It’s been a long time in my mind’s eye but I finally took the plunge…as one of my newly found beautiful sisters said..I’m now an Ink girl!!
So the time has come to take a deep breath and put my big girl pants on…and possibly arm myself with a couple of Tena Ladies?
Why now? Well let’s see ….the last twelve months have rocked and rolled like a bouy bobbing in the Atlantic….it seems around every corner was another drama…The most notable episode was meeting up with my two gorgeous sisters , long lost siblings on my BF side. As if we’d always been in each others lives, we laughed, chatted non stop without really drawing breath..How three women meeting in the flesh for the first time can bond in an instant and pledge unconditional love and loyalty is a beautiful thing.
A weekend of seeing what makes each other tick ,whilst all the time knowing life would never be quite the same again. Makes me emotional just thinking about it. With onlookers who after learning we were meeting for the very first time, confirmed it was as though we’d known each other years. Biology aside, I am blessed and can honestly say my siblings both adoptive and by birth are all amazing and easy to love.
The other major drama to hit 2018 was in May. Call it sixth sense but after just a few days of silence and non-responses to messages I just knew in my gut something was wrong. With my Dads ongoing health issues I’m not immune to a heightened sense of anxiety when it comes to the possibility of an emergency. But this was different, I felt a nausea that rumbled low in my tummy every time the phone rang out or my texts were left hanging…like I was being ignored but not in a mean way..but as a warning bell. My instincts were right. My BM had suffered a near fatal brain haemeorrage and remains unable to speak or breath without a tube ever since. Its truly heart breaking.
My relationship with my Mother is the best it has been in as long as I can remember. Helped by a shared understanding of what it means to raise an adopted child, coupled with a mutual respect, now the dust has settled… as well as the same emotional bond to my Dads plight.
All of these issues and other more minor, had an impact on my mental and emotional wellbeing and as a result the fear of a tattoo was outweighed heavily by the need to mark this chapter in my life.
So with my daughter filming the event for her Vlog, and in the company of the eldest of my new found younger Sisters we settled ourselves around the Tattoo artist. I braved myself having heard horror stories of horrific pain.
As I’d told myself nothing could be like the pain of labour , how bad could it be? In short it was like being scratched badly with a blade on the straight bits and gauged with a razor blade with the colouring in…to be fair if someone caused that sort of pain without it being to create something pretty, I would have had to punch them in the neck.
So I’m not gonna lie, I was pleased when it ended and pinching my own finger to defer the pain was losing its appeal..
So the end result is a beautiful tribute to my Mother and my Birth Mother. It is exactly as I’d dreamed it would be..simple, yet complex amd where I can control who sees it and who doesnt.
I know I’ll have another…and already know what that will be…
For now I’m riding out the slight itchy scabbing but know it’s what I needed to do and at the right time..
My confession to my Mother who is yet to see my body art , was interesting.
I told her I had something to show her…she immediately said You’ve never got a tattoo!? No one I know could have told her..the assumption was it would be obvious and out there! I explained she was on it…as an initial you understand ,not in a creepy “image of your face” kind of way!
I assured her it was a great tattoo and she’d like it as it was meaningful and summed up what she means to me and how I value and honour my adoptive status as her daughter. She sounded moved and that choked my throat so we moved on…
My nearest and dearest love it, sadly my little man calls it ‘Mummy’s Baddie’ thinking I’ve been wounded in someway..I correct him with ‘Mummy’s Tattoo’ means nothing to him of course but in fairness it is for him too..Adopting him in one of my best and proudest achievements…I feel sad for those who see any negative in his adoption and not because of their own experiences of it..I mean those in my own circle who chose to view it as something wrong in the world..Unsaid bigotry is a terrible thing and I know we’ve done a good thing here. With his big brown eyes looking worriedly at my arm as if he can make it better…I say to him ” Look what we have here baby boy, one day I hope you will want to have the same symbol in honour of your adoption too…once we get past the “I hate you, you’re not my mum!” stage that is 😊
For those who don’t know the Symbol of adoption..or who need a slap for not reading my previous posts…
The triangle represents the three main characters involved..both the birth mother and the adoptive mother and the adoptee and all are enveloped in the heart representing love. I’ve added all our initials and favourite flowers .That is it..simple yet truly loaded with all I hold dear..
