  I was already pretty much in shock, trying to get use to walking through halls where we were packed in like sardines.  The junior high I came from was tiny compared to the other two junior highs that were also funneled into this High School. 

My best friend Paige grabbed my arm after first period when she saw me in the hall.  "I want you to meet someone".  I told her "I have no interest in a boyfriend since Brad ripped my heart out last year".  Paige rolls her eyes at me and literally drags me through the hall.

When Paige has her mind made up to do something she does it...

I keep protesting.  Paige tells me "Trust me, this is your Prince Charming.  You two will be perfect for each other".  Well, that's Paige for you, the hopeless romantic.

She drags me around the corner, stops, grabs my shoulders to straighten me.  I look back at her, I'm pissed, I told her this was crazy, I have no interest in guys since Brad broke up with me.  She grabs my head and turns it so I am looking at him.  Paige whispered in my ear, "What about Brad?" and I whisper back "Who?"

Standing before me was him, I melted, he was tall, blonde, had the most beautiful crystal blue eyes and when our eyes met he had a goofy half smile.  He had broad shoulders, like he was a football player...I wanted to touch his shoulders.  I came to his shoulders, more like his armpits, I guess that not unusual when you are barely over 5'1".  He had a short friend on one side of him who reminded me of Booger from Revenge of the Nerds.  He had another friend on the other side of him who I didn't really notice.  All I could see was him.

Paige was talking, I don't know what she said, I didn't hear her...or anyone else in the crowded hall.  I was mesmerized.  The only thing I heard was his name, Mike and Mike asking me for my phone number.  Paige grabbed my arm and told me we had to go, the break was over and we needed to get to class.  My body felt like jello, but Paige dragged me off.

I spent the rest of the school day in a daze.  Mike, Mike asked me for my phone number, Mike.

Mike and I were officially dating, we were a typical couple, nothing exciting.  We would break up every once in a while and when Mike heard I was dating he would always show back up and we would once again become a couple.

By the time our Junior year rolled around Mike and his friends started using drugs (and alcohol) a little more, almost to a point to where it was becoming a problem.  Mike would always try to pressure me into smoking pot, dropping acid or using X (which was legal at the time).  I always refused, I was vain, I would tell him I didn't want to age dramatically, loose my hair and teeth by the time I was 30.  (This really did happen to a family member of mine, so thank God for my vanity!!)

When we got to our Senior year my whole world revolved around Mike.  Mike was my everything, we were planning on going to the same college and getting married after we graduated.  We had plans for the future and our future included us growing old together.  I loved him, I fell hopelessly in love with him the day my friend Paige dragged me to meet him and it was obvious he loved me too.

The spring semester in our Senior year started.  Mike asked me one night why I was starting to get fat, I told him I was pregnant and I was scared to death.  He said "I suppose you expect me to marry you now?" I told him I didn't want him to marry me because of the baby, I would only marry him if he wanted to marry me.  Of course he started freaking out, like any teenage boy, he was carrying on about him, what his family would think, about his life, his future.  He kept going on and on and on.  I wanted to slap him and ask, "What about me?"

I hid the pregnancy the best I could, he would take me out to places where we would not run into anyone from school, he kept me away from his parents and I requested to spend the last month in ISS (In School
Suspension) so I could hide the pregnancy better.  Mike was starting to act differently, more distant.  My Principal kept begging me to transfer to this other high school in our district that had a pregnancy program, the program also offered free daycare so the Mothers could continue their education.  (years later my First Daughter would attend this high a regular student, not a expectant mother)

Transferring schools wasn't an option.  My adoption counselor would tell me that program was bad, they would encourage me to keep my baby where I would be destined to live off of government assistance and I would never find a decent man to marry me, etc, etc, etc.  The adoption counselor also told me if I transferred schools then I wouldn't be able to keep an eye on Mike, he would cheat on me and leave me behind.  The counselor planted that paranoia in me and Mike's strange behavior didn't help.

Graduation...because I missed so much school due to my pregnancy I was not able to graduate with my class, with the people I had known my whole life, the people who slowly started dropping out of my life because I wouldn't have an abortion.  I wanted to go, but Mike told me not to, he didn't want to run a chance of his family finding out about the baby.  So I stayed home, curled up in my bed...crying.

July 23, 1988 my water broke.  I mentioned in a post titled "July 23, 1988 - Dear Diary part II" about not getting a hold of Mike.  Then in "July 23, 1988 - Dear Diary part III" I mention how Mike was MIA.  Then in "Sunday, July 24, 1988" I mention how he never came to see me.  And in "Monday, July 25, 1988" I talked about how Mike broke up with me...the day I come home from the hospital, two days after I give birth to our daughter.  I found out a few weeks later that he was dating someone else while I was pregnant.

