Sunday, November 14, 2010

When You Don't Know What To Say

I am finding that blogging about my surrender and reunion experience can be a minefield. There is so much that I want to say but if I say it, it seems to be the wrong thing to have said. I wonder, if sometimes, our children would care enough to refrain from saying certain things to us?

I don't think that they often intend to hurt us, but talk about your knife wounds...we are to be censored but they have a wide-open field.

For instance, I know that being raised by other people is a reality for my children and all adoptees. I know that many adoptees see this as a positive thing. But, every time I hear words of praise for the adopters, "it was meant to be" or any variation thereof, the knife that was driven into my heart at surrender is twisted.

I respect how adopted people feel about their adopters. I would just ask the same in return. For many of us, the reception we received from our children's adopters wasn't the open-hearted thing for which we had hoped. Many of us were treated like dirty monsters invading a perfect world with no right to be breathing the same air. So, as we respect that adopted people care for their adopters, Please accept and respect the fact that many of us don't. I think, in all fairness, that shouldn't be required of us. Damn it, we are only human.

We natural mothers have also had to contend with the fact that the adoptee's "feelings of abandonment" are, for some reason, seen as more important than the tragic traumas of our surrenders. Neither the adoptee nor the natural mother is the center of the Universe. We are all part of the herd and the sooner we can reach a point of mutual respect, the better. I still have to turn to the term of "Terminal Uniqueness" whenever I think of how we can make every little, even obliquely, adoption-related issue all about us, mothers and adoptees. Gee, ain't we special?

I look at Stephen Hawking. He did not ask to be born with a genetic defect that ravaged his body while his mind remained whole and active. None of us have control, as infants, over what happens to us and we often have, if we are honest, no one to blame for a damn thing. Shit happens. My father wasn't the pick of Pops but my mother loved him and so there I was. I sucked my thumb over that one for a long time until I realized that my life was totally in MY hands. I'd rather cope than mope.

I tried to blog about how difficult this communication gap is for me and it backfired. One thing I don't want to do is hurt my children. But it is so frustrating, feeling gagged like this. Here I have decried the "walking on eggshells" scenario and that is just what I am being compelled to do. It is not the way I want things to be. Perhaps if it is known that this is a common response for so many of us in reunion, it might be helpful.

When we blog about our personal experience as it's related to the cluster-frack of adoption, we can often trip over our own keyboards. When we talk about how something is affecting us, we don't mean that as an indictment. But we can be clumsy. I was.

November is a nasty month with a day set aside for us to give thanks, and I wonder if that was not premeditated on the part of the industry and those in government and the adopters who support it. To our children, let me please point out that for us moms, just like you, this month, these idiots are asking us to be "aware" of the WORST THING, BAR NONE, that ever happened to us.

Don't be surprised if you don't find me in the gallery, applauding adoption or any one's adopters, especially the ones who had the privilege of raising my children. I am human. I am pained by the fact that someone else was given the joy I was denied at my expense. I am furious that so many adopters put their needs for that "only REAL parents" status ahead of the needs of the children they raised.

And I don't appreciate being treated like a cockroach in the kitchen. That's honest.


Sandy Young said...

I am sorry you had a problem with one of your blogs. I often feel that the blog is like a diary where we write OUR thoughts, OUR feelings, OUR opinions, and then allow others to read. If they take exception to something we write,or agree, they can either comment or disregard from then on. As you say, YOUR blog, YOUR opinions.

I think that we are seen as not quite human and that our skin, by being mothers of loss, are thick enough to take anythig they choose to say to us, while their more fragile, should be protected, sheltered and coddled, often at our expense. Boloney! We bleed the same as they and many of us have been bleeding for decades.

Lori said...

My sister keeps a diary. She doesn't hide it and she makes no excuses for what is in it. On the front, inside cover, she has written "This is my diary, if you read it and get your feelings hurt, it's on you. I did not invite you specifically and I will not apologize for how I feel."

She can be pretty nuts, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for her.

With that said - Our blogs are very much like diaries and if you read it - read it at your own peril.

Robin said...

Anon..your self-pity is only surpassed by your cowardice. I'm a mother, not a "birth" thing, and if you have a problem with how we feel, TOUGH NOOGIES. Put on your big girl (or boy) panties and admit that you are not the only one hurt. If you don't like it, blog about it, yourself. I'll be willing to bet you are older, but you sound like a teenager.

mae enfuricida said...

yes robin i can relate to the eggshell dance.and although I hate every minute of it, the band plays on. why we do it I really dont know. but being new in reunion (1.5yrs) I continue the dance out of fear of losing them again. its why i finally just opened a new account where I can be honest about my feelings and not worry about playing off key.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the adoptoraptors get you down, Robin.

