All posts in the adoption category
WASTED TIMEPublished July 31, 2015 by Liz Ault
Time wasted waiting for the mother who raised me to actually love and accept me. She’s dead.
Time wasted waiting for the mother who gave birth to be to actually love and accept me. She told me to fuck off.
Time wasted wishing my dad didn’t travel for weeks at a time. He did and he’s dead.
Time wasted waiting for Prince Charming – guess since I remained in the rags Gave up on Prince Charming, and haven’t worn rags in 40 years.
Time wasted waiting for that first major boyfriend to say he could not live without me. He’s married twice. Neither time to me.
Time wasted wishing the man I married was different. I can’t change him. Couldn’t then, can’t now. Feel fortunate he is still a friend.
Time wasted thinking I could ever be the person someone couldn’t live without. That just ain’t gonna happen. Way too late, and that’s okay.
Time wasted thinking these things would stop hurting me to the core.
Going to try to stop time wasted. Turning 60 was difficult (none of the other BIG birthdays were). I can’t change anything. All my time wasted IS time wasted. I can’t get that time back.
What that boils down to is I’ve wasted my whole fucking life hoping someone could make me whole. I know all the cliché’s that say only I can to it. But we don’t live in a vacuum.
Well, maybe I’ve been in a vacuum. Time wasted.
Sleep Well, Sweet JeanPublished February 18, 2015 by Liz Ault
There are a few people who had a life-long impact on me. My mother’s mother, Mabel (“Hoot”) is the first to come to mind because she was the most constant. She lived in the same city and would take me most weekends as I grew up. It was her love that made the weekdays almost tolerable until I was back with her again. My grandmother seemed to instinctively know that her daughter didn’t want me or understand me.
The other two would be my mother’s sister, Hoot’s middle child, Jean, and her husband Ed. Ed and I were kindred spirits. We were both adopted, and there was a bond that never needed words. He seemed to just get me.
In June of 1968 my family moved from 53rd to 118th Street. It was shortly after that that Jean and Ed came to Omaha for one of their almost annual visits. They never stayed with us, they had a favorite motel that had seen better days, but held great significance to them. They would usually come to my parents’ home in the late afternoon or early evening.
On this particular evening in the summer of ’68 I overheard an interesting conversation between mom and Jean and Ed. My bedroom was right above the kitchen, and shortly after moving in I discovered if I lay on the floor under the windows, the vent that heated and cooled my room also had direct access to the vent in the kitchen. I had a very clear pipeline to kitchen discussions. This day there seemed to be a seriousness to the conversation that had me sent on upstairs.
My aunt and uncle approached my mother with the idea that I go to California with them and live with their family. Mom’s first reaction was no. After some discussion, Jean said it could be a trial. I could start eighth grade there and reevaluate at Christmas. Jean observed that a break between my mother and I could be just the thing to improve relations. I don’t remember breathing during this entire conversation.
My own reactions were very mixed. I had a baby brother who had just had his first birthday, and I was like a mother to him. The thought of leaving him was horrible. Yet the thought of continuing living under my mom’s abuse was horrible, too. I think if I’d have been given a choice, I would have gone with them. I would have been the only girl with four cousins for brothers – it sounded wonderful.
It was never to be. In the end my mother decided she just couldn’t face her friends/piers with explanations. The same old “what would the neighbors think” mentality reared its ugly head again. It kept me from getting counseling in grade school, etc.
Twenty years later, my uncle Ed would pass away. In August of ’88 I had been living in St. Louis for four years with my young kids. My mother didn’t tell me of Ed’s passing until after she returned from California to Omaha where she attended his funeral. It was about 10 days after the funeral when she happened to mention it during a phone conversation. I was crushed. I was angry. I was disappointed.
A few years later I was in California on a business trip. I flew up on Friday instead of Sunday so I could spend the weekend with Aunt Jean. It was a wonderful, peaceful and quiet time. I told her how heartbroken I was when I learned of Ed’s passing and that I felt awful that I wasn’t able to send something to the funeral. I also told her how much Ed meant to me and shared some of my favorite memories of him with her. There was so much love there.
