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dear birthmother letters


Letting Go of David
By Susan Clardy

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about: not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." - Gilda Radner..

October 22, 1980. David Alan was born. I only gave him that name in my mind and my heart. His birth certificate would read Baby Boy with my last name. I didn't know the person that I had become by that time. I was a walking zombie. I'd let other people convince me that letting go of my baby would be in his best interest. I've always wondered what happened to my best interest...
I died inside during my pregancy and the birth of my first born son. I died because I'd made the decision that he deserved better then me. Other people around me made sure that I believed that I wasn't enough for him. My self esteem was in the sewer by the time he came thanks to the adoption agency and well meaning people around me. Now David was lost to me forever. I couldn't even conceive of what a life without him would be like.. I can now.. because I've lived without him for close to 19 years.
I've missed him.. mourned the loss of him.. and cried for him on a daily basis. I've only recently discovered the depth of my loss. I've only recently allowed the memories of that time and my precious son to surface. The pain has been excrutiating.. The loss devastating and the feelings of worthlessness have been deeply imbedded in my psyche. Climbing out of the deep dark hole of this secret and shame has been nearly impossible. It's been slow and painful. I've had to learn to forgive myself for my weaknesses. I've had to work on forgiving the people that I entrusted to do the right thing for my baby.... and for me.. I haven't even begun to be able to forgive them.. I have been able to forgive myself to some degree..
My loss is far reaching... it has invaded every aspect of my life. It has affected every decision I've made in the past and the ones I'll make today and the ones I'll make in the future... because there is a part of me.. my flesh and blood that walks on this Earth and lives and breaths.. yet I have no knowledge of him. I really don't even know if he is alive. I only pray that he is. I pray that he's had a life that has been filled with the love and nurturing that I would have been able to give him. I pray that he is cherished by his family. I pray that he knows that he is loved and accepted. Someday I pray that God will see fit to let me know my son. Let me touch him and hear him and know that his life is good. Until that day, I'll be stuck in my "not knowing" phase.. a place that is very hard to move on from.
19 years ago I trusted people to do what was best for him.. Until I meet him, I'll never know if my trust was misplaced or not. The state and the adoption agency have no obligation to be accountable to me. I signed a paper.. and that was it... I was no longer considered a valued person in their eyes... I'd given them what they wanted... my son... and now they had no use for me.. I was supposed to go on with my life as if nothing happened.. as if a child never grew inside me. As if that 9 months never happened. Talking about it was impossible.. because I didn't have a handle on any of the emotions... they were all jumbled up. I was becoming an expert at burying the pain and there were times that I think I almost convinced myself that it never really happened. Every October 22nd though.. forgetting was impossible... the tears and the depression would grab ahold of me and not let go.. I spent almost every one of his birthdays in bed... feeling like I wanted to die..
Now I feel the loss of my son every minute of every day.. because I choose not to forget.. I choose to remember him. I choose to feel the pain and the loss... I choose to move beyond the secrecy and lies and educate myself and others on the devastating effects of the closed adoption system on birthmothers and adoptees.. I choose to look for my son and I choose to open my life to him if and when he decides he wants to be a part of my life. I'm much better today then I was a few years ago. I feel stronger and more at peace with each passing day. Only because I no longer deny the existence of my son. He is my son. He is part of me just as much as my other 3 children are. He is in my heart... and now his name is on my lips when someone asks me how many children I have.. I say I have 4.... because in my heart I do have four... David Alan is my son.. I love him and I don't need to deny that any longer.
I cannot go back in time and change that moment.. I can only go forward and hope to open other people's eyes to the injustices that are done everyday in the adoption industry. I fight for open records for adult adoptees. I fight the lies that adoption agencies and lawyers try to cram down people's throats. Mainly the lie that closed records are closed for my protection and the protection of natural mothers everywhere. Records are closed to protect the agencies and the lawyers from being found out... and in the process lives of adoptees are made more difficult. It is everyone's right to know their heritage... an adoptee is denied this every day. David will never know his heritage unless he searches for me.. Searching isn't an easy task, nor a cheap one... If he could access his original birth certificate, he'd see my name... and his search wouldn't be so difficult... I don't want to hide from him... Most natural mothers don't want to hide.. they didn't give their children up because they wanted to hide from them.. they did it because they wanted something for them they couldn't or didn't think they could give.

Adoption isn't the angelic situation that it has been made out to be. Surely there are situations where children are rescued from horrible situations and adopted into loving homes... but it is insulting to me to think that my son was "rescued" from me and placed with "better" people. To all the young women out there that are pregnant and thinking about adoption... There are other options... Please look into them before you start to believe that your child needs to be rescued from you...

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."...Nelson Mandela

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