Adoption Lunch and BBQ to meet the Sense Family

Sun 20.6.1999

1am Peter arrives. At last a hug and a kiss in the flesh, YAHOO! Peter meets Bruce for the 1st time. Sandra has the kettle boiled when we came back. We go to bed and the kids wake up to sleep with Daddy. Oh well, maybe my turn tomorrow night. We all set off to the Castle  Hotel for lunch and adoption meeting. Around 16 people turned up. One lady and her family drove 4hrs to join and meet us. I found the meeting very therapeutic. I was sitting at a table with women who have done exactly what I have done. Imagine that. We could have talked all arvo but it was 3pm and Sandra had arranged a Family & Friends BBQ for 5:30pm so back home we go. Tash and Jasons friend Matt came over with his new Honda CBR 1000 motorbike. What luck I get to go for a ride. 200kph, wow what a blast! What a bike! Man did I get a memory rush. Well, Sandra and I rush off to Dubbo Base Hospital to pick up salads, cheesecake and apple pie. I also go for a grand tour and meet some of Sandra’s friends. Now we head back to Sandra’s for the BBQ.

Well around 25 adults turned up with a dozen kids. Bruce has enough meat to feed an army! Peter and I met a lot of wonderful people. The Sense crowd. Well just as I was about to delve into desert, Bruce jumps up to announce that Sandra had an announcement to make. All of a sudden I feel faint. I was so overwhelmed by everyone’s kindness and acceptance that my emotions just ran away with me. Sandra brought me to tears. Here she is thanking me, yet I should be thanking her and Bruce. I don’t exactly remember what my speech was about, all I know is I feel like the luckiest person in the world! I’m healthy, my husband loves me and I now have all my 3 children in my life. Words cannot explain how and why I am feeling. All I know is what Sandra feels is 100% mutual to how I feel. I am proud of the whole situation. Ayrlie and Liam have taken to Bruce, Sandra, Jason and Tash as if they have known them for years! Kids are usually a good judge of character. Well it’s been a huge night. Sandra presented me with a beautiful plaque, something I can take home to remember our reunion in Dubbo. I’m so happy that Peter and the kids were by my side and supported me as a family. I truly believe that our reunion was definitely meant to be. Well what a huge day! I’m Nacked! Off to bed I go after talking to everybody who came. Oh yeah, I will never forget the bond that I felt when looking into Tash’s eyes when telling everyone how proud I am of her and the Sense family. I love Tash as much as my own family, yet we have only met 3 times. Yes these feelings are real. I leave Peter, Bruce, Tash and Jason around the fire to tell a few more yarns. Well I’m sneaking off to bed. Maybe Peter and I will sleep together just like old times…smelling of beer and snoring. Haha.

 

Snow – Mt Canobolis – Orange – NSW

Sat 19.6.1999

Well we are up, fed and ready to take the kids to Orange to see the snow. Ayrlie has been praying the past few weeks- Sandra and I aren’t convinced there will be snow left for us to see. However we are dressed ready to go.  We drive out of Dubbo through Wellington and into Orange. 2hrs later we are sure there is no snow on the mountain, then a glimmer of hope. YES we see snow on the summit! YEE-HAW!!! Ayrlie your prayers are answered. We drive to the very top and there is still snow on the sides driving up and at the top. It’s freezing cold, windy and below 0°. We hop out of our warm cars and jump into the snow. The kids are excited and having the time of their lives throwing snow balls and making a snow man and jumping into the snow. How lucky we are to be playing in snow in June. 12 months ago I would have never dreamt of playing in the snow with all my children, Ayrlie, Liam AND Natasha. I believe in God as he did listen to my prayers and has made my dreams come true. For that I am eternally grateful. After exhausting ourselves in the freezing cold, Sandra has packed up a picnic lunch.

