All The Kings Horses and all the Kings men…Thousand Acre Heart Part 19

Thousand Acre heart is a story of adoption, of heartbreak, of redemption and of two hearts being reunited in love. There is no end to this story but you can start from the beginning HERE

The day I signed the adoption papers giving Jeffrey the life that he deserved, one I was fairly certain I wasn’t capable of giving him at sixteen changed me. For years I wasn’t the person I was supposed to be. I allowed myself to be shamed into silence and in turn I didn’t enter into friendships openly and honestly. There was a part of me that I kept under lock and key for so long that I wasn’t being all that I could be. Periodically I would trust someone enough to break down my walls a little but it was rare. I liked the anonymity of living in a big city and getting out of a small town where I was ‘that girl!” but my heart never really recovered. There was a void in me that caused a great deal of insecurity and I believe caused me to lack confidence in myself and in turn make some bad choices. For all the promises I made and broke over the years the most important one, the one I made to a bright eyed, dark haired newborn baby, I kept forever. “I will love you forever, never will a day go by that I won’t think of you” I have no idea how other birth moms feel or have felt but for me, I never gave up the worry that comes with parenthood. In thinking about him everyday of his life and not knowing if he was OK I worried a lot. I hoped his Mom kissed his skinned knees and tucked him each night and loved him more then anything in the world. I also felt an unmistakable guilt over the births of our girls. Almost as if I didn’t deserve the happiness or it somehow diminished the love I felt for the boy I couldn’t hold. When Jeffrey contacted me a healing began. His love and acceptance built a bandage for my troubled heart and allowed me to forgive myself for not being in his life. Knowing that he was happy, that he had a good life should have been enough. I didn’t dare ask or expect more but what happened between us was a natural progression that neither of us could have prepared for. It didn’t take away from my love for my children or he from his parents but it added to and enriched our lives in a way that has made me feel complete. I finally felt in the drivers seat in my own life, confident of who I was and owning the decisions I had made along the way, right or wrong because they had brought me here to this moment. Jeffrey and I conversed for about seven months. I talked about him to everyone who would listen. He in turn was probably feeling a little of what I felt for all those years. Unsure of who he was, not certain of how to embrace this craziness he had been thrown into without hurting his family. It was like navigating a country road without a compass. The maturity he continues to display in regards to all the decisions that were made regarding him, affecting him but without his knowledge makes it easy to forget that he is the child in all this. His faith in goodness and his kind spirit has helped guide me. We decided that Edmonton would be the best place for us to reunite face to face. With both of our families in Truro it would place a lot of unnecessary pressure on us and it was important that the reunion be about us. Mother and child. If I was asked to describe this process I would liken it to climbing a mountain. Slow and steady on the way up, marveling at the views, taking smalls steps, taking care not to fall, holding your breath sometimes because you are not sure what step you should take next, all the while knowing that the beauty was in the climb. Jeffrey landed in Edmonton on a beautiful Friday evening in September. Kirk and I had decided that I was going to go get him at the airport. Any advice that was given to me by well wishers all suggested the same, that the initial reunion should just be Jeffrey and I. The day of I was a complete mess. A bundle of frayed nerves. I couldn’t eat, hadn’t slept and my nervous stomach had me in the washroom every five minutes. Kirk poured me a glass of wine while I talked to a friend on the phone. I am not sure how many times he refilled it but my nervousness subsided, as did my ability to drive safely to the airport. Kirk insisted on driving but was going to stay in the truck. We arrived a bit early so Kirk parked and decided to walk me into the airport and keep me company but leave before Jeffrey’s plane landed. Plans are plans but even the best laid plans sometimes fall apart mid flight. Kirk was so excited for me, so thrilled to be a part of my life changing I couldn’t imagine him not being there when Jeffrey stepped off the plane. The waiting was excruciating. Kirk and I waited as close to the doors as possible, hand in hand, giddy with anticipation, as friends and family were reunited one by one. The plane emptied quickly at first and then slowly a passenger or two here and there descended the stairs. Kirk was hilarious through it all, keeping me upbeat, trying to convince me that the young Asian guy coming down the stairs was probably my son, or maybe the Hawaiian guy, or perhaps the 70 year old plaid loving granddad. After what seemed like an eternity my boy came down the stairs. He was bubbling over with excitement about the baby that he helped deliver on the plane. He detailed the account of the events that unfolded during the flight that led to him assisting in the birth of a bouncy baby. We were astonished and intrigued. It turned out the story was bogus, but a great ice breaker. Something weird happened and it happened very quickly, twenty years faded away until there was nothing separating us. What could have been, and should have been weird was quietly comfortable. Two hours and several cocktails later nobody would have guessed that years and miles and questions had ever separated us. Well wishing friends wanting to share in our excitement met us at the restaurant intending to have one drink with us and move on. It was an exciting evening for everyone and next thing you know we were all at their home bar, with all the makings of an all nighter! There was dancing and laughter, memories that would last forever. As the sun was coming up Jeffrey’s head lowered unto the bar and his eyes closed in much needed slumber. Somehow I helped maneuver my stocky, over six feet tall boy up the stairs and to a bedroom where he could catch a couple of hours of sleep. At twenty years old I tucked my boy in for the VERY first time. I stepped outside the door and tears of complete joy spilled over my cheeks. All the Kings horses and all the Kings men couldn’t have put me back together again but finally, for the first time in twenty years I felt complete.

