Adoption- My life, my time, my way Chapter 1.
17th June 2013
When I first started this journey of talking to my half brother 2 and a half years ago, he probably thought I was off my rocker. I sent him a message on My-space rambling something about his mum knowing my mum and I had seen him DJ and really enjoyed it. I was drunk at the time, it wasn't the best lead into telling him I thought I was his sister but it was the best I had.
I remember my mum telling me that she had thought she had found him online, she didn’t know that I had already been looking at his profile and Googl-ing his name. I couldn’t work out a lot apart from he liked music so I moved onto Facebook.
I found him and looked at his friends list checking for surnames that same as his then boom. I found who I thought was my birth mother, with two young children with her in the picture. I thought how it probably was her and she could have easily had more children as she was young when she had me and my half brother Alex. (As he doesn’t know I am writing this, out of respect I am not using his real name.) I also thought that if she did have young children it would be unfair to everyone if I tried to contact her and disrupt everyone’s lives.
Curiosity killed the cat and two months after sending Alex my message I looked to see if he had replied. It’s a shame that the first initial exchanges we had I have lost, but I did reply and just said to ignore my fist message and told him I thought he was my brother. When I sent the message I realised that my life could be about to change, so I wrote a sort of diary about my life to him, I never intended to send it to him, if anything it was more so I could get my head around everything. I was 22 and had never really thought about how adoption had affected me. So I wrote and wrote spilling feelings and emotions I didn’t realise I had.
I was about 8 when I remember being told that I was adopted, it was dark and my Mum took me into the dining room and told me. There was a red file with all of my information in it, that she said I could look at any time. there was also a photo album with pictures of me and a baby and one at the end with my Birth Mother, Half brother and Grandmother. Tucked behind it was a letter from my Birth Mother. I don’t really want to re-read it now but I do know it says that she will never forget me and she calls me Emer, her chosen name. I really like that name I even considered giving it to my daughter as a middle name, but then I thought I don’t need a reminder of being adopted all of the time, of her my Birth Mother. I wouldn’t burden my child with that, thinking about it I don’t even really understand why she gave me a name, but Emer I was for a while. My vision about being told is a little hazy perhaps it wasn’t like that at all, but it’s what I have in my memory.
At 6 weeks I was put into foster care with a couple, I have pictures of them and me in my first few precious months. When I was 6 months old I think on the 29th October 1989, I was adopted my parents, Brian and Julie my new family that came complete with a big brother Dom, who they had also adopted. I have to thank them for saving me, I was one of the lucky ones. I could still be waiting for the warm embrace of a family if they hadn’t picked me. (I must have been on my best behaviour when they came to see me!) I am eternally grateful, even though at times I’m sure they wished they hadn’t picked the devil child in the years that followed.
I grew up like the majority of other girls, fighting with my brother, going to sleepovers (Not very often as I like my sleep and the others were too noisy!) playing with Barbies, although not as often as my mum would have liked, I’m sure my daughter will be girlier than I was, I’m looking forward to playing with them again.
When I was told I was adopted I went into school and told anyone and everyone who would listen that I had 3 families. My brother Dom was not happy, he told me if I didn’t stop telling everyone then he would tell them that I had nits. I was too young to process what being adopted meant, but as he was a bit older I guess he didn’t see it as something to be proud of.
My Mum Julie told me a couple of years later that every year on my birthday she sent pictures of me through Social Services to my Birth Mother. I must have asked if I could write to her as I got a card from her, it has a dog on the front in a pink bag. She said she had a dog called Bobby, but the rest of what she said was so distant and unattached. No questions just facts. I must have replied because shortly after I received a letter from social services. It said that she hadn’t replied because she felt like she didn’t have anything to say. I took the letter off Julie and sat in my room re reading it over and over. I think I burnt it in the end. I was 13.
I didn’t have it easy in school, I began to get bullied but I didn’t have it hard compared to others. My life thought when I am feeling down is there are starving children in Africa. Unfortunately that letter from social services was the end for me, or actually maybe it was the beginning.
I did a lot of things in the years to come that hurt a lot of people including myself. I smoked, drank, bunked school which eventually lead to me being asked to leave. I was incredibly lucky that I was allowed back to sit my exams, maybe the teachers felt sorry for me as I was being bullied. I loved drinking and even ended up in hospital because of it, on Father’s day of all days. I used to seal wine from my parent’s garage, persuade people up the road to buy it for me, or persuade shop keepers that I was old enough. When I eventually turned 18 in April the alcohol took over my life.
I went round Europe for 3 and a half weeks in July, it was a challenge to see who could get the drunkest and if you failed the punishment was more alcohol. I had never thrown up before so much in my life, it was amazing fun though. I also went to Australia in the September of that year but came home after 3 weeks because ironically I was homesick. Australia was a bit of a blur too, we all used to sit outside the hostel in the evenings and drink.
I used to go and buy a bottle of red wine nearly every day when I came some and I would sit at the computer reading stories and drinking. I went clubbing and bought guys back to my parents house, I disrespected them and treated the house like a hotel, I even spent the night in the cells at Her Majesties pleasure. I had a fight with some guy outside a club and was shouting and swearing at him, the police came over and I said the C word. Not my proudest moment, but I repeted it over and over again until they put me in cuffs and threw me in the back of a riot van. I left in the morning with an £80 fine and my fingerprints and mug shots on their system. I went home and told my parents, I don’t I had even seen my dad so disappointed. I scuppered up Christmas that year too, staying out all night Christmas eve, not returning until 7.30am Christmas morning off my face on cocaine and alcohol. I didn’t want to do anything apart from sleep, my brother came in and shouted that I had ruined Christmas. I opened my stocking alone for the first time ever, ironically one of my presents was a limited edition Metropolitan Police teddy which my mum must have ordered before my arrest. 2 months after my 19th birthday I was dragged back from a bar in town and greeted with my suitcases when I walked through the door.
