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I was born in Baltimore, MD. The product of two 15 year old kids. I was to be placed for adoption without question. Peggy, my birth mother, and Rich, my birth father, never saw each other again. Rich, as a matter of fact, never even really knew my birthday until I met him as an adult.
I spent my first 3 months in a foster home. The name given to me at the time was “Amy”. We don’t know much, of course, about that time. We do know that I was not held – ever. Even as a newborn, a bottle was propped for my feedings. Foster parents didn’t want to get attached, I suppose.
My parents, the ones who adopted me, got a phone call from the adoption agency (County) that there was a baby girl with some health issues and were they interested? They picked me up at the adoption office with nothing more than the clothes on my back. Mom has told me that was the strangest feeling. To be handed this baby and just be allowed to walk out the door with her ! Soon after I was adopted, my parents had planned a trip across the border into Canada. Mom has often said it felt strange to have this baby and was someone going to stop them and say HEY, she’s not yours!
My family, at that time, was Mom and Dad and my brother, Jeff. Jeff is 6 years older and NOT adopted. I’m not certain he was as excited about my arrival as he was with the puppy he got just a few months before me We aren’t particularly close but we love each other.
My father was a musician in the US Navy when I was adopted. We lived in Annapolis, MD in base housing. We had the “usual” life. Mom stayed home with us and did some babysitting and was my brother’s Cub Scout den leader. We always say that I was a Cub Scout since I did everything with them. I’m sure that did NOT thrill my brother I started school at 5 already knowing how to read. I had metal closet doors in my bedroom and my Mom had put magnetic letters on them and taught me herself. I was a voracious reader from the age of 4 and still am ! My Kindergarten teacher was so amazed at my reading that I attended Kindergarten for half the day and First Grade for half the day. Then I skipped right to 2nd grade when I was 6. In retrospect, it wasn’t so great because it stunted me socially as I spent every minute indoors reading or wanting to be with adults and never wanted to be outside with other kids. I also excelled at reading but not studying or other subjects so in later years, my grades were not so great. I was the kid who would much rather watch the news than cartoons. Rather read the newspaper than a comic book.
3-D Eucalyptus – that was our address. We left there when I was only 6 so I have no idea why or how I still remember that address. Maybe because it’s the only place my family ever lived while we were still together. You see, when I was 7, we went to church one Sunday without my Dad. My memory of that day may be faulty but as I recall we arrived home to see my Dad hauling his things to a car getting ready to leave. As an adult, I know my folks must have been having issues without our knowledge. At that time, though, I had NO clue anything was going on until the day he left. He had fallen in love with another woman on base who also left her husband and a young infant. Her name? Debbie. Very weird for me! MUCH younger than my father and she and her husband had been friends with our family. I remember going camping and canoeing with them. I guess that was the beginning of their “relationship”.
My Mom moved us immediately to Ohio where they were from, originally. Mom and Dad’s families were still in the Northwest Ohio area and we moved there. We moved into this teeny, tiny little house in Findlay. It was a horrible time. My Mom was dealing with the betrayal and two young kids and no job, no career, no money, etc. My Dad and Debbie moved across the country to Seattle, WA.
Mom took a job at Sears and Jeff and I became (what they called at the time) “Latchkey kids”. We would come home from school to an empty house. Jeff was my babysitter and that didn’t always go to well. One time when I was maybe 8, he accidentally shot me with a bb gun. We thought it ricocheted but after my eye started swelling up a few days later, we realized it had actually penetrated and was still in the skin just under my eye. They took it out in the emergency room and we had it for years in a little beaker from the ER.
More to come…
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Owning It. That’s my new mantra. I’ve spent the majority of my life denying it. Hiding it. Keeping people away from it. My life, that is. That’s not to say I’ve lived life as a solitary woman. Quite the contrary – I’m married, 3 kids, active in church, school, work, busy “stuff”. BUT, I’ve never really “owned” that life that I created. When you’re not comfortable in your own skin, you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to live OTHER people’s reality and that is truly exhausting. So, quite recently, it caught up with me. I broke. Big. I had no definition. I had no idea who I had become or who I am destined to be. I knew I wasn’t as good a Mom as “that person” or as good a wife as “that person”. I didn’t have friends like “those people”. I had wrapped myself up in 20 layers of psychological “bubble wrap” and then wondered why no one ever reached out to “touch” me.
I’m going to start at the very beginning (a very fine place to start so if you want to skip the gory details – come back later. I’m doing this for ME and so eventually, I can break out of the bubble wrap !