All that time growing up, I ask myself now, was I really alone or did it just feel like it? I learned early on not everyone understands feelings. Some people don’t have them, some don’t dwell on them and as I told my daughter, we are a feeling family. I think I just had too many feelings and people were uncomfortable with that so I kept everything inside. I was a typical teenager but no one really knew me, the real me. The real me was inside my head.
I love graphic designers. I love typing in a particular word and see what pictures come up on Google. Like that little robot box with this blog. I don’t know who created him but he is adorable. I had to use him. I think most of us feel like that little robot. He’s completely out-of-place and very small. I felt that way a lot.
I can honestly say I wasn’t one of the popular kids in high school. I was liked by everyone but never part of the ‘IN’ group. Let’s just say, if they threw a party, I wasn’t invited. One a side note, high school is a fraction of our lives. A fraction of a fraction even. We live to 80 or 90 years old and high school was only 4 years of our life! I’m surprised how many people think about high school and those years together. I rarely think of it. Out of my friends today I only have one from my high school I still keep in touch with. I have plenty on Facebook but we never talk so I suppose that doesn’t count.
Anyway, trying to handle my feelings back then, I wrote a lot. I still have all those hand-written pages and a permanent callous on my right third finger. I remembering writing so much my hand cramped. I had a really great poem I wrote about my biological mother. I think my mother still has it somewhere. But it was about me holding my anger against this invisible person in my life and how the years went by with me being too stubborn to look for her and when I finally found her, she had passed away. It was just a poem but now as I think about it, it seems foreboding. I hope she’s not dead and I started writing this daily journal, partly, to determine why I still don’t try to find her.
I’m not mad at my mother. After getting that letter from the social worker I understood her frame of mind and could empathize with her reasoning for giving me up. She not only gave me up but also my two older sisters but here’s the catch, the paperwork states they were “placed for adoption with friends”. She said she didn’t regret that too much because she knew where the children were. What about me?
I Googled my mother’s name, once I had it, and found one Geneva Ponder, in Jefferson City, Missouri. Her birth date is 23 December 1949. She gave birth to me in Oklahoma in 1970. The paperwork said she was “very sure of her decision to place her baby up for adoption. She hoped to keep the situation as confidential as possible and was admitted to the hospital under an alias.”
That might explain her corrected name on the adoption records. Did she give the name Janie Burgy or was that something the county clerk made up? I joke but I understand their job. They have to keep the truth sequestered, so to speak, and then they have to create the alias that eventually becomes the person. My real name, whether baby Burgy or baby Ponder, is locked up in a vault. They created an alias for me, Jody Douglas, when I was in foster care those first few weeks. My name today was decided on and changed when I was adopted.
My Mom and Dad only had my adoption record. That’s all the information they had. My Mom always told me that “Jody Douglas” was just a temporary name, something for people to call me while I was in transition. We were both surprised to find out that the courts had to legally change my name from Jody Douglas to Deborah Sills and then later corrected Jody Douglas to Jody Ponder. Both those documents came back to me from the judge along with a better copy of my adoption record. The one I had mailed in was a photocopy and stapled in pieces.
So why don’t I find her?
My desire to find her is like my desire to write. It’s only during the low periods of my life that I find myself writing a lot. Pain, heartbreak, depression, anger spur me to unload on paper but when I’m feeling good the desire to write gets less and less. It’s only during the low periods of my life that I really want to find her. I think it’s because she offers a way out. A way out of my life. Finding her and establishing a relationship with her will establish a relationship with her family and her extended family, i.e. the Indians. Her mother is a member of the Quapaw tribe (or at least, that’s what the social worker wrote down – remember he/she might have been drunk too). Whether complete fabrication or not, I have to believe it because it’s in my official documentation. I have no choice. So finding her will find my heritage.
I wonder, during my low periods, what my life would be like if I found her. Would she accept a relationship with me or view me as something that didn’t remain confidential? Will I remind her of a man she was “too in love with” and reject me again? or will she want me in her life? Those of you who think adoption is just a simple thing are so wrong. If you think its simple you weren’t adopted. You have no idea how much these unanswered questions bother us and its my fear of the unknown that I don’t act.
A friend of mine found his mother. I don’t remember the details but he’d been adopted too and one day his mother found him. Did it turn out good or bad? I’m not really sure. At first good, because he got his questions answered but then bad because she didn’t act like the mother he thought she would. She seemed a little unenthusiastic about having him in her life. They were reunited but it was….disappointing for him. I don’t know I can’t speak for him.
But the situation is so complicated and putting yourself out there to be hurt again and rejected again, well, it takes a brave person, a strong person and I don’t know for sure if I’m that strong.