I hope you like it..
Thanks go to Rob Daliftkid Lawrence at Inkwa Tattoo London,
Thanks for reading
Black Sheep xxx
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Been a while I know….So I am counting the days to reuniting again with my BF siblings..along with various cousins , uncles and children all related to me and my daughter by DNA… Biology is a strange thing…..on the surface I don’t feel any different than any other daughter, wife, mother adopted sister or otherwise….but deep down I know the blood coursing through my veins is the same as theirs. We share the same genetic makeup . It brings again into focus the question I keep bringing up..Nature V Nurture…which applies to which aspects of my life? I searched for my truth and found way more answers than I ever had questions!
It would seem my first naive assumptions have proven to bite me on the arse…in fairness there is plenty of arse to bite!
Let’s face it , this “shit show “otherwise known as my journey, causes me to twist and turn like a drunk teenager on a Helter skelter at the fair!
My assumption is this…and very much causes me some embarrassment ….when I think back to how I pictured my BM family…my siblings on her side ..so one is again “away”..this time for the foreseeable for a pretty heinous crime…another is only occasionally on the same planet as the rest of us although when sober seems quite bright so that’s a shameful waste of skin. He told me he was torn between wishing he had known me as a child and sister growing up and being glad I’d been adopted for a better life that him.
The other, my maternal half sister is ….well thankfully by now I understand, down under, and can stay there as far as I’m concerned….weighed down by a mahoosive chip on her shoulder I was amazed not to hear a report of the Oz bound Boeing 747 going down over the Atlantic but still….lets move on…
My BF basically left my BM twice …with child..myself being the second bump beneath her already broken heart.
He came into her life, loved her, then left her to endure pregnancy and birth alone …then breezed back in and repeat….I have however, learned more about him in recent months. Learned to see him as a loving father to the children he knew as they grew up and without prejudice have concluded that I need to meet him to satisfy my curiosity…..I understood from my BM that he was the love of her life so maybe it’s biology or romanticism, but I can’t justify hating him as she never did, so what right would I have to do so? To spare her feelings I have kept quiet my intention to meet him… not that I truly understand what those feelings are now. I was asked if she would allow a photo of herself to be passed to him and the fact she said No makes me think the conversation is over in this respect.
I honestly feel the time is right for me to lay a few ghosts to rest, dispel a myth once and for all and make my own opinion. I’m hoping to encounter a lovable rogue…a man who remains a ladies man with a twinkle in his eye, but likely has a good heart.
So onto the foolhardy assuming that I have been guilty of..it’s true I assumed that as my BM is such a good and stoical woman ,that my siblings on her side would be like me, not only visually but in character… however it’s become clear that in fact the dis-functional thread that binds them is so far removed from my own lifestyle, personality and beliefs that we could be from completely different planets let alone all grew healthily sustained and nourished in the same bloody womb.
In a conversation with my middle maternal sibling ( backed into another proverbial corner , ambushed into speaking to him ..the usual) I learned that although a wonderfully loving and caring woman ,our “birth mother “tried her very best but lost control and her son’s went monumentally off the rails. As I’ve said, the other daughter has her own issues as we know but that’s not even worthy of my writing prowess…So as far as nurture , they were nurtured but given no discipline or boundaries …which he views not to be her fault…so are they his? If so why doesn’t he get a frigging grip and grow the hell up and take personal responsibility. I took the opportunity to advise him, as is my way…I said “Know this, if you let yourself lose either your mind, body or soul you will never get them back…she needs you to step up. Her plight is partly down to her son’s behavior (more in due course) so grow a pair and pay back the care…He took it on the chin as claimed to be in awe of speaking for the first time to his big sister! My big brother’s value my support and guidance too sunshine so it’s nowt to do with age!?
