My new podcast-20 THINGS ADOPTION-announces good news for the world of adoption! Adoptive moms and traumatized adoptees can now find freedom–adoptees from their painful past and adoptive moms from their painful self (you know, the self that reminds you you’ll never have what it takes to meet the needs of your adopted child). As an adult adoptee in her seventh decades of life, I experienced this freedom nearly three years ago. You see…I was painted into a corner circumstantially and emotionally. Someone in my current life wounded me in a way I didn’t deserve and I hated that person. Through research I learned that I could either forgive the person me or go to the Stress Center. The hate was so strong and I couldn’t get out of the situation, like I was squeezed in a vice.
I learned through the wonderful writing of the late author, Lewis B. Smedes in his book FORGIVE AND FORGET…Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve, that there is only one power that can stop the inexorable stream of painful thoughts and memories: the “faculty of forgiveness. Oh, yes, I thought I knew all about forgiveness. Maybe I had a lot of head knowledge, but I didn’t know much about letting go and true surrender to God. I continued down the road toward forgiveness: the stages were: Hurt, Hate, Healing, The Coming Together.
Soon, surprising thoughts about Retha, my late Mom came to mind. For heaven’s sake, why? We were at odds with one another for a lifetime. For me, being in Retha’s presence felt like scraping long fingernails over a blackboard. Who knows what it was for her. Perhaps, she parented out of her painful self–the fearful self that decided on homecoming day that I had rejected her with my screams. She knew nothing about a baby’s cry print–that was my message to her: “I miss my mama and I will die without her.”
Then, curiosity arose about Retha’s wedding rings. Why?! I considered them pieces of junk when the coroner handed them to me at her snowy gravesite. I considered them pieces of junk and wondered why I hadn’t taken them to Good Will years ago. Suddenly, I wanted to find them and ran to my costume jewelry box. After pawing through my stuff, I found them, tarnished black and missing every diamond in the main and small band.
When I placed the bands on my finger, new and unique thoughts came to mind:
- Did Dad (Mike) get down on his knees to propose?
- Where did he get the rings? Perhaps at Lester Lake’s Jewelry store downtown?
- Was Retha the blushing bride, dreaming of a home and children?
Folks realize that I never had these kinds of thoughts before. No positive thoughts about either of my parents, but especially my Mom. After the positive, surprising thoughts came to mind, I ran into my husband’s office like a kid on a sugar high. I felt free. I was experiencing thoughts I’d never had before. I was experiencing the love of my parents. So, where did they come from? I believe that my brain had stored them in a place I couldn’t remember, but when I was ready to receive them, I would.
Weeks later, my husband invited me on a pizza date and slipped a tiny box my way. Unbeknownst to me, he had the rings totally refurbished. Sparkling diamonds graced the shiny silver bands and I could see them in a new way, a refreshing way.
Could it be that I didn’t throw the bands away for decades because my childhood heart wanted a mom who loved me? Could it be that the mom who was to love me was not Elizabeth, my first mother, but Retha, my Mom through adoption? I believe this is possible. So, today I can say that the mom I hated, I now love. The mom I thought was a loser is now my hero. The mom I never wanted to be like, is now the mom I love. God has turned our tarnished relationship into silver.
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