Another post for Sean:
I thrashed around in my bed, the heavy blanket twisting around my legs, confining me, making me feel trapped. As the light from the street snuck in through an uncurtained corner, I pulled myself up, heaving. My eyes and cheeks were wet from the nightmare I’d just woken up from.
“You weren’t alone. You know that now, right?” I demanded into the still room.
There was no answer, of course. How could there have been? He wasn’t there. He isn’t here. We are left to tell ourselves oversimplified cliches to make ourselves feel better, but my heart yearned to have one more chance. What I would give to be able to see him, take his hand, look into his eyes and say, “You are worth every breath you have taken, every breath you are taking right this moment, and every single breath that you will take in the future.”
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I lost a friend yesterday, well, he was found yesterday. A few years ago he had reached out to me for support services. We naturally became friends. You see Sean was an adoptee. He asked me to help him find his natural family. I had first found his mother, who refused to respond to me. I then found his father who lovingly folded Sean into his family immediately. They had a loving relationship. Sean’s dad had always wanted him and made sure he knew. Sadly the whole that adoption had created in Sean was too big that all the love from his father could not fill. A few years later, Sean reached out to his mother again. This time she responded. The heart wrenching, primal cry that came from this young man when he heard his mother’s voice was not enough to break open her motherhood. She sat silently while he cried “I have missed you my whole life”. I wonder if her love could have healed the wounds adoption had created, we will never know now.
There is no therapy and no pill to fix the pain adoption creates. Sean was unable to feel the love then rest of us gave. I will try to console myself that he knew his feelings were valid and just from the support of our little group. He was so kind and so sensitive. A very special young man. He gave me and others as much support and advice as what he received. I wished he could feel some sense of peace or happiness for some moment in time.
It has been a year without one word from you. I’ve been doing ok. Surprisingly life continues along regardless of the pain a person feels. The finality may have been good for me to do what I can to place my pain and hope back into that box and try close the door. There isn’t much of an opening left anymore. I wonder at times if I will finally harden off and shut the door on you completely. I know that would be best for me and my raised family. I’m starting to get good at shutting my memories and feelings off. I guess practice makes perfect, as the saying goes.
I wanted to send you words of comfort for today. I know it will be a difficult day for you. It is for me too as it marks the loss of both of you for me. I have many differing opinions on what I should do. I will decide later. For now I will write to you here.
I remember and I think of you and him.
This case also involves ICWA, the Indian Child Welfare Act, a law designed to protect native families from illegal adoptions and from being ripped away from their homes and cultures. Under ICWA, a child deemed an “Indian Child”, namely “any unmarried person who is under age eighteen and is either (a) a member of an Indian tribe or (b) is eligible for membership in an Indian tribe and is the biological child of a member of an Indian tribe” (25 U.S.C. § 1903) is required to have relative placement status automatically and should be placed with native foster parents if that is unavailable. Only after these things are ruled out should they be left with a white family.
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I had flashbacks this morning as I was driving to work. Talking about distracted driving. I was suddenly there staring out the window of the truck not letting anybody see my face. I could barely breathe and definitely could not speak. The pain was too intense, I had left you behind.
It’s so hard becoming one of the many mothers who have been shunned by her child lost to adoption. I remember when I joined my first adoption support group during the time I began to regain my memories. I recall reading the stories of the various other mothers who’s children had cut off communication and thinking wow, I can’t imagine being so unlucky to be her. Strange how adoption can twist fate into a wickedly cruel path. It’s odd how little our children need to use as an excuse to cut us out of their lives. I read the other day of a mother who was cut off for wiping her hands on the wrong towels in the bathroom. What goes through the adoptee mind as they search for the smallest reason to cut off their mother? Do they want to get even for what they perceive as abandonment even though they know their mother had no choice? Why would they want to hurt the woman who had been forced/coerced into surrender? Do they not think her punishment for premarital sex was enough? What is enough? Suffering the nightmares, flashbacks and lifelong torment of what we had no control of for some reason isn’t enough pain to endure for some of our children. What is enough suffering for their loss to appease them? How many oceans of tears? Is our death the only price that is high enough?