Monthly Archives: November 2008

Love Hurts

I was impressed when I saw Issy identify herself as an ambivalent adoptee.  (See Issycat in blogroll).  Since learning the word as a college freshman I have admired and cultivated tolerance of ambivalence.

It is woven through reunion.  In our first contact Joy explicitly stated she was not looking for a mother.  She was not angry.

I was eager to meet.  She was not so sure.

She was hurt that I didn’t embrace her fully into my family life.

The first time she was invited to my home for dinner, she arrived in time for bed.

After years of hesitating, I accepted her invitation to visit her home, now just 275 miles away.  She rescinded the invitation a week before I was to arrive.  I went anyway.

Ambivalence manifests as tardiness.  Not knowing one’s family is uncomfortable.  There are articles in our local paper about how to get along over the holidays; when you know a certain uncle is going to be bombastic or your mother is going to make you feel immature etc.

How do we cope with not knowing?  Will she come or won’t she?  Will she be welcomed or won’t she?

I am ready to welcome her, and to cue others to welcome her, to accept her ambivalence in the group.

Neither of us intends to hurt anyone, but we do anyway, without suspecting the impact of our words or actions on others.  It’s only a question of when our feelings will get hurt again.

I’ve been tolerant of ambivalence to a fault.  I’ve also been ambivalent to a fault.  I am my daughter’s mother, one of them.  Good and bad in my behavior, I am what I am.

My intention in relinquishment was that she would prosper uncontaminated by her origins.  That foolishness was followed by more foolishness of lingering in the shadows of confusion and mixed messages.  One foot in front of the other I am continuing to own who I am and who my family is, however we are.  Walking in a multiplicity and oneness.

This is what I can do.


Seeking a higher perspective.  Sometimes I write because I want to get my thoughts outside of me, to see what they look like.  Right now I want to get a closer look at what’s going on inside me.  Upheaval, with discretion.
“You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world… “- Carol King
I don’t even like that song, so I won’t link it.  But getting up again, that’s what I have to do.  Every single day I have to get up, get myself up, no matter what.  Just like everyone else running our human race.
I want to choose consciously which direction I am facing.  I choose to look into the Light and let all the shadows stream behind me at this moment.  I choose to let myself fill up in this new dawn, new day.  This is what I need.

Adoption Awareness Month: Infertility

I’ve been reading about infertility again.   I really don’t understand it.  My experiences of loss and shame do not stem from my infertility, au contraire.  I am infertile now, but totally cool with it.  Menopause, yay!  (getting my glib out on the table here).

I am very sensitive about feelings in person, particularly my own.

And my feelings get riled up that SOME adoptive parents don’t want to have their infertility brought up and aired out regarding adoption.  If their feelings are hurt by their situation of infertility, those feelings are being shared with their adopted children, whether they intend to or not.

I’ve been reading someone who plans to home school her children without bias.   She hopes her children grow up without knowing her political views, so they can form their own.  That is only likely if her children are fairly insensitive and/or dense themselves… or vision impaired, maybe.  Our kids watch us all the time.  They usually know more about us than we do.  It’s part of their survival.

Our kids know what hurts our feelings.  They’re reading our facial expressions.  They’re watching us.  They catch the subtleties.  It behooves us to know ourselves so we’re aware of what we’re showing them; so our unconscious behaviors don’t speak louder than our conscious ideals do.

What do adopted children want?  To be loved and accepted unconditionally.  Don’t we all?  But most of the time we don’t feel it.  So we often behave to earn the much more common conditional loving.  Shoot it would be nice if infertile people loved and accepted themselves unconditionally, the way God made them.

Really, it would be nice.

Trying to get to my point here soon.

Please, please, please work out infertility issues before starting to “grow your family through adoption”.  Acknowledge and accept you can not have “your own children”.  No doubt it is possible to love adoptees just as much as one loves genetic children.  — IF you’ve worked through your own “stuff”.

But some people treat their genetic children pretty shabbily.

Maybe we could think about it this way–  When you acquire an adoptee, you are starting a blended family.  That child already has biological parents.   There are articles, books and research studies, newsletters and classes on how to deal with blending families due to divorce and death.  Difficulties are anticipated.  There are stories about helping children realize their parents divorce was not their fault.  Where are the tips for helping adopted children understand their very real loss was not their fault either?

