Falsehood is easy, truth so difficult. – George Eliot
What could one possibly say to this?
"You should never tell your daughter that you tried to keep her. She should never know that you wanted her. The story of her birth and how she came available for adoption should be kept to yourself. It would be too painful for her to hear. She would feel like she is living the wrong life. She will feel as though the life she has had is not valid."
This statement or suggestion came to me from another adoptee. This adoptee is aware of the key points of my story (maternity home, promissory notes, threats of lawsuit) and feels, apparently, that discussing that with my daughter would be a bad thing.
I admit this boggles my mind. I realize this is one adoptees opinion and maybe they would never want to know this information but to advise the same for another?
I am a realist. Some might consider me a bit hard core in the truth department, but that is who I am. I have learned through the years to be a little less blunt and consider the feelings of others but I have a really hard time embellishing, omitting, denying or avoiding.
I am not wired that way.
Furthermore, I am paid a good living to counsel others, executives, to tell the truth, to be transparent and admit mistakes. I would not be the least bit credible in my opinion if I was selective about my own truth.
My truth is that I did not want to surrender my daughter. She was not meant to be adopted. I tried to keep her. I failed. I was too weak. I caved to the threats of lawsuits against me and my parents. I had no legal counsel. No place to live. No one to help me and support me. The truth of adoption trauma and how it affects mothers and children was withheld from me by the caseworkers. They lied to me so they could get her and sell her to any one of their wealthy clients. It was to their benefit to get my child at any cost. They were suppliers to the intense demand that is created by the prospective adoptive parents.
Had things been ethical, she would not have been adopted. Had someone supported me, she would not have been abandoned to strangers.
Does this mean the life my daughter lead is not valid?
Her life is very real. She has very real parents and a very real family. However, that very real family does not negate the fact that she also has a first family. Nor does the love she receives from her adoptive parents zero out the love I have always felt for her. I understand she cannot recognize me or her first family. That does not mean I cannot recognize her. She is, was, and always will be a part of my family and a part of my life.
As I have said many times, motherhood, for me, does not come with an off switch. It doesnâ€™t even come with a dimmer switch.
All that being said, I have shared very little with my daughter regarding her adoption story. My approach, erroneous as it may be to others, is the same I have taken with her brothers at any given age. I answer only what is asked. I assume when she wants to know something, or is mature or emotionally ready to know something, she will ask. I have not and will not vomit my emotions all over her and expect her to find her way through the smelly wreckage. I have told her she can ask anything. I have assured her that her feelings matter and she should never feel the need to protect my feelings in spite of her own. I am a big girl. It has taken me a long time to acknowledge and own my feelings. I am responsible for them. Not her.
Her story is her story and it is available at the asking. But I will not embellish it to make it sound like something it is not.
It is my truth.
It is her truth.
How we handle that is up to us as individuals and as mother and daughter.
Sorry to my friend the adoptee who offered that advice I refer to at the beginning of this post. I have to politely refuse to accept it.