We drive down the mountain to Lake Canobolis Park. The kids ran around and had a swing then we share a smorgasbord lunch. Sandra doesn’t leave anything behind. I have eaten home cooking continuously since we arrived. I feel very comfortable with Bruce and Sandra. I feel like I have known them for years yet only met Sandra 3 times and Bruce only once. WEIRD. I can see that Tash is ‘Bruce’s Little Girl’ and that warms my heart. She is truly a lucky child to have such loving, caring and giving parents. The epitome of what every child deserves but doesn’t always get. Thanks be to God. Amen. While eating lunch the Senses’ scheme a trip to the Wellington caves. The kids all have a snooze in the cars. What an experience for Ayrlie, a chance to go into caves and experience stalactites and stalagmites. Liam even enjoyed it. Ayrlie remembers ‘Headache Cave’ and the ‘Sparkly Crystal Column’. Then Sandra stopped for us to see a construction made from Wellington Bridge and from the local school children. Now we head back for Dubbo. Yeah.

Jason whipped up spag bog for dinner and we kept a plate for Peter. He arrives 1am in the morning. Everyone is crashed out. Bruce, Sandra and I stay up to pick Peter up from the bus stop. YEAH! I can’t wait!

 

 

Where does Tash fit in as a Gittens

Where Do I Fit as a Gittens?

Hard to believe what has happened in our journey so far. The meeting of Viv, understanding why she gave me up for adoption, meeting Peter and the kids. What about the rest of Vivs Family?

Word has already spread around for Viv with all her family that she has met me. It came to the day I met Noela and Ray (viv’s Mum and Dad). I will  never forget that day I came face to face with Noela and Ray. It was actually quiet confrontational. Knowing that they wanted Viv to keep me and bring me up them selves sat in the back of my mind. I had never spoken to them over the phone or even written them a letter in preparation.  All I know about these people is that when Viv gave me away they had to continue life as I had died.

I never had a Nan and Pop to talk to and to hug. Never had the opportunity to stay at Nan and Pops house and hang out. Never had that chance like Chloe had with her  Nan and Pop being picked up from School, going on Holidays or even just been taken to maccas to get that 50 cent Ice cream because it was soo Hot. That’s a part of my life I will never experience or have memories of.

Noela was so over whelmed and just wanted to hug me. We cried a lot as she looked into the eyes of a dead child. She had so much adrenalin going threw her I guess she couldn’t control it. All I remember her saying ‘your home, your home’. My heart pounded as I looked over to my mother who came with us this day. I don’t think Noela realised her actions and words this day. I remember her saying to my mum thank you for bringing her home and she is here to stay.

Ray passively came to hug me as well. Rays passiveness is my inner me. You just stared at me, almost white like. You didn’t speak much at all, just a slight tear behind your glasses and a small smile to your face. I honestly don’t remember you talking at all, just stared. How did you process me, that grandchild Viv handed over.

I didn’t really know what I took away from that day meeting them. It was really weird. Honestly I was scared. Could they really take me away from my mum, were they serious about packing my bags and forcing me back here? All these crazy emotions where going through my head. Still too this day I think back to that day as today Nola still hugs me they way she always did and Ray still stares and processes where does she fit. It makes me smile knowing I have a Nan and Pop and I look forward to getting to know you more.

Meeting the rest of the Gittens Family at a BBQ one of the days, I remember walking into the back yard with Viv and the kids. Everyone was already there chatting and having a good time. It was at that moment I walked in and everyone was quiet. Honestly at that point this was it. This was my time being a Gittens. Who are all these people? Where do I fit in this Family? Am I supposed to fit in this family? I remember seeing a mural on the wall of the ladies house. It was the female generations of the Gittens. I remember her showing me but then wanted to cover it up as it’s now not the real family.

Reality hit me fair in the face and I said ‘yes it is, I’m just here for answers not to change the Gittens Family’.

Tash

 

Fri 18.6.1999 – In Limbo

Fri 18.6.1999

Tash and Sandra take me into Dubbo to their home where Tash  grew up all her life at 11 Alfred St., Dubbo. What a wonderful, loving home she has.  A typical country house you can honestly call home. With plenty of home photos of proud parents and their baby girl “Tash”. The picture and questions I have had all my life has, in this moment, all been answered.

