PAGE # 31
The Night Before Mother's Day

Dear Birth Mother,

I've been thinking about you a lot, especially with Mother's Day being tomorrow.  I checked your Facebook page recently, and even though we are not friends there and your page is not public, I could see your profile picture and your friend list.

It looks like you changed your profile pic to one from when you were pregnant with Lily.  There is a man seated next to you, but the picture is cropped, so I can only see a fraction of his face.  I can't tell for sure, but it looks like it is Lily's biological father.

You look beautiful and happy in this picture.

Then, my gaze shifted down toward your friend list--I didn't click on it--I just saw the "featured friends" that a viewer sees on the side.  And I saw your name again, so I clicked on that.

I guess you have two Facebook accounts. 

This profile page, unlike the other, has the updated timeline feature.  The inset photo is one of you, your husband, and your two boys.  The large photo is a picture of a beautiful flower.  It's a lily.  Of course.

I started to feel a bit of panic, because having a therapist background, and a significant knowledge of complex trauma (both personal & professional), I could not help but view this as proof of dissociative phenomena.  NOT something severe like a multiple personality disorder.  Just that you might be fragmented now.  Like the pregnant mother you were got split off from the person you have to be now.  The mother you have to be without Lily.

I've felt a lot of anxiety since this Facebook discovery.  It's hard for me to figure out whether my concerns for you are accurate, or whether this is just some manifestation of my own PTSD.  My own transference issues, so to speak.  Perhaps it doesn't really matter.  Maybe it's a bit of both.

I had a vivid dream a few nights after this Facebook discovery.

In the dream, I had found Lily.  I was running with her.  I held her close; I was worried I might drop her by accident.  The landscape kept changing and it was hard to stay balanced.  I ran through fields of tall grass, through parking lots of empty cars.  I was looking for you.  I was trying to bring Lily back to you.  But I couldn't find you.  

When I woke up, it was still the middle of the night.  I was sweating and my toes were rounded and clenched.  My body felt weighted, like I was pinned down by some unseen force.  I wake up like this a lot nowadays, and I have to work really hard from launching into a full blown panic attack.  I'm usually okay during the daytime.  The panic episodes mostly happen at night.

My therapist has pointed out that my concern for you is a bit obsessive.  Perhaps.  I acknowledge that on some level, focusing on you has maybe protected me from feeling my own pain.  It is hard for me to give myself permission to cry about Lily.  I feel like I'd be usurping your grief somehow.  But during that therapy session, I was able to cry.  And I guess that's okay too.

Just today, the whole family was out shopping.  We were in the kids' department, buying new shoes for Sara.  I saw a baby--she had to be the same age Lily is now--so I got up real close to see if maybe she was Lily.  Remember the birthmarks Lily had under her nose?  The ones the nurse said were called stork bites?  I always look for those when I smile at babies.  The nurse said they would fade away eventually, but you never know.  

I guess I feel forever linked to you.  We both lost the same baby girl to the world of adoption.  She is your daughter, and I want you to know that we loved her too.

Happy Mother's Day to both of us.  



Anonymous said...

No such thing thing as being obsessive when it concerns caring for another human. I know your a therapist, and were all supposed to be well adjusted, but were all supposed to actually be HUMAN. Which means being different, and having feelings whatever they may be. Therapy, should be to decipher your feelings and help understand why you feel the way you do, to help you figure out who you are, not correct you to whom you should be. You have a big heart, and I'm super proud of you.

Myst said...

Um... okay so maybe I missed something somewhere along the line? I thought when you said this was a failed adoption placement, it meant K KEPT Lily?? Maybe not going off this letter?

Your paragraphs about the two facebook accounts really resonated with me as I have two facebook accounts. In fact I split a piece of myself off completely when I lost Amber. Since 1999 (mere months after losing the final court battle) I created a completely new persona - Mystere - the name chosen from a movie I had loved as a young teen. Then I shortened it to Myst and I really feel like Myst now and not just my non-adoption self. I have even entertained thoughts of changing my name etc to embrace this new me in the past but decided not to. So that part of Kendra I totally understand and many of us in adoption land have two personas - one non-adoption related, one adoption related. I think it is a coping mechanism and it helps if we have a place to vent rather than keeping our hell all locked up inside.