So that brings us to the siblings on my BF side. My assumption was they would have lives as chaotic as mine but nothing in common…. That they would be as alien to me as the other side of my biological family tree. How wrong was I? To be fair it has been another emotional rollercoaster whilst amazingly easy to find a way to fit with my kin on BF side. Basically the ease in which I’ve fit into my role of “Big sister” has amazed me..and possibly them too…I want to protect all of them even if they don’t need me to!
I’ve got to know my two sisters over the last few months since a first face to face in April….both of these beautiful and incredible women and the youngest sister’s children are already so special to me..the boys too after just meeting them once. As my eldest little sister said..It’s as if I’d popped out to the shops and now I’m back. It really is that simple..like we’ve known each other all our lives. The same with my two younger brothers…my feeling of wanting to protect them all is so strong …maybe it is no coincidence that our shared biological Nanny had been born and died on the same day as my own Birthday?..they all say I am very like her….
So I wonder this…is it a coincidence that the prayer Footprints on my BM wall had such an emotionally profound effect on me that she insisted I take the little brass and wooden plaque home…then the first time I visit my siblings in their home town, the only framed picture on my sisters bedroom wall is the very same prayer…
So I ask if this prayer has special meaning to them..they say it was Nanny’s and the boys say they know it from somewhere too…how bizarre to me that it holds such special meaning to both sides of my Gene pool…and trust me I’m in no way a religious person, Christian raised but not practicing. In fact more spiritual to be honest, it’s just one of those prayers that touches me deeply.
Which brings me to the title of this post…what exactly is my legacy?..I know from feedback my writing has and continues to touch many who read it…is the written word my legacy? I’ve done a half decent job of raising my step sons , daughter and adopted son…will they be my legacy?
My ever expanding long lost family only know me as I am as an adult today. So we have no real clue of the journey any of us took to get here, yet I feel almost newborn in their eyes as we learn what makes each other tick…
The thing that struck me most about all these new characters in my book of life was how alike we all are..shared laughter and the same sense of fun and humour…my youngest sibling brother suggested we have a group photo in order of our skin colour…just the kind of quip I would come out with.. hilarious face swaps on our phones also caused raucous raptures and I’m not gonna lie..I may have peed a teensy bit over the fact I really rock a goatee!? #oopsmoment
As I’ve learned over the last few years that where my Mum is concerned full disclosure (Ok… to a degree…on a need to know basis) is the only way to keep the peace and maintain the good place in which we are these days.
So I shared some details of my reunion including the amazingly colorful photo of our happiness which actually appears in the order of the Chakra . With me, the eldest in red at the centre. It really is an awesome photo.
Her response?!😯😝 Did you get out a photo of your real brothers to show them?
Oh yes, I forgot it was all about them? Jesus wept…like if I’d produced a photo of two random white guys like Pierce Brosnan and Bruce Willis it would have been just as ill timed and inappropriate.
I just wish she could let me own this stuff and stop acting like it’s a direct threat or undermining what I know to be my “real” family .Like the time I was pulled up for allowing my daughter to proudly claim to be “half Jamaican” Apparently this was plain wrong and she should be told she’s BRITISH..At this I calmly explained that as I am the biological child of two Jamaican born parents she is in fact correct and to suggest otherwise is rude,insulting and beyond fucking ignorant. Surely it was a good thing that her granddaughter felt comfortable in her own skin and proud of what she now knows to be her roots? Clearly not…this episode still gives me hives so I try to forget it and humour her… She foolishly suggested that my brother agreed with her stance and was embarrassed when I asked him directly if this were so. As expected he knew nothing of this and was infact as shocked as I was.. I am reminded on a regular basis albeit it in subtle ways..how lucky and grateful I should feel…the message is always loud and clear…even using the same tack with my boy..I fucking get it but this was Not the time or place to share my own adoption .They have their own stories to share as and when.
