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Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Day of Remembrance

My First Mother, Norma Carol Lowe, was born on 9/11.

She gave birth to me as a young, unwed mother in 1968 and was one of the first to inquire of the ALMA Registry (Adoptee's Liberation Movement) looking for her "son", being informed by the hospital staff and attorney after going through a difficult labor and c-section that she had given birth to a baby boy.

Sadly, she died in 1980, thinking she had a son who she told her family would someday "come back". But, in truth, she actually had a daughter, who, indeed, did come back, 10 yrs too late to meet her (again) on this side of eternity.

With my Mother's birthday on 9/11, I have finally been able to grieve her passing and loss of my dream to know her. I sit and watch the 9/11 Memorials on TV and cry for my Mother & the numbing pain she endured much like the innocent victims of 2001. It took years of slowly unthawing from the nothingness I felt inside, the day I found my Grandmother and heard my own Mother's story.

On my own birthday a few years ago I was driving alone, listening to the radio, when a beautiful lullaby I had never heard came over the waves, immediately catching my attention. It was Bette Midler singing "Baby of Mine" and the tears flowed again ~ but this time they were tears of acceptance. I could finally embrace the love I knew my Mother had for me all along, and the strong connection we shared. She is my Mother. And I miss her.

I Am Not Dead

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am diamond glints of snow;
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush;
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds encircled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Author Unknown


In Memory

Today (9/11) is not only a day of "Remembrance & Honor" in America for so many innocent victims who lost their lives, it is also a day of remembrance for me,
as today would have been my nMother's 64th Birthday. How can I long for and
miss a Mother who I never met? Just ask the six million plus Americans left to wonder about the fate of loved ones separated by "sealed records" adoption laws.

For several years after finding her family and being told of her death and search, I walked around in a strange numbness. Although not able to "feel" grief at the time, I wept uncontrollably, without realizing the deep impact this news and my nMother made in my life. I watched, prayed & cried, just a few short years later, as my adoptive Mother battled the same disease that had taken my nMother's life.

Finally, after allowing myself to "unthaw" emotionally and feel the heart-gripping pain of losing my nMother, I was able to embrace that part of myself that I had rejected the same moment I learned the news of her death. That part that needed to grieve and live again, by embracing who my Mother was, and accept the gifts she had given me and carry in my heart always. We both love animals, the color purple, writing, and cheering for the underdog. But it goes so much deeper than that. She will always be a part of me... Happy Birthday, Norma. I love you.

Lost Brother

I remember the day my adopted brother was delivered to our home by a seemingly nice lady in a '50's sedan of some kind.  Even though I was only three and a half I remember it very clearly and was thrilled to have a sibling to grow up with.  I was not bonding with my adoptive parents, to say the very, very, very least.  We became very close not just as brother and sister, but as companions clinging to one another to cope with abuse and the confusion of adoption.  It was a bond that formed out of mutual understanding that the situation we had been placed in was not one of love, family, and “home” but instead one of nightmarish proportions.

My brother taught me to use my sense of humor to lighten the weight of the fear we lived under every day.  We could not change what was happening to us, all we could do is change how we dealt with it.  To this day, I am thankful for the gift of laughter and humor my brother gave me.  I miss him.

We remained close until I left home after graduating High School and he moved with my adoptive parents states away.  I was glad to have grown up and escaped as long planned, but I knew that he was still enduring the oppressive and relentless physical and emotional abuse doled out by our adoptive parents on a daily basis.  But, I was drowning in my own issues stemming from what happened to us and could do nothing to save myself, let alone him.

I have not spoken to my brother in nine years now.  Attempts have been made but phone numbers have changed along with email addresses and I do so tire of running after people trying to get them to love me.  Former neighbors and classmates ask about him, knowing we were so close.  I feel such sadness in telling them we are no longer in communication.  He has cut all of us out of his life.   I believe his coldness towards our adoptive family and even myself is nothing short of normal considering....yeah.

In fact when I began my work in adoption reform and was excited about it and wanted to share it with him he cut me off.  I asked about helping him search for his natural mother and he stated quite frankly and I quote "She gave me up why would I want to look for her".  And in response to our current relationship with our adoptive parents “They clothed us, and fed us, and put a roof over our head.  I am an adult now they bear no further responsibility for me.”  I all of a sudden felt like an old broken down used car that was paid off and no longer of any good “use” to its owners.  What a tremendously sad attitude to have about your “family” but I also knew where he was coming from.  His anger is obvious beneath coldness and sarcasm that continues to grow as he has gotten older.  He was not like that as a child but I believe adoption has severely jaded him, as it does so many of us.

You will find common threads of experience in adoptees, but at the same time, find differences in how we deal, and have dealt, with them unique to each individual.  So much pain, hurt, and loss that did not have to become these common threads of experience in our lives.  So much proof from our stories of the drastic and immediate need for change in how adoption is viewed, regulated, and legislated.

To my brother Jack. I hope one day we will meet again and I can let you know when I remember the good portions of my childhood they are due in large part to your presence in my life and as my brother.   You helped me survive and you are responsible in part for the person I am today.  Though you might feel as though you are, you are never forgotten.  And even in the bitterness and turmoil of what happened to us, you are remembered with a smile.