Thousand Acre Heart Part 18 The missing piece of the puzzle

The missing piece of the puzzle

Christine was excited to hear from me and she could tell that my heart was sitting in my throat making it difficult to form coherent sentences. She went ahead and did the talking and though I know it was her job to remain impartial and unattached the circumstances made it next to impossible. Any woman with a heart that beats inside their body would have found it difficult not to feel some sort of emotion if they were the one in charge of relaying information to me about the son I longed for for a great deal of my life. She told me that Jeremy had contacted her by phone because he had sent an email and hadn’t heard back right away. It turns out that his email was stuck in her junk-mail folder and he was pretty anxious to hear back. She told me his name was Jeffrey, I admit that initially I had a very hard time identifying with that, for 19 years he was Jeremy in my heart. She also told me his nickname was Jam which resonated a little better because the initials short for Jeffrey Andrew also represented Jeremy Allen. She told me about his family and where he grew up which was surprisingly close to where I had lived prior to moving to Edmonton. She told me he had played hockey most of his life as a goalie and that made me smile. I was drinking the information in like a thirsty traveler in the dessert but what I longed to know most was “Did he think of me?” Did he ever wonder where he got his dark hair and wondrous eyes from? Did he ever wonder if we had the same laugh, the same curiosity, the same smile? It seemed almost too much to ask. This woman had just given me so much in a short time, so much more then promised and more then I ever hoped to expect. Then she told me the information that I thirsted for. To her it even seemed incredulous. Unfathomable in this day and age, especially in such a small town she speculated.  He never thought of me. He never wondered in what ways we were similar or different.  He never laid awake nights and thought “what if?” The truth was, until the letter from social services came he had lived his life one hundred percent as Jeffrey Andrew, not wondering about the little boy Jeremy or the woman who had chosen to let another family raise him as their son. There had been absolutely no reason to look back because he was never told he was adopted. I gasped and Christine allowed me some time to feel everything that I was feeling. I cried openly. I cried for him and for his parents, I cried for uprooting his life and the pain that it would cause. I also cried for me. I felt a betrayal of sorts. It wasn’t the agreement,  albeit verbal, his adopted mom had promised to give him a letter from me when he was old enough to understand. I cried at the thought that had I waited for him to search for me that day would have never come. Among the tears were tears of pure happiness, for the gift of today. My boy was healthy, happy, well adjusted, that was everything a mother could hope for. Christine told me that Jeffrey wanted to forgo the normal progression of things and have direct contact with me. Over the sound of my beating heart I heard  that he had written me a letter as well and she was about to forward it to me. She wished us luck. Her job was done. She was cutting me loose. This woman who had been my anchor in a sea of churning emotion was turning the Captains hat over to me. I was scared and excited sitting at my computer waiting for his email to come through. I must have read it a thousand times. My heart felt things I can’t even begin to explain but I know I was a little bit crazy. I typed a letter back quickly and that is where our “new” relationship began. It was a continuation of the one we forged in a hospital room with me promising to love him forever.

I woke the girls up for school and very quickly dissolved into a teary emotional mess. The talk I had planned in my head for months came out in choked waves while I blew my nose and wiped the running faucets that had taken over my eyes. Their immediate reaction was to cry as well. Their young hearts couldn’t quite comprehend. They wanted to know if their brother was okay and could he come live with us. I told them that wasn’t possible…what did I know?

I can’t recall my conversations with my husband or my mom on this day. It’s lost somewhere in my heart so they can feel free to weigh in if they remember. I am sure they won’t discount the fact that I was a little crazy. Maybe everyone is on the journey to becoming whole.

Jeffrey has from the beginning encouraged this blog and has agreed that I can share some of our correspondence.  I will share some of our initial correspondence with you but I have blocked out some names in the interest of everyone’s privacy.

♥♥ Michelle

Feb 4, 2010

Michelle,

As soon as i read this letter i had so much to say, and wanted to send it so fast. I only got it today. I didn’t think I was going to be so enthusiastic before i read it. My parents named me Jeffrey, I go by Jeff. Most of my friends call me Jam , its my initials and it caught on in high school. I just found out i was adopted less than a week ago, im still kind of in shock.

