It took 10 minutes for Therese’s biological daughter Liz to find her birth mom on the Internet. Now for her daughter’s 35th birthday, this Dreamscape keepsake highlights the special mother and daughter connections – from their hairstyles to their Polish/Celtic roots. A throwaway photo of Therese pushing away toys on a table becomes the unforgettable image of her “blessing” her younger self and daughter … when they were roughly the same age. Theresa’s gift is recovering that precious lost time together. Here Therese describes what the experience has been like for her:
“While many have told me what a gift a child was for Liz’s adoptive parents, that wasn’t what it was about for me. It was about giving the gift of loving parents to my daughter. From the moment Liz was born, I wasn’t allowed to see her or hold her or even know if she was a girl or boy. A silent alarm went off in my being that left uneasiness at my very core. Not till 33 years later when I received a letter from Liz did I feel peace come over me, and silence that alarm. Liz said she never tried to contact me because she didn’t really believe I’d want to hear from her. Or it didn’t seem that important. However, as far back as she remembers whenever she traveled or went someplace new, she’d always find a phone book and look up my name. It was only after having a child of her own that she became really motivated to find me. She’s said many times how significant it’s been for her to be with someone she looks like and identifies with biologically. There’s the significance of heritage too: Liz’s adoptive parents were born in Ireland and both her biological grandparents were from Poland. And here I’m Polish, currently married to an Irish man.
That picture of me in the photomontage is one of Liz’s favorites because we look so much alike. Liz and her mother have even grown closer as a result of her contacting me, and the photomontage did in fact have an impact on that, because it was the first time Liz’s mom ever saw what I looked like.
I was at her house yesterday and the photomontage was hanging in the front room. She had framed my poem to her on her 35th birthday, and hung it underneath the Dreamscape. It goes like this:
Pieces make the whole. The skies that will always watch over us. The comfort and warmth of an authentic Polish kitchen. A place of nourishment where families gather and grow. An Easter basket… a reminder of rebirth… first meetings …future new life unknown. Images of the past: the same curve of a cheekbone, angle of the jaw, the curl of a smile. One in the background… but like twins, they look down upon a heart that’s split and yet is one and are in turn watched by the hope found in the future. The joy of a father and mother who wait over a bassinet that will soon be filled. A Polish bassinet filled with an Irish symbol…the two combined to sustain life. The Celtic quilt inside with knots that speak of the unending circle of life. Every beginning comes from an end and every end is a new beginning, infinitely.”
Suggested reading: A Gift From The Long Lost Birthl Mom by Nancy Gershman