We shared this moment and I moved on as could see old wounds starting to appear and mentally and emotionally neither of us can afford to let them open up again .
So you see my assumptions proved to be misguided and unfounded….the siblings I expected to reject me as an interloper found me themselves and have welcomed me with warm hearts and open arms. The ones I expected same response from are distant, guarded, suspicious and self absorbed to the point of paranoia..I can’t help but feel they see me as some kind of threat..This couldn’t be further from the truth. All I ever wanted from my search for my BM was answers and to piece together the incomplete jigsaw of my life…I achieved this and much more as my relationship with her is as if we are best friends. Her children, however connected to me by blood of varying percentage , sadly are not going to add value to my life in any way….
And so my second assumption…
You know when you take time for granted ….assume all the time in the world to piece together the mysteries that make you whole…,? Well all I can advise you is don’t.
Life can be proper scary and kick you square on in the teeth… Drama has a way of unfolding out of control. One such drama continues without any sign of respite for my BM and in turn for me too. Back in May 2018 a number of Whatsapp messages and voice mails went unanswered. As time went on and after about a week I started to feel anxious..a sinking feeling of dread deep in my gut. I’d shake it off but it kept coming back…rather like the heartburn I’ve written of in the past. This was different though…like nerves fluttering before an interview. I put off chasing for a response as something told me I’d not get one. Then one day a call to her landline reinforced the feeling of dread as I was greeted with “the mailbox you are calling is full“.Now anyone who knows me knows that talking and communication are my super powers ..inherited in part from my BM and taught in another part by my Mum. So to imagine how on Earth my BM could get to the point of not clearing her telephones full mailbox made nausea rise in my throat.
What the fuck was going on? I knew something was very very seriously wrong. There was nothing for it, I needed to track her down and fast. I made a call to E, her best friend and neighbor..she is also very dear to me, almost like a precious aunt.
The last day I spoke to my BM she told me how much pressure she felt, mostly due to the ongoing needs of her sons. Their constant begging for her money, their issues with the police etc were really starting to effect her blood pressure and her general health. I’d talked to her and listened at length with the right level of sympathy, gritting my teeth to stop myself slating those needy baby-men and suggesting she let them sort out their own shite. Men in their mid to late 40’s should take care of her and not the other way around..take personal responsibility for their own decisions and own their own shit. Can you tell I am more than a little pissed off with these grasping childish boys?…I wont call them men as that’s not how I view them.
And so as I’m told by E to sit down and brace myself I know in that split second I’m not going to hear good news. The week my gut was nervously anxious about her , my sixth sense was serving me well. My BM was suffering a serious and life threatening brain haemmorrage.
I felt sick. My eyes filled and tears spilled onto my burning cheeks. My head was spinning and a Menopausal hot flush was burning me up from the inside.
How the hell did that happen? What was she doing when it happened? Who was with her? Oh my God, could she die? I’ve not had her long enough? This can’t be happening? It’s a bad dream I’ll wake up in a minute surely?
Nope, no nightmare of a fitful sleep. This shit just got very real.
Without going into the detail I’ll wrote of at another time..she is still in hospital, unable to breath without a Tracheotomy and is unable to speak. I’ve visited once and an emotional yet funny episode it was too. Warrants a whole post of it’s own so I won’t elaborate here for now. I’ve rung her to promise ill see her again soon. With me babbling away non stop and the rasping sound of her heavy breathing on the other end of the phone was a hard phone call to fathom. Almost like a reverse stalker. I collapsed in tears when I hung up the phone. Amazing how drained I felt when the call was over. I’m going again soon armed with a tablet so we can Skype. At least then we can see each other. Just hearing her deep breathing through a tube was quite distressing.
