Next Saturday will be the 25th anniversary of my life BP&A. My fellow celebrants will party and reflect on the 25 years that have passed since we graduated high school. I will too, at least in part. The other part of my day will likely be consumed with reflection on that time Before Pregnancy and Adoption.
I became pregnant with my daughter two months after I graduated high school in June of 1985. I cannot look at that time of my life without feeling the horrible pain that came so soon afterward.
Tonight I dug out my yearbook for a friend. She had lost hers and she asked me to scan a photo for her so she could use it as her facebook profile default. I did, gladly. I later regretted it.
Flipping through those pages, looking at those photos of me, my interests (President Student Council, Vice President Student Council, Class council, Literary Magazine, …) I found myself looking deeper, thinking of me, that girl on those pages and who she was then, the pain she was in, the way she thought her life then was so awful. Her intense teenage angst, her bad permed, big 80s hair, her odd way of dressing (some things don’t change), her first love who would later become the father of her first born child.
Oh, how naive she was!
Little did she know a mere few months later she would become pregnant with her first born child and leave not for the US Navy (yes, I had enlisted) or Franklin Pierce College (yes, I had been accepted and placed my deposit) but rather she would board a plane to Chicago. While her classmates checked into dorms, she checked into a former convent turned “home” for mothers that no one wanted who would later become mothers of babies that would grow up feeling they were unwanted. In the spring, when her former classmates were partying on spring break, she would surrender her first born child to a baby broker and be told to get over it and be happy someone took her child.
At my last high school reunion, five years ago, I put a dedication of sorts into the bulletin that was produced and passed out to all who entered. In the booklet it said “To Sandy, and to all who understand, I FOUND HER!”.
This was a reference to a high school friend who knew of my surrender of my daughter to adoption. When I entered the restaurant five years ago, two of my friends made a B-line straight for me. One was Sandy and the other, Gigi (who also later learned of my daughter). They hugged me and cried and were so happy I had found her. Others approached me during the night and asked about that line “What did that mean Suz? Who did you find? Yourself?” I would chuckle and freely, openly, tell them the story of unplanned pregnancy, maternity homes, adoption surrender and loss. I did not care what they thought. Back in those days I was still basking in some sort of reunion hopeful glow.
Funny how things change, huh?
What will I say this coming weekend? Will they ask me how things are going? (Sandy wont. She reads here and knows). How will I feel? Will I take a moment in the ladies room, alone, to reflect on how different things are today? How much my hope, feelings and outlook on reunion have changed? (Perhaps that is what I am doing now).
What will I say if I am asked by someone who might remember our conversation of 2005?
I continue to flip the pages of this 25 year old book and I read the autographs, the wishes of luck, the expressions of friendship, the dreams of marriage and motherhood.
I laugh a sarcastic laugh and close the book. My heart hurts too much.
And I reflect back on the friend that asked me to scan her photo. The friend who told me less than a year ago that she too had surrendered a child to adoption. The friend that is today, less than a year from her sharing her news with me, now in reunion with her son and his adoptive family. She is in a good reunion. She has much to say, happy things to say, pictures to show.
Maybe I will let her speak instead.