So my name is Jeff, I’ve always been fairly popular lots of friends. Im alot like you in that I value memories more than things. Nothing is better than a good story. Id like to think I have lots. My thing growing up was Hockey. I played goalie mostly and I was pretty good. I was always kinda a leader on my team ive had some of my best times playing hockey. I did good in school until highschool , I cared more about hockey and work. But I graduated at the end of last year.

After I graduated I took off To Banff with one of my best friends XXXX. Our friends xxxx and XXXX were living there and we went to stay with them. The plan was to get Jobs but i got homesick really fast ,so we went home. I feel like i learned alot from it though. And while I partied pretty hard and had alot of fun.

When I came back i decided that I wanted to go to college to become a youth worker which is what im doing now. School is pretty great because i love that im going to be doing something for a career that makes a difference. Im not working right now because at the start of the school year I was on a Juniour “C” hockey team and i couldn’t find a place to work around school and hockey. My goals right now are to do good in school and get a part time job, and work full time in april when im done school for the year. Im really a fun loving guy who lives for the weekend. I love your husbands silver patron shirt thats in one of the pictures!

I have a great family. My mom and dad XXXX and XXXX and my younger sister natalie. Besides the fact that they kept this from me for so long, they really are great. They always spoiled me and gave me more than I needed. I’ve lived in the same house here alll my life, but id like to get on my own as soon as i get a job and school done with. My dad was kinda like one of my best friends growing up and most of my memories with him are going to hockey rinks all over the place. My mom is a really caring person. My little sister natalie is 16 and she is awesome, we haven’t fought at all since we were younger. She is a pretty blonde and really smart. She only found out the other day when I did too. I guess when my parents adopted me they didn’t think that they could have kids and 3 years later they got lucky with my sister.
Finding out was such a shock but I’ve taken it really well i think. I’ve been on and off with my girl XXXX for a while now. ( I say my girl cuz i don’t know what to say because she hates being labelled). We Kinda just started seeing each other again just before I found out, and having her there for me is a big part of the reason i’ve been able to take it so well. I believe that things happen for a reason and every decision can effect so much. I believe in Karma and positive thinking. You should read the book ” The Celestine Prophecy”. It talks about how good things will happen and how things will work out if you just follow your intuitions and be led by coincedences. I think that’s why XXXX and me seemed to make a mends at the perfect time before I needed her. I also believe that’s why you knew to do the right thing when you decided to give my parents the gift of their first son. I hope your guilt goes away because your decision allowed me to have a great life. I really believe that your love and good thoughts have made a difference to me on some level. I’ve always been pretty lucky and I think you having me close to your heart probably had lots to do with it. Knowing that you worried about me dispising you for the decision you made me feel so bad. My parents not telling me didn’t make me mad at first… I lost trust in them.. but knowing that I was doing so good and you had to worry all the time makes me kinda mad at them. Thats what really struck me when i read the letter you sent me. Doing what im doing in school helps me understand the courage (i can only imagine) it would take to do whats best like you did. You didn’t deserve to have to worry for all that time.

You guys sound like you have a really good time! Kirk seems like a great husband by how you talk about him. Morgan and Haley are so beautiful. xxxx said she thought Haley looked like me. It’s crazy to think I have two little sister I didn’t even know about. Id like to know more about them. Do they know they have a big brother somewhere? When are their birthdays? I always find coincedences relating to dates and i guess im really into that stuff. Is there anything you can tell me about my father?

You say that you only moved two years ago and you look really famillar to me. The girls too, but maybe you guys would anyways. When you lived here did you ever buy groceries at sobeys on robie street? I worked there for a long time. I hope that this letter clears your mind and takes all guilt off your shoulders! My email is xxxxxxx@hotmail.com cuz mail is pretty old school. I can’t believe i wrote all this without saying how jealous I am that you went to ACDC, UFC and go to oilers games. One of my best friends went to ACDC in moncton , and i missed getting a ticket. He says it was amazing. He’ll love it that you mentioned ACDC. Im a huge leaf fan but i’ve always liked the oilers too, they both could be doing alot better this year though! Im excited to talk more and your close to my heart now too. I’ll see if i can find a suitable picture but if not ill find some good ones soon. Jeff

Hi Jeff,

I love the nickname Jam. Nicknames are the best. Some of my friends call me Mich some of them call me Shelle and my best friend in London, Ontario calls me Po Po. That one is a long story!!

 

I was absolutely stunned that you replied so soon and you are right that mail is old school so this is a really great way for us to communicate. When Tina told me that you didn’t know that you were adopted I was so worried about you being shook up but you seem to be taking it in stride.

 

 I will admit initially I was a little mad at your parents too, I always assumed you knew that you were adopted and that they would have at some point given you the letter I wrote after you were born. Taking a step back I realize that people make decisions that are personal to them and I can no more judge their decisions then I would like to have all of mine judged. The most important thing is that they gave you a good life and if anything I am sure they thought they were doing what was best. If I can take one thing from that it is that from the beginning they loved you like their very own and that is what I wished for you always. I bet they are struggling with this a little as well. I am quite certain that they have their own feelings surrounding you and I being in contact so please be easy on them.

