Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Adoption Zone

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call... The Twilight Zone!" - Rod Serling

In life, there is a zone where you are a parent but not a parent...a daughter or son but not a daughter or son....where forces beyond our ability to control alter the most basic relationships that exist with the human animal. It is called The Adoption Zone.
No matter how hard we reach, there seems to be a barrier between us and our reunited loved ones. The bond is there but it is twisted, distorted and knotted like badly wound yarn. Mothers don't know what to expect from their adult children and those adult adopted people want with one hand and push away with the other and are just as confused as the mothers.
I get the impression that many of our adult children want to be treated and included in all things, just like our raised children, yet will say that their adopters are their REAL parents. I hear a lot of "I love you's" that sound, very much to me like "I need you's." We are to give our surrendered children all the same familiarity and attention we give our raised children, but we are not to assume full motherhood of that same adult child. Rod Serling would have had a field day with this one.
Mothers and adult adoptees are all suffering from sore feet from tip-toeing through the eggshells, trying not to break any. It's not just on one side, either. I see the same expectations and frustrations from both ends of the dyad. We are also, on both ends, afraid to speak up about it because we don't want to disturb what tenuous balance we have managed to attain.
For Mothers, that is where unconditional love is tested. With my raised children, I can say what I will and they might get mad and pout a few days or I might get testy with them and need some cooling-off, but we are always back together with no hard feelings. I don't think many adopted people have ever learned that unconditional love means you can get angry and you don't have to cut people off and out of your life. I have seen some who learned conditional love from their adopters and then passed that on down to their own children. For some, love is a bartering tool..I give you love and you stay with me based on doing this, that and the other thing.
I cried when I read a post by Ungrateful Little Bastard. She was reading online about her natural family having a "girl's" outing in which she was not included. That had to hurt. Then I have to remember that I was excluded from my daughter's wedding because of the wishes of her adopters. That hurt, too. I have heard similar stories from other mothers and other adopted people. It's a world of hurt in the Adoption Zone.
I have to give it to my family. They work at including my surrendered children in their lives and thoughts and carings. They are good siblings and I am glad because my two oldest need that, badly. It's easier for them, as well, because sibs don't carry that emotional load that the mother does. There are times when I close my eyes and daydream about having a "do over" in life. There would be no Adoption Zone in it.
So Rod, here goes; There is a painful dimension beyond motherhood and infancy. It confounds the mind and breaks the heart. It is an uneasy middle ground between family and separation, between love and strangers, between broken hearts and challenged lives. It is known as The Adoption Zone.
And those of us in it don't like it here.


Lori said...

Robin - awesome, lovely post. May I please link to it? I would love to help spread this particular message. Thank you.

Real Daughter said...

"For some, love is a bartering tool..I give you love and you stay with me based on doing this, that and the other thing."

Dingdingdingdingding....and we have a winner. Thank you for putting into words what I have been trying to say.

It's a horrible way to live.

Robin said...

Sure, Lori. And thanks.

Anonymous said...

"And those of us in it don't like it here."

No place to place to hide.

I am going to try to link to your post as well Robin.

7rin said...

I just wanna say "amen" (in its original sense) to the comments already posted.

I also will be sharing this, as well as forwarding it on to both my bmom and my bdad in the hopes that they understand some/any of it.

You're awesome, and one of the very very very few (times sixty million and one) things that makes me glad I'm adopted is the awesome adoptees, bfam's, as well as the rare APs who actually comprehend ANY of it that I've met since I've been an 'on-line angry adoptee'.

Thank you for explaining the things I can not explain. xxx

Unknown said...

The adop-tion pushme-pullyou relationships is 'wearing' to say the least.

I am just tired of walking that chalkline, never knowing when I make a misstep and knowing that whether or not I do, I will be punished yet again by a year or more of silence.

Being beaten up in activism is easier, and much less painful, and more satisfying. If he wants to grow up, I will be here...until I am not.

Anonymous said...

I love this comparison of adoption relationships between Mother and surrendered child with Rod Sterling's, "The Twilight Zone". Do do do doodoo.

I know that feeling well of being expected to act like I'm the Mother, but being expected to accept the fact that I will not be acknowledged as Mother.

I accept it, I accept that that is how they feel and how they choose to act. Now they must accept that I will not participate. I will not give myself away in bits and peices any more, because it makes them and their adopted parents uncomfortable to acknowledge who I am; in fact, their Mother.

I will not live in the "Adoption Zone", so I have been cast out.

I have linked to this great post Robin. Here:

Lindi said...

I am on the verge of tears, they are sitting there, welling up as i read. The walking on eggshell's, the"love' being unconditional..or not.. The expectations. The Zone.. I have to fight the urge to copy paste and email this link to my mother, and to my daughter. (Please God, self-control, and we know they would just delete it anyway!)...It is not easy when i see the perfect blog, that says what I want to say to my Bmother and my firstborn..To mother i would say, "Hey Lady, youre not getting any younger." To my daughter, " You have no idea what an adoption gone wrong really consists of"..They both act as if they are unique and different in their post reunion behaviors and opinions.. Would they be shocked or indignant to know they are merely "textbook" ??? They think i must certainly be the ONLY one who dares to demand unconditional love, because I cant live a lie and accept something else, or anything less..Not after what I have been through, the journey it took me to get to a place where I could love myself.. I cannot go back now..There is no turning back. How dare i not take the scraps they offer and come back begging for more??
It is because i have more self esteem now, and am older and more accepting of the fact that it is what it is. Im a Grandmother 4-1/2 Grandbabies, that's 4 and 1 on the way.... Out of those grandbabies, one went to be with Jesus the day he was born, One is my WORLD, and the 2-1/2 babies belonging to my firstborn, I will probably never get to know.. But they are out there.. I do live on, whether anyone wants to acknowledge that fact or not.. My blood runs through their veins.One day , if not already, they will smile or look a certain way, and my daughter will think of me, and see me there... One day, maybe my Mother will ask her self"What was I thinking?"

Thanks Robin for affirming that i am still not the only one, and that i have not imagined "The Zone"..

Robin said...

No, Lindi, you are not alone and you know how it feels from both ends. That is the point, here. There are only two parties to adoption that are forced to live in that zone..the mother and the adopted person. Everyone else thinks it's just pink clouds and rainbows.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your post, I sooo needed to hear that today.

Chris aka Gypsywinter said...

Awesome, awesome writing, Robin...really good.

As a young person I was a big fan of The Twilight Zone, still am. But your paralleling of the Twilight Zone to the Adoption remarkable and the honest to goddesses truth. Thank you.

You have managed to put into words for those of us that have mixed thoughts and cannot quite transfer into words. Keep writing, keep speaking. As a natural mother to ALL of my children and a surrendering mother of my firstborn newborn, I surely do appreciate it.

Ungrateful Little Bastard said...

It certainly is a world of hurt in The Adoption Show. Thank you

Von said...

Hate this zone, it just keeps on giving!However old we get it's still in there packing a punch, producing something new to deal with, some newly found and distant cousin who covertly believes in the second-rateness of bastardry or some other kick in the guts.
Great post and I'm linking f that's ok.Was about to do something similar from "the other side"......