We seek love, because of that very first union we had with another person – our mother. Of course, at birth, it was necessary for us to separate physically from her, in order to grow and develop further. Even after birth, and more importantly still, if we are totally separated from her – taken away from her and given to a complete stranger (as in adoption) to raise us – very deep within us, we know her still.
In the womb, we heard her voice, experienced her emotions, tasted the foods she preferred flavoring the amniotic fluid that cushioned us from the blows of a harsh world. We were ever intimately connected to all the interior sounds, her heartbeat and other organs functioning. They say a pregnant woman is a totally different gender from the typical male/female divide.
Though we celebrate our mother’s love in May, the month of February is full of constant reminders of the importance of love. We send Valentine’s to other people, even children do this as they celebrate the day in school and church. We remember to tell people we love them.
Yesterday was my own mother’s birthday. I lost her to death in 2015. The years fly by so quickly. Most years on her birthday, I called her up on the telephone and we would talk for a very long time. During a difficult time in my life, I remember going into the darkened kitchen to cry alone in my deep despair. Suddenly, she was there. Her maternal sense knew I needed comforting.
My mom was taken away from her mother after a brief visit. Her desperate mother was struggling to find a way to support the two of them. The father (she was married) inexplicably did not answer when her cry of distress through the Juvenile Court in Memphis was issued. I like to believe he didn’t get the message in time to prevent my mom from being taken from her own mother by exploitation and unbearable pressure (surrender your child or be declared unfit by my good friend the Juvenile Court judge said Georgia Tann, the master baby thief, to my grandmother).
Separating a child from their original mother causes deep wounds. I grieve that our country cruelly does this to migrant children. It is an abomination. Truly.
This sculpture speaks so strongly to my own heart. I empathize with my grandmothers who gave up my parents to adoption. In a sense, though less permanently, I am one myself. Each of my sisters truly are. There are no words for how this haunts a person. No mother should have to live without her child, even though I do understand that sometimes the safety issues are so strong because that mother is so broken as a person, the child isn’t safe with her. I get it.
Adoption isn’t just a one-time event and it’s over. It is never over, it can’t be and it isn’t. It is something that follows an adoptee and their original parents throughout their lives.
I have obsessed in my guilt for not raising my daughter. Just like my maternal grandmother, I never intended to leave her daily life permanently. In my effort, just as it was in my grandmother’s effort, to work things out financially, circumstances changed and it was no longer the best outcome for her to take her back. Both my maternal grandmother and myself would have, if it had been possible or truly made sense to step back in.
There were no role models for absentee mothers in the early 1970s though one read a lot of stories about absentee fathers. I realize I caused the situation for myself. My grandmother stepped into a serious trap without realizing it when she turned to Porter-Leath Orphanage in Memphis TN for temporary care of my mom.
The superintendent there betrayed my grandmother and my mom to a master baby thief. Miss Georgia Tann was backed up by her good friend, the Juvenile Court Judge Camille Kelley, in her pressure campaign to exploit my grandmother and wrest my mom out of her possession so that she could sell her to my adoptive grandmother.
Being a birth mom who permanently surrenders her child is not a club you should want to join. It is a grief that lasts a lifetime. The pain of that wound will change over time but it will never go away. It will always be there. I have spent years trying to resolve my own. I know the reasons and the causes but there is no recovering lost time and those precious memories of your child growing up.
If you are an expectant mother, especially a single and financially challenged young woman, seek out the help that will make it possible for you to keep your baby. You will be glad you did. Here’s one place – https://savingoursistersadoption.org/