'My Birth Name Is Allison' blog, this morning, and it started a chain of thought in my mind about the haunting of the Natural Mother and the adopted person. Haunting sounds right because we are beleaguered by ghosts for our lifetime. The trauma of unnatural separation of mother and child is haunting, in and of itself.
You see, when a mother and her infant are separated in the almighty name of adoption, two people are lost forever...the person the child might have become had he/she been raised in the natural family and the person the mother might have been had she not lost that child. Those two people become nebulous and drift on the wind.
The NMom of the EMS, and afterwards for many, was left with the Grief Without a Grave. It was a tacit understanding that she could not openly grieve, and such grief is harder to reconcile since there was no death...the child she lost is alive, somewhere. The presence of that child, or in my case, children, hovers just out of reach of our sight and hearing but always THERE.
The loss of a child is so life altering that the person the mother might have become is lost, forever. I know that, rather than saving me and giving me a new shot at life, I struggled with trying to replace what I had lost, protect what I had from the nebulous "them" that might come and take my raised children and battle for my serenity and sanity. I also waged an all-out war for my respectability until I realized that I held it in my own grasp. The girl I was before and the woman I might have become were now members of that ghostly community.
The adopted person is also haunted and not just by the phantoms of the missing mother and other natural kin. They also lose the person they might have become had they grown up in their family of origin. They, too often, also lose themselves in order to fit the adopters' needs. Then, there is the haunting of the adoptee by the ghost children of the adopters...the natural children they might have had but couldn't. It's hard to live up to these ghosts and accept the realization that one is a second choice.
It is especially hard in the few instances where a child was adopted to replace a child who had died. It has and does happen. I know of one woman who was adopted to replace a little girl who died in infancy and she was even given the dead child's name. What a burden for a child to carry.
Natural Mothers suffering from secondary infertility, most often as a direct result of their initial loss, have a gaggle of "children that might have been" ghosts. Knowing a mother who had no other children because she felt that would have been a betrayal of the child she had taken for adoption is a vivid depiction of how lives are altered and dreams are murdered.
When we reunited, we also lose our fantasy children and mothers. I had set ideas of who my missing children had become based on the promises made to me of perfect lives for my children. What I found was nothing like what I had been promised. My children were damaged and in pain and that was nothing like my fantasy..nothing at all like the false assurances of the social workers. NMoms are often rejected or visited on the sly as Back Street Moms, not good enough to take their place in the lives of their own flesh and blood. When we find open hostility, it is a kick in the gut and another lost dream gone to Ghost Town.
And how many adopted people have fantasized about movie stars, rock icons and other prominent people as their mothers? How many have envisioned us as heartless, uncaring, careless tramps with no feelings for the child we lost? What they usually find is just us...everywoman. Human and still hurting, in most cases, from the loss we suffered all those years ago. Some find the fearful mother and a few find the mother who cannot allow the past back into her life. Add more fanciful constructs to the ghost community...reunion often tends to swell the ghost population rather than diminishing it.
Many popular ghost stories have to do with the avenging spirit. A person dies at the hands of another or commits suicide because someone has greatly disappointed him/her, and they haunt and terrify the offenders and all around them. These ghosts want justice.
Now, the real flesh and blood people want justice. We want it for the girls we were whose promise was often lost in grief. We want it for the identities stolen from our children. We want some form of this elusive justice for the mistreatment, the imposed fantasies, the human suffering, the unfair labeling and the fact that we and our children were subjects of a social experiment that evolved into an Industry with no conscience.
It has been said, here and by other mothers, that we may not see this justice in our lifetimes. But, should I die before it happens, I have every intention of doing my best to become an avenging spirit, haunting the agencies, the lobbyists, the government Industry apologists and the greedy customers of the Industry. I think I might make a very scary ghost.