The last time I saw Jean face-to-face was at my mother’s funeral in 2008. She was 88 and was a bit frail, but doing well and sharp as can be. A little over two years ago she lost her youngest son to cancer.
Yesterday I got word that she had just passed away, two months before her 94th birthday. I have a hole in my heart right now. One thing I don’t have is regrets. I had many chances to tell her how much she meant to me, and I took advantage of every one of them.
Sleep well sweet Jean. I smile as I imagine your energy joining with Ed and Mark’s to brighten the sky and surrounding all of us who love you.
TBT? For Real?Published September 11, 2014 by Liz Ault
#TBT I have no picture. Okay I lie. I have pictures. I find none of them give me a pull to post. Done the kids as babies. Done myself as a baby. Done the siblings as babies. I’m eight days from a smoking update (don’t worry, still smoke free, for now and ever more) – so no need to do those numbers now.
I struggled with watching a very slow demolition of a house that good or bad, belonged to the family since the mid 50’s. I personally lived in it the longest. It had good memories, it had horrible memories – but still my memories. Same for my kids – probably more bad than good.
Feeling a bit deflated today, and that is very okay. Days like that happen. No human can be up 100%, not possible.
So, all that said (and believe me it’s a reader’s digest version) I have to allow myself the permission to pat my own damned back. Odds were against me from the get go. LOL “Get Go” means over 59 years ago.
Okay one share – when I was about 17, my dad and I had a rare intimate conversation. I was sitting on the corner of a counter and he was facing me. He said, and I quote, “Lizzie, you are my child that started out with the least and made the most of yourself.” I was, obviously, still in high school. Yet in 42 years I’ve never forgotten that moment. But I’ve always appreciate his insight – that he wasn’t blind to my struggles – and he wasn’t blind to the treatment of my adoptive mom (his bride).
Maybe it’s the anniversary of the day that hasn’t affected me the same way since the shooting of JFK. Those days that you will always remember where you were.
Anyone who is still reading, please, please, please, reach out to us baby boomers who lack the confidence to high five our own damned selves!! High five for us!!
Over and out!
Writing 101, Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rockin’ – Shower PowerPublished June 30, 2014 by Liz Ault
Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.
I had a mom and a birth-mom. I had a dad and a birth-dad. Never thought I would meet the birth parents. Spent most of my life with a fantasy life that would sound stupid to most. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to look like someone else.
Had a freaky call about 25 years ago. It was from a person who still belonged to the Midwest Adoption Triad that I belonged to when I lived in Omaha. She told me that she monitored ads run in the Omaha World Herald that had any reference to anyone in the adoption triad (adoptee, adoptive parents and birth parents). There was an ad in late February that said “looking for a baby boy born June 3, 1955 in Omaha, Nebraska.” This woman had called and was the intermediary between myself and the MAN who had posted the ad. The man???
I was ill-prepared for a father to search. It was always a birth-mother on TV shows and in magazine articles and books. Was freaking just a tad.
I always lied to myself that the reason I wanted to know who my birth parents were was so I had medical information. That wasn’t a lie, but was so fucking far from the truth it wasn’t funny.
Birth dad and I talked later that evening after the intermediary and I visited. This was the world after databases but before the internet. I was up all night. BD (birth dad) and I talked from about 10 pm on Holy Thursday until the wee hours of Good Friday morning.
He was newly “born again.” He said Jesus came to him in the shower and told him it was time to go find his son. Thus we come back to baby boy from the ad. He eventually contacted birth mother (not too hard since they were first cousins) and she said I was a girl not a boy, dang.
My husband, now my ex, was serving in the military as a reservist, who went to the Persian Gulf War I. He was gone when all this shit happened.
BD came here to see me and my kids. I was freaking out and afraid. The kids and I went to the airport. I wanted to puke. I kept looking for someone who would be my twin. Twin? Damn girl. I was able to leave my kids with a teacher for a birthday party for her daughter – my kids fit perfectly in age.
We went to lunch. He started talking about this shower Jesus shit. Then told me about his dad’s and his own young sex life – in vivid detail. I didn’t want to hear about BD losing his virginity in his dad’s auto junk yard.
