My aunt, who adopted my cousin domestically as an infant and maintained some contact with her birth mother, gave me some books today and mentioned that in her experience, the birth mom of her daughter was “ever present”. In only 6 weeks I have found that to be the case with Jo Jo (who of course is not up for adoption at this time, but still). I feel the presence of her birth mom with us all the time. I especially sensed it on Mother’s Day. It is a sort of shadow (minus any negative connotations of the word) that follows us no matter what we do or where we go. I think of her every day, many times, wondering where she is, how she is, what she is doing. I sense the psychic link she has to her child, no matter how far away she is, no matter how cut off. I respect it. I try to tap into that connection and convey back to her that Jo Jo is safe, she is healthy, she is being loved. For some reason, I desperately wish I could tell her that, whatever her response or non-response would be.
If I can sense this connection, how much more does Jo Jo feel it? Does she grieve? Or in her infant state, does she accept it more naturally, loss as a part of life? No one can tell us exactly what it feels like to be an infant experiencing loss. No one can quite remember. Studies show that people adopted as infants show no particular problems in adulthood, or are no different from bio children as far as development and adjustment from childhood into adulthood. It’s folly, however, in my opinion, to think that this child does not sense the absence of the woman who grew her into life, who sustained her while she blossomed into human form. I myself can sense her essence in Jo Jo, so how much more does Jo Jo feel that absence?
I hurt for my little girl. I hurt that she is missing someone so essential to her being. I, as a baby loss mom, know exactly how that feels in reverse. I wish no child ever needed foster care, or to be put up for adoption, unless it with a loving separation and mutual respect for the biological connection between mother and child.
4 thoughts on ““ever present””
I would have to argue the idea that infant adoption results in the same development and adjustment as a bio child!! I very much know that my son, adopted at birth from foster care, has suffered extreme loss and he feels it absolutely every single day of his life. Also, if you read the book “Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew” you would read plenty of interviews of adoptees, even those that didn’t know as a child they were adopted, that they did not feel “quite right”.
You’re right about Jo Jo. I’m sure she feels the loss. However, she also feels the love and support that you’re giving her. And that is a beautiful thing!!
I agree. I don’t think the studies mean that adopted children don’t feel a loss or grieve for it. I think they were just looking at objective measurements… such as average level of crime, education, drug use, diagnoses of depression, etc etc.
It’s hard, the notion of the motherbaby unit being divided, regardless of the reason. I would imagine babies do feel it, yes.
The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier is an excellent resource on this very topic. Babies do feel the pain of the loss and it stays with them. I’m very glad you acknowledge Jo Jo’s birth mom and try to send her those messages. So very thoughtful and a truly loving act.