Dear Adoption, I Have Questions for Bio-Mom
Tell me about your pregnancy thirty years ago. Did he leave you before or after you realized you were late? Did you go to the sonogram alone? Were tears streaming down your face as you heard my heart beat for the first time? Why did you take your prenatal vitamins? Did you figure it out too late?
People always ask if I’ve tried to find you – they never ask if you’ve tried to find me. I wonder about your life, though. I wonder if you cut back on your shifts at the textile factory, went back to school, and found a job in the city where nobody knew you or your secret. I wonder if, on your lunch break, you tapped a stranger on the shoulder to let him know he was next in line. I wonder if he asked you on two years worth of dates before asking you to move in with him. I wonder if you took one of those cheesy photos of yourselves painting a wall for your “we’ve moved” announcement card. I wonder if you cried when he got down on one knee, not hesitating to say yes. I wonder if my screaming body flashed in your brain when the stick turned blue a year from then. I wonder if it was more than a second before you tucked it away with all the other garbage that doesn’t mean shit to you.
Elizabeth from the adoption agency told me every mother who has given their child up for adoption thinks of that child on the day they gave birth. Do you? Did you spend those first few weeks clutching your belly, wondering where I had gone? Did you hold me and take my scent in before the nurses took me away?
I used to think I needed these answers – that the most significant decision of your life has defined all of mine, all of me. I used to think I needed you. But I don’t. I never fucking did.
Lauren J. Sharkey’s debut novel, INCONVENIENT DAUGHTER, is forthcoming from Kaylie Jones Books is 2020 and is based on Sharkey’s own experience of being a Korean American adoptee. Sharkey was adopted from Korea at the age of three months and raised by Irish Catholic parents on Long Island, NY. Connect with Lauren on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.