Counting the Cost


Dear Ms. Feverfew –

When I finally came fully out of the “birth mother closet” I had been living in for the past 19+ years, I knew there would be a cost for my clear and forthright honesty. Yes, I have lost friends on Facebook and some relationships have become strained, nearly to the breaking point, but…

…but I didn’t count on losing you, too. Or at least what little bits of you I had through the parts of your Facebook profile that were public. At least I could message you. That’s one small crumb I have feasted on these last 18 months. In my darkest times, I would always say, “At least I have that.”

But now I don’t.

Is it because what I wrote on my Facebook page about how adoption has affected me? Or was it sending you that message last week, wishing you a Merry Christmas and letting you know about your original birth certificate? Or is it something else entirely?

I know what I posted over on Facebook was pretty intense. I can only imagine it must have been difficult for you to read about the pain that has entered my life because of adoption (assuming you read it, which may be unlikely as I have been a college student before and oh-so-busy at this time of year). I know that it might be tempting to think that you are the cause of that pain. I fear this is what may have happened.

If this is the case, I want to make some things perfectly clear. Ms. Feverfew, you are not the cause of the pain of which I wrote. You have always been a blessing in my life. You have always been a joy and a delight to your mother’s heart. If there is one bright point of light in all of this, it is you, a lodestar shimmering and dancing in the ink-black sky of this pain. Ms. Feverfew, it is adoption that is broken, not you.  It is this culture that is broken, not you. This world is a far better place because you are in it, Ms. Feverfew, and something exquisitely vital and important would be missing if you had never been created.

I wish I could tell you these things. I wish I could hold your face in my hands, just like I do your siblings each night, and look deeply into your dark eyes and tell you, “I love you, I adore you. I think you are the most magnificent Ms. Feverfew that has ever graced the earth. I love being your mother and am so proud to call you mine.”

Because I am your mother and you are my daughter. Regardless of what the LDS culture or some piece of papers says because the eternal bonds of motherhood can never be broken.

But I can’t do that now. All I can do is write this letter and send it out into the universe and pray that it somehow finds you and that you somehow come to understand how important you are, how loved you are, and how much joy you have brought into so many people’s lives, including mine.

Much love,

M.

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15 thoughts on “Counting the Cost

    • It’s OK. As I have thought about it today, I have realized I have done the exact same thing to others when I have felt like I was a burden or causing them pain/grief/trouble. I simply retreat because I don’t want to “bother” anyone. So in a way, I don’t find it surprising even though it hurts.

      And what am I suppose to do? UN-tell the truth? Now that THAT cat is out of the bag, I just have to let the chips fall where they may.

    • Yes, I know this. I wrestle with it all the time but I am not sure what else to do at this point in my life other than be honest about how this has affected me and my family. I didn’t think I wrote anything in my Facebook comments about her, per se, other than she was adopted by a wonderful family (which she was). Other than that, it was all about me and how adoption had affected me. And it was a no holds barred response with none of the typical sunshine and roses, “positive” adoption rhetorical devices that most in the LDS church are familiar (and comfortable) with and some of my friends were rather shocked at what I had to say. Well, shocked doesn’t quite cover it to be honest. Horrified, upset, troubled. Those words might be better descriptors.

      At any rate, was speaking that frankly in public about my adoption experience “out of bounds”, from an adoptee perspective? (And I am not trying to be confrontational at all, I truly am trying to learn and am seeking an honest answer.) Looking back at that experience, I feel a bit like a bull in a china shop in regards to how she might have interpreted it, but at the same time I felt like I had to speak out (for the first time) about the not-so-ponyrides-in-May-sunshine side of adoption. I have no idea if she reads my Facebook statuses or not so I simply don’t know what it is that has affected her or it is something else in her life, which is why I said in this letter, “Or is it something else entirely?”

      I try very hard to not delve into much of her personal story here in these letters. However, I know I have room for improvement as there have been a couple of letters where, after writing it, I went, “That’s probably too much”, so I made it private (not just password protected). I trust that you will give me your honest, well seasoned opinion and so I ask from your perspective, what is your opinion on how much of this is simply her story, how much of this is mine, and what parts do I have the right to tell (if any)? I would love to be able to write about this from a pointy-headed academic clinical point of view with no detail, no emotion, and just the bare facts, but as you already know, that’s not the authentic me.

      At any rate, thank you for the thought provoking comment. You always give me much to think about.

      • Melynda,

        I did not hear anything in your story except how adoption had impacted you and your family in ways you had no clue would happen. Nothing twigged here.

        I am sorry you are going through this and hopefully it resolves itself. It could simply be that someone told her privacy setting had changed and she needed to update things and did. Who knows.

      • I don’t put M in the same category I have put a few other first Mothers in, as far as writing about her daughter. M is telling HER story, and is not writing about her daughter’s story, nor does she try to speak for her daughter, or divulge personal or identifying information about her. I have seen other f Mothers (and a mothers as well) do this, and I really have zero respect for them. They have dug their own reunion graves by doing so.

        I have shared letters my f Mother wrote to me. I guess I am guilty of “over sharing”. The difference (to me) is that the letters were sent to me, and if anyone knows my story, my reunion is over. In fact, it was non-existant, other than manipulation for over 2 decades from my f Mother. I have no relationship with my first Mother, and never will. I have nothing to lose by sharing letters she has sent to me.

        As adoptees, our stories DO overlap into the stories of our first Mothers. They lost us, we lost them. That equals a shared experience.

        I have been reading your blog for quite some time now, and have never once cringed and I have never said, “Well, duh…no wonder the adoptee has shut her out” like I have with other first Mother blogs. Not once.

        Don’t freak out, M- I know how easy it is to do just that.

  1. I’m so sorry Melynda…I am “lucky” enough to be “friends” with my son on facebook. But I do remember the time before I had that privilege when I would scour the internet for any little tidbit of information I could find about him and how hurtful it was to not be a part of his inner circle. Not that I really am now, but at least I can email or message him on facebook if I want/need to. I wish there was some way you could let her read this letter so she knew where you were coming from and that your pain is not in any way her fault. My son read my blog where I wrote about how painful his adoption has been on me and he apologized for that pain. I was heartbroken that he would even think he needed to apologize for anything that told him profusely that none of my pain is in anyway his fault. I just wish she could hear that from you!

    • I have heard other adoptees feeling the same way, Desi, as if they need to apologize for our hurt as first mothers. It breaks my heart because out of ANY of us (original and adoptive parents included) in this whole social experiment called “infant adoption” are the ones who deserve an apology!

  2. Hi again, hoping you are making sense of it all.You’ll find my last post on topic which might be tough to read but I know you’re a big strong person.Hugs to you and good wishes.Email or message on fb if you want.

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