For me, this blog has been a life-saver.
It has helped me to keep a running record of the book I’m writing for my niece, page by page. It’s a slow process to explain each part of the story and being able to see it come together little by little helps me sleep at night.
I value my privacy so I steer clear of social media but this blog is necessary for my sanity. Anything I can do to raise awareness about secret pregnancies and secret adoptions and the destruction they leave behind, I am willing to do.
I have a teenage daughter and she has talked to me about numerous friends that needed some help or someone to talk to, and before the words finished leaving her lips, I told her, they can come here. If they needed a place to stay, help to get on their feet, whatever it is, we’re here day or night. I’ve taken in many kids over the years and have served more meals than I count to every one of them that came over.
My grandma always told me to make a good size portion of whatever I was making because you never knew who would stop by to eat. I carried that with me my whole life and every time I had more than extra and those unexpected guests came by, I served them a huge plate with a smile, silently thinking of my grandma.
I was always taking care of the neighborhood kids, the kids’ friends from school, buying them clothes, opening the door in the middle of the night if they needed to talk or a place to sleep. My daughter ran up to me one day and said that it was one of her good friends’ thirteenth birthday and that absolutely nothing was being done for her. I thought quickly, told her to give me an hour, and I threw her milestone birthday, complete with decorations, food, and beautifully wrapped gifts. I believe the party was ready in an hour and fifteen minutes.
The look on this little girl’s face and the happy tears in her eyes is a memory I feel so honored to be a part of.
I still have a card from another of the kids’ friends thanking me for being the best mom he ever had. Kids were always welcome to come over, eat, have a sleepover, play board games, come over for a book club meeting complete with Hors d’oeuvre and face painting. My heart has always been with children. I knew my calling was to be a teacher when I was in second grade. Thankfully, I was blessed and my dream came true.
So is it any wonder that one of my biggest dreams other than having children of my own, was to have nieces and nephews? Having an eight year gap between my middle sibling and a sixteen year gap between myself and my little brother, I knew I would have to wait patiently for my dream of becoming an auntie to be fulfilled.
I had it all planned out. How the baby shower decorations would look, how I would be there for the birth, the books we would read, the places we would go, the ice-cream sundaes we would make.
I daydreamed of wearing one of those cheesy ‘ #1 Auntie ‘ t-shirts.
When I heard of the news, that our lives changed overnight into living nightmare we would have to survive, I saw my dreams in my mind’s eye disappear one by one. No special holidays, no movie nights, no discovering the world through nature walks, no museums, no plays, no hugs, no kisses. Everything I dreamed of my whole life was wiped away in one second like a sandcastle built at the shoreline.
I couldn’t sleep the night I found out, my hands shaking, I grabbed a sheet of paper to scribble out some feelings and frustrations. That writing never stopped, and continues to this day. I had to get out what I felt, had I not started writing what would turn into this book, I don’t think I would have made it.
I’ve barely survived as it is, but the writing and praying are what kept me alive. For many years after this secret and painful adoption, I became very sick. I was having crying spells so I had no choice but to quit a job I loved so much because I would smile and take care of patients when they came in, and once they were sent to the doctor’s care room, I would go in the back of the office and cry my eyes out. I would cry so hard that I would hyperventilate.
I was getting sick all the time, my body felt weak and achy. I couldn’t think straight, walk straight, I couldn’t keep track of time, I was having terrifying nightmares, I could barely eat, and I just wanted to sit still, stare off into space and not utter a word. You really do get a lump in your throat when the emotional pain is so severe it takes away your ability to even swallow.
I withdrew from everything and everyone for a good while and it has been a slow process of healing, and I know that I’ll never really be the same ever again. I realized that part a long time ago.
But God is always with me and I know the day will come when I get to have a relationship with my niece. This blog has been so therapeutic and helps me immensely. It helps me get it all out. I have received so much kindness and support from strangers around the world and I am deeply touched every time someone reaches out to me. That support helps me get through some tough days and gives me that push to never give up.
Being able to document the process from blog to book helps bring me relief, it eases the strain. It has been such a blessing to be able to raise awareness about such a taboo subject.
Telling our side of this awful story is so important and I’m grateful to have a place for our voices to be heard.