A truly thought provoking article by guest blogger and adoptee Jane Besmehn.

I was adopted at the age of 5 months old. That was in 1941. I was born in December of 1940. Back then many mothers went to birthing hospitals to have their babies and stayed with the baby for three months so that the baby could nurse and get a good start.

My mother didn’t positively decide to release me to an adoption agency until the last minute. It is my understanding that she agonized over the decision. I went to the adoption agency at the age of three months and then was adopted when I was five months old. By the age of five months, I had been moved three times.

I have eight kids of my own. Every one of those babies knew me at birth! There is no question in my mind that they knew me and would have been affected if I would not have kept them, even if they had been removed from me at birth.

My head understands how difficult it would have been for my birth mother to keep me. I intellectually understand the pressure she was under to give me up… away. I guess giving “up” a baby for adoption sounds better than “giving away.” I feel very strongly that she did love me and that she probably had limited options and resources and was also convinced that I would have a better life in a stable family.

My adoptive parents were good folks, educated, mature, owned their home. They weren’t my mother. They had an adopted son, he was eight years older than me, and they adopted another little girl three years after they adopted me. We were pretty much middle-class America.

I had little books of nursery rhymes. Three Little Kittens… picture for a minute a little girl, about three, sitting on the carpeted floor of a living room cutting the mittens out of the book and pasting them back with the kittens. There is another nursery rhyme called A Tisket A Tasket… I sat on the floor and cut the letters she wrote to her love out of the book and pasted them back in the green and yellow basket… no one thought it strange… just “cute.”

My second grade teacher wrote on my report card, “Jane seems to be hiding her light under a barrel.” How perceptive. No one else noticed.

One of my favorite books was Lassie Come Home and I read it probably about 20 times or more during my pre-teen and teen years. I always cried hard at the end when Lassie finally made the journey home and was reunited with her people. In fact, I’m still crying, now, as I type. I see the connection, why I read the book so many times, why I cried so hard, then, and now. I have spent my life trying to put things together that belong together. And today, I’m seeing how futile that has been, because all I ever really wanted was my mother.

Because of some archaic laws, I can’t even know her name.

None of the people in my story are villains, it’s a story without the bad guys. Everyone involved including my mother, my adoptive parents and the Children’s Home Society staff had good intentions and acted in what they truly believed to be my best interest. Maybe that is the danger in believing any one can really know what is in the best interest of another; but something needed to be done. I understand that; and outwardly, I did have a good childhood.

Inside, however, it’s a different story. I was odd. I never fit in. I felt displaced and still do. I never tried to excel in anything, just settled for a very mediocre life. It was too risky to risk, and besides, a very long time ago I made a vow that no one would ever get to know me or see me, who I really am. That decision partly came out of an ongoing conflict I had for most of my childhood with my adoptive mother. Nothing I was interested in was interesting to her, or even acceptable. I was a tomboy and she adopted a girl. I wanted to learn to play the guitar, she had me take accordion lessons because we already had one and my little sister was taking lessons. I wanted a horse. Of course, I couldn’t have one. She wanted me to go to college, I wanted away from school, period…! I was so uncomfortable in any social or academic setting where I had to interact with others. I only had one or two friends at a time. I didn’t keep any of them. I chose to be alone.

I was constantly having stomach problems (which I kept completely to myself… I did not believe it was safe to do anything to rock the boat and I got in trouble when I threw up.) I remember lying very still on my back while I fell asleep at night, afraid to move because if I did it felt like I would throw up. No one knew. Not their fault. I didn’t tell anyone. I did not trust. I still don’t trust. That is the story of my life to now. It has affected me in everything that I have attempted to do, hold a job, start a business, stay in a relationship, even hold on to friendships. I always sabotage relationships, or myself, and still do. It’s safer to live that way than to trust and risk hurt. I don’t even know how to trust and all my behavior is designed to protect me from ever having to feel the full pain of separation again.

Slowly the pieces are fitting together and the way I have lived my life is making some sense to me. From that place, I will be able to make some choices about how I will spend the rest of my life. EFT will help.

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