Neither, My Darling — Neither, Just Two Different Kinds of Love.
Once there were two women
Who never knew each other.
One you do not remember,
The other you call mother.
I was 16, numb, surviving, and feeling completely isolated from any kind of connection in life. “Legacy Of An Adopted Child” was a poem that “Dear Abby” featured in her newspaper column. I came across it shortly after placing my son for adoption. It met me in the place where nothing else could. This poem became my therapy. The words spoke to my soul. They confirmed that the author definitely understood the intense complexities of the adoption experience.
Two different lives
Shaped to make yours one.
One became your guiding star,
The other became your sun.
At 15, my greatest love for my child was to do whatever had to be done to ensure his safety and his future. I knew this with certainty despite the anguish this truth caused to my heart and soul.
Looking back, I still know that I had no resources to do what needed to be done in a way that was best for my son’s future. Every option was blocked.
One gave you up —
It was all that she could do.
The other prayed for a child
And God led her straight to you.
I carried on as do most birth mothers and most people who have experienced traumatic events in their lives. Whether or not painful events occur as a result of a choice we make or a result of something that happens to us, we are still left to live with the results of the aftermath. Some people numb out, some maintain and some desperately try to move forward and see the good.
The first gave you life
And the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love
And the second was there to give it.
I married, had a big family, and shared this experience openly with my kids for the possible day that we should reunite with my son. Time went by. Years passed. Things changed. Divorce happened. My life went through similar cycles and again life-changing decisions had to be made. 15 years post-adoption, I found myself making choices for the betterment of everyone’s future. A choice that I knew after many years of trial and error, would eventually get me and us to a better place.
One gave you a nationality,
The other gave you a name.
One gave you a seed of talent,
The other gave you an aim.
Someone gave me a sobering pep talk before I embarked out into the great unknown. The words were ” Some things in your life will get harder, some things will improve and others will stay the same. Over time those words proved to be true in so many ways. I still wish my choices in life didn’t have to reflect and affect my children’s lives then and in the future. Who doesn’t?
One gave you emotions,
The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile,
The other dried your tears.
As for today, I do what has to be done to get to a better place in life for myself and for those I love. I help other birth mothers find a better way to be supported in this most complex of adoption experiences. Life is a journey that you can only experience by showing up with love and do the best that you can with what you’ve got.
And now you ask me
Through your tears,
The age-old question
Through the years:
Heredity or environment
Which are you the product of?
Neither, My Darling — Neither,
Just Two Different Kinds of Love.
*** Words taken from -Legacy Of An Adopted Child – Author Interestingly Unknown but Loved and Adored By Many
**** Update -2021 -Author located!! <3 Written by Penny Branson for her best friend who was adopted.
Beautiful! I ran across this poem in my youth and presented it to my (adopted) mother. She held on to it for many, many years.
Thank you for your thought-provoking essay and for republishing this *treasured* poem. ❤
Thank you, Carol. <3
Beautiful! As an adopted child I’ve always held this close to my heart. It has helped me through turmoil many, many times.
Val, it makes me so happy to know that this poem blessed you as much as it did me. I am sending BIG love your way. <3
In 1989, I had twins and had to place them up for adoption. Today they turn 31. I hope you don’t mind, but I took your article and posted it on my Facebook. I have been in contact with my son and wanted him to see my post. My daughter is special needs so I have not been able to have a relationship with her. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for posting this lovely article. It means so much!!
I am so glad your heart found a way to this poem today and yes! please do share. Best wishes to you. <3
I actually wrote this when I was 16. I had no idea that it had gone viral until about 2004 when I went for an interview for employment at an adoption agency and saw it cross stitched and hanging on the wall. I won a poem contest in 1985 in Indianapolis with it and had it published in a Christian magazine at the same time. Not sure how it came to go viral or attributed to an author unknown, but just wanted you to know there is an author.