Dear Ms. Feverfew,
I just called and made an appointment with Brother-Things-Are-So-Different-Nowadays for Wednesday. I am going to try to do what my mom said – treat this as an opportunity to pull out the pointy-headed academic rhetoric and attempt to educate this counselor on what life is really like 18 years post-relinquishment. But I am not sure I can do this.
The woman at the other end of the phone scheduling the appointment asked me what the visit was going to be about. I took a deep breath and said, “I am a first mother who relinquished a baby for adoption 18 years ago and I need to find a therapist to help me work through some of these ongoing issues.”
Her response came as a casual and cheerful, “Oh yes. I know all about that kind of thing. I have a daughter who placed a baby for adoption.”
The bile rose in my throat and it was all I could do to not say something completely unkind to her. My God, what kind of mother allows her own daughter to barter away her grandchild and then so gleefully declares it to strangers on the phone????? This is her grandchild, bone of her bone, flesh of her flesh, fruit of her age old mother pain!!!!
No…to this grandmother, it wasn’t her grandchild: “it” was just a nameless baby. It wasn’t her daughter’s baby. Just a baby.
After giving her my contact information, I hung up the phone and collapsed into tears.
I don’t have time to deal with all of this right now. I have a dissertation to write and children to raise. I have a home to manage, a husband to love, and a baby to nurse. I just want to stuff all of these tears, all of this sobbing, snotty, ugly crying back into whatever corner of my soul I have shoved it for the past 18 years. I want to drink that adoption kool-aid again and believe that “all is well, all is well – yeah, Zion prospereth.”
The pony-rides in May sunshine view of adoption is so much easier than…than this.
P.S. After I finished talking with LDSFS, I called my mom. I told her some of the things “Pat” the secretary said, including when she asked, “So did you place through LDS Family Services, because if you did, you are entitled to lifetime counseling for free.” I made some (snotty) comment about how “Yeah, you get my baby and I get a lifetime of free therapy! Sounds like a win-win to me!” or something along those lines.
It hit both me and my mom like a ton of bricks at the same time: By offering a first mother a lifetime of free counseling, LDSFS is tacitly (definition: done in silence; implied from actions and statements) admitting that relinquishing a child for adoption will require a LIFETIME of counseling for the first mother to manage her pain. Think about that: A LIFETIME. Not a year, not five years, not even ten. A LIFETIME. LDSFS even goes so far to provide it for FREE because they know the surrendering mother will never be able to afford the LIFETIME of counseling it will take to help her manage the trauma of losing a child to adoption.
So on one hand, they tell us we will move on and get over our children but on the other hand they offer surrendering mothers FREE counseling for the rest of her natural life. Just another one of those adoption paradoxes.