Seriously, this is so surreal.
I am not interesting. I am so completely normal. I read about riveting things happening in other people's lives, not mine. It feels like this is happening to someone else, not plain old me.
But anyway, this is my life, strange as it seems just now. I want to start by saying that it is really difficult to write this post knowing that one day, most likely, my birth mother will read it. I am totally comfortable with blogging about MY journey through this, and am really thankful for the clarity of thought that writing about it gives me. But I am aware that this is her journey too, and it's been a very private one for her. My experience of adoption and hers are completely different. Completely. For me, it's been growing up with this Mum and Dad while knowing there's been an unfilled gap. For her it was an unexpected, unplanned, tip-your-life-upside-down pregnancy, giving birth, handing the baby to someone else to raise and then trying to get back to the life you had before and moving past it all but not ever being able to forget. 100%, completely different. I can't write about me without writing about her, but I hope you'll understand that as I write, her need for discretion and privacy will be my highest priority.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012.
A pretty momentous day, really.
We went out in the morning to take Elliot to kindy, checking the letterbox as I went past it. Junk mail. Ugh. These last two and a half months have given me an intense dislike of the annoyance of junk mail and bills. As we drove to and from kindy, I noticed more than usual the amount of Posties out and getting ready for their delivery runs. Putting a letter in a box, lifting their bike off the back of the car, buckling on a helmet.
2:55pm. On my way down the driveway to pick Elliot up from kindy, I check the letterbox for the second time that day, as had become my custom. I see a creamy white, hand addressed envelope. My heart skips a beat. In my hands I am now holding a letter addressed to me in my maiden name - the only name I'd given in my own letter, because my married name is much too uncommon to be beginning with. I know it is The One. I know it, even though there's no return address on the back. I couldn't help but let out a little yelp. Maybe it wasn't so little because Rosie asked me what was wrong...
I took a few deep breaths. Here is where my self control amazed me. I knew I had to keep it together while I collected Elliot and I didn't want to lose it completely. I looked at the envelope carefully, soaking it in, then put it on the passenger seat next to me and drove down the road, breathing very deeply to stay calm.
As I turned the corner, I heard a still, small Voice say to me, "See, you could trust Me. I was in control of this." You see, my doubts had been creeping in. I was worrying that I'd tracked down the wrong person, that she hadn't received the letter, that she wouldn't ever write back, wondering who I should contact next, how long to wait. Even though I truly felt I was not putting my letter into a postbox but into God's hands, waiting for the unknown was starting to become soul-destroying. Oh me of little faith. I know how great my God is.
I think I drove the whole way to Elliot's kindy with my hand over my mouth. I was in a little bit of shock really, that there actually is a real person behind the name. I've nearly always known my birth mother's name (BTW, let's call her B. B for birth mother, just for ease's sake), but now she was an actual living person, not just an idea. I managed to get to Elliot and gather up his things without a shake in my voice, which is amazing because I think I was shouting inside my head. We stopped at the bakery because I knew I wanted to be alone when I read the letter, and food usually occupies my children for at least the time it takes them to wolf it down and enjoy the treat. Throw Dora the Explorer in to the equation and I knew I had about 20 minutes of space.
Yeesh. I feel uptight just remembering what is was like to sit down and get ready to read it!
I think I prayed first. I can't remember. And then I opened it. I had a smile on my face - how long I've waited for this moment! It stayed on my face. Her writing is nearly the same as it was 26 years ago; I recognised it. Immediately I hear a happy, open tone of writing and I feel like I can picture her saying all these words. She said it was lovely, though of course surprising, to receive my letter and photos, she's happy that I had a good childhood, she's respectful of my own family and informative of who knows what about our situation.
There are two specific sentences that still make me smile when I read them: one, in the middle, that says she'd be "delighted" to meet me next time she's in New Zealand. Actually, that one makes me tear up, because that's what I always wanted. It has always been my biggest fear that my birth mother - whoever she was, when I didn't know her - would have no interest in me. How heart-filling-ly (sorry, there really aren't the right words to describe this!) reassuring that she does! The second sentence that makes me smile is right at the end. A sentence expressing thanks at me getting in touch that completely reassures me that she is glad I did. I needed that. I'm happy to know that she's happy for this.
And then, when I finished reading it, I bawled like a baby for about 5 minutes. How surreal was that experience?!
I've read and re-read B's letter I don't know how many times. The next step will be for me to write back and we'll see what sort of relationship develops. I hadn't really asked any questions about B in my own letter, so I have a lot I would still like to know. I think I'll just ask them all and leave it up to her as to how many she answers. It's pretty exciting really. And still so surreal. It's hard to reconcile this concept I have always had of 'Birth Mother' with an actual person I am now interacting with.
I can't wait to meet her.
It's amazing now, how much importance I had heaped upon my dear old letterbox. Now, driving up to it, I get a small momentary thrill of anticipation until I realise that I've already got what I was waiting so desperately for. My letter box is boring now. The poor thing is on it's way to once again being filled to overflowing before I stop and empty it.
Until the next letter's due, that is...
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On Being Adopted...