When my daughter talks to me, which isn’t very often, our conversations are one-sided. She does most of the talking, which is usually a rant, and I do the listening. She’s toxic, and it’s better when I don’t take the bait. When she leaves or hangs up the phone, I fill my journal with what I wanted to tell her. I thought I’d share with you a recurring theme.
“Why did you adopt me?”
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” I replied.
She scrunched up her face. The answer, after all, implied that if I had hindsight, my decision would have been different. Well, what did she want to hear? Because I loved her? Because she needed a family? Because it was the right thing to do? All this she already knew. The truth is, even when I try to remember the reason, I really don’t have a better answer.
Honey, you’re thirty-seven, an adult. So your life sucked for the first eight years, then you got a new family. It’s been twenty-nine years and you’ve yet to call me Mom. Your therapist said you couldn’t say it because the word dredged up feelings of horror, pain, and dread. Maybe if I had pushed the issue, made you talk the talk, eventually you’d see me as your “real” Mom. Just so you know, being the “adopted one” never made you any less of a sister or daughter.
We accepted you for yourself, the crooked sapling that we loved regardless. Could anything have straightened out that sapling so its trunk wouldn’t grow up gnarly? Does it matter?
Is that why you stuck the needle in your arm? You blame your heroin addiction on being adopted? Well, Honey, that’s what addicts do – they blame. All the therapy in the world won’t change that. True, you could have been someone else’s daughter. But you’re mine, and nothing will change that, either.
So, why did I adopt you? I can’t promise you’ll like this answer any better. It’s a divine poker game and God’s dealing. When He gives you a chance to love, even if the stakes are high, you don’t fold.
And if God ever gives me the chance to tell you this, I will.
Writing this has helped. It’s her birthday and I’ve no way to contact her.
Thanks for stopping by.
As soon as I found this web site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.
I have just come upon your blog. I am utterly drawn in. I, too, am an adoptive mother. My middle child sounds very like the one you described in your post, although it was not drugs that drew her away. She seems to blame me for adopting her. Not my husband. He says she blames me because she knows how I yearned for more children. And somehow, the romance of the unknown touches her heart where reality ought to reign supreme. It is remarkable to think of the facets and nuances of mother love that so many children fail to know in the truest sense. How we struggle as mothers, trying our hardest to shower them with proof of our love, knowing deep down that our love is not what they desire. Thank you so much for sharing this–it has touched my heart so deeply.
We struggle, yes. Your comment sheds light on a fundamental yearning – the yearning to love and be loved. The natural bond between mother and child is severed in the adopted. As adoptive mothers we try to re-create this bond. If successful, the bond is of a divine nature, not of an earthly or natural one.
Your comment is a portrait of this struggle. Thank-you so much for sharing it.
I can hear the pain behind your heartfelt words. I hope that your daughter reads them too and realizes how much you love her. Good luck with her and your writing.
There are times when matters of the heart are too strong to simply ignore. This is one of those times for you, it seems. By saying nothing at all, you deny yourself. By telling her the truth of the matter, you’re giving her options. We each accept or decline options in our own way. Perhaps, she doesn’t fully understand what you’ve given her. It happens; being stuck in the past is not a good place to be, and usually is a time and place best left forgotten. Do what you’re able, without putting yourself on a twig. In time, she may come to realize what she’s been told has been the truth. You need to remember to stay honest and keep strength, especially during what feels like the worst of times. — Just a couple thoughts.
I never would have come to this truth had I not written about it. Thanks for your comment.
This must be very hard. I don’t have children, so don’t feel qualified to comment, but you write about your difficult experiences with wisdom and your love for your daughter shines through.
I wish I knew the right words to say. I hope she is able to come back to you one day.
Me too. I miss her.
Wow, honest! … “All this she already knew.” It strikes me that some things bear, indeed demand constant repetition. The trick is to do so with the same honesty and sincerity. Difficult. It may take a lifetime for you to be believed. Or not. Best of luck.
You’re right. I doubt she believes me, especially when I don’t give her money. And perhaps it’s true, I’m not as convincing because at times I don’t feel it. She has been driven to do terrible things, things that are difficult to forgive.
What makes it more difficult is that one has to separate what a junkie says from ‘the drug talking’, and that can be ALL of what they say. I’ve known addicts, but reading Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh and seeing the film version helped me to understand the drug a little more. Genteel Edinburgh includes a disproportionate number of addicts. You may have trouble with the Scots dialect on paper, so try to see the film if you can. Remember, people can and do get clean.
Thank-you. I will read it.
This is very sad and I can only imagine what it must be like to have a child on heroin. Look, I think you owe it to yourself to be happy. You can only give so much to others.If things work out that is good and if it doesn’t it still has to be good. You only have one life. It is not a dress rehearsal.
Thank-you. Your words ring true. I’ve learned a long time ago that I’m responsible for my own happiness 🙂
I am so sorry hopefully one day she’ll find help and reach out to you her MOM.Hugs
So long as there is life, there’s hope. Thank-you for your thoughts.
Oh honey, I’m so sorry (((((hugs)))))
I wish I had words that could, would, help.
In five years of blogging, I’ve learned that some posts need more than a “like”… they need to know they’ve been truly read, heard, and touched someone deeply enough to make them teary. This is such a post.
Thank-you for your words. They helped more than you know.