My first mom’s profile picture on a social media website is an older photo of two of her daughters; my younger half sisters, so cute, the little one is drooling and waving to the camera the older one smiling and giggling, sitting by the Christmas tree in their pajamas with beautifully wrapped presents in hand. Every time I see that picture that she has chosen to represent herself with and keeps up all year round, hurts me because I’m her daughter too and I was born five days before Christmas, 1965.
I was her first born, given up for adoption as an infant, put in a Christmas stocking and handed over to my adoptive parents, who provided for me, but verbally, emotionally and physically abused me and forced me to be who they wanted me to be. My first mom and my first dad were 18 years old, not ready to get married and have a family; she gave me up thinking I would have a better life than she could provide. It was a different life, not necessarily a better life. She became pregnant again before I turned 1 year old. She wasn’t married at that time, but she did eventually marry and kept my half sister who was born 19 months after me. Obviously she was able to provide for and give a wonderful life to my half sisters. My younger sister even got to have a real pony! Unfortunately my sisters did not know of my existence until I appeared 25 years ago. I was a secret my first mom wanted to keep from them. Their hearts have not opened up to the reality of me yet and they probably never will. I see on social media, through posts and pictures, the continuity of the relationships my sisters have had or continue to have with my mother, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews…all these people who (except for two amazing first cousins who are dear to me and have accepted me with warmth and open loving arms) for the most part want to pretend that I do not exist. After being in reunion for 25 years with my first family, I’m still not included or invited to anything. I friend requested a first cousin 2 years ago and she obviously ignored or cancelled the request. I’ve asked my first mom and relatives for copies of my ancestors photos, numerous times (and they all respond with “oh sure!” “of course!”) to no avail. I see their pictures of holidays, birthdays, weddings and baby showers, trips to Disneyland… All of these pictures and posts are reminders that I am different. They do not recognize me as being a part of them and probably never will. My first mom even told me she had no regrets relinquishing me. I feel discarded. I wish they could understand. Boy does this hurt, but I have to trudge on…the pain is just too overwhelming. I acknowledge the loss and pain (I have to be my own cheer-leader), I focus on what I do have – My amazing small family with huge love. My loving, supportive husband, my creative, smart and compassionate adult children, my dogs, the desert, nature, art, music, writing. Christmas time is my birthday, it’s a sad time. To constantly see my mother’s picture of her two daughters minus me is triggering that very real loss; the loss of my entire family of origin. My husband always tells me, “Honey, They are the ones that are missing out not knowing you.” I guess we’ll all never have the opportunity to know. This is the real sad truth of adoption.