I’m one of those “first moms” that thought it would be peachy if everyone could just get along. At reunion’s first blush, the enormous gratitude towards Joy’s parents for clothing and feeding her and enabling her to contact me inspired me to write them a thank you note! She was alive and she knew my name and I was thrilled. Their awesome ability to “have” her when I could not, gave them a special glow.
Joy pointed out it would have been more meaningful if I actually knew how they had raised her, starting to reveal my naivete. That she had been given her original birth certificate, tempted me to anticipate more good and open things in reuniting.
Meeting her parents early in our long distance reunion was a-w-k-w-a-r-d. Apparently I had intimated that I wanted to meet them. It was December. I remember wearing my cute red plaid Xmas jumper and thinking I looked wholesome. Her amom and adad and I sat in their family room, forming a triangle; me in an upholstered chair, amom on a small sofa (?) and adad on a barstool. Joy slipped through the sliding glass door (to smoke on the patio) where she could likely still here our conversation, mostly me talking. Her amom was polite and showed me her recent craftwork and hugged me goodbye. I don’t think her adad said a word.
Wow. If I knew then… Mmmm- I would have shut my mouth sooner.
Well that was our one and likely only meeting.
I followed the thank you note up with a Christmas card our that first year. I was looking up to them as the ones that were graced with the responsibility of raising my daughter, the ones that had experience and knowledge and success in the world. They made no response to my cards. I think they wished I would go away and acted as if I had.
Fantasizing that our common interest in Joy and her well being would lead naturally to an interest in each other — just so that we could be supportive of Joy and her family was my personal delusion, that we could share in doing our best for our daughter. I was interested in everything about her and I thought they would be too. I thought that would include me since Joy was interested in me.
18 years later, I have finally become disabused of that notion.
Any discomfort Joy has with us individually is magnified with us in proximity to each other. Our visit last spring illustrated that. At first I felt hurt that Joy hadn’t told me her amom was coming the day after me– I should have been warned. If I had known I probably would have excused myself and taken the pressure off. Instead I got the pleasure and wonder of Joy juggling way too much mothers. I got to witness some of the hurt that accompanied our convergence.
Unaware I was the opening act to her amom’s visit, I was baffled at Joy’s ambivalence about seeing me. I thought we had planned it to accomodate her work and family schedule. But, oops we did it again…
What a fiasco.
The adoptee situation of two mothers is more powerful than having a stepmother and a mother — or than having your mother die and getting a step mother– or even being raised by an overbearing grandmother with your mom in the background. An amom that is there for you (or not) through your growing and developing. Later, adding an original mom that mirrors your physical reality is a lot to integrate.
I wish the two moms could ease the way instead of putting more thorns in the passage.
How did things go so wrong? Wrong? Idk. Maybe not. Definitely provocative, provoking examination.
Is my value of openness real? Am I really open with Joy? I don’t need to know why her aparents don’t want anything to do with me. I know insuring we don’t overlap puts a greater strain on Joy. Where is the source of that strain? What can I do to ease it?
Openness, willingness on the part of the parents, all the parents, to put loving their child first still seems like the appropriate approach. But I suppose what that looks like differs from each perspective.
I am learning about loving Joy in the midst of her dilemmas instead of trying to change them. They are out of my control. I don’t need to limit or define our relationship by them either.
Together we are building a new and unique experience, a tremendous blessing.
Thanks to God, not anyone else.