Monday, November 17

Family Ties.

Remember the days when small children & often, not so small would be told that babies came from under the Cabbage leaves?

Or Down in The Cabbage Patch?
Or perhaps the old Stork story was trotted out.

Throughout time, babies have come whichever way they wanted.
Not always when they were wanted.

In fact, not always wanted.

A friend has just learned he is a father.

A father to a 44 year old, he never even knew existed.

I think he is delighted.

His wife has her reservations, perhaps with reason. They have 3 daughters of their own, together.

The girl was adopted as a small baby. As so many children were, around that era. Her biological father never even knew he had fathered a child, let alone the fact it had been adopted.

Having some knowledge of the adoption process, & the end results, I am glad that adoption has changed so much.

I watch 'Find My Family' on television. I am often reduced to tears watching happy reunions. I am sure, should some child appear from out of nowhere claiming Gom as it's father, I would do my best to make it welcome.

Though Gom assures me it will never happen!

I know there are people who say they have never wanted to meet their biological parents. Children who were adopted, who refuse to have contact with the parent who 'gave them away'.

I know that not all reunions are happy or successful. A lot have a honeymoon period, when everything is rosy & wonderful, then reality sets in. Who knows how it will work. I would think that most reunions have some elements of regret.

The missing faces from the family frames.

I know of many adoption stories, many families who were ripped apart by such revelations.

They are not all sweetness & light.

The case of the Odd Girl is one such story.

She was born in the war years. Her father was a farmer, & did not go to war, as he was the elder son, & his father was dead, so he was deemed to be necessary for the family farm.
A brother was born, some 4 years after the Odd Girl.

The Odd girl resembled her father's family, was blonde with wide blue eyes. Those eyes were often rather vacant, but no one spoke of that. The son took after his mother's side of the family, with dark hair, & robust stature.

The terrible secret was the family carried a disease, that was undiagnosed. It is Huntington's disease. It is terrible to watch a person deteriorate from this disease. When the Odd Girl began to exhibit strange habits & odd behaviours, no one had any idea what was wrong with her.

It was known that the Grandfather had died mysteriously, had become very strange, & eventually died. Her father had inherited the disease, but had not begun to exhibit any symptoms at the stage of the Odd Girl's increasing oddness.

I suspect we always knew, when we were children that there was something amiss with the OG. She really didn't make friends. Didn't even get on particularly well with her brother.

In her teenage years, she discovered boys, & sex. It was not long before she was pregnant, told her mother she had no idea who the father of the baby was. She was obviously not fit to keep the baby, & by then her father had become stricken with the disease, so her parents could not keep the child, a boy, & he was adopted out.

She continued to act promiscuously, & her desperate mother took her to a phsychiatrist for evaluation, after seeking help from various medical practitioners, deserately looking for answers, for both her husband's strange illness,& increasing violence, & the girl's seeming lack of understanding of why she should not have sex with any & all men who came her way.

Finally the phsychiatrist told her parents that she had no understanding of right or wrong, & therefore would probably get pregnant again. The desperate parents tried to find a Doctor who would sterilise the girl. They even travelled to Australia to try to get this done. All Doctors refused. All advised the parents to get the girl onto the contraceptive pill, though none wanted to prescribe it. It is doubtful she would have taken it, anyway. She refused to use condoms.

Oh yes, those truly were "The Days"! False morals abounded.

The tragedy was, the girl got pregnant again, whilst in Australia!The desperate parents begged for an abortion after they discovered the second pregnancy, but of course, no such idea would be entertained. It all seems so wrong.

Her father was becoming increasingly hard for her mother to handle, & then another baby had to be adopted out. And the OG cared not a jot for either baby, was not curious nor interested in the children.

OG's father died, a terrible death. The OG became impossible, & her mother had to almost tie her up each day, to keep her under control.

Finally a diagnosis was found. The terrible truth was discovered about the disease. The adoptive parents had to be told, because the children were potential carriers. Both boys paremnts were told they may have the disease. One set of parents loved their son so much, they didn't care, they wanted to keep him & love him regardless. The other family decided it was too much of a risk, & they sent their son to an orphanage.

At the time of diagnosis, the Doctors seemed to know little about the disease. They warned the brother that he could be a carrier, his children could suffer or be carriers.
As it happened he did not develop the disease, so probably didn't carry it. Or so I understand, now. He did, however develop a kidney disease & is dead now too.

Life deals some very odd hands.

I need to lighten up!! Don't tell anyone, but I am sewing again, so that has to be a positive. In reds yet!! I hate red, but I feel compelled to use these reds!

Marianne Faithful, The Ballad of Lucy Jordan.


Lee said...

Uh-oh! Should I disconnect the front door bell?

ancient one said...

First thing, I went to look up Huntington's Disease on google. I shouldn't have done that. You know how you read the symptoms and start thinking, gee, I've done that... not really, but I promised myself long ago to stop looking up stuff in medical books..LOL

That was an interesting story, though. Makes you wonder about the adoptive children.

