Sunday, November 17, 2013

Unloved and unwanted .....

It was early November, 1967, and my grandmother had just died from breast cancer.  I thought nothing worse could possibly happen, but then my grandfather told me that, after the funeral, I'd be going home with his son (my maternal uncle).
When my birth mother allowed her parents to adopt me, it was with the understanding that they'd be able to give me a better, more stable, life.  Obviously, no one anticipated this tragic turn of events back in 1958, but this is why I suggested earlier that my grandparents were too old to adopt me.
My grandfather explained that he was just too old to care for me properly, and that it was best for me to live with my uncle and his wife.

As an adult, I can now understand why he'd think that was in my best interest, but at the time, all I knew is that I had just lost my mother, and was now going to lose my father as well.  I was distraught and, again, I screamed and cried; I begged him not to send me away.  Unfortunately, the decision had already been made.

My grandfather said, "You're going to go with them."

I responded, "No, I'm not."

"Yes, you are"

"No, I'm NOT."

Then, trying some reverse psychology, he told me that if I didn't go with them, I'd have to live at the Children's Home.

The city's "Children's Home," a facility for orphans and other children
who needed a temporary place to stay.

"Fine," I said, "I'd rather live at the Children's Home than with them."

[Note:  Never give an ultimatum to a headstrong child.]

At that, he told me there would be no further discussion, and that I WOULD go home with my uncle and his wife. 
I was devastated.
On our way to church, 1963, and my expression says it all.
I adored my Grandfather.
Although it's not universal, many adoptees experience feelings of abandonment and loss, carrying the knowledge that they were -- by whatever circumstances -- separated from their families of birth.  "Why didn't my mother keep me?  Why was I given away?"  This is especially true with "closed adoptions," when the adoptee has little to no information on his/her biological family.
In my case, I knew my birth mother's identity and had even met her.  My grandparents told me that my mother "couldn't take care of" me and that's why she gave me up.  However, the knowledge that she kept my older brother and sister, and then gave birth to (and kept) my half-sister two years later, left me pondering the veracity of that story.
Regardless, by that point I had managed to bond with my grandparents and, behavioral issues notwithstanding, I loved them both.  Now, my grandfather was giving me away for, supposedly, the same reason that my birth mother had -- he "couldn't take care of" me.
I heard his words, but I didn't believe them.  Obviously, there was something very wrong with me; something that made me so intrinsically bad that the simple truth was -- no one loved me and no one wanted me.