Well, it's that time of year again. The time when, as I near my birthday, I crave some kind of contact or closure with my birth family, (I'm adopted) the family who want nothing to do with me. I'm trying very hard not to reach out and attempt any contact, at least not before my birthday, because my birth mother will use this as an excuse to send some cruel, heartbreaking note on my birthday. "Be grateful for the family you were given and leave mine alone. You were the "product of a rape" and that's all you'll ever know." That's what she did last year, and once before. Clearly she knows when my birthday is, so when she writes a e-mail at eleven thirty, and sends it the night before, she knows I'll be reading it, first thing in the morning, on my birthday. This rejection of me on my birthday must hold some kind of extra mean significance for her, so I don't want to harm myself by letting this happen again.
How can I be the child of this woman, the sister of this girl, related by blood to these people who are so cold and hurtful, who have no empathy at all for me, none whatsoever? It frightens me how unempathic they are, how frightened and fiercely self protective. How a woman can marry a man and never tell him that she had a child and gave her away. What kind of marriage is that? What kind of life is that? A life of secrets and lies, certainly not the perfect Catholic one she pretends to.
The problem of course is this yearning for contact and closeness with family. This is something that any adoptee understands. Something my birth family do not. Or well, my Birth Monster, My Sister, my Uncle Orrie, and my Cousin. As far as I know, they are the only people who know about me. I have a brother and another sister. Maybe once I know that they know about me, and have rejected me as well, then I'll be able to let it rest, albeit with a terrific wounded hole in my heart, but at least I won't continue to harbor fantasies of someday being close to siblings who hate me.
The next thing to put to rest will be my search for my Father but that will take longer, all of Loretta's lies and protestations do not dissuade me. She was in love with the son of a wealthy family, someone who thought she wasn't good enough for him, that she was from the "toolies." Her cousin Mary told me this. My adoptive Mother told me this. She came to California to life with her cousin, to have me in secret. She cried in the doctor's office, showed the nurse a newspaper clipping that someone had sent her, someone who must have known about all of this. It was a society announcement and showed a photograph of a man and woman who were engaged or who had gotten married. She said, "Look at this, I'm here having his baby, and he's getting married."
The nurse showed the clipping to my adoptive Mother, who wishes she had kept it. She remembers his face but not his name, she thinks I look a little bit like him, but I really look like my Mother. Later Loretta made up this story about a rape, first stranger rape, then date rape. This is the story she told her kids, a convenient cover in case I ever tried to contact them. The thing I don't understand is how I can be the daughter of someone who hates so fiercely, with such intensity that she refuses to give her own child the opportunity of knowing her Father, and of being able to mend the past. If she is protecting me from something, then I think she would have told me a la, your Father's in the mob, so it's best left alone.
Better to allow me to think I carry the rape gene, and am the daughter of a brutal, sexual deviant, than to open up and tell the truth about her past. Lovely, Loretta, thank you. Maybe she was raped, but her not sharing any of the details, her being so closed and unwilling to share anything about my creation with me, makes me long to know more, yearn for the truth of my creation. I think my query is her karma. She can't rest as long as I can't. Again and again I ask myself, how can I have come from someone so cold and uncaring? How can this be my Mother?
My Mom, my adoptive Mother, has been so great about this lately. She wasn't too good about it when I was younger. She felt very threatened by Loretta Riggins Knisel, my birth Mother, (I just really felt like spelling it all out here, I used to be so protective about them, so careful not to put their whole names on the net, and now I could care less, they obviously don't care about me,) and thought she would come claim me and steal me away, or that I would love her more than my Mom. Fat chance of that.
Anyway here are the names of my family, just in case my other sister, and brother, or Father, ever decide to try to find me. I suppose they wouldn't search for me using their own names though, would they? Well, they might search their own names for fun, you never know. The sad thing though is that my Birth Monster has convinced all of them that I am a rape baby, the daughter of a monster who raped her, and who would want to have anything to do with half of that? I don't know the truth, I'd rather it be something different, but the story has changed so many times, and this is the one she's sticking by now, it makes her look better somehow and protects her from whoever my Father was and whatever consequences there would be if I found him. I have so many questions, so so many, and she has no interest in helping me answer them. How cruel is that? To not even be willing to fill out a medical questionnaire, to not care to help me know anything about my own Father? What kind of woman would do this to her own child? I wonder what she's like as a Mother, my sister Julie was cold and uncaring when I contacted her. I pray that Lorenda and my brother Ed or Ted won't be the same but for now I'm just waiting, waiting for what I don't know. My Mother has offered to hire a private investigator to see what he can dig up, but it was all so long ago and Loretta is so uncooperative, I don't know...
Anyway this is me
Jacqui Hyland or Jacqueline Hyland
I was born March 29th, 1962
My Birth Mother's name is Loretta Riggins Knisel
My Father may or may not be a man named Tommy Fadigan
My Sisters are Julie Knisel and Lorenda Knisel
and my Brother is Ted or Ed Knisel
They live in New Jersey.
I've Googled all of them and come up with a few things, but other than that, the trail is pretty cold. If any of you can think of anything let me know. I have a number and a e-mail address for Lorenda but I'm holding off on doing anything about it because of how hurtful and heart wrenching my contact was with my sister Julie. What was I thinking? I thought she would embrace me, be at least mildly interested in a long lost sister, but nope. What's harder is that we both share a love of the ocean. I'm an advanced open water diver, and am a nut for marine life of all kinds, particularly nudibranchs and jelly fish. She studied marine biology in college and went down in the Alvin to study deep sea vents and worms. How synchronistic is that. I was told that in high school my other sister Lorenda, loved theatre, then she majored in English. Another coincidence? Who knows. It all just hurts, but most especially because I feel like there is some man out there, someone who was a bastard at one time to my birth mother, but who forty years later, may be different, and this man may have a family, may have children who would also be my brothers and sisters, and who might be more welcoming that my Mother's side have been. Maybe not, but I'd like to know. If I am the child of a rape, then why can't she at least tell me the details of it, sure it must be painful, but I have a right to know the truth about my conception, the truth about who I am.
Happy Fortieth Anniversary of the Biggest Lie of Your Life Loretta. Happy Birthday to me.