Maybe this is a good time to start talking about some of the issues and I guess, my perspective on the actions and happenings that led me to become the person that I am today.
As I had stated in a previous blog, I was adopted by my maternal grandparents when I was a small child. Leading up to the point of the signing of the adoption papers isn’t clear. I’ve heard different sides and quite honestly I don’t really know who I can believe at this point in time. What I do know is that both of my birth parents were in the United States Air Force. I believe my birth mother worked in the hospital on base, and my birth father was Air Force police on base. They were stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. They got married very young, and had me while still very young. She was, and still is, severely bipolar. He was dealing with his own bouts of depression.
Eventually I ended up in Eugene, Oregon with my maternal side of the family. I don’t remember a lot leading up to that point seeing as I was a very small child at that point. But my first real, and vivid memory is of my birth mother coming to visit me at my grandparents house. I distinctly remember her coming over, I was so excited and wanted to show her a chalk drawing my aunt and I had recently finished on the front porch. I remember an air of disinterest on her part. A sort of “ah, uh huh” response to everything. When we walked into the house, I looked over to my right and I saw my grandma sitting in the rocking chair in the living room, arms crossed and a sour look on her face. I believe it was around Easter time when this happened, I remember getting a basket of candy with a small doll in it from my birth mother. After that, it’s a bit of a blur. But I remember her walking out the door with my grandma. After a short amount of time my grandma came back inside looking upset. That was it. I don’t remember seeing her again after that. I think I may have been three or so at the time.
Later on I would hear rumblings about the fact that she was dating a man of darker skin color, so my grandparents didn’t approve. I’ve never been able to validate that completely. It’s always been she said, she said.
Thinking back to my childhood I mostly remember having questions about my situation that I didn’t think I was allowed to ask. My birth parents were never spoken of, so I didn’t think it was okay to bring it up. Some time later I was told that I was allowed to ask but they wanted me to approach them about it. Well, that sort of backfired on them, I was never told or reassured that it was something that was okay to talk about. So, I just kept everything to myself.
As well as the lack of communication regarding my birth parents, there was minimal physical contact. Now, I don’t want to sound like a whiney little girl moaning about how mommy and daddy didn’t hug her. But unfortunately, it’s the truth in this case. I can’t remember any hugging, kissing, reassurance of “I love you,” or positive reinforcement. It wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I fully realized how the lack of those things can affect someone so much later in life. From my perspective, as I grew up, the only sort of true attention I received was when I did something wrong. So, of course I just kept doing things wrong and kept getting myself in trouble because that was typically the only time I felt like I was truly getting 100% of the attention centered on me.
Perhaps that’s why the hip dysplasia wasn’t recognized earlier in my life. It’s possible that it was a combination of two factors. Physicians not really being aware of the warning signs or diagnoses, or the people that surrounded me simply didn’t pay close enough attention. It’s really hard to say.
I remember as I was growing up I would search around in the attic and I would find little tidbits of information pertaining to my birth mother. Whether it was misdirected mail that my grandparents hoarded, or photographs and small keepsakes they kept buried away. The questions and the desire for answers were there, but I didn’t feel like it was welcomed.
When I started going to kindergarten I had been attending Willagillespie Grade School that was less than a mile from where we were living. One day I was suddenly being taken to another grade school that was much further from our home, Buena Vista/Meadowlark Grade School. At the time I had no idea why I had changed schools, but at that age of course you just go where you’re told. Around high school I finally found out why I had been transferred to another school. My birth mother had been calling my grandparents house and threatening to come and take me while I was at school. She knew where I was, and she’d come take me during recess. When I had been transferred to my new school, the administration had been informed of the situation so during classes and recess I would have to be watched carefully to make sure everything was running smoothly. The main concern was recess time.
Now, this is simply what my grandma had told me. I can’t verify for an absolute fact that this is what actually occurred. As you’ll see later, my grandma has a really tough time telling the truth, even to her own family.