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I Don’t Know Why or How, but I Made It

Is there anything about this face that screams, happiness, love, contentment, security?

I have been searching out information on the first five years of my life for the last 25 years. I was hoping it would answer questions and give me pieces of the puzzle of my life. I thought for so long that I spent most of my first 5 years in an orphanage being cared for by specific people, so even if they didn’t have enough food , they would have enough love to go around. I was fine with that. So many people had experienced so much worse. I was a survivor.

I just learned that was not true. I had been fostered out, or hospitalized for most of those five years. Here is what I learned.

I was fostered out when I was two months old (Sept-49) to a home in County Kildare, the same area my birth mother grew up. I was returned (Aug -50) to Temple Hill Hospital in Dublin for “non-thriving,” no other explanation given.

Fostered out again (Sept-50) to another family near Wicklow County stayed ( June-51) until I was returned to Temple HIll Hospital for “non-thriving,” again no specific explanation given.

A third fostering came (July-51) to somewhere back in Kildare County, back once again returned (April-52) to Temple HIll Hospital for “non-thriving.”

A final fostering out (July-52) again somewhere near Wicklow County returned (April – 53) to Temple HIll Hospital due to “non-thriving.” for the final time.

At this point in time, I was given liquid iron and I suppose healthy food, for I was finally able to meet heath requirements for my exit out of Ireland in June – 53 for my adoption to the US.

WHen I arrived in the US, I had rickets, malnutrition, intestinal parasites, along with not being able to walk or talk, and unknowingly, I had seizures. I was just shy of 5.

I have to ask you as any normal person might, what the hell happened?

Who did what to who?

I’m not laying any blame, because I can’t wrap my head around it.

People are prosecuted in the States if a child is found in that condition. DId no one notice? Did no one care?

Okay I recovered fom all of that, so how does “non-thriving” affect an someone as an adult?

I am assuming I suffered from it both physically (obviously) and psychologically. I had processing issues before that word was used in education. I was called lazy, indifferent, a dreamer, and placed in remedial. I was even told rather than try to enroll in college, instead to find a “good man.”

When I was growing up I struggled a great deal with abandonment issues. I was terrified everyone was going to leave me. I never got angry about it, just lived with a terror in my heart, as if I were seeing the clown from the movie IT everyday in the tunnels.

It impacted every day of my life, the relationships I had, my academic progress, my relationships with my children, even my career.

I literally didn’t know how to say “no” to anyone, because if I did I would lose them.

because of this unreasonable fear I let people take advantage of me. I allowed abuse to happen to me because I thought I deserved it, because I wasn’t worthy of anything better. And not only did I allow it, I hid it, because God-forbid who would believe me. That is what you beleive when you feel less than everybody else.

I spent ten years in therapy learning how to rethink my philosophy on life. I am thankful to my therapist who gave me the tools to move forward in life, and not let those fears debilitate me. I am 68 years old and I am rocked by what I have learned about my past.

The abandonment was just a part of it. I began to wonder about the “non-thriving.”

I have had two children and neither of them were non-thriving. They grew up strong, healthy, and loved. They never had to worry that their parents were going to leave them. I have three grandchildren and I am in awe of them, no sign of non-thriving, no abandonment, no far of being alone.

There is no rhyme or reason to this and I am not looking for an answer, and there is no one person, or group of people to blame, but I was not the only one who paid such a high price. Yes, I am “fine” now, happy successful, but I feel so cheated, out of five years that were mine, taken from me, with no explanation.

I’m not looking for sympathy in any way. I just thought it was time I spoke up and gave myself a voice, and all the other children everywhere, in every decade, who come out broken, or worse who don’t make it.

I’ll get over it and I’ll move on, but I won’t forget.

One comment on “I Don’t Know Why or How, but I Made It

  1. In today’s world someone would be charged for child abuse – the cruelty many children suffered in the 50-70
    is beyond comprehension but for the person who suffered such cruelty – there are no words that can ever take away their pain and suffering – life time legacy – as they are the only first hand witnesses to the crimes committed against them – we admire you for telling your story and writing your story and sharing it with others –

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