Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Just plain lucky

Occasionally I hear J tell M how lucky she is. And when I hear him saying that, I know he is speaking way more about himself and much less about her.

J's birthmom was an immigrant who was in the US temporarily. She got pregnant and gave him up at birth. J spent the first six months of his life in an orphanage/foster care system until he was adopted.

J's adoptive parents weren't in a position to adopt. His father was already engaged in an affair, his mom was young and angry and scared. We think they adopted J with the goal of some sort of reconciliation, but things went sideways almost immediately.

Soon after J was brought home his parents split up. J was shuffled between his now single mom, his dad, and grandparents. As he grew into kindergarten years, folks seemed to lose track of him. He'd spend an entire Saturday sitting on the curb outside his house waiting for a dad who never showed up. His house caught fire once - and his mom and grandparents escaped the burning building, and in the confusion had forgotten about him. He was left in that burning building until a firefighter found him and rescued him. He remembers the oh, that's right, we forgot J when he was carried out. An afterthought at best.

As J grew older he grew into himself - he travelled the world and moved around the country, from working in an Alaskan fish farm to jumping freight trains. He spent a year in India. He was always on the move.

When we met he carried still his wounds with him. He'd always felt motherless, and being the tender soul that he is, was deeply affected by that. After a while we engaged in a bit of a search, obtained his adoption file and learned more about his birth mom. We chased some dead ends and came to the conclusion that finding someone in South America was a task that we weren't up to. We might revisit that in the future, but for now we've put that on hold.

M was the first flesh and blood relative J has ever met. I remember vividly the moment she was born and he was able to gather her in his arms and utter the words "my daughter". I know and I do not know what that means to him. I know that when he sees her being loved unconditionally and passionately it makes up for the fact that he was not. I know that he feels deep and unabashed pride in the ability to grow and encourage her young life.

And I know it's no mistake that she looks exactly like him in every possible way.


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32 comments:

flutter said...

That picture just makes my heart melt.
I hope he can find his birthmom, some day. We're not all bad...

Joker The Lurcher said...

this is very moving. i can very much relate to the motherless feeling, although for different reasons in my case. only last night i was telling my son that he is very lucky in quite a lot of ways (he was feeling a bit hard done by).

having tough pasts can make us wiser as parents, although also more vulnerable.

Deezee said...

this is heartbreakingly sad and beautiful at the same time...

NotSoSage said...

what a beautiful post. you've made me cry. there are quite a few adopted people in my family (including my sister). my sister had no interest in finding her birth mom until she had her own kids, and then found that her birth mom had passed away.

i hope that j finds peace in his search for his blood relatives, in whatever way it comes.

Thailand Gal said...

I can fully understand how J feels with this. There's something about stability that is very appealing to those of us who, as Joker calls it, "motherless". M is lucky to have a father who understands the importance of family.


Peace,

~Chani

Tabba said...

YAY for pictures!!

"M was the first flesh and blood relative J has ever met. I remember vividly the moment she was born and he was able to gather her in his arms and utter the words "my daughter". I know and I do not know what that means to him."
I got goosebumps at this and started welling up with tears. And am so happy that the two of you found each other, that you brought into this world that remarkable M and that you have a found a family that is perfect for the three of you. That healing can be done, loving, helping others and happiness rests where you all tread.
Beautiful, beautiful post!

mamatulip said...

This post has touched me in several different ways.

The fire story, and J being forgotten really made my heart break a little. I ache for the little boy he was and how he has carried that with him over the years.

My mother was adopted and I remember her telling me, through tears, what it meant to her to have me, her daughter, the only blood relative she knew. I was hers. Really and truly hers. It meant so much to her; I understood it and I didn't.

My mom did find her birth parents -- she had to for medical reasons. It was an amazing experience for her, and for me too. If J does end up finding his mother, I hope the experience is a good one for him.

Karen Forest said...

Amazing.

The emotion that you convey and in turn, make one feel, is absolutely amazing.

M is indeed a very lucky girl to have parents such as yourself.

meno said...

The healing that we need to do is accomplished all through life. As far as i know it's never finished. But a big part of that healing is to give your child that which you needed but didn't get. Something in that hole fills up as they grow, never knowing that hole.

Very sweet.

De Aufiero said...

Knowing that my children are always my first thought, I ache for a child who existed as an "afterthought." For the unknown mother who I imagine holding that child only in her mind, possessed by him, but consoled that she did the right thing. How perfect is it that when caring for another we heal ourselves?
(At first I couldn't get in to the post, but could only click on the picture, so I got it full-screen size. Everyone - do that! It's so worth it to see them up close.)

