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By now, my daughter is likely asleep in England, at her birth grandmother’s house. This journey has not been a simple as any of us thought it might be. (See my post on “My Cinderella” for background information.)

After us making contact with her birth mom several months ago (at Chelsea’s request), the first plan was for her birth mom to come to our town, and visit Chelsea for awhile. The next unexpected plan involved Chelsea inviting her to move in with her. (This caused some concerns for us, because of  what we knew of her background.) But we had never said anything negative about her birth mom, and always tried to acknowledge that she wanted her in a good home, and that she loved her. However, after raising our daughter for 17 years (she is now almost 20), we did have qualms, because her mother placed her for adoption (at age 3) due to some overwhelming personal problems. But we realized that Chelsea was an adult now (at least in numbers), and that we would have little to say about her choices.

However, not long after all this happened, we got a surprising call from England, from the birth grandmother. She left a message, saying that she wanted to bring us up to date, on what was going on in Chelsea’s birth mom’s life currently. (I will call her birth mom M from now on.) The tone of the message did not lead us to believe that the revelations were going to be good ones.

So when the times lined up right with the States and England, we returned her call. Before I go into that conversation, you need to know that we assumed that M had arrived here, and moved in with Chelsea, as we had heard nothing different, and the date of her expected arrival had long passed. (We had not heard a word from Chelsea, though it had been planned for all of us to meet for dinner, at some point, so we were beginning to wonder if that was going to happen.)

However, after a comedy of errors concerning the whole scenario,  it turns out that there was a problem with M’s passport, and once she reached Atlanta, she was promptly sent back to England. (So she had never arrived here after all.)

Now-enter the return call to Chelsea’s grandmother. She talked, and we listened (almost entirely) for about 2 1/2 hours. She told us that M was doing drugs and drinking.  And that she had very recently thrown a frightening temper tantrum with her sister, and because of that, she was presently living with a friend of the grandmother’s. The grandmother explained that when M gets like that, she will not let her stay with her. The grandmother said that she had told Chelsea about the situation with her birth mom (in a phone call), and gave her the choice to stay with M or with her (the grandmother.) Chelsea chose the grandmother. (Thank God.)

I asked the birth grandmother if she thought that M would expose Chelsea to drugs (or alcohol), and she said that it would not surprise her, and she didn’t feel good about her staying with her, for that reason. (Not that Chelsea hasn’t been around alcohol (and possibly drugs) on her own, but she is not even of legal age, in our state, to drink.) And she is running with a better crowd these days, and playing and singing in the church praise band.

Chelsea had told us that her birth mother had wanted her to fly to Cancun, and suggested that they try to enter the country illegally through Miami (on a sailboat.) ????????? (Since she couldn’t get in the U. S. with her passport.) Don’t you love it?????? This was too crazy even for a adventuresome teen-aged girl.)

Turns out that M had a drug conviction (her mother suspects more than one) and that is why she couldn’t enter the U. S. The birth mother claims this is a misdemeanor drug charge, but again the grandmother feels there is more to it, and most likely several charges.

So suddenly, the birth mom who looked so appealing to Chelsea, just a few short weeks before, now appears to have some very serious problems. This we had suspected, but it was all revealed without us having to say a thing. Later, Chelsea asked us some questions, and we answered them the best we could–truthfully and honestly.

Thanksgiving was spent with Chelsea, and she talked the entire time about her trip. She was excited to be going to England for the holidays, and after getting used to the idea, we were happy for her, (though still concerned.) Her birth grandmother had sent her $2,500 plus for her plane ticket and some warm clothes. (What’s not to be excited about?)

It turns out that her birth mother has been married several times, and has never really settled into a long term relationship, or a career. When we knew her, she was a casino dealer for many years. She told Chelsea that her dream is to take her backpacking across Europe. (Two ladies alone? What next?????) M had recently sailed to some country in South America (entirely alone), and apparently became a house mother to orphans, for a couple of years.  (You can’t make this stuff up.)  So she is pretty much a drifter, and a gypsy at heart. She is 44 years old, and Chelsea appears to be much more mature. (A very scary thought.)