I didn’t want to know I had a half-brother who was six months younger than I. That after he and my BM had intercourse, he married my half-brother’s mom.
I didn’t want to know that my birth parents were so closely related. If I hadn’t already had my two kids, I know I never would have had any. My grandpa was my great uncle, my grandma was my great aunt. I was the very stuff crazy shit was made of. I’m my own cousin and half-sister. Okay – slightly exaggerated, but so fucking overwhelming.
I so had hoped to fit in somewhere. But turns out that was foolish. My BM met her future (and still) husband when she returned to college after giving birth. She HAD, actually HAD held me and spent time with me for nearly 10 days. Then she signed the papers and left.
When BM and I first talked over the phone, she was cautious, but warm. She shared stories, mailed me family history, etc. I flew out to meet her after I had met BD. It wasn’t long after that that she started to feel threatened by my letters and phone calls.
About two years ago, I called with an update on medical (she has 5 kids besides me and they have kids). She said to me, “What do I have to do or say to get you to leave me the fuck alone?” My reply? “You just did.”
Still trying to recover.
Writing 101, Day Thirteen: Serial Killer II – To Hoot it may ConcernPublished June 28, 2014 by Liz Ault
Earlier in the course you wrote about losing something. Today write about finding something. For your twist, view day four’s post and today’s post as installments in a series.
US vs. THEM probably needs to be explained a little bit. It wasn’t a child vs. child thing at all. The US’s were probably the least aware of the differences. It was strictly a mom vs. a class of child. There were two classes: adopted or birth, and gender. Two adopted; three birth; three males and two females. Sometimes the favorites jockeyed for position, but the leader board had only slight changes through the years.
With the volatility of my home life, and the horrible bullying at school (being led by the nuns), I found a place where I was number one. The favorite. Loved. That absolutely wonderful place was my grandmother’s house. Beginning about the age of five, I spent almost every weekend with her.
She had a silly nickname. A name given to her by my uncle. We called her Hoot. My grandmother had 17 grandchildren in all. I was number 7. I was the one who got to spend this private and loving time with her for many, many years.
The first two years that I spent my weekends on Lincoln Blvd., my grandmother shared her home with her aunt – my great-great aunt. She too had a silly name – we called her Kuddy. She was blind.
I loved her home and all my time there. Unlike my own home, I never needed hiding places here. There was nothing to hide from. As an adult looking back on these times, I can’t help but think that Hoot knew how bad and unhealthy my home life was. She was my hero.
Hoot was a social worker. Sometimes she had to stop at work on Saturday, and I got to play office while she did her few things. We were never there long. She also had lunches with her “cronies” one Saturday a month. I was the only grandchild of any of these women that was in attendance. It was wonderfully precious. They talked to me like I was all grown and I always felt so very special.
Sunday morning was a ritual that started Saturday night. Vaseline on the patent leather shoes and purse. Then when we were ready, no matter what time, we drove to church (two blocks away) and went in the side door. This was still pre-Vatican II, so the Mass was in Latin and the priest had his back to us. Since he didn’t know when we arrived, we walked in quite tall and proud. No matter what part of the Mass the priest was when we walked in was also the place in the next one when we left.
I went to so many funerals with Hoot, I’m sure she knew most of the deceased, but I swear she just went for the sake of going!
Found. I was found by my mother’s mother.
Twelve and 2323 – Writing 101: Day ElevenPublished June 16, 2014 by Liz Ault
Writing 101: Day Eleven; Size Matters. Tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. Twist: Vary sentence lengths.
I wrote this assignment early today. I posted it as done. It didn’t feel right. It jumped all over the place. I was trying to find my voice, find my long vs. short sentences, and mostly was trying to find my way out of a corner. That corner is fear. I have to let me out, or there is no point in continuing with a blog of any sort. What good is paralysis?
I was adopted and it framed everything in my life. I’m trying to unframe it. I’m trying to finally heal while I head to my 60th birthday. I’ve always tried to be what everyone else wanted me to be. Please everyone. But not know myself.