Meeting Bruce for the first time was important to me as I needed to meet the man Tash calls ‘DAD’ the most important ½ of my decision to adopt was because she didn’t have a father figure if I was to raise her. It was important to me that she was raised by both a mother and father. What wonderful people to invite us into their home and have us feel like family. I need to keep myself together or I will cry all week. I am proud of the person Tash has become and I’m very thankful that God guided her into Bruce and Sandra’s arms. I know now  that  I was meant to have this baby for Bruce and Sandra as they are very special and loving people.  Another thing that is so special is that I find a lot of Sandra’s qualities in myself. We have found many similarities in ourselves aside from Tash and me. Well I have had about 2 hours of broken sleep and Tash has already taken me out and about to meet some special people in her life. 1st I rang Nat. To come over for a coffee and tricked her that I was Tash. Tash and Sandra took me on a Tour of Dubbo then Tash took me around town. We went and gave a surprise visit on Nat & Alison after they had a mad night at the Commercial Hotel. We had a fun visit. I learnt more about Tash’s secrets HA HA. Then we went out to visit Donna her music teacher. What a lovely lady. I tried to con Tash to play the Organ for me but to no avail. By this time it was around 3pm. I just can’t go on any longer. I’m exhausted. We go home for me to have a sleep. I do–snore. I wake up and Sandra and Jason have made us dinner. We are all off for an early night sleep……

My letter to Bruce & Sandra before we met.

A letter written to Us from Viv after our first Phone call 07/10/1998

 

Sandra and Bruce,

 

I can’t thank you enough for being just the perfect parents for Natasha. It brings me such joy to know she is so grounded as a person and so confident. She could off only got it from you both for being so loving and caring and most of all supportive. I thank God that the life you have as a family is a good strong one.

 

Knowing that Natasha is close to you both is making it easier for me to know you all. I really know nothing about you yet, I feel very comfortable when talking to you both. You make me feel very special. I can’t explain the inner peace which is starting to heal in my heart. All the questions I have been asking myself about what you all would be like are just a dream come true.

 

I am blessed that Natasha was given to such a loving family. I pray that we will meet soon and that I can become your friends. You are truly making things very exciting for me. I respect you both immensely for being so open with Natasha and her being “adopted” ( I hate that word myself). When Bruce told me that when he explained to Natasha that although she didn’t come from your tummy she was apart of his ART Well that just gave me goose bumps, and he makes her lunch. What a special man Bruce is. It doesn’t surprise me with the few special qualities that I have learnt about you, (in just 1 week) that Natasha came into your life. I used to pray often that she was in good hands and I believe now that God DID hear my prayers. It’s funny you know. When I was in hospital when I gave birth to Natasha and my Mum realised that I was firm with my decision, of all places she drove, was to Toowoomba, to cry and scream out her pain, Low and behold this is where you were living. Another little coincidence, Bruce does ART We named our daughter “Natasha’s sister” (Ayrlie Rae Timmermans – ART).

 

It is with such joy that you all have come into our lives. I hope you too will enjoy knowing about Ayrlie and Liam as they grow older. I’m so happy that Natasha chose to contact me while she is still young. I get to appreciate her life longer than if she waited till she was 30.

 

Today I rang a support group for birth mothers. They meet once a month on a Tuesday Night. I just missed this month however I will be there with bells on in November.

 

I want to be 100% ready to meet Natasha, I feel I am now, but I want to do some soul work first. I don’t want to make a fool of myself when the time comes. I am both scared and excited about a reunion. I hope I don’t let Natasha down or disappoint her in anyway. I would love for us to be forever friends. I don’t want to blow it. In fact I thought I was strong and confident. I think Natasha has more guts than me. I admire that very much. Well I won’t bore you any longer. I hope you enjoy your week. Toast Natasha for me for your 18th celebrations. May God keep you ALL in good health.

 

Love and best wishes Vivienne

 

PS No I’m not real religious I just can’t express myself any other way. I am truly thankful the only emotion that comes to mind is THANK GOD!

Dear Viv,

 

I hope it is ok to share this lovely letter you sent all those years ago. We are friends for ever or should I say I feel like family. Bruce was such a special Dad and if only he were here today he would be so proud of her and what  she does with her life and how they are raising Chloe. Yes, it was true, he was still packing her lunch in year 11, she loved not knowing what was in her lunch box. Natasha has a lot of her father’s special qualities, I see it in her all the time.

 

Love Sandra

A Poem Tash wrote for Ayrlie when she graduated year 12 2010

What you mean to me,

Is more than I can express

You see, I had no sister when I was little

To call when I was in distress.