I couldn’t blame them but I stormed off up the road and back into town, crying and annoyed that they had ruined my night out. I called my brother Dom, we weren’t really that close but he was the first person I wanted to speak to. He calmed me down and told me to go home and talk to them. I said no I was staying out and would go back the next day. The next day we talked and all agreed that it would be best if I moved out. I moved into a studio flat a couple of week later, which is when the drink completely took over. I partied every night making new friends in shops and bus stops just to have someone to go out with. I bought 2 bottles of wine for £5.00 every day without fail and 20 fags.
I met a guy who became my boyfriend called Tom. We spent out evening drinking, smoking weed and well not a lot else to be honest. I used to go into work in right states, hung-over with only a couple of hours sleep. I was late everyday without fail, I lost so much weight because I couldn’t afford to eat, often just living on sausage roll or a sandwich at lunch or dinner. In the mornings before I went to work I would finish the dregs of wine in a glass from the night before, when I got home from work I was back on the wine as soon as I got to the fridge.
All of my friends hated who I had become, my best friend even banned me from drinking a bottle of wine I had brought round because I was “stressed ”I think it was a Wednesday just before Christmas... She and my other best friend tried to talk to me about my drinking but I just stormed off, went home and downed the bottle before getting more with Tom. We had moved in together practically straight away, we were in our own little bubble and thought that everyone else was just being ridiculous. I don’t remember really seeing my parents for a lot of that time, I was too busy with my bottles.
I sent a text to all of my friends to say Happy New Year for 2009 and that I was going to be a better friend. I got one reply from the 5 that I sent, but I didn’t want to lose my friends so was determined to give up the drink. Turned out it isn’t that easy, after relying on alcohol for such a long time I was dependant on it. The day I turned my life around was March 6th 2009.
I found out I was pregnant. I had been feeling unwell and decided to do a test just in case. My hands were shaking as I saw the two lines meaning I was pregnant. The next 8 months I turned my life around, I got my friends back, we were closer than ever and I had a reason to live.
6th November 2009 my angel was born and I have never looked back. Her dad and I didn’t last we broke up and got back together twice, it was after our first break up that I decided to find you Alex. We started talking and you told me all about yourself, weirdly I had already seen you and not noticed as you were a extra in a lot of things that I had watched. I told you about what I was up to, we became Facebook friends and commented and make fun of the other ones pictures. It was like we had know each other all of our lives, night after night I was in hysterics as we talked. We drunkenly phoned each other, but although I left you drunk messages I have yet to hear your voice. I invited you to my wedding on 6th October 2011, but had to tell you it was cancelled, which turned out for the best as you joined the RAF.
I felt petrified when you told me that, I worry every day that something will happen to you, or you will be sent aboard to fight.
So here I am now 2 and a bit years later, I received a message from Alex 2 days ago saying that he was going to be on leave from the RAF in July and did I want to meet. I told him that I was still on my quest of stalking Johnny Depp, but I could squeeze him in. Since then I have had trouble sleeping.
Not because I’m worried about Johnny but because I don’t know what to expect. I have imagined scenarios where I run up to him and hug him, or I turn up early and watch him from a distance, or where I get cold feet and don’t go, or where I get really drunk and make a tit of myself. But what worries me most is that I could slip back into old habits if he rejects me. I know that he hasn’t told his mum (my Birth Mother) that we are in contact. I found out later that she doesn’t have any more children, but she does have a man in her life who is Alex’s Stepdad. I’m scared that all of the old feeling of hate and disgust I felt for her, I will project onto him, as he was the one who got to stay with her as he was older. I’m worried that I could slip back into depression again and that is a spiral I can’t go down with a daughter.
If I had gone through the proper channels I would be offered a councillor to speak to, but as I’m being a bit naughty I have no support. So with my history of depression in mind, I am going to do the sensible thing and phone the Mental Health Team in my hometown to book an appointment. I was referred to them a few years ago and thought I would still be on their books, but apparently not, probably because I didn’t turn up to the appointment.
I was told I would have to be referred to them through my GP, I was a bit shocked as I need to speak to someone about my mental health. It’s good job it’s not more serious, as I can see how some people might fall through the cracks if they don’t have time to go to their GP, or they are not in the right mental state to organise to see a GP and then wait for an appointment with a psychologist .
So I phoned my doctors surgery, the woman asked for my details, sounded confused and asked me to hold. Some Annoying Spanish flamenco dancing music came on, which kind of made me want to salsa around the living room (that’s Spanish too right?) but I resisted the urge. 5 minutes later when I was just about to sing to myself to drown out the flamenco/salsa music the receptionist came back on the line and told me that my account is inactive. I asked her what that meant, and she explained that because I hadn’t been in over a year I have to go back in and re register, filling in all of the paperwork before I can make an appointment to see my GP. I explained to her that I want to be referred to the mental health team, so I’m not phoning about some little cold I’ve got, but she said sorry but I have to re register. I told her that was ridiculous and asked if I book an appointment then don’t go in for another year would I have to re register again and she said yes! What a joke so I guess at least once a year I have to go to my GP, waste his time to tell him that I feel fine just to stay on the bloody system. I felt like I couldn’t be bothered which is dangerous for someone with a history of depression, I will battle through but how many others would? It makes me glad that tomorrow I am going to a meeting for people looking to volunteer with the Samaritans, to help those that otherwise may have fallen through the cracks because there was nowhere else for them to turn.
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