What I will admit is my deepest concern. She may never chat merrily to me again as in our past weekly phone calls. There’s a chance she may not have the capacity to even write to me again. Our daily messages have come to an abrupt end ..her number on my phone is left wanting…I’m left feeling a mixture of loss and fear…. my instinct is to help sort her life out..to wade in all guns blazing and get involved..Believe me it’s hard not to shake my fists at certain parties who seem to be working to control her and dress it up as God’s work. I’ll admit to having made a call to a certain Church Pastor and expressed my displeasure regarding a level of control I felt uneasy about. Basically told him to step back and let the woman recover. Without identifying myself of course….but made it clear he didn’t want to ignore the warning as his belief of Hell was about to be realized if he didn’t. God’s work my arse ….anyway more of that another time..
And so to conclude, the reason I am asking myself What is my legacy? I feel it only right to mark this period of my life in some meaningful way. In just the last two years I have brought home my baby boy , opened my heart and my home to a son who I view as of my own flesh. Whatever your opinion of Adoption, I am an adoptee so to adopt is as to give birth as far as I am concerned. He knows me as “Mamam” and is as adored by his family as if he were my flesh…a couple of nobodies who don’t view him as part of our family don’t matter in the least and can live in their own shame, they of course are no longer considered family.
In the last year I have been reunited with five siblings, learned I am the fourth eldest of a total of 14,maybe more… the eldest of the UK siblings, I know so far on my BF side, one of several internationals I am unlikely to meet…. big sister to 4 on BF side (at least) and 2 on the other. My BM has been hospitalized for over 7 months to date, my own Dad is deteriorating before my eyes and all in all its been one hell of a year.
I felt it high time to draw a line in that sand of Footprints and mark this time in my life as pretty bloody momentous. So what better way than to acknowledge how far this journey has taken me than with some ink. Yes, I’m getting my first tattoo…in fact I’ve already planned my second too.
This month , in the company of my daughter, my sisters and perhaps the brothers if they can be persuaded, I will endure my first tattoo. Based on the Adoption symbol (The triangle’s sides representing Adoptive Mother, the Adoptee and the Birth Mother, surrounded and wrapped in love, the Heart) I am adding both mine and my mum’s favourite flowers, a Bumble Bee representing the town of my birth, Manchester, and first name initials of all three of us. Inextricably bound together by Adoption.
My second tattoo is to be a line of the Footprints poem with a pair of footprints , fashioned as bracelet.
I am hoping my siblings will do similar as the Prayer clearly is a key to much of what binds us together.
My daughter is to be with me, Its time she embraced my history and felt the all engulfing love and acceptance of her biological family…its no longer just me and her, shes part of a world of colour, desperate to meet her and welcome her as they have me…in time my son will be embraced by them too… of course she thinks she is coming with me simply to meet her blood relatives, but in actual fact it is so that I have something substantial to bite on during the pain of having my tattoo?!
I strongly believe that we are all placed where we should be in the world and the stars align to ensure we meet those who matter, at the time that matters most.
Trust in the universe to show you light in the darkness…allow yourself to dream as if it were reality..have faith that what you get is what you deserve….
Above all, take courage to leap into the unknown, it might just be exactly what you need to live the rest of your life without regret…
Thanks for reading
As always, much love
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This is a bizarre post to write….but needs writing…So only a handful of folk have penned a review for my book.Thats absolutely fine as I wrote it for myself and not for reviews. As it’s the story of my life it needs no apology or edits. “I am what I am” as they say.
However this review is as surreal as it is special to me. You see, on this rollercoaster ride I call my life, I encounter new characters to add to my life’s stage ..at every turn it seems someone new is a part of my world. This heart felt review is by my beautiful reunited Sister on my birth father side. As I’ve not met him I am not in a position to say much but what I do know is his genes are bloody powerful.The likeness between me and this lovely girl is uncanny. This is not especially in looks (though we do share the same features) Our personalities are more complimentary than they are the same.
