Booby Traps and Land Mines, Part II: In Case You Were Curious


boobytrapI spent some more time reading through the journal I found yesterday. I say “journal” and some might think it was some leather bound volume with carefully lined pages, but really, it’s just a 70-page spiral notebook I wrote in during that time period.  The entries begin on September 16, 1993 and end on January 2, 1994. Here’s a very small sampling of excerpts.

On September 21, 1993, approximately six months after caving to the pressures of the LDS community in which I lived, I copied Isaiah 49:21 into my journal. 

“Then shalt thou say in thine heart: Who hath begotten me these, seeing as I have lost my children and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro?”

I go on to say, “I am very sad today about Bear (my nickname for my relinquished daughter). Yesterday wasn’t much better. I miss her so much. I miss my little baby girl.  I know the [insert her adopted parents’ last name here] will take good care of her and will raise her correctly, but I still miss her. It never goes away, this missing her. ”

A few days later, I copy the verses from Isaiah 49:15-16 into my journal.

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands. . . .”

On October 4, I write, “I got up and cleaned for the first time in a week this morning. I am so sad about all the choices I have made, all the stupid, stupid, stupid things I’ve done, primarily letting Bear go, even if I did it because I thought she deserved better than me. I am filled with pain. I  suppose this feeling will eventually lessen somewhat. I am told it will but I don’t know how I am supposed to get over her.”

October 20, 1994: “I haven’t talked to Bishop F.* in over two weeks but I am going to go stop by his office today to see him. Hopefully I can make it through our chat without crying the entire time. It seems that his office has become my “crying place.” Do I have a ‘laughin’ place’ like Uncle Remus says we all have? I can’t think of one because any time I stop long enough to be still, I cry. It’s been nearly six months and I still cry every day over my Bear. Bishop F. keeps telling me I will be blessed for my sacrifice. He says Bear is happy with the [adoptive family], happier than I could have possibly made her trying to raise her on my own.”  (*Bishop F. is the former LDS social worker, then religion teacher, and LDS bishop who facilitated the adoption of my daughter by his neighbors.)

October 26th, my 21st birthday: “[On Sunday], Sister C. was sitting in Sunday School with her little baby and it made me cry. My arms ached for my child, they hurt. My heart hurt. My head hurt.  I wanted so much just to take him in my arms and rock him. My sweet Bear, oh how I miss you.”

October 27, 1993: “Monday I cried nearly all day. I miss my baby so much AND I had a BAD baby day on Monday, even worse than Sunday. I feel like the worst person sometimes because I can’t be happy about having to let her go. I am so sad and my heart hurts and aches for her. People say, ‘You’ll have another one’ but I will NEVER have another Bear. She was the only one in all of God’s creations and now she belongs to another mother. I am told the pain will lessen, but I will never stop missing her.”

November 11, 1993: “Lately, I’ve been missing my sweet baby Bear something awful. I dream about her, I ‘see’ her with other people, I think about her constantly. I don’t think there will ever come a day when she isn’t with me in my thoughts. I cry a lot, too, lately. I just want a baby to hold for a little while. Maybe someone will let me hold theirs. That would be so good for me.” (Followed by a note to call my friend who recently had her first son.)

_____________________________

The following day, I stopped by Bishop F.’s office at the Institute of Religion again. According to my journal, I went there specifically to ask him about Ms. Feverfew and how she was doing. I guess I spent the entire exchange with him crying and later that night, I wrote in my journal, “I am going to write a letter to Bishop F. about how I really feel about losing Bear. I feel like my center cannot hold for one more minute, that I am rapidly unraveling, and I am dying inside. I miss her. I am desperate for her. How can he not know this about me? Why does he act like this is going to go away? She will never go away – I have the stretch marks to prove it.” I don’t know if I did or not – I suspect I didn’t based on the conversation we had a year or two ago in which he said I “blossomed” after I relinquished her for adoption. Blossomed????? I was stunned – still am – that he perceived my slide into a deep depression as a “blossoming.”

I have to admit though, I can see why he might have gotten that impression. I did a *very* fine job of hiding the searing pain from every one, and acted well the “part” of the fallen-but-now-redeemed-through-adoption Mormon birth mother.  I am left wondering, did anyone in my life at the time see what a hot mess I had become emotionally and spiritually? Did anyone care? Why didn’t my bishop or some other trusted person tell me to get the hell into a counselor’s office STAT? Why was I offered a band-aid for my wounded and suffering heart when what I really needed was CPR?

_____________________________

December 17, 1993: “Today has been nine months since I last saw my baby. Can you believe I have been without her for as long as I was with her? I still think of her and talk about her daily. She will always be with me, always in my heart. I often fantasize about getting her back from the [adoptive parents], but only if that is what the Lord desires for her. I love her. I miss her. My arms ache to hold my happy little girl again.”

December 18, 1993: “Joe & John turn 19 today [they are two of my brothers who happen to be twins]. It is also Bear’s 1 1/2 year old mark. I can’t believe she is that old. My heart hurts today more than ever for her. I miss her. What did I do to deserve this? Will I ever feel any kind of peace longer than a day or two about this? I am struggling to keep it together, to keep the strings tied, to keep the facade upright.”

_____________________________

From that point, I begin to really spiral downward into an inky dark place and then the journal ends on January 2, 1994. By virtue of the fact I am writing this today, I know losing my daughter to adoption didn’t kill me entirely, though it came very close to doing so. Somehow, by sheer determination and grit, I was eventually able to dig myself out of the deep depression adoption had brought into my life. If adoption taught me anything, it is that I am far more resilient and tougher than I ever imagined I could be.

There is much more in those 70 pages I have not shared here – so much more, but I think this is a pretty representative sample of my state of emotion and mind at the time. In case anyone ever wonders if this was ever “easy” for me or if I ever felt “good” about my “choice,” the answer is right here in my journal.

It hasn’t been easy and I have never felt “good” about it, regardless of what carefully-crafted mask I have presented to the world. Am I resigned to my loss? Yes. Accepting of my reality? Yes. Hopeful to find healing? Yes. But do I feel “good” about losing my daughter this way? No. Not for one moment since she left my arms in 1993.

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6 thoughts on “Booby Traps and Land Mines, Part II: In Case You Were Curious

    • Thank you for your kind words. I was in acute pain back then, most certainly. Fortunately, time (and maturity) have helped me manage the pain from losing her.

  1. I’m catching up on my blog reading, just got to this today. I wish I had kept a journal so I could remember the months after losing my son to adoption. But then again…

    This post makes my heart hurt for you ~ for all of us moms of adoption loss. I wish that all moms considering adoption could read these words and KNOW the painful truth behind them.

    • I know, Susie, but I wonder if they would listen. They seem to know it all and believe we are just “bitter” and “angry” because of our “bad” experience.

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