I asked the grandmother about M being a Christian, (as she had told us that she was.) The grandmother answered something about her “pulling the religion card.” ( So I don’t know…only time will tell.)

This whole deal is even more worrisome than we had imagined. But what can we do but hold our breath, trust God, and pray?

So today, Rob took Chelsea to the airport, and off she went. She will be away for her birthday and Christmas, for the first time in her life. I do believe that she will have a good time, as her birth grandmother is a barrister (an attorney in U.S. terms) and she will take her to many interesting places.  I know that this will bring some healing to Chelsea, and possibly her birth mom. But still, I have all the fears and anxieties that any mother would be feeling.

I gave Rob a card to give to her on the way to the airport. It said: “Before I held you in my arms, I held you in my heart.” On the inside it adds, “And that is where you have always been, and will always be.”

When she was little, she once said to me, “Mommy, I wish I came from your tummy.”

 I told her, “Sweetie, you came from my heart.”

Rob told me that she thought it was one of the neatest cards that she had ever seen. I told her to have a great trip, to be safe and well, and to remember that I love her always.

It’s strange…God does work in mysterious ways. Because as painful as all of this has been for us (her parents), I do believe that God is using it for good. She seems to be much more thankful for the home life that she had, and for the love and nurturing that she received from us. We will always be mom and dad, and now she will be able to fit the pieces of the puzzle together concerning her earlier life, and hopefully find some answers and healing. It’s all good in the long run, I guess.

And the only thing that really matters to me, is the love I see…in my daughter’s eyes…

Please see other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

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4 Comments

  1. Good Morning Lonnette, I seem to miss days, arrive at your site, read all backwards, go back to the current post and then write. My reading today began with Evil Part I.

    I am not trying to be smart here, but when I read many posts at one time that cover many, many things, I think to myself that my life is pretty darned boring compared to yours!! It is my wish for you that your life soon becomes as boring as mine!! I think you are almost there when you wrote that you and your husband was having hot chocolate and enjoying yourselves!!

    You said in an earlier post that Christians have a habit of pushing stuff under the rug, and then if you do it catches up with you. I don’t think this is a singular Christian trait. I think it is part of being human, regardless of faith. It is a very, very hard lesson in life, and I don’t think everyone understands what can happen when you shove whatever problem under the carpet, so to speak.

    I found your writing about your Mother bringing you up and teaching you to call her Betty very interesting, and easily points at the premise as you wisely understood. Mother’s enjoy children calling them Momma–it is what Mothers are made of and when, like your Mother, they break that inner link there is a reason for it. But, this certainly is sad for the child, and I do believe you have suffered by that your whole life. Thankfully and finally you were able to acknowledge the negative power she had on you, and found strength in God or yourself to break that tie.

    You have broken that tie, so to speak, but may I caution you that by reading your emails to your very sweet and charming brother, I can see that there are still emotional ties you feel. Be very careful in the future, because unless you can truly disengage yourself, you may find a string can still tug on your heart when your brother screws up, and I am sure he will.

    Think that out very carefully…..imagine one day you find he gets sick of all this and walks, or you find him not fulfilling his obligation toward her and you take action. Suddenly he may be gone.

    Wups, do you see that little string hanging out of your heart. Better tuck it in, cause if your brother ever leaves her she will come back to you. If you leave the string out, and it is there when I read your words, then it can easily be tugged at any point.

    Please consider how you think and write about her. She hasn’t changed–she is your mother, but you need to be a little more removed from the past connection to be safe. You need to become a caring (yet wise and strong and aware) individual with absolutely no past, recognizable connection to Betty. Can you do that?

    Now you come to me, and you will find more flaws in my character and you can tell me about them!! Then I won’t feel so bad.

    Gosh, in cyberspace, we quickly get to know people and care. That just is so intriguing!!

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and all is going to be fine for you daughter and her trip. I also hope all is well for Sparkle!!!
    Frank

  2. Frank: I most certainly am looking forward to a calmer, more peaceful existence starting NOW. The road has been steep and rocky, with my mother, brother, and daughter. I might add quite painful, as well.

    I “get” what you are cautioning me about, and I will take precaution. Probably the most difficult tie to break is mother/child-even if the realtionship is emotionally abusive. In fact, there are many children who go back to their parents when they are physically abusive. It is all that they’ve ever known, and that is very sad.