When we first met,

We had no clue,

…What was getting ready to happen,

Which was for me,

completely out of the blue.

God had a plan,  Throughout all the years,

He was making us for each other,

 To share life’s smiles and tears.

I never could have imagined,

What a sister’s love was about,

Until I met you,

And then I really found out.

A sisters love is unconditional,

It’s a Love has no end,

A sisters Love wants the best for each other,

It’s a love that will always defend.

Sometimes we may get mad,

Or we may begin to fight,

But that’s the fun part about having a sister,

We both think we’re always right!

I’m glad that I did not have,

A sister in the past,

It’s made me much more thankful,

For the sister I have at last.

– Tash

New born babies – Why can’t i hold them????

My beautifl niece who was our flower girl at our wedding, gave
birth this week to a beautiful baby girl and i struggle to go visit in fear
that i will be expected to hold her. After giving Natasha up for adoption i was
never close to babies ever. I was never around them until i met and fell in love
with Peter. He had 16 nieces and nephews at the time and boy have they increased
since then. I think now we are onto second cousins etc…

Well i usually wait until babies are at least 3 months old
before i go and visit. Why you might ask? Well every time i look at a new born
i flash back to the day i had to say goodbye to my baby. That moment is burnt
into my brain and i struggle to move past it. I am overcome with past emotions
and feelings even for a few moments that just make my stomach ache, then i have
to compose myself and remember to act as if all is under control and normal.
The easiest way for me to cope is to not see them. It is just a natural
instinct for the new mum to say here have a hold. When deep down inside i am
shitting myself and i have to say “O no thanks I’m good” only to get a funny
look in return so it’s just better to just not visit them.

When  Natasha gave  birth to Chloe Rose in NSW my parents went down to see her, but i couldn’t get
the courage to drive down and see her. It was just all too much. How could i
stand there and celebrate the birth of this beautiful baby girl, my granddaughter
when in fact i had given her mother away as a baby. It just does my head in.

Peter got on his bike this morning to ride up to Bribie Island to see our Flower Girls new baby and i am still left crying my heart out
cause i just want to be able to hold something so precious without feeling so
guilty.

Last year our other Niece had a beautiful baby girl and i
turned up to a family football tournament and got caught out in front of the
family as she threw her baby into my arms innocently and said here can you hold
her for a second. Well i just about spewed on the spot. I had to sit
immediately and then the tears staring rolling down my face as i just sat
looking at how beautiful she was and so innocent with no knowledge of her
future. I was frozen. Everyone was asking me why i was crying. I couldn’t talk
just said that i don’t know and that i am stupid and i need to stop crying. I
nursed her to sleep i was so proud of myself that day but today i just couldn’t
do it.

Peter asked me this morning how did i feel when Ayrlie and
Liam were born?  i replied. ” I never let them go. No one was taking them away from
me. I just never let them go.”

Please family it’s not that i don’t like little babies, it’s
quite the opposite I love them too much…..

Butterflies

Life with Peter was fun when we were younger. We had a great group of friends who we would party with every week end. We would change whose house we would party at to make it more fun. Believe me. I partied hard. I guess I told myself that I didn’t give up a baby to not have fun and that’s exactly what i did.

I decided to attend a seminar called Insight. I was introduced to this by some chiropractic piers. It was Neuro-linguistic Programming or NLP to the extreme. Well i was around 23 i think and found myself standing in a room with a microphone to my chin confessing to all in the room of around 100 people that i had had a baby, given her up for adoption and not able to talk about it. Tears are streaming down my face but the overwhelming feeling of release was indescribable. I remember my buddy for that exercise looked me straight in the eyes and said to me. “That’s OK.” “You did a good thing” I felt this was right. All the decisions i was making up until now was because of what i was suppressing. In my lunch break i found myself sitting in the Botanical Gardens (Brisbane City) sitting on the grass looking out at the yachts moored in the river and crying, no sobbing my heart out. I had never cried and sobbed like that up until now. Then all of a sudden from nowhere comes a beautiful butterfly and lands on my head. I feel myself calming down and that this butterfly was actually on my head sunning its wings. Of all places it’s on me. Now this wasn’t a small, tiny butterfly i guess its wing span was roughly 2 inches. You know the black butterflies with the pretty coloured, i think orange spots on it. It seemed as though it was sitting on me for ages. As soon as i stopped crying and calmed down it flew away. That was a spiritual moment for me. At that moment i decided that i had to let go of Sheree and move on. I was going to give myself cancer and be very unhappy if i didn’t deal with life for what i have been dealt and move on. That is exactly what i did.

