Monthly Archives: September 2009

10 Things

is a funny idea. Ten things nobody told me before adoption slammed into my life. I don’t think I’ve got ten just yet, but there is a huge

NUMBER ONE. Nobody told me it could have a negative impact on my child. Nobody told me that she might grow up to feel betrayed by the first person who should have loved and cared for her. Nobody told me her aparents might not treasure each and every little eccentricity of her physical, emotional and mental characteristics or that she would miss genetic mirroring and search for recognition outside her family. Nobody told me she might appreciate any small token or remembrance from me, that I could leave her a letter without damaging her. Nobody told me there was a possibility that her adoptive parents might speak ill of me or her father – her origins. Nobody told me her “extended adoptive family” could be anything less than totally inclusive and accepting, that adoptive parents aren’t anymore perfect than anybody else. Or that the only real thing that made them more qualified to raise her than me was they had a steady income.

Ok, here’s NUMBER TWO Nobody told me that I had wisdom and experience and insight into who my child was simply because she was made from me. Nobody told me that I could get help to tide me over for the first couple years or that my child could ever love or appreciate me. Nobody told me that the judgments and rejection could dissipate if I just went ahead and did my best to keep her. No one told me that I had value or worth as her mother. Nobody told me that I could overcome the obstacles to keeping her.

I’m on a roll now. NUMBER THREE Nobody told me she might be very angry when she came looking for me. Nobody told me she might have a world of hurt and rejection to work through. Nobody told me that when she found me again I would revert to the wounded self that gave her up in the first place. Nobody ever told me that the damage of giving up a child to adoption was lifelong for both parties, that the “damaged goods” category I was placed in meant much more than my reputation was damaged; the damage to my psyche would affect the rest of my life and be an obstacle distorting communication.

Nobody told me that no one knows what the future holds, but that everything changes.

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Face to Face

Weird how much time I spend wondering about the next time I’ll see, or talk to Joy again.  I entertain a sense of  unfinished business, that I should do something for a greater feeling of peace between us.

Reviewing Joy’s and my first face to face still gives me goosebumps.

My grandpa died a couple weeks after our first phone call.  A memorial was planned for sometime in March, meaning I was going back to California and would be able to meet Joy in person!  In my memory she wanted to meet me too.  (Sometime this past year she corrected that misinterpretation.) We met  at a place of her choosing.

I worried about what to wear, desperate to look respectable, comparing myself to her description of her adoptive mother, petite and sharp.  When I was skinny dipping in college a friend “complimented” me on my fertility goddess appearance, which I was hoping to camouflage because Joy had mentioned the importance of a slim figure.

Atypically I wore lipstick and curled my hair for the memorial service and to meet Joy. I remember checking out my pink shorts and white sweater in my mom’s mirror after explaining that I wanted to borrow their car so I could go meet my daughter that had contacted me and lived nearby and  that yes I was sure I wanted to meet her.  Yes I am.  I don’t know when I’ll be back.  At a coffeshop near the freeway.  Thank you.

Looking back, my folks handled it ok.  It came out of left field for them. They didn’t know Joy and I were “in reunion”, or any idea of such a thing as reunion. They were in the midst of handling a death in the family, hosting their children, grandchildren, inlaws and visiting with guests from out state.

I left all that  behind and arrived at the coffeeshop.  I don’t remember if we met inside or in the parking lot.  I do remember looking across the table and being stunned to see her father’s eyes.  Ok, that should be normal.   I look like my father.  She says I talked a lot.  I probably did.  But the only things I remember saying are things she’s reminded me I said.  I’m sure I talked about her blue eyes.   My younger children’s father had looked for his blue eyes in his kids but they are hazel and brown like mine.

I also know I made a rude comment trying to cover my embarrassment at not having a gift for my baby grandson.  It was surreal. I remember (?) that.

Learning that Joy had uncertain feelings about even meeting me makes sense as I recall our interaction.  I plowed ahead with unprepared enthusiasm despite self consciousness and doubt about my worthiness.  She was more hesitant and held back, perhaps more thoughtful.

What I most remember was being stunned by our differences. She was my daughter but we’d lived differently. She was also her father’s daughter and he was a stranger to me now.  She was her afamily’s daughter and their influence was so unfamiliar to me.  She was married– husband and child to boot.

She didn’t want to touch me. Although I was accustomed to my family of origin not touching; hugging and cuddling have been constant with my younger children. I wanted it, but didn’t push it on her.

I went back to my folks house and started wondering about when I would see her again.

Conditioning, expectations, misunderstandings and fears  interfered in our communication.  I am most rewarded when responding from my heart, because at least then I get it.