This month’s PAC-UK guest blog is from our Leeds Birth Parent & First Family Group. Kirsty Taylor provides the first part of the blog, which focusses on the “Forget Me Not Garden” project at The Open Nest and the support the group has received. Long standing group member Adele, inspired by Kirsty and the "Forget Me Not Garden" writes a moving poem in the second part of the blog.
The "Forget Me Not Garden" by Kirsty Taylor
With open minds and hearts, we sat comfy and warm in front of the fire at The Remedy Shed, with cuppas and chats of humanity and adoption, thinking that the day couldn’t really grow much further in terms of soul sharing and life learning… Until the group arrived, lively and high in spirit despite transport ‘mares and the many other day to day hustles we call ‘life’.
The book opened straight away, and we immediately began to twist yarns and thread needles in the form of words and stories that we all hope will lead to change. Change, that is what shone through the eyes of these humans who are battling with a system that is not designed for them. Not just for themselves, or their children, but for others too, and what astounded me most, is that despite every hurdle and knockback these people have faced, they are active. Actively learning, actively trying, throwing things back at a system that perhaps didn’t truly consider them in the first place. I would describe these humans as activists; suffering, healing and doing, all at the same time.
Listening was important today, and the group brought such power and courage with their words and memories, making the sharing process personal, emotional and extremely moving. They have stories to tell, stories that deserve to be heard, spun from such trauma and distress, but without losing sight of the wonderful memories they were also able to share so beautifully. I felt so inspired by every individual’s honesty, bravery and truth, and honoured to collect some of these memories and put them into words. A process that I hope feels beneficial and useful in some way.
I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to engage and learn from the group first hand. Their perspective needs to be considered, it must be considered. I am also in admiration to advocates like Denise from PAC-UK and Amanda from The Open Nest who are so carefully and lovingly supporting the group to ensure they are seen and heard, for them and other birth parents, children and families across the country.
Keep on keeping on you lot. You are amazing and brave and strong. RESPECT.
Written by Kirsty Taylor | Twitter @kirstybratfud
"This Is Not Our Last Farewell" by Adele
The day I met you I knew it was love at first sight and I could not be happier.
I held you in my arms and introduced you to my family.
I knew I never wanted to let you go.
We had to move in with a foster family but as long as we were together I knew I’d get through it.
We had to move on to another foster family a few months later and although I wasn’t happy there, I still had you and that’s all that mattered to me.
One day that all changed when I was asked to move out and we got separated.
I fought hard to get us back together, I felt so lonely without you by my side.
I waited as months passed by to hear the answer I knew was coming, “you cannot have him back".
It was the worst day of my life and it felt like my heart had been ripped out and stamped on.
We started to see less of each other and eventually it was just once a month.
The day came when it was your time to move on with your new family and leave me behind.
It was so hard to say goodbye but I knew it wouldn’t be our last farewell.
I have got used to you not being around but there are days I have struggled with the hurt of not having you here.
You may have been taken away from me but, no one could ever take the memories we share even if you don’t remember them as you were too young.
I hope that we will have more memories we can share together one day.
What gets me through is knowing how happy you are through your letters I receive and that I still hold on to the hope that one day we will meet again.
Not as strangers but as mother and son reuniting after all these years apart.
Nothing would make me happier than seeing your face again and not just on a photograph but in person.
I sometimes fear that day will never come but it doesn’t stop me clinging onto hope for our future together.
Sometimes I wish you were here through the bad times in my life but having you in my heart and memories helps me to get through.
I have a pain in my heart that will never go away as long as we are apart.
As time goes by it doesn’t get easier, it just stays the same.
You may not be in my life right now, but you will always be my sunshine on a stormy day.Adele
Is your child no longer with you or is there a chance this may happen? Free advice and support for birth mothers, fathers and relatives. For more information please visit our First Family Service page.
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