Monthly Archives: July 2008

My adopted cousin story

When I relinquished my baby to adoption, my adopted cousin was my chief reference point.He was coddled and adored by his parents and my grandparents.As far as I could tell he was my grandparents’ favorite.they seemed to feel sorry for him because something was wrong, something was off – something was lost.So he got extra care and attention.

We were 2000 miles apart.

My brother and I treated our cousin with consideration and kindness at all times and a tad of disinterest. he seemed to ignore us which gave us freedom to ignore him.I never saw him with any other kids.As he grew up I heard stories of his failed marriage, lack of ambition and a foreclosure.

In 2004 my brother and I visited again our aunt and uncle. Those old folks were still doing their damndest to love and care for him.They tolerated behaviors that contradicted their beliefs and teaching with a familiar acceptance that surprised me

I try to reach out to this seemingly lonely cousin after my aunt died.I send funny friendly emails occasionally and ask about his dad.I indulge in worrying about him and my uncle.They live together since my aunt died. He caes for his afather, insuring he takes his meds and eats. He does his laundry and shopping for the past three years without a break.He asked me to take over for a couple weeks so he could go away.Loyalty and concern for my father’s brother urged me to go check up on him while my cousin was away.

Our first day together, Uncle D, pulls out his home movies.There is cousin R walking around a tree.There he is on a swing.Now he’s looking at the trash can.This went on for two hours as he grew from 2 years old to 3 years old. They really doted on him. Looking at cousin R when he was a toddler gave a fresh perspective on adoption.This poor kid had been taken from his mother at less than a week old.Suddenly the oddity in his manner and expression made sense.No wonder he was dragging that stuffed animal around at 7 years old.Yes something was wrong, something was off.He’d lost his mother and nobody ever said ‘boo’ about it.They just welcomed him with open arms into a completely strange environment, because “the young woman was in no position to provide for the baby.”

Uncle D provides his version of the adoption repeatedly.My guess is that he’s still baffled by the whole thing.He suspects the adoption was orchestrated by his mother in collusion with his aunt who was the attending physician at the baby’s birth.All he knows is Aunt J called his wife up and asked if she’d like to drive down and pick up a baby in a week?All his wife’s friends already had babies of their own and she wanted one too.Ok, let’s go.It’s a three hour drive crossing the state line.They drove down and back in a single day.Only took one day off from work.The story broke down a little when he tried to tell me he didn’t even have to take off from work because he’d been forced into early retirement.

No, Uncle D.Cousin was born in 1957.You didn’t retire until 1974.

Anyway it was a one day trip.He doesn’t remember any legal documents.But Aunt J(long dead) knew all about that.

He made a couple references to women he knew that had “gotten themselves pregnant before they were married”.One was “even a nurse and should have known better”.When he told me another story of a young woman that “managed to get herself pregnant”, I responded.

“It’s pretty easy to do.I did it myself.”

I was facing him, less than two feet away.He didn’t hear me. (?) He was so caught up in telling his story.I didn’t get any more unmarried pregnancy stories though.

His father told him not to get involved with a woman until you can provide for one.He provided.He even got her a baby.I don’t believe he ever went on a second date prior to meeting my aunt.He talks of selecting a wife like going shopping.He met her at church.His father met his wife at church.His brother met his wife at church.That’s where you go to get a wife.

If your wife doesn’t get pregnant and wants a baby, your ‘sawbones aunt’ can get you one.He lived a life of privilege.

Now he’s dependent on his ason.He’s vulnerable.He and his ason simply don’t talk about their differences.

Cousin R is “in love” with a woman he met on nicebridedotcom.

A change is going to come.Oh yes it will.

Advertisements

talking adoption

is getting easier and more frequent.  Blogging has been invaluable in helping me sort through my thoughts and feelings about it, which enables me to express myself more freely.

This shook me.  A couple days ago I witnessed a woman asking my teacher for advice on how to fill the void of her missing children.  She hasn’t seen her children for five years!  They are now 10 and 13.  She was beginning to consider adopting so she would have a child to love.  Though my inner voice was yelling at her, I stayed calm outwardly.  I watched and listened.  I listened to her story while I yelled at her inside myself.  I listened to my teacher asking her questions.  I listened while he gently guided her to look at the fact that she was abandoning her living children.  Never a harsh word spoken, but the message so clear.  You have alternatives you haven’t yet explored.  There are ways for you to reach out to your children, now.  Get help to connect with your children.  She tried several times to redirect or to reinterpret the message that she could somehow get new children.  Maybe she could become pregnant.  Maybe there was a child “waiting for her”.  Now I was inwardly gagging as well as yelling, and getting my shoulders all bunched up.  Still, gently, he was guiding her to see the children she believed were taken from her by her threatening ex husband are HER children.  She can gather up a posse and go see them.  All my rage and righteous indignation receded slowly.  This is the quality of loving that I am privy to,  an unwavering goodness in attendance to what is.

Yesterday, chatting at a reception a new friend said that while it’s all well and good that gay marriage is now legal in CA, they should be allowed to adopt as freely as hetero couples do too.  Well, my practice of telling anyone who brings it up, that I am boycotting the movie Juno, has strengthened my resolve.  I took that opportunity to tell her that my p.o.v. about adoption reform is strictly in the area of family preservation, that couples that can’t have children of their own have driven the adoption industry and commodified babies, using the example of Madonna flouting Malawian  law.  I could hardly believe I was standing in a lovely garden after a beautiful “celebration of life” of a dear friend’s husband, and saying absolutely shocking things as though I was perfectly reasonable.  And I was perfectly reasonable.  It wasn’t as smooth as I’d like it to be.  I need more practice before the words just roll out.  But I was calm and coherent and happy for anyone to overhear me.

I’m just getting started.

No Matter

Adoptee pain doesn’t come in single serving packages. It doesn’t come with little pink plastic disposable bags you find in boxes of feminine hygiene products.

It can be almost like physical contact, like the monster fights in movies, but going on inside your own being. That kind of describes what it feels like to me but I’m the mom, not the adoptee.

Yesterday I got the sweetest blessing though. Joy and I had an opportunity to talk about what’s been going on at her blog and our concerns about feelings of separation. I used to be very afraid of losing her again, of her going away for one of many possible reasons. I had some self esteem issues, srsly. In the past 18 years we’ve been through some cycles and I trust now, that she’ll come back to me. Kids do go away. It’s part of the growing up process. And they come back. Moms are good to have. I miss mine, and my grandmas, even though they live on inside of me. I’m the mom now and I’m glad to be.

So the really cool thing that Joy shared with me is that she said she never feared losing me again, once she found me, we spoke to each other, we reconnected physically. She knew we were together. She’s told me that before and this time it got inside me in an expansive way. She knew she was part of me and I wasn’t going anywhere. She knew, on some level, that we are. That was my intention throughout our separation, to be with her, inwardly, in whatever way she could use. That feels good, so good. No matter what comes up, no matter what separates us, no matter — It will pass. I love her, no matter what. Loving her is my blessing.

I came across an old journal recently, where I’d written, “Thirteen years ago a little girl was born…” I’m glad to know that we are, Together Again no matter what our lives will bring.