It is not the child’s fault.  It is not the child’s business to cover for either their first or adoptive parents.

They don’t need anyone speaking ill of their nature or nurture.  Children tend to take those kinds of things way too personally.  I can be pretty defensive of my own mother.  I remember being on the attack as a teenager.  “She didn’t understand me.  She oppressed me.  She tried to use me as a salve to her own ego. ”  That’s all true.  She was imperfect.  Not only did she promote my firstborn’s adoption, she discouraged our reunion.  But she’s MY mother and I do not want to hear anyone else criticizing her.

I do not want my firstborn daughter to hear anyone criticizing her mothers.  How do you feel about your mother?  How do you feel about other people’s opinions about your mother(s)?

Adoptees can’t fill the shoes of missing genetic children either.  It’s not their fault some people can’t have genetic children.  I think that is HUGE, a huge mistake, to expect some innocent baby to grow up in your image or ideal.  It’s a common mistake too.

I thought my natural/raised son would grow up in my image.  The differences started becoming clear when he was two.  His interests differed from his parents.   It was kind of fun to discover that in the context of our commonality.   I imagine it could be more challenging to find your child developing in unexpected ways without that genetic mirroring — especially if you’ve been deceived into thinking you’re receiving a “gift of a child to raise as your own.”

I remember finding my mother’s copy of Kahlil Gibran when I was a child, and reading, “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself…” I believe that.


YAY America!

Last night my eldest called to tell me she had some “good news”, just as I finished listening to John McCain’s gracious concession speech.  It really was gracious.  He is a good loser.  It’s as though he took the part of buffoon to counter the beautiful audacity of Obama’s candidacy.

Our giddy analysis of the early results was interrupted by Ezzy’s phone call.  She’d gotten off work early because the pizza restaurant had run out of pizza and reported strangers were high fiving each other as she cheerily walked down the street to meet friends and celebrate.

I know this euphoria won’t last.  But reading Barack’s response to McCain’s phone call —  “I need your help,” Obama told his rival, according to an Obama adviser, Robert Gibbs.  “You’re a leader on so many important issues.” — is heartening.

As Joy said, “This is like the best Christmas ever!”

Thank You Notes

Yahoo answers is a stimulating source of posts.  Today I read about a woman going to meet her son and his adoptive parents for the first time.  She was asking for advice from aparents.  All the ones that answered her were very supportive and saying how they’d welcome their adoptees natural parents into their lives.  One adoptee mentioned

“one thing that bugged my amother though- my bmother kept telling her how grateful she was.


I’ve met my daughter’s adoptive parents once, about 16 years ago.  It did not occur to me to ask anyone for advice.  Joy and I were seeing each other for the second or third time and all of a sudden she was giving me driving directions to her house.  There we were!  I don’t know if her adoptive parents had any idea we were coming.  They were both home.  They were very polite.

Our only previous contact was a thank you note I’d written when Joy found me.  I was gushing with gratitude.  Maybe that was the honeymoon period of Joy’s and my reunion, me gushing.  All the shame, guilt, grief was swept away for a spell of profound delerium.  The mysterious and superior beings that had rescued my child from my over imagined inadequacies had an address.  They had raised her as far as her own motherhood.  She was alive.  She was healthy.  She had found me.  My prayers were answered.

I was living in a new/strange community and had no girl friends to celebrate my discovery.  My husband seemed wary of my new obsession.  But surely her parents, who had the honor of sharing her life, would be pleased to know how much I appreciated Joy’s fabulousity.

So I took out a notecard and expressed my gratitude for their love and care.  She was able to find me because her amom had given her my identifying information.  I thought that was terrifically open minded.

Um, not exactly reciprocated.  Um, not seen as appropriate.  Basically NOT appropriate.  I was thanking them for keeping her alive basically, because I was SO GLAD she contacted me.

Joy let me know how inappropriate it was right away.  But I didn’t understand that for years.  In my rosy fog I had no idea that her parents had ever spoken ill of me or her father.  I had no idea there was a downside to adoption for anyone but me.