Words She Never Said

There must have been something in the water on Facebook this weekend, because when I logged into my account, I was greeted with a newsfeed full of photos of adoptees who were searching for their birth parents. The faces were young and old, black and white, and they all bore similar expressions of hope—hope that someone somewhere would see their photos and read the information on the posters they held that might lead them to their birth families.

As I looked at the photos, I realized that I found myself unable to relate to any of the adoptees who were searching for answers. All of the adoptees had clues and tidbits of information they could use to help locate their birth parents. If I were to create a poster, it would be empty. The only clues I have to the mystery of who my birth parents were are my face and the blood running through my veins.

So many birth parents out there are well-intentioned and selflessly relinquish their rights to their children because they aren’t ready to be parents or they can’t provide their children with the necessities and opportunities they need and deserve. Some have the opportunity to choose their children’s adoptive families and some enter into open adoptions. Other birth parents have their rights involuntary terminated as a result of abuse, neglect, and/or poverty. Sadly, there are also birth parents who never had any intention of relinquishing their rights and had their children taken from them as a result of corruption, kidnapping, and other horrible injustices. Lastly, there are birth parents like mine, who chose to abandon their children for reasons unknown.

As an adoptee who was abandoned and left without any identifying information, the questions that will never be answered cause me the most pain and heartache. The words left unsaid are the things I long to know most about who I was and where I came from.

I have no memories of my birth mother’s face. I don’t know if she ever held me or told me that she loved me. Did she sing me lullabies and rock me to sleep? Did she comfort me when I cried? When she looked into my eyes, was she reminded of my birth father or, perhaps, her own mother? She didn’t leave me with information about my name or the date and time I was born. She didn’t tell me if I was born at home or in a hospital. She didn’t tell me if I was a good baby or if I was colicky. She didn’t give me a photo of me as a baby—a milestone captured on paper that so many people are so blessed to have. She didn’t tell me why it took her a whole year to decide that she couldn’t keep me.

The words my birth mother never said—never left me with—have formed a void in my life that has left me feeling empty and incomplete. I would give anything to know the health and lifespans of my ancestors. While I was searching for medical answers of my own a few years ago, I would have given anything to have known if anyone in my birth family had lupus. I would give anything to be able to pass tidbits of family history onto my sons, rather than staring at the blank pages of their maternal family medical histories.

My birth mother never told me if my laugh sounded like hers. She never told me if I inherited my stubbornness from my birth father or my love of music from my birth grandmother. She never told me if I have siblings. I will never know who in my birth family shares my love for writing and photography. I will never know if my birth mother thinks about me or wonders about the person I have become. I will never know if she wanted me to find her. I will never know if I was wanted or loved. I will never know why she felt she couldn’t keep me or why she chose to abandon me.

The things she never said—the things she took with her when she left me behind—are keys to a mystery that will never be solved. The action of leaving me—of abandoning me—will forever be a source of pain and loss in my life. But, the words that I imagine were in her heart and on her lips when she left me are the words that give me hope. I hold onto the things she never said with the belief that those words were filled with love and sadness, pain and promise, and hope for the dreams she had for me.

The words that I hold closest to my heart are the words she never said.

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11 thoughts on “Words She Never Said

  1. Lisa Lansford says:

    Thank you for your honesty and your willingness to share your heart. It gives me a little glimpse into what my children will hold in their hearts as the grow. I appreciate you.

  2. That’s was deep and moving. I can still the pain in your heart, but I adore you for being strong and not letting your past get in your way to continue live the present with hope and joy. You’re inspiring! Thanks a lot for sharing that spirit.

  3. Anne says:

    I now know there is someone like me who wonders the same thing. In my class today we talked about different cultures and how in my culture, Chinese families are limited to one child or have to pay heavy consequences. I am one of those children that my parents dropped off at a police station and given to the orphanage. I’ve read the report… I was just left on the doorstep and it angers me that they didn’t leave me anything to find them… I don’t hate my life. I love my adopted parents. I just wish I wasn’t left with all these unanswered questions.

  4. Anonmyous says:

    Thank you for writing this. As an adoptee myself I can relate to this a lot. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one with so many unanswered questions.

  5. Brianna Taylor says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. To be honest, I’ve been sharing a lot of your quotes on Facebook as they resonate with how I feel as a Chinese adoptee so well. It frustrates me how adoption and searching for birth parents on tv shows is so simple. It’s so different being adopted from a country that is so far away. With the language barrier, government regulations, and little information known about where we come from, it isn’t as simple as typing a name into Google to get results.

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