My reunion with Natasha in the beginning,  i was working in Forest Lake Shopping Centre on a Craft display and was drawn to see a clairvoyant that was sitting in front of the coffee shop. I sat quiet and not saying much as she delivered a really good reading. This lady is good!. Then at the very end of my reading she looked straight into my eyes and said “So, how are the butterflies?” I burst into tears and couldn’t talk. She then said, “But now these are happy tears aren’t they?” I nodded yes, still crying. We ended the session and i had to walk around the car park to try and stop crying and pull myself together to get back on to my stall. Ever since the day in the Botanical Gardens no matter where i am in Australia or Overseas, butterflies tend to find me. They are my connection to NEW LIFE.

Before Natasha found me I got a tattoo of a butterfly  to remind me of my baby girl as I will never forget her and if we never reunite she will always be with me.

Butterflies to me, mean New Life, New beginning………

Happy Birthday Tash 11.10.2011

 

11th October 2011 – Natasha Rose turns 31 today.

To my beautiful daughter Natasha. Happy 31st Birthday Groover. Enjoy your first Queensland Birthday in the great Sunshine Coast. I look forward to having lunch and a swim with you, your brother and Sister. How good does that sound?  Bloody awesome i reckon. I’m going to just jump in my car and drive up to see you and it will only take me 1 ½ hours not 2 days. Somebody pinch me!!!!!!!

OK – Just so you know. Natasha doesn’t do birthday cards. She doesn’t like to celebrate birthdays. So she tells me. Although we did a good job at your 21st ha ha. No serious. We have never really talked about why but this is what i think- Do you think because i gave you up that there is nothing to celebrate. I often wonder why you wouldn’t want or care about a birthday. If that is why then i do totally understand. I would love for you to explain your thoughts.

For me – Your Birthdays. Mmmm this was a tough one. Every year after you were born i would say happy birthday to you  in my prayers. Funny thing was i could never remember if it was the 11/10 or 10/11. I would always have to stop and think about it and work it out. Funny how your brain looses memories when you are suppressing a  trauma.  I remember when i first said to you when is your birthday 10/11 or 11/10? you nearly ripped my head off. Are you kidding me you said? Then i had to explain why i asked. We have come a long way since then.

I remember once driving in the car with Mum and I bravely said to her. Mum its Sheree’s birthday today. She smiled and said “is it.” Then nothing else was said. Only about 1 or 2 years later, I got that phone call.

I have a new struggle now that you are in my life. Birthdays. How do i fit. You had a mother and father that gave you everything you needed, where do i fit in? Is my birthday card going to matter. Is my present even going to be wanted. Where do I fit? What can i possibly give you – I don’t even know you – But your my daughter- F— This, Where do I fit. I guess it is easier to sit back and blend in. For the first time in my life I’m not in control, I am stuck, I don’t know where i fit into your life. But I’m your mum, i should fit, but where???? This question is still in my head this very day. Natasha and I deliberately miss each other’s birthdays. Belated is where we fit. Although this year, 2011 i get a present and a card from Natasha on my birthday date.  I was so excited i cried. The best part is to come, she gives me a woolly sheep warning me that the country girl is coming to the city. I laughed my head off.

Happy Birthday Tash, I love you very much.

