I named this blog Missing Mom because the mothers of each of my parents were “missing.” Both of my parents were adoptees. Now that I know something about their original mothers, I know that they would have rather raised their firstborn children had circumstances been supportive of them. I have great empathy for that because I had similar financial obstacles to raising my daughter and instead after the age of 3, she was raised by her father and step-mother. These things do pass down family lines. I’ve seen the truth of that in my own family.
However, my mom managed to remain in my life and it is the minor miracle of my life that I was not surrendered to adoption as well. She was an unwed teenage mother but managed to be married by the day I was born. I have fond memories of my mom on Sunday mornings. She was devotedly religious all of her life. My dad never went to church with us – the valid excuse was because he worked shifts, sometimes two shifts in a row in a refinery. He also was raised in the Church of Christ by his adoptive parents. My parents married in that church, I’m certain his parents insisted on that.
Sometimes on Sundays, if we had spent the weekend with my dad’s adoptive parents, they would bring us home and my dad’s adoptive mother, who we called Granny, would have contentious kitchen table discussions about religion with my mom. My mom raised us in the Episcopal church she had been raised in. Every Sunday, we got dressed up in our finest and went to church with her. After we (as their children) had left our family home and gone our separate ways, my dad started going to church with my mom to “keep her company.” Eventually, I believe he was as truly Episcopalian as anyone not born into it could be and I went to church with him a few times after my mom died.
Mothers are simply on my mind this morning. I read recently that there are two kinds of people in this world – women and the children of women. Every human being was born of a woman (until someone starts cloning us). My apologies to the UK for missing their own holiday by one week. I had seen it on our calendar but this morning it was on my mind. I listen to music by Tim Janis on youtube while doing my blood pressure checks. He has some offerings that include hymns. I started thinking I could acknowledge Sundays by choosing one of those with hymns (lyrics are not included but the tunes are very familiar to me having been raised with them) once a week. At the wedding rehearsal dinner for me and my husband, my mom is caught on video expressing her love of religious music – specifically Amazing Grace. It is an amazing grace I wasn’t adopted as well.
For whatever reason, this song seemed appropriate . . .
I learned about my mother’s death on a Sunday morning. She was a composer and a musician. She had intended to play one of her compositions in church that morning, of course, it didn’t happen. She was gone, never to be seen by me again in this life. No wonder she would be on my mind today.
It is that end where nothing actually changes but we move forward into the next one which this year also sees the change into a new decade.
I feel a sense of completion this year as I have continued to learn about the impacts of adoption and the wounds of separating children from their mothers. I have spent the last year reviewing the most significant events of my entire life. One was being the executor of my deceased parents’ estate. I have no doubt that it was a blessing that my parents, both adoptees and high school sweethearts who were married for over 60 years, died only 4 months apart. I had to make arrangements for my mentally ill sister’s support in ways my parents feared to initiate. Sadly, my lifelong close relationship with her was wrecked by my having to do so as there was no one else who could.
I also finally managed to come full circle in learning who my original grandparents were and because they are all dead, managing to find living descendants with whom I can begin to create new relationships. I recognize that relationships are not instantaneous and we have lost decades but I do my best to go forward and feel a wholeness and peace that I could not even know I was lacking until I found that.
A year ago, I self-published a limited edition of our family’s true history and genetic cultural roots. Sadly, it wrecked a relationship with one of my nephews. Honestly though, there was barely a relationship there. That he could not see the purpose of my revealing what I did related to his own relationships with his maternal line, I can’t help. Though I regret his decision to close the door on half his family, I still feel the information was necessary within the family and so I accept the outcome with sadness.
I’ve spent the last year rewriting a commercial version of my story that includes the aspects mentioned above. I had not gone into my parents’ deaths and the ramifications of those deaths in the previous publication but realized that to tell the story of my discovery of my grandparents, it was necessary to look at that difficult time in my own life to give context to the final miracle that unfolded.
In the coming year, I do hope to acquire a literary agent and find this book commercially published. May that prove to be so. Best wishes to all of you who have chosen to read my blog over the last year. I hope you continue to follow me and if my hopes and dreams come true, will want to buy and review my book. Happy New Year – soon. Like in a few hours now.
