Dear Friends and Family,
Bear with me as I go through this. I try to be open-minded and respectful of people and their feelings. I like to see all sides of a circumstance and understand the perspectives and feelings of those not my own and hold no judgment in their differences. I know we all have a right to our feelings. Right now, though, I am not interested in seeing the other side. Right now, I want to be angry, happy, sad, scared, frustrated, and hopeful. I am not interested in measuring my feelings. I will, I promise, but in the meantime I may (most certainly will) say, think, and feel things that will hurt someone’s feelings and for that I am truly sorry. But right now, I want to feel what I feel and not have to try to be so fucking understanding about it.
My brother and I grew up asking a lot of questions. My brother was older and he remembered some things – like the time he coasted a car into a lake. Mostly we didn’t know so we asked questions. My mom and dad were as prepared as they could be with the things they were told by our foster parents and our case worker. The stories were not good. They were scary, horrific, and sad.
The Stories We Grew Up With
Mama was sexually abused by her stepfather
Mama was in and out of mental hospitals
Mama was drugging and boozing while pregnant with brother
Daddy committed suicide
Brother walked in right after and saw it
Mama taught brother a song to sing about it
Mama was raped
Brother saw it
Daddy was a drug dealer
Mama and Daddy were alcoholics
Mama left brother and me home alone for days to go boozin’ and druggin’
The neighbor called social services frequently
One of the many times the police came…
…we were taken and put into foster care
Mama ran away from the hospital and was not there when we went for a visit
Mama did not show up to court to say she wanted us
When foster mom reached out to extended family she found them to be unfit
The stories helped my brother and me develop a picture of what happened, who our parents were, and why we were ultimately put up for adoption. The stories, in many ways, shaped us into who we would become.
A few days after finding each other again, we sat down together, and my brother and I point by point – got answers to the same questions we’d been asking for years. The story now, is different.
The Stories Mama Grew Up With
(with permission from mama to share her/our story)
Mama was sexually abused by her stepfather from ages 6 to 14
Mama is bipolar, she has sought help for her disease since she was 14 often with stays in pyschiatric hospitals.
Mama got pregnant with brother while in the hospital, he was a tubal pregnancy and didn’t move into the uterus until the 4th month, she was in the hospital from June ’78 until his birth in March ’79
Daddy committed suicide
We lived in Forth Worth, TX. Daddy died in Valrico, FL so brother could not have seen it
Song? No. She. Did. Not.
Mama was raped
Brother held mama’s hand during the whole thing
Daddy smoked weed but was not a dealer
Mama and daddy were drinkers. Daddy was working full-time to support his mom and sisters after the death of his father at the age of 15 until his death at 23. Mama is, admittedly, an alcoholic and was 20 years sober although she now drinks but very rarely.
Two of the 3 jobs mama had she brought us to. The third one we had a sitter. Other than running to the convenience store across the street while we slept and the neighbor listened in, we were never alone and she didn’t have much time for partyin’ all weekend.
The sitter called social services when she saw a bruise on brother, when questioned mama said she’d smack his behind with a spoon again, too, the next time he shat in the middle of the kitchen because he was angry and poured the entire weeks worth of groceries all over the floor and his baby sister. There was no history of repeated calls to social services.
Police came to our home one time – when mama reported her rape. There was no history of repeated visits from police.
Mama put us in foster care when after the suicide and rape she felt herself losing her temper (see spanking incident above); she was afraid she’d hurt us. The doctor said to pack a bag for her and us, we’d be placed somewhere temporarily by social services.
After she was released from the hospital and working to prove she had a stable home for us to come back to, she was told our foster mother had an emergency and there would be a visitation after she came back. Then mama got a call from her family asking how she could give us up for adoption.
Grandmother, who is a paranoid schizophrenic, yes unfit, but seemingly the only extended family contacted. There were aunts, uncles, and other grandparents with stable homes, no one else was called.
My brain (and my family) cautions me to be careful believing these new stories of events without proof. My heart questions why the old stories of events were believed readily without proof other than unwell mother, young children. Are the old ones more truthful because we’ve had 29 years to tell with them? Are the old ones more truthful because the people telling us were social workers? Are the new ones less truthful because it changes how we see the woman we sat in judgment of for 29 years? Are the new ones less truthful because she was who she was? Does she not get credit for being there? Do we not think she has played the details of what she calls “the biggest mistake of her life” over in her head for 29 years? Why should we believe she will say anything to make herself sound not responsible when she herself takes responsibility? Why should we believe she will say anything to make herself sound better when she tells us things that do not?
When it all gets boiled down the only parts of the story that matter to me are these:
My mama did not neglectfully leave to party all weekend while her burdensome children were left at home to fend for themselves at the ages of 1 and 2.
My mama worked really hard but loved us very much no matter how hard and so much to ask for help when she knew she needed it.
My mama DID NOT GIVE ME AWAY. She thought she was doing what they said to do to show herself well and back on her feet to get us home again.
Maybe I am naive and maybe I believe because I want to believe – I do not see anything wrong with believing the woman I thought discarded me as a child, in fact, suffered real pain and devastation at the loss of me. And screw you if you try to tell me not to.
But where did the horrible stories come from? They came from somewhere and they changed the course of my life. Who would send me home with a woman callous enough to teach her young son a nursery rhyme to sing about the suicide of his father he pratically witnessed? Who would send me home with a woman who resented being tied down with us? Who would do that? No one, so no one did.
I have a lot of anger.