 

Your letter certainly made me feel so much better about a lot of things. As far as the worrying and the guilt it is part of life and especially Motherhood so nobody is to blame for that. You mentioned that your Mother and you didn’t always see eye to eye. I bet you Morgan (the oldest) can relate. We love each other to the ends of the earth but she likes to challenge me on everything and it is my job to make sure that she eats well, brushes her teeth, does her homework, is safe…..all the non-fun stuff, so a lot of the time Kirk gets to be the fun one!! I like to think my kids have a lot of fun with me as well. They love it when I act silly. Especially when we turn on the radio and play name that tune and dance. The kids are Beatles fans and Haley woke up at 2 am last weekend because Kirk and I were playing their Beatles Rock Band. We were doing the tour. Hehe. We had fun. We also have a “Rock Band….”band” Kirk plays drums, Morgan guitar and Haley and I are singers. Haley mostly dances and makes up her own songs. She also has to change her clothes 50 times for these events. She is quite a diva. She turns 6 on April 29 and Morgan will turn 11 on November 8.

 

Haley is anything but shy, she loves to sing and dance and act and do anything that draws attention to her. Getting ready for school this morning she was singing the Barney song and she would start out all sweet and then go into a “Metallica like “version. If you can imagine Metallica singing the Barney song??? Hmmmm…..She would like to be a ballerina and says she will eat carrots instead of chips. She loves chips!!!

 

Morgan is my cool rock chick. We have the same favorite song right now. Billy Talent, Rusted by the Rain. She also likes to write poetry and music (I think she gets that from me) She is interested in History, geography and would love to travel the world. We watch House Hunters International together so we can see what it would be like to live other places. We all love the Beach. I have family that live in Malgash in the summer and I adore it there. We all do.

Morgan is also a UFC fan. Her favorites are Forrest Griffin, Dan Henderson and GSP.I have a picture of me and Dan Henderson after he knocked out Michael Bisbing at UFC 100. He was cool and excited and I brought back a shirt that he signed from Morgan.

Kirk will be tickled that you like his Patron shirt. It is his favorite. I bought it in Vegas. He also loves Patron. I like Cuervo Gold just as well and it costs a lot less. Kirk is a good husband and the best Dad. He and I haven’t always had it easy, we have had our share of struggles but they were all worth it. We all have a lot of fun together. Kirk played football and Rugby until we left Truro. He played with the Saints the year they won the provincial Championships. He misses playing on teams and just recently has started to play a little Hockey with some buddies. He also got Morgan a stick and they play around at the outdoor rink down the road.

I was so touched that you said that your Dad was like your best friend. So you are a Hockey guy! We took Morgan to her first NHL game Oilers vs. Kings for her Birthday this year. She and Kirk are L.A. Kings fans. Kirk has been for 25 years so even though I was rooting for the Home team “The Edmonton Snoilers” I was glad that they won for him. I was a New Jersey Devils fan growing up. The Bear (that’s my fave radio station here) played a song this morning called “Wake me up when the Season ends” as a dig to the Oilers….to the tune of Geenday When September ends!! Hopefully the Eskimos will make good use of Jesse Lumstrom and make us proud this year. Haley loves the Eskimo games….she mainly likes the cheerleaders!

I agree with you on the Celestine Prophecy though I have not read it but will….I believe in the power of faith and positive thinking. I have many stories in that regard. I am not surprised that you are popular and have lots of friends….it rather runs in the family! You don’t have to worry about “party pics” and that sort of thing!! As I said we are still very social people and doesn’t everyone “Live for the weekend?” One day though you will have grown up responsibilities and I wouldn’t ever want you to look back and feel like you missed out on anything!! You have no reason to be Jealous about AC/DC…you will have plenty of opportunity to see them. They ROCKED. My top five concerts (I can’t put them in order) Eagles, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Rolling Stones and yeah that is 4 but I saw the Eagles twice and they were sooo awesome both times. Like I said you have years to catch up and out do me and I hope you do. Don’t count me out yet though.

I was glad to hear about xxxx. It is a comfort to know that you have someone to help you deal with your feelings surrounding this. It is a pretty big deal and you haven’t had 20 years to think about it like I did. (Almost 20…April 10) My stepdad and my good friend and neighbour share your birthday.

I have tried to touch on everything…..you can ask me anything at all. Also let me know if you are overwhelmed or anything.