Ali Honey said...

A very sad state of affairs. The worst thing I think was that one lot of parents who had adopted no longer wanted the child cause it might have something wrong with it. How much did they want a child?

Some families certainly seem to get more than their fair share of trials and tribulations.

Glad you are in the red and sewing Meg.

Mike said...

I've had a bit of that adoption in my own family tree. Some in and some out. It's interesting, but also painful sometimes.

I had a chance to meet my own "real" father a couple of times but declined both times. Just didn't seem necessary.

Kitty said...

Jeez, to find out one fathered a child 44 years ago must be some kind of shock?! I can understand his wife's concern, but hopefully all will be well.

As for the family of Odd Girl - what a very sad tale. You told it beautifully - thank you.


Marja said...

For some people hell is on earth and nowhere else. WHat a tragedie
Anyway to have a child knocking on the door that would be a big surprise. I would welcome her too because it is not the child's choice.

Thimbleanna said...

All people should be as understanding as you Meggie. I've often hoped I would be accepting too, if an unknown child appeared on the doorstep. (I'm sure I would, but one never knows until the moment, does one?)

I have a cousin who found out her husband was expecting by another woman. He begged and pleaded to stay with her. She agreed if he promised to never see the child again. He agreed.

I've often thought what a slimeball he is. I thought the child would be the one that sufferend, but in his case, I think he's better off not to know such a father.

Tanya Brown said...

This was a touching pair of stories.

Poor Odd Girl. What a mess diseases make of people's lives! It sounds as though she didn't have the capacity to understand that what she was doing was self-destructive.

Molly said...

Oh Meggie! Another of your great tales....Life is sad and inexplicable sometimes. And as Ali said, some people seem to get more than their fair share of trials.

Ian Lidster said...

I read a fascinating book a couple of years ago which basically stated we take our geneological heritage a little too much for granted, for there are strong possibilities that Dad or Grandad aren't genetic kin at all. If a woman is intimate with a man aside from her husband (the tramp!) and the lover's sperm are stronger, that is who will make her presence, even if hubby is intimate with her with much more regularity.
Interesting post. And no, I've never had somebody come up well after that fact and call me "Daddy" Kind of hope it stays that way.

sheoflittlebrain said...

oh meggie, you do have a way of making us look at things in new lights and from new angles. The empty picture frames illustrate your stories so well...

The Sagittarian said...

One of my husband's nieces was adopted out as a baby and she found her way back to us all about 15 years ago. She and her sister are both adopted. Just recently her adoptive mother died, but the niece has always been made welcome at our house. She has a mental illness but is doing really well with that. Her biological mother (my husband's sister) keeps in touch with her from time to time as does her biological father. I guess we have a mature attitude to the situation, but it must ahve been a very different story all those years ago eh? I seem tor ecall a cousin who got "up the duff" before marriage and the adults all whispering about her etc. I was only about 7 at the time.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I don't know much about Huntington's Disease but I will in a few minutes.

What a very sad tale this was. A sad set of interlocking tales. Is Odd Girl still living? Did she have more children after the two boys?

I used to ask my husband if he was SURE he had no children anywhere and was kind of disappointed that he didn't as I have three and he would have been a great father. I still think it would be nice to get that knock on the door.

Lucy said...

Funny, I was reading a story about a woman whose son had Huntingdon's disease, and in his 40s she helped him take his life when the ravages of it became unbearable. She was tried but acquitted. It turned out his grandfather had had it, but the doctors thought at the time it was better no one was told.

That's a terrible tale. I think for most women carrying a baby full term and then having to part with it must be unbearable.

I don't think all children who don't want to know about their natural parents are angry that they gave them away; often they simply don't want to be disloyal to the parents that loved them and brought them up, or don't want to open up a can of worms. Learning you were the result of rape or prostitution, or even that your mother was someone like the Odd Girl, wouldn't necessarily be a wondrous epiphany.

I've also known and known of parents who adopted children, perhaps because of their own needs and agendas, then simply found they couldn't love them, couldn't cope with their unrecognisable differences from themselves or with their problems, and quite turned against them.

Also instances of dysfunctional natural parents given the right to change their minds, butt in and out of adopted and fostered children's lives, generally mess up their chances of settled happiness, and the adoptive parents' too.

All unhappy messes. The fewer unwanted children the better, I guess.

Q said...

The empty frames touched my heart.
So many sad stories.
Glad you are sewing again. I am too. I took a five year break!
I thought about you the other day when I was reading a quilt book. I have never quilted and I was thinking about learning. Than I saw a Stumpwork Embroidery book and decided to send my needles in that direction. Maybe next winter I will take up quilting.
Thank you for a fine "sad" story.

Tanya said...

Some of the morals nowadays and the people don't even have a disease that prevents them from knowing right and wrong...