Tuesday, 20 March 2012

30 years ago...part 1

This post has been a long time coming - and a long time writing.  Writing about puppies, birthdays, and the kids is so much simpler.  To put into words something as life changing as this experience - especially in a single story - is very difficult, if not near impossible, but it is time.  

I have a hard time believing that I am 50 years old.  I have a harder time believing that she is 30.

I met her in the summer of 1981.  I realized her existence from a white stick with a little red + sign in my tiny little bathroom in my tiny little basement suite.  Joy was not the outcome of that meeting.  I would say it was more like panic.

What am I going to do?

Much of that time is a blur in my memory, however a few things stick out pretty clearly. I remember feeling very alone.  I told "him" but rather than getting the emotional support that I so craved, I was given the phone number of a place that could "fix" it.  At the time it did feel like my only option, but I remember thinking that rather than take one life, it would be better to just take two.  I wanted to die.  It could look like an accident and no one would know about the other life that was also ended.

I told only 2 people.  My little brother and my best friend.  They understood the pain and offered the only thing that I really needed.


They could see so much further than I could and through their vision I made a step toward life, instead of death.

As she grew inside, life didn't get much easier.  I had decided that it would be best for all concerned that this remain a tightly guarded secret.  Tell no one.  Live in seclusion for part of a year then move on with real life.

I had no question in my mind that I was not going to parent this child, but believing that did not make it any easier to process through letting go.  Files of strangers were laid out in front of me and I was told to pick one.

Pick one.

How does one choose a mother and a father from a brief description?  How does one know with any certainty how this woman's or man's personality will mesh with this child's - all of whom you have no clue as to what those personalities are.  Lists of descriptions...

-hair color

Generalized characteristics that tell me nothing.  But that's all there was.  I went through the lists and qualified and disqualified the candidates.

- short - no
- tall - yes...I'm tall, he was tall - she will be tall - don't send her to live with the seven dwarfs
- government job - yes - financial security is a good thing
- baker - no!  a baker can't support a family very well  
- blonde/fair - yes - again, she will a blonde - she has to be
- redhead - no!  Everyone knows that redheads have bad tempers and are mean

After many hours of pouring over the tiny bits of information given, parents were chosen and the surrendering began.

1.  To relinquish possession or control of to another because of demand or compulsion
2.  To give up in favour of another
3.  To give up, or back something that has been granted
4.  To give up or abandon
5.  To give over or to resign oneself.

My definition:  To cut out a piece of your heart and hand it to a stranger to look after.

April 4, 1982

The rest of the world met her.
Amanda  (she who must be loved)  Joy  

Her family all met her.  Her Grandfather held her in his arms and blessed her, giving her - surrendering her to God for the rest of her life.

Walking away from that hospital was excruciating and the days ahead were even worse.  In B.C. the adoption laws allow for the birth mother to revoke her consent to adopt for 30 days - no questions asked.  Those 30 days were riddled with questions of doubt and despair as the decision was waging war in my heart.
In the end I feel that I did the "right thing".  At least that is what I was told many times.  It took me a few years to be able to really believe that.

Life post-surrender looked completely normal to the outside world.  I re-entered civilization as if nothing had ever happened.  I believed that the surrendering part was over.

It was just beginning...

(to be continued)


Trish said...

Thanks Sheila for sharing your story. I look forward to reading the next part. I like your definition of surrender. So often it does feel like a part of you is gone. When I surrender to God's loving hands I have to choose to believe that He is loving even when it doesn't feel like it. Sometimes it feels like stepping off a cliff with no guarantees, but ... still surrender is so necessary.

Kmarie said...

Sharing stories impacts so many journeys. I appreciate your vulnerability and heart in this. You have beauty.

wil said...

I don't have much to say in light of the monumental heart-ache of your story, except that our stories make us who we are, and you are an exceptional person.

Thanks for sharing.

The Tea Bag said...

Such raw, ragged honesty expressed here. The definition of 'surrender' plumbs new depths, exposes such visceral anguish.

Yet out of the agony came Joy. Beauty from ashes. Thank you for relating this profoundly difficult, profoundly moving part of your life.