And I agree, your concern is not really obsessive... sadly your compassion and empathy is a rare quality today and so rather than seeing it as a positive thing, it has to be classed as abnormal. However, it isn't and you really are an amazing person for caring so much!

And I am so very, very sorry you lost this baby girl if her mother doesn't have her. I am really intrigued as to what happened now so if you want to email me please feel free to get in touch with me at myst1998@hotmail.com

You would have been an amazing adoptive mama.

Happy Mother's day to you and to K wherever she is <3 xxx

Jennifer said...

Myst--I just sent you a test email, so please confirm you got it.

The fragmentation of the self is totally a coping skill in trauma. And also, it demonstrates that being a mother who has lost a child to adoption is, in fact, a trauma. In case anyone reading my blog wants to argue that or dismiss the traumatic aspects of adoption--they will be taking up a fierce battle with me.
I will totally explain more about my concerns for K via email.

Jennifer said...


I don't think my therapist was trying to suggest that my empathy is wrong. I think she was trying to allow me a safe place to cry for Lily too. She was saying, hey, it's okay for you to cry--you suffered a loss too. The term "obsessive"--she likely chose it b/c I have OCD--and obsessive/compulsive behavior, in my case, and over the course of my lifetime, has kept traumatic material pushed down. She knows that--so is probably why she chose that term.
So, just to summarize--I don't think she found my empathy a case of pathology. Just she wanted to remind me that it is okay to give myself permission to grieve too.
Best to all,

Cate said...

I was really hoping she'd kept the baby in the end, too. *sigh* Poor baby.

Carlynne Hershberger, CPSA said...

I'm confused too. I thought Lily got to stay with her mother.

Myst said...

Thanks Jennifer - replied to your email :)

It makes sense that the mind would do what it can to protect itself. Trauma was not a stranger to me before I lost Amber - there had been several instances beforehand and yet none of them almost drove me over the edge of my sanity as losing her did.

And thanks for clarifying re the therapist... yes, I totally agree with her - you do need to give yourself permission to grieve. A loss is still a loss regardless of the situation.

Jennifer said...

The story is very complex. That's why I started the blog in the 1st place, b/c when friends/family would ask what happened, it was just sooo complicated to explain. So I figured I'd send them to the blog.

Once I started writing the story, I realized myself that the story was even more complicated than I had thought. Plus, starting to read other adoption blogs validated some of my feelings about the process. I felt like I was going crazy b/c of the attorney. I didn't know that domestic infant adoption is filled with corruption in vast instances. I thought what I experienced was unusual.It all happened so fast--it was hard to understand it all at the time.

So, yes--neither myself nor "Kendra" has Lily now. It is a roller coaster of a story.

I hope you guys keep reading. I don't want to give away all the details of the outcome, not just bc it is so complex to do so in a brief way, but also bc I want people in general to understand how manipulative the adoption industry is. People are curious--they will keep reading and maybe learn something in the process.

Of course, outside of my family and friends, the people reading this blog are likely those who already know what the adoption industry is really like. But if even a few prospective adoptive parents out there read this, and integrate it into their preconceived notions about adoption, then I think I would be happy for that.
Myst--I will get back to you later via the email. I gotta get showered before my family steals my computer away forever!

Fran said...

Jenn, so sorry to hear that neither you nor Kendra have Lily. I'm hoping that whoever does wanted her as much as you did and will treat her as their own child. I wish you a happy mother's day and hope you can get over this sadness soon...

Cassi said...


I agree with the others. You have every right to grieve. To hurt and to cry for what you and your family lost.

For awhile, after I came out of my denial and was forced to face the pain of losing my son, I had two separate "lives" as well. It has only been within the last couple years that I finally decided to bring both of my lives together.

I think your empathy and concern for Kendra is a true testament to the kind-hearted women and mother you are. I look forward to reading more of your story.

I never got to say goodbye said...

Oh I had so hoped Lily would not suffer the trauma of adoption.... how awful and troubling. thank you for writing this blog. It is so important to hear this!