“Come sit beside me on the couch. I have something important to tell you,” Rosella unexpectedly blurted while nervously extending her hand.
It was her eighth birthday. Judy hesitatingly complied. Her senses were heightened in response to Rosella’s uncharacteristic manner of speaking. The dark living room curtains were only partially open, leaving the air inside muggy and the lighting subdued. Judy automatically sensed that something unusual was about to happen. Her mother’s unusual tone of voice was much too high pitched for this to be an ordinary conversation. Judy sat rigidly at attention with her hands folded on her knees. The couch was ergonomically designed for adults and unfit for Judy’s small stature. The bristly fabric was scratchy on the back of her legs. It was a drizzly, cloudy day outside.
Rosella was not a warm, intimate hugger and her overbearing physical proximity caused Judy to writhe in her seat. Rosella cleared her throat before introducing the topic with a very bold statement.
“I am not your real mother.”
Judy stiffened her back and sat upright. Her mouth was closed; her lips were pursed tightly together. She had nothing to say. Silence heightened the tension between them. Rosella had never understood why Judy had always been somber, withdrawn, and introverted because she had been unaware of the circumstances surrounding her first days in an orphanage and tragic separation from her foster family. Judy’s suffering had imposed a great strain on Rosella. In response, her patience had often been overtaxed. Her normal reaction had been to walk away and leave Judy alone to play by herself.
“You had another mother before you were adopted. She gave birth to you and named you Judy. Your birth mother was not legally married. You were an accident. She was forced to give you up for adoption because you were illegitimate, and she was very young.”
Judy did not blink and reacted tentatively to what Rosella told her. Her rigid body language was making a strong statement that she was uncomfortable and confused. She had no comprehension about what the word “illegitimate” meant, and she was baffled about why she would ever be referred to as an “accident.” She understood the basic meaning of adoption, but the underlying ramifications were more mysterious than clear. Judy was merely a child and stood dejectedly off to the side with her eyes lowered with an injured expression on her face. At that moment, she needed spontaneous love and reassurance. She desperately wanted Rosella to stop talking and hug her, but no hugs were forthcoming.
Rosella abruptly ended the conversation and returned to her normal duties in the kitchen. She felt a sense of relief that the moment she had dreaded for so long was finally over. Perhaps an opportunity for positive bonding could have occurred if Rosella had simply hugged Judy and invited her into the kitchen to help decorate her birthday cake or engage in some other mother-and-daughter activity. Instead, Judy was coldly left alone to clean her bedroom and finish her daily chores. She closed her eyes and pensively dreamed about her far away birth mother as a real person.
Chapter II – Self Awareness, Adoption Detective, p. 62-68, ISBN 978-1-60494-570-6
Adoption Story | Judith Land | Parenting & Relationships | Adoptee | Birth Mother
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