You asked about your father and I would like you to know that he is still in Truro. He remains to this very day one of my best friends. He and I are polar opposites but every time in my life when I needed someone he was always there. Everything that we went through had the potential to tear us apart but “You” are the glue that kept us in touch and caring about each other always.  We dated off and on for years but we were just not meant to be together forever in that way. I will love him always though and he and I have been in touch and he is grateful for news. He was quite worried when he found out that you hadn’t known you were adopted, he was worried about you being overwhelmed. He has a good heart. He was very popular in school too, lots of friends, he played football and he was popular with the ladies. None of them compared to me though!! Hehe. He was engaged but never married. He has a son that is 8 and he is a phenomenal Dad. He works hard and has for as long as I’ve known him. His parents divorced young so though he was his parent’s only child he has a ½ sister and step brother on one side and a ½ brother on the other side. He lost his Dad in the spring. I guess to sum it up….you come from good people.

I think I have to close this off at some point ….I could rattle on forever. You have lightened the weight that has been sitting on my heart forever and thank you so much for putting me in yours.

P.S.

Yes the girls know about you. Morgan is over the moon excited. She cried at first because she wanted to know that you were alright. She has thousands of questions!!

I hope to hear from u soon. Xo

Michelle

Making the Connection with you

Daily Prompt: The Stat Connection

Go to your Stats page and check your top 3-5 posts. Why do you think they’ve been successful? Find the connection between them, and write about it.Photographers, artists, poets: show us CONNECTIONS.

My top posts are all from my Thousand Acre Heart Series. I think it has been successful because I speak from my heart and I talk openly about Adoption,  marriage, motherhood and all my hopes, fears and feelings. I was pretty surprised initially with where my posts were being viewed.  My nine year old daughter freaked out that Hong Kong was viewing because that is Katy Perrys favorite place to visit!! I appreciate every visit and I know that know matter where in the world you are viewing from our hearts are similar. We have all felt the joy of a sunrise, kissed someone we love under the moonlight, felt hurt and loss but conquered it. We have all thrown our hands up under the same blue sky and said “Why me?” or thanked our God for his many blessings. In knowing this I write like I would talk to a friend.  I have said it before, there are no strangers here, just friends we haven’t met yet.People relate to Thousand  Acre Heart because I am you and you are me. We are characters in this world, playing our parts, navigating through lifes stuggles and triumphs trying to be the best we can be. When I write this series I think through my fingers, memories are coming back to me quickly and sometimes my cheeks are hot with tears and other times I am choked with laughter or overwhelmed with the lightness of love.  People relate to honesty,  truth and vulnerability and it has been very cleansing for my soul.

If you haven’t read Thousand Acre Heart but would like to you can start HERE

Michelle ♥

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Thousand Acre Heart Part 17 Grown ups

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It seems like it happened overnight, the carefree party girl, work to party,  party to live had grown up. Paying a mortgage and reading bedtime stories quickly takes precedence over dancing on speakers at the local nightclub.  Days turn into weeks, fade into monthes and before you know it years have passed in the blink of an eye.

I was in Nova Scotia for a visit when my baby boy officially turned into a “grown up” Unofficially he was just a boy under an adult label celebrating the right of passage otherwise known as “the legal age to drink” Generally celebrated at a bar with your inebriated “of age” friends and way too many suggestively named shooters! It was our last night in Truro and all of our friends were going out boozing at the old haunts. Chevys, Engine Room, The Mill. A fight ensued with my husband when I refused to go siting my dislike of bars. He begged me to make an exception and spend that last night before flying back to Edmonton partying with our friends. How could I explain that I could not party on this day. I was certain that my son would be out celebrating his birthday and his graduation into “legal drinking” I was certain I couldn’t help but look for him in every handsome dark haired young man, and even more certain that if I saw him I would know. What I wasn’t certain of was how I would react if I did in fact see the boy I had given birth to, here in Truro, nineteen years ago. So instead of trying to explain I sullenly refused to budge and spent the last night in my hometown with my parents, just as it should be.

On the long flight home Kirk badgered me into telling him why I wouldn’t come out. He was apologetic and understanding but I am positive that he couldn’t quite understand the depth of my feelings. I don’t think anyone but a mom who had given up a child for adoption could begin to.

That being said when we returned to our lives in Edmonton he questioned me further. He knew about the dog earred form facilitating a reunion that I carried around for the past nineteen years. He knew about the letter, a response from Jeffreys mom when he was a baby that had moved from purse to purse since I was a teenager. He knew about the void in my heart that no amount of love from him or the girls could ever fill.

He encouraged me to make the call to the number on the form. He did so delicately at first and I put it off and made all sorts of excuses. There was a storm raging in my heart and he recognized that but he didn’t understand.  Jeffrey was of age now and I could search for him. Why the hesitation?

I had thought about this for nineteen years and thought of almost every imaginable outcome. The one outcome I  never imagined but would now be forced to face was what if he had no desire to know about me. What if I never crossed his mind. What if the closure I hoped for all these years ended with a tightly closed door. I would have no other choice but to accept it. Bear it and respect his wishes. My heart was not quite yet prepared for that scenario.