This bastard admires you even though we don't always see eye to eye and even lock horns on occasion.

I think we, adoptees, are insistent that our pain is worse because it happens at birth at the most significant time in our lives when we are the most vulnerable. This beginning begins with loss, pain and fear and it imprints on us for the rest of our lives.

I personally was never held by my mother. I was moved around from nurse to nurse to nurse in the hospital and then to foster parents. At 3 months old I was finally handed over to my a-parents. I had already stopped crying at night because I was used to no one coming. My a-mom says she used to wake me up to make sure I was still breathing. I was a depressed baby. The disconnectiveness to others and the feeling of tremendous loss has never healed.

Keep speaking your truth, Robin. Ignore the vultures and adoptoraptors who see natural mothers only as vessels from which their newly purchased babies emerged from. They toss you to the curb like trash and then break their arms patting themselves on the backs because they saved an "orphan" or a "waiting child", etc., etc....

ms. marginalia said...

I am so sorry that your feel dismissed and unheard. For me, that is the hardest, must frustrating, most wounding.

I would give a great deal to have you as my mom. My nmom is cruel, to say the least. She told me to my face, as an adult, that she wished she'd aborted me. I know that she is an aberration among vast majority of nmoms, though, and I don't let that color how I see other nmoms. I am angry that she is my mother, but I have no control over that.

I don't think that there should be a pain contest. Adoption sucked for all of us. I am sorry that you are suffering. I can see how hard it must be to hear anything positive about aparents. It's the same way for me, each time I hear that an adoptee is welcomed with open arms by their nfamilies. As you said about Stephen Hawking, he learned to cope. ALL of us have to learn to cope, I guess, adoptees and nparents alike. Not that it's easy, and I am currently straddling the line of severe and debilitating depression. Coping seems that it will be a long time coming.

I do love my aparents. They are the only parents I have who love me, but I also recognize that they are rare, supportive, and love me unconditionally. They met my nbrother and welcomed him into our family with open arms. They would have done the same with my nmom, had she been able to accept me. They don't trash her, although my amom wants to write a letter to my nmom saying that by hurting me, she's hurting many, many more people. That they're both my mothers and should step up for me to help with my health issues. I love my nmom, even though she hates me--in her own words. It's hard, but inescapable for me. How can I not love her?

I think it's important to be honest, and I respect you for it.

Linda said...

I keep coming back to this entry. I know these are your feelings, and this is your blog, and that is why I have hesitated to comment. You know I respect you, your opinion, and the work you do.

I keep coming back to this post because it really bothered me. Like you said, writing about reunion can be a minefield.

I totally understand about adoptees going on and on about their ap's. It is hurtful to n Moms, especially if the child's relinquishment was forced. Even if it wasn't forced, going on and on about one's adopters is like throwing alcohol on an open wound. I have never understood adoptees who do this. I'd like to think they do it because they are still controlled by their adopters, but I have no way of being sure of their motives.

I could not help but cringe a little when you made the comparison to Stephen Hawking. It reminded of me of adopters or "happy adoptees" who say, "Well, at least you were not aborted/left in a dumpster/kept in an orphanage".

My "feelings" of abandonment are as real as the love I have for my family. It was my starting point, as it is for many adoptees, no matter how or why our relinquishment happened.I really bothered me that you italicized the word feeling.

And while your father may not have been the best father in the world, he was yours.

While it is important that adoptees and Mothers do not get into a pissing contest about whose pain is greater, making comparisons such as this is somewhat dismissive to many adoptees.

I respect your feelings and everything you do to educate people about how adoption has affected Mothers and their children.

I consider you to be a friend, and as a friend, I wanted to be honest with you. I understand if you do not want to post this comment. I know this is your blog and you are entitled to your feelings and opinions. Maybe this is the perfect example of not understanding your intent.

As far as the anonymous idiots posting hateful comments, I have been dealing with a lot of these fools lately. I am going to start publishing every one of them. Most of the hateful comments I get are from adopters. They are just too dumb to figure out how a tracker works.

Robin said...

I agree, Linda, about the pissing contest. I just get frustrated from having to constantly state that there is pain on both sides to people like "Anon" who say that the adoptee is the only one who is/was hurt. This person has a lot of anger towards the nmom, obviously or enjoys misery a bit too much. We still get a lot of that old "you had a choice" (no, most of us didn't) and "you spread your legs" (and your point is?). The fact that we were teens/young adults doesn't diminish the pain.