I feel protective of her as well as my other siblings and know she will always have my back as I will have hers same but we both chatter non stop and are both opinionated.
You see this beautiful soul ,with kindly eyes and a gentle smile ,had known about me all my life. I, on the the other hand had no clue of her existence nor that of my other siblings. That said, when we met face to face it was as if we had known of each other the whole time and I quote”it was as if I’d been away a while and come back home,”
Don’t misunderstand me, my brothers are my world..and I will always be there bossing them around whilst organising their lives…my newly discovered siblings add a positive new dimension to my life and that of my children. All enhancements are truly welcome and I feel blessed beyond words
So let me share with you her thoughts on what she read of my book so far..I’m hoping she finishes it too as her feedback means the world to me
“Now eye finally have a moment sitting down to read this wonderful book written by my beautiful sister
First thoughts; extremely vulnerable real writing style. Eye see so much of myself in her and it’s really inspiring and boosting my confidence as a person.
Quite often eye sit down to read a book and feel in the first few pages already I’m tuning out but this time I’m actually gripped. Not just because of the content, my drive to know more about the journey of this amazing lady eye am proud to call my sister, but also because just simply eye feel like her way of writing is just like writing from my thoughts as her sentences carry into the next mirroring the natural motion of conversation. Having spent the weekend with her this doesn’t really surprise me as eye confirmed we both have a way with being able to hold a conversation…..hehehe x
Eye feel already that it’s building to some more emotional stuff so gonna grab some tissues close for when it happens…..how beautiful that eye can even feel that. It’s like when ewe make happy so as to smooth the later blows.
Not even quarter way but already really impressed. Just wanted to introduce ewe all to this wonderful book BLACK SHEEP, SWEET DREAMS
If ewe want a page turner that grips the heart eye encourage ewe to get urself a copy.
Love ewe Sis x so happy we found each other x
Thanks to her and any other valued reader of my story ❤️
Lots of Love
Black Sheep xx
Just a thought… I’m wondering how many years I’ve mindlessly worked through my address book writing Christmas cards? How many have moved, or even know my youngest exists? How many don’t give me or mine a second thought until they do the same when they dust off their own address book?
Half probably don’t give a shit if I’m alive or dead but send one cos my address is still in their little book? We all do it..and we also know the stamp costs more than the card…we are kidding ourselves if we think its showing Christmas spirit or a gesture of faux Good Will. If you make zero effort with that person for the entire year then send a card as if to say You are in my thoughts, you are lying to yourself and to them. Its fucking paper people,, means nothing . if you give a toss, ring….if you care whether they are happy, healthy and even alive, ring them. If you have given them the time of day during the year they don’t need that tiny teeny gesture as they would feature in your life. I hate myself for doing exactly this again this year and then receiving cards from those who have done it to me. I am making a promise to myself NOT to do it next year. The worst are those who add their address, new or old on the card so you can update your sad old address book to continue the farce for more years to come.
Be genuine, be current and be present in the lives of those you want to wish a Happy New Year…it’s not a show where your part has to keep up an appearance..ffs bow out of the charade. I’ve accidentally sent a card to someone who dropped my arse from the highest height over Christmas two years ago..wtf is that about?..I don’t even miss her lol….she is dead to me yet will open a piece of cheap paper with jolly Christmas cheer and wonder why? She is right too as actually shes a prick who I would walk past in the street. That is my point ….the people who are important to you will know your shit, you will know what dramas and trauma they are facing and care enough to support them during the year…not pretend to care once a year with a card featuring a robin and snow scene
FRIENDSHIP IS A 12 MONTH DEAL….NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS.
BURN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK or at least delete the folk you treat to a card yet treat them to nothing else
Merry Christmas to all my Lambs xxx
Black sheep xxx