I’m not good at predicting the future. Sometimes I misread my intuitions. Even so I trust a kind of momentum and tendency in Life to bring about whatever my heart desires the most as well as protect me from my fears and misunderstandings.
I’ve been writing this blog daily for almost a year now. It amazes me that I usually find something to say. Certainly, my journey over the last two years has been remarkable. Not everyone affected by the erasing of their personal history is able to make the progress I have. My compassionate sympathy for all of those who like my own mom have been rejected when they have made the attempt.
What made the difference for my own self ? I believe it has been a combination of undeserved luck and persistence not to give up. Doors have opened in almost miraculous ways at times that I did not see ever coming into my own reality.
What kind of advice can I give others ? One is to educate yourself as close to reality as possible for stories and delusions do not serve the individual or collective good. Another is to be gently persistent. Furthermore, if someone becomes upset with you, try your best to understand where they are and allow them to work through their own wounds and traumas at their own personal speed and willingness to accept.
I am grateful for all the progress I have made so far. I have no idea where I will find myself next on this journey but I do have some hopes, goals and dreams. I wish you all the best of good fortune and protection for your vulnerable parts as we journey together into the next new decade and the next yet best to be and hopefully with not too many hurts and disappointments.
I continue to unwrap the gift I have received late in life of knowledge about my natural grandparents, meeting my genetic relatives and understanding the impacts of adoption on my entire family. It is a gift that has not stopped giving to me more and more each day.
One year ago, I completed a family history as a gift to 9 of my relatives. Having recovered our unknown genetic history and having some additional family stories I felt were worth saving, I self published it economically in a spiral bound book. If something ended my life, I did not want the knowledge lost again.
Over the last year, I’ve been retelling the story of finding my original grandparents but soon realized I could not convey an accurate understanding of the final miracle in that journey without delving into something I did not cover at all in the family history. That is my journey as executor of my deceased parents estates and having to contend with a brilliant but delusional sister. It certainly adds an element of tension, uncertainty and conflict. Truth be told, two parts of my on-going story have only revealed themselves this last November.
Even so, I’ve decided I am now “complete” with a version that I hope will be commercially published and bring some modest amount of revenue into my family’s financial support while opening a door for me to publish whatever comes next (I have a couple of ideas in progress – one has waited 5 years for me to have the time to take the rough draft into a finished form).
May your own heart be warmed with the love of knowing family. No family is perfect and often they vex us and yet, they truly polish us into stars of shining light for others to be inspired by. May all your holidays be bright.
This is the day my parents married in 1953 because my teenage mom was pregnant with me and my dad did right by her. They were both adoptees. As incredible as it may seem to the reader, it was only recently that I realized how miraculous it is that I did not end up given away and adopted.
Certainly, my mom’s adoptive parents could not have been happy about all their dashed hopes for my mom. No debutante ball, no marrying into the upper class. Instead her husband came from a humble and poor family. In spite of it all, they remained married for life, over 60 years, and died 4 months apart.
How to explain what it is like ? I chose to relocate myself to Missouri. Eventually, I would discover lots of connections to my chosen home state. Yet, they were not my own family connections, not really. There was the town in Missouri – Dittmer – founded by my mom’s adoptive father’s family. There was the town in Missouri – Eugene – founded by my mom’s adoptive mother’s family. There was the town in Illinois – Belleville – founded by my dad’s adoptive mother’s family. I could not claim any of these places had a real relationship to my family history. It is a weird black hole to spend one’s life within.
Now I really know what is important. Loss, betrayal and abandonment force us to let go of our attachments. When my parents died, I became an orphan. I also lost a close and loving relationship with my youngest sister, who’s mental illness that appears to be some kind of paranoid schizophrenia, caused her to distrust me as I attempted to close out our parent’s estate. I heard my mom’s voice in my head saying “finish the work.” That work was requesting the court to create a supportive situation for my sister since she could no longer depend upon our parents and was hostile towards me. A lifetime of being there for her was lost and abandoned by her. Sadly.