It took some time, patience and love but with Kirks blessing and encouragement I made the call to Halifax Social Services and was put in touch with an updeat and realistic woman named Christine.

Christine quickly became my lifeline. She spoke to me as directly as possible but her tone was never condesending or negative. She told me the steps involved with the process and allowed my hopefulness but encouraged my cautiousness. The one thing she insisted upon was my patience.

I explained that my children did not know about Jeffrey and she said I should not tell them. If this didn’t go anywhere I would be giving them something and taking it away.

Christine called me almost immediately and let me know that they had an address for Jeffrey on file. She referred to him as Jeremy as I always did because that was the name I gave him. I had made a package with a letter I wrote to him and some pictures of all of us. I wanted him to see us, see that we were real and desperately wanted to know him.

Christine sent a  letter to him explaining that she had some information for him. He was asked to contact the office.

Things were moving a lot quicker then I anticipated which was good but dizzying.  I was transported back to a time when I was sixteen years old. I was in contact with Jeffreys biological father. We had maintained contact for over twenty years, I considered him a good friend. That would change but in my heart I thought he deserved the opportunity to be included. I was up and down like a teeter totter.

I was on the verge of tears constantly. The poor girls were confused because mommy was a basket case. I had to sit down with my bosses and explain why I could barely talk most days.

Christine told me that adopted boys are much less anxious then girls to make contact  with their biological families or at the very least they ponder it awhile before ever thinking seriously about calling.

She said six weeks after the initial letter she would send a Registered follow up letter. That way he would have to sign for it and we would know for certain that he had it in his possession.  She shared with me scenarios good and bad and everything in between to help prepare my heart. I remember the one possibility that I found implausible was that we would meet, not feel any reason to pursue or continue a relationship,  he may not be a good and decent person worthy if being in our lives. I had to consider it but I couldn’t fathom it.

I convinced myself to calm down a little. I was having heart flutters, insomnia,  episodes of euphoria followed by the lowest of lows. I needed to go back to being a Mom and a wife and wait patiently.

About three weeks later I came home from work and I had an important call from Christine.  She left an excitable message on my answering machine but her office was closed by the time I got it. (3 hour time difference 😦 )

We played phone tag for three days until I was finally able to contact Christine. It was about 5:30 am for me and I was laying in the bed that I had tossed and turned in and remained sleepless for days. Christine was about to change my life.

To be continued. …

A Thousand Acre Heart-Part Three

Jeff, Morgan and Haley

I have some really amazing people in my life who have been wonderfully supportive and encouraging to me. In the last couple of days I have re-connected with some fantastic and inspirational people. Adoptees, Adoptive parents, families with adopted siblings and people who simply took the time to read and share their feelings and kindnesses with me. After I gave birth there were a select group of people whose mean spirit made me feel guilt and shame. I put up a wall around my “heart” and my secret and very few people were let in to that part of my life. My need to tell this story comes from a good place inside of my heart that hopes that maybe there is someone out there holding the weight of guilt and shame on their shoulders and she can see from my mistakes how ridiculously unnecessary that is.

Here is the dictionary meaning of shame:

the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.

I think we can agree that I did a good thing, nothing dishonorable. The unprotected sex was definitely improper but that wouldn’t warrant years of shame. Holding onto years of shame was detrimental and unnecessary. If I can prevent one person from feeling that; it is a very good thing. That weight off my shoulders has been the most absolutely freeing. My whole life has been changed. Last night when I was writing about the death of my Dad I thought how sad it would be if it all ended now. I finally know who I am and I am happy and confident and proud. My Dad always told me “life is short” This is something he said all he time. He never saved for a rainy day, if he wanted something he got it, if he wanted to do it he did it. You can say that is irresponsible but he died at 39 years old. LIFE IS SHORT!!

I wondered a lot about what might have been. I pictured us all as a happy family. I thought of Dad spoiling Jeff rotten and buying him a race car. None of that was meant to be. I knew that taking myself back and placing me in those times of such emotion would be difficult. To be real and honest I have to be there in the moment. When I was writing about being in the hospital room after giving birth I was in that room and the pain was excruciatingly emotional. I bawled all the way through the process. This is not a bakery, I refuse to sugar coat any of it! For many years I wasn’t true to myself and this is my truth.