Love Mum #2

Home without my baby

The first 6 weeks – So now I have the ability to change my mind. I’m back at work. Everyone at work had been told what i went through. They were all in shock and pretty much didn’t say anything. I am sure it was out of respect so they didn’t hurt me in any way. Really – WHAT DO YOU SAY????? Gloria was a lady i worked close with and she took me under her wings, for that i will always be eternally grateful. I had access to a counsellor for at least 4 visits. I would meet her in Anzac Square in Brisbane City for lunch and chat. She then told me that she couldn’t help me anymore as she had other people she needed to help that That Was That, that was the extent of the external help i got. I wasn’t able to talk to Mum or anyone, so i learnt to just say nothing. I threw myself into work and skating. I never did skate the same after her birth. My hips had changed and my coach lost confidence in me as i had lost my peak, this was the beginning of the end for my skating carrier. I was introduced to alcohol and drugs and this is how i suppressed my feelings. At age 19 i was sacked from my Insurance Job as i was now on Senior wages. My Boss arranged for me to live on Norfolk Island to do computer Data Entry and teach Roller Skating to the locals in their local Hall. I did that for 1 year and i returned Home. Life on Norfolk Island was very interesting. I was lucky enough to have a best friend Julianne a local and Pitcan descendant, i was then able to mix with the locals and we had the time of our lives. There was no TV we had to listen to Radio Australia. Cooked in Wood Fire Ovens. There was only 1 small electric generator for all the residents on the island so power failure was often. Again Drugs were a huge part of the young people’s lives so after 1 year i flew home to detox in away. So many Parties and Fish Fries. So many memories. If only i could open my eyes and see what opportunity was in front of me. No i had to take the long road didn’t I. As far as i knew my parents had no idea. I returned home, got a job to work for a Chiropractic Clinic at Corinda. I believe that this job saved my life. For the next 2-3 years i would be introduced to self motivation and NLP seminars that helped me become the person i am today. My lowest point was being in an abusive relationship. One night i thought i was going to die. I had a carving knife held to my neck being threatened of having my throat cut open. There was no reason only to much alcohol. What the hell is life for? I talk myself in out of this situation somehow i bolt out the back door i run until i get to the main road. I have low self esteem at this stage thinking that i don’t deserve any better, i am a used women, no decent man will want me bla bla bla…. I run onto a main road, Oxley Road,  I throw myself in front of a car, lucky for me it stops in time and i look up to find its a Police Car. O Shit. The 2 coppa’s got out of the car and drilled me for being so selfish and disrespectful. They told me to think of the driver and how it would off affected him.  I then realised that I had to make some life choices. I decide to leave Brisbane and Live and work in Airlie Beach as a computer typesetter. This is where i met Peter. I have known peter since i was 10 yrs old. We went to the same high school (Inala State High School) and after school we went to the same parties.

I was in Brisbane Christmas 1985 and went to a club with my girlfriend Noela and ran into Peter’s ex girlfriend whom proceeded to tell me that Peter was up in Airlie Beach on Holidays with another Friend of ours as they had broken up.  I told her that i was living up there now and that i was heading home tomorrow and i would try and catch up with them. Lucky me. When i was a teenager at the Skating Rink Fri. Night session i would always watch Peter sitting with the naughty kids on the outside of the Rink, drinking Beer and running amuck. I would say to myself that one day i was going to marry that boy. Peter was one of those cools kids that you just didn’t speak to unless you were in the IN GROUP of kids. I used to think he wouldn’t talk to me etc. Peter had no boundries at home and therefore could do whatever he liked. He was a street kid. .  Totally different to me.  I could not believe that opportunity was knocking for me.

So off course when i arrived back in Airlie i told my girlfriends that a couple of Brissy Guys were in town and that without a doubt they would be at the Pub. Yep i was right. They were playing marbles at the Airlie Beach Pub. We got together that night and have been together ever since.

Peter was unemployed (plasterer) had no car, no money and almost no clothes. I soon talk him into staying with me in Airlie and to try and look for work. He did. I gave him my push bike and told him to ask around job sites for work. He meets Brian Claydon who becomes one of his good friends. We lost Brian to Prostate Cancer  2009.

One night we were both rolling drunk and i decide that this is the Man i love and i need to tell him about my baby. I told him and he went off his head. Not at the fact that i gave birth but at the fact that i gave her up for adoption. The next morning i thought the relationship was going to be off or he won’t remember. He never said anything, so i didn’t either. Turns out he forgot. After a year of alcohol abuse and copious amounts of partying, Dr. Hamilton phones me up and offers me my job back. I am so lucky. I decide to leave Airlie and head back. Peter was unsure what he wanted to do, so he stayed behind. 6 weeks later he walks into work and surprises me by telling me that he has come back also and that he loves me. He has lined up work with his Brother In Law and another journey begins……… Do i tell him again??????