March 10, 2022
Happy birthday to me…happy birthday to me! Happy birthday I’m 50… … Happeee Biiiirthday toooo meeee!! As I reflect on 50 years of my life, I think about how much love surrounded me growing up. From the moment my mom and dad brought me home until my dad’s last breath in 2017, I was never lacking in love. However, ever since I found out about my adoption on that wacky Spring afternoon in 2018, I think about how much grief and depression I swam in for the 46 years of my life.
February 21, 2022
A few weeks ago, I traveled to Virginia for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, and I had a lovely heart-to-heart with my mom about the battle I had with depression I had my whole life up until my late adoption discovery.
I told my mother that growing up, I always knew that she and dad always loved me; however, I didn’t think she liked me. She was blown away by what I was saying. I then gently asked her to hear me out.
“Mom, I remember as a child that something was always off. My gut told me that you and dad were hiding something. Adoption never came to my mind because I thought that was an insane idea. I couldn’t figure it out, so with the help of Jermaine and Jamar, we came up with a list of ideas. They were as follows:
1) Money is hidden somewhere
2) They work for the secret military
3) They have another child that is hidden somewhere
I have no idea how we came up with #3 but little did we know we were right and that the child was me…”
My mother put her head down and clasped her hands together. I continued.
“As I got older and more curious, I remember flipping through Jermaine, Jamar, and my baby books. I remember looking through their books and wondering why they had newborn photos, but I didn’t have one. When I asked you and dad, you both told me that they didn’t have hospital photographers around like when I was born. I became sad. This didn’t make any sense because I’m only two years older than Jermaine, and I knew hospital photography services didn’t change that quickly in two years. My friends who were my age had newborn photos of themselves! But you know what, mom? I didn’t question it and kept the sadness to myself.”
My mother grimaced and then mustered up a smile as I continued.
“Another time when you and dad had a game night party at the house, I remember you telling a funny story about Jermaine’s birth and how he got stuck, and then you segued into the story about Jamar almost being born on Halloween. You said, “Yeah! I went into labor on Halloween…and Jimmy was mad! Weren’t you, Jimmy?” and then dad replied, “Yeah! I told Jay that she better hold that baby in because I don’t want no monster baby!” Everyone was laughing hysterically. You then said, “But then Jamar came on November 3. I will never forget that that was the only time in my life where I didn’t get to vote.” You never publically told anyone about my birth story. You and dad said that that story was only for me. I couldn’t understand why you didn’t want to tell people about my birth story. I figured it was because my story wasn’t as funny. Each time I heard my brother’s birth story, my spirit was filled with grief. I started to believe that the secret I felt my parents held had something to do with me…maybe I did something at birth that upset them? I know they love me, but I don’t think my mother likes me. I thought to myself.”
My mother’s eyes filled with tears, and as I looked at her, I was afraid to tell her the rest of my story. But then, my heart filled with a wave of peace, and I could hear my spirit telling me that it was okay to continue.
“So, mom, when I became pregnant with Tyson, I thought this moment was the perfect opportunity for us to connect! I remember asking you questions like, “What was it like to be pregnant with me? And, “Did you crave anything? Did you have morning sickness? Where you nervous?” Each of your responses was, “I don’t know., or I don’t remember., or You ask too many questions!” I then reflected back on the baby books and the birth stories of my brothers. This time my grief turned into bitterness. I cried a lot and decided not to ask you questions anymore and convinced myself that you and dad DID remember my birth, but there must have been some medical complication with my birth that you didn’t want to remember. “Maybe mom almost died with me? or Maybe I had a medical condition as a newborn, and they didn’t want to talk about it.”
My mother’s eyes opened wide as tears ran down her face. “Oh, Janeen, baby! It was non of those reasons!”
“Mom, but now that I know about my adoption, I want you to know my battle with depression is over. What I was feeling wasn’t depression or insecurity but the spirit of the secret you and dad held.”
My mother held me tight, and we cried together. “Janeen, I am so sorry! Your daddy and I had no idea you were depressed and that our decision about not telling you would affect you like this!”
She then told me about the day my dad and she decided to turn to adoption…I’ll save that for another post.
On a different note and a big birthday gift to me in celebrating my 50th, I am SO excited to announce a children’s book I have been working on for the past 9-10 months, “Hello, Sweet Baby!”. This is one of the reasons I haven’t been posting. I have been working night and day with my editor, consultant, and illustrator to get this book published. It’s almost complete! So, please check out my “Children’s Book” page on this blog.
Love to all of you who have been following me!