I did have one person send me a message that was mean spirited. It was suggested that this story should be about the parents that loved Jeffrey and raised them as their son. I was told that it wasn’t all about me. This is MY story. I cannot tell anyone else’s story, but I have earned the right to tell mine! I will of course talk about them later on in the story. I feel overwhelming love and admiration for them, but I cannot tell My story from their point of view. That being said, everyone is entitled to their opinion and I knew that opening myself up in an intimate and vulnerable way I would have to deal with that as it came. My daughter has a “theme song” and she plays it to remind herself that words can’t hurt her and nobody can bring her down. I will post it at the end of this blog. I admire my daughters, their strength and their capacity to love and put themselves out there without fear. They play Roller Derby. It has been such an empowering presence in their young lives. I try to teach them that nobody can make them feel inferior without their consent and it is something that I need to remind myself of frequently. Haley and I have this new thing that we do before bed where we gather up all the good things that happened to us during the day in our hand and put it to our heart and then we gather any of the bad things that happened  and we crumple them in our hand and then we throw them far away! I took that mean comment that made me have a little mini meltdown in my truck this morning and I threw it to Never-land. Being strong doesn’t mean you don’t feel things. I feel everything!! My husband said to me today that I was the brains of our operation and I disagreed, I am the heart. If my brain worked as much as my heart does we would be millionaires.

My heart wasn’t always this kind and pure. If you have ever heard the saying “misery loves company” it is very true. Hearts that are happy love, embrace, endure and encourage. I can show you everything I have learned but I cannot tell you what to see. You will interpret however your heart allows.

In English class they tell you that every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. I believe this is the beginning of my story!

Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2010 09:54:52 -0400
> From: JENNINCR@gov.ns.ca
> To: michd@live.ca
> Subject: Fwd: File#35674
>
> Above is the receipt of the first correspondence I ever had with my son. Apparently it had been stuck in a spam filter for two weeks because his email was grapedrink (if you are from N.s. you may remember those delicious drinks that used to come with the milk delivery)

I know you are all anxious. It is really hard to condense 23 years! What a journey! I can give you a little glimpse and tell you this….everything I endured to get to the day that I was reunited with Jeff evaporated immediately when I met him. He has a beautiful spirit and though I was prepared for all sorts of scenarios I wasn’t prepared at all for the one that actually happened.

I will continue I promise……xo

A young shot of Jeff that was given to me by his Grampy!
A young shot of Jeff that was given to me by his Grampy!

A Thousand Acre Heart -Part Two

…and spring became the summer

It was a typical hot and humid Nova Scotia summer. Nobody was more thrilled then me that the school year was over. It was hard to go to school every day and feel like everyone was staring at you, either because they felt bad for me but didn’t know what to say or because they had lots to say but none of it was mature or worth listening too!

My Dad had had some recurring heart problems and I remember he was in the hospital after suffering an attack. My Dad had a great personality and people couldn’t help but being taken in by his charm, the nurses included, but even they were not impressed when he was having his visitors sneak him in KFC and Pizza.  My Dad had been diagnosed with Angina.  Angina is an indicator that your heart is not getting all the oxygen it needs to keep working at its optimal level. People who have angina are at an increased risk of having a heart attack. So in short my Dad should not have been eating Pizza and KFC. He did if I recall correctly make some changes after his stay in the hospital, at least for awhile. He owned an Auto Body shop beside our house but he wasn’t supposed to be working and he wasn’t allowed to drive his motorbike, which he loved to do in the nice weather. I can remember him pacing around the house just lost. He wasn’t used to not working and his number one hobby was being forbidden. As I said the changes were temporary but there were other more subtle changes as the hot summer forged ahead. He really was interested in what we were doing, wanted to spend lots of time with us and have long talks. I recall wanting a drive to a friend’s but he really wanted to spend time with me and offered to take me shopping. My dad was a unique shopper, so unlike my Mom and me, he didn’t look at price tags. If he liked something he bought it. He didn’t compare shop or look for sales. He also liked to carry lots of cash with him. This didn’t mean we had lots of money; it just meant there was very little in the bank and a lot in my Dads pocket! Well I lucked out that day I got a couple of new outfits and a 12 speed bike. I felt at the time that there was some guilt involved.  It was his way of saying, “I know you are hurting, I don’t know what to say to make it better so I am going to buy you stuff!” Regardless the sentiment was appreciated and I completely understood that he didn’t know what to say to me. My mom tried to talk to me often, I am not sure how much was ever said between us we just cried and hugged a lot. Sometimes there really are no words but knowing that someone cares enough to share in your pain and just be there is more than enough. My mom was my best friend. She married at fifteen years old and had three kids back to back. She never ever complained about her life or said it was hard. She always made motherhood look effortless. I always felt so bad because I knew she wanted more for me and she felt she failed but I know it was I that failed her. She talked to me about boys and sex. She tried to be involved and always told me to come to her if I needed anything. I am the one that shut her out. I met the guy that made me weak at the knees and I made a bad decision on a hot summer’s day in August and now one year later I was silently suffering the consequences.

We were planning a surprise party for my dad and his best friend because they were both turning 40 that year on September 4. The BIG 40!! I probably thought that was old and I am going to turn 40 on my next birthday. It was exciting to try to keep a secret from my Dad. He loved parties and he was such a big kid. He was always the first one up at Christmas; (five a.m. most years), and he LOVED presents.