My reference to Stephen Hawking is not to say that you should be happy about being adopted. It is more about accepting the hand we were dealt without blame or rancor placed where it doesn't belong and realizing that there is worth and promise in our lives regardless of the traumas. It's also a reminder that NO infant has a choice in their beginnings.

All feelings are real. They are just that..feelings...neither good, bad, right or wrong. But feeling abandoned and having genuinely BEEN abandoned are not the same thing. I just cannot and will not accept the title of abandoner and I hope that you can understand that. It feels wrong and perjorative and unjust and it really hurts...more alcohol in the wound. I was not surrendered as an infant, but my father walked out on my mother, two younger sisters and me when I was five. I know more about that feeling of being abandoned and ABANDONABLE (which is the real sticking point of that whole idea) than a lot of folks know.

I have a problem with the "happy adoptees" as well. I also have a problem with good barfmuggles and rejecting mothers. We can't always say all the right things when we post a blog or a comment. We can only do our best to convey how we feel and hope that most can understand.

Sandy Young said...

Robin said it perfectly....being abandoned and feeling abandoned are separate issues.

Incidentally, the mothers were also abandoned, and we were consciously aware of the abandonment that we experienced. That feeling of abandonment is not unique to adoptees.

And, while we were told there was a more perfect than we family awaiting for your arrival, ergo, not abandoning but entrusting, we were made to feel that our crime was so heinous that to even mention it again would put us back in the same place again, which many of us did. Many of us were raped, abused, or ridiculed because we could be, and some, Robin included, had to pay the price again!

I hate to be called Abandoner. I have been many times and each time it rankles more than the time before. Someone who has themselves BEEN abandoned

Sandy Young said...

(oops, cont'd)

doesn't lightly abandon an infant themselves. We know how it feels...

Jane Edwards said...

Talking about saying the wrong thing. Every time I read an article about an adoptee searching, the adoptee always says something like "I just want to find my birthmother to thank her." They mean well but clearly clueless on what an insult it is -- thanking your mother for knowing she was so worthless that any mother selected by an adoption agency would be a better mother?

My surrendered daughter Megan constantly told me how I made the right decision, it was God's plan, she was raised in the family she belonged in. I pointed out how hurtful these comments were, but to no avail.

Linda said...

I love you ladies. I seriously was afraid of posting my reaction to's an adoptee thing, bawhahaha. But seriously- I really was afraid of hurting your feelings, or trying to diminish what you were saying.

I agree, Sandy- there is a HUGE difference between being abandoned and feeling abandoned, but that is what I have struggled with my entire life....even though I KNOW I was NOT abandoned. I detest the term "abandoner", too, and it's one of my "blog rules", and I won't allow it. And I also agree that so many Mothers were abandoned by the very people who should have helped them.

Thanks for understanding what I was saying. It means a lot.

Robin said...

Linda, we wouldn't trade you for all the gold in Fort Knox. Just like we moms have our prickly points, so do our adult children. The fact that we care and want to try to understand means a lot on both ends.

ms. marginalia said...

I think quite a few adoptees (at least ones in my acquaintance) play the "I only want medical information card" because they're so frightened of what they'll find at the end of the search. It also mollifies aps (certainly, that's what I told mine, although it wasn't true). I wish society at large would allow those adoptees who want to forge relationships with their nfamilies feel free to say so, and do so--and of course the corollary is true, as well.

It doesn't excuse that placed children say it, and I hear you on how hurtful it would be to have your child say it to you. Awful. I hope you tell them how hurtful it is.

Before I wrote my first letter to my nmom, another nmom counseled me to say to her everything I felt, and to let her know I love her if I did. I was glad to get that advice, and to know that hearing anything too superficial might hurt her, as well as hurt me--because it wasn't true!

I think you are all so wonderful and wish, wish, wish I could have had a different outcome to my own attempt at reunion. Sadly, the emotional damage of placing me has put my nmom in a place that she cannot escape now, and potentially ever. It's heartbreaking.

Lorraine Dusky said...

Oh, thank you for talking about how our sorrow is supposedly not nearly on the same plane as that of the adoptee. It all comes down to this: no matter what the situation was when we surrendered, we DID IT. Had sex. Had a baby. Signed the paper. So many people in return hold little or no sympathy for our loss. So it goes. So it will always go.

But it is wonderful to be accepted by my peers, other women--natural- first-birth-whatever-you-want-to call-us-mothers--who know the same grieving that changed our lives so totally.