It was bad enough that I was dealing with post partum depression, then losing my daughter to adoption, and the one person I loved with all my heart breaks up with me.

I was accepted into the art program at our District School.  I needed to focus on completing my Senior year, a fresh start at a new school, new people, new adventures.  Unfortunately by the time school started I was lost...completely empty...I was numb...I was putting myself in dangerous situations, because I wanted this pain to finally end.

There was a boy I was dating, he was sweet enough and was actually trustworthy...but I was a bitch, a complete cold hearted bitch...I didn't care about anyone, or myself.  I broke up after a couple of months when he started to get "too close" to my heart.

In January 1989 Mike shows back up, out of the blue.  We ended up back usual.  This time was different...I had changed.  He was wanting to marry me, I was doubtful, but I went along...because a piece of me still loved him.  A month later I found a roll of film in my room, I got it developed and I had the pictures in my purse.  The pictures were taking at a party I was at last fall with the guy I was dating.  I didn't think anything of it, I left the pictures in my purse.

Mike's parents were out of town one weekend.  We went to their house, just the two of us.  Mike was getting high and we were getting drunk.  For some reason he went through my purse and found the pictures.  He was angry, I kept telling him they were taken when we were broken up, he didn't care.  I suddenly got scared.  I ran up the stairs to the bathroom and as I was trying to lock the door he kicked it in.  The edge of the door hit me in the face, I was thrown into a wall, bounced off and went flying into the bathtub, as I was falling I grabbed the shower curtain...everything went black.

When I came to I found myself laying in a puddle of blood, Mike was sitting there screaming at me.  I got up and went to the mirror.  The blood was coming from where the edge of the door hit my teeth and sliced my mouth open, it looked like I had a hair lip that was never sewn together.  I wasn't sure if my teeth were still intact.  I looked over at Mike and told him I was going to the hospital.  He told me he wasn't taking me, I told him fine I would walk there.  I went downstairs, put on my coat, grabbed my purse and he showed up and told me he would drive me.  I wouldn't talk to him or look at dare he do this to me, when was it going to end?

9 stitches later my lip was sewn back together, I had a minor cut on my brow and cheek from the door and thankfully my teeth were still intact, except one did receive some damage (that wouldn't become an issue until years later).  Mike took me home.  The next day, I dumped him.

I may be on the path of self-destruction but there was one thing I was sure of, I was not a punching bag!

Mike and I still run into each other every few years.  I'm not afraid or angry when I see him, a part of me does pity him a little...his heart is so full of anger, and guilt over what happened with us.  And yes, a small part of me does still love him.  I have forgiven him, but I will never forget. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Someone Is Trying To Tell Me Something - Part I

