“A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes.”
– Mark Twain
“I dont mean to be rude” my friend said “But why would you ever think your daughter would want to know you? I mean, as other adoptees say, you threw her away. Abandoned her. Left her to strangers.”
I wince at my friends choice of words but dont take them too seriously. She is merely repeating back to me the words shared by me with her. Words others use, not words I use. I realize on the surface that is what I did but persons with greater intellect, more compassion and understanding into adoption and baby brokering know that is not what I did consciously.
I had to think about the question for quite some time and never really answered her. The answer, the truth, was far too complex for me to answer over a quick cup of coffee.
Yet it has stayed with me for some time.
Why did I think my daughter would ever want to know me? Why did I think she would want me to find her?
The answer lies largely in two areas:
- what I feel as a mother, her mother and
- what the agency told me.
Why did I think she would want to know me? As stupid as is sounds, early on I assumed she would care for me as I did her. I assumed she would feel the connection I felt. I assumed she would value that connection. That is not to suggest she doesnt, for I simply cannot know, but rather, and more importantly to state what I believed she would.
We view the world through our own lenses. The lenses of our own experiences, our own feelings. I erroneously assumed she would see things the way I did. Naive? Perhaps but still true. A mother love, my type of mother love, is all encompassing. It didnt go away when I gave her away. My body had permanently changed, molecules morphed from the non-mother to the now-mother. Taking my child away did not take away the fact that I became wired to feel her, sense her, worry about her. Because I felt that connection so strongly, I assumed, perhaps erroneously, she would too.
Layer on fantasy, magical thinking and the many other creative ways my mind chose to deal with the trauma of losing her and you have one big pile of hope and expectations.
And then there is agency.
The agency reinforced this hope and expectation and once again used my own mother love against me.
I vividly remember Colleen, my casewrecker, waving the Waiver of Confidnentiliaty in front of me. I was sitting on my hospital bed, 3 days post partum and she was next to me all smiley and hopeful (probably pretty pleased with herself that her reminding me of the promissory note my mother signed would be used against me if I decided to keep my daughter). She urged me to sign the Waiver. She told me it guaranteed my daughter could and WOULD find me. Somehow that conversation transformed from a bold face lie uttered from caseworker mouth to a shiny shred of hope as it fell on my now-mother ears. I believed her. I clung to those words with every cell of my being. My daughter would find me and she would want to know me. It would be okay. She would have a wonderful fabulous life and we would be reunited. It.Would.Be.Okay.
And then there was the promise made to me by the agency of ongoing contact and full disclosure The agency promised that my daughters adoptive parents would send me pictures for her entire life. They would send me a letter, an update, I would be in contact with them. The agency called this “semi-open”. More importantly, the agency told me that my daughters parents would always tell her about me. She would know about me. She would know she was adopted and why I surrendered her and using that magical form she would find me and she would be well, ::cough::, fine.
So take my newly rewired mother brain, add 18 (one for every year before she would use that magical waiver) whopping scoops of hopeful bullshit from the agency, and VOILA! A recipe for lifelong hope and expectation.
That is what I should have told my friend. That is why I was thought she might want to know me. My own true mother love coupled with a ridiculous amount of false hope instilled by the agency. Hope instilled not for me to believe or even for it to come true but rather, hope instilled in me to get me to sign my child over to strangers.
As previously stated on this blog, the agency lied to me. While my mother-love was indeed genuine, the agency expressions were empty or laced with lies. There would be no semi-open adoption, no photos, no updates. The criteria I used to sign away my daughter to a life better than she could reportedly have with me was very simply false. This is called coercion by many and bait and switch by others. It is immoral and unethical. Add to it the factor of the promissory note and threats of lawsuits you have intimidation.
It would take me six months to begin to doubt them, to begin to figure the lies out. By then, by the time I would start to suspect what had happened, the adoption of my child to strangers would be final. I had no recourse. It would take me years to piece it all together. Interestingly, as the years passed and my knowledge of adoption, baby brokering and Kurtz increased, that particular hopeful side of my head and heart decreased. Those false expectations instilled by the agency worker extinguished. No more shiny sparkly shred of hope. Gone. Deleted from my data banks with no chance of recovery. I had been played the fool, taken advantage of, used as a profit making machine for an agency and an incubator for another couple. I understood then that the waiver was as good as the toilet paper I used to wipe my ample ass on. I understood then how vulnerable and naive I was. I began to understand Stockholm Syndrome .
And yet, then and even today, in light of what I know, I still hope. The pictures never came, the updates never came, and yet my mother love remained.
It always will.
Some things can never be taken from me.
Some things cannot be signed away to strangers.