In the last few days, Cathy has come back into view. I listen for what her heart tells me. Her few words have been honest and tender. I am making preparations to leave for my father’s ninetieth birthday in Florida, and she has just returned from her father’s funeral there. Peter John was eighty years old when he died. He’ll be missed. He was a lovely man with kind blue eyes reminiscent of my own father – the Irish brows. Our fathers are ten years apart. I can only imagine her loss. Her biological father is much younger, but the father who raised her is the one who counts.
Cathy and I were in the midst of an unusual Open Adoption Interview Project this past November to raise awareness by pairing interviewers from all participating perspectives – when events intervened and delayed posting. Cathy and her interview partner, a birthmother, have just posted the interviews on their blogs. They are interesting and frank.
Cathy invited me to read. I get to hear her heart out loud when I read Cathy’s writing, so I was glad for the invitation. I went to the first link to read and then the other. A flurry of unpremeditated email responses followed and today we decided to share them with you for our take on this week’s topic.
Remember, I don’t read Cathy’s blog, so please excuse any redundance on my part. I wrote Cathy’s song, “Mercy High, Mercy Low” at another moment much like this one years ago and so, bears repeating with the theme.
Comments are welcome. Please like kathleencathleen on facebook, if you like. Thanks for reading.
(Cathy’s email to Kate)
You can go to Lost Daughters
and the Great Wide Open
– if you want to read the interview that I did for the Open Adoption Interview Project.
I’ll be curious to know whether you think she’s just fooling herself (about being fine with relinquishing the child) or if open adoption just made it okay for her. Because, really, although you say now you wish you kept me, it’s true too (and okay) that you didn’t want to be a mother at 19. So, you had your options. I wonder if open adoption would have made it different for you or if you think, knowing what you know now, you still think you would have kept me?
There is no doubt in any nook, cranny or cell of my being that I would have wanted to do anything but keep you near me, with me, all the way, through thick and thin, no matter what. Nineteen was young and I wasn’t prepared but I would have figured it out given half a chance.
Open adoption, for me, may have been harder than full relinquishment because I don’t think I could have succeeded emotionally in a setting of monitored access to you. It’s one thing to feel the loss and feel like a freak without anybody else really being aware of what I was going through. Stepping into the role of birthmother with visitation rights would have been excruciating. At least that’s how I perceive it. In those shoes, I probably would have had constant feelings of deprivation of my child and fantasies about kidnapping you rather than relinquishing you over and over and over again. No thanks.
If I had it to do over, I would have accepted it and kept you right there in my arms and never, ever let you go. Ever. At least until you were old enough to look both ways before you crossed the street and then I would be watching you like a mother hawk.
I’ll read your post after my workout and write you a long one this afternoon to catch up. I’m so happy to hear from you and look forward to writing you back in a little while.
(Kate’s response to Cathy after reading the interviews)
Wow. I just finished reading the two sides – Lost Daughters and The Great Wide Open. What a good bunch of hard, honest questions and remarkable answers.
I think she has a disconnect that is securely fastened to her intellect. But I also think that sometimes we need to forge ahead with positive energy or we will die from the sorrow that lies under the optimism in our hearts.
I would never give you away again. I don’t care how nice people are, I feel like you do and would keep my right to be your parent.
I think your side was so eloquent and brave. You are beautiful and I’m so proud of your honesty. I love you, Cathy.
I’ll write more soon. The sun is out and I need to go for a walk and visit the elephants and gorillas at the zoo.
(Cathy to Kate)
Oh, good. That’s what I was hoping you’d say : )
To read my daughter’s counterblog, visit ReunionEyes.