For several years after I left the hospital with empty arms in 1988 I would wake up suddenly, swearing I heard a baby crying.  The first year or so it was constant, but as time went on it would happen less and less.  I am a heavy sleeper, my alarm clock barely wakes me up.  So I could never understand why the sound of a baby crying, later a small child, would wake me up...especially when there were never any small children around. 
  • Maybe, just maybe, it was a mother's intuition.  I will never know the answer to this mystery.
In 1989 I worked for this lady making hairbows.  There were about 10 of us who worked there.  I started working there when Ashley was about 7 months old, I was already starting down a path of self-destruction.  The owner was Jewish, I kept asking her questions about her faith.  The lady finally asked me one day why I was so curious, so I told her about Ashley.  Before I told her about Ashley she would talk about her family and about this precious new baby that came into her family, after I told her she acted different, she wouldn't talk about her family around me, she started to look like the "cat at that the canary", and she started to "mother" me.  The owner was a fun and sweet woman, I really liked her.  Unfortunately, I was starting down my self destructive path.  I wish we could have met during a better time in my life.
  • 19 years later I started getting a very strong feeling about the sweet Jewish woman I use to work for, making hair bows.  Something inside me was screaming...she's Ashley's adopted Aunt!!!  (If Ashley and I ever get acquainted I'll have to ask her if she has an Aunt who use to own a place making hairbows)
In 1990 the Adoption "Counselor" wanted to meet with me.  Not sure why, but looking back I'm sure it was to keep force feeding me the Kool Aid.  The "Counselor" told me she was at Target a couple of weekends before and she saw this child.  She saw the child smile and and noticed her eyes.  The child was Ashley, there was no doubt in her mind, then seeing the parents confirmed it.  The "Counselor" almost slipped, she was about to say Ashley's adopted name...she managed to get out the sound of the first two letters before she caught herself.  That's okay, the sound could only be one of two names.  I pretended like I didn't hear it, so she went on to tell me how this child looked so much like me, she said it was like looking at a miniature version of me, except the hair and eye color were different from mine, but she had that same smile and light in her eyes like mine. 
  • I was angry when I left there.  I knew the neighborhood where the "Counselor" lived, I knew which Target she was talking about.  She told me these people didn't live anywhere near me, there was no way Ashley and I would ever cross paths.  She lied to me, but I know knew Ashley's adopted name could be one of two names...there is a third name that it could also be, but that was doubtful, I never heard of a Jewish girl having that third name.  In 2006 my guess was correct, her name was one of the two names I figured it would be!
From 1990 - 1992 I use to work at Mervyn's located at Prestonwood Mall, I started out in the Children's Department then eventually was put on the newly formed "Operations Impact Team".  Since losing Ashley I always stayed away from small children and babies, especially if they were girls who were about Ashley's age.  One day in 1992 I was marking items down in the Children's Department.  The store was going through a remodel so everything was a bit chaotic.  I had my clipboard in hand, with my red pen and inventory scanning gun strapped to my hip.  There was a woman trying to find a certain size in something, she had a girl who about 4 years old and a little one in a stroller.  I was drawn to this 4 year old, I don't know why since I avoided children like the plague.  I helped the woman locate whatever it was she was looking for, but I could not keep my eyes off of the child.  I remember being filled with love when I looked at her.  It freaked me out, I clocked out and ran to my car and cried. 
  • I never understood what the hell happened that day.  I never felt that kind of connection and love that strong until I had my second daughter.  Was that 4 year old Ashley, her Adopted Mother and her adopted parents natural child?  Could be.  In 2006 I found out Ashley lived close to that mall and her adopted parents had their first and only natural child when Ashley was about 3 or the ages of the children added up.
1995 I moved to San Antonio.  I lived there for 13 months.  I was absolutely miserable!!  All I wanted to do was move back home.  It could be the slow pace of San Antonio, at the time it was a little too slow for a North Dallas Native, or it could be my family was still in the North Dallas area.  All I knew was I had to get back to Dallas, so in 1996 I moved back.
  • At the time I couldn't explain what was pulling me back to Dallas.  After I found out where Ashley grew up I realized that had to be it.  We ended up moving about 5 miles from her neighborhood.  I had always lived within 10 miles of her neighborhood.
1999 I had my second daughter, Ashley was 11 at the time.
  • Ashley's neighborhood was about two miles (if that) down the road from the hospital where I gave birth to my second child.
2004 I went to a Walmart one Saturday morning that was closer to the area where I later found out Ashley lived.  (The walmart closer to me was scary)  I parked and walked through the parking lot.  I saw a small dark SUV parked and in the back window was a High School Cheerleader sticker with a name on it.  The name was one of the two names I was guessing to be Ashley's.  I stood there and stared for some reason...Ashley didn't cross my mind at the time.  I found myself making sure my shirt was straightened and my hair wasn't going crazy, then I went in.  When I walked back to my car I noticed the small SUV was gone, not sure what it was, but something was telling me that WAS Ashley.
  • In 2006 I found out Ashley was a cheerleader and went to the high school named on that sticker.  Shortly after receiving that information I did stumble across a picture (that was posted for the public to see).  The picture was Ashley and a small dark SUV...the same SUV I saw two years before.
2005 a junior high friend of mine was having a baby.  There was a baby shower at her parents home.  Her parents no longer lived in the neighborhood where we grew up, they moved across town into this hoity toity neighborhood.  I had the directions I was following.  For some reason I took a left too soon, ended up in a cul-de-sac.  After driving through the neighborhood for a few minutes I was finally back on track.
  • In 2006 I received the information on Ashley and her adoptive family.  I looked up the address, the neighborhood looked familiar.  I called up my junior high friend and told her she wasn't going to believe this.  I asked her if she remembered me telling her about how I got lost in her parents neighborhood.  The cul-de-sac I turned around in was Ashley's.  Since then I refused to go to my friend's parents house, I didn't want to run the risk of Ashley's adoptive family accusing me of being up to no good.
It wasn't until I began my search in July of 2006 that these strange little things were starting to make sense.  Most of these little things would have been forgotten, they are normal everyday run-ins...not worth being filed away in my memory.   But for some reason the dots were quickly being connected when a wonderful Search Angel provided me with the information on Ashley, my First Daughter lost to adoption...

Someone, or something, has been trying to tell me something all of these years.