So at 5 pm CDT I turned on the INSP channel. It was playing the first episode of the spinoff of “Little House on the Prairie” called “Little House: A New Beginning.” It opened with Charles Ingalls moving from Walnut Grove, Minnesota to Iowa to go where the work was. The rest of the family was already in Iowa. He was making the final trip from WG to IA, and asked the new owners if he could go in and see the sod house one last time.
The look in his eyes reflected what I felt when we moved from 2323 N. 53rd to 510 S. 118th. The memories were almost overpowering. I lived in that house from the age of just under 4 to 13. Too bad my first period waited until 118th, it would have been cool to have it a part of 2323. Another passage.
What was learned the most at 2323, was how to compartmentalize life. To find places to put the pain. Got so very good at that. The infamous closet held at least 30% of the pain. Then there was the lilac trees outside, they got about 30%. The basement held the darkest ones at 30%, the balance was spread throughout the house.
If I continue to blog, one of the things that I hope to have happen is cleansing. Putting words to the things I need to and just have a funeral (not the same a burying) for the rest.
Adoption is one of the subjects I want to explore with others to see how similar/dissimilar other adoptees experiences are. My time at 2323 had the “adopted” word all over it. That is my scarlet letter.
That great address also holds the birth of my youngest brother. I felt like I was a mom, and had a job to do. He was born 10 days after my 12th birthday, and why we moved from 2323 to 510 a year later. That final year in 2323 his crib was in my room. I was the one who got up in the middle of the night and did the diaper change and feeding. The nights he stayed fussy were the nights I finally put him in my bed, and we both slept like “babies.” And I still got up for school early in the morning. The 7th grade sucked more than all the rest of grade school did (and didn’t think that was even possible), so having my baby brother in my room and my life helped me hold on to a feeling of being needed.
Leaving that house worried me in a way. It felt like it was a living, breathing part of me. I still pray, that until I’m ready, that 2323 still holds my thoughts sacred and secret.
The Serial Killer, Pt 1 – Writing 101, Day 4Published June 5, 2014 by Liz Ault
Today, write about a loss. The twist, make it the first in a three part series.
She went by the name “mom”. She had been married for 3 years and no babies had happened. Lots of stories of the different fertility measures used in the early 1950’s. So with no babies in sight, and an uncle who had just been ordained a priest, Dan and Bette had been moved to the front of the class. I was “gifted” to them on the 6th of December 1955. I was 6 months and 3 days old. It took a year in that state for adoption to become final. This is what I looked like before that happened:
A year after I was placed with this family, my next brother was also placed with “us”. Then the UNTHINKABLE happened. Mom had two kids under 2 and she was throwing up every day. Catholic Charities called her to say they had baby #3 on the way. Mom said, I have my boy and girl and this is all too much. No thank you.
Turns out she was pregnant (betting you guessed that). She was sick for months. If I’d been a little older, I may have found pleasure in this. Mom’s next door neighbor and dear friend told her why she was vomiting all the time. That would be my sister. The first “blood” child. For my mom, all bets were off. It became US vs. THEM. US were her kids, THEM were the adoptees.
I was too young at this point to be of much use around the house – that came later, and not much later. Three months after my sister arrived, mom was expecting again. She wasn’t happy with dad.
But by the time my brother (#4 kid) was born, I had been introduced to that infamous closet.
I was always told I was a very sad child. I showed little emotion. Not surprised. I was born to a single mother in 1955. Her mother had just had a lobotomy, and she snuck off to have me. She didn’t sign relinquishment papers until I was 10 days old. That blew my mind. No matter what my imagination did, these adoptions were sealed. To find out against all odds she held me over and over was overwhelming. But abandonment was a feeling that pulled at me for most of my life.
Catholic adoptions at the time were the most secretive.
Before I hit 5 years of age, I knew how to change diapers, feed a bottle, scrub toilets, rinse out soiled cloth diapers in the toilet, and use a toothbrush to clean the tile around the toilet.
The US vs THEM was now fully in force. By this time it was the turning point and a chance at a “normal” childhood was lost.