QT said...

I feel for the little boy J, forgotten. I don't know how people are capable of that.

I was told over and over how lucky I was to "have a father who loved me" when I was growing up because my mother grew up without one. I didn't understand any of it until I became an adult.

I am so glad M has the love of the two of you!

carrie said...

What a touching post. It is amazing the power children have to heal their parents, truly.

Carrie

kristen said...

I don't know what I love more here, the photo of J and M, or the words you've written here Jen. You've got a great man there and I can see how much you love him.
My heart hurts for J as a little boy although from what I've read here, he doesn't seem like one that takes to pity, rather someone that wants to blaze ahead and even be stronger because of it.

deb said...

It's amazing and sad what people can and do live through. I think it's the awful things that we go through that shape us into the people we are today.

Mrs. Chicky said...

It seems wrong to say that that post was beautiful, since J has gone through so much ugliness, but it was. Really, truly beautiful.

J Fife said...

Great photo. Such a heart wrenching tale. You are all lucky to have found each other.

crazymumma said...

I got all choked up.
He sounds like a remarkably strong man/old soul. And how lucky he truly is to have met you and to have helped to create M.

I really just feel like crying right now. Go give him a hug would ya?

ewe are here said...

They left him in a burning building? I can't even begin to fathom what that must have felt like...

I'm so glad he found you.
And that he has you and his lovely lovely daughter.
The picture of the two of them, side by side, is incredibly sweet.

Julie Pippert said...

How amazingly wonderful and heartbreaking all at once. My parents spent my growing up years trying to grow up too, especially my mom. Sometimes I feel more like sisters of the same age. So like you I understand and don't understand too. I was never forgotten in a burning building but I was left in far worse in some ways.

Your post was so understandingly gorgeous. Such fortune to find something like this, all of you have such fortune.

KC said...

I think that when people go through experiences like what J went through growing up, they can either repeat the same mistakes as a parent, or completely transform into the most loving opposite because of it. J sounds like my JP. It makes things that we take for granted so much more precious.

Beautiful, Jen. And lucky, lucky.

Laurie said...

J being carried out by a fireman, "oh that's right, we forgot J", breaks my heart. I can't imagine how he turned out to be the wonderful human that he so obviously is. It seems fitting that after all (the bad) he went through, he should end up with you and M (the good).

lildb said...

god. that is so fucking beautiful.

sorry I swore. I couldn't help myself.

liv said...

jen, what a truly gorgeous post. giving life to the memories---ugly and beautiful, just make me love you more!

Jo said...

As usual, Jen, beautiful writing and heart wrenching story. I can't stop thinking about a little boy sitting alone on a curb or being forgotten in a burning building.... My God. In a way, J is blessed. He can appreciate family in a way that most people can't.

radioactive girl said...

It makes my heart hurt to hear how he was treated as a child. Thank goodness he was strong enough to end up in a good place! What a beautiful post!

PunditMom said...

Thanks so much for sharing that story.

At 7, R. already asks so many questions about her birthparents. But, since R. was born in China, odds are we will never know who her birth parents are.

R. loves being in a family with lots of people, but I can tell that even her little first-grade brain struggles with the fact that no one in our family is a birth relative.

The photo is magnificent!

Her Bad Mother said...

That pic is the heart-clutchy-est thing that I've seen all day.

(FYI... I nominated you for a Share The Love Award... best commenter... )

Lillithmother said...

You exude such love and admiration for J in your post Jen...it's beautiful to witness it. As for M...she's so lucky to have you BOTH...

Love, LOVE the picture of them both - thank J for allowing it to be posted!!

Lil xo

ECR said...

I loved this story and the perfect photo illustration.

urban-urchin said...

how sad for J but what a wonderful gift for him, that in M he can parent her the way he SHOULD have been parented and in the process hopefully heal a bit too.

Penny said...

A moving story, Jen and an absolutely touching and beautiful picture of the two of them. I love your family. I love you guys! How did you ever find each other? I will have to research your archives in the hopes of that story.

Blessings to you. And healing and blessings to your J.

Bon said...

this post was way before my time, though it feels like your words have been a companion to my days for a long time now, and they make the days better.

Mad's link to it brought me back here, and i just wanted to say i'm moved. and i wonder how many of us find healing in our children. what a gift.