Wednesday, 28 March 2012

letting go and moving on....part 2

Losing someone you love is never easy.  The ache of that missing entity consumes the very depths of your soul.  Most of us have felt that pain.  We manage through the moments often with the comfort and support of others.

When the ache is a secret one, things are much different.  Although no fault of theirs, I felt that I couldn't ask for that support from my family.  They were grieving too.  We had never been through a situation like this before.  We didn't even know anyone else that had, so there was no step by step guide on "how to heal after surrendering a child for adoption".  I believed that I had hurt my parents and family enough, so to add on the necessity for constant grief support was just more than I should ask for.

How silly.

That fall I decided to go back to Prairie to finish off my degree, switching my program so that it would only take one more year.  I entered back into a very full academic year with a very empty heart.

It was here that I started to find my way back to healing.  I found out that I was broken long before Amanda's existence.  I was lost.  Over the next two years, and with some amazing people that came along side me, I started to find me.  They pointed me to grace.  They pointed me back to hope and a future.  God became real in my life.  He went from being the Sunday School Jesus to being so much more.

As I tried to resume "normal" life, dating again was catastrophic.  Honesty about my past resulted in either rejection or being used.  I had strong doubts that I would ever find someone that could accept me and all the stuff.

I was wrong.

He drove a gold Camero Berlinetta.  The first time I saw him, he had a car full of girls hanging out the windows.

"Who's that?"

"Danny Adkins", my friend replied.

Later that night we were rollerskating at Lloyds with a big group from Prairie when a red streak of hair flew past me - crazy crossovers and mock hops - all in perfect time to the music.

"Who's that?"

"Danny Adkins...stay away Sheila - he's just a kid", my friend again replied this time with a warning.

Well, I wanted to meet Danny Adkins.  Anyone that drove a car and rollerskated like that was definitely worth looking into.

Over the next few weeks he became part of my life.  My first impression of him was completely accurate.  He loved life and lived it in color.  It didn't take long to realize that he was my forever.

I was so afraid to tell him about Amanda.  I was sure that he would decide that I wasn't good enough for him.  When I finally did, he just said, "That was yesterday.  I love you today"

and he still does

He not only loves me but he respects me.  He respected my story and never told one single person about it.  Both of his parents passed into eternity without ever hearing about it.  That kind of integrity is a gift.  One that I so desperately needed.

To say that our married life was a picnic would be a great fallacy.  You can't come into a marriage with that much baggage and not expect to have to deal with the mess from time to time.  We had our share of struggles and full on war, but the assurance that we would never walk away, by God's grace, kept us together.

Finding myself pregnant was so exciting.  I remember feeling like finally everything was going to be perfect.  But the perfect dream ended in a miscarriage

and then another

I was sure that this was my punishment.  I told myself that because I gave away one baby, I wasn't fit to keep any others.  Those were very dark days.  All of the assurances given by Dan and others around me were drowned out by my own fear.  I had to surrender this over to Him - for His timing, His plan, His will.  I thought I was finished with surrendering my children, but I found out that He needed me to be willing to release my dreams and plans.

I am so grateful for the gift of Alyssa and Riley.  I think that because I felt the loss of 3 before them - one in adoption and two in miscarriage -  I understood more the magnitude of the gift that they were to me.  They have always been my best accomplishment as a human.

So life took on a normal look to it.  From the outside looking in - all was well.  But on the inside, I carried the knowledge that someday things could all change.

    - someone could discover my secret and expose it all

    - my children would know that I gave away their sister

    - there could be a knock on the door, a voice on a phone - saying "hey, remember me?"

    - the past would have to be relived all over again.  A past that I had tried so hard to erase.


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)