Dear Phantom Birthmother,

(reposted from here  I like am happy satisfied with this one.)

We need to talk.

I know you're not big on talking.  You've been the silent ghost hovering in the background all my life, your absence a constant presence.

Frankly, I would have preferred Banquo's Ghost, or King Hamlet.  They were explicable and helped move the plot along.  You have always been a cypher.  What did you want?

Nothing, I was told.  That's why you weren't there, after all.  I was told that I was an impediment to the life you wanted to live, a pothole in the road of your journey that you had sped on past and forgotten.  I was better off without you, I was told.

I really shouldn't spend much time thinking about you, I was told.  And I didn't.  Think about you, that is.  Not much.  As little as possible, and I'd stop myself whenever my subconscious tried to bring it up.

I always tried to follow the rules.  Would you have liked that in me?

But there's more to life than thought.  I didn't think about you, but I missed you with an ache that never went away.

I've heard the line about "real Mommies" and how my adoptive Mommy deserved that title.  Leaving aside all other questions, do you honestly think I couldn't tell the difference?  Sure I shut up crying and comforted myself by drinking myself to sleep, because that's what babies do.

Didn't mean I forgot I'd been snookered.

Thus you were born within days of my birth, a defined void where the other part of me should have been.

I forget that you're younger than me.  I feel so old.

And into that void fell all my love for you, all my anger, my confusion, my sorrow, my grief, my self-hatred, my questions....

So many questions.

No wonder you couldn't fade and blow away, not with all that energy powering you.

That's why we need to talk.  Or if you're not going to talk, at least listen.

I was "good" if you define that as me doing what I was told.  Maybe too good a lot of the time.  I have let you get on with your life without me for nearly 50 years.  I think I've reached the end of any reasonable statue of limitations on the crime of being born.

In doing so I have deprived myself of not just you, but of my -- our -- past and extended family.

And it is our history, our family.

I know you felt justified at the time.  I know the pressure the culture put on you.  However, I do not think it is fair that you decided to disown me before you got to know me.

Nor was it right to cut me out of the larger family.

I don't want money.

I want kin.  If you've never been without them, even if they didn't want anything to do with you, you have no idea what their absence means.

I hope to meet you on this journey.  The real you, not the ghost you.  But meet you or not I am still going.

Hope to see you soon.


Phantom Mothers

Great piece.

It took me a long time for me learn what loss it was I had to identify and grieve, when it came to my own Phantom Mother.

In my case, it wasn't just a single ghost, lurking at night, or whispering on my always-lonely birthdays. I had the "do not think of her" first mother who left me, as I faced a year of neglect in-care, followed by a childhood of storms. But I also had a negligent phantom adoptive mother.

I was not to think (badly) of her, as well.
(What kind of curse is that, to put on a child?)

Funny how I can forgive my birth mother for being human (and not wanting a child, as she busied herself with her work).
And yet I can't forgive the woman who wanted a child "so much, she traveled to another country to get her", but when the Honeymoon was over, she forgot she was supposed to be a "forever" Mom to that child.

That stinks, Kerry.  The

That stinks, Kerry.  The woman who bought me, as I have recently started calling my adoptive mother, was a nasty piece of work.  There were no flowers at her funeral, no eulogies at her service other than the minister's, which was a masterpiece of the "don't-lie-but-don't-say-anything-that-isn't-nice" genre.

But that is a separate issue.  My birthmother had no way of knowing, in 1966, how poorly adoptive parents were chosen.

Y'know what's funny?  I was 23 when I broke down (literally), admitted to myself that I had been an abused child; and started addressing that issue.  Even though I've known I was adopted all my life it took me until I was 46, another 23 years, before I could face the fact that I had been an abused adoptee.  For all my smarts I can be a slow learner at times.

<empatheitc nod>

I too am both smart, and a bit slow to learn certain things, as they apply to me, and my own life.

Addressing the abused adoptee issue is HARD. We live in a society that believes ALL adoptive parents are patient loving angels... ready, eager, and determined to help the adopted child recover from the blow that comes from parental abandonment/relinquishment.

No one seems to think, (or want to believe), some adoptive parents are just as unfit and profoundly mentally ill/dysfunctional as some of the really messed-up first-parents out there -- the ones who should not have become parents, in the first place.

With that...I used to think all my anger-issues were rooted in adoption.

But the truth is, many of my unresolved issues had to do with the abuse that took place, after relinquishment.

Many of these abusive situations took place outside the view of my chosen APs, and over the course of 20+ years.

Which came first, the adoption, or the abuse?

How does one resolve abuse that's not seen or acknowledged?

In my case, after 20 years of a loveless marriage, I realized -- very oddly -- many of my unresolved problems/issues in my own life were the direct result of a lax and faulty adoption plan and process. I eventually came to believe, had someone really cared about me, my well-being, and my safety, things like my sense of worthlessness and acts of self-punishment/injury may have been greatly reduced, if not eliminated.

The real kick in the pants is this little nugget-o-knowledge I made right before PPL became public: You know what? Much of this adoption/abuse-issue crap I have been left to deal-with could have been PREVENTED... had only the people involved in my adoption-plan really cared about the lives they were moving and changing.

Lousy genetics or lousy environment?

That's the issue I hope to clarify by meeting my birth families.

Pound Pup Legacy