Finding Peace with Peggy
Almost eight years have passed since I found my birthmother, Peggy, deceased. As I reflect on these years I still feel that this was one of the most difficult and stressful experiences in my life. However, I have learned to accept myself as I am. I have learned that I am free to choose how to respond to any given situation and finally, I am responsible for my life. I am not saying that I am never down or depressed. There are times that I still get frustrated and angry. I realize that it's not what happens to me that matters; it's what I choose to do with it. For me, finding a grave was certainly a tragedy in my life but it does not have to mean a life of tragedy.
It would have been so easy to stay in a place of pain, questioning "Why me?" or "What if?" questioning life, or feeling sadness and sorrow. My numbness turned to anger
and through healing I accepted the reality of finding a grave. At the same time I realized how many people who cared about me I was hurting. This is when I decided to help someone else. This started the healing process for me. I realized that my healing isn't about searching for the answers I will never receive nor being angry with Peggy nor blaming others because she is deceased. I accepted that Peggy is deceased and that I have experienced a second loss of my birthmother. I realized that my healing is about healing within. It's about being motivated by ethics, serenity and quality of life-- not achievement, performance and material things.
Although I wasn't able to meet or have a relationship with Peggy I do have a deep sense of knowing that we are both truly connected. Over the past several years I have realized that I not only have healed but also continue to heal more and more as each day goes by. This has also helped me to access more of my own heart and allowed me to feel more. As the years passed, I have missed Peggy in a deeper way but at the same time feel more peace with her as well as finding a grave.
Several years ago I read a short story and what impressed me the most were the words to one sentence "A heart filled with anger has no room for love!" After pondering this sentence I realized that, for several years after finding Peggy deceased, my own anger and sorrow were taking over my life. I figured out that I needed to stop focusing on the pain and begin to count my blessings. I couldn't change the events of the past, but letting go of the emotions that had paralyzed me for so long, I could be free to truly begin living life again instead of going through the motions. No matter what our troubles are, if we can put them aside for a moment, focus on possible solutions, and imagine a joyous future, we can take the first step to finding peace within.
Instead of mourning the things that were missing in my life and the things that I would never have in a relationship with Peggy, I began to give thanks for my blessings - my health, my family, my friends, and this helped me understand that our thoughts create our reality.
I know how easy it is to feel overwhelmed and alone. At times these feelings have gotten the best of me. When this happens, instead of withdrawing, I let go of the frustration and hurt feelings of the past and embrace the possibilities of the future. I found the more I give of myself through writing and helping others, the more peace and fulfillment I feel in my own life. I also found that by directing my mind, I direct my life and ultimately create my own happiness.
I do believe that the primal wound influences all life issues. However, we not only need to comprehend through our minds but through our hearts. Anyone can learn about the primal wound but living the wound is quite a different experience than just understanding it. I have become more aware of what has been lost but also have gained the wisdom to touch more and more of peace.
I have always been so thankful for the childhood I had. I've had a strong support system all my life, but I know it's not like that for everyone. I want to be able to help others who don't have that. When I turned my attention to helping other adoptees
, birthmothers and those whose lives have been touched by adoption, I began to heal my relationships with the people I loved and heal myself. I decided that if I could share stories about adopted
life issues, it would help me. I founded the PA Adoption Reunion Registry
in January of 1995 and continued to be involved with a search and support group in Pittsburgh. Now, almost 8 years after finding a grave, I am the President of Adoption Forum.
I work hard at work. I work hard on my projects. I'm not missing anything that others do. Helping others doesn't take away from my life; it adds to it, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. I've come to see that when I go out in the world and help other birthmothers, adoptees, adoptive parents, I am really helping myself too. When I play a small part in a reunion and can see how happy I make another person, a great, unexplainable feeling comes over me.
Everything I went through, all the pain and suffering, is and continues to be a learning experience that I am benefiting from. Every time someone is willing to share his or her story I learn something else. Because of my own suffering, I have been able to become more compassionate, have more empathy for people and a deep desire to assist.
Through the past several years another issue that I have questioned is unconditional love. A little over a year ago I adopted a Golden Retriever, and believe it or not, today I realized he has taught me a thing or two. This evening when I came home I felt as if my adopted life issues were getting the best of me, and my dog, Snickers came over to me the second he saw me. He looked into my face and wagged his tail. I realized he always looks as if he is smiling, genuinely happy to see me. I got down on the floor and played with him. First, I scratched him behind the ears, and then on his stomach. Then he brought several of his toys over to me and barked until I played with him. This is when I noticed that he never took his eyes away from my face. He made me feel like he would have been perfectly happy to just sit and stare at me. Stare at me? No one had ever made me feel I was that important and no one had ever loved me that way before. No one had given me the unconditional love that Snickers has given me each and every night. And, what did I do to earn this love-- this unwavering loyalty? Nothing! It doesn't matter to Snickers what I do. I don't have to pretend to be anything I am not. Snickers loves me for just being me. I am good enough for him, exactly the way I am. It had never occurred to me that I could be worth loving that much. In my whole life, I had never felt the power of that kind of unconditional love. As much as I love my parents, my family and my friends, I can honestly say that no human being revealed the power of love to me the way Snickers has.
Finding a grave had left a dark spot on my heart, almost like a great wall. Nothing could come in through the wall, and nothing could really go out. However, this weekend I realized that Snickers' acceptance and unconditional love has broken down that wall. With his help I feel as if I have taken another step towards healing. I have felt my heart and soul open and hopefully this will help me to be able to give more of myself.
It is my hope that this article will help everyone understand how the adoption experience affects our whole lives, and that it will help in the healing process for those who read it.
President, Adoption Forum
Founder, PA Adoption Reunion Registry
Adoption Forum, Inc., PO Box 12502, Philadelphia, PA 19151
Credits: Karen DeLuca