I am enough from Caroline MacMoran

I am enough from Caroline MacMoran

As I sit here writing, on the fourth anniversary of my mother’s death, I am aware of the impact my mother had on my sense of “enoughness”. My mother was the kind of woman that spoke her mind, loved fiercely, moved heaven and earth for what she felt deeply about, and made the best chocolate cake ever, hands-down. She was a wonderful mother for me. Not perfect, but she was certainly close enough. She was my Mom in all ways but one. I didn’t grow inside this mother; I was adopted.

I’ve struggled with this for many years. How could I be enough if I was relinquished at 3 days of age? Not enough for one mother, yet seemingly enough for another. And at a young age, I defined my “enoughness” through other people. In fact, I did this well into my early adulthood. It wasn’t until I hit my thirties that I started to really look at being enough just for me. I gave lip service to being enough, and I really think I wanted to believe I was enough, but I didn’t truly and deeply question this until somewhat later in my life.

Many points of my life converged when I was in my early thirties, including searching in earnest for my birth mother. Though I had dabbled in a search in my early twenties, it was a challenging quest, and because it didn’t come together easily, I fell away from it. I purposefully used “fell away” and not “stopped”, because I never really stopped searching. From my adoptee perspective, the search was life-long even when there wasn’t a specific search activity to pursue. I was always searching inside myself for some answer to who I was.  

Small answers to my search came in bits here and there. My birth mother had lived in a small beach town, and so there was one long afternoon when I went to the local high school of this town and searched the yearbook for pictures of a woman I believed I’d somehow recognize. It didn’t happen in that magical way, and the search continued. Through various different ways, I finally found out that my birth mother had died at a relatively young age. The grief I felt over never looking into her face, or not having her know that I was searching for her was enormous. I wanted her to know that she was enough, and that I was finally coming to a place where I could understand her decision all those many years ago, and honestly thank her from the bottom of my heart.

 

I was able to subsequently meet other birth relatives, and remember with such clarity that feeling of walking on air, of my legs going numb as I opened the door to the coffee shop where we all met. To finally look into the eyes of someone who shared my genes was amazing and terrifying all at once. And then there were the photographs of my birth mother; pictures that instantly healed a part of me, that allowed me to breathe with a calm I hadn’t previously experienced. There was proof she existed, and in small ways proof where I could see resemblances to me.

 

All of this, including my deepening relationship with my Mom, helped me to start to feel like I was enough. Sadly though, my Mom’s health continued to deteriorate over the next ten or so years, and she became less and less of who I had known her to be as her dementia became more pronounced. As I was coming more and more into myself, my Mom was moving farther and farther away. There were small glimpses of the person I had known for so many years, and the final time I sat with my Mom she was all of a sudden herself–caring for me and comforting me. We were caring for each other.

Throughout all of this and in the days that have since followed, I understand that I am enough, and that I have always been enough. Part of the joy and pain in my life has been this process of searching–of looking beyond what I can see clearly. Of being open to looking further. Of being open to knowing that I Am Enough.

……….

Caroline is a full-time psychotherapist in Wilmington, DE at The Brandywine Center. While she loves her work there and being with the 3 best colleagues and friends in the world, she dreams of being an artist and photographer and living on a farm. Her plan is to start a blog in the next 6 months, so stay tuned! She lives in Philadelphia with her partner and their 9 year old son.

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10 Comments
  • Papillon Sky Photography {amy}
    Posted at 19:31h, 31 May Reply

    Caroline,
    Your post moved me to tears. What a beautiful and sad story. I can see how being adopted would create that question of being enough. And then to search for your mom and find out she died… How sad indeed. But then the joy of meeting your relatives. And the sadness of losing your mom to demential while you were finding yourself. So many ups and downs but such a lovely story of self discovery! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Jeanne
    Posted at 02:37h, 01 June Reply

    Caroline, what a journey you have been on, and your conclusion is absolutely correct. You are enough. I've lost my mother recently as well, so I understand some of what you've been through. Thank you for sharing.

