When we were in the process of adopting Lucky Charm (waiting for her birth), many people had opinions about her birthmom, Tiny. Some said we should have no relationship with her whatsoever and that’s what was best for our child. Some said that we would know what was right. Some said she needed to be mandatorily sterilized. Some believed that her decisions warranted no contact.
We were not very open about all of the nitty gritty details about Lucky Charm’s story. We gave close family and friends the details we could without sharing too much. They knew that Tiny was 24 (I was 25 at the time), and they knew that Lucky Charm was her fourth child. Some people asked questions digging further to reveal that her older children were adopted from foster care. They didn’t know she was in jail at the time, they didn’t know that her first son died shortly after birth from complications of premature birth. They didn’t know her, or her past, or her circumstances.
They knew only the stigma of a young woman involved in making an adoption plan.
What they didn’t know, is how much of a connection we formed with this woman who would ultimately give us the greatest gift.
Two tender moments stick out in my mind from the days we spent getting to know Tiny before and after the birth of Lucky Charm.
The second time I met Tiny, I went to see her by myself. She looked like she had swallowed a basketball. At the end of our visit, she stood up and told me that the baby was moving all around, and she placed my hand on her stomach. I felt the body of my tiny baby move inside of her stomach. I said something (to the baby) at this moment but I can’t remember what, and Tiny looked down lovingly at her belly with my hand on it, and said “This is your mommy”. I felt like we were contained within a giant cloud of emotional silence.
The other moment would be the moment that she was saying her tender goodbyes to Lucky Charm after she birthed her tiny body and spent two days in the hospital loving all over her and sharing her with us.
These are moments that I will be able to share with Lucky Charm when she gets older. She will know how much both Tiny and I love her, and how we both want the world for her.
One of the people who had nothing but bad things to say about Tiny is my grandmother. She claimed that she has no rights to this child and doesn’t deserve contact. She said that nothing good would come of a relationship with her. I was really bothered by all of the negative comments that she made and I expressed them to my mother one day.
My mother was silent on the other end of the phone for a minute and said I just don’t understand where she is coming from. She of all people should know the sensitivity surrounding adoption. Huh? Well, mom went on to explain that when my father was in his 30’s one of my grandmother’s sisters came over to tell him that his mom (my grandma) had been shipped off to an unwed mother home in her late teens to give birth to a child conceived out of marriage. She had no choice in the matter, my great-grandmother sent her off, and she returned after giving birth without ever seeing the baby (that we know of). My mom explained to me that my father determined this was not information he wanted to bring up with her, and he blew it off.
So I am not sure that my grandma even knows that her son knows, or that I know. It is something we are forbidden to ever mention to her.
Why would she have only mean and nasty things about a birthmom when she was one herself? Does she think that of herself for getting pregnant out of wedlock? Has she not healed after 50 years?
I respect the decision my family has made to not dig into something. I do wish I could speak with this woman to know what her life was like, if she ever needed the closure of knowing who her birthmom is, and what advice she has for me as an adoptee.
I found some interesting information here about adoption in the 1960’s.
Are there any deep dark family secrets of your own floating around? Feel free to share, or link up a post of your own.