Early last year we met our second child for the first time. Just one week earlier my dad walked out on my mum after 33 years marriage for another person. I was totally unprepared for the impact this would have on me and my wider family and more importantly, my growing but delicate immediate family.
At the age of 4 I lost my best friend (6), my mums younger sister to leukaemia, her death was never explained to me. Relatives sobbed around me but no one told me why, unwittingly misguided in their attempts to protect me. Therefore I have a deep seated belief system that people leave, people leaving is very bad and no relationship is certain – except those I had with my parents and sisters. I have avoided loss at all costs ever since. It comes in many forms such as being unable to listen to radio competitions as I cannot bear to hear peoples pain when they lose, moving right through to the extreme of shutting down and resisting the urge of walking away when people are dying. I am not proud of this and I have only fully begun to understand the impact of my first and subsequent losses.
It took until the events of this year to understand why I am able to avoid loss in its many guises yet be able to safely hold my first sons ultimate, most painful loss with strength, gentleness and a lot of thought. My counsellor eloquently pointed out that ‘there’s no bloody way you’re going to let what happened to you, happen to your children’ (she’s great I love her!).
“Both my sons have been well and truly rejected by their birth parents and this last year has given me a rare and valuable insight into how traumatic and deep that wound really goes – and for the first time ever, I’m scared of it.”
As an adult brought up in a consistently loving, stable family, I have never felt such loss, such rejection and abandonment when my dad left. It has torn away all my carefully built up layers of protection that surrounded any feelings of loss and exposed it to cold harsh air. It is painful and I have swung from anger and depression through to manic laughter and back again. Its going to be a long journey back to see what my new wider family will look like and our subsequent relationships, but what my dads leaving has also done has highlighted to me my sons losses. Both my sons have been well and truly rejected by their birth parents and this last year has given me a rare and valuable insight into how traumatic and deep that wound really goes – and for the first time ever, I’m scared of it. I had the good fortune of getting 33 years of my parents together, wanting me, wanting their lives together before it all crashed around us taking down part of my identity, my belief system, my self esteem, my ability to stay present and even my support network in the process. On days when it overwhelms me, I wonder, how will I get my two beautiful boys through this pain especially on those days with my eldest when I can already see it.
Dads ill-timed leaving meant that my attachment to my second son is slow and sometimes painful, his loss is exposed right alongside mine and I have had to dig more deeply than I ever thought I could to survive the past 9 months. I’ve been trying to bond with my son and therapeutically parent my oldest, alongside dealing with a suicidal mother, shut down sisters and a newly absent father. It has shaken my belief in my ability to hold my children losses for them, which I’m sure others submerged in the adoption world will agree, is a vulnerable state to be in.
“We are told adoption is all about loss but I’m not sure I fully appreciated what that really meant until I was emotionally exposed and open to it.”
I have hope that it will inform me, make me a better parent, strengthen my resolve and keep me going when times are black however, I have a tiny insight into how they may feel and with that has brought a lot of fear. We are told adoption is all about loss but I’m not sure I fully appreciated what that really meant until I was emotionally exposed and open to it. I do know, that like my children, I am a survivor and once some time has passed, I’ll be using this experience, this unwanted life lesson and I’ll be a better bloody parent because of it, so thanks Dad, my sons will benefit from your life altering decision and for that, I am grateful.
Very many thanks to our anonymous blogger this week for sharing her story. If you have a post that you would like us to publish, please do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org