It wasn’t until I began working on my memoir that I realized that I had completely disassociated from myself as a person when it came to the adoption I went through when I was 18. While our stories are very much intertwined, that girl and myself are two incredibly different people. It’s as if she went into hiding for self-preservation, and I created this new version of myself in order to handle and cope with the grief associated with the adoption.
I’ve been doing my best to get back to her, and to understand her more. Perhaps I know that I am frustrated with some of the decisions she made, and the fact that she didn’t speak up more. Perhaps, she’ll be mad at the way I pushed for more openness, which only resulted in a closed adoption. The thing is, we’re not two separate people, and it’s time that I come to terms with that. Being able to act as though the story happened to someone else has saved me from digging deeper into the pain of my adoption, and has only allowed me to touch things on the surface. I’ve been okay with that for a long time because the entire experience, for me, is completely shrouded in pain and sorrow.
This grief that comes with being a birthmother is an interesting sort of grief; it evolves over time. One day, you think you are just fine, then the next there is something popping up in your world that shows you that you aren’t okay. And the reality is, this is all very normal. When we’ve experienced a loss, even a traumatic loss like mine was, there is no easy way to consistently deal with the grief as it melds itself into your life, and becomes a part of your very being.
I think for the longest time I’ve accepted that grief as belonging to someone else. At first it was other birthmothers, because I was happy with my choice, then it was other people in my life who were not impressed with the twists and turns the adoption had taken. Then it was her grief, the girl I used to be, and it’s sat that way for a significant amount of time. It is our grief, and it’s always been my grief. I just never took the time to recognize that even in grief, there is a process that is served before you get to the meat of the pie.
I accept that this is my grief to handle. I accept that this is my story, even the parts that I don’t always discuss. This is my story, our story, and it’s what makes us a part of this adoption community.