i became self-aware at 18 months of age. i had awakened from a nap in my crib upstairs. as was my custom, i climbed out of my crib and headed downstairs, turning around backwards to safely descend. i don’t remember if i called out, but i do remember that i felt alone. completely alone, abandoned. i am sure that i wasn’t alone for more than five minutes but i felt so angry and frightened, i knew that it was wrong for me to be alone. i stood by the window at the side of the door and looked out. i was hoping to see someone outside, but there were no vehicles in view. i recall licking the window and the acrid, horrible taste of a dusty, dirty, tobacco smoke covered glass filled my senses and for a short time the urge to remove the disgusting flavour from my mouth overwhelmed everything. as this was occurring i saw from the corner of my eye, the gold pick-up truck my father drove pull into my vision. he hopped out of the cab and swung the flat of beer he had gone uptown to purchase out of the box and came inside. i then proceeded to have a tantrummy melt-down because i felt absolutely livid that i had been abandoned while asleep, for beer
as a child the fact that i was adopted was kept from me. living in a small town in north america is very much like living in a time warp. ideas and social mores change very slowly, and just one generation before the stigma of being adopted was enough to cause social ostracisation, that may have been a part of it. instead i was told what a difficult baby i was, how i screamed all the time, so much so that my parents joked that they just put the playpen outside so at least i would get fresh air.
i did not feel connected to these people and they did not facilitate the transfer. private adoptions are to be suspicious of. just because you have the money to pay a lawyer to circumvent the social services system, doesn’t mean one should. there are many checks and balances in the system to ensure safety of children. the woman who was my adopted mother suffered from severe mental issues and would never have been allowed to adopt under regular circumstances. the man was also damaged and unable to care for a child, but nonetheless there i was, under their care.
i don’t remember my mum being around much. and what i do remember is fear, not warmth. by comparison my dad seemed like a saint, although he was always pawning me off on strangers; women and young couples. i guess he always seemed like a knight swooping in out of nowhere. oh sure, let’s cut him some slack, he was working still, back then, and probably needed to go out to the rig or a business deal, or the bar. why children are so oblivious, that for years i had no idea that my father was a dependent alcoholic and my mother was depressed, agoraphobic and we were on welfare. not my dad. just us.
i went sort of hither and thither until i was about 3. i was quite ill and the people taking care of me were not doing a great job. after visiting the house, a young man returned home to his young wife to say so, and didn’t she know my father? so a phone call was made and i was delivered, with a half sac of beer as payment. there was where i stayed happy, healthy and well cared for, except during school months. even though i was not school aged, my mum was bettering herself so she would often want me sept.-june. fairly soon the young couple could notice a problem between me and my parents.
whenever they would call or visit i was not excited to see them, in fact i would often hide or find some way to avoid talking to them. often my mum would call the young couple expressing dissatisfaction with being a parent. things went on merrily as such until i was six. then the young woman witnessed one of my mum’s favourite games ‘come here, go away.’ drunk, in the kitchen, she would hold open her arms and say ‘come here,’ until i would go over to her, then she would push me, sometimes so i would fall and slide on the linoleum, snarling ‘go away.’ the young woman suspecting that there was probably more abusive behaviour behind the scenes, went to social services. who promptly made a report to my mum. the weekend the social worker came to the house i was away at my mums friend’s house, so i didn’t speak to anyone. when i returned home, my mother told me what had happened, that the young woman had tried to have me taken to a FOSTER HOME. that was where they beat you and raped you and horrible horrible things, and that was what was going to happen to me if social services took me away. thus whipped into a frenzy she put me on the phone to the young woman. ‘how could you do this to me’ was the last thing i wailed into the phone as my mother forbade me to ever see them again.