  • meredith winn
    Posted at 03:23h, 01 June Reply

    caroline, reading this really moved me. i'm glad to know you, to "see" you, and to echo those sentiments… you are enough! thank you so much for sharing this piece of you.

  • Jenna
    Posted at 22:29h, 01 June Reply

    Caroline, thank you so much for sharing your story. As an adoptive mom I was so touched reading about your journey. Our son is the greatest gift in our lives, without the generous and selfless gift his birth parents gave us we would not have all the joy and wonder and pure love he brings to our lives. He is magic and I'm sure you were magic for your mom too. It's a blessing beyond words to receive the gift of motherhood. Ours is an open adoption so my hope for our son is when/if he does have questions his family of orgin will be there all along the answer them. Sending you a big hug and lots of gratitude for opening your heart and sharing it here.

    With love,
    Jenna

  • Deb Medina
    Posted at 15:25h, 02 June Reply

    Caroline, thank you for sharing your journey. You have incredible strength and beauty. I see it I the pictures you post on instragam and in the words you wrote here. I hope you do start that blog because you have so much to give and so much to share. Deb

  • Eydie
    Posted at 13:56h, 03 June Reply

    Caroline,

    I was very touched with by your beautiful written story. As an adoptive mom, I especially connected with your words. We have a very open adoption, and I know my daughter is loved by many. Even though, you did not meet your birth mother, she always held a special place for you in her heart that was saved just for you.

    I am looking forward to reading your blog. I know it will be filled with beauty, Love, and much heart and soul. You are so veryEnough

    I am sending you an abidance of LOVE, and Light.
    Eydie

  • Jennifer Hagedorn Dizon
    Posted at 03:31h, 04 June Reply

    Dear Caroline,

    I am in tears. So much healing… and yet, I feel that space where you have carried such pain. I know, perhaps, it's still tender. And then the bigger picture of all of this, is this beautiful you. This enough you. This gentle, caring, artistic, and generous you. Thank you so much for sharing your story. For giving me some kind of validation for my search of enoughness – and that it is real, it feels lonely, but there is beauty and love within. And more importantly, within, there is a kind of 'getting to know', bit by bit, moment by moment, that we are all indeed enough, and we are not alone. I am so honored to know you here in this space, in Instagram, and wherever else in the web. Haha! If only it were soooo easy to see and finally meet in person those I have connected with through these spaces… through the love of photography and writing; the love of capturing beauty, expressing oneself, and sharing it with the world. So grateful for our community. Stay just as you are and grow just as you want to be. 🙂 I wish you all the best and send *hugs*. Thank you again for your story. 🙂

    Love always,
    Jen

  • Caroline
    Posted at 13:04h, 04 June Reply

    Caroline,
    Very moving, your story spoke to a place deep inside myself. As you start on this new adventure, two books you might enjoy if you have not already read them: "The War of Art," by Steven Pressfield, and "Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning." by Viktor Frankl. I'm in awe of all you manage to make time for, and thank you for sharing with us!
    Love,
    Caroline

  • Bethany Meyer
    Posted at 21:20h, 05 June Reply

    Caroline,
    Your vulnerability and authenticity are so beautiful in this piece. You opened up your soul and allowed us to take a peek, and the result was this heartfelt testimonial. I think we all wonder if we're enough at certain points or to certain people in our lives. Thank you for making what is typically such an isolating feeling seem normal.
    Keep. On. Writing.
    XOXO, Bethany

  • Caroline
    Posted at 02:27h, 07 June Reply

    Thank you so much to all of you who left comments. It means more then I can say, and I so appreciate you taking the time to leave something for me!! The caring and love that comes through is very moving, and it helps me when being so vulnerable about something so very important to me.
    So, thanks to you all and much caring in return…

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