    Frank, I am still hurting very much at the events of the past few weeks. It seems that when you have invested so much care and love into a person, it is very painful to realize that it meant very little to them. (And that perhaps you meant even less.)To look at your entire life (in this relationship) and begin to see the truth about the dynamics is shocking. I always knew that something was wrong, and I kept trying to please her, trying to be good enough, trying to dance as fast as I could. But I was never able to get the one thing that I needed the most-her unconditional love and acceptance. This she was PURPOSEFULLY always withholding. and that is a sick truth to know. It almost invalidates everything about the relationship. But then, I have to believe that everything that I did for her was “as unto the Lord” and it will be acknowledged and rewarded by Him, if never by her.

    I am just begining to pull out the daggers from my brother, from deep within my heart, and I have to wonder what I ever did to deserve such hatred from him. I always loved him, even though we were very different, and had almost nothing in common. He is more evil than I could have ever imagined, to try to hurt me so deeply. But it was lies, and they were designed to have just that effect. The best revenge is to recover, and not return hatred–but rather, apathy. Not caring at all is far better, than wasting emotional energy by hating. The jealousy obviously runs deep, and I have to say that until recently, I was unaware of the depth of his cruelty. Now I know.

    Both my husband and I told my brother that if he removed my mom from the assisted living, not to call us. We’re done. We are in the processing of returning all paperwork, POA, etc. to them-and also moving her out within the next week or so.

    She has no concept of all that it takes physically to move her in and out, nor does she care. My husband intends to do this for me this time, so that I will not have to be around either of them. Praise God.

    I’m not just going to tuck the string in–I’m going to cut it off (or perhaps yank it out) of my heart completely. I do feel that it is the only way that I can survive physically or emotionally. She has taken so much of my life, my self-esteem and worth, and my joy from me. No more!

    I so very much “hear” your warning, and I pray that I will be cautious at all times, realizing that God has released me from this relationship. It is a painful process, but perhaps the most important thing I’ve ever done, to enable me to find happiness in my life.

    I value your wisdom Frank, and I treasure your words of admonishment and warning. I need to get over to your place (blogs), and see what’s going on in your world.

    Sparkle

  3. Sparkle,
    You truly have had a rocky road with all of those in your family. It is my prayer that your relationship with your daughter will only benefit from her visit with her British side.

    I am happy that she can see that her birth mother isn’t quite “stable”. It takes a lot for someone to be turned away from entering into the states. I suspect that there is a lot more to the story behind the birth mother and her past.

    In fact, what little I know about Bipolar disorder, this birth mother sounds a likely candidate…multiple failed relationships, drug use (self medication), always changing her environment…

    All of this reminds me of my husband’s second wife who would have manic episodes that included calling me and telling me that she was going to leave her children (not just my husband’s daughter, but her other two young children) with me to raise.
    Talk about praying and being totaly scared out of my mind! It was a part of the mania and I knew that she would always return like that looney bird that left her eggs with Horton the elephant…good old Dr Suess analogy…

    I think that your daughter’s grandmother will do her best to protect her and show her a good time.

    My son’s father is British and I know that it was good for my son to travel to England and see where his father grew up and to visit his great grandmother. It helped him to see his “roots” and it gave him a better understanding of just how special he truly is…

    I know that this Christmas will be a different and difficult one for you and your husband, but I believe that when your daughter returns, she will have a greater appreciation for you both and the love that she received…

    My mother always said when people behave badly to “Kill them with kindness…” Normally, that is good wisdom, but knowing the rejection and the intentional pain that you have endured, I would say that the best wisdom here is to love them from a distance.

    I agree with Frank, watch the strings that your mother has been able to pull throughout your life. She seems to be a master of manipulation and she has enjoyed watching you jump through hoops all of your life…that is a little left of center on the mental health scale…

    Peace to you, my sister…enjoy the Prince of Peace this Christmas like never before…

    Hugs
    Shadowlands

  4. From what you have said it seems Chelsea has her head screwed in the right direction. Yes, you are right she will come out from all this more appreciative of what she is receiving from you both. Merry Christmas from Malaysia.


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