Meeting Karen’s family was awesome. It was so easy to be around them and hang out with them. I FIT IN. Really for the first time in my life I didn’t feel awkward for whatever reason. My aunt gave me photos of Karen before she started using. She is so beautiful to me. I look at those pictures and feel so much love for this person I barely know and I can’t describe it nor do I know why I have it. I just do. This is Karen with my older brother and little sister.
It was a very bittersweet day for me though. These people unconditionally accepted me. They loved me for me. Something I cannot fathom or accept. I have spent my entire life feeling unwanted and unloveable, and not all due to adoption. My adoptive mom has verbally said she “wishes she would never have adopted, that she never really wanted to be a mom, that she doesn’t like me because I won’t physically touch her.” I go through life just assuming if someone likes me it is because they want something from me because who could really just love me for me. There isn’t anything to love. I am always so apprehensive when meeting people or even with close friends that one slip up will show the true me and once again I will feel it all over again. Which is stupid because I am me all the time. I have never been one to pretend I am something I am not. Sure, I wear a pretty darn good smile 98% of the time. Is it authentic? At times, yes. At times is it a shield? Yes. It is far easier to walk around with a smile and encouraging words than to hide behind a sullen grimace. It just doesn’t get me very far because I am constantly haunted by a maybe breakdown. I always think I can’t go this long without having just a nervous break. It has happened twice. When I was 15 and when I was 20. I know if I don’t just get real with someone, reality will be bitch slapping me in the face real soon. I just don’t want that to happen. I have mentioned I feel guilt over my mom giving up custody of my little sister to her grandma because she felt unworthy of raising another daughter after placing me. I feel tremendous guilt over it and it was completely out of my control. The fact my siblings lacked a mother due to meth. And maybe because her placing me was such a painful thing for her? I don’t know but I feel a sense of guilt I shouldn’t be carrying. Until yesterday…I didn’t fully grasp how addiction affects families. How Karen’s addiction has broken her family apart. It hurts them. I was never around my family when I was at my worst or when detoxing. I have used many many times around my family and no one has ever said anything. Whether they were to oblivious or knew and just didn’t say anything, well I don’t know. Oblivion would probably be my guess because hello they didn’t even know I was pregnant. Geez, sometimes I tried shoving it in their face, leaving needles on my nightstand table, pill bottles in my car, intentionally getting high before a family function, no one has said anything about it at all ever. Now my drinking, yes…I have heard from everyone. I am the family ‘lush’. A name I was given at 12 at Thanksgiving one year. Nice. So I kind of believe that they really are that oblivious because why would they say something about my drinking and not about my drug use? Anyway…to actually firsthand see the damage drugs have cause my birthfamily has left me thinking about my own drug use(seldom these days)and how this is a great time to just say “I’m done”. No more drugs for me. I won’t let it hurt my new family nor Asher anymore.
It get’s better. There was one more piece of the puzzle that hadn’t been found. I didn’t have her last name to search so I had no tools to search for her but I learned her last name on Saturday. I found Karen’s youngest daughter today on Facebook(geez, adoptees everywhere should love Facebook), my little sister. Before I lost my nerve I sent her a message. Within an hour we were engulfed in a full fledged conversation. She never knew about me but her dad did, so she told him immediately who she was talking with and he told her what he knew which wasn’t much…so I asked her if she would ask him what she had told him as he would have been the only other person who knew about me besides my birthfather. This was her reply “I asked him, she never said much. Just when she got pregnant with me, she was emotional because she had given you up. Thats all she ever said, never wanted to talk about it.” We talked about so much. I asked her how exactly it came to be that she was raised by her dad and not by Karen. “My dads very short summarized story is that one day when he was at work my Mom took me and K back up to Washington (we were in CA at the time) and a few months later called him and said he had to come get me. So he hopped on a plane and did. I saw her once when i was 4 and once when i was 7, and talked to her on the phone a few times a year until i was 9 and then she just stopped. No calls letters, nothing. It was really hard, definetly had a few tough years. Ive always wondered, like why she stopped, if she was still alive, everything…” I know Karen feels a TON of guilt. I know that. It’s something at times I feel like I can feel. Here she had two daughters both of which she did not raise and three years ago I come knocking and force her to face it. Here now shortly my sister will be asking the same questions and wanting answers. I asked her if she was mad or had resentment…“I just want answers. Ive never really had any, i mean she raised me for two years and then got rid of me..it kinda makes me feel crappy to know that she loved me for years and then all of the sudden i wasnt good enough. drugs does explain it a bit though. Some of my best memories from visits to see her are of K though, i think i remeber him more than her” Even though I knew it would be hard to hear these answers coming from someone who in my opinion had it worse off than me, it is nice to know we share that. We can commiserate growing up without her and wonder why she left us. Me, I was an infant…I don’t remember. My sister remembers and was raised by Karen. She felt that much more tangibly growing up than I did. I feel for her. She is a great kid though. She is graduating from high school in a few weeks on the honor roll and is headed off to college this fall. For as much as both of us would have liked to have been raised by our mom, we both understand we probably would not be seeking higher education had we been raised by her. We both have come to the conclusion that Karen probably will never be able to be our ‘mom’, I think she is far too guilt ridden for that but all we would like at this point is to be in her life. To have her in OUR lives. My hope is one day she can have all her kids in the same room together.
I was able to call my brother and tell him I had found her and he was very excited. I don’t think Karen knows yet, maybe brother told her I don’t know. I think it will be a lot for her to process and I told my sister that. I started talking with brother in March 2009 and didn’t talk to Karen until July 2009. It took her awhile to have the guts to do it and even then she was high. Now she is clean and having to face it. I can’t imagine where her head is at. I would rather wait for her to come to me instead of me rushing her and she ends up using again because it is too much. I heard her in the background when I was on the phone with brother(killer, let me tell you)and she said she missed me. When we got off the phone brother texted me and said “mom wanted me to tell you she misses you immensely but don’t go and cry now.” He is a good brother, I love him and I love saying I have a big brother.
As hard as reunion was the first time, I have hope that in the future they will get better. Reunion is freaking tough. People tell you that and you don’t believe it till you’re in it but it is really really hard on your emotions. I just have to remember to hope but not hope too much. Maybe after all she will be at my college graduation, my wedding, to meet Asher, to meet future grandkids…I would love to give her the opportunity if she allows herself to forgive herself. At this point her guilt will sink her if she can’t let go. I can’t imagine what it must be like for her but I know I got a few traits from her and one of them is definitely being strong-willed so I KNOW she can do it.