I have started reading The Lies That Bind: An Adoptee’s Journey Through Rejection, Redirection, DNA, and Discovery by Laureen Pittman. I may have more to say about her book when I finish reading it.
Yesterday, I came across this concept of Hiraeth. It is a Welsh word meaning a homesickness for a home or place to which you cannot return, somewhere that perhaps never was; nostalgia, yearning or grief for the lost places of one’s past.
Hiraeth is an unattainable longing for a place, a time, a person or people; a history that no longer exists or may never have actually existed at all. To feel hiraeth is to feel a deep incompleteness and yet recognize it as familiar.
There was something left undone within me when I embarked on discovering my family’s true origins. There was a deep desire for the real. My original grandmothers both nursed and cared for my parents for several months of their lives, approximately 6 to 8 mos of those lives. This is far different in my own mind than the mother who gives up her baby at birth. These women were beginning to know the person that these babies were becoming. I cannot imagine the pain that followed them throughout their lives.
This morning “family of choice” has a different meaning for me. My adoptive grandmothers chose my parents to raise as their own. I cannot say that my original grandmothers truly had a choice. They were pressured into relinquishing their child.
As I have been uncovering their stories, there is a deep longing in me to know them and I never really can. I’ve been able to find some cousins and an aunt who can share with me some things about the persons I long for, including the grandfathers I’ll never know as well. It helps but cannot fill the hole left in my soul when my parents were taken from their parents by strangers to raise.