“As soon as I saw you,
I knew an adventure was going to happen.”
Winnie the Pooh
A while back, back in the fall, you might remember me mentioning that an editor
from Plough House Publishing had stumbled upon my tiny little corner of the blogosphere.
After reading some of the things I’d posted,
she thought that I might like to receive some of their books for my perusal…
perhaps using one or two in future posts…
perhaps a full fledged review or more appropriately…
simply an added bit of flavoring or spice
to whatever it is I may be posting…
Several of the books contained the works of Alfred Delp,
the Catholic priest arrested by the Nazis who was eventually hung for not
denouncing his faith or the priesthood.
A couple of weeks ago my publishing friend contacted me again letting me know that she
was going to be sending out a new, yet uncorrected proof, of a soon to be released
book for my perusing.
The name of the book is
You Carried Me
A daughter’s memoir
by Melissa Ohden
In her email my friend gave me a little background to the book and story.
In a nutshell it is the story of a now grown woman coming to terms with her adoption.
Little did my publishing friend know that I too had been adopted and had even written
about my own adoption here when I first started blogging.
Mrs Ohden’s tale is not merely one of a child given up for adoption who
subsequently goes on a quest for the answers to those nagging questions of an unknown past…
but rather Mrs. Ohden’s story is a bit more complex.
For you see Mrs Ohden is actually the survivor of an abortion.
As in she was an aborted baby, who lived.
Now before you click the exit button or start rolling your eyes, stay with me for a minute.
Her story is not a rant.
It is not political.
It is not a sentimental soppy tale of angst and devastation before finding needed redemption…
in actuality maybe it is—
maybe it is all of that and more.
This is a post that really needs to be more and go further,
but I don’t have the necessary time or strength for the emotional journey it would require.
And you don’t have to time to read such….
Here is a link to the first time I posted anything about my own adoption….
it is early on in the blogging days so it is not as polished or clean as it should be…
as I am the queen of typos and a victim of the constant undetected autocorrects…
January 22 in the Catholic church is a day of prayer…
a “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children”
So I decided the time might be right to add a post along those same lines…
I promise I’m not going to jump on my soapbox here, I’ll wait for another day.
And I must admit that I really debated as to whether I wanted to read the book…
Adoption is not an easy topic for me.
At 57 I have lived a life of putting pieces back together that I had never taken apart…
they were taken apart long before I was born.
I am a believer that we are all broken and damaged goods.
I’ve yet to meet a human being who wasn’t…
as in no one is the embodiment of perfection.
It’s just that some of us do a better job then others of living and
dealing with what makes us, us.
Our parents were not or are not perfect.
And despite our best attempts, all of us who are parents will fall woefully flat…
as our kids will be the byproducts of our own shortcomings and dysfunctions…
be they good or bad or just simply despite it all.
Yet for adopted kids there is an added trove of unanswered questions.
For even the most well adjusted among us is still a human being
and will muse at some time or another the questions of why and who.
Walking down the street, often wondering if I’ve ever bumped into or crossed the path
of the biological family I’ve never known,
I look in a mirror and wonder…
I wonder where the green eyes come from.
I wonder why I like certain things and dislike others…
Who passed on this or that?
Where are my roots and my heritage….
Throw into the mix the circumstance the biological in-utero connection
between mother and child.
A baby who is to be given up, as soon as it is born, cannot help but have certain
anxieties and heaviness passed on by a torn woman burdened with guilt,
resentment, angst, worry, or sorrow….
add then to that the knowledge that the pregnancy is to be terminated…
A heavy load for the psychological growth of any individual.
Certain things will always bubble below the surface…like it or not…
As any doctor or psychologist or psychiatrist worth their salt will tell you…
there is a deep innate connection between mother and child
whether we want to acknowledge that or not.
Despite the best parenting skills and love given and offered by the adopted parents,
those who are given up for adoption have a higher incidence of issues with
abandonment, anger, rage, self esteem and a wealth of insecurities…
For it is all just part and parcel.
Melissa Ohren’s burden was a bit heavier because she was to have been killed, never born.
Her’s was a late third trimester saline injection abortion.
It was hard for me to read her recounting of her “delivery” by the nurse who actually
realized that the delivered baby was not dead nor about to die.
Saline injections are meant to burn and suffocate…surviving is rare if ever.
She spent a lengthy time in an intensive care unit of a neonatal center.
Potential adoptee parents were told that this baby girl would most likely face a lifetime
of both developmental and physical burdens and deficits.
Potentially blind, deaf, delayed developmentally, never walking, or talking…
the list was long and grim.
Yet her adopted parents jumped in with both feet despite a possible lifetime of
care and need.
Melissa Odhen however defied the odds.
She never suffered any lasting or long term physical or developmental effects.
So Mrs Odhen tale is more than merely filling in the who of an adopted child…
her’s is a tale heavy on the side of why and how.
Her adopted parents were always loving and supportive of her quest.
As they were the couple she always claimed as her parents—
The knowledge of adoption and late abortion never lessened her love of and for this couple
nor ever did her need for answers lessen their love for her.
They supported her digging and her quest from the very beginning.
I found that I could relate to some of her feelings and questions,
especially when she married and eventually became a mother herself….
as there are lots and lots of worries and concerns regarding genetics and potential
problems when an adoptee is pregnant herself.
Yet I could also relate to some of her angst filled adolescent struggles
over issues such as the identity of self, a sense of not fitting in,
a deep seceded anger and frustration that she
could never quite put her finger on.
All wich exploded once she learned of the failed abortion.
Imagine yourself as an adoptee…
you find yourself, despite knowing you are
obviously wanted and loved by your adopted family,
yet there remains a primal feeling buried deep within
that you are not worthy of being wanted…
Or either you find yourself constantly left wondering as to how or why your biological
mother could have ever given you away…
As it all ties into the need of being loved and of knowing ones self worth.
You spend a life struggling with a sense of self worth…you battle internally,
rationalizing with your self that you are worthy of love..of course you are,
yet your own mother made the conscious decision that really, really you weren’t…
It is a constant and deadly internal struggle.
Add to the fact that your biological mother actually wanted you dead.
Leaving a toxic and even deadly combination for the most grounded of individuals.
The book is not long, a mere 165 pages—
and once I committed to reading it,
I finished it in a day and a half, despite my being a rather slow reader.
This book and story are not a catalyst for protest,
but rather simply a tale of one woman’s quest of
self discovery, spiritual discovery, acceptance and forgiveness…
for both self and for a biological mother she slowly begins to understand.
And yet it is a good book adding a bit more flavor to the debate
that grips this nation of ours…
As we continue revisiting and coming to terms with Roe v Wade…
Melissa Odhen has created a foundation for other survivors of abortion…
Abortion Survivors Network and is an advocate for all those
who have been impacted by abortion…
More on adoption at a later date….
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.