It was late August and I had met a guy that summer that I was crazy about! He was a friend’s older brother and he was sweet and mature and I was very much absorbed in thoughts of him. It certainly gave me something else to focus on. I thought about him all of the time but I really didn’t have the guts to tell him. I guess I eventually took that 20 second leap of courage (if any of you have seen We bought a Zoo you know what I am talking about) It probably went something like this “Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number so call me maybe?” Of course it really didn’t go like that; Carly Rae has dibs on that one. Actually while I was typing that groan joke I recalled how it really went. We were hanging out at my friend’s house (as I mentioned “he” was her older brother) and she and her boyfriend wanted to take a drive to the beach so we tagged along. Ahhh the good ole days in Nova Scotia when you just decide to drive to the beach and you get in your car and drive to the beach!! It was after dark and I recall I had to pee all the way to Brule. For those of you who know the drive from Truro to Brule and know how I am when I have to pee you are probably thankful that you were not along for that ride. We got to the beach and I was able to pee in the dark in those stinky outhouses. So once I have peed I start to realize what a crazy romantic scene this is. Moonlit beach, warm summers night, it is a scene from a Bryan Adams music video!! Now I am panicked so I just run into the water and keep walking out nonchalantly as far as I can till I realize that I am a long way from shore and I don’t know which way is back to the shore and which way was further out into the water. I have a helpless sense of direction to begin with and you would think I would know from the direction of the moonlight but the sky was very dimly lit at that point. I just turned around in circles for a minute or so until I realized that the object of my adoring affection had come to find me. I can’t recall the exact details but we shared a very sweet first kiss under the very dimly lit summer sky at Brule Beach. I went home that night and for the first time in a long time I felt like a normal teenage girl.

Morning came as it always does bright and early. It was August 21, 1990. My dad had called me a couple of times to ask me to make coffee for him and the guys at the shop. I was already on the phone with my guy and was just having a hard time getting down the stairs to do it. I finally made it when I got another call to please hurry and bring the coffee out. All this time I am talking to my cute guy on our “kids” phone line upstairs and running back and forth to answer the house phone. My Dad’s shop was right beside our house so I put on some flip flops, grabbed the pot of coffee and went out the front door. There was an Ambulance in the yard. At first it didn’t occur to me to be alarmed because my Dad owned an Auto Body shop so it wasn’t unusual to see smashed cop cars etc in the yard. Then I realized there seemed to be some confusion and I feel like I am outside of my body staring at me with my feet glued to the ground holding a damn pot of coffee. My brothers are yelling at me to stay there as they jump in Mike’s car and follow the ambulance.  My uncle follows them in his car. By the time I realize that my Dad is in the ambulance and that my brothers told me to call my Mom at work it was just me and a new guy in the shop yard. I kept telling him he had to drive me to my Moms work and he kept saying they told him to stay there. At some point I made him realize that he was not going to lose his job and we had to get moving. My Mom worked at a corner store that was along the way to the hospital. It had a drive-thru attached and when I got there all she knew is that my brothers were following the ambulance to the hospital and she was to meet them there. The owner was at the store but didn’t know how to work the till so my Mom was expected to stay until his wife got there and she was on her way. I will never ever forget in my whole life how my Mom was trying to wait on customers not knowing what was happening to her husband. This one lady came in and she was as bright as the sunshine and she said to my mom “It is a beautiful day!” My mom struggled to hold back tears and I decided enough. I told her boss to wing it and we left.

At the hospital they took us to a private room, they explained that they had the best team working on my dad. It seemed like an eternity passed and for some reason we were separated. Maybe by choice I am not entirely sure. At some point a nurse told me that they had done everything they could. She kept looking at me with this really idiotic grin and I had no idea what she was trying to say to me but she was going to help me find my Mom and brothers so I followed her and she kept looking at me with that ridiculous smile. I hated her. I really really hated her. Have you ever felt like everything was moving in slow motion but so fast you couldn’t catch up! It was a beautiful sunny day, August 21, 1990 when they told me I was never going to see my Dad again.  My warm and wonderful mother was a widow with three teenaged kids at thirty two years old.

Life wasn’t fair or just and it wasn’t going to be OK for a very long time. 

To be continued…..

Thanks to my friend Amanda for this, I had to share
Legacy of an Adopted Child

Once there were two women who never knew each other..
One you do not remember, the other you call mother.
Two different lives, shaped to make Your one…
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
The first gave you life and the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love, and the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name.
One gave you a seed of talent, the other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears.
One gave you up … that’s all she could do.
The other prayed for a child and God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me, through your fears, 
the age old question unanswered throughout the years…
Heredity or environment .. Which are you the product of..
Neither, my darling .. neither..
just two different kinds of love.

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