It’s taken a lifetime to understand my past and break free from the Titanic pain that’s submerged beneath my adoptee consciousness. How thankful I am that I can now reframe life according to the upside down kingdom of Jesus. It’s not that the pain is gone, but that my resilience has plummeted. This is not to say that I never fall, or never give in to triggers of pain. Like you, I’m human who’s constantly in need of mercy and grace. “Who will love this little girl?” That question rang softly down the decades through hushed lips of others, for reasons not understood until the child reached the golden years of life. I am that child,
What I’d like to share here is “what I didn’t know about being adopted.” This first post is about my beginnings. Looking back, I see an adorable child sitting on the porch steps. With leather high tops, a pink dress and matching bonnet, I cuddled a well-worn Raggedy Ann. Dark hair cascaded from beneath my bonnet and long eyelashes adorned the brownist of eyes. Who couldn’t love such a child? Wouldn’t her mother and father? Wouldn’t her extended family? Just looking at toddler me on that sunny day, you’d have no clue that my life began in darkness and that a catastrophic message was embedded in my brain.
As with any story, we must go back to the beginning. Barbara Clark and husband, Robert, invited sister Marjorie for cocktails and dinner. Marjorie’s husband, Manford, was soldiering in Africa during the II World War and Barbara wanted to diminish her loneliness. After dinner, Barbara dutifully cleared the table while Robert and Marjorie lounged in the living room. When Barbara heard raucous laughter, she knew they’d had too much to drink. By the time Barbara returned to the living room, they were gone. Barbara’s heart felt like it was in her throat as she pushed open the bedroom door. Gasp. Scream. How could you? The double betrayal became surreal to Barbara, like a bad dream she couldn’t wake up from. Pounding her fists on the bedroom wall, tears punctuated her obscenities. Marjorie wrapped a soiled sheet around her naked body, while Barbara’s husband fled the scene. Later that evening, all three finally agreed that this unplanned event wouldn’t end in a pregnancy. However, a month later, Marjorie had no period.
What would the three of them do? And, how could Margie ever tell her husband? More than anything, they wanted to cover up the life growing in Marjorie’s womb. Thus, Barbara located a maternity home for Marjorie, just one hour from her home in Flint, Michigan. They’d do whatever needful to keep this baby’s life and presence a secret to other family members. They’d cover for Marjorie’s absence by making up lofty reasons that she left town for a few months. And, when the birth was done, this baby would be their secret.
The Message Embedded in My Unborn Brain
The life-jarring message that was planted in my brain was, “Who could possibly love you? I don’t. Your life is one big mistake and I want to throw you away like a piece of garbage”…signed by Marjorie, my mother. I was bathed for nine months in a womb of shame. It was only through left-handed drawings later in life that I could put words to this message my mother communicated. Let this experience be my validation that yes, babies do remember. Dr. Thomas Verney states in “THE LIFE OF THE UNBORN CHILD book that babies do indeed know whether or not they are loved by their mothers.
What I Didn’t Know About Being Adopted
The two people involved in my conception set me up for extreme shame by communicating that I was a mistake. The most common struggle adopted children have is shame. Why did my mother give me away? Was something wrong with me? Was I too big, too little?
What I didn’t know is that there is such a thing as “unplanned good.” Yes, my life was certainly unplanned by my first parents, but even in such a perverse situation…good can come from it. And, I am that good!