Out of the Deep


Dear Ms. Feverfew –

I think I have finally figured out why my sister Melynie won’t talk to me. As in, I haven’t had a conversation with her in oh, about 18 1/2 years. I can hardly write this because I am sitting here crying so hard. The computer screen is blurry and my hands are shaking so please forgive any errors.

As I was working on my book this morning, I was writing about the time when I was about 18 weeks along with you. I had been to a check up late that afternoon, and the doctor was not able to find a heart beat. While I know others might have found a miscarriage an elegant solution to an unplanned pregnancy, I had fallen in love with you already. I had dreamed of you. I knew what you would look like and how you would feel in my arms, even before you were born.

I went home that afternoon to wait for the next morning’s ultrasound, devastated and sobbing at the thought of my baby dying – of you dying. As I lay in my bed that evening, I cried into the stillness of night. I begged and pleaded and bargained with God that you would still be alive, that your little body hadn’t decided to quit before it had even had a chance.

Nearly twenty years later and out of the fog of this anguish, I remember something that I have forgotten.

As I lay there in my bed, I remember my sister Melynie coming into the room quietly and slipping into her bed. Since my sister Carolyn’s death two years before, Melynie and I had been sharing the room.   She was there with me through my whole pregnancy, sleeping in the same room with me, breathing in the same air as she fought her own battles to overcome the legacy our parents gave us. She watched what I went through. She watched me give you to strangers and then just walk away. She stood by mutely as my motherhood was shamefully trafficked by our religion, struck dumb by the horrific thing I had done to her niece.

I have long wondered what happened to cause Melynie to hate me with such a fiery and unrelenting passion, to treat me with such contempt and disgust whenever she speaks of me with others.  Perhaps she perceives I traded you for respectability and a comfortable life, a husband, and a PhD. I know differently and God knows differently, but she doesn’t.

And who wouldn’t hate a woman who did that to her daughter? In a way, isn’t that what my mother did to all of us? Traded our innocence for the security and respectability that a husband and marriage brings in the LDS culture?

So I sit here in front of my computer this morning with the full weight of what I did to not just you, but to my sisters and my family resting on my shoulders. Please someone, can you remind me what a miracle and blessing adoption is in the lives of “birth” families? How is this blessing my family into the eternities? Isn’t that what we were promised if I made this “loving sacrifice”?

M.

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17 thoughts on “Out of the Deep

  1. Sister relationships are the hardest. I hope you aren’t watching Glee right now; an adoptive mama just told a natural mama that her feelings didn’t matter anymore. So far from the truth. xoxo.

  2. I never had a sister so I can’t go there in my mind, but today I am feeling the full angst and burden of relinquishment, 46 years later, having just gotten the kiss-off email from my relinquished granddaughter yesterday afternoon. It never stops.

    • It does, doesn’t it? This is the kind of thing that adoption agencies and counselors never have you think through when you are “making a plan.” They never have you work through what is going to happen to your relationships with your siblings, your parents, your future children. It is all about focusing on the immediate crisis and what they can do to “help.” And I use the word “help” in the most facetious way imaginable.

  3. M -When you add in the abuse to the adoption it leaves the family very fragile. I know your abuse was different than mine but even in my family it has ripped a wide hole in it. You can onlypull on the fibers of a family for so long before rips appear. Some are repairable and some are not. In my family if you saw us together we seem like a normal happy family but there is always a strong undercurrent of unsaid words.

  4. I never knew that… I didn’t even remember that. It’s insane what the mind blocks out. I do remember you were sleeping in the room next to mine, but I forgot Mel was still there. Oh my. I am bawling now. You have no idea how much this post puts things into perspective. I am not sure even Mel knows why but I know from first hand contact with her that is the attitude she has. Not in these words exactly, but close. I wish there was a way for things to be set right with our family. Maybe we need to just start talking. Really talking. I love you Munna. (BTW… I do remember I starting calling you that when you were pregnant with Ms. Feverfew).
    ~Ell

  5. I had a friend who I stopped speaking to, or who rather stopped speaking to me a couple years after the adoption. She has fertility issues and I didn’t get her anger then. I didn’t understand why she would hate me, why she would look at me with disgust, and speak to me with such hatred…and I get it now. I so get it.

    I’m crying with you. I really am.

    • Oh man…that’s just one more layer I hadn’t even gotten through yet. My sister has never had children, though I don’t know if it by choice or not. Since I know some of my other sisters have PCOS, I wonder if fertility issues might be a part of the ongoing silence. Ugh. Quadruple ugh.

  6. Hi Melynda,

    I just stumbled across your blog because I was searching for an old post of mine and you happened to link to it.

    The broken family lines are something the adoption industry never addresses. I’m certain they avoid it because if expectant moms were really asked to think about all the future impacts of adoption on their families, there might very well be fewer babies to adopt. My (relinquished) daughter is 19 now and my (parented) son 5; we are just starting to get into why Sissy has another family. It’s incredibly difficult for me to continually face that I separated my children this way, even though we are in close contact with her.

    • I’m certain they avoid it because if expectant moms were really asked to think about all the future impacts of adoption on their families, there might very well be fewer babies to adopt.

      Yes, this. I know it certainly would be the case for me and my daughter, had someone really walked me down this path. Instead adoption was portrayed as something that would “bless the lives of the birth family into the eternities.” I am still waiting for that blessing, as are my parented children, my husband, my parents, my siblings…all of us. We are still waiting for the “blessings.”

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