- a young woman, especially a servant
- a promiscuous woman
Okay, so I laughed. I found it funny. This post began as a commentary on my caseworker from the adoption agency. True to form, I wanted an interesting opening, something compelling. I thought looking up the definition of her name might be interesting. Her name is Colleen. So I look up the meaning of the name Colleen and I am presented with this.
"The girl’s name Colleen is pronounced kah-LEEN. It is of Gaelic origin, and its meaning is "girl, wench."
This makes me laugh. The Wench part makes me chuckle. Yes, she was a girl. Some people would say she was a wench. I am still trying to figure that out and its twenty years later.
I liked her. I really did. I thought she was my friend. I thought she cared about me. Maybe she did. I dont know. I still want to believe that. Maybe that is the Pollyanna inside me. I dont want to believe she was part of the baby brokering, of the lies and the deceit.
You know that awful feeling you get when you realize you dont know someone you thought you knew? When they do something that is completely out of character? That is the feeling I had about Colleen years after relinquishing my daughter. I felt betrayed. I felt lied to. Manipulated and used.
Colleen was my very first (and last) contact with the agency. Our relationship spanned almost 3 years.
Colleen was the one who answered the phone at the agency the night I called. It was close to midnight my time. In a dark, damp corner of my parents basement, I flipped through yellow pages. I dont remember what caught my eye about the agency. Clearly something did. Digging deep into my memory I do remember something about helping, housing, caring. Good copy to lure a lonely, frightened pregnant women into the paws of a baby broker.
I remember she was helpful, friendly, caring. Right from that first instant on the phone, I felt like she cared about me. I do remember her being slightly pushy, anxious, excited. I remember when I waivered or hesitated on items she had a quick, forceful answer. I remember when I asked why I had to go to Illinois she gave me some instant story about my home state and awful adoptions in it (The stories were not true. The agency was being sued by my home state. They needed to remove me from that state if they were to get the child in my womb).
Through out the remaining 5 months of my pregnancy, my entire stay in the maternity home, Colleen was my lifeline. My only connection to the outside world. I looked forward to her visits, to our time alone. I enjoyed her. She was fun. Young. Active. Outgoing. We just hit it off. It really hurts me to think that all of that time was premeditated on her part. That she was faking it, or pretending. To think that she was USING me to get my child hurts me deeply.
She never discussed my options with me. She never asked me about keeping. She never told me about welfare, housing, parenting classes or anything else that might give me the confidence about keeping my child. All the talk was about surrender. About getting my childs father to the state to sign away his rights. About how if I kept my parents and I would be sued. But of course, she was an agency employee – not a neutral party. She and her employer stood to gain from my decision to surrender my child. They would NOT gain if I kept her.
I was afraid to anger her. I was afraid to say anything other than what was "proper, expected, acceptable". She was my only contact. The only person that appeared to care for me. Where would I be without her? (Maybe raising my daughter?). I realize now how wrong it was that my only contact was with the woman and the agency that would be profiting from sale of my child. I use the word "sale" intentionally. She was sold. Aparents who used my agency of record did so because they were promised healthy wife infants in short order PROVIDED they had the cash. Average price of an infant at the time my daughter was born and adopted through that agency seems to be in the 30-40K range. Furthermore, my own daughter told me that her parents (who came into some money shortly before her birth) were quoted as saying "Oh goody, now we can buy a house and buy a baby." Nice, eh?
Did they come up on adoption with the thought that infants were objects to be bought and sold? I dont think so. I believe they learned this behavior from the agency they worked with.
Much of the last days are so foggy. I get pieces and parts. Flashes. What memories I can pull from the stack are excruciatingly painful. I see me, in my flowered pants, my bad 80’s hair-do, just lost. Alone. Crying all the freaking time. So lonely.
I often wonder what my emotional state a the time did to my child. Did she somehow, in utero, feel that pain? Did her cells get wired in any way? If her first connection was to an abandoned woman who cried did that effect her? They say unborn children can hear music and sound vibrations. Surely they can feel the pain and the sadness of the mother who carries them?
I have been in touch with Colleen through the years. When I was stalked years ago by a woman who claimed to be my daughter, I found her and asked if she could validate any of the info the woman was giving me. She refused. She fed me the adoption agency kool-aid. "Your daughter went to a loving home". Yeah, right, I got that but can you help me figure out if THIS person who is contacting me is my daughter? She refused.
When I found my daughter years later, I wrote Colleen. I believe I sent her a card and a picture of my daughter. I never heard from her. She never responded.
Again, I am dumbfounded. If she really cared for me, wouldnt she have called me, written me, said "Congratulations, I am so happy for you?". No. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
What hold does Kurtz have over former caseworkers of his agency? Are they continuing to get kick backs? Are they also fearful of being sued? Is it really a violation of some ethic, some legislation if she were to contact me and say "I am happy for you?".
I dont get it. I really dont. Truthfully, maybe I dont want to.
"Wench". That is still cracking me up. She was indeed a wench. A Kurtz wench. A servant of a baby broker.