Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Faceless Woman

I was adopted by my parents when I was three weeks old..   They always told me that I was adopted, but the only information that we had about my birth mother was that she had given birth to me at a Catholic home for unwed mothers in Austin and that she was only sixteen years old at the time of my birth.  Even though I had amazing parents, grandparents and friends, I always felt like something was missing. There were so many unanswered questions  and just a feeling of never knowing who I truly was that often consumed my mind, even while I slept.

When I was about five years old, I started having a terrifying recurring dream.  I was out alone in the cold, dark night when I saw this big, eerie house through the fog.  Lost and all alone, I felt as If I had no choice but to go inside to  find someone to help me.  When I reached the big double doors of the ominous dwelling, I suddenly sensed that someone on the inside wanted me to open them without knocking. The doors were heavy, and when I finally pulled them open and stepped inside, they slammed shut so forcibly that I knew I would not be able to leave; I was trapped.

The inside of the house was just as creepy as the outside.  There was an expansive foyer with no furniture, lit only by the light of the moon shining in through the tall, Gothic windows.   The only thing in the foyer was a long winding staircase.  Hesitantly, I looked up at the top of the stairs and saw the silhouette of a woman.  I still get the chills when I think of her slowly descending the staircase and becoming more visible, more menacing. She wore a long blue dress that was cinched at the waist and her long black hair was pulled up in some sort of loose bun.  Then the light of the moon hit her face, and there was nothing there.  I couldn't scream; I couldn't move.  She just kept getting closer and closer until I knew that I would never escape.

After having this nightmare for months, I finally broke down and told my Mawmaw about it.  My grandmother was always very calm and sensible, so imagine my disquiet when she uncharacteristically became extremely upset, so much so that she called my mother at work.  I remember her telling my mother, mostly in French, that she was very worried and that my mother needed to do something about my nightmare right away.  She then tried to comfort me and assure me that nothing bad could happen to me because of a dream, but I knew that Mawmaw was worried.

Years later she would tell me that she felt that the dream was about my birth mother.  She confided in me that she had often feared that my birth mother would just show up one day and take me away from her. I told her that no one could ever take me away from her, but that I did want to find her someday just so that I could learn more about who I was and why she gave me up for adoption. My grandmother became very upset.  She said that she was worried that I would only be hurt by what I would find.  She told me to trust that there was a reason that God gave me to my parents and leave it at that.  Mawmaw was right.

I found my birth mother when I was eighteen and tried to have a relationship with her for years.  After countless empty promises and even being taken advantage of her financially and emotionally, I finally made the decision to cut her out of my life for good.

I am by no means saying that dreams are somehow prophetic.  Rather, I think that my grandmother had exceptional insight which was only magnified by her unflinching faith in God.  There are many other reasons that I believe she had an exceptional gift.   I will go into detail about those on another day.

I also believe that for some adoptive children, finding birth parents can be a blessing.  It ends years of wondering and can sometimes even lead to a renewed bond, especially if the adoptee has had a less than fulfilling childhood.   It can also be invaluable to know one's familial medical history.  Everyone should have the right to that information.

Luckily for me, my true family raised me with unconditional love and support which gave  me the inner strength to eventually realize that my I did not my birth mother's love or even her presence in my life to know who I was or that I was lovable. Even though I have made the decision to not allow her to hurt me anymore, I am still grateful to her for giving me life and for choosing to give me a better life than she could have given me.  Anyone who knows anything about my parents and my grandparents knows that she made the right choice.

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