My brain has its way of protecting my memories but the heart always wins. I can’t remember what it was like to be in your arms, to hear your heart rhythm, to feel the warmth of your breath or the soft whispers of you shushing me to sleep, or trying to get me to stop crying.
My brain can’t remember these things but my heart, my instincts can. Maybe it is what others have said about you that makes it easier to create a picture in my mind. Maybe it is the physical picture I have of you at my desk. Always looking at you as my racial mirror…as my equal.
At night I dream of you. I dream of us. You speak to me but I can never respond. The light that escapes the poorly made curtains in my room reflects off the door, which then bounces off the fire alarm. From there, another light hits the wall beside the bathroom door. If I lay just right, it is as if it makes a triangle. And if I move a certain way, I receive strange signals, like the light is trying to tell me something. Like you are trying to make contact.
The triangle represents equality in the three components of adoption and yet none is equal. Society says an adoptive mother is equal to a birth mother…but it leaves out the feelings of the adoptees. Society should see adoption more as a rhombus…..only equal sides but not the angles. Equal as in we are all human, but how human we are, what degree our life matters…..yes. It will be different. Each angle will be unique and usually the angle of the adoptive parent has greater importance. Such is a rhombus.
It’s like that for me. It’s as if you have always tried to make contact but because I lived in total isolation, I was not able to tap into this thing we call instincts. I was not able to reach out; through the subtle voices telling me i’m better off with these people, these people who look nothing like me, they smell different, they talk different. They colonized me. As if I was some kind of heathen in need of a savior.
But I am here now mom. I hear your voice and I feel your touch every day. Through the babies I hold that are my niece and nephew, the babies who are your grand-babies. As i hold them close to me, bosom to bosom, I can only hope that our connection was this close. But maybe it wasn’t.
Maybe I am wrong about my instincts and your desire to be with me. Maybe you are what my adopters said you were, poor, and didn’t and couldn’t care for me or love me. Then why would you spend years looking for me?
Now you have found me but the only thing you see is my baby self, you forget that I am now grown. You forget that I am now married, and am now with my children, but your idea of me is frozen in time. Time that neither one of us can ever get back.
Your death, though without life, is life for me. For your family, my family, we-live through death in order to be alive.
What were you like mom? Did you love me? You must have because I feel I have only love to give and I can only get that from someone who loved me so dearly. Did you love me so much that you gave me up for a life of struggle? Is love about letting go? Is love about giving away?
Is love about lack of consent?
I couldn’t consent as i was just a child. But if I could, I would have said leave me in the orphanage, where you would continue to visit me. I know you did, my brothers say so. I know you came to see how I was doing. My dreams are filled with the short reunions and me seeing your face, the face I recognized because after all, YOU are my mother.
I imagine myself getting all excited to be seen by you, maybe even showing my friends who you were. I don’t know if this is real, but I do know that in my dreams, I have lived experiences that can’t be put into a box.
There is no picture shoe box large enough that can hold all the wants and desires I have to know you, to be part of you.
When I dream, you are there. You reach out your hand but I can’t grab it, you are out of my reach, my grasp, my touch….you can’t touch me.
Once I touched you.
And yet again you spent months and years looking for me. After my adoptive family brought me for a “visit”, you never lost hope. But why didn’t you fight? Harder? Maybe death was the last battle and this particular death had a sting.
When you died mom, I died. Everything ceased to matter. I remember my grades went down, a few years later I began cutting myself, and I was depressed. To think that I will never be able to meet you destroys the very essence of who we are.
Through your sister though, I see, touch and feel you.
Why do I love someone who gave me to the wolves? We were connected in the womb but disconnected in the spirit.
I love you because I can’t have hatred for you. Knowing that you looked for me and you tried, and you never signed the papers. Knowing that it was not YOUR signature on my adoption papers just tells me that I am yours forever. And though by law I belong to Satan, in the end we will be triumphant.
In the end what you created, that was shaped and molded in the womb, though separated in physicality will be together in spirit.
Thank you for loving me till death did you part. Thank you for believing I had a chance. Thank you for giving me a chance. Thank you for creating the strong Haitian woman that I am today and will be in the future.
When I die and they lay me to rest, I’m going to go to the place that is the best…..in your arms…back in your arms.