I’ve been inspired by several people lately asking questions about what makes reunions work vs what doesn’t. The idea that is strongest for me is for the mother in a closed adoption to get help BEFORE reunion, to anticipate and prepare for the resurfacing emotions. Learning about real adoptee issues ahead of time seems like it would be invaluable. Living in denial doesn’t pay off well at all.
I was in half denial. I never accepted that adoption was best for me. There was no blocking out that it hurt like hell and interfered with everything I thought about myself and everything I did. But I comforted myself with the notion that it was best for my daughter. She was supposed to be getting the good life without me. A part of me didn’t really believe it. But I didn’t know how else to go on, so I played along with that scenario.
Reunion started out with a continual series of missteps. We were both shaken out of our ideas of who and what we were. And we both tried to fake it, to pretend that we were just fine. Part of the BS that returned to me was the belief that I didn’t deserve any help. The conditions of losing her in the first place were that I didn’t deserve help from anyone. So I figured if I was going to reclaim her it would have to be on my own, without asking anyone for anything.
That was dumb. That was a big mistake and I made it.
I made another big mistake.
I tried waiting until things evened out with me and my daughter before getting to know her son, my grandson. So much self doubt that I didn’t want to risk initiating a relationship with him, in case she rejected me.
That was DUMB.
I might have avoided that one if I had enough self respect to ask for what I wanted – to ask for help reintegrating my daughter into my life.
I told myself that he might get hurt by the pain his mother and I fought our way through. And that I should try to keep him out of it. That was a mistake. I thought he should have the opportunity to contact me when he was old enough to do it himself (!?!) That thought should not have been allowed residence in my mind. It certainly wasn’t my own. But I let it hang out in my head.
So just in case anybody is wondering, I’d say those are the two biggest mistakes I made in reunion.
I suggest get help.
Ask for what you want.
Be sure to let little kids know you love and care for them, no matter what goes on in other relationships. Little kids deserve to know all the love they can.
Well AB 372 is wending its way through the judiciary committee and humbling all that come into contact with it. What a sorry mess. I hope we are all soon celebrating its demise.
Hmmmm… Call me lazy. But I just read something(http://kalman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/23/may-it-please-the-court/) more interesting than anything I have time to say today. I would love to make beautiful words and pictures to go with them and be eloquent about making and using the law. Enjoy.
Phillipa shared this on the AAFC forum and it really touched me. I’d like everyone to see it, for people to know her story. It’s in two parts, each about 6 minutes from a TV interview of her and her husband.
Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY8unxfo6LE
Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC8wEvSixo0&feature=related
I am also kind of astonished at the new TV show Lie to Me. They keep featuring stories about adoption that are subtly in your face. The name of the show is so appropriate for the secrets and lies of the adoption game.
About 9 years ago Joy sent me a big envelope of snapshots photocopied onto notebook paper. The top one was of her at 5 years old after singing in a patriotic school program. She looked like me. She looked like her father. She looked like Tomtom. I was jealous and angry and ashamed. And I believed that was not how I was supposed to feel. I thought I was supposed to feel tender and gratified to finally see what my child looked like when she was age 5.
There were lots more pictures with short notes about who else was in the picture and when it was taken. Her friends. Her adoptive family. Her husband dressed like a retro hippie as they were discharged from the hospital with teeny tiny Tomtom. I was angry while believing I didn’t have any right to be angry. Pictures of Joy holding Tomtom looked like me when I had a kid on my hip. Pictures of Tomtom in preschool looked like the kids I raised in preschool. Pictures of Tomtom at his adoptive parents pool.
I felt left out.
and I hid the pictures. I could hardly bear to look at them. I felt like screaming and crying which was totally inappropriate. They had been given in a spirit of generosity and outreach. I treasured them and the connection they represented. I was so afraid of breaking that connection and the connection I had with my raised kids.
Wondering what did I do wrong to end up without my daughter, to have these horrid feelings, to not be able to be the one taking care of her when she was 5? How can I avoid doing it again?
So, I came across the packet of pictures again yesterday in a whole new frame. I saw them as a gift and a treasure. And I remembered the feelings of anger and jealousy. But I feel ok. I’m not ashamed of them. I really felt them. They’re waning. I can deal with them. In fact I’m grateful to have the pictures now. I think I’ll put them in page protectors so I can share them without being afraid of soiling them.
They are a beautiful record of my daughter and her family, my family. Mine.
Ok a little bit selfish there, uh huh. Yep I am.