Saturday, September 10, 2011

No Returns

In a haunting recently published post on First Mother Forum, Lorraine Dusky writes of hearing her relinquished daughter say, "My parents could have returned me. They could have sent me back.” Dusky continues: "Could have sent me back, like goods in a consignment store that nobody wants. If Jane was 'chosen' like a pair of shoes, she could be returned. Could have sent me back -- what non-adopted person ever thinks that? There’s nowhere to send one’s biological child. Could have sent me back. The concept is a particular demon of the adopted."

I don't believe I ever consciously considered the possibility of my adoptive parents "returning" me, but I'm sure the idea lurked in my subconscious. I was a compliant adoptee -- "never any trouble at all," as my adoptive mother has told me many times. No, I don't believe I thought they would send me away, but I wasn't taking any chances. I wrote recently about my fantasies of running away. That's one thing, but to be sent away -- rejected -- is an adoptee's deepest fear.


  1. I was told on more than one occasion that my mother wished she could send me back...and honestly, a large part of my little girl self wished she would.

  2. I may have told you this story before: My gullible siblings and I all believed that our parents got us from "The Gypsies": Mom & Dad joked that there was a free baby with every basket, or maybe a free basket with every baby.

    The sad side effect was that we were all terrified that someday the Gypsies would come to town and take us away. Writing this now, I think "What an odd thing to tell a small child!"

    I remember once hiding after my brother (age four or five) came running into the house to warn me that the Gypsies were coming, and he was just as scared as I was. Also we would duck down in the car when we drove through one area where my dad said the Gypsies lived.

    In later years, though, I thought how wonderful it would be to go off with my flamboyant and fun Gypsy family -- if only they had really existed.

    While my fears and mis-beliefs could possibly have been washed away, there was never any attempt to do do. But what could your parents have said to you to make you feel more secure? What language can new adoptive parents use now?


    P.S. I was surprised a few years ago to find out that my younger sister grew up with the same fear. I *knew* we didn't get HER from the Gypsies. My mom had shown me the huge scar from her C-Section (1953 style) and said, "Here's where your sister came from." I just couldn't figure out how she got in there.


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