Physical therapy consisted of working with Play Dough and assorted children’s toys. Because she’d been coached by an aide, my mother could recite her full birth date. With the intonations of a child well rehearsed for her part in the play, she delivered her lines precisely, with a certain sparkle of pride. But names and faces were interchangeable. Or unrecognizable. Or emerged from her private mystery as an unsolvable riddle. Time was fluid and unmanageable. She would rise in the predawn hours and start packing for her trip back home to her childhood in Fieldsboro, New Jersey. She worried about being late.
That was her world when the predator adoptee (see Woman In Hiding, A True Tale of Backdoor Abuse, Dark Secrets and Other Evil Deeds) and my uncle, also an adoptee, ambushed her. The two conspired with my mother’s caregivers, my brother and sister-in-law, and tricked my mother into meeting the predator adoptee. They posed my mother for pictures in clothes that hung from her shrunken frame and coaxed that confused, vacant smile for the camera to record the event. The predator adoptee posted one of the photographs on her blog. She calls her, “my grandmother.”
My mother, a woman who lived her life tormented by the sexual violence she endured, who quietly coordinated my rescue from a catastrophic pregnancy by arranging for a confidential adoption, would have been reduced to raw panic had she been capable of comprehending what her brother and a stranger had orchestrated.
My uncle knew that my mother had been raped by their sister. He knew I’d been impregnated by rape. He ignored the living death that describes the lifelong agony of sexual abuse—agony suffered by my mother, suffered by me. He discarded the reach of its power; dismissed how the tentacles of sexual abuse access generation after generation of girls, contaminating them with shame and silence, crafting them into women mute with terror. As my uncle toyed with his invalid sister, toyed with the deep, living wounds of our mutual sexual trauma, as he paraded my mother before the predator adoptee, he perpetuated that sexual abuse. My uncle and the predator adoptee tricked my mother when she was disarmed of all self-authority, had no capacity to protect herself, and lacked all ability to consent or refuse. They ambushed an invalid.
Over the years of challenging adoption myths, I have learned that my story of exposure and betrayal is not unusual. Communications from women in hiding themselves, from snippets buried in the under speak of “reunion” articles, and from the tales of women who write me expressing gratitude for the backstreet abortions that nearly took their lives but freed them from a catastrophic pregnancy, all confirm the level of hatred toward a woman impregnated against her will, and the depraved level society will stoop to—as a mob—to punish her. Even if it is through her loved ones.
I am called a monster. Therefore, all women in hiding are monsters. All women wanting to cling to their dignity, to their bodily privacy, to their civil rights, to their personal boundaries are monsters. Women in hiding are monsters to be hunted. Society encourages and forces the ambush.
According to her blog posts, the adoptee was planning to visit my mother in the rehabilitation center where she was sent to fade away like a dying little bird. Fortunately, my mom died before she had to endure more humiliation at the hands of someone so callous I am simply at a loss for words. Death and dementia are about the only protections a hunted elder woman can hope for.