Giving Kids Up for Adoption – The Void

By: J Cruikshank

This is the continuation of Part One, Our Story by J Cruikshank


blue abyss

The Void

By Janice Cruikshank


The emptiness left from the loss of the twins was nearly unbearable and often frightening.  I had dreams that they were in distress and, at one time, dead.  There was no way to verify or dismiss these nightmares.  I had to find reason outside of my emotions and view life on a grander scale.  It was not logical to believe that the ability to give birth was an indication of worth any more than the inability was a punishment.  It can be said that there are many people pumping kids out one after the other who should have never been given one.  On the same note, there are loving people with much to offer who are unable to have any.  If it was a matter of denying my children love in exchange for “the good life” I could not have done it.  I had to trust that they would be given both.  I had to believe that there were people who could love another woman’s child as their own.


The agency worker gave me information that I should not have been privy to; but, she knew I could be trusted.  She told me their new first names and the city in which they lived.  For the balance of all I just quietly remembered and let it be.  Open adoptions, that allow the birth mother to be a part of their kids’ lives, are a disservice to the new family, and especially to the children.  The emotional well-being of my twins was paramount to me.


I wanted to believe in a divine Creator to honor my sacrifice and guide my children to the family they needed and that they would bless in return.  There had to be order in the chaos.  There had to be reason and purpose.  I came to believe that life is a testing ground.  Why we exist is determined by who we are.  There are many tests of character that I have failed miserably, but this scar I proudly wear.  My shame is not in giving them to a loving family, to provide their needs.  My shame was that it wasn’t me.  I simply wasn’t enough.


Life continued for my remaining daughter and I, but the void was always there.  I went from menial job to menial job to make a living, and I depended largely on my parents to supply my girl with a more solid foundation than I could offer.  My parenting confidence was crushed and I no longer trusted myself to do anything right.  My daughter had a memory like a steel trap so adoption for her would have done more damage than good.


Years passed and Ashley grew up.  She never liked being an only child and let me know it.  She went on to graduate college.  Near her wedding day, she spoke longingly of the twins.  I told her if she wanted to find them she had my blessing, but I could not.  I both longed for, yet feared, the day we might meet again.  I feared the disappointment they would feel about me.  I had not aged well and remained a nothing.  After over thirty years I still had nothing to offer.


On March 17th 2007 (the year of Bond) my world changed.  My mother called me and put a very special someone on the phone.  It was my son’s best friend!  He had found us!  I spoke to my son that evening for the first time in over 31 years.  My emotions went wild.  Three decades of suppression burst forth into a torrent of soon to follow insanity.  There is a quote that sums it up for me, “There is a happiness that makes the heart afraid.”  The pressure to not lose them again was driving me mad, and ever closer to that place.  We were strangers to them.  It was normal curiosity for them.  For me it was survival.  I had never felt more vulnerable and helpless.  I knew I would fail the test; and, for a time, I did, with both of them.  We have since re-re-united and I have regained balance (somewhat).  We now share a calmer relationship, and we are building memories that will bind us together.  Thirty years are forever lost to me.  Although I will continue to grieve for them, I am blessed beyond belief.  I no longer have doubts about a divine Creator.sunrise

9 Responses to “Giving Kids Up for Adoption – The Void”
  1. Jeanine Knapp August 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    Today is our Gotcha Day! There has never been anything more profound for us than holding our son in our arms for the first time. I know that the height of our joy is likely equal to the depth of her grief. My son didn’t really want to talk about it the other day. At bedtime, he told my husband that he was thinking of his birthmother. He has a loss too and this we know. I too miss her in our lives. I hope to connect with her in time and have tried. All things in time, as it should be and in the meantime, I wish her a beautiful day and life–our son is awesome.

  2. jennifer bell August 11, 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    Very interesting article

  3. melissa neal August 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

    This took great courage and strength!

  4. catherine McKloud December 9, 2010 at 10:26 am #

    Open adoption is NOT bad for the adoptive family, the birth parents, or the child. Open adoption allows everyone to know one another–as a birth mom, open adoption has allowed me to KNOW my child has love, support, and a wonderful family. I miss her terribly but was (and am) not able to parent–open adoption has been a true gift. My daughter is now 16 years old–I see her about 4 times per year. She knows who I am and loves me and she loves, loves, loves her parents. I wish more people would consider open adoption–I cannot imagine placing my child and knowing nothing about where she is or having to “find her” years later. This also keeps her from wondering if she was “not wanted” by me (never!). She knows the whole story and is growing into a confident, happy young woman.

  5. Jackie December 19, 2010 at 1:22 am #

    Well I am an adopted child and my records are open but I only found out how old my mother was and where she was from and thats it. So to say open record adoption is great its great for who? It is way to much red tape to go threw and too much money at that. I dont have that kind of money to be investigating into my situation. Not to say I dont want to know yes I do but I cant afford it. I have written to tv shows and other people who say they will help. Needless to say Im still stuck with not knowing. My question to you as a mother who ( i dont know how to say this and not hurt anyone’s feelings) put her children up for adoption is- Why is it that we have to go looking? I know you were scared but so are we. And as a mother of 4 beautiful children I cant imagine not knowing. Im not saying what you did was a bad thing because your son sounds like he has had a wonderful life. But to me I just dont understand why we have to be the ones to look. I would want to look for my child and know the answers to the questions you have. So I am trying to understand (not degrading you) why you wouldnt make that move as to look for them.

  6. J Cruikshank December 19, 2010 at 6:28 am #

    That’s a very good question, Jackie and put quite simply, I did not feel that I had the right to do so. As it turned out, my son always wanted to know but my daughter didn’t. I had to assume that my presence would cause a unwanted disruption in their lives and although the State erased me from them they remained my children in my heart and their happiness was always the goal.I wish you the best in your search and can only pray that the outcome is as blessed as I’ve experienced. I cannot begin to speak for your